Why Are You Supposed To Be Loyal To Family?

Why Are You Supposed To Be Loyal To Family?

Why are you supposed to be loyal to family, no matter what they do to you, no matter how they treat you? Why aren’t you allowed to speak up to your older relatives when they disrespect you, but they’re allowed to do anything they want without consequence? Why does society condition you to believe you’re supposed to stay loyal to family (who were given to you, not chosen by you) but encourages you to leave any other toxic situation, whether it’s a toxic relationship or friendship?

Why are your relatives supposedly exempt from being cut out of your world? Why are they allowed to get away with anything because they’re your father, because they’re your sister, because they love you, because they grew up with you?

That kind of reasoning doesn’t work with any other situation. If your boyfriend is emotionally abusive, you’re told to leave the situation. It doesn’t matter if you knew each other since you were kids. It doesn’t matter if he paid for a few of your dinners. It doesn’t matter if he loves you more than he’s ever loved anyone. All that matters is he’s abusive and you need to get away. You don’t owe him anything. Not your time, not your attention, nothing.

But when it’s family, the narrative changes. People will tell you to forgive and forget. They will tell you to be the bigger person. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one who is right, if you’re the one who has been trying to make the relationship work for years, because as soon as you decide to walk away everyone will act like you’re the bad one.

No one will want to hear about the manipulative, abusive, unforgivable things a relative did to you. All they will hear is the word grandmother or brother and they will think you’re being unfair. They will remind you family is everything. They will guilt trip you by saying every family has problems.

Yes, every family does have problems, but some problems are bigger than others. Some problems aren’t going to be solved. Sometimes, the only solution is to walk away even though it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do.

I’ll never understand why people act like the family you’ve been forced into, who treats you like shit, matters more than the friends you’ve chosen to make who actually support and encourage you? I’ll never understand why I’m supposed to keep someone in my life, just because they share some DNA.

I treat everyone the same. It doesn’t matter if they’ve known me since kindergarten or met me last year. If they treat me well, then I’m going to treat them well. If they treat me like shit, I’m going to delete them from social media, delete them from my mind, delete them from my life.

It’s that simple — but apparently I’m a bad person for feeling this way. Apparently I’m wrong for walking away from relatives who harass me. Apparently family is supposed to matter more than self-respect. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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