Are Family “Peacekeepers” doomed?

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@Glowimages: White Bird Sitting On Barbed Wire Fence

I was reading a couple of my posts from last year, the ones that go into detail about the separations in my family. In one post, I explained how I used to be the peacekeeper in my family. (Link: “Looking Back – The Breaking Point”). That usually meant I kept my opinions to myself and tried to keep the peace between everyone. And so, as I sit here remembering it all, what seems like a whole life away from now, a new thought came to mind: how interesting that it was the peacekeeper in our family that ended up the outcast. Wait – how is that possible? How does that even happen?

It led me to this question – are the peacekeepers in a family ultimately doomed? It’s something to contemplate and honestly, I don’t know the answer. I just know what the answer was for me.

All those years that I spent ignoring my own will and in an effort to avoid confrontation, tried to keep the peace between everyone in my family. It’s just what I grew up doing. I don’t think it is an inherently bad thing but it sure does come with some consequences. You lose yourself, constantly caught in the shuffle, constantly anxious. You are, in fact, almost a lie. You aren’t being true to yourself so how can you be true to anyone else? But to a little girl growing into a young woman, I didn’t see that – I was just trying to make everyone happy, trying to keep the family unit intact.

What I know now is that you can’t make everyone happy. It’s wholly impossible! And it’s not worth losing who you are. Where did my peacekeeping get me? If my family is the example, then you are far better being selfish and controlling. But that is just not me, not who I am inside. Would have been cast out had I not been the peacekeeper?  I have to think that it would have happened no matter what. In a family so completely messed up by trauma and tragedy, in a family where no one truly dealt with their pain, how could we have ended up any different?

My original thought was that being the peacekeeper is not a good thing, but the truth is that I am glad for it now – it made me who I am. And through all the family bullshit, I think I am the one that somehow ended up with the strength and courage, and I didn’t lose myself to get there – I instead found myself. For the first time in my entire life, I refuse to hide who I am, refuse to lower myself to the expectations of others, refuse to allow myself to be taken advantage of. It’s not easy much of the time; but that strength I found helps carry me through. There is a certain strength in surviving trauma, in dealing with and muddling through our pain. There is an amazing strength in surviving something that could have taken you out. I am proud of that strength. I hope you find yours too and if you already have, revel in it my dear friends!


17 thoughts on “Are Family “Peacekeepers” doomed?

  1. I agree, and they end up taking on the problem as their own, in my experience, at least. But I’ll also agree that I’m better for it all, having found myself and not lost. This is a wonderful, thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! It’s been tough to learn the difference between having empathy for the ones I love while enabling them to tackle things themselves and taking it on as my own to fix. Support vs. doing it for them. Even with my own kids! One must learn my doing oneself, and that’s a tough things to watch from the sidelines as the cheerleader….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Peacekeepers are good when they act as mediators, but when they begin trying to fix, then they will become part of the problem. That’s just my opinion and experience, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I think there are many of us that have played those roles…
        …My nature is to be a fixer and I don’t facilitate others very well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This post really hit home for me… I’ve been trying to be a neutral party in my family to diffuse conflict for years, and all I have to show for it is anxiety, depression, and OCD. Maybe you’re right that it isn’t worth being the peacekeeper forever, and to just thank the role for shaping us. Love this post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I am so glad it touched you! I think it is such a valuable question in many ways. What’s the saying – “Good guys/girls always finish last.” I think there is more truth in this than I even knew. I won’t stop being a good person of course, I just stopped trying so damn hard to please everybody else and only getting slapped in the face for it. HUGS to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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