Our blog was created to use as a source of therapy for our past family experiences, but also to reach out to others who may be going through some of the same experiences that we have been through. While we have been battling this hurt for what seems like forever, our goal is not to overload our readers with negativity, rather to show the strength we have in seeing the positive through the nagative. Regardless of all of the wrong we have experienced, we forgive our family and we still love our family. After writing a few of our older posts, I couldn’t help but think how their have been times when our family did get along and let me just say that Those were the days!
Here’s what excites me about remembering the good times I have had with my family. When you hear the word Family, you often think of love, care, fun, support and many others. Every family has some sort of flaws, but if you look past those flaws and negativity you will see the loving, caring, fun, supportive beings that they are– no matter how much wrong they have done. Even though I have had some negative memories within my family, I also cannot forget the enjoyable times we have had together as well. I can remember being an elementary age child and going to my aunt’s house quite often. Many of my cousins would go as well and when us kids got together, the sky was the limit on the games we would play. We would play tag in the pool, ride our bicycles back and forth in the driveway–pretending to be cars stuck in traffic, jump on the trampoline–pretending to be WWE wrestlers, skate around the house using books as our skates, sing to popular songs–pretending to be numerous bands and I even learned how to ride a bicycle with no training wheels there. I can remember going to my Grandparents house and sitting at the table with both my Grandmother and Great Grandmother eating cornbread crumbled in buttermilk. My Grandmother use to babysit me while my mom worked and every morning after my mom dropped me off my Grandmother would say, “Let’s hit the hay”–meaning let’s go to bed. My Grandfather use to pick me up from school and take me to the dollar store to buy some bubble gum and that would just make my day when he did that. These were all fun times and I will always remember them. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, Family is defined as “a group of people who are related to each other.” While this is a basic truth, family entails much more than just being related. It’s about being there for one another, loving one another unconditionally, supporting one another, caring for one another, being honest, and compromising with one another. Everything happens for a reason and I have faith that one day our family will find this again.
When you have someone to look up to for your job as a parent then naturally parenting would come rather easy. In that case you can follow your own parent’s footsteps and guidelines. But what if you didn’t have the best parents as your role models or mentors in life? I will admit I was a troubled teen and I believe a lot of it is to blame from a bad childhood because when there’s no guidance what do you expect. My parents made awful mistakes in their journey of raising children, time and time again. I had 4 parents at one point in time and wasn’t close to any of them. I don’t think their intention was to hurt me while growing up but it happened a lot. Without good role models I was scared to death when I found out that I was going to become a parent myself, especially at a young age. I didn’t have a role model to look up to and didn’t know if I knew right from wrong or how to raise my child in a normal life.
Although, I was from a troubled past I didn’t want to carry those pains and burdens into my future child. I didn’t want my little girl to have to put up with the things that I had to put up with. I didn’t want my child to feel unsafe, unwelcome, unloved, or scared in her own home. I decided to grow up and make the decision to mother differently. I wanted to evolve, change and be the best parent I could be for my daughter. I’m still not the perfect A++ mother but I’m perfect to her. I know that I make mistakes sometimes. Some times during the day I may let her watch a little too much TV on days that I need to do college assignments. I may feed her a little candy before dinner, or let her skip a bath until the next morning because she falls asleep & I don’t want to wake her, I may tell her Mcdonald’s is closed because I want to her to eat somewhere healthy if we choose fast food for dinner,(which is rare) . I’m okay with those mistakes because I’m not making huge mistakes. It’s not mistakes of not showing her appreciation, love, guidance, attention, thankfulness, right from wrong, or ignoring her because I have my own agenda of running around, partying or doing drugs. I didn’t want my history to become her destiny. It wasn’t her fault that I didn’t have a normal childhood. I shouldn’t deprive her of happiness as a child just because I didn’t have it.
I remember as a teen when I would go to other people houses I would think that they were so normal compared to my family. My friends had dads that loved them, moms & dads that showed love and affection to one another, they had happy conversations at the dinner table about their days and weren’t being told to shut up, and just the whole atmosphere of their homes were different. I didn’t like being at home and I always tried to find a way to not be there. My home was unstable and most times it was like walking on eggshells. My parents were too stressed or too involved in their own arguments to engage with us. When they weren’t parenting us they were arguing about how to parent us. I don’t want my own daughter going to other people’s homes as a child or teen with the ability to compare lifestyles with the feeling that her own family isn’t stable or normal. I want her to grow up with a positive feeling in her own home. I want her to love being at home with her parents and feeling welcome and loved. I don’t want her ever feeling that she needs to escape her own home for love in other places. As my daughter continues to grow up I know that I’m no longer scared to face the future of raising her regardless of the experiences that I had. I know that I won’t abuse her, scare her, abandon her, feed her sweethearts and beer for dinner or snacks, I won’t let her run around as a teenager, or let boys stay the night and I won’t be too involved in my own troubles to recognize her troubles. I know that there will be times she will hate me or think I’m ruining her life but it will be because I’m protecting her and I’m okay with that. I guess my point here is to not let your past hold you back from achieving the potential that you know you have within your heart. Also, to love your child more than you love yourself; you should allow parenting to take you to the depths of your capacity to love. Children should lead you on the path to your highest self and you should grow and they grow.
Only the Strong Survive
For some break-ups can be simple with your girlfriend or boyfriend, but other times you may not be in the position to “just leave”, feel that it is the right thing to do, nor do you want to abandon someone. Now imagine that you have a toxic family member in your life…. how do you deal with that situation or how do you break up with a family member? What do you do to manage the feelings of guilt, confusion, heartache, or the obligations that you feel you have to be a member of the family ?
Many people think how could you not speak to your family or how could you do that to your family. Well everyone should know that not everyone has the perfect family. Not all families are built on a foundation of trust, stability, closeness. I know that out of my family I only have a select few members that I could call on, lean on , or go home to. After so many years of dysfunction, in my mind, the word family just means that you share a bloodline. That is it. There are members that will be there for you as you rise to the top just to enjoy the chance that you might crash and burn. In life there are going to be relationships and friendships that you just cant mend including family. There are situations that you can only handle for so long until you’ve had enough of it. In a crucial decision, there will come a time that you need to separate yourself from your family in order to do what is right for yourself and even for your family members.
It seems that sometimes the way we are treated by our family can turn into the way we see and treat the world around us. The kind of treatment that you shouldn’t get from your family are rejection, making you feel unwelcome, belittling you, neglecting, and not taking the time to get to know you or about your life. The biggest one I’ve experienced is feeling invisible to most of the people I share that “bloodline” with. These types of behaviors can leave a huge imprint on your heart and it becomes normal to react without them being present in your life year after year. With experiencing this in life it can lead to yourself becoming skeptical of others, doubtful, and seeing the bad in people versus the good.
As an adult now, learn that it is possible to move on and to know that you don’t have to repeat their behaviors in the life you have taken the time to create for yourself. Get angry if needed but, use that anger productivity like sports, art, or writing. If you need to seek counseling don’t feel ashamed because their behavior or negative lifestyle isn’t your fault. If you must speak to them learn to protect yourself from the negativity, limit your time with them, and do not get sucked back in. Many times one can become negative from the constant exposure to negativity, but learn to be aware of your attitude and reactions in order to break your negative patterns or tendencies. Just take charge of your own life and your own happiness. Letting go can be hard, but it can be helpful rather than holding onto those grudges and becoming bitter. Be your own hope for yourself because you can’t force anyone to change whom doesn’t want to. Stay positive and let go of the negative !
Only the strong survive,
I remember when I was young my mom and I use to travel to see my Great Grandmother. My Great Grandmother was a strong, good hearted, funny, loving woman not to mention instantly likeable. I loved visiting her and being able to listen to her life stories, laugh at her old-school jokes, and gobble up her homemade biscuits.
I have very many fond memories of her, but I also have some hurtful memories in which I’ve tried to forget. The more I try to block the hurtful memories, the more visible they become. I’ve learned that this sort of coping mechanism has not and will not be successful in eliminating the hurt that floods my memories of my Great Grandmother. Instead of trying to forget these hurtful memories, I must come to terms with them so that I can then let them go and find peace within myself. In order to do this, I must first share one of the memories that has been most hurtful. This specific incident happened when I was a young child and so I will try my best to remember all of the details, but I can’t promise anything.
I can remember my mom receiving a phone call from one of our family members stating that My Great Grandmother had been rushed to the local hospital. We immediately get into the car and speed to the hospital, once we arrived I noticed a large amount of our family members there, including my mom’s siblings. My mom and I wanted to go into my Great Grandmother’s room to see her, however we were denied access by one of our family members. At that point my mom had took me into the waiting room to wait, while she went to have words with the certain family member who had denied us the right of seeing my Great Grandmother. I then start to hear them talking and the more they talked, the louder they became. My mom then came and got me from the waiting room and proceeded to have more words with this family member. They continued to argue back and forth and I look up and see a hospital employee coming towards us. This family member had called for the Medical Director of the hospital to escort my mom and I out of the building. Was this even possible? Apparently since my Great Grandmother was not in the right state of mind at that time, she couldn’t intervene to say that she did, in fact, want to see us. My mom and I sat in our car and as I watched the tears fall from her face, I began to try to wrap my head around what just happened. I was a young child so I didn’t understand the whole ordeal that was going on between them and I certainly didn’t understand why others got to see her, but we couldn’t. All I knew was that I loved my Great Grandmother dearly, I just wanted to see her to make sure that she was ok, and to give her a big hug. A huge pool of tears began to rush down my face as the hurt kicked in leaving me to think that my Great Grandmother did not want to see me. My mom assured me that this was not the issue, the issue was much deeper than this.
We by no means were perfect people and honestly should’ve went to pay my Great Grandmother more visits in her lifetime, however that does not mean that we didnt love her and does not make it ok for us to be denied the right to see my Great Grandmother. Regardless of how much this has hurt me, I now know that everything happens for a reason–good or bad–and I was meant to learn something from this situation. I am now a stronger person and have learned to find peace within it all.
To my Great Grandmother—I love you, I miss you, and I will always cherish the memories we made together.
To the family member who denied me the right of seeing my Great Grandmother—I forgive you.
As I sat today & thought of what major story to share, a certain memory came into my thoughts. My thanksgiving year of 9th grade was quite possibly the worst Thanksgiving that comes to mind. I had left my house to travel to a relatives’ house whom will stay unnamed for privacy purposes. When I arrived at the apartment I felt rather uneasy because I didn’t visit this relative nor his wife very often, except for designated holidays and visits that were often cut short due to drama or violent outbursts. Thanksgiving was the next day and I knew I would have to be up quite early so I settled in the spare room on a blow up mattress and tried to sleep. Numerous thoughts were on my mind that night because of earlier in the evening. The 3 of us hadn’t talked very much or rather we didn’t have much too talk about because as I mentioned earlier…. I tried to not visit very often. They didn’t know much about me and I wasn’t comfortable with the lifestyle that they often lived. That next morning I woke up to footsteps and a light going off and on in the bathroom across the hall. I woke up, got dressed and made my make shift bed as best as I could. After that my relative decided to come into the room with wide blood shot eyes claiming that he had something in his eye that wouldn’t come out. He reminded me much of a tweaker with the his constant visits to the bathroom for the next 30 minutes digging tweezers into his eye claiming that there had to be something in his there. To my surprise it wouldn’t have shocked me if he was high in that moment. His constant use and abuse of illegal drugs, pills, and alcohol was known to everyone that would come into contact with him. I went out down the hall and I noticed his wife was in the kitchen and had been preparing dishes and deserts for the Thanksgiving meal. I was very happy to notice that she had a ham in the oven because I wasn’t a big fan of turkey. Although, there was one person in the house whom wasn’t very happy about her choice in foods. He came into the kitchen and began to complain that she hadn’t prepared a turkey along with the ham. She told him that with 3 of us there was no need to prepare that much food and that a ham and side dishes would suffice just fine for our food needs. He began to throw a tantrum and slam dishes into the sink and knock over spice containers in the kitchen. She began to tell him there was no need to get mad and he should leave the kitchen if he was going to continue that behavior. In that moment I knew from past experiences that he would continue that behavior and it would be wise of me to stay out of the way. Next, as he ignored her want for him to depart from the kitchen a shove war between the two started begin. There were things falling into the floor and food getting ruined from the altercation. I stood quietly in the hallway watching as the struggle and verbal argument continued into the living room up against a wall. When he had his wife up against the wall he put his hands around her neck and began to violently choke her claiming that he was going to kill her. She begged for him to quit and reminded him that I was and had been watching this entire fight erupt into a deadly battle that now risked her life. He spouted off a few vulgar curse words and said he didn’t care. At this time, seconds felt like hours to me. I wished that I had a cell phone or knew someone in the town that I was in but, I didn’t have either. She was trying to break free and I wished that I could help her,but I knew I would be injured and wasn’t strong enough to do any good. I felt helpless at this time. With her constant fighting he pulled a rather large knife out of this belt loop and shoved it up against her throat. I began to scream for him to stop,but I was terrified to move, from my now closer place, across the room. Right then she got her leg free and kicked him in the stomach causing him to slice his hand. He was even more angry now and struck her in the face. It was then that I knew I had to leave and bolted out of the door. I banged on the door of the apartment across the hall as hard as I could. When the door opened it was 4 Hispanic men staring at me. I tried my best to speak Spanish and tell then that I had an emergency and needed to use a telephone. They were kind enough and decided let me inside their apartment. Although, when I walked in I didn’t know if I would have been better off across the hall. As I looked to my left there was a dining room full of cocaine and piles of money with two men at a table counting it out and placing it in rubber-bands. Also, of course, when I told them I needed to call the police they were very hesitant to hand me the phone. One man whom spoke the best English led me into a back room with a phone and I explained that I just needed to report the situation across the hall. He handed me the phone after he made me assure him that no police would come into their apartment otherwise I would be in great danger. I told myself at this point I didn’t know which would be worse the drug-lords danger or my relatives once he found out that i had called the police on him, yet again. I took the phone and decided to call my main guardian first and she called the police for me from her cell phone while continuing to keep me on the phone. I explained to her the violence going on next door and that there needed to be no police involved in the apartment that I was currently standing in. I had no idea what was continuing to happen across the hall at this point. There could be a dead woman over there for all that I knew. Five minutes or so had passed and I was thankful to see that 2 police cars were pulling into the parking lot. I began to look out of the window and was surprised to see that him and her were walking down the stairs to the police. He had his hand wrapped and they were side by side like nothing violent had happened between them. I let them talk to the officers for a minute and saw that they weren’t placing him in handcuffs. I was so surprised, but then again he had a way of talking his way out of things. I got off the phone with my mom and hurried to exit the door of the apartment that I was in and told them thank you. I went downstairs to the police officers to see what was going on and to find out why he wasn’t being arrested. For heaven’s sake he tried to kill his wife, he needed to go to jail! An officer pulled me aside and asked me for my recollection of what had happened. I proceeded to tell my story only to be told that my relatives denied every word that had came out of my mouth. Their version of the morning was that I was a pissed off, over-dramatic teenager that didn’t want to be there for my visit. First off I was so angry about their lies and even more angry that she would let a man do that to her and then protect him. I started to cry and just wanted to be at home. The police officer decided to call my mom and talk to her. She told him that she didn’t want me at that house and that I needed to go elsewhere for the time being. I was drove and left at my relatives brothers house for a few hours only to be picked up by the violent couple for the night. I ended up leaving that next day, but being there that night with them was miserable. They sickened me with their behavior of pretending that nothing had happened between them. I had never felt more betrayed or confused in my life….. To think this was only the beginning of many years that I would experience this type of behavior between the two of them.
We as people are going to naturally love our family – no matter what. This is all apart of our innate human function to do so. I feel as if my human function is telling me to run the opposite direction and to never look back. If you are reading this right now, then you are probably wondering why I feel this way. Well my feelings of negativity towards some of my family members has been building up over the years — Sort of like lava ash building layers upon layers that will eventually lead to a volcanic eruption.
“How many times do you need to get hurt before you learn that it’s time to let go”
I can assure you that I am not the negative type, I, like every other human being in this world just want to love my family and to be loved in return. Simple right?…Not as much as we would like to think it is. Who would have thought that something as natural as love could turn into such a discipline. Well get your Kleenex ready because your going to need it. My cousin and I have decided to no longer hide our adverse family experiences. We would like to take you on a journey of what we have been through and show how our love for our family has become tainted.