‘Blood is thicker than water’, goes the age-old saying when referring to family vs. friends. Do you believe this statement to be true? What does it even mean? Something about loving, accepting and forgiving your ‘blood family’ in a different way to your ‘water based friends’? For those of you answering yes, I’m curious about your definition of blood/ family. Are step or adopted family included in the ‘blood’ family group? What about partners, spouses and indirect family? If you’re answering yes to spouses and partners, if you were to divorce or separate, would this affect their group from blood to water and your associated feelings and behaviour? Does this behavioural transition occur at decree nisi stage or at the point you announce your separation intentions? Are there ranges in the ‘thickness’ of the behaviour that we are willing to be loving, forgiving and accepting of? I like to be clear and avoid assumptions.
I’ve long been curious about the value of this statement as this metaphor was repeatedly plunged into me intravenously as a child. My late father was Sicilian and loved it. My long-suffering mother also appeared to. My father banded it about liberally and I observed very specific patterns of its usage. Generally he offered it up as a counter to a reproach he was receiving. Post an affair or a weekend of AWOL gambling. While my mother lay crumpled in a heap of tears and despair, I can still hear him bark this infamous ‘blood’ inspired slogan. It appeared to work to unite them and as a result I was trained to believe a very important life lesson. That blood family (including step, not ex’s, indirect family that are visually rewarding and financially affluent) are permitted to behave inappropriately (in the unlikely event of murder, it’s to be forgiven but not accepted). Finally, the last part of the belief includes that I have a responsibility to forgive, love and accept this blood inspired family group (whether It makes me happy or not).
Maybe it’s an Italian/co-dependent thing.
I no longer believe or live according to this saying and successfully reversed the brainwashing using my learned counselling, coaching and NLP training and skills. There comes a point in life when B.S. must be challenged. Regardless of blood, colour, creed, level of authority, financial or social affluence. Inappropriate behaviour by toxic individuals, regardless of blood and water mixes, needs to be culled or cured in the pursuit of our personal happiness.
So my new approach to selecting my ‘family’ is simpler. Blood is no longer a fast track to my tribe and not my primary criteria for forgiving, loving and accepting individuals. My ‘family’ are selected by their values and intentions. Their energy levels and outlook on life. Some include those I have similar blood to and some whose blood is completely different.
It’s definitely a self-love thing.