Group today was really interesting.
We were able to get some of the quieter people to talk today and it was very revealing. At one point we went around the room to see what position everyone was in, meaning were they the oldest child, middle child, or youngest child. All but two are middle children, the other 2 are eldest children. I am one of those 2.
The other thing we realized during this conversation is that dysfunction doesn’t care if you are the eldest or the youngest child. I had a lot of expectations put on me as the eldest child and so did the other person who is the eldest in her family dynamic. The others who are middle and youngest, there was one who commented that she is the 6th out of 8 children and she is the one who is expected to hold the family together.
A few discussed their relationship with their parents. I, don’t have a relationship with my family, the other eldest said her parents were out of her life for 20 years and now they have made an appearance and it has brought a lot of bad memories to the surface and she feels they are far too close to her. She will often find reasons to not see them.
The middle children of the group, found that their parents kept bringing up the past and at times in front of their children. Which I felt is completely disrespectful to the now adult and her children. I would think it causes the child to want to defend his/her parent.
There are many commonalities that bring us all together. It really helps to feel that you aren’t alone and your feelings and experiences are validated. Until today, I had no idea that another person always felt like she didn’t belong in her family, that she felt “odd”. She talked about her sister’s wedding and how she wasn’t included and I again related as I wasn’t invited to my sister’s wedding either. However, I did bring our grandfather and as much as everyone was pissed at me, how ironic is it that my sister has one of the last photos of our grandfather and who did that? ME! Did I get any apologies for accusations and drama, nope!
Favoritism is another area we talked about and many of us felt that it went to our sibling(s). For me it is my sister and it has been for as long as I can remember. For others there is favoritism with the now grandchild (in one family) the rest of the family sees and feels it. I shared that my nephews don’t even know I exist, other than when I saw one as an infant. As to what they know of me now, I have no idea. As much as it hurts me, I realize there is nothing I can do about it. Do I like it? No, I don’t. Would anyone though?
We talked about those who are our next of kin, in my case I don’t even have a phone number or address for my mom or my sister (and she just moved!). So I have my boyfriend as my next of kin. To this day, if something should ever happen to me, I suspect they will learn on social media because there would be no way to contact them.
At one point there was a talk on what we feel about our parents and aging. I personally do not feel any guilt in this regard. My mom is now in her senior years and as much as I would like to be apart of her life, it just isn’t going to happen. It is the same with the feelings of “love”. I know I love her but the line is very thin.
It was good to connect with everyone today. It gave us a new direction in terms of finding healing and progression to acceptance of the ways we were all raised. Even in my generation to today’s generation, there are people in group who have been treated just like I have.
We talked about being cheated on and being the one who has cheated. As well as being the black sheep of the family. Many of us raised our hands at that one lol. I realized that many of us didn’t have an emotional connection with our parents. We were taken care of, but we didn’t have the love that we craved. How sad is it that those of us who have had children, went out of our way to NOT continue the dysfunctional path we grew up in and yet our children get treated as we were simply because we weren’t the favorite child?! I have often wondered if my children would have spent time with their grandparents had both of my miscarriages had survived. Something tells me my children wouldn’t know their grandparents.
I will never forget my mother saying to me that she was happy I was pregnant because it meant I would be a parent to my own blood child and not someone else’s child. I found that very hurtful and insulting, because to me a child doesn’t care who raises him/her. What they do care about is being loved and cared for.