MAKING IT BETTER: The Value And Pain of Family

When I first came up with the title of this article, I thought it could be seen as an oxymoron. By definition family should conjure up images of love, support, strength, and all things warm and fuzzy. Of course we all know this is not always the case. We all know family can bring pain in ways unimaginable to its members. Being the optimist I am I like to think blood is thicker than water and somehow the loyalty of family will always prevail.

I have always held family connections and attachments very dear to my heart. Having enjoyed a relatively happy, healthy family life growing up I have also invested conscientiously in replicating the same and better for my own immediate family. I have made my children very mindful of the importance of working hard at maintaining healthy, strong family bonds.

I was recently struck by the devastation and close to carnage that family can wreak on its members’ lives. This was on a biblical scale of brothers Cain and Abel. I have a male friend who has four siblings. They grew up in a less than perfect, dysfunctional family, like most us did if we are going to be honest. The point being no family is perfect but within that imperfection there can still exist love, loyalty and unconditional support. That’s my experience anyway.

These brothers have had their ups and downs but have always maintained what appeared to be a healthy, normal relationship. There were normal sibling rivalries but they never appeared to let it get out of hand and they came to each other’s aid when needed.

Then just recently it was unearthed by a sister of the brothers that one of their wives had an affair with the other brother and their last child was fathered by the other brother! As you can imagine this has unleashed a tornado of epic proportions. While on the one hand one would say this is nothing new and it has been happening from time immemorial and you very well might be right. However when you actually are up close and personal and witness the impact, effect of it and how far reaching this type of betrayal can be, it’s a whole different ball game. The betrayal is monumental as it involves the brothers, the sister and other members of the family who colluded, who might have known and so on. It is complex beyond imagination. Who knew what, when, how and why?

The destruction and pain that has ensued from this revelation is all pervading, all consuming and continues to spread. The brothers have vowed to destroy each other; the wives are also on a collision course. The families of the brothers and the brother’s wives are on a war path.

The sister who exposed this knowledge only did so at this time because the brother who committed the ‘crime’ denied her request for money from him. She felt he was being miserly and her husband encouraged her to punish him by exposing his secret.

What everyone appears to have ignored is that there is a child involved in all of this whose world has been turned upside down and who will forever be affected by the shadiness and lies of the adults in her life. This will colour and distort how she negotiates her way through the world.

The physical distancing and loss of affection between members, often due to intense conflict or ongoing disagreements usually results in family estrangement. There is subsequently incredible tension and bad energy which is placed on family relations when family members hold grudges that they refuse to resolve.

This situation has been known to create psychological problems and burden upon several members of the family, sometimes this affects other members of the family more and worse than those actually feuding.

Do you have any experiences of family feuds you want to share?


Gloria Ogunbadejo writes a weekly column for Punch Newspaper. She is a Psychotherapist, a life coach, a holistic counsellor and an ordained Minister

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2 Responses to MAKING IT BETTER: The Value And Pain of Family

  1. Femi Diipo August 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Wow! This is intense, one can only imagine the extent to which this can impact the entire family and the child. However, i think every family have their issues and no matter how minute they are, they have their ways of always threatening to break the family bonds

  2. Olakunle Olajide August 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    This is just so disheartening but happens real life. My Parent’s individual families still have one dispute or the other among each other. So i can say, there are pains in family, it is just left for us to pray, learn and live aright.


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