Most people my age have heard songs by Fleetwood Mac. Today I am struck in particular by the song “The Chain.” I have always been drawn to that song for reasons I won’t expound on here, but yesterday and today it is running through my mind continuously for a new even more – at least to me – disturbing reason.
Everyone knows there are ‘chains’ in our relationships; things that tie us together to another person for various reasons. We can choose to make those chains stronger or weaker depending on how we feel about that relationship.
But the genetic familial ‘chain’ is what I am thinking of right now. Why are we so bound by these chains? What is the outside pressure brandished onto us that keeps us bound by those chains regardless of the cost to ourselves.
If, for instance, someone we are ‘chained’ to, outside our family, becomes too harmful to us, we simply break the chain and move on – sometimes without a second thought. But in those instances when we do have a second thought, we are able to decide if this relationship is good for us or not, and then move in the direction we need to according to the results of our rational decision.
Our decision, no matter how carefully considered, can be used with family. Why are we required by social convention to accept whatever behavior a family member heaps upon us no matter how toxic? Why are there so many external complications if we desire to break those chains?
“I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain.”
Why can’t we? If we can decide to break the chain with others that are hurtful to us continuously, why can’t we decide to break away from family members that do the same without feeling guilt, shame, or remorse?
I think this social construct should be revisited. I think familial ‘chains’ should be strong where they need to be, but have the ability to be unlocked, or broken, or discarded when their behavior becomes literally too much for us to bear.
I don’t have an answer to this really - just the question 'why?'
Maybe it is to make us a better person.