Families have always been considered as the basic unit of life. For the longest time, it has been noted that the kind of lifestyle families have are based on their ability to adapt to the environment, and how we were raised. The culture and traditions practiced for as long as I remember were clear representations of the generations that my family has surpassed.
I must say that my family was not as ideal as it may seem. Numerous problems were experienced and there were conflicts in terms of ideas. Unlike any other child, I was exposed to the realities of life at the tender age of seven. As a child, I developed a strong bond with my grandmother, which became extremely difficult from my end when she passed away. I was seven years old at that time, and my brother was four.
To compensate for her loss, my brother and I became closer with each other. However, the death of our grandmother left numerous issues, which tarnished our relationship with our father. Eventually, he left and never came back. The last time I heard from him was through a letter sent when I was thirteen.
To compensate for what happened, my mother had to work extra hours. This struggle made it more possible for us to bond with her accordingly. My brother and I were more comfortable being by ourselves at home, and would become disappointed when our mother had to come home from work. I believe that this feeling was formed through the experience we had with her.
For real and imaginative reasons, our mother would always have numerous grounds to hit us. This was really heartbreaking, for our impression about our mother was starting to fall apart. It was as if my brother and I were her personal punching bags that helped relieved her stress and anger. I believe that no person in their right state of mind would be amenable with such set up.
Yes, I know that my family is as dysfunctional as it seems. However, there is more to that. Aside from the numerous beatings my brother and I receive from our mother, she is also an alcoholic. In addition to this, her habitual vice has been accompanied by rage, and paranoia making it more difficult to understand my mother.
Eventually, my life was headed for more problems when my brother broke his news. He admitted to me that he was gay, and preferred men over women. This revelation affected me in the most possible manner, for I formed numerous queries in my mind. I felt that my brother betrayed me with his confession, giving him more reasons to be with my mother. My brother and I grew up together, and the bond we had was really strong. However, his confession became the reason for me to doubt myself. I feared that I may also be gay, because of the kind of relationship I had with my brother. Fortunately, I was able to stick with my male side and become the man that I am now.
However, coping with the said information also became difficult from my end. It was the first time that I had to face problems on my own. With my brother’s revelation, I did not know what else to do or whom to turn to. Such instances allowed me to just turn to alcohol and drugs. The kind of comfort provided by such vices allowed me to temporarily forget about the realities in my life and enjoy. In so doing, the small amount of time given to forget my problems allowed me to still keep my sanity. From a young child, I experienced being abandoned and physically abused by someone close to me; being given the vice to lean to served to be helpful emotionally yet morally degrading.
Similarly, my sister also experienced difficulties while growing up. She was born six years after my grandmother passed away, so she was spared of the heartache experienced when our father left us. As a girl, my sister was given stipulations and expectations deemed from women. She would always get into heated arguments with my mother in terms of the responsibilities she had at home. As second to my mother, she was expected to cook the food, clean the house, and take care of the family.
Basically all of the responsibilities that my mother should have done for us were passed on to my younger sister. These responsibilities forced my sister to grow and mature immediately and miss out a lot in her life. Unlike people her age, my sister was not free to do whatever she wanted. Before she could do what she wanted, like meet with friends, she had to make sure that all responsibilities have been accomplished. To many, the life my sister had was an epitome of responsibility, however, it was the other way around.
Unlike typical families, our family was based on what the elders deemed from us. As much as possible, the orders of the elders should be followed immediately before anything else. In so doing, we did not have the right to question the kind of responsibility they put on our shoulders. The kind of actions they had towards us was not something that we could take for granted, for it was a belief the elderly should always be followed.
In the same manner, our freedom to express ourselves was also limited. I would take this factor as the reason for my brother’s identity crisis. Although we grew up together, he had numerous queries that I was unaware of. As we grew older, he was able to form a differentiation of himself. The bond we formed after the family tragedy led him to continually find himself, and I the process learn to accept reality. I know that there came a time in my brother’s life that he wanted to fight the beliefs that were being formed in his mind. However, his true identity could not be hidden anymore. Admitting his true identity became the very reason for him to accept himself wholeheartedly and at the same time, gain the respect from others.
Moreover, the Emotional System attributed for my family was complicated. Unlike normal families, I had to derive inspiration and strength from my siblings. It was evident that I had a mother; however, she was different from the others. The levels of differentiation were evident in our family, for we were our own individuals as well.
In terms of Family Projection, I consider my family to be the best example. Each family has their own similarities and differences. There are families that go beyond what is expected of them. However, my family is focused on the realities of life. It was never hidden that I came from a dysfunctional family. My grandmother served as a pillar of strength and wisdom in the family, and her death led to the end of everything.
I consider my father’s abandonment to be the start of family projection. In my own regard, I believe that my mother wanted to show the world that we were still an intact family regardless of the fact that the family was dysfunctional and incomplete. However, this goal led her to express the lack of maturity in her life. Instead of setting a good example to us, my mother opted to do things on her own. I completely understand that my mother also wanted someone to be there for her during times of need, but she did them differently. Some of the responsibilities were passed on to my sister for she was out most of the time.
This prompted my sister to grow up and become a mature individual. What is disheartening is the fact that the people are being led to believe that our mother was taking care of us. Unaware to people, my siblings and I had to make sure that we were able to keep the family intact in whatever means possible.
As mentioned earlier, my father abandoned us when our grandmother left. I believe that unresolved issues, called Triangles, may be attributed to such. What was disheartening was the fact that the triangles grew and grew as time passed by. The reasons for our mother’s behavior were never disclosed to us, aside from all of the other problems that came with it. In so doing, my brother’s confession about his identity was also considered as a triangle. Triangles are considered to be the unresolved issues between people, and I must say that this was the triangle between us, brothers.
Similarly, rubber fences were also evident in my family. Rubber fences were considered to be the different approaches used in holding on to people as much as possible, which can portray a role in culture. I must say that my grandmother served as the rubber fence in my life and that of my brother’s. Both of us mourned her death, and even remembered her in every way possible. Through our own way, we would do everything we can to practice the teachings she provided us when we were younger. In this regard, she would be with us no matter where we were and who we become.
Although our family was dysfunctional, family roles were still very evident. As mentioned earlier, my sister was tasked to take care of all the responsibilities at home, while my mother was out working. In addition to this, my sister was not even spared of all the heartaches when my mother came home drunk.
The emotional distress this brought the family may also be considered as a reason for us to alter our familial roles. Regardless of our birth orders, my siblings and I would run for help and expect each other to be there for each other. It was our belief that the three of us would be the only ones together in the end. I was right.
Looking back at the kind of life I had, I must say that my views towards family of origin were changed. A typical family comprised of responsible parents, relatives, and children. All had their own role to play in society, and work together in order to make the family work. However, mine was different. The family was dysfunctional, and there were numerous problems that came our way, however, we were able to cope with them even if entailed much from our end.
Life may have different ways to express realities and family origins. However, I believe that I am still lucky for being given such family. Through the numerous experiences I had, I was able to develop myself further and work out to be better. Life is short, and I could still make a difference regardless of all the heartaches provided.
Courtney from Study Moose
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