When I was a lot younger, I would hear about family members arguing and even taking each other to court in some instances. I recall I found this pretty appalling at the time. I thought that even the most difficult people may be reasoned with and that I would always find a way to sort out every issue. Even though I had some difficult relatives in my life, I never thought it would reach the point where communication would have to come to an end, however, as time went by, communication with certain members of my extended family did reach a complete standstill and it has remained that way ever since.
Years have gone by since both ends have fallen silent and I still can’t understand or rationalise their behaviour in my mind. I spent most of my childhood and adult life until my late twenties trying to appease them and remain friendly, but all my attempts failed miserably and my positive efforts were very rarely, if ever, reciprocated.
Recently, I stumbled upon some old family photographs in one of the boxes which we keep Christmas decorations in and I wondered to myself how I could look at the situation from a spiritual perspective. I always felt my options for resolution were limited. I could choose to continue our I wondered if by choosing silence, I had chosen the ‘right’ solution to the issue. I then wondered if there was a right or wrong solution to the problem and contemplated the possibility that there wasn’t a right or wrong solution and it was all planned out in advance to simply experience familial conflict. Or perhaps I did indeed choose the right solution for us all, as if we remained a part of each other’s lives, we would have continued down a discordant path.
Talking to other people who have or are currently experiencing a similar situation can help a lot too. Two years ago, I visited a dear friend from my secondary school who I hadn’t seen for almost over a decade. I knew that she always had terrible problems with her entire family, including her parents and I asked her whether she had managed to salvage any of the relationships. Sadly, she felt that she had no choice but to disassociate herself entirely from all of them. I told her that I felt the same way about my extended family members and we both agreed that we felt far happier and calmer after stepping away. I felt that I was no longer alone in my seemingly drastic solution to my familial problem and this help enormously.
After a lot of thought, the conclusion that I have firmly arrived at today is that at the time, I did what I thought was best for myself and indeed, for the family members I had problems with. There came a point in my life that I realised I could no longer battle on with the exhausting task of trying to keep our family together and peaceful when my efforts were not being reciprocated or even recognised. Sometimes, the best you can do is all that you can do. Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.