Sometimes distance is the best option
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
It’s an unwritten rule that practically every household abides by—“Family always comes first.” While it is important to respect and honour your family, I would argue that if your family is not supportive and respective of your life and your choices, or if they shame or disrespect you in anyway, keeping a respectable distance and thinking critically about how your family system affects you is the best option.
Many people I’ve known have had oppressive families that shame them for their sexuality, their career choices, or their lifestyles, just because they don’t agree with those aspects of the person’s life. Some people go to school for years and waste their energy, time, and money on education for a job they don’t even want, but which their families pressure them into. I’ve even had friends whose families actively bully them and treat them like garbage, but since “family always comes first” is a rhetoric that is pushed on them from birth, they do nothing to stand their ground. Most people don’t realize their families are the problem because they’ve been raised with this idea.
What some people fail to realize is that parents, families, and relatives—like all human beings—are deeply flawed. I’m lucky enough to have a family that loves and supports me, but it’s hard to realize that your family is oppressing you when it’s all you’ve known your entire life. Sexism, homophobia, and racism are all bigoted views that are prevalent in almost every family (everyone has that old racist aunt that they can’t stand to be around). Sometimes it’s better for your mental health to distance yourself from that kind of environment.
This rule is a nice idea though. Family can be is a profound and wonderful thing. It’s a permanent bond that you didn’t ask to be born into, but you have been nonetheless. They’re the people who know and understand you better than anyone. However, if they don’t respect or understand you or your decisions even after you’ve tried to make them understand, you need to think critically about what family means to you.