THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOUR FAMILY REJECTS YOU

by Nuriko Kun

Sometimes the people that we would most expect to love and accept us—those we’re connected to by blood or family line—can be the very people who cause us the most pain and suffering. We see pictures and hear stories on social media and the news of blissfully happy families and are faced with the realization that it may not be like that for us in our own families.

The scars of rejection and/or boundary trampling run deep and can affect our lives and our view of ourselves in massive unpleasant ways if we don’t deal with them. Studies have shown that whether it’s physical abuse or emotional abuse (such as lack of respect for personal boundaries, the silent treatment, constant criticism, unwillingness to let children become separate individual selves, etc.), the negative effects on a child’s brain are similar. And the word “child” means up to the age of eighteen. Whether you have been physically abused, emotionally abused, or both, you need to know that it’s not your fault. Being mistreated by the people who are supposed to love you and care for you does tremendous damage to a young person’s (or any person’s) psyche.

If you’re relating to any of this, please remember a few things:

Your worth does not depend on another person’s ability (or inability) to love you properly. Your worth comes from the fact that you were made by a loving Creator who sees great beauty in you. You are precious simply because you exist…because of who you are, not because of what you do or don’t do.

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You do not have to earn anyone’s love. It can feel that way when you’ve been programmed to think that you have to jump through hoops to win people’s approval and love, but it’s not true. In fact, we could go so far as to say it’s a lie. Don’t waste your time and energy running after anyone. They may come around one day, but don’t sit and wait for it.

Try not to take it personally. That’s easier said than done, but your family members are likely broken people who don’t know how to love because someone in their lives behaved similarly toward them. The good news is: the cycle can end with you.

Even Jesus was rejected by his family. They questioned who he was and were offended at his claims and his authority to talk as he did. Some of them believed in him, but some didn’t see who he was at all. They felt threatened by him and even ridiculed him. So, in a way, if you’ve had that happen to you, you’re in good company.

Those who try to manipulate you do not have your best interests in mind. Don’t be fooled. Tune in to your intuition. People who truly care about you do not make you feel uneasy. Don’t allow yourself to be guilted into doing and saying things you don’t want to do and say for fear of meeting with someone’s disapproval. You shouldn’t need to win their approval to begin with.

There are people who love you and care about you. Sometimes we forget this because we are busy wanting our family of origin to love us. But if we change our focus and look around, we’re sure to find people who know how to love us and don’t play games with our emotions to meet their own unmet needs. Move towards those who emotionally support you, not those who drain you and cause you to lose focus.

The Wounded Squirrel by John Anster Fitzgerald

Sometimes family isn’t made up of people in your family of origin. A lot of times we feel safer, closer and more accepted by people who have no relation to us whatsoever. When you’ve had a rejecting encounter with your blood family, it’s important to get around those who treat you with dignity as soon as possible.

Consider talking with a counselor or therapist. It’s important to face the pain and work through stuff so we don’t stay stuck in patterns of thinking and behavior that may be left over from unhealed family wounds. It can be important not just for us, but for all the other relationships we will have. We don’t want our unhealed hurts to come out at people who never did us any harm. Chances are that those who don’t treat you right have never seen a counselor or therapist and have therefore never done their own inner work. The fruits of this are obvious. You can break that pattern.

No family is perfect. In all those photos you see on social media where everyone looks so happy, keep in mind, that’s just a snapshot. Everyone has their issues whether you hear about them or not.

You’re not alone. Look around and remember that oftentimes those in our lives who do know how to care for us are God with skin on. Underneath all our pain, there is a loving presence in the universe. You may not see it as God, but behind all the darkness, there is a force of love that calls to us and accepts us as we are. That loving presence will sustain you when all other sources of love are unavailable or gone. It is this presence that runs beneath every current of your life and accepts, rather than rejects, you. This is the presence that ever and always will call you “Beloved.”

If you need some help working through some of these things, you can schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me by clicking here to book yourself an appointment. I would love to talk with you!

 

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** Picture credits:
Nuriko Kun (top)
The Wounded Squirrel by John Aster Fitzgerald
Crown by Shabby Scraps

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“NO” IS NOT A FOUR-LETTER WORD

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I originally wanted to post a piece on this topic at the beginning of the year because I thought that after the holidays, the effects of not saying “no” might still be ringing in people’s heads. We’re now almost a quarter of the way through the year and I’ve had plenty of conversations with people who are wrestling with saying “no” and I realized again that it’s always a good time to talk about it.

Too many people are exhausted, overwhelmed and burned out because of the fear of saying this little two-letter word. Or perhaps because of not knowing how to say it. Fact is, the word “no” can often be a positive thing, yet we tend to think of it as a negative one.

Consider some possible situations when “no” might be a great thing to hear:

“Do I have cancer?” No.

“Are you cheating on me?” No.

“Did I make a mess of dinner?” No.

“Did I break anything?” No.

See? There are times that “no” is a beautiful word.

But now, let’s consider some times that “no” is still a beautiful word, even when it’s uncomfortable.

“Will you take responsibility for my problems?” No.

“Will you take the blame for my mistakes?” No.

“Can you pretend you don’t notice how rude I continually am to you?” No.

“Can you take on this project [even though you have a pile of other things to do]?” No.

“Can I disregard your schedule, and your life, and expect you to see me or talk to me whenever I want you to?” No.

Now, those questions are most likely unspoken, yet they are still there simmering below the surface whenever another person insinuates, directly or indirectly, that behaviors, problems, or actions of theirs are somehow your responsibility. Or that you should drop everything because they expect you to. Your “no” to these unspoken questions or implications can also be unspoken. For example, by not taking the blame for someone else’s mistakes or behaviors by removing yourself (permanently or temporarily) from their presence, especially if this is an ongoing pattern. And by politely declining their requests, which are sometimes really just sugar-coated demands. Overbearing people have a knack for assuming others will comply with their requests, so you need to be able to stand strong in order to resist them.

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It’s possible that if you have trouble saying “no” that there are some limiting beliefs you have about yourself that may be causing this. Even more likely is the possibility that you lack healthy boundaries both with yourself and with those around you. Sometimes knowing what you need to do does not immediately lead to doing it. This is where coaching can be very beneficial to keep you on track.

Sometimes people have trouble saying no because they are afraid of conflict. This is often at a high cost to yourself because then the conflict that goes on is within as you wrestle with self-doubt and self-deprecating talk. But beating yourself up doesn’t empower you or bring you inner peace.

Here are some suggestions on healthy ways to say “no.”

“I won’t be able to do that for you at this time. I have too much else on my plate at the moment.”

A healthy person will honor such a request without trying to make you feel guilty. If they try to manipulate you or coerce you into meeting their request anyway, you can simply say it again, prefaced by, “As I said…” Hopefully this will cause them to accept that you have declined their request. If they persist, politely excuse yourself and leave (or hang up if you’re on the phone…or stop responding to their emails if they continue to badger you online).

If someone is upset with you though you did your best to accommodate them, you can acknowledge their disappointment while saying you did your best. For example, if someone tries to blame you for something not turning out as they hoped, you can say, “I can see that you’re disappointed right now, but I did the best I could.” That way, you acknowledge how they are feeling, you take your part in the situation and you leave the other person to sort out their part. Remember, you are not responsible for managing other people’s emotions, only your own.

If someone requests something of you that you can’t do right way, you can say, “I’d like to help you with that, but right now is not a good time for me. Can we arrange a time that works for both of us?” This is a gentle way of saying “no” that leaves options open to a different time that is beneficial for both parties.

Another excellent option is that, instead of saying “no” right away, simply say, “I need to think about it and get back to you.” A lot of times we struggle with saying “no” because we said “yes” too quickly. Giving yourself time and space to consider a request is fair to you and to the other party. It’s fair to you because you can decide without feeling pressured. And it’s fair to the other person because it communicates that you are willing to consider their request.

And if you do anger someone for saying no, keep in mind that just because someone is mad at you doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Sometimes they are simply mad because they realize that their attempts to control you with guilt, fear or obligation are not working on you. But again, that’s for them to sort out.

So the next time someone asks you to do something (or implies that your compliance is a given), take a second to ask yourself if this is something you truly feel you should do and then respond accordingly. If you need to think about it, say so.

You have so much to give to the world. Just make sure you’re giving it where you truly feel called to and not where you are being pressured to.

These are just a few examples, but there are many more. There is a lot of letting go involved in saying no. Letting go of outcomes. Letting go of other people’s behaviors and emotions. Letting go of the need to please people. Letting go of worrying. Letting go of someone possibly being disappointed with you. But as you start to bring this powerful word into your life, you will find that you have more space and freedom to say “yes” to the things that are most important to you and it will become easier for you.

Not only that, you’ll feel stronger and more confident when you don’t give your personal power away to people who use your good-natured heart to manipulate you. The more you respect yourself, the more others will see that they need to respect you too if they want to remain in relationship with you.

Change usually takes time and practice. Things that are difficult now will become easier the more you apply the things you learn.

I wish you strength on your journey and light on your path. I’d love to hear your comments, concerns and questions below.

If you need more help with saying “no” and you’d like to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory coaching call with me, please click here and book yourself an appointment. I’d be happy to talk with you!

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