Family In Conflict Over an Interracial Relationship?
October 08, 2003
Whether you are the person involved in the relationship, or the family member who opposes it, Dr. Phil has advice.
Clarify the Objection
If a family member objects to your interracial relationship, or if you are the person with the objection, clarify whether this is due to an issue of character or purely an issue of race.
Clarify the Motive
Are you in an interracial relationship because you truly care about the person, regardless of race, or because you want to rebel against your family, or engage in reverse racism? If you are the person with objections, are you motivated by a desire to see your loved one happy, by a desire to control the situation, or a desire to protect your family member from the judgment he/she will face from society?
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
If your objections stem from wanting to protect your loved one from the judgment you fear he/she will receive from others, it’s important that you stop being judgmental yourself. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can maintain your position of support and influence. Interracial relationships can have their own challenges and you’ll want to be there when he/she needs you.
If you threaten to sever ties “unless he/she breaks it off,” understand that you do run the risk of becoming estranged from your loved one.
Don’t Accept or Place Irrational Guilt
If you are being made to feel that you are a divisive force in the family because you refuse to end an interracial relationship, understand that the guilt isn’t yours to own. The family member who refuses to associate with you and/or the rest of the family needs to own their decision.
Give Yourself What Your Family Member(s) Won’t
There are times in life when you have to give yourself what you wish you could get from someone else. If the love and support you wish you could have from your family has been removed because of your relationship, you will have to provide it for yourself.
Prepare an Open Heart
If someone has animosity toward you, the only thing you can do is prepare an open heart, so that it’s open should he/she ever change his/her mind.
The old adage about maintaining peace at any price can result in no peace at all. You’ve got to be who you are, live and believe your convictions, and let your family member own his/hers, however misguided you may feel they are.