Family drama

>> Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alright... Warning: This is very personal.

When you grow up, you gradually come to terms with several truths, one of them being that nearly no family is perfect. Most are somewhat dysfunctional, but the love between them all is strong. Others families are more broken and torn apart. Then a few are just nearly perfect. Right? This is what I like to believe anyway. I realised that my own family was no close to perfect when I was very young. But I still realise new things about my family issues all the time.

I am the youngest child of blended family. Both my mother and father had previous marriages and children from their first spouse, and I am the only child between them. They are still together after 20 years, but it's no walk on roses. I know no marriage is, but my mother has been one second away from divorcing for a couple of years now. They both came from very dysfunctional families, allthough my mother grew up in countries all around the world and came from a more prestigeous, wealthy family, while my father grew up with the poorest of the poor with 9 other siblings. My mother made a distance from her family and that lifestyle early on, and moved to the Bronx on her own when she was 16, instead of living with her family on Upper East Side, because she wanted to make other experiences.
Every choice she's made has been in effort to try to make a distance from that lifestyle and set of mind. She has taught me nothing but appreciation for every little thing and doing the very opposite of spoiling me. I grew up with my older brother (from my mother), met my other half sister regularily, but I was told my other brother was my cousin. He was in and out of prison all the time and addicted to drugs. It wasn't an easy home to grow up in, and my brother practically ran away when he was 18. Since that I haven't seen much of him. Not because he's not doing ok or being successful. He's more than alright. But he's never made a single effort to get in touch with me or get to know who I am. I've been wondering WHY for many years. Because I miss having that kind of contact, the kind you can only have with someone who shares your mother/father. There's things they understand that no one else would, and part of you is the same. It's ironic how I've followed in my brothers footsteps without having any idea! However, I always felt like he didn't like me, and it hurt me greatly. Why?
At one point, I reached out to him for help (because he'd told me I could if there was something important/urgent). You know what he did? Just brushed me off. I've never quite gotten over it. Now, the vibe between us is so weird it's just too awkward to be around him. But I still try.

When it comes to my half sister, she also just kind of disappeared from my life when I was around 8 years old. Never knew why, I just assumed she was extremely busy. Now I've found out it was because of my mother. I've also found out my brother ran away because of my father.
They both hold deep grudges against either my mother or father, and they see me as part of one of them, therefore not worthy of their trust and time. It sucks. This is what I feared, but I now have it confirmed. I am the only one in the middle who get to hear both sides of the story and it's impossible for me to not get into defence mode. In addition to all of this, it seems both my brother and sister have some kind of disregard against the parent that "belongs" to them, my brother who is my mother's son don't really care that much about her or stay in touch. Same with my sister and my father. So I am also the one left with the responsibility of trying to make sure they are ok. It makes me sad, but it also feels so unnecessary. They're missing out on something.
I'm not the one who experienced being in their shoes, but for God's sake, give people a chance and stop demanding for them to be flawless superhumans. We only have one set of parents and they all have their flaws but they are who they are. Unique. Why do I have to be the grown up when she's 22 years older than me? I've always appreciated what I got, no matter how dysfunctional/amputated it is, because I know I could lose it tomorrow. But I've come to realise that even more the latest years. My hubby's father, brother and two sisters were killed. He'd do anything to have them back. And he's the one who reacted so strongly to how my brother was treating me, because he said he was so protective and caring with his sisters. Before him pointing that out to me, I had let the situation just be whatever it was and try to believe it was normal.
I had the impression "blended" families functioned better than this at least between the brothers and sisters, but I know that was naive. Seems just a little too hard for some people to let go of old pain and stop judging. So all you people out there who have good relationships with your brothers/sisters, nuture them well!


Omo Oba March 24, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

You were told your bro was your cousin??? I am sitting here knowing how so real that is...and I am wondering y parents feel the need to hide the truth from us?

I dare not say I understand what you are going thru...I can only imagine what it feels like. It must be hard having a brother and sister who you dont really have. And it must also be hard for your brother and sister to let go of the past but it must really suck to be in the middle of the mess.

However, you are not alone, Ada..."blended" families are very much so like what you described (not to generalize or make your story seem less unique). Even the blended families I know where things are relatively ok, there is always some kind of unspoken tension. I hope things turn around for you. And, sorry to hear about your husband's siblings and father...that must have been tough.

Adaeze March 25, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

Omo Oba! Thank you so much for this sweet heartwarming comment. Finally someone commented on this old post :-)I dont feel like you're generalizing at all, besides it is so nice to know I'm not alone. And my bro being my cousin...I know..its weird. I can understand where parents are coming from when hiding the truth but it's still not good. Will run and check out your blog now! Thanks again

aloted May 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM  

wow...tnx for sharing...i dont even know wat to say but am glad u r strong abt this n i hope things work out.

sorry abt your hubby's family as welll...gosh!

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