Families are forever. No one chooses their biological parents or siblings. Although the family is usually a source of happiness, it can be a source of stress, a nuisance and a representative of abusive relationships. Putting family and abuse together is bound to raise eyebrows, to awaken the judgmental side of people. How can one be so ungrateful as to say that family can be a nuisance and abusive? Do people like that know that family is a blessing? Yes. Families can be a blessing. However, that does not prevent one from having siblings that decide that you are their God-given servant, a person who unquestioningly fulfills all their wishes. However, it reaches a time when an individual decides that they have had enough and decide to break out of the chains. Breaking out of an unproductive and harmful relationship is a rebirth, a chance to start life afresh.
As Wolf argues there is one thing more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking (28-29). When one allows siblings to unapologetically take advantage of them, it reaches a point when resentment starts to form. Continuing to do my siblings bidding without expressing how much the situation was unpleasant is building up anger and resentment inside. These feelings are consuming and it is becoming almost impossible to be happy. Every time one of the siblings demands a favor, the feeling intensifies. Fear of being labeled as a bad sibling is paralyzing, preventing action. It is enjoyable being reliable, nice, and supportive. However, this feeling lasts only for a brief moment as the realization sets in that rarely do any of the siblings return the favor. They are always busy, broke and available next time. Next time never comes. Watching with envy as other people say no, I wonder what it will feel to say no to the babysitting requests, loans and errands that forces the rescheduling and cancellation of plans.
The phone is ringing. It is too much to cancel yet another painstakingly laid down plan because one of the siblings requires a babysitter. It is impossible to ignore the anger boiling inside. Recalling all the sacrifices that were not appreciated or returned, I cannot grant another favor. It is no longer important to be the dutiful sister, the one who answers when everyone else calls. Everything is all clear. The hurt, the resentment, the desire to break out and speak out. It is a light bulb moment.
I pick up the ringing phone and tell the person on the other end in a clear and calm manner that it is a bad time and impossible to grant the favor. The shock from the other end is palpable. Is she saying no? Thinking that something is probably wrong or the request, fashioned as a demand is not being clearly heard, the sibling is asking again. The answer is the same. Putting down the phone, I am feeling like a huge load has been lifted. I am lighter. The realization is setting in that finally, no has become an acceptable vocabulary. This feeling of joy cannot be put in words. It is a time of rebirth. A new person filled with the possibilities of the different ways the new vocabulary can be used is born.
Learning to stand up and speak up for myself for the first time is unforgettable. It is the day of transformation. Although it will take a while for others to accept this new person, they will eventually adapt and later, respect will grow. A person who speaks up commands respect. It may not be immediate, but eventually, it will be given. Speaking out might be scary, but the rewards are invaluable.
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