I think we each play a role in our family. I love my family dearly and family has always been incredibly important to me. It always will be. But we each play a role in our family.
My role has me as the strong one, the fixer, the ‘smart one’, the one who displays no emotion, except that I’m happy all the time, the one who has no real problems, who has ‘her shit together’.
I’ve been the guardian of our family, the one who worked so hard to keep us all together when we so easily could have fallen apart. I’ve been the mediator, the peacemaker, the problem solver.
I don’t like my role anymore, I’m not sure I ever have, but the problem is, it’s not that easy to give up your role. You have to leave a role you’ve been playing for most of your life and your family really like you in your role. They don’t want you to give up your role. We are invested in each other’s roles. We keep each other locked in our respective roles for our own comfort and security. If your role changes, how does that affect my role? Will my role have to change? Change is what people fear the most, and so they work so hard to make sure those people and things in their life don’t change.
I’m giving up my role. I’m so tired of playing it. It’s not who I am, it never really has been, but I had a role to play. So I’ve relinquished the role of guardian, am no longer the problem solver or peacemaker. I display all sorts of emotion and ‘I don’t know’ has become my standard answer to all questions posed. I say no when I don’t want to, and yes when I do. I am myself, and there is no more roleplaying. I’ve realised that I can’t afford the emotional investment in each of their lives, and to be honest, I don’t want to have that sort of investment. I need that emotional investment in and for myself. I love each member of my family to bits, and they will always have my unconditional love and support for whatever they need or want to do, but no longer is it my role to carry them through their decisions, or to live out each of their decisions for them. No longer is it my role to put their needs before my own.
Family is a funny thing. Whilst my family history has been difficult and hard to say the least, and we certainly have had our moments, there is no doubt that my family exists solely on love. Love binds us together and will always keep us together. We don’t need to play roles in our family, we just need to be ourselves, and allow each other the space and love to do that.