What happens when your family hurts you?
When I sat down to write this, I had the hardest time navigating how to address this topic.
Growing up, you learn that family is the one constant in your life – the one constant that can be counted on when you need them to support you and celebrate you. But what happens when it’s your family that brings you to your lowest point?
Family can be the best people in your life; and they can be the worst.
After my mom died, my sisters and I were pretty close – which made our fights even more difficult. Because we didn’t have a consistent “mother” in our life, we often relied on each other to provide that support and encourage to each other, which means truly we got to know each other. But it was that closeness that often was, and still is, the catalyst that causes the worst words to come out of our mouths. More than once, my older sister and I have gotten in drawn out fights, where we pushed and prodded at our weaknesses, saying things we often regretted.
Words can hurt the most in the moment, but actions can often speak louder than words.
Regardless of how we are hurt, how do we navigate the murky waters of forgiveness and being validated in our feelings?
It starts with time.
Take a second, step back, breathe, and move forward, because life goes on. When you’re older, you realize that you don’t have to talk to your family every day; you don’t need to involve them in your life as much as you did when you were younger; they don’t need to know about every decision you make.
So when they hurt you, take that break. Learn to breathe and move forward in your life without them. Find the peace you need accept the words or actions that were inflicted upon you.
Once you find peace, circle back and address what happened. Open, honest, and heartfelt communication is vital to a healthy relationship. Address what happened, how it made you feel, and be open to what they say back. The important thing is to remember not to jump to conclusions or attack your family.
Remember that every situation you experience is a learning moment that God placed in your path. Walk away from the experience to think and pray on what you learned.
Finally, forgive. Forgive their words they said in the heat of the moment; forgive their actions.
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
You are a child of God who has been forgiven for your sins, so forgive others just as you have been forgiven.
Easier said than done, right? Forgiveness has been something I have continuously struggled with. But one of the biggest life lessons I have learned, is that it is okay to take time to truly come to terms with the forgiveness that needs to be given.
Ephesians 4:31-32 calls us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
So when your family hurts, take time to rid yourself of your anger, disappointment, and hurt, but don’t forget to forgive, no matter how much it hurts your pride.