It has happened at some point in life or another, to each and every one of us. There comes a time when you question whether one of your blood relatives could possibly be related to you, as you are such worlds apart. In my case I wonder if I was just plain adopted in that the “relatives” that I can relate to on a deeply personal level are far and few between. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just that your behavior, morals, ethics, values and interests just do not align.
This could lead into a much bigger issue if they vary so widely that one side begins to resent the other for their differences. You can co-exist together in harmony, but it does not necessarily mean what you think. The best way I have found to “co-exist” with relatives who you aren’t deeply connected with for a multitude of reasons is to learn to accept them for who they are, give up the idea of what you’d like them to be that you have concocted in your head and just love them. Sometimes loving them, literally means doing it from afar and refraining from consistent contact with them and in extreme cases, ceasing contact completely. Not because you dislike them, but because that relationship does more harm to you and your soul than it does good.
Other relationships could prosper further with a basic conversation of expectations. Personally, I barely feel like I exist to about 95% of my relatives, unless they want something, then it’s all about family and togetherness and all that other candy coated bullshit. I used to get upset about this aspect and even distanced myself from a large portion of my family for a long time because of these feelings. Honestly, the situation could have been helped with a conversation about expectations. For instance, I could say that IF these relatives wanted love and support from me, I would expect reciprocation in the same degree of their expectations.
Honestly they would have looked at me like I was crazy, or at least that is the assumption. The other side that I have always thought was, “If I do for them, they should just know that that love, support should be reciprocated in any way that they can afford.” I am not speaking in terms of monetary support either. I am driven in relationships more by overall mindfulness and appreciation and actually showing that appreciation through being mindful of the person who goes out of their way for you. Unfortunately most do not coincide with my thought process and I found myself beating my head against a brick wall.
So while the feeling is foreign to me, I have learned that to save myself grief, is to have this talk of expectations and when they are not met or mocked even, to say Cest La Vie and cut that cord. Life is too short, and I have way too many positive, life affirming connections to be emotionally led by a non-producing negative connection.
I continue making reference to “relatives” versus “family” as I believe that there is a distinction between the two. True “Family” knows no bloodline. It is the intertwinement of lives who make the conscious decision to love and support one another regardless of the obstacle. “Relatives” for me relate to folks who share predominantly the same bloodline as you, but are not necessarily consciously deciding to provide love and support. Another derivative that I use of this term is “Fair-weather Family.” Broken down in the simplest context, there when they need something, otherwise do not acknowledge your existence. To these folks I say, “your loss,” as I don’t chase relationships or connections because of a blood relation. I would appreciate having those relationships but I refuse to go the extra step for someone who would not do the same for me.
I literally have 2 individuals of blood relation, 2 of marriage relation that I consider “family,” through and through. The rest of my “family” consists of people who I know, without a doubt would be in my corner regardless of the situation. You may say, your standards must be too high. I say, “there is no such thing when it comes to matters of the heart and soul.” I don’t have a problem showing people who I am on any given day and time. It helps cut straight through the bullshit because those who can’t take it fade into the background. If someone has a problem with it, well I maintain that it is merely “their problem” to handle, as most of these folks who feel this way are consciously blind to their own projections and essentially weaknesses and will not devote the time to figure out a way to make the relationship work amicably for both sides. All they know is that it is not 100% about them and they are quick to throw up the deuces. Some things in this world are worth fighting for and some things are not. For me, this is one that is not. In the words of the late Maya Angelou- “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”