I have had unpleasant family experiences ranging from my own adopted brother telling me “I don’t want to anything to do with you Neel children”, to my cousin who told me essentially to “go to hell …”, to my work as a social worker in a public child protection service agency where you see the really bad ones. I know that family experiences can hurt. And I understand why some people may want to give up all hope of getting their needs met from their own families.
But I have not given up hope. In fact, I am very hopeful in the healing potential of families. I love my family that I live with. I miss my extended family that I don’t live with. I grieve my family that has passed on. And I embrace my chosen family - my friends and spiritual brothers and sisters, and even some of my co-workers that I interact with regularly.
I have seen the healing power of families from a professional point of view where old patterns can be changed, old injuries can be taken responsibility for and the recovery process can begin. I have seen and been a part of new generations become healthier and less damaging to the next generation.
And I have experienced my own family-of-origin heal from where things seemed pretty hopeless, to where we have moved to stages of healing to where we now seek one another out and regularly gather together again and re-established new traditions of family gatherings.
I recognize my own needs for human interaction and my needs that are met by my family (including my chosen family), for the most part.