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.

One Comment to “Do we have to get along just because we are family?”

  1. The writer of this article mirrors my experiences and sentiments. For years I have suffered the consequences of being a member of a dysfunctional family. All my efforts and contributions were never enough. The day I looked at the faces of my wife and kids I realised I needed to walk away to save my marriage,my sanity and my relationship with my kids. Walking away is never easy, is never the right thing to do because I believe God intended us to be in relationship with family. However, walking away has given me a peace that I have never felt in years and has helped me get in touch with myself and I finally finding the person that I was meant to be . Thanks for this site. I have drawn much inspiration from it

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