Boundaries. Something every family needs or the cycle of having everyone in your business will continue.
Your family may mean well, it’s highly unlikely that anyone’s blood-related family member would actually wish them ill – although it’s been known to happen. But if you feel undermined, have people prying into your private life, getting involved in decisions sans personal invitation or if you feel your family is just too much then you have to put your foot down.
Kaya Drive with Sizwe Dhlomo brought up the topic of difficult family dynamics on the dad’s side and why most people may have a tough relationship with them.
While Sizwe couldn’t relate as he has a good relationship with his dad and his dad’s side of the family, most of the Kaya Drive team concurred with issues on their dad’s side.
Listen to the team’s recounts here:
Why boundaries are necessary
Kaya Drive listeners also shared that the dysfunctional family issues on the dad’s side is the reason why they no longer partake in family events.
“It’s always the same nosiness, the same questions and remarks. They feel entitled to speak about your life and cause unnecessary conflict.”
“When are you settling down?”
“No kids yet, but you’re married five years, what are you waiting for?”
“Shew, you have three and another one on the way. How can you afford all these kids? Maybe you two should try a good contraception?”
“Are you ever going to find a better job and buy a place of your own or is staying with mommy and daddy the long term plan? You know your cousin just bought his own apartment. Yes, he did, in Bryanston too. You see he’s doing very well.”
“So your husband cheated, honey every woman’s been there. You just stick it out so you don’t lose everything and raise your children in a broken home.”
“Oh, you’re single again? Remind us how many people you’ve dated this year alone?”
How can boundaries help?
You create these invisible barriers that you don’t allow people to cross. Telling a loved one that you respect their input but unless you ask for their valued opinion, it’s not needed. Setting a clear standard for how your family engages with you, what you will and will not allow is your prerogative.
Taking back control over what you fill your mental space with and taking a firm stance on how you will be loved is not a bad thing. For many, the criticism from the older generation is a form of love. It shows that they care about you, that they want you to make something of yourself.
The book Boundaries by psychologists Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend sheds light on how to enforce or place boundaries. There’s so much pain, hurt, anger and resentment that we could feel powerless to even express how their actions affect us.