Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

 

    I have always felt that family was the most important thing in my life.  Like most of you, I come from a pretty close-knit family with our share of problems but that always looked out for each other when the going got tough.  That’s just the way it has always been, my crazy family, but my family nonetheless.

    Now that I am an adult, it has become more complicated to keep those close family ties with all of the things that get in the way.  Things are not as simple as they used to be where I could just bicker with my siblings and we would make up before any one of us had time to dwell on why we had argued in the first place.  There are other people involved in these discussions now that we are all married with kids.

    As a result, it seems like everyone is just out for themselves now.  Family is not defined the same way it was when we were growing up.  I’m not really sure what the exact moment was when things changed.  Perhaps every family is destined to become distant with one another once the pressures of adulthood take over on a daily basis.

    The truth is that I lack the energy or the desire to go back and mend these fences.  Too many things have happened and too much has been said to even think about going back to a happier time.  It’s not my job to make others feel better about themselves or to be the picking post for people to vent through their issues.  Sometimes I think family members feel that they are entitled to that because you are their blood so you are supposed to take that from them.

    The worst part is when the children in the family are catapulted into the petty squabbles of the adults in the family.  When do adults hit rockbottom to the point that they have to use children as ammunition to get their point across?  I’m not sure that I have any of these answers.  What I am sure of is that my feelings about family have not changed, it is my family that has changed around me.

    All I could do is continue to instill family values in my sons and to have them learn how to communicate positively with one another so they don’t make the same mistakes as their ancestors.  I would never want them to be divided and not speak to each other because of their spouses or due to petty nonsense.  Being family means much more than that…

    Let’s discuss. How have your relationships with your family members changed over the years?  Is blood thicker than water?

**Image Credit-talkphotography.co.uk

© 2012, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/angelmixon2004 Angel Mixon

    My family has never been super close. I have 3 siblings and we never speak. My father passed away back in June and what little family relations there were just totally fell apart. So even though I have a huge family, my “real” family has almost always consisted of “chosen family”, those wonderful people I have adopted as brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents. I love my family, but my chosen family mean more to me than most of my blood family. ( with the exception of my Mother, I love her very much )

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Angel, I’m sorry for the loss of your father. Although our family has had its share of problems over the years, I wasn’t prepared for everyone to break apart the way that it seems like we have. This is definitely not the family relationship that I envision for my two sons to have in their adulthood. I agree with you, sometimes the non-blood related people who come into our lives have more of an impact than our blood relatives.

  • Ari

    Wow… I was so saddened at the news in this post. I know you to be a very loving and forgiving person, and hearing this makes me empathize dearly for you, and especially your boys.
    Although I may not talk on a frequent basis to my family members I feel that we are in a good place. I talk to my mother everyday even if it’s for five minutes. I’ve never been close to my dad. I have an older brother who married a wonderful woman and they have 2 children. I try to maintain frequent contact with them because of my niece and nephew. I would not be able to do this if I did not get along with my sister in law since she is with the kids while my brother works. I have another brother who is 19 in his first years of college who I talk to at least twice a month, mostly when he needs something (like most teenagers). I also try to keep in touch with another younger brother in his early 20′s that lives in another state. I speak to him about once a month. I guess in my case absence makes the heart grow fonder… The lack of frequent contact gives us an opportunity to catch up and miss each other. We have had our ups and downs, but like you we try to mend things before things spiral out of control. I can definitely see how a new addition to the family can help or hinder the relationships. Thankfully I have not been put in the negative side of this coin…

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      I agree with you, Ari, it is sad. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that people are not going to change unless they really want to. I honestly don’t have the energy to walk on eggshells with anyone or to be used as a doormat so I am choosing to keep it moving. There are a lot more important issues in my life that require my energy and attention and other people’s drama is not one of them-even if they are family members.

  • Ruby

    girl this is just what the hubs and i were talking about the other day while i wish it was as the saying goes the hubs and I have had friends come thru more than family while our families mean well it hurts at times to see them go the extra mile for a stranger rather then their own but it is what it is. Not all our family is like that but some are and it just makes me question the saying.

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Ruby, I completely agree with you. It is extremely hurtful to see family members bend over backwards to help other people but turn around and just let down those who are supposed to be closest to them. I also find myself really wondering if the saying is true because I’m not feeling the family loyalty in some cases these days…

  • talktherapybiz

    What a relevant post, Maria. I think the main reason spending time with family (sans drama) grows increasingly difficult is that 1) as people get busier, and have more responsibilities to contend with, our priorities change (as you mentioned). We have a finite amount of emotional energy every day. Also, with age, we come to realize this and generally stop wasting time with shit that doesn’t matter. OR 2) adults do not change, do not mellow, do not handle their psychological issues and as a result remain stuck. Stuck in old patterns of behavior developed in childhood, stuck in a cycle of drama, or stuck with self-pity.

    When one of my family members acts out, I resort to two inner mantras:

    1. “I’m not the cause. And I’m not the cure.”
    2. “Save the drama for the stage or the 8th grade school dance.”

    My .02 ;).

    • http://toughcookiemommy.com/ Maria – Tough Cookie Mommy

      Linda, your comments really resonate with me. The one that really applies in my case is the “I’m not the cause and I’m not the cure.” I really feel that a lot of the issues have to do with misdirected anger towards others that is taken out on me. Perhaps they are too cowardly or intimidated to take up these issues with the source so it is easier to deflect that animosity towards a close family member, namely me. I’m not going to be anyone’s picking post so that is the end of that…

  • Mona Cuello

    I am so happy that I have come across your articles.. It feels good specially that I am struggling with my family right now. My husband and I are talking last night about what happened with me and my family. I am just happy that I have wonderful kids and my husband supports me all the way. It just saddened me to feel that my sister in laws are much more important to my parents than I am. I feel that I am being left out from their gatherings and some sort. Maybe I’m just jealous because I am not use to have sisters since I am the only girl in the family before ( I have 3 brothers). We are all married by the way but they all live together in my parents house. Right now I am happy with my 2 babies and hubby. But it is really depressing at times that friends are more dependable if you need help.