By Veela Ammons
It’s easy to determine when you need to divorce your wife or husband. By now you should know when to walk away. But what do you do when this person is your Mother, your Father or even your own child?!
“Not everyone deserves a front-row seat in the theater of your life.” ~ Susan L. Taylor (former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine)
We have to distinguish the wheat from the tares. I’m not a farmer and I don’t pretend to know agriculture. In the Bible Jesus uses the parable about the wheat and the tares. What I understand is the tare starts out looking the same when first planted. It isn’t until it matures and grows that you can identify it as a tare. I tare is actually a weed that will uproot the wheat and destroy it. That’s what makes this process so difficult. Your brother or sister can grow up right next to you. Your Mother and Father are charged with your growth. You planted these seeds through your children. No one wants to think that the enemy has come in and switched the crops.
Years ago GOD spoke to me and showed me some things. I was hurt and confused. I felt isolated and alone. It seemed my circle of friends and family was getting smaller and smaller. GOD began to deal with me on why. There are certain people that can’t be around or don’t need to be around when GOD is trying to bless you ( There are some people in your life that feel whatever is for you should be for them as well. It’s a debt that can never be paid. No parent or child should feel entitled to what GOD has for you. No more than you should feel entitled to what GOD has for them. I had a company and our mantra was, “Your success is our success.” We worked hard to accomplish goals for our clients so we could make that claim. But to assume that any blessing or accomplishment is a direct result of you borders on arrogance. It’s one thing for your family to want to share their good fortune with you and another to expect or assume that they should be required to do so.
I loved her dearly, but my Grandmother took this too far. My Mother was always concerned about taking care of her Mother. She did so free heartedly throughout my life. At times it was difficult. There were a lot soup and hot dog days. My Mother was an executive for her company and we were barely making it. As a child I couldn’t understand. My Snoopy bank was confiscated many a time. I knew Mom wouldn’t ask if she didn’t need it. But why did she need it? It wasn’t until I was grown that I got an explanation. Although my Mother is one of three children she felt obligated to take care of her Mother; whether she had it or not. Can you imagine? We lived in a modest apartment while my Mother made mortgage payments every month for my Grandmother. She paid her other bills as well while we continually struggled. The biggest insult came when my Grandmother’s second husband paid off the mortgage. At this point little was owed because Mom had made each mortgage payment faithfully. From then on Grandmother told everyone that her husband had bought her the house. Mom never said anything until we were alone one day. The new carpet, every house improvement counted for nothing. Had my Mother planted the seeds only to have her crop destroyed?
We do ourselves a great disservice. Continually we want to believe people and situations are different than they are.
“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou
Years ago I was teaching a career development program to some high school students. It was one of the tougher neighborhoods on the West-side. I had a young lady in my class that had gotten sick. We were nearing the end of class and I offered to take her home. She insisted that her Mother would pick her up and I didn’t have to worry about getting her home. After waiting for over an hour an administrator pulled me aside to tell me that the Mother wasn’t coming. It wasn’t going to happen, at least not that day. The Mother was a crackhead and hadn’t had any contact with her daughter in years. In my student’s mind that day was going to be different. Somehow her Mother would come through and be there for her. I finally got her home. It was a sad day for both of us.
Here are 7 signs that it might be time for a divorce within your family:
1. Constant negative interaction. – Everyone argues, but if it’s always a negative conversation then it’s time to go!
2. Is the conversation detrimental to your well-being? – There is such a thing as constructive criticism. If you are constantly questioning who you are or if something is wrong with you because of the things that were said you might want to rethink being around this person.
3. Is your belief system diametrically opposed? – When you know better you do better. We are born to certain people for reasons we don’t always understand. Some are here to teach us. Others were meant to learn from. We set the bar and it’s up to them to be open to learn. We are here to teach them. Hopefully they are ready for the lesson.
4. Are both parties willing to work on the relationship? Do both acknowledge there is an issue? – Every relationship requires work. It just doesn’t happen. I knew I had a problem when my ex-husband said, “Black men don’t get counseling.” Lol
5. Is your relative dedicated to you or are they just a fair-weathered friend? – Nothing worse than realizing you only see your son or daughter when they want something. I would do anything in the world for my daughter, but I also know she would do the same.
6. Is there a relief when you don’t see each other? – Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. If there’s a sigh of relief and you feel stress is eliminated when they’re not around that’s a sign they add no value to your life. I’m not looking for something from everyone that’s in my life. But each one contributes positively to my well-being and who I am.
7. Do you find yourself emotionally exhausted? – Everyone has been at a family event or even a family reunion. Hopefully you felt exhilarated after the event instead of completely drained. You should look forward to seeing your family and not finding excuses to cut the visit short or avoid them altogether.
I could add more to the list, but if you are honest with yourself you already know the answer. I’m thankful that I love myself enough to remove myself from anything or anyone that is toxic to me. I have had people debate me on this subject. There are some that believe you are obligated to be in relationship with your family no matter the dynamic. As a Life Coach and Spiritual Advisor it is my professional opinion that GOD gave us free will and in that we have to decide for ourselves. We have to create our best life. On a personal note, I’ve learned that you can love someone and not like them. It is possible. Even better; I’ve learned that we can make our own family.
I interviewed Sabrina Williams yesterday for my radio show ( Sundays at 10:00 a.m. CST). She is the daughter or Richard Williams. The same Father to Venus and Serena Williams. Before the world knew these tennis greats Richard Williams had a family of five children. As a little girl Richard took off and told Sabrina he would return with a brand new bike for her. She’s still looking for that bike. After having absolutely no contact, as an adult Sabrina ran into her Father. They exchanged numbers and mysteriously the number was disconnected. The next time they would meet he would insult her biracial children and that was it for Sabrina. She could handle whatever rejection her Father dished out, but to visit that upon her children was unbearable. Through the years as a college student and through her career Sabrina has been blessed with people that GOD brought into her life. Her Mother did a phenomenal job as a single-parent, but it was difficult on all of them. At certain times they were so poor that Sabrina used to create her own world(s). She couldn’t imagine that this was her life. It was her 2nd Mother/mentor that made a way for her to go to college. It was the generosity of others that welcomed her and made her part of their family that got her through. She calls them her “earthly family” because she believes GOD ordained it. I do too.
I have people in my family that I have divorced myself from because it’s what is best for me. I’m not saying we won’t reconcile. It just hasn’t happened. They’re not healthy enough to initiate that type of relationship. Some people you have to love from a distant. Whether they are your immediate family or extended family, some people you have to bless and go on if you’re ever going to move forward. Sometimes the ending is just the beginning. For every person I may have lost or GOD had to remove HE has replaced with GOD-given friendships and people I call my family. When GOD gives you a love and a burden for someone it can’t be called anything else but family. Even in the dictionary it defines family as a group of people who form a household. It doesn’t say they are related by blood. It also says that you don’t have to live in the same household to be related or be family. Family shares ancestry or a common ancestor. In my eyes we have the same FATHER. That makes us family.
*Veela Ammons sees herself as a citizen of the world because of the multiplicity of cultures and diversity all found in this country. She will be launching a website in the coming weeks so that you can obtain her services as a Life Coach and Spiritual Advisor.


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