The Dysfunctional Union

Being a product of a broken family was a real struggle. Not everybody can survive. It’s like a survival of the fittest under a deep dangerous forest, where you need not only to find your way out but you need to find yourself also. Your survival will be determined by only you. Physical pain is painful but an emotional pain will leave an unforgettable living scar … forever


My parents married without fully knowing each other. My mother was only 19 years old then while my father was 27 years old – a gap which will fuel their misunderstanding. They both came from a simple family. My mother was the eldest of three Marias while my father was the second child among four siblings. As far as I can remember, they just had a short span of a-boyfriend-girlfriend relationship when my father asks my mother to marry him. Actually, Mama seldom tells us their love story, like it was a nightmare for her.

The newly wed live on my father’s side in Cebu. Unfortunately, my father’s family has a cold hearts for her. They were not in favor of their son’s decision in marrying my uncle’s ex-girlfriend. Yes ! My mother was my uncle’s (Father’s 3rd brother) ex-girlfriend, yet I cannot elaborate the details for I also don’t know.

Their first years together was a misery, not a bed of roses. I remember seeing her crying in one corner of our small house because of them-it was painful. For years, she finally gets used to it. All their hatred, their cold treatment, and their negative comments. I don’t want to ruin my father’s reputation but I really don’t remember him consoling and defending her from them. We, my siblings, also get used to it. Hmm, how do I say this … favoritism factor ? Sometimes, they’re okay. Sometimes, they’re not. Even my cousins were influenced by these acts and attitude. We grew up not close to each other. I’m proud to say that in spite of the poverty, we were top notchers at school and we always make sure that at the end of every year we bring home medals and awards. We often joined the inter-school contest and bring home the bacon. But it was not enough for them to appreciate us.

I thought we were okay. My family was okay. During my early years in elementary, I know they quarrel a lot. They were not in good terms already. They fight with their mouth, though. But see, words hurts more than a physical wound. It’s ruining each others soul, not only there but it’s torturing us. I never ever thought we’ll end up like this-broken, a part.

Then, in one ordinary day in October 2000, my mother decided to end it. I guess it’s bound to happen or maybe it’s just the decision of someone stress, burnout and exhausted. I was 10 years old back then, so imagine how young my siblings were, the youngest was only less than a year. She packs our clothes and the next thing I know we were already traveling by sea to Manila. What’s the reason ? Just a simple misunderstanding that was fueled with their past piles of misunderstanding. That’s the start of everything, or shall I say the result of everything. Eventually, after 10 years of being in turbulent years together, she decided to cut the rope. She’s tired.

With my parent’s unsuccessful relationship, I realized the following were some of the pitfalls:

1.) Communicate – It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be somewhere else to talk to. You just have to be yourself when talking not only to your partner as well as to others. When you talk, try, to be honest as much as possible. Listen first and try to digest it before you react.

2.) Stop Shouting – Sometimes it feels good to shout especially when you’re angry. But did you even ask yourself if is it okay when someone will shout at you too? Isn’t it degrading? It could lose your respect as well as your partner’s respect too.

3.) Write – Not all people speak well or express themselves transparently through verbal. If your one of those unlucky ones, do it in a letter. Love letters are not corny at all. Sometimes, it could speak out your hearts. Plus it creates memories, painful and happy memories which someday will remind you of how you have been through.

4.) Grow Up – Do it for yourself and for your partner. We all have flaws and negative side as a person. We may not change our self completely but we should know when to grow old enough to adjust to our new surroundings, our new life, and new responsibilities. Every chapter of our life needs a new version – a better version of our self.

5.) Us Time – Try to have some quality time for each other. Bond with your partner, watch your favorite movie together when the kids are asleep, do the laundry and dishes together, have a walk in the park together with no kids around. Treasure your time together. Remember the universal rule is that someday, your kids will sooner or later leave the two of you to make his/her own family.

6.) Me Time – As the song Hard to Say I’m Sorry by Chicago goes, ” Even lover needs a holiday, far away from each other!” Well I guess, it’s true and effective. It doesn’t mean you should separate or file an annulment. Just take a day off away from your nagger boss or dependent office mates, away from the awful childish quarrel of your kids, away from the boring monotonous household chores, away from the chaos of life. It’s okay and normal to be burnout, congrats you’re 100% human. Treat yourself in a parlor or a massage spa or take a short stay-cation, visit a church and talk to him.

7.) Don’t Hold Grudges – I’ve been reading this over and over again in many books, articles or blogs. And believe me, it’s effective. Don’t sleep with your grudges in your heart because we can never tell if tomorrow we will still have a chance.

8.) Be Sensitive – Mind your partner. Not all “okay” means okay. Because sometimes, I mean a lot of times it means the opposite. Marriage is a union of two souls, a special connection between two different hearts. I believe that when you truly deeply love someone, even if you don’t talk with your each other, you will still feel and know what your partner feels and wants because it’s your hearts that’s talking.

 9.) Be a True Friends – Be your partner’s true friend, someone s/he could lean on and talk to. But remember not to be biased. Tell her the things, s/he doesn’t want to but needed to hear.

10.) Put God In the Center – Above all, make HIM the center of everything and everything will follow according to God’s plan. Surrender all your worries, pains and problems to HIM and let HIM lead the way.

There’s no perfect relationship at all. Love is a give and takes process. Marriage comes with higher responsibilities. A two to tango. What’s important is that you are enjoying every step, digesting every mistake and reliving all lessons learn along the way. A mistake in the past creates painful memories no one could erase , but on the brighter side, it teaches us a lot of lessons that will help us build a better version of ourselves to create a much better tomorrow.

As for me, I am happy that although I am a product of a broken family, I didn’t turn to drugs and vices. As well as my other sibs. I had to manage my emotions and continue my life. It was so hard that until now, even in writing this, I still shed tears, reminiscing the pains, still asking the same question what if and if only. I thought I could never make it. But I realized that moving on is an initiative and a decision you do for yourself and not for the other people. Moving on means accepting the truth. I know that the emptiness and the broken soul will always be part of me and my sibling’s life, for it can never be stitched or patched with anything, not even with money. Yet, being a product of a broken family never means you are also destined to fail. Failing is a decision, your sole decision only believes me.