Archive for October 28th, 2010

October 28, 2010

Do we have to get along just because we are family?

by Rod Smith

“I was born into a family that has experienced conflict that has affected us for three generations. Not even the education has been able to prevent the inevitable downward spiral or find ways to resolve differences and remain on speaking terms. A sibling and I did attempt to resolve issues and things hobbled along for awhile, but after the last crisis, which involved the passing of a parent, I realised that the members of my family, including in-laws, are too different in outlook and philosophies to ever get along. Some friends have exhorted us to try to make peace, simply because we are ‘family’. This sort of encouragement doesn’t occur when the feuding parties are not related, then people seem to expect one not to be able to effect reconciliations. Is it really so bad that families feud to the extent that they no longer speak? What if they really are happier going separate ways? We often expect far too high a standard from our relatives, simply because they are blood. We have different and apparently irreconcilable standards.” (Edited)

Getting along is not compulsory because of biological ties. Openness to (even) limited dialogue will serve the invisible emotional loyalties. Family cut-offs exacerbate individual issues. Reasonable, even guarded dialogue, is likely to ease some individual anxiety, even if at first it serves to spike it.