I feel like I don’t belong to my family of origin anymore. I can’t say I remember ever feeling that way before.
It started when I went up north to spend time with my brother Luke, his daughter Gracie, and my mom Saturday morning. I’d driven several hours after spending the night on the boat with Paul. I didn’t sleep well the night before, actually several nights before. I’ve been feeling fatigued for awhile now. I don’t have the energy I had before. I think it’s a normal part of aging. Other than that I was feeling like my normal self.
My brother Luke asked me what my story was. I asked him what he meant. He asked why I seemed so quiet and sad. I assured him I was fine. Yes, I am tired, quiet, and sad. That is my normal state. I was not feeling troubled in any way. There really wasn’t much to say. He almost seemed offended I didn’t have much to talk about. He accused me of being hungover from the night before. I was offended by his statement. Did he not know me? I told him I have not been puking drunk since 1995 when I was 21 and some old guy kept buying me shots at the bar. I was so sick I missed class the next morning. I told myself that day it wouldn’t happen again and it didn’t. I drink, but I don’t get drunk to the point where I am puking and hungover.
I felt judged by my brother the whole time I was there and it was miserable. I didn’t do anything to deserve being treated that way. He and his daughter Gracie pretty much judged me and everyone in my family except my son Alex.
Luke said someone he knew died the day after he retired because he got in a car accident from a teenager that was texting. My mom told everyone that my daughter Arabella texts while she drives. Then everyone launched into how bad Arabella is. I don’t even know if it is true. My mom just likes to add fuel to the fire. I’ve never seen my daughter text while driving. Yes, she probably uses her phone to play music and navigate. Who doesn’t? Why would my daughter tell my mom anyway? If it was really true and my mom was concerned, why didn’t she tell me in private? Now I am worried that my brother and niece will confront her about it during her graduation party this weekend.
Then my brother found some cigars in the back of the cupboard. My niece confronted me asking if I was a smoker. I told them they belonged to my husband. On special occasion he will have a cigar, like once every couple of years. There was a four pack of little cigars with one missing. I believe my husband smoked that cigar at least 7 years ago. I don’t know why they were making a big deal out of it. He wasn’t breaking any law.
Then my brother told me that he didn’t feel like his daughters would be welcome at my daughter’s wedding because of the music she was planning on playing at the reception. My daughter as a music major picked out her whole playlist of songs already. From 6 to 8, it will be jazzy dinner music like Frank Sinatra. Then from 8 to 10 she picked family friendly dance music like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Then from 10 to 12 she wants to play club music. Some of the music may not be appropriate for younger kids. But usually by later in the night the little ones go home anyway. I listened to the music and I don’t think it is anything out of the norm for a wedding. My nieces will be 13 and 15 when my daughter gets married so I think they can handle it. If not, I can remind him of the music he listened to at their age.
Then he also was judgmental that my daughter Angel went to the bar up north for her birthday. She is 23. We walked to the bar, had one drink, and played a round of darts. He was upset at the neighbors for drinking and swearing. I just can’t relax around him. I can’t crack open a beer and listen to the music I like. Everything I do, don’t do, or even think about doing is wrong to him. He is not much fun to be around. He expects everyone to be perfect, especially his kids.
We couldn’t even play a game and have fun. My mom had a really bad hand and said oh shit. He launched into her about her language.
I felt attacked and judged by my brother the whole time. I hope this is just a one off thing. Maybe he is just really stressed out or something. Everyone in my family is so dysfunctional and negative that I feel really down after a visit. I am considering not even hosting the holidays this year. Maybe I need to say no more for my own mental health. It’s really hurtful to be attacked and have my husband and/or kids attacked when I am hanging out with family. We didn’t do anything to deserve to be treated this way. Not only that but my brother has not even seen or talked to some of my kids in over a year. He doesn’t even know us.
The funny thing is my brother Luke was one of the wildest people I knew. He was wilder as a teenager than probably all three of my kids put together. He treats me like I am a bad person and parent. He is really strict with his kids. I actually was angry at first but now I feel sorry for him because he seems absolutely miserable.
We’ll see what the weekend brings and go from there.
3 thoughts on “(A)part of the family”
Family dynamics can be really tough. It’s like it’s ok to be blunt and judgmental because they’re your family, when you wouldn’t be like that with friends. Parenting makes it worse because everyone has their own opinions and parenting style.
I agree that maybe you shouldn’t host this year. Put yourself first. X
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Thanks! The hard part of healing is that I think everyone else is changing with me. I almost magically expect the dysfunctional to become functional. Then I feel disappointed when it is not that way. Maybe some distance would be a good idea. As far as parenting goes, my kids are grown but my brother’s kids are just entering the preteen/teenage stage where it starts to get difficult. It’s easy to judge when everything is going fine in your house. But I could use his support instead of judgment since the last two years have been hell for me.
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Right, families should support each other, not judge. X
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