Family - The Ties that Bind... and Strangle... and Mangle.....
Over the last few days, I have been watching a family feud erupt slowly over a friend's Facebook page. Before the disagreement came on to Facebook, it had apparently been waged for years through heated discussions and family debate and spiteful anger. In the week leading up to this blowout a 'texting war' broke out with the members of one faction angrily berating and shaming members of the opposition through text. One person finally simply lost her composure and her hurt, angry brain vomit was splashed across her Facebook wall to be seen and digested by her seventy- odd friends. And this is where I and her other friends entered the picture.
As I read the 'writing on the wall', I felt so much sorrow. She was vague about who was causing her the problems (family) and what the disagreement was about, but it was clear that she felt hurt, not valued or appreciated, and that she felt that she wasn't being listened to or heard. Then the fun began....
A few family members struck back and it became apparent that the 'texting war' was very nasty. So many rude comments and all by name. So while she spared her family by being very vague, she was not spared at all. Some of the comments were:
1. Just a note: I thought J and D were divorced. That means that J is not part of the family anymore. "If D and J are divorced that means she is not part of the family anymore. She can be your friend, but she is not family.”
2. You are acting like such a baby
3. yeah, trashing your family is such an ADULT thing to do
4. What you think of us doesn't count - you're family!
5. you have to be so melodramatic
6. I love you , but I can't believe you are causing all this trouble and putting this on a public forum.
7. why can't you be more Christ-like?
8. I like how N is a part of the family...when noone including J and A and D have anything good to say about him besides he gives us things. ;-) Thank goodness E and I are not a part of the drama anymore (that's my gift for eternity)... Heavenly Father looks out for us! I hope you guys can work things out civilly though. Good luck. ... I'm sure something will work out though. I know you just needed to vent so I'm not going to get into this. You guys are fam and You guys know how to work things out. Good Luck!
9. I am adult enough to stand up for things I do. Obviously she is not with her childishness! So any day she'd like to hash it out...I'm more than willing!"
10. "Yeah...because J said nothing derogatory about me. And she didn't drop J, D or A's name in it. I've had a talk with all of them that took it offensive. But we're all over it by just considering the source.
(I left all the misspelling and language and just removed names above)
While the comments mentioned above were pretty severe, the comment that popped up over and over like a theme was 'You are making the family look bad'. Leaving aside the fact that these people's comments made them look bad all by themselves, what really bothered me was the idea that she 'should not' have talked about the family outside the family. That bothers me a great deal.
Less than a few decades ago (and still probably pretty common today), kids were told to not talk about family stuff that would make the collective whole look bad. So if you were abused or molested by a family member, you couldn't talk about it. If you did, the concern was that the family would look bad and that would be your fault. That kind of flawed logic (someone does something bad, you say so, the bad thing is now your fault) strikes against the grain to me for a few reasons.
The first reason is that I find it appalling that the 'world' and people outside the family are given more power in the family. Heavenly Father gave us families so that we would have tight groups of people who care for each other and will protect each other from the dangers of the outside world. The family unit itself seems to me to be the most important unit of all. Yes, some families are broken and need mending- mine certainly is. But if a family sacrifices the happiness and security of one family member for the least embarrassment for the rest of the group, I think that is just plain wrong.
Another reason is that forces family members who are hurt to suffer in silence. Who else can you talk to if not your family....? (Is that why there are so many counselors around... because so many people cannot talk to family? ) Some individuals cannot 'suffer' in silence without literally cracking up. So not only would their happiness and comfort be sacrificed by the family, but also their mental well being/sanity. That seems like an unacceptable cost.
Now, please do not think that I am suggesting that families should not have secrets from the outside world. Many things that happen in the family should stay in the family. I do advocate however, that some things- even petty things- should be taken outside of the family if necessary for reasonable reasons. Those will vary between individuals and families and what they feel comfortable with. However, once something is out of the family, it is 'out' and spending your resources and times insulting other family members and arguing about whether it should be out or not is pretty silly. It is also more likely to make the problem worse and harder to resolve due to bitterness, etc.... Compromise will also become so much more difficult. If someone is wrong, it is a lot easier for them to change their mind if they can do it without too much loss of 'face'.
This battle ended as most people would have predicted by some of the comments above. The owner of the Facebook page became even more frustrated and tired of the comments and removed all of her family from her friends list- about twenty names. Neither side has changed their mind and both sides seem angry and bitter. I do not foresee an end to this rift soon... but since this family is Mormon, when they all die, they will have to live together. Might be pretty tough if no one is talking to each other :D
So, I will continue to work on my family difficulties. I will try to remember the thoughts that I have outlined above as I continue to make my family whole and happy. This argument was so sad on so many levels. But the worse part about it was the subject.
The family was arguing about Christmas presents.