A big sigh.
I’m sitting here thinking about how difficult it would be to watch a new generation fall victim to my family’s dysfunctions.
The word is a difficult one for me, as I have two siblings and neither have been in my life for the better part of the last decade.
It wasn’t my choice. But maybe it wasn’t theirs, either, because the act of breaking relations with family is a longtime tradition among us. Maybe it’s genetic. Or maybe it’s learned behavior. Because it and the family’s right wing politics are two things I never inherited.
But my siblings did.
Or maybe, it’s all a lesson. That’s how I think of it. A lesson.
There is a tradition in my family to hold on to hurts and resentments, to withhold forgiveness, to be jealous in the extreme. It’s a poison that my siblings keep ingesting over and over. When you see it in action, it’s clear that they can’t be very happy. And yet, the behavior continues. They can’t seem to be able to stop.
Of course, there’s a bigger reason. A spiritual reason. This was part of the plan. But still: I’m glad there’s not much of a next generation to be hurt by it. But there is some. And that’s what hurts me.
I paid my dues and worked the lesson. I did my years of therapy long ago. I’ve had so much life experience and done so much discussion–and so much of my own thinking– that I finally got perspective on the family.
The new generation is just beginning. They start out pure, seeing only the best, feeling only the love. But people are human and can only put on a facade for so long. Eventually, their true selves leak out, becoming clearer and clearer until there’s no denying who they are.
And that is a pretty hard thing for a young person to face. A young person who might still think the world is fair. That love will always prevail.
Well, the truth is that love always DOES prevail. It prevails in the kind of people we choose to surround ourselves with. It even prevails in the compassion with which we can (in time) view these damaged family members. And in the bigger picture that we can grasp if we do the work.
So I sit, pondering the inescapable realities of our family. But also appreciating the help I got over the years in freeing myself of the dust of the past.
I breathe deeply of the fresh air and trust that one day, maybe even tomorrow, the next generation will be able to do the same.
And of course, I focus on the lesson, because I know what it is.
I’d love your thoughts on family dynamics. And of course, a reminder that A Healing Spirit is just a click away, with all sorts of support for those tough times in life.