Saturday, 14 January 2012

Building Bridges

It is a well-known fact that human beings are social creatures and rely on relationships for reassurance and motivation in most aspects within their lives. The foremost relationships being that within the family and it is that which I wish to focus on now. So much emphasis is put on the family and I'm not sure whether this is a rose-tinted idealistic view promoted by through media such as film and television and marketing, or if indeed the institution of the family exists and more importantly works. I have studied sociology and learnt in that time  all about various family structures and the conflicts that occur within the family, that are often ignored by society. I do not understand nor do I think I'll ever understand why this "blood thicker than water" concept carries so much emphasis simply because so many people become unhappy as a result of family life.

So what does one do when in a dysfunctional family but with traditional family ideals being forced down our throats? YOU IGNORE IT! The thing about families is that they consist of people that just happen to be individuals meaning that they are all different so it is impossible to stereotype a family. There is not one group of biologically linked people that are in any way similar to another. For example, my family consists of a dominant father figure with an anger problem, an enabling mother with various mental illnesses and a 15 year old boy (nothing more needs to be said there) and yet today peace between me and them was achieved. Throughout my teenage years, I exhausted myself trying to nag, bully, beg and scream my family into a "nuclear" structure to no avail and ultimately got me kicked out. It has taken this long to realise that angry dad, mental mum and bastard brother are all individuals who are who they are and trying to forcibly change them into something they were not did far more bad than good.

To those that have no family, however, it is important to understand that the ideological family need not be neither nuclear nor biological. Your mother may be a woman who you've always respected and honoured and has always provided a welcome ear and your father could be anyone  who is not afraid to tell you how it is. Of course, in a way, I myself am stereotyping the roles of the family and in fact the only thing that truly separates mothers and fathers are their genders. The point I simply wish to make is that home is where the heart is and though it may not necessarily be in just one place it would be wise to cherish it.

We may not need family in our lives and can cope just fine without them but it's an irresistible feeling to be wanted by a bunch of people that love you. I've found that so long as you have that emotional base you can turn to when you're losing sight of it all, internal conflict ceases and peace takes its place, which is not something to shake a stick at!

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