I could rewrite this song about one of my family members. And frankly, that’s really hard to admit to myself. Because this person has done a lot for me, and I’m not sure I’d be where I am today without their help.
Lately, though, that “help” has started to backfire. Subconsciously, I knew something wasn’t right for a while, but it took being away at college for four years for me to pinpoint it: Criticism.
If I received the constructive kind of criticism from this family member, I would be fine. I actually welcome feedback because I want to make sure I’m on the right track with anything I do. But the criticism I get seems to be the complete opposite of feedback. Their idea of “motivating” me or whatever their trying to do seems more like they’re putting me down.
And trying to cope with that is what trapped me in the downward spiral of “oh woe is me.” I was so fixated on my own issues and not knowing how to deal with them that some of my friendships suffered. I never meant it to interfere with my friends at all.
But now that I’ve realized that this particular family member is toxic, I know that it’s okay to remove myself from their presence. My feelings are valid and it’s okay to not want to be around them all the time. I should still be able to do what I want and go after the things I want in life without worrying about what this person thinks of me. Someday, I will get to that point. Right now, I need to focus on creating boundaries so that their words won’t hurt me.
There’s another, trickier, part of this though: should I try and explain how I feel to this family member? Because they have absolutely no clue what is going on. Part of me thinks it would help repair the relationship if I explained things, but the other part of me says that even if I talked about this until I was blue in the face, it wouldn’t make a difference, because they still wouldn’t understand.
I need to leave it all behind and be around people who support me and believe in me. Because that’s what works for me: positivity. I don’t want people to sugarcoat things, but that doesn’t mean they have to be consistently negative. Positivity is not synonymous with sugarcoating.