For many, family is those whom have the same DNA. For others, it’s those who operate, love, sacrifice and respect each other enough to acquire the title of family. For some, it’s a lifetime of love. Others, a few years, months, even weeks of holding the title. What remains true about family is that there is a bond that is unbreakable, even during the most challenging times. It’s one thing to love and support family when things are going according to the morals, principles and guidelines in which one has been raised or developed. However, what happens when they have been compromised due to an intimate relationship?
There are many who choose to live in isolation or estranged from their family due to their commitment to an unhealthy or compromising intimate relationship. What happens to the DNA, love, sacrifices, and respect then?
Many families struggle with the conceptualisation of losing their loved one to another. The belief is that someone has moved into the family and stolen one of their most prized possessions. Newsflash! If of age, as family, it is not our responsibility to take ownership over our loved ones relational decisions, but rather, to support, guide, and if welcomed, provide sound advice.
I, personally, am guilty of feeling as though someone had stolen my most prized possession. Although many years ago, I remember feeling as though I had lost my best friend to a thief in the night. She was no longer available to talk late nights, hang out, or spend idle time dancing and laughing at the silly things we used to do. While she was in a very toxic relationship, I found myself very angry at her because she chose to stay. She chose him over our relationship, over DNA. That made me very angry.
I felt betrayed, disrespected and cheated. This caused us to argue, not speak for days, and spend very little time creating memorable events. It got so bad that we hardly visited each other. We became like total strangers. Until….
One evening as I was preparing dinner for my family, my phone rang. As I picked up the phone, I could hear the panic on the other end. It was my loved one’s neighbour who was struggling to describe the abuse they had witnessed between she and the thief in the night. Instantly, I felt guilty, angry, and sad, as though I had betrayed her. I remember dropping everything and jumping in my car speeding to her aid. During the drive, it hit me, she needed me all along. But because I had viewed her relationship as the cause of our break up, I became numb to our bond, love, sacrifice, respect, our overall family values.
I was more fixated on our break up that I didn’t take the time to see how much she was suffering. Instead of reading between the lines, I chose the lines in which I wanted to read. She was in trouble. How was she able to tell any of us what she was going through? Especially knowing that we already had our preconceived reservations about the relationship. She wasn’t raised to take abuse. She was already at a disadvantage. How could I have ignored the signs? How could I have acted as though I hadn’t experienced a similar relationship? It’s funny because I was still keeping my past abusive relationship a secret. Maybe my anger wasn’t about her at all.
As we lead up to October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to encourage all of you who may feel as though a thief has come into your family. Look beyond your expectations. Listen more. Use less judgement, and exercise more respect, openness and empathy. Thankfully, we have restored our relationship. For years, I was thankful for her neighbour and his telephone call. What if I would have cut her off because she was in love with the thief in the night? There are many what if’s but thankfully, we are family, and our bond will never be broken, no matter the challenge.
Which bond do you have to restore?
Tina T Laws Consulting is the founder of Under Konstruction and the Perfect Partnership Program. She coaches women (and healthy couples) over40, towards living their best life. She believes a great partnership gives you the added strength in life to become the most powerful version of you to present to the world. Tina is a certified Relationship Coach, trained Domestic Violence Facilitator and Advocate.