Dysfunctional Family of Origin Interactions

The thing about being in a family that is dysfunctional, mine was due to abuse and alcohol addiction, is that you are all divided from one another. Children in the family are often put into restricted roles within the family, which helps perpetuate and enable the sickness and dysfunction.

My mother encouraged this division and bad feeling among all us siblings. She seemed to really enjoy it a lot. I know that she felt more confident and in control when we were all divided against one another. She really didn’t like or encourage family feeling or devotion or connection with all of us. On the other hand, she got to decry that we didn’t get along and that we didn’t manage to have any solidarity, so she got it both ways.

Now my father emphasized the opposite, but he wasn’t around much, what with work and drinking. My father loved family and seemed to always emphasize doing good for your family. I suppose a lot of that family feeling was because he lost his mother when he was still a young child. Since she died young, he only had one sibling and always said he wished he would have had a sister, because he would have been so good and loving and kind to a sister.

He would tell our brothers to be good to their sisters and how important that was to do. I don’t think that they liked being told to do that. I wish so much that he had been better to me and more protective of me, most especially that he had stopped drinking and became a better man.

When you teach and encourage your children to call one another filthy nicknames and to insult and demean and bully one another, you will get results. When you never stick up for your own child when she is being bullied and chased and hit, well you get results. When you practice favoritism with two of your children while denying what everyone can see, you get results. When you use some of your children as though they are adult caregivers to their younger siblings, you get results. When you treat your children abusively, you get results.

One of the worst results to my family is the one thing that I hate the most about our family of origin, we are still divided. Here is the thing; I don’t care about being with anyone who was sexually abusive towards me, so I would never reconcile with my second brother and my first brother is dead already. But the rest of us are still trying to cope with divisions over and over again.

One of the biggest things that I hate the most about our family’s division is that siblings grew up, went away, and didn’t give back to the younger siblings. That left us at a terrible disadvantage. The worst part of it is that they did give extensively to their wives siblings, in-laws, and extended family, instead of to us younger ones. Now it is right that they didn’t owe us anything, but we were their family and they should have had helped us more than they hurt us. And they hurt us a lot.

I believe in taking better care of the younger peeps in my family. I do the best that I can. My first nephew was born when I was sixteen. Although I had never had parenting from my mother, I tried to be an extra positive influence in his life. I helped raise him, loved them and told him repeatedly what a great kid he was and why, spent time reading to him and playing with him and babysitting him, bought him lots of books and toys. I’ve done the most that I can possibly do for all of them. And now that the next generation has grown up, I am giving and loving and good and kind in the same ways to their children. My great nephews and nieces are great.

I give them a lot of my love and yes gifts and good words too. It is what you do for family, in my opinion, give them everything that you’ve got to give. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have other stuff to give to other peeps that I love. I choose to take after my father’s best thoughts and beliefs and actions.

In Which I Am Snarky

At a family gathering recently a sister in law of one of my brother’s came up to me. A brother that I had told many years ago that I no longer consider him a brother of mine and exactly why. I haven’t had any conversations with her in over thirty years and even then it was more of being in the same room with her kind of thing, once or twice. I probably haven’t seen her in fifteen years and my attitude has always been, so what, my life is fine without you, your sister, and him. They’re not in my life and even before I excluded them, they exhibited no effort in being in my life.

I don’t normally go to any kind of “family” gatherings, but this was in remembrance of my beloved relative who recently died. I had tried to avoid these three witches that day, but each of them came up to me several times. My ex-brothers knows enough to stand about five feet away from me when he says hello or goodbye. He still persists in doing this, even though I know my other brother has told him I don’t want anything to do with him ever.

The sister in law of my brother came up to me and said hello so-and-so and then asked, do you know who I am? She looks exactly the same, just older, with more weight on her. I mean I have no trouble recognizing relatives, even someone who isn’t really a relative of mine, but a relation of relative of mine. I told her, yes you are so-and-so. I’m still puzzling that one out, she’s older than me, if anyone would have memory loss it would have to be her first.

Later in the day when she was doing her rounds saying goodbye to people she came up to me again and wanted to give me a hug goodbye. Okay fine, whatever, she means nothing to me. It didn’t comfort me or help me in my healing process, but what the hell. By the way she was acting she thought she was doing something healing for me. No seeing the three of them is not healing, is not comforting, it is just the opposite.

My beloved nephew died and now I can’t have his smiling face in my life, bitch, so go fuck off, I wanted to say.  I love him and miss him and you think your presence and your excessive inaneness will do something for me? I didn’t say anything because I had promised one of my brothers to be nice at the gathering and he was hovering just behind her and could hear what was being said. He had told me to just talk to those I wanted to talk to and leave the rest alone. I had tried that, but that never works with my family, if you don’t want them, they have to try to invade your space and boundaries.

I about flipped my wig when she continued with her comments.

She said, you look just like your mom. (Yes she just compared me physically to a sex offender, who beat and raped me while I was a pre-schooler. Yes I look like a 70 year old woman, who had white hair when she died more than 15 years ago, thanks for your tact. Obviously I don’t.)

I bent over, stuck my finger in my mouth and made gagging noises.

She said, seeing you makes me think of your mom.

I said, that does nothing for me.

She said, well I always had a soft spot in my heart for your mom.

I said, again that does nothing for me.

She walked away.

About a month ago I had decided that a big healthy dose of snark was an entrenched part of my personality, that I accept that, and that I love that about myself. I’m not some kind of perfect little kitten, some tiny little victim that others can make be nice and compliant, which is what my family has always tried to do to me. I want to be good and kind and caring, more than anything else in the world, but the first and most important person for me to be good and kind and caring to is me.

Their presence in my life does nothing for me. Bye-bye.