HOME: A SANCTUARY NOT A BATTLEFIELD
“Home is where one starts from” – This is a very short yet profound quote by the famous T.S Eliot and a very important premise to the topic I would like to address - Setting up healthy relationships at home. When most of us talk about home, we actually associate it with a place of comfort. A safe haven. Somewhere we go to rest, to unwind, whether it is from a long day at work, a college semester abroad or even just mom’s place for the weekend after the kids have driven us crazy all week. Those are the most generic examples, because home is different for all of us. But what we can all agree upon is that home is a place where you can just walk in and be yourself and be at ease, knowing that the troubles you face outside it have not crossed the threshold and that the walls stand to protect you.
However, for a lot of people, home is not a sanctuary, but a battlefield. And, what makes it so is the negativity that fosters in the relationships within those walls. The impact of unhealthy relationships at home is toxic and one of the most significant hindrances to one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.
An unhealthy relationship lacks communication. There is a gap filled with misunderstanding and a lack of ability to empathize with the other person. Often, one side will display power and control over the other. Disrespect, distrust, manipulation, constant bickering, negative criticism, and jealousy are all traits that define an unhealthy relationship within a home.
Unhealthy relationships of parents with their children affects their early childhood development. In their early years, children cannot make sense of conflict, but they are vulnerable to sensing it. This in turn leads to slower development, limited social skills, lack of confidence, behavioral problems and so on . As children grow older and continue to have an unhealthy relationship with their parents, one that contains physical and/or emotional abuse as well as unnecessary punishment, they begin to develop trauma as their memory strengthens. You will find that many adults who display negative behavior usually have unhealthy relationships with their parents. Children seek comfort and validation from their parents, the lack of this can deter their path to having a fulfilled life. It all comes back to the quote by Mr. Eliot. When home, the place that one starts from, has a volatile environment, a child does not start from a point of positive energy. Instead of growing on an emotional level, creating, developing new skills and figuring out the outside world, they are dealing with past traumas and spending time rebelling and acting out as their response. One of the leading causes of developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety is unhealthy relationships at home.
However, it is not just children who deal with the effects of unhealthy relationships at home. Adults too bear the brunt of it all. A home which does not offer comfort but instead has a bunch of people who are continuously in conflict with each other leads to poor mental health, lack of satisfaction from life and seemingly never-ending stress. A negative environment at home would definitely preoccupy one’s mind and leave them incapable of performing to their full potential in their daily lives.
Given the detrimental effects of unhealthy relationships at home, I think it is important for adults to actively work towards fostering positive relationships amongst their clan. This will nurture a support system that will make every member feel loved, protected and connected. The confidence that comes within a person, be it an adult or a child, from belonging to a group that is supportive is quite a plus point in helping the person progress towards his/her goals. Another significance of having healthy relationships at home is that they help row the boat through murky waters, meaning that come the bad days, one does not feel isolated. Instead of succumbing to despair, people will find strength within the tribe and will be able to deal with the hard times in a better way.
Healthy relationships at home begin with respect. Regardless of age or gender, I think every member should respect the other as a complete human being, with opinions, emotions and a perspective on how they want to go about their lives. Respect will inhibit degradation and will encourage communication. When two people respect each other enough, they are likely to communicate better. An essential ingredient to better communication is comprehension. To try and really understand the other person. This will reduce conflict. Another important element in maintaining healthy relationships at home is no judgement. People respond to judgement by restraint. They pull in themselves and stop sharing, and start to feel like they are being loved based on a certain set of conditions. Therefore, a non-judgmental pair of ears followed by guidance is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
Home is the foundation in the making of every person’s personality development. It is the anchor that eventually drives the person, be it in a positive or negative direction. Without a stable environment at home, people will continue to battle the monsters under their bed that somehow didn’t cease to exist after growing up. All in all, everyone deserves a place, where they can rest as they face the struggles of life. “Home is where one starts from”- and home is where one should end a day in peace.
(Hello Readers! I really hope you enjoyed reading my perspective. Please leave your feedback as I would love to know your thoughts about the topic. I am an aspiring writer whose book is in the works. I share some of my work on Instagram @lifethru_mi_specs. I write about women empowerment, mental health, racism, religion, hardship, body positivity, love, hate, friendships and a lot of whole other things! Give me a follow and let’s connect? – Mishi Tariq)