Family: Breaking Free

Breaking free from family expectations is one of the most difficult challenges in my lifetime.

I grew up in a “dysfunctional” family…whatever that means.  I understand that there is no real perfect family.  What are the parameters?  Each of us does the best we can in the role we play in Family and in Life.

That includes parents.  That includes me.  That includes children.

Today, I still feel stress trying to please and play the part I played to survive emotionally growing up.

My father expects total respect just because he’s my father.  In his mind and perception, that’s a given.  But my feelings and expectations are not acknowledged by him. 

And so it goes with other members of Family.

There is no handbook with instructions on how to deal with these emotionally charged relationships.  I’ve tried everything I know up to now:

  • let things pass to avoid conflict. Doesn’t work (for me) 
  • Write a letter to them expressing how I feel.  Doesn’t work
  • Talk things over.  Doesn’t work.

Family is set in its ways.  What do I do?  How do I act?  From all the inner work and healing I’ve done (journaling, YOU University personal development program, studying A Course in Miracles principles, re-parenting myself) and continue practicing, I understand the responsibility I have to myself to protect my boundaries, or they will be stepped on over and over.  Unfortunately, Family is not accustomed to this new behavior.   

It’s hard for me.  It’s confusing.  I ask myself:  is this loving?  Is this the “right “thing to do?  I don’t want to hurt anybody….including Me.

Well, I don’t have the “right” answers.  All I know is that it’s time to acknowledge my place in life and break free from the old, toxic patterns of Family.  I carry these patterns within myself also, since I’m a part of Family too.  I am aware of these patterns and am learning to choose responses that are healthier and more loving for me. 

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 12:52 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can feel your emotion her Savina. Families are often difficult to live with. I can totally relate to them being set in their ways. And you are right to be choosing the responses that are loving for you.

  2. Oh boy does this sound familiar Savina! It is a dance we do with ourselves isn’t it? Family are not people we can easily dismiss. When they cross our personal boundaries, it’s complicated to simply ‘dismiss’ because we love them. All we can do is to accept the things we cannot change and love ourselves enough to state how we feel and ‘walk away’ when the boundaries have been crossed in any given moment to a space which allows us to use the tools we have been given to release any negative feelings we have experienced. Although some family ties may be easy to ‘cut off’, there are others we choose to remain in contact with for various personal reasons. So it is in these cases that we tread lightly.


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