Family Ties

Family TiesFamily Ties

People should “choose to be around those who honestly fail [them], not those who dishonestly deny they hurt [them] and have no intent to do better” (Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud).  There is a grounding effect that comes from acknowledging basic human fallibility.  It helps us recognize our own propensity to fail another in some way.  It does not signify that the predisposition to harm others should become the status quo in relationships.  Healthy connections  are based on seeking, pursuing and sustaining the best for all involved.  This unspoken commitment protects and nurtures those in relationship.  It is important to recognize when something happens that has the potential to harm or results in harm of one or both parties.  Victims of child abuse who voice their experiences are often met with extreme opposition when exercising this basic principle. 

Dissenters resort to blaming, defamation, harassment, retaliation and more, all in essence perpetuating the abuse.  Victims who grow up with these mounting traumas often struggle with recognizing their self-worth.  The root of the attacks launched against survivors of child abuse rests in the myth that nurturing familial relationships are established by birth rather than developed through relational experiences.  Elite Daily states that “what really makes up a family are the people who stick by you through thick and thin, who want nothing but the best for you and who would save you if you were drowning“ ( Survivors need to embrace this definition as opposed to the suffocating pronouncements of mainstream culture.  Accepting the notion that family connections are experience driven grants them access to freedom from toxic relatives.  Elite Daily goes further to explain what family is not.  Family is not “someone… putting you in harms way, stealing from you, leading you down a bad path, spreading lies about you to hurt your reputation or doing a slew of other vindictive acts.  A person like this aims to harm you in some way, even if not physically so” (  The key point is that family does not deliberately intend to cause you harm.  Abuse is deliberate intention of harm.  It is focused on destroying a part of the target.  Typically, the focus of abusers who continue the abuse into adulthood is psychological assassination.  Empowerment for adult survivors comes with reprogramming to develop healthy mindsets. 

In healthy relationships sincere efforts are made to make amendments when harm is caused  and if possible return to the equilibrium that drives the relationship.  Unhealthy relationships do not have that balance established.  The balance is intended to sustain and promote the development of the relationship.  In unhealthy relationships the goal is not mutual advancement or benefit.  In these instances there is a unilateral focus on the dominant individual and their wants, needs and desires.  No one is a bottomless well fit to supply without receiving in-kind.  These malevolent connections should be avoided at all costs.  Extricating yourself from these ties becomes even more important when the toxic connections are found in families.  Healthy family relationships are based on a commitment to work to address harm inflicted directly or indirectly.  There is no motivation to deny a stated incident of harm.  Once an offense is discussed it is dealt with at some level rather than ignored.

Cultural norms suggest that becoming a parent naturally awakens innate affections between a child and the parent.  The child’s complete dependency on their caretaker establishes a natural unilateral connection on the side of the child.  However, no such connection is automatically forged on the side of the caretaker.  Their connection to the child is purely based on their volition.  They either choose to love and nurture or do not.  Romanticization of the parental/child relationship has denied this reality.  Acknowledging this tendency to idealize relative associations, releases survivors to accept their experiences as truth, develop healthy family ties, resist gaslighting and other tactics designed to harm adult victims of child abuse.  

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