Letting Go of Family Members That Hurt Us

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In a perfect world, family would always be there to support you and make you feel secure and safe. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Many of us have one relative or another that is hurtful … more than just sibling rivalry or tough love. Family members that push us beyond our comfort zone and help us learn and grow are a wonderful asset, even though there are moments when we don't feel appreciation for how they affect our life. But what happens when our family members cut us down and wear us out? Is it ever okay to cut those ties and just say good-bye?

The most loving family members will sometimes make us uncomfortable. They will show us our flaws and how we can improve. Although no one likes those moments where we feel bare and vulnerable, every mistake visible to the world, these moments are the ones that can help us become better people. The great family member will show you the tarnish, but then sit with you and help you clean and polish until you gleam again. It is an experience that although uncomfortable still feels productive and safe. This is a positive relationship.

But there can be another version of interaction that looks similar, only there is no rebuild after all the blocks are knocked down. There are people in the world that see only themselves and are not bothered by damaging those around them in their self-serving acts. We have all known people like this, and usually it is very simple to deal with. If a friend, acquaintance, or co-worker is the kind whose words sting and whose presence is uncomfortable it is a cinch to dismiss them from our daily existence. There is no need to keep them close where they can hurt us over and over.

There are times, however, when that pain comes from someone that should be safe: a parent, aunt or uncle, sibling or even grandparent. This is more than just being shown your human flaws; this is never being accepted or just plain okay. Time and again you are disrespected or disregarded, even though you pour energy and love into the relationship. Being your relative has put this person in a position of power because you are different: you actually crave that positive interaction. And then in seeking out the affections you need you set yourself up to be repeatedly hurt. Constantly giving and never receiving back that love and support will leave anyone feeling hurt and empty.

From time to time we all make mistakes and can appear selfish. Only when it is a truly consistent pattern should you ever alter your actions toward a loved one. Keep in mind that you have the power to make decisions about who is in your life, and if a relationship is truly unhealthy for you it is okay to let go. Never cut ties in anger as being hurtful will not make you feel any better. These relationships easily make you feel undeserved guilt and the point of severing ties is to remove that source of guilt, so if you choose this route make sure you go about it in a way that you can feel good about.

You are the only person that can decide whether you need to cut ties bonding you to another. If you choose to let go of a family member keep in mind that it will hurt for a very long time. You may find closure important, but be careful about how you approach the subject. Verbal communication of your intentions may become too emotional. If you suspect this will be the case, write a letter. A letter allows you as much time as you need to transform the mess of feelings into words that make it all more accessible to the recipient. This will allow you to be clear about the pain that you've been feeling without sounding overly angry.

Unfortunately, some of us have family members that hurt us. As painful as it may be, sometimes the best thing we can do is let them go. This means letting go of our expectations and eliminating our ability to be hurt over and over by a trusted loved one. Sometimes it is possible to take this power away from a person while still keeping them in our lives, sometimes not. Just keep in mind that demanding respect is not selfish as long as you give it in return. No one deserves being mistreated.

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Source by Gabriella Gometra

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