If you have a family, like most, you know that it’s not always plain sailing or total love, each and every day, all of the time. However if you’re blessed with a family who can talk it through and still stay together through thick and thin, then treasure it. As there are also many others who cannot stand to be in the same room, don’t know how to re-open that communication channel or have chopped off whole parts of their relatives or children’s relatives just because of X (maybe X, X and X or maybe you’ve all forgotten why!). So WHY can’t we all just get along? Do you get along with everyone in your family? Is there anyone you’re not talking to or have a secret grievance with? Is there anyone you feel you need to improve your relationship with?
It is so sad when I hear about siblings fighting and I’m talking about mature people, who should know better or be able to push past old hurts and anger. Now we’re not talking here about putting up with any sort of abuse or toxic people in your life, especially when you may have moved on in leaps and bounds without them. We are, however, looking at how we can help to improve our relationships in the family, whether with brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son, cousin. It could be that WE are the catalyst to help bring the whole family closer.
However, it can be exhausting to be the person who always tries to keep people talking. After our Mum passed away suddenly on Boxing Day 2006, the family was never the same again. Despite being a close knit family who grew up with ‘the family who prays together…stays together’ and Dad consciously pulling us together, inevitably, each and every single relationship changed. Some for the better, some for the worse. We still always got together, we eventually learned to laugh again, however trauma, funerals, weddings, births etc have a funny way of brutally shining the light on the smallest of flaws and saying ‘hey…deal with this properly’.
Is blood thicker than water?
How do we repair broken relationships? What about fathers who through spite have been denied access to their children? How easy it is to go down THAT road when you’re hurt and wronged, yet is it morally right, especially for boy children…don’t they need their father?
One modern day tool which helped to break the ice at one point amongst us sisters, was the creation of a group ‘Whatsapp’ which helped us talk, comment about silly things and have something to laugh about rather than heavy emotional talks. Yes! I know! Who would have thought three years ago I would have said that!
So why don’t you, or get the planner in the family, to organise something fun for everyone? e.g. summer – meet up in the park or winter – badminton knockout or winter wonderland meet up. Or get together around someone’s house, break the ice, have a games night. A good spread of food and us around the dinner table always featured in our parents house and continues to bring us together. You instigate it. Make it happen . If you or someone else or the whole family, need to see a counsellor, just do it. Talk to that parent(s) about those issues from your upbringing which still affect how you live today before it is too late. If you need to let issues go, let it go. Ok, if you need to let a toxic family member go, say goodbye and have them less in your life, so you can concentrate on your own growth and others. Talk to that teenager but if you can’t talk, do something fun together as they are only going to have a life further and further away from you as they grow up, so your relationship with them will have to change. They are not babies anymore, which, yes means we are getting older but hopefully wiser! No one has much time, so just put the date in the diary in advance and meet up, talk, discuss but most importantly listen. Not everyone thinks on the same level so let’s not dismiss another but just appreciate where each person is at. Encourage each other but know when to stop as we cannot help change anyone who is not ready. Whatever it takes, sort it out as best you can, keep the communication lines wide open, keep a level of respect and let’s just all try and get along.