I love my extended family. Sometimes though I really don’t understand them. I have refrained from talking about my extended family on this blog, despite, at times, really wanting too. The reason for resisting discussion is that I know some of my family read this blog. I also know how easily the written word can be misinterpreted. That, without facial expression and nuance, it is all to easy to take offence.
The second reason for holding back is that, at times, I would have been writing from anger. It is my experience that writing in anger and publishing those words on the internet is a bad idea. Jobs have been lost, relationships irreparably damaged, just not a good idea, ok.
However today I am going to talk about my extended family. I am the daughter of an alcoholic father who eventually drank himself to death. He died when I was in my early twenties leaving me with a whole mess of reactions to deal with. For most the seven stages of grief, for me I think it was about fifteen.
Then there is my mum. My mum and I have never really been close. This is strange because we lived alone together for ten years. She and I are very different people with a very different approach to life. I love her very much but I don’t really understand her, I suspect she feels the same way.
I have a sister, she and I don’t get on, and we are no longer involved in each others lives. Its for the best, but its sad that this is the case.
I have a brilliant relationship with my grandmother. I think it is reasonably easy to have a great relationship with a grandmother. You never lived together and they only see the good in you, and you in them. Also it is their job to spoil you and this is bound to lead to fond memories. Add to this the fact that my Granny is pretty awesome anyway (open minded, loving, young spirited) and it has been pretty cool being her granddaughter. I am glad for the things she has taught me, and the confidence in myself she instilled.
I used to think I was particularly unfortunate having such complicated relationships with my nearest and dearest. I have shed many tears wishing that those closest to me, genetically, understood me better. Recently though I have realised that the phrase ‘you can choose your friends but not your family’ is entirely accurate. Families are groups of people thrown together by genetics often with very different temperaments, and beliefs.
You have shared experience, and love which bonds you together but if you agree on things you are particularly lucky. I’m not alone in having a complicated family, I’m in the majority. This makes me feel better.
So if your fighting with your Dad or your Aunties haven’t spoken for years , don’t worry. If on the other hand you have great relationships within your family, cherish them, they are very valuable.
It’s so true, that you create your own ‘families’ with the friends and other people you bring into you life – the people who ‘get’ you, the people you don’t judge you and who make you feel good, or better at least, about yourself.
That said, I count myself very lucky that I have a lovely mum and a lovely sister. You can share if you like 🙂
It is refreshing to learn that I am not the only one with a complicated family life.
My family (me, my brothers and my Dad) were thrown together when Mom was taken ill, and ultimately passed away. We decided, without spoken word, that we had been through enough watching her suffer, then losing her, that we would always stay together. My brother and I got on, but we had our own lives to lead, and we all did just that, but in opposite directions to each other.
I wish that I had been closer to my Mom. We got on, we loved each other, but in the last few years of her life, in which I left home, got married, had a new job, I was busy building this new life that I only saw her about once a week. My biggest regret is that I didn’t make enough time for her in the last couple of years.
We have a sister. She was out of our lives for 10 years, letting her ‘demons’ control her, and decide that everyone around her was evil. The truth was, it was her behaviour that was pretty evil, and she judged everyone else by her own actions. We welcomed her back (it was hard) when mom was poorly, and it was nice to have a sister again. But then she just used to lose her temper too easily, and constantly picked arguments until she decided not to be a part of our lives once more. That was 4 years ago, and I have done all the crying over her that I am ever going to do.
I’m so sorry you lost your mum and things aern’t so great with your sister either. Thanks for sharing, it helps
IÂ´m so happy for you with your Granny and happy for her, to have YOU!!
My children and grandchildren are the most importent persons in my world. There are also other importent people, just like it is for you: Soulfriends in my “soulfamily”. Ella, Welcome to my “soulfamily”. I would be happy if you would be there.
I would be honoured, thanks Anne.
After reading your blog it made me realize that other people besides myself have similar problems .
So so true, I have a fab friend who I know I can depend on anytime if needed which is more than I can say for some family members. I am lucky to be close to my Mum and brothers but I don’t have much contact with my Dad. People find that strange but for me it’s the best way. I think complicated families are more common than we realise, just like yourself I used to think I was only one until I spoke to a few people and found out their families are not so perfect either.