As a writer it’s interesting to me to note the way people talk about things, the words they choose and how they use them.  Like when discussing family.  The word family almost always means family of origin.  When someone is talking about their spouse or their kids, that’s what they call them.  They don’t speak about “my family” and mean the people they are going home to each night.  That’s so 50’s.  What they mean is their family of origin and all of the baggage that may or may not go with it.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and all colors of the rainbow.  That range becomes more and more diverse every day as our culture and our connections to each other become more fluid.  The notion of biological family and blended families can get so very complex when there are multiple marriages on both sides.  Sometimes you need a score card.  But in the end there are really two types of family we have in this life, the one we’re born into and the one we create for ourselves.  Sometimes these two work well together and sometimes they don’t.  Sometimes the one we come from is amazing and sometimes it’s not.  Some things our family of origin definite is not: sacrosanct, above the rules of decency and social appropriateness, or in control of us beyond the age of consent.

Some people need to divorce their families of origin.  This may seem like heresy but here’s the deal: if someone is abusive, mistreats you, makes your life miserable, and tries to make you less than, they don’t deserve you.  Just because they’re your family doesn’t mean you have to put up with abuse.  You can walk away and lightning won’t strike.  And, in case they pull the “but I’m dependant on you!  What will I do without you?” card, they got along without you before and if you got run over by a bus they’d figure out how to get along just fine because they are quite able of taking care of #1.  So you do the same, please.

Meanwhile, we are constantly creating family for ourselves.  That’s what marriage is, in case you hadn’t made the connection.  The people who stand by us, want to be around us, support us, like us for who we are, and make our lives better, these are our real family.  They come in both sexes, are older and younger than us, come from different walks of life, share our interests and introduce us to new ones, come and go as the need arises but are never far from our thoughts, and make our lives a good place to be.  And what’s amazing is we do the same for them and they don’t make us feel bad about ourselves for it.

So don’t cheat yourself out of the best kind of family and submit to abuse because, they’re all I’ve got.  There are millions of people out there in the world and some of them are family you haven’t met yet.  They’ve been deprived of your awesomeness long enough.  Time to let go of what doesn’t work and open up to what does.  Your life awaits.