I remember being bullied as a child and telling my parents for the first time. I was only five years old but I could plainly see how sad they were and how much it hurt them to know I was in pain. I told them several times after that but I soon learnt to protect them from my pain in an effort to spare them of theirs. When I had my breakdown as a result of chronic untreated depression I knew that I had to be honest with them about what I was going through and I’m so glad I was. For the first time in years they knew what I was going through and were in a position to empathise, help, comfort and support me. As a result of being honest with them our bond became stronger, deeper and our connection was more authentic.
Although we think we are protecting our family from pain, misunderstanding, frustration or sadness, we risk underestimating them, thereby preventing the miracle of an authentic and sincere connection to our family, one where we feel supported and understood. This isn’t to say that we need to tell them everything, but rather that we avoid hiding who we are or pretending everything is fine when it actually isn’t.
So the next time you consider protecting your family from whatever might be troubling you, consider what you might gain from opening up and sharing your true self.
Do you find it hard to be open with your family about the difficulties you face? Have you shared your difficulties with them in the past? How did this impact your family relations? Did it bring you closer together? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.