Welcome back my friends. Grab a seat and get comfortable. The purple beanbag in the corner is Sha’s but you can sit anywhere else you like. I’ve got some hot tea brewing so refreshments will be coming shortly.
Today’s topic: how to distance oneself from a dysfunctional family.
Let me begin by saying I will never recommend something I have not done myself. I am in no way a hypocrite. If I give advice it is born from real experience. I can only tell you what has worked for me; what you do with that information is entirely up to you, but you can count on the fact that I’m not blowing smoke. What I tell you actually happened.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family and at one time I was the head of a dysfunctional family, a family that was dysfunctional because of my addiction to alcohol….so I’ve lived both ends of the spectrum.
How does one divorce oneself from a dysfunctional family?
First, let me point out a simple fact: your number one priority is your wellness. Some suggestions I am going to make might hurt the feelings of family members, but if that is what it takes for you to be healthy then so be it.
There is no guilt in being a member of a dysfunctional family. It is what it is, and children especially never asked to be surrounded by dysfunction so there is no reason in the world to feel guilty about it.
I eventually had to step away from my family for my own good health and peace of mind. There was no other way. They showed no signs of changing so the change had to happen in me. I have done the same thing with toxic friends. I have spent far too much of my life in negative circumstances; I don’t plan on spending anymore of my life there, so if someone is toxic to me they are gone from my life. Period!
I know that sounds harsh, and I suppose it is, but viewed from the standpoint that my wellness is the number one priority, it makes sense. I started a new family with Bev and we have a healthy family….and the toxicity of my past, and those who caused it, can just go on living their lives of sickness without me.
If you cannot bring yourself to leave your family then you must set boundaries and guidelines. It goes something like this….”Mom, I want you to be a part of your granddaughter’s life, but if you continue to bring your vile personality into our home then you will not be allowed to do so”….or….”Dad, you are an alcoholic, and I don’t want my child to be subjected to your disease; so if you want to see your grandchild then don’t drink in my home.”
Learn to identify your emotions and then express them. This was a tough one for me for years but now…watch out! I have no problem telling someone how I feel, so if you don’t want to know then don’t ask me. J And if someone in my family has hurt me or angered me then they are going to hear about it. Bottom line is this: it is not alright for someone to hurt you….. stranger, friend or family member. Voicing that to the person who has harmed you will make you feel infinitely better….hopefully. J
THAT’S ENOUGH FOR TODAY
I hope this gave you something to think about. What has worked for me may not work for you. If you have other suggestions then share them with all of us so we can learn.