You’ve heard the phrase “You can pick your friends, but not your family.”?
fuck. that. shit.
Here’s the truth: You can’t choose your DNA, but you can choose your family. 💕
Your family are the people who choose to be there when you need them. And anyway, “you can’t choose your family” is plain wrong. Even the law allows us choose family.
- Adoption: choose your kids
- Marriage: choose your spouse
👏 IT IS NORMAL TO CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY. 👏
So why do we say “you can’t choose your family”?
Often, it’s just a platitude we say when someone’s dad is being a dick. To comfort them because their dad is family and isn’t always a dick. But we can make that point without implying that they are trapped in that relationship!
The idea that you can’t abandon your biological “family” is used by abusers to bully their victims to stay in bad circumstances. The saying has the veneer of advocating love and support. But it’s toxic af.
I AM YOUR FAMILY MEMBER. YOU MUST TOLERATE THE SHIT I SPEW. AND SUPPORT ME. EVEN THOUGH I OFFER YOU NO SUPPORT IN RETURN.
Even if no one in your biological family is toxic, repeating the “you can’t choose your family” logic normalizes it and makes it harder for the abused to get the help they need. Instead, we should normalize that family are the people who choose to be there when you need them.
I’d like to make one last point. We all know there are some awful people out there who demand everything and offer nothing in return.
But I’m not just talking about the awful people. Listen up! I’m a parent and I’m talking to all parents now: Even if you love your kids…
If you aren’t CHOOSING to support your child unconditionally, then you aren’t choosing to be their family.
Think on that. Your family are the people who choose to be there when you need them.
I’ve chosen all of the people in my family and they’ve chosen me. (And I’m even blood related to some of them.)