I learned to take my family
in small doses
or else they would feel like
a religious cult, toxic
to my system.
The more I worshiped my family,
the more I went to their church
of traditions and beliefs, and
the more dysfunctional I became.
They hypnotized me with guilt
and persuaded me to let go
of my own free will—
To ignore my intuition.
To minimize my feelings.
I feared my family as
I feared the church.
I worried that I would be excommunicated
if I didn’t toe the line.
The more I repented,
the more I pleaded
for my absolution.
Then, by accident,
I discovered the word “no.”
It was magical.
It allowed me to have the space
to find what I wanted
and to be in control
of my journey.
Without the family’s interference,
I took back what was mine.
I stood separately.
The more freedom I found,
the more solid was my foundation.
oh my goodness Mark, this is so good. it spoke to my soul and gave me words i have been unable to verbalize…….thank you!
Thank you, Wendi. My years as a Family Therapist, and working with family dysfunction, went into conceiving this poem.
very well done, as it was written as if you lived it.
We must be related. I tried my first “no” just this year. In a restaurant hoping the scene would be minimized. (It wasn’t.) I’m the good, middle child, but there’s hope for me to get disowned yet. My parents are getting even more fanatic in older age, it seems. I wish a hand to hold when I go into the lion’s den each time. My avoidance is awkwardly apparent. I’m glad you wrote about this. I’m too scared, too, lol.
(Whoa. Typos up there from my trauma, lol…)
no worries. 🙂
TT. It’s definitely a challenge, and a scary one. Parents hold on because of their fear that you might get lost or go astray or they become useless in your life. Keep this poem with you as you continue to journey forward. Peace, Mark
You kinda read my family too, Mark. Both of them have difficulties expressing themselves or admitting to their “faults”. I hope they take to heart what you write. I know they both love to read them.
Thanks, Theresa. Good insight. Fear keeps people stuck on bad habits. 🙏🏻🎅🏻
Wow I love how this is written. It’s dynamic and relatable in so many ways. Nice work here.
Thank you, Jayne. 🙂
Yip, families can be funny like that 😖
We love them so much, we don’t want to hurt them at our own expense. 🙏🏻
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
Useful word that, ‘No’. Once you learn to open your mouth and say it, strange things start to happen. You find yourself growing just a little bit taller as your independence begins to grow…
Yes. Strange, how difficult it is to say a two letter word. Have a good holiday. 🙏🏻
You too, Mark!
Such a simple word, but full of meaning when used correctly. I’ve had my struggles but self discovery and prayer help tremendously. May you use it with grace and without the “fear”.
Thank you, Theresa.
As long as we use it honestly, and not for other reasons…
I can relate, Mark, coming from a born-again super-religious family. So glad I started thinking for myself.
I can see the freedom in your poetry. Peace and have a good holiday.
I felt the peace you found within yourself in your poem, simply beautiful.
Kayla, I’m happy to hear your feedback on this poem, and that you like it. 🙂
Yes, we sometimes have to remember that we are the products of our parents now that we’re adults. We are strengthened each time we overcome and hopefully can love them as the souls that our parents are. Thank you so much for expressing this sentiment.
Good point, Theresa. We can love them while also saying no. We can say it kindly in an assertive way without the hostility.
I find it interesting that this can be read in both a literal and metaphorical sense. It is not only religious families that can suffocate, but any kind of toxic or intolerant family. In this way, any kind of toxic group could be referred to as a “cult.” This is beautifully written and definitely rang true to my own life situations. Thank you
Thank you, Kamrynn. That’s absolutely true. It can apply to any family—work family, circle of friends, etc.
Then, by accident, I discovered the word “no.” It was magical. It allowed me to have the space to find what I wanted and to be in control of my journey……I so know what you mean😎
Sounds like you were able to say no, Ortensia. By the way, my poem Crown of the Yurt was translated into Italian at Almerighi
I need to check that😊and your book too.this Christmas I’m planning to do anything but say no to obligation and yes to myself……ideally😀
That would be nice. 🙂
Family is indeed precious. And, yes, I myself have difficulty in saying ‘no’ to my family members. I’m trying to overcome it . By the way, nice poem. I hope you check out my post too. Suggest changes if necessary.
Thanks and will do. Mark
Family is indeed precious. And, yes, I myself have difficulty in saying ‘no’ to my family members. I’m trying to overcome it . By the way, nice poem. I would be happy if you checked out my post on family too.