Happy Monday and welcome back to the blog!
This month I’m discussing mental health and how it affects us. Last week I shared how dealing with the hardships of business has affected my mental health and what I do to remain positive and push through. If you missed that blog, you can read it here.
This week I want to share with you how family can affect your mental health and things I have done to cope with it. Many of us have struggles with our family members. Some are minor and some are major. We’re also taught blood is thicker than water and no matter what, we need to stick together. But is true? Can this really be done? I’ll share how I’ve had to deal with a family challenge and why. For the sake of anonymity I won’t give titles or names because I know some of my family reads my blogs.
I have two family members that I've struggled to have a relationship with for years but it never works out. If you were to ask me why there are always conflicts between us, I would have to guess because I have never gotten a reason on why they do the things they do. Things are always said behind my back and not to my face. I find myself helping and giving when needed and that’s it but anytime I suggest something, I’m the villain, I'm trying to get my way or think I know it all. That is never my intent or reason but it’s perceived. Therefore if I say anything there’s an issue.
There have been long periods where we didn’t speak with each other because I was cut off or I couldn’t deal with the ups and downs. Last year it all came to head for me and I finally gave up. I thought I could talk it out, write a letter or something but my heart won’t allow me to just yet. It still feels hopeless. I’ll be opening my heart for more disappointment because they don't see the issue but me. You may be thinking that I shouldn’t give up but I had to at least for now. For my mental health, I’ve had to forgive and love from a distance.
I've had friends ask what if someone dies, how would it make you feel knowing that you have been estranged from your family members? Honestly, I've had to make peace with it in some kind of way. It wasn't easy but what am I supposed to do? Keep getting treated like I'm nothing?
How has my mental health been affected?
During the years of dealing with this it has been an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been upset, angry and have shed a lot of tears. Not understanding why our relationship has to be this way. I never want to be at odds with anyone, let alone my own family because I don’t hate, despise or envy anyone. But what I do know is that it has caused a lot of heartache, headache and pain for no obvious reason at all.
This has made me question every single thing I’ve said or done when interacting with them. I was brutally honest with myself. What are saying to make them respond this way? What have you done to warrant their actions. But there was nothing there. The only thing that helped me understand why our relationship is the way it is was a verse from the bible. No I’m not going to preach to you but this is what I received. The scripture is 2 Timothy 3:2-3.
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness,
Verse 2 states people will be lovers of themselves and verse 3 states having no natural affection and not open to any agreement. This helped me see this is the reason why we have conflict. Whether intentional or not, this is what it is. This hurt my soul because I know I can’t change anyone’s heart and I’m not going to sit around and be treated in a negative way.
So what have I done for my mental health?
I decided to forgive and love from a distance. There's nothing I can do to make anyone see how their actions causes conflicts. Life is too short to be unhappy. I've decided to just focus on me, family that loves and respects me, and my friends. I try to do things that brings my heart joy and lots of it! I think about where I've come from and where I'm at.
I also affirm myself. I tell myself that I am worthy to be respected, loved and happy. I work on my flaws and try to be a better woman, person and that's it.
Will it be like this forever?
My heart says I doubt it but I have no desire to pursue the relationship at this time. Ok, that's a lie. I do want to have a relationship. One thing I've learned is that if I continue to reach out first, the issue will never be resolved. We'll be having conflicts again in no time. If they truly want a relationship with me, I will hear from them first. They will recognize where the breakdown comes from. Even if the issue is something I've said or done. It should be brought to my attention so we can resolve it and move on. No fake agreements and still harboring ill will towards me. They will also desire a healthy relationship so that we NEVER go this again. Life is too short!
Do I still love my family?
Absolutely! I don't hate any of my family members. Family is about love, support, respect, patience and all of that good stuff. I want this desperately but not to the point of dimming my light to having them in my life.
You should never stop loving your family. Unfortunately with the way the world is, there are some members you just won't get along with. But that can change in the blink of an eye so forgive and keep loving them.....just from a distance.
What you should take from my experience?
First love yourself. Know how you want to be treated and make sure that you are treating your family the same way. No relationship can be one-sided. Learn to step back or let go when it starts affecting you on a daily basis. If it starts affecting you physically, then it's time to let it go. Regroup and figure out your next steps when you're ready.
Don't let anyone guilt into doing anything that you're not ready to but also be reasonable. My situation is different from many because this has been a normal occurrence for YEARS. Don't allow silly arguments to do permanent damage.
If you're in a situation like me and nothing has worked. Focus on things and the people who matter. Regroup when you're ready. Prayer works too! If anything, pray for peace of mind so you can continue to be the best version of you.
I hope you enjoyed this week's blog and gotten to know me a little better. Funny how this blog is kind of therapeutic. I don't talk about this so realizing how far I've come warms my heart.
Are you dealing with or have dealt with family conflicts? Share in the comments below how you have dealt with it and the results.
Next week, I will discuss how my job affects mental health😵💫
@Naomi – Thank you so much for your comment and thank you for pointing out that parents can create sibling rivalry unintentionally as well as doing their best raising us. This is something I had to learn. People need to understand that people cannot give you what they don’t have so you must meet them where they are.
I also liked that you mentioned going to therapy. Many dismiss the benefits of seeing a therapist to work out their problems. I went after my ex left. I wasn’t receptive at first but then I decided to hear her out, that’s when things started to change for the better.😉
This really hits home as I’m reading this. Family can tugged and hit below the sometimes. I’ve found that parents unknowingly create sibling rivalry. Then wonder why some their kids never see eye to eye. I’ve also learned my parents did the best they could with the resources they have. There is a lot trauma, we develop various copping mechanisms to deal with it. Not all coping mechanisms are healthy.
I do encourage everyone to go therapy for your own sanity sake. I do pray. I also look at what I can control and focus on this.
As we grow and mature our perspective shifts and sometimes we can see things from the another person’s point of view. Here is one thing, I know for certain. I am no good anybody, if I’m no longer here.
Thank you 😊