People take their relationships with their family for granted. It’s a fact. You just assume that since you have to put up with their shit, they just as hell should put up with yours. What you and your family fail to see is that by putting up with each other’s shit you’re tearing each other apart. That’s how the resentment and grudges begin. That’s how family start screaming at each other over the most trivial of arguments.
At the same time, you rationalise that putting up with your family’s shit is sort of part of what being a family is about – you accept their flaws and strengths. That being family is about accepting people as who they are, unlike fair-weathered friends who may not be able to accept if you’re bisexual, or if you’re a big fat bigoted racist.
But that’s the danger of tolerating under the name of family. You sometimes cannot differentiate between tolerating idiosyncrasies and unknowingly contributing to a deeper problem. Where do you draw the line?
Confronting a family member about his or her problem is nothing short of impossible. Firstly, it’s too personal to hear it from family. People can take criticisms from employers, friends, strangers even, but criticism from family is like the ultimate act of disloyalty and betrayal, because of the association with the family image that family are the only people who would stand by you when no one else will.
Another part of the reason why confrontation by family is so difficult to take is because of the way the confrontation is handled. Most of the time we let our emotions get in the way of the issue. As a result, we unintentionally exaggerate the issue and that would bring out the defensive side of the person confronted. The easiest defence is to point out the flaws of the person confronting, as a means of changing the subject and justifying oneself. Before you know it, it’s a full-fledged domestic war with both sides refusing to accept each other’s accusations and thus refusing to change. That’s how the cycle begins. Perhaps this is the stuff divorces are made of.
What’s truly worse is that even when you kill each other with your words you both refuse to go down the path of separation. Then you would continue to kill each other, long after love and respect have gone out the window.
The family dimension takes on a twisted, mutated form that thrives on anger, hatred and bitterness.