OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Tuesday, June 2

#7223

QUESTION:  Do you ever feel really alone surrounded by your family?
I have a pretty dysfunctional family and was seeing if anyone could relate to this. My parents are in a loveless relationship as long as I can remember (they are very religious so divorce is not an option for them), they have been together for almost thirty years and I would probably say disliking each other for 14 years. I would argue that they are not even really friends as they barely interact. This has resulted in having poor relations with my sister and I. They once were in love, but I can say I have probably not heard I love you from either of their mouths to each other for at least 12 years, We haven't seen them kiss since we were probably 10 and my mother doesn't even wear her wedding ring anymore. My siblings and I know my dad had an affair, yet my mom and dad have never resolved their issues over this. I can honestly say it's negatively impacted my sister and I on our ideas about family and marriage. It seems like my family has been stuck in this weird limbo where they don't resolve their issues and move forward but at the same time do not divorce. I'm in my early 20's and am about to graduated from UW and am very excited to move out ( I commuted while going to UW). Home life is incredibly depressing when your immediate family has never felt like family to you. This has been the feeling between my siblings and I towards our family since we were in our early teens. Just curious if anyone can relate to this. I'm not looking for sympathy I am just looking to see how others handled a less than great family life. One of my biggest insecurities has been my family as my siblings and I are very close with each other, yet we all have never connected to our own family.

3 comments

  1. I completely understand what you are going though. My father is over 20 years older than my mother. They never really told us the story of how they met but I believe it was about a year before I was born. While they deny that they got married because my mother got pregnant, I am highly suspicious that it is the truth. When she met him, he was a wealthy businessman but soon after getting together, he went bankrupt. I guess she believed that he would get back on his feet but unfortunately he never did. Since she probably married him partly, if not entirely, for his money and status this bankruptcy took a toll on their relationship. To be honest, I don’t think they ever truly loved each other (I think I’ve seen them kiss once). I remember their first screaming match when I was 5 years old. I cried so hard because I thought my dad would leave. Little did I know that he didn’t have the money to do so. Fast forward to present day and the fighting and yelling has not stopped. On good days, they merely ignore each other and on bad days, all hell breaks loose.

    My mother had been pretty successful herself at a young age and had a good sum of money saved up. I am in my 20s right now as well and I would say that 95% of the cost of raising myself and my siblings came from my mother’s savings. Following bankruptcy, my father never held a job for long and was barely able to support himself. My mother constantly reminds us that we are the reason that they didn’t get divorced. While I know this is true, I also know that it’s because my father had no ability to support himself following a divorce. Now that I’m older, I constantly have to listen to her spiteful comments about how worthless, ungrateful and lazy my father is. She hates that my siblings and I continue to speak to him but I’m not sure how she expects us to do the opposite if we still live under the same roof. There’s nothing more I want than for them to get divorced and lead their lives separately and possibly a lot more happy but it’s not an option at my father’s advanced age.

    OP, I can definitely empathize with your situation. I can definitely be surrounded by all of my family members yet feel as though I am a mere outlet for their ranting and as someone to blame for the current living situations. My sister and brother completely tune them out but as the more mature one, I feel this nagging responsibility to be whatever they need me to be. It’s tiresome and I’m glad I chose to attend Waterloo so I can live peacefully by myself (well more peacefully since my mother actually calls me just to rant). I just wish they would have worked it out like actual adults rather than ending up as enemies who are now forced to live under the same roof. I, too, can barely imagine having a normal, loving relationship one day since this is all I got to see as an example.

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  2. OP here, thank you for your comment. You don't understand how much it means to me to hear that others are going through similar family issues (and I empathize with your situation). Some times it's incredibly overwhelming as my friends don't understand these sorts of issues since they have great relations with their family. My father is an incredibly condescending person and seems to feel better about himself by putting his own family down. It's very difficult when your parents have a very poor relationship with each other for as long as you can remember but don't seem to leave each other. This is probably the most frustrating part that they would rather stay in a dysfunctional marriage than be alone. It has severely effected my siblings and I's ideas of family and marriage. Thanks 1, I hope your situation gets better.

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  3. I understand what you mean. My family is dysfunctional too, in some ways less extreme than yours but in many ways the same. I think my mother has just adjusted to the fact that she's stuck in the relationship; I don't know how it happened, but in the last few terms I was away in Waterloo, she's speaking with and getting along with my dad again. I've never heard them say they love each other.

    I have an older brother that I don't speak with. We actually just ignore each other. My parents are some of the most close-minded, proud, defensive people I’ve ever met. I don't speak much with any of my family. It’s taken me a few painful years to learn that doing so only results in one of two possibilities. The first is that the conversation goes in an unpleasant direction, people get defensive and then tempers flare. The second is that we have a seemingly normal chat, our family relationship appears to get a little closer and then it all eventually comes crashing back down to where it began due to some stupid little incident down the line. I gave up on trying to mend anything, and shut myself out to spare any emotions for when I cut ties. I like to think I’m fairly normal and friendly. I’m genuinely happy at work, at school and generally outside of the house. People have no idea my home life is this way unless I tell them.

    Like you, I look forward to when I can become financially independent and move out. Unlike you, I live at UW during school so I at least had some peace every 4 months, however illusory it was. I’ll probably have no close immediate family ties when I leave. But I’ll take it and I’ll deal with it knowing that’s the only way I’ll be able to live my life and grow, and knowing that some of the great people I’ve met will help me along the way. A warm, supportive family is a privilege and not a given. I envy people who were born into one but I sure as hell know I won’t let that be an excuse to keep me from getting where I want to go. :)

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