If there is a common point in the different definitions of the family that I have consulted, it is, and I quote, that of " create between its members a moral obligation of material solidarity intended to protect them and promote their social, physical and emotional development..
Although some of you have already heard me talk about a few episodes of my childhood-adolescence, I would like to come back to them a little.
I was the eldest of seven siblings. When my mother gave birth to me, she was 16 years old. I was ten years old when my shaman grandmother died. Having recognized me as his heiress, until I was ten years old I spent most of my time by his side, protected and initiated. When she dies, everything changes for me: I find myself in the slum of "Derrière Tam-Tam Week-End" in Yaoundé, forced to take care of the siblings alone, to feed them and very quickly to earn a little money here and there so that there is something other than boiled white rice in the bowl.
At the time, my parent with violence did everything to make me fail in my schooling, in particular by preventing me from doing my homework and revising for the tests. This does not prevent me from being a brilliant student appreciated by all my teachers.
When I lost my virginity by rape at the age of thirteen, my mother didn't realize anything while I was completely lost, dominated by an unnamed pain. A mother who does not realize that her child has been so badly hurt! How is that conceivable!
I like music and singing, my parent does everything to prevent me from practicing. Very quickly it is a gift and an occupation that allow me to earn money. Coming home a few times late at night, she goes so far as to accuse me of being a tramp if not worse. But when I put the money on the table that doesn't prevent him from helping himself.
Who is she ? Who am I for her? Who is he ? Who am I for him? These are not questions that I ask myself yet. For me, as a child and teenager, she is my “mother”. For me, child and teenager, he is my “father”. Like the six other children of the siblings are my sisters and brothers. Both have my love.
Psychology has taught us that when a parent often criticizes his child, it does not mean that the child stops loving him but on the contrary that it is he who loves himself less and less. He is guilty of the reproaches made to him and considers that he is not up to it. Every criticism from one of his parents, or even worse, only drives him deeper as he continues to love the very people who destroy him. For me, these unhealthy, perverse and destructive relationships have gone on for years.
When at twenty I fly to the Ivory Coast without any help or support from those I still consider my family, I hasten to send them the bulk of my salaries. Same thing three years later when I fled the Ivorian civil war and arrived in Europe. Once married, I will even go so far as to send them my entire travel agent salary, having chosen to live on my spouse's salary alone.
But that is not enough for them. For them, now that I am in France, I must do more, send them more money. In France, everyone knows, you just have to bend down to pick up the tickets. I must have become rich and I have to take care of a whole village. I go so far as to go into debt. My health is starting to deteriorate. I realize that whatever I give them, they will always feel that I am not doing enough.
But there ! there is a limit to everything! When I have my first child and realize that what I give to this “family” comes at the expense of my own child's well-being, my motherly instincts take over. I then undertake, with great difficulty, to reduce the amounts of the sums that I send them monthly.
Their response is not long in coming and the first reprisals fall. Degrading, insulting, nauseating texts on my Facebook page when I create my independent activity. Once blocked on Facebook, these are emails in my mailbox. Texts of the type: “You'll see what will happen to you. You had children, you will see what we will do with your children, what will happen to your children. Do you think because you're in Europe and you've become rich you can ignore us and only think about yourself? You dishonor your family, you will be cursed on earth. You will see that all the money you have will not be enough to pay all the doctors in the world that you will consult to try to cure you. We have Secret Service-esque ways to wring your neck if you don't send us more money."
"My family" But who was this family? I was asking myself. I felt that I had strangers in front of me. I had had suspicions but there, I could no longer avoid looking things in the face. I have not stopped sending them money, but I have continued to reduce the amounts sent. Besides, how could I have done otherwise? I had debts that had to be repaid, my health was deteriorating more and more and my two young children. I spent several days a month lying down or in consultation from one hospital department to another without ever having a definitive diagnosis. I was unable to take care of the independent activity that I had created, I could barely take care of my children and repay my debts.
This family that I had did not correspond in any way to this common part of all the definitions of the family that I had found, namely that of: create between its members a moral obligation of material solidarity intended to protect them and promote their social, physical and emotional development..
On the contrary, this family that I held for mine was leading me to my downfall. I had no choice but out of respect for my children. If I had a connection with these individuals who claimed to be my family, it was a blood connection, period! I had neither father nor mother, I had a parent and a parent, nothing else!
But there ! Quicker said than done! There was a long way to go. No, that one wasn't my mother, she was my parent, nothing else, when she still had my love. That man, no, he's not my father, he's my parent. And today they are there and they lead me to my loss and they are determined to lead me to my loss if I don't always give them more. If I don't do what they want me to do they are ready to kill me. It's as clear as that. I have to confront them, there is no alternative.
It was and is a war, nothing else. We had to learn to make war! I inquired !
The first chapter of "The Art of War", Chinese reference work if there is one, from the XNUMXth century before the Christian era, but still studied today in the world in any self-respecting Military Academy , begins with these words:
« War is a matter of vital importance to the state... and in this case the state is me.
In chapter three of this same book we can read:
« Know your enemy and know yourself; had you a hundred wars to fight, a hundred times you will be victorious. If you ignore your enemy and know yourself, your chances of losing and winning will be equal. If you ignore both your enemy and yourself, you will count your fights only by your defeats…. Knowledge of the adversary is the key factor in any military victory.
Did I know my enemy? In a way yes, I knew him intimately. In the small house in the slum of “Derrière Tam-Tam Week-End” we lived on top of each other, it is true to say. The more intimate you die! But on the other hand there was all this experience with a mother and a father, there were all these feelings, all these affects, which still occupied the space, at least in part. Imagine! The last two of the siblings, they were in my arms, behind my back, from birth. Somewhere weren't they also my children?
There was one, not so long ago, who came to my doorstep in France to curse me! This is how far war can go! It's not an easy business. It's a long journey, just to see and understand the implications of such a war to understand that there is neither father nor mother. It is perhaps even worse than a civil war. After Côte d'Ivoire, it was my second war. A long war which is not yet completely won, which forces me to remain vigilant. But today, for me, there is no longer any misunderstanding or equivocation. The situation is clear, not necessarily easy, far from it, but it is only a question of strategy.
On the other hand today I have a family, a "friendly family" as Mathieu Lindon designates it in What love means. A family of my choice who cares about " create between its members a moral obligation of material solidarity intended to protect them and promote their social, physical and emotional development.. For the first time since the death of my Grandmother I feel surrounded by individuals who wish me well and to whom I wish well. That's my family.
Still, this long apprenticeship made me know and fully understand what Exchange Energy is, how essential it is to respect it, both for the one who gives and for the one who receives, it is one of the foundations of a balanced life.
At this stage I find it appropriate to return to the etymology of the word " in family ". " Family comes from the Latin famulus which means servant, slave and familia is the set of slaves who belong to the same man. ". Here is a definition which corresponds much more to what my blood family was than the previous one quoted three times above and which precisely defines those who belong to what I call, following Lindon, my "friendly family ".
So ladies and gentlemen, because unfortunately it is not specific to ladies, if there is one or one among you or perhaps several who, somewhere, feel like slaves to this blood family, please , face and refuse. If necessary, I'm here to coach you, I know it makes the difference, it's not me who says it, it's the people I coached!
1 thought on "Knowing how to choose your family"
A powerful story that can only help take us in hand. Thank you for sharing and RESPECT!