There’s a big focus right now on changing our inner monologue and replacing negative self-talk and yet not a word about the unanticipated effect that hating family has on our own self-confidence. We carry our blood ancestors, those of our family lineages, in our cellular makeup. Although intellectually, we know that our ancestors are a part of our bodies – rooted in our blood and bones – we tend to lose sight of that when speaking of those members that have done horrifying acts. To hate or denigrate our family is to hate on ourselves which has the unanticipated effect of lowering our self-confidence, creating a perception of unworthiness, and promoting illness.
When we loathe our blood family for the traumas they have inflicted, we also cast ourselves out and loathe ourselves because our flesh and bones come from them. They are a part of us. They are a part of our “shadow selves” that we have to come to terms with. We know that it is essential we process and work through our deepest wounds that have impacted our lives so that we can finally come to terms with the knowledge that we are who we are today because of those deep wounds and traumas. Well, family members’ choices are included in those wounds as we carry their choices around with us in our bodies.
We can abhor and denounce the actions family took, especially those unthinkable acts taken against children who are powerless to protect themselves, while also loving who we have grown into as a result of what we have been forced to endure. Our deepest wounds are also our deepest reservoirs of strength.
We can learn to oppose actions taken by our family without opposing the person as human and fallible. This is a similar lesson to how we punish our children – reframing telling them “You are bad” to telling them that “The actions they took were bad”. Even when the actions taken by family are beyond horrific, when we demonize them, we are demonizing ourselves as we are made from them.
For a long time, I would reference my grandmother on my mom’s side as being “evil”, but to do so would mean that I too am evil as genetically I am created from her. When we paint a picture of a person being somehow “wrong” or “bad”, there is no room for humanness and that means that there is no room for us to be something other than the box we’ve painted them into. Now, I reference the narcissistic actions she took against my mom. Actions are a choice, which means that my mom and I have the choice to be something different and to live lives full of compassion and love. Give it a try and notice, do you breathe deeper and is there a settling when you call out family for actions and choices versus a blanket boxing in of them as being “bad”?
This is not about forgiveness of those who have perpetrated horrible acts, but is about reclaiming our own sovereignty to be who we choose. Don’t tell yourself you are a “bad person” by calling your blood family “bad”. You don’t deserve that. You deserve the choice to be who you want to be. We create reality with our words. When you liken a part of yourself as somehow “wrong,” you create stress in your body and upregulate your nervous system as inflammation increases and inflammatory cytokines are released. Disparaging ourselves inflames our bodies. Disparaging the tissue and bones of ourselves that are unchangeable risks the deepest spread of inflammation, which is what we are doing when disparaging family.