We can’t choose family: whoever thought up that saying must have had a mouthy relative or two. A lot of people have family members who are prone to point out our differences. Whether it is a larger-than-ideal stomach, hips that don’t remind others of a prepubescent boy, talking differently compared to them, or blemishes that make Edward James Olmos’ face look like a peach, family members can be more critical of those little things that differentiate their relatives from the over-glamorized image of perfection that we are force-fed in the media.
For a number of reasons — boosting their self-esteem by dragging others down, jealousy, believing they are helping to reverse the tide in some sadistic way, pure ol’ vitriol and hate — some family are quick with the nitpicks. And that is baffling to me.
As a blood relative, criticizing family is, in many ways, criticizing yourself. Think about it: the blood that flows through your veins flows through them in some form. They share a majority of your genetic material, sport many of your physical features, and most of all, share some of your life experiences, times and tribulations. That person pointing out those things that need to be fixed were one chromosome or two away from “suffering” that same fate.
I have personal experience with this, and I vowed I would never subject my kids, wife and other family members to it. It’s wrong, hurtful and shameful, and it perpetuates a never-ending cycle of self-hatred and low self-esteem. And when we need our family more than ever to lean on in troubled times, being in a harmful environment is that much more painful.
Why not make one’s home one that they want to be in? Doesn’t sound so hard, does it?