You can choose your friends but not your family. For some, that doesn’t matter. For others, it can feel like a sentence. Not all of us are afforded completely comfortable family arrangements. Those who aren’t so close with their family can feel slightly alienated when in the presence of someone who knows all of their close relations, and spends time with them frequently.
However, good or bad, there’s no reason why you should allow your family to dictate your life once you reach a certain age. Unfortunately, as we age, we also need to come to our own stance on how families should operate, or how our relationships might need tailoring. For example, it might be that despite being grown, your mother continually needs to be reminded that she hasn’t the control over your life she might seek. There are entire subreddits dedicated to these issues, such as r/raisedbynarcissists.
But it’s not the relationships that matter. What matters is how you are best able to settle fractured family ties, for your own sake, and the sake of those you hold most dear. There’s often not a ‘correct’ way to go about things, but with our advice, we hope you’re able to find what’s right for you:
Don’t Force Things
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is try to force other people to see their point of view, or to connect. Just because you might be ready doesn’t mean that they are. Just because they’re ready doesn’t mean you have to be. For this reason, it’s important not to force things. It’s better not to speak for a decade than to force each other into toxic communication, time and time again, when it gets nowhere.
Don’t force anything. Don’t apply pressure to anyone. This way, you can try to maintain your cool, and separate yourself from the equation. This allows you to focus on your own life, your own work, your own interests. This can be extremely beneficial for some people, because they might not have known life without the guiding hand of their family member, and as such they can now grow as an individual.
Not forcing things should also suggest that you shouldn’t simply give your family member a pass because they’re related to you. If they continually belittle you, consider you less than, mistreat you or abuse you in any way, they might be your family member in blood, but not in spirit. The next step you might take from here is:
Finding Legal Help
It is incredibly important to find legal help where you can. This is because family law is a complicated matter, and you might actually make things worse by acting on your own behest. For example, it might be that you wish for a restraining order against an ex-partner who can’t seem to stay away. You might need to arrange visitation for your children in the healthiest manner possible. Perhaps you wish to settle an argument relating to an inheritance, and get the matter over with in the verified eyes of the law. This where using expert familial lawyers such as Debra Schoenberg can be your best route forward, enabling you to not only move forward with much more confidence, but with an understanding of the proper framework.
While legal counsel should never, ever be used as a substitute for a counseling or therapy service, it can be comforting to seek legal closure, to know you are on the right track, or simply that you are being listened to after a long time of seemingly knocking your head against a metaphorical wall.
Blood Isn’t Always Thicker Than Water
A common misconception people have is that blood is always thicker than water. Not so. As we stated before, you shouldn’t have to accept those in your life who routinely bring you down, and make matters more negative. In fact, sometimes understanding this can be tremendously freeing. If you wouldn’t be friends with your family member should you not be related, is it worth keeping this relationship up? Sometimes operating on a level of impartiality, such as sending light Christmas cards as the only form of contact, can be a needed service.
Blood isn’t always thicker than water. Remember, your closest friends, your inner family unit, your partner, these are the people who truly matter, and sometimes defending your corner is important if you hope to make a change as you start to raise your own full family. In other words, be sure to use what you learn here to keep your future brighter than it could have been.
With these tips, we hope you’re much better able to settle fractured familial ties.