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Dysfunctional families - what no one tells you

Updated: May 28, 2020

So many families are dysfunctional, complicated and slightly confusing. I was asked if my book was about bagging out my family and upbringing and I was slightly insulted. You see I have had many emotions to work through in regards to my family, hurt, rejection, grief, love and I am so glad that I have worked through those uncomfortable feelings because I am now in a place where I can see that I was lucky in so many ways. I also understand now that I am the person I am today, the mum I am today because of things I didn't like about growing up so I am breaking the cycle and not repeating these behaviours.

As the eldest child with divorced parents, I wanted to take on the role of helping and supporting my mum. This is a beautiful thing however it can become unhealthy. Worrying about money, the bills, my mums relationships with men who I believed were not good enough for her while going through normal teenage hormones was at times draining, stressful and difficult. I was always told how mature I was and I felt it was my place to fix things. Having stomach ulcers at 16 was my body's way of dealing with this stress. This pressure to make things better for my family continued well into my 20's including purchasing a home that my family could rent at an affordable price.

I wanted to fix things so bad yet today I have no contact with one parent and the other is by email every now and then. I lost myself, I felt like my good intentions were abused and I felt like I was the only person in the world going through this. What I know now is that I was not alone and that many young people go through these pressures and they too think they are alone. I created my own village, friends who I would confide in, who would remind me of what was acceptable and what was not but most importantly, I learnt to love that I tried my best to help, to love that my intentions were only ever good and I learnt to love me, as I am.

If you can relate, I just want to ask a question. Are you a kind person?, are you proud of who you are? Go back to a time where you felt uncomfortable, unhappy or unsafe,, What do you look like, where are you? Now give that little person a big hug and tell yourself how beautiful and safe you are. Do this regularly, what ever image appears is fine and keep showering your younger self with love, safety and compassion.

This is my image that often comes up. At the time we had a stranger that would knock on my window and appear in our back yard, we didn't have much money but I felt my mum's love. Feeling unsafe is the overwhelming feeling here and I have imagined hugging this little girl and telling her she is safe and has such an exciting future ahead of her because I know in this photo, she doesn't think so.

Be kind to others but be even kinder to yourself. Sending you positive vibes, Nat xx

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