The Family We Have No Choice About
When we first meet our family - and I'm talking about the family we're born into - we have no idea what we're getting ourselves into.
I mean this in a very literal sense. We've come out of someplace warm and cozy, go through what is undoubtedly for us some sort of strangely traumatic experience, and enter into a too-bright world where we are completely naked, soaking wet, and probably hungry. We're passed off to at least one semi-adult like figure who looks at us with some sort of dazed wonderment (and probably a few tears) before we are passed off to a round of other people who poke and prod us for a few minutes until we are dry and warm.
What I've described is a best case scenario, as every childbirth certainly doesn't end this well. It's a scenario I'll go with, though, for what I'm about to discuss - family.
As we grow, we seem to naturally pick up the quirks and foibles of the people that gave us life, as well as picking up on the dynamic between them. This may not always be pleasant, and this, in turn, can lead us to certain conclusions about our relationships with our family members over time and how we deal with them.
It could also be that we recall our upbringing with these people we call our parents as happy and supportive, and that's awesome - that's as it should be. Certainly, there's also no perfect formula for a happy upbringing, as every family - every person - goes through cycles of good times and bad. Also, there's ways in which we end up looking back on these moments that lead us to core beliefs about our families.
Parents aren't perfect, but as we grow up, our perceptions of our parents change, as our perceptions of our siblings change over time. When we're very small, we might view our families as these invincible people for whom no bad things shall ever happen. It doesn't take much - an illness, financial burdens and how we deal with them - for that perception to begin to shift.
When we're teenagers, we might sometimes view our parents - even our siblings - as assholes or idiots, whether they're trying to protect us for various reasons or preventing us from doing what we want them to. The love for the family doesn't change; it just becomes different, masked by sarcasm, or annoyance, or anything like that.
It doesn't always make sense, our family relations and how we deal with them, but there are ways these relationships ebb and flow that end up forming a good part of how we become who we are.
Families - Don't Ask, Sometimes Don't Understand
Learning To Grow
Families are complicated at the best of times, and sometimes, there are some people who should never have become parents in the first place. Ask anyone who's ever suffered abuse of any sort at the hands of a parent, or at the hands of a sibling, and they will likely tell you that they're hard pressed to feel positive about their families.
However, what we take from our families as we grow older - some of us really don't ever grow up, do we? - is a choice. We may not feel we have much of a choice when we're younger, but we do as we get older and achieve independence from our families. We might look at our time living at home with our families with a great deal of anger as if determining that's the best reason - the only reason, sometimes - we despise what's happened and have effectively divorced ourselves from our families as a result.
Sometimes, though, we also find our way back to realize that family is also ingrained in our blood. Sometimes we can find a way to not forget what happened, but forgive, somehow, and rebuild any sort of relationship with them. I'm not only talking about abusive relationships, but sometimes, there's just things that happen with relationships that break hearts and break us, at least temporarily.
There's beauty in what's broken, though, and sometimes, what comes back together is something beautiful that can more than what we might expect, and we can also become stronger for it.
The trick is, figuring out how to become stronger, in spite of loathing or loving our family bonds.
Relationships Are Messy
Improving Your Relationship
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 08, 2017:
Great hub. Having been part of several families in my 60+ years, I can tell you that these relationships change over time, some for the better, some not, but they do change. If you will stay on the alert for changes you may be able to improve the poor relationships and protect yourself from the relationships that will never do anything but hurt you.