Sep 19, 2008

Their family

"We don't pick our family"...I say those words regularly to hurt students, angry parents and sad friends. I also have to remind myself of that line from time to time! Tonight was one of those times that I needed a reminder.

I have a great relationship with my parents...that doesn't mean that it's not dysfunctional from time to time, but overall we have a good relationship. And one of the things that makes it good is that I have accepted and even made peace with the fact that we can only speak so many times in a week, I can only spend a certain amount of time with them before a break is required. And more than anything...I have accepted that they will always judge me, always want me to do what they "wish" even if it's not what makes me happy. They love me the only way they know how...and I no longer expect anything else.

My brother is a completely different story! I only have one sibling...and he was my best friend throughout my childhood. But as we have grown older, we live totally different lives and have nothing in common. Okay, so we both love our family for what it is; we can be in the same room together for holidays and events and in the end, we will always love each other. So while we love each other, it's fair to say that we don't really like each other as adults. My brother is married and has a daughter...and she is such a great person! In fact, tonight my niece is spending then night and we are going to do some fun stuff tomorrow. I love spending time with her and have been looking forward to this for a week. So tonight after work I drove to their office to pick her up and neither my brother or his wife said a single word to me. Not one single word!!!! How random is that and for no reason.

It's not that surprising, because they have been known to do that periodically over the years. The truth is, I am the accommodator in my family...the person who does what ever is decided by the others so I can ensure that nobody will be hurt, angry or inconvenienced. Remember that post when I questioned if I was worthy...welcome to the core of that issue! See what you learn when your a therapist! But back to the point, tonight I decided that I had enough...so when my niece got in the car I turned to my brother and his wife and told them it was rude to not speak to me. I told them how excited I was to spend the time with my niece and I deserved a hello...at the very least. I got in the car and drove away feeling so proud that I stood up. I would be lying if I said that there wasn't a part of me that felt like calling and apologizing to avoid any bad feelings. But the fact is that I didn't...I stood by my words! I stopped accommodating their silly behavior.

So tonight my niece and I went for a walk, had dinner at a fun restaurant we found and sat on the couch watching a movie and laughing out loud!!!! I know she didn't pick my for an aunt, but I am grateful for the title!

18 comments:

us 2 said...

go tracie............it is time.....you are so worthy....but we dont pick our family ....we are stuck with them but dont have to put up with any bull......i am glad you did not call to apologize.....let them stew on it.......shame on them....your niece is a lucky girl to have you.........have a great weekend..

Francesca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francesca said...

(Ooops! I attributed the wrong name to you, so had to delete the initial comment and amend! Was reading something else and it must have run into each other!!!! I'm must be getting old!)..........

Aaaannnnnyhoo.....

Good for you! Families can be complicated, but you sound like you have made some big steps in accepting things and living with the good while standing up for yourself. You have a nice attitude about things. Yaaaaayyy, Auntie! You're an inspiration! xx

Gwen said...

Good for you. I hope they take it as intended, a warning, not a battle cry.

WendyB said...

Good for you for speaking up.

Marcy "meg" said...

good for you for speaking up! I need to do it more often myself. Maybe I will take your lead as an example!!!

Miss X said...

I can really relate to being the "accomodator" in the family. I wasn't that way growing up...I was the demander. The accomodator is the hardest role in the family to me b/c I sometimes feel like if I don't accomodate then I'll disrupt the balance of the family.

Long story short, it has happenned...I disrupted the balance of my family. I'm happier now, though. The family relationships aren't as good as they once were but I am no longer suffering from serious depression.

Caroline said...

Good for you for standing up for yourself. I know it's hard, but the more you do it the easier it becomes.

I am proud of you and I hope you have a wonderful time with your niece.

Moe Wanchuk said...

You're not alone with the family issues. I've seen my older brother once since 1991. It was at my father's funeral. I still want to punch him in the teeth.

J said...

It's really hard working with another person who doesn't want to put the time and effort into working back. My family is some what similar to yours. It has taken me years in thearpy to try to look at the patterns, behaviors, situations, and experiences to sort through it all and try to create healthy behaviors and boundries for current relationships going foward.

Good Luck to you!

Stacie said...

standing up to anyone for myself is something that I am struggling with often...and I will use you as my inspiration...great job!

R said...

Wow!! Look at the guts you got girl!! I am so proud of you! I KNOW that was a very hard thing for you to do and GO YOU for doing it and for standing up for yourself. You do deserve so much more and you are so worthy of all good things.So glad you had sucha nice time with your niece. Sometimes the kids just make it all worth it.

PinkPiddyPaws said...

Good for you girlie! Seriously, your family is supposed to love and support you no matter what. To get the cold shoulder from family for no apparent reason? it's just wrong, wrong I tell ya. So good on you for doing that.. and extra special points for having the care to not do it so that the niece could hear. That makes you an even better Aunt!

Keeper Of All Things said...

What??.....Wait.....there are functional families????
Wow I bet they feel out of place!!!

Darrin said...

Wow.. what a great attitude. Life would be so much better for me if I could break through that fear of offending people, and just "speak up" sometimes. Kudos to you!!

Renaissance Woman said...

It worked...when I dropped my niece off they apologized for being rude. So at least for the moment it worked. Who knows, tomorrow they might act the same as before but at least I stood up for myself. I always find it easier to speak up to people who I don't consider my family...but I guess that is obvious!

Kelly O said...

It sounds kind of like they might have been fighting with each other, like maybe you stumbled into the middle of a cold war? I'm so glad your niece has you.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I had to learn how to do the same thing - it's so hard to say what needs saying especially when you have been letting the people you love get away rude behavior you whole life. Good for you!