Reflections on family

The letter to my family, which is as much a letter to myself to understand what I'm doing and why I'm doing it as it is one to my family to inform them of what's going on and to state my boundaries.

I have always held a very idealistic view of family. People who care so much about each other that they will do anything it takes for each other’s sake. Who will go through anything to protect and uplift each other.

In recent times, that view has been challenged again and again, and I have come to realize that it’s not realistic. It’s an unfair burden for me to put on anyone else – or myself.

I think it’s time for me to lay this dream to rest for good.

I am tired. Because in the name of seeking and upholding that unrealistic dream, I have given up far more pieces of myself than I would have given without it. Rearranging my schedule and traveling for most of a day to be part of family events. Accepting poor treatment. Fighting deeply, challenging parts of myself to try to restore order among the family, even when I felt alone in that. Continuing to try even when I had tried and tried and it seemed little had changed.

And I need some space to recover from that exhaustion. Especially now. Especially when I am changing so much about myself, and the family is going through so much change as well.

I am drawing new boundaries with the family. I do not want to hear the family gossip. I won’t be going to family events. With many of you, I am too tired to fight for resolution any longer, but I won’t let grievances be papered over anymore.

If these boundaries are not respected, then – as with any relationship that unapologetically violates my boundaries – I will be forced to withdraw.

I hope that when the dust settles for all of us, I will want to be part of the family again. Until then, good luck out there. Let’s meet up in a few months or years and compare notes.