When someone once heard I had cut ties with my family and had no idea even where they were these days they were stunned. As in if they were wearing pearls they would have clutched them and made a loud gasp in shock. How could you not speak to your family they asked? It wasn’t as if I wanted to do that but it was necessary. Sure it would be great to have normal family conversations and activities like normal people do but sometimes that’s not the situation we are in. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is walk away from the relationship for our own mental and physical well-being even if that relationship is with family.
I had to let go of society standards and even some of my own religious upbringing to make peace with not having family relationships. There was a lot of pain with severing these ties and a lot of questioning myself but ultimately I knew I couldn’t endure anymore of what was happening. I couldn’t go through anymore of being used, brought into drama, or putting myself at risk and harm for the pleasure, insanity, way of life or whatever else was at the root of it. It was toxic, unhealthy, abusive and even self destructing to continue. I knew that for a long time but obligation, society expectations, God’s Commandment to honor and love kept me in it. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life.
Like any relationship that turns abusive or toxic, making that decision to leave it is never easy. We feel guilt, ashamed, like we failed, that we weren’t good enough and so much more. We also quite frequently face the wrath of our actions from the person or people we are leaving as they take out their anger, frustration and confusion on us. There are so many tears through it all and nothing is more frightening than those first steps out of a toxic relationship. We’re not sure we can do it. We’re afraid of the unknown even more than we are of the abuse we just left. We are so tired from living in a way we know is not right but we’re so exhausted from it that we’re not sure we have the strength to do anything else.
It took years to be alright with no longer having those relationships in my life. It took even longer to be able to tell people I didn’t have them in my life. I felt like a failure who had something wrong with me because I spent Christmas by myself like it was a punishment for not being normal. I would be super cautious with every decision I made because I knew I didn’t have a safety net of help or support if I made a bad choice. It was isolating and scary and yet it was necessary. If I had not done it I would have been more likely to become just like it. I would have spiraled deeper into it. If I had not fought my way away from it I would have continued suffering and enduring it while not knowing what it is like to love myself or to have healthy relationships in my life.
No matter how much time passes there are still times it hurts. There are also still times I still face at times criticism, ridicule, weird looks, unacceptance and more from others who don’t understand how I could have walked away from it. Surely it wasn’t that bad right?
What is so strange about society is our inability to accept differences. We can talk about diversity, equality, acceptance, inclusion and anti-bullying all we want but the truth is we are terrible at it. If something doesn’t fit into a box we call justified then we have a difficult time accepting it as right because it is just different. Even sometimes when there is so called justification we still sometimes challenge it as possible or true. I don’t believe it is intentional but rather just shows how ingrained we all are with the expectations of what life should look like. It takes a lot of courage to challenge these standards and expectations in order to do what it is right for yourself.
As I’ve matured and healed as best I can from my past with my family I’ve realized I don’t have to explain why my life is different. There is freedom in that. I’ve been fortunate to not only come out of that situation but also to create a life that is safe, loving and happy. What has helped is realizing I don’t need permission or acceptance to pursue a better life. When I speak of living more naturally it includes this realization for me personally.
I would have never considered courage and bravery things of living naturally but indeed I have found them to be resourceful tools. It takes incredible strength we don’t even realize we have to move in a direction opposite the current of society in search of our own acceptance. However, making that first step is one that will lead us down a much more beautiful road that is filled with the support within ourselves, from nature and others that we need to keep going.
To learn how to get started on your natural living journey I invite you to take the free Lifestyle & Wellness Questionnaire: https://forms.gle/25v3h4cMvYzNrVaNA