Advice from an "Expert in Failed Relationships"

by Patricia V. Davis

Dear Expert in Failed Relationships:

I haven’t spoken to my parents in years and never will again.  Believe me when I tell you I have very good reason. In fact, I’m so comfortable with this decision, so sure it’s the right one that I’m actually, for lack of any other word, “peaceful” about it. So that’s not my problem. The problem is when other well-meaning family members feel compelled to lecture me about this. I am very polite but firm when they do. I keep it simple: “I appreciate your concern, but this is my decision and I’m comfortable with it.” That may seem abrupt, but to me, explaining my “side of it” when this first happened years ago was only met with more arguments about why I should “forgive,” and the only reason for this forgiveness presented to me over and over again was, “they’re your parents.” Retorting to this with, “They’re not my parents, they are only the people who gave birth to me,” is sometimes tempting, but it’s also harsh and bitter and that’s not at all what I’m about. I have forgiven them, I don’t harbor any ill will, but I am not about to embroil myself in their dramas and dysfunctions any longer, now that I am grown and have a choice in the matter.  I have very loving relationships with my spouse, children and other extended family members, and have lots of rewarding friendships, too.  So I know the problem is not me, and I can live with the fact that my nuclear family and I are not connected. It’s just that I never seem to know what the right thing to say is to people who truly mean well when they lecture me, or who seem to think I am in some way emotionally damaged because I stay away from toxic familial relationships. Do you have any advice as to how I can respond?


Living Apart and Loving It


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