A friend was talking about his childhood and how it continues to impact him now as an adult. He is the youngest of four buoys, born into a hardworking blue-collar family.
His oldest brother, the first-born male was the pride of his father’s eye. His second oldest brother excelled at all things sport. The brother closest to his age? Very successful in getting what he wanted. My friend? He felt inept and useless in this mix.
No matter how hard he worked, how successful he became he still feels inept compared to the rest of his family. I suspect that in a way we all have those issues with family.
Family is one of those things that can drive us crazy, make us feel like children no matter how old we are and continue to wound us long after the event is over.
Some of us will keep a distance from our families in the name of self-preservation. Some of us will continue to be hurt time and time again, and still we go back to family. It is all we know and no matter what there may be comfort found in this.
No matter how successful my friend is, no matter how far he goes in his life, if he allows his family to continue to be the lens in how he seems himself,he will remain inept.
Some people say that family is what you rely on the good times and the bad. They know you at your best and your worst. And yet the damage they can inflict, the few careless words or slights from childhood can carry on well into our adult years. When this happen, those hurts and slights can be magnified and intensified beyond belief.
Like so much in life, our relationships with family must be balanced. We must allow ourselves to be who we are as individuals, maintaining respect for ourselves without creating more waves within the turmoil waters of family. Probably some of the hardest balancing we will have to do to be authentic to ourselves while not being who we were as children.