It’s taken me 30 years to get to this point, but I’ve finally let go of many of the toxic relationships I was retaining due to family obligations. I’ve never had that traditional nuclear family. We’ve never been all smiles and sunshine at family gatherings–you always knew that someone would end up screaming, someone (me) would end up crying in the corner, and someone would end up drinking too much and saying something inappropriate or picking a fight. But, they are family and I was always told to stand by your family, no matter what.
For years I kept trying to play nice and mend those family bonds, at the expense of my own physical and psychological health. I continued to try to make them happy and be what they wanted me to be, even when it meant taking the blame and allowing myself to be an emotional “punching bag” for their own issues and grievances. As an empath, I tried to please people, but it left me drained, broken, and in an constant state of anxiety.
When I began my yogic journey, I started to realize how toxic this situation was. I began to recognize the way my life and even my singing voice were in complete shambles due to the control these people had over me. It took me another 6 years of self-study, tears, and pain to summon up the courage to let go of those energy vampires and the power they held over me. Though it meant saying goodbye to the greater part of the family I grew up with, my life is so much better with my smaller more tightly-knit pack of family and friends. We may be a small group at family gatherings, but it is not the quantity but the quality that counts. I’d rather have a group of 5 caring, respectful, individuals surround me than 50 sneering, dominating, emotionally-unbalanced, narcissists (though that may look better for family photos.)
Sometimes the right decision is the one that is the toughest to make. But I am glad that I will be entering into my 30s as a blank slate–someone who is completely in control of her own life, emotions, and choices.
We may be a small family, but we’re a strong family.