Why I stopped being the “peacekeeper” within my family

Family relationships are not always easy, and this Starts At Sixty reader has grown weary of being the peacekeeper for

Family relationships are not always easy, and this Starts At Sixty reader has grown weary of being the peacekeeper for everyone else. For her own mental health, she needed to lighten the load.

People need to take “responsibility for their own relationships”, our SASer revealed. Although she says this realisation only occurred after years of being the family peacekeeper.

“I felt it was my job to be the peacekeeper because I was the mother. My own mother died when I was 12 months old, so I had to keep my family together”, our anonymous SASer explained.

Of course, this role was not always easy, because “being the peacekeeperĀ involved smoothing over differences in the family”. Our SASer’s children didn’t always get along with their father, and there were notable “tensions” at times.

“I felt I had to keep everyone happy, but looking back on it I should have worked towards solving the issues rather than glossing over them”, our SASer confided. “My biggest regret is not giving support where it was needed most”.

Our SASer explained that being the family peacekeeper often forced her to take sides. Of course, this is an impossible feat when it involves people you love.

“The most difficult thing about being the peacekeeper is the frustration”, she said. “You know, deep down, these people love and value each other – but pride and stubbornness gets in their way”.

Certainly, our SASer is not alone in experiencing family fragmentation. She has come across many other families who have their own challenges.

“I think the biggest disputes come with a change in circumstance (like) moving out of home, a serious relationship, marriage, birth of a grandchild”, our SASer observed.

“These are stressful events in themselves, and can strain a relationship which has had difficulties”.

In time though, our SASer was courageous enough to realise the burden of family wasn’t hers to shoulder alone. “I saw an excellent counsellor and we discussed the tensions in my family”, she explained.

“He led me to see that each member of my family had the responsibility for their relationships, to the other. I had to stop taking that on. At some point in my healing I was able to acknowledge and accept this”.

“While recovered, it’s still a sensitive matter”, she added.

Starts At Sixty is dedicated to bringing you more real-life stories from our wonderful everyday readers. Thank you so much to this anonymous SASer, for sharing her family story so bravely.

Can you relate to this SASer’s situation? Were you the peacekeeper within your own family? Can “keeping people together” sometimes become a burden for you?

  1. Jacqui Lee  

    Have tried to be sometimes, but it is not helping anyone, sometimes you just have to stand back, and even then it is likely you will be picking up the pieces as the rift still occurs, I would like peace and harmony, but I can’t make it happen. It is painful.

  2. When two of your children refuse to socialise at all with each other life becomes very difficult for the ones left in the middle, particularly around Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day etc. These special occasion days are very upsetting and making arrangements to see all your loved ones can be extremely stressful. When I feel the time is right I will work towards mending the rift between them and then hopefully we will have peace and harmony again. Peacemaking can be stressful but so is living in disharmony.

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