Our expectations around family are backwards

As a person estranged from my family of origin, I’ve been told many times that I am obligated to be in contact or spend holidays or whatever because they’re family and there are things that you overlook or put up with because they’re family.

(I wonder how the family sounds in your head compared to the one I hear as I type it.)

People who are blood related to us are given a pass for behavior that many of us would not accept from other people.

I think we have the whole thought process backwards.

Instead of saying that it’s OK for people to be mean, hostile, or toxic because they’re family, we should insist that family has the best treatment. We should treat them better than everyone else, not worse. Because they’re important.

(This includes how we speak to our children, which informs them how to speak—to themselves and back to us—as they learn by modeling.)

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