Family is… Forever?

Family isn’t great by nature. Family is great only if it is great. The greatness of family is that you have people who have significant investment in you and an ingrained community. This can offer wonderful support and resources in life. Unfortunately, people often use people’s sense of the indispensability of family as a means of leverage. People act like dicks in order extract resources out of others knowing that the person won’t disassociate, because of the individual’s sense of family obligation.

In today’s culture we have minimized the usefulness of family. No longer do we use family for business resources and connections. No longer is our family and our community intertwined. We don’t bank on inheritance. Our friends and our mates are created outside the influence of our families social reach. What this means is, your association with your family is more optional than ever before.

When you opt to associate with people who don’t respect your values or your boundaries, you are projecting a lack in respect for yourself. Decades ago this would be somewhat reasonable, since it would be impractical to disassociate. Today, it is very practical to disassociate, but your own internalized feelings of guilt, false feelings of obligation, false narratives of who you are, weak ego strength and low self-esteem keep you in shitty relationships that don’t offer you positive value as a whole.

Paradoxically, I don’t exactly think most people ought to disassociate from their whole family, but I think everyone needs to be willing to. When your family knows that you believe that your relationship with them is optional, and they know you mean it … they have no leverage to use to fuck with you. They will consciously consider the value they bring to you and will make sure that they are a positive influence overall. A great way to do this is to pick someone in your family that has no desire to have a cooperative relationship and mercilessly and publicly ax them out of your life without hesitation or regret. Your family will then consider who is next on your chopping block and it will dramatically effect the relationship you have with them. Some families won’t tolerate a dynamic in which individuals are respected and honored. That is when a whole family disassociation might be a good idea.

People who know how to have cooperative relationships and have a desire to make you happy will do what they can to regard you and make you feel comfortable. You will probably enjoy holidays with them. You might not agree on everything, but they will treat your thoughts and ideas with respect, or at least, try to change the subject when discussing subjects that there isn’t much civil territory to develop.

If you are bitching about your family, you are the problem. Your choices in developing the culture with those people and your choices in who you associate with are the only relevant issues.

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

Aaron White, married to a swell girl, is a business owner and unschooling father of two, going on three. His hobbies are music and poker. He resides in Southern California.