Have you often felt that you had little or nothing in common with your family members? Maybe you believe that you were born in the wrong family. You and your family have wildly divergent and/or vastly different interests and tastes. Or perhaps, your family members considered you "the different one", "the odd one", or " the black sheep". Did you attempt to confirm to the family construct in order to gain their love and/or approval or did you just go your own individual ways, letting consequences be quite damnable so to speak? How did being the one who stood out in your family positively or negatively impact you in your life?
Yes, yes, yes! As I child I was convinced of it. I didn't look like them, I wasn't built like them and had all sorts of talents which people commented on, with the oft repeated words, "Don't know where you get that from." My Dad used to joke that I was the milk-man's daughter and for years I secretly hoped that this was either true or even better, that I was adopted.
It's only looking back that I can know see what an rotten kid I was. I had so many more opportunities than my parents and older siblings. They were brought up in the East End of London and I was raised in the countryside, in middle class splendour. I had a tennis coach, riding lessons, music lessons, and a good, basic education that set me up for life.
Now that I'm so much older, I'm gradually looking like them, and to my horror, sounding like them. Age is a great leveller.
Oh, and I found my birth certificate when I was 16 and they really where my parents.
It's the story of my life...
I am still single, both my sisters married and had children
I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from college
No one else in my family is a writer...although one of my nieces is a very talented graphics artist
I never felt I really fit in
"Family" has never been only the nucleus family: parents and children. On the contrary, family use to mean not only extended family (grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and so forth, and never once before 800 CE was this family centered around the fantasy of one man + one woman = family. The Bible, Koran, Torah, etc. all speak about the numerous wives various men had (Jacob "married" two sisters who were his cousins, Abraham allegedly married his sister whom he sold repeatedly into sex-slavery, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, etc) and the issue of child abuse is rampant: from Abraham being told to kill his "first born" (according to direct descendancy, the Muslims are correct in claim the sacrifice was to be of Ishmael, the "handmaiden" (slave) of wife Sarah; while Christians claims the sacrificial token was to be the first legitimate son: Jacob), that permeates other texts.
I remember my mother wailing in agony and misery that when she tried to abort me she failed, and I have lived with that guilt trip ever since, frequently wishing that she had succeeded so that we both would have been happier. There is nothing special about life (after we die we just give up that particle of energy that returns to the universe and corpus rots), and nothing sacred (the myths of heaven, hell, and so forth appear no where until the late invention of Christianity--as even John Paul II rejected the concept of eternal damnation and an everlasting fire--by Constantine I and the redaction of what became known as Gospels (after those of more historical and older writing were destroyed in the fires set to dispose of the writings of the priest Arius) about life as it was easily expendable in the numerous and senseless wars.
Fortunately my family avoided me like the bubonic plague. I cannot remember the last time I saw my brother Richard Ide, who know lives in Sapporo Japan--and his children ignore him; as for my sister Mary Helen Potter of Waterloo, Iowa, she spent all of her energy on making sure that there was a rift between myself an my mother who may or may not be dead since she told me in 2003 that I was never to trouble her again or see her again--which I haven't. My father was removed from the family when I was a small boy because of child abuse, etc., and the only time I saw him was when he was 82 and dead--to make sure he had died.
Love is not an inborn characteristic or part of mortal psychology. It is learned and exchanged. I never loved my family nor extended family as not once did I visit any of them, save for one aunt in Waverly, Iowa, and then only rarely as she was on "the wrong side".
To worry about family or consider it essential is absurd. When I was very young, I reserved a special promise that I would never marry (I did not want it to end like my parents brutal existence until they divorced) nor have children (I was too afraid they would be like my sister and brother), so I stayed single, spent my time with my real family: books. It is in books that one can live another and happier life. One finds adventure, delight, and fulfillment in the novels of Jules Vernes, Samuel B. Clemens (Mark Twain), E. M. Forester, Jane Austen, and others. They give tokens of love in printed words, they express tenderness and humor in countless quips, and all contain a special message that no one is alone nor forgotten.
A real family is boring (self-centered), arrogant (if you do not belong to their political party or worship their deity in their particular cult you have no place at the table), and vile (bullying begins in the home, is usually orchestrated by the parents and then carried out mercilessly by the siblings; I remember the hundreds of times that Mary Helen and Richard encouraged me to hang myself, once locking me in the basement in Cedar Falls, and only opened the door when mother was about to drive into the garage, as I banged away with the broom handle, making a nice sizeable hole). Families are not the ideal groups so beautifully painted by Norman Rockwall, but are more like the broods on The Simpson: filled with violence, envy, greed, and sloth.
If there was a Devil, his name would be Father, and his children would be the tormentors who massacre reason and justice. The family has never been sympathetic or empathetic, only pathetic as with the illusion of Jesus' family where his mother commands him to turn water into wine at a wedding (actually the text reads to make wine--toiling while everyone else is having fun), and while he was allegedly dying gives his own lover John to Mary while his brothers escaped Jerusalem in fear of their individual liberty and safety.
I want no family. I need no family. I surround myself with books and find the only heaven (peace) in them.
Errata: When I typed the post, I meant "conform" instead of 'confirm". Egad, I was typing in the dark again. Should not do that at my age!
Being out of sync with family?
I am familiar with this because I am not presently in sync with most of my family.
My family has never been in sync. There's always been something going on which created division.
Regardless of knowing that, I have attempting to get my family in sync, but all attempts in doing so has failed for the last 20+ years.
There are many people who feel as if they are strangers in their families for one reason or another. They may have prodigious talents or propensities that other members in the family do not possess such as genius, artistic/creative abilities, and psychic abilities. Many families oftentmes fail to comprehend the diametrically different family members. They also fail to support and/or encourage that family member's talents.
In some families, the particular family member is deemed to be weird, abnormal, and strange. He/she is subtly told to conform to the construct of the rest of the family. Some religious families even view the gifts of psychic, clairvoyant, and/or other highly spiritualized children as "demonic possession." It takes an extremely rare parent to nurture and understand the personality and gift of their prodigious child.
Other people may feel different from their families based upon their innate personality and characteristics. For example, he/she may be an sensitive type among those who are not so sensitive. Or an introvert among extroverts and so on regarding differing characteristics. Many families want their family members to be exactly like them and view differing characteristics as an affront to their familial image.
Yep, I have always been the 'black sheep', always been stubborn and done my own thing, never felt it important to wear cosmetics/make up on a daily basis (unless going out for the evening) and generally was a Tom Boy as opposed to the feminine and elegant individuals my Mum and Sister were/are. My Dad and I clashed largely due to his old fashioned attitude to children, i.e. children should be seen and not heard, (not to mention the fact he was 56 when I was born and completely out of touch with my age group.) I guess that although I do love my Mum and my Sister dearly, (Dad died in 86), it is true what they say about not being able to 'choose your relatives'. All in all I get on better with my Step Dad than anyone else in my family, but only because he kind of 'gets me' and doesn't criticize my love of spending most of my time either writing, or being covered in soil and compost whilst gardening, (with little concern about my appearance at the time.) He only came into my life years after I had left home, but sometimes it feels like he is the only one who understands me, and I know we do have a special bond between us. In many ways he is the Father I never had, (and wish my own Father had been.) He is also far closer to both my Sister and I than to his own two adult children (who have treated him appallingly and not been in contact with him for many years, but without giving him any explanation.)
It is so good to be a nonconformist and individualistic. It is the nonconformists who make the world and make history. Remember that! Conoformists seldom make history!
I find the postings refreshing. What I fail to find, sadly, is that no one has addressed the issue of suicide--especially in dysfunctional families. Being a psychologist, and having written numerous articles (including my blog) on suicide, it must be pointed out that the individual who is "cast out" or ignored by his/her family frequently gives up hope and commits suicide--bullying is the second biggest cause, and again the bullying starts within the family "circle"--that is more square than round. This is especially true among Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, and members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELS). When I do publish on the Mormons, with few exceptions they cry foul, claiming that their religion does not bully--but it does, like all religions (especially Islam that train small children to strap on suicide vests to kill "opponents").
Family life and religion frequently set unrealistic goals for members, or refuse to allow an adherent/family member the right to self-actualize and be the best person the individual can be. Marriage is surgically defined, rank in relationships ("pecking order") is spelled out and even confraternities are installed--all to the detriment to the nonconformist who is seen as evil or at least "lesser than" members within the community.
It is far better for a person out-of-sync with his/her family to break totally with the family/church/community and escape into a limited world of sanity than repeat the collective psychosis. Being comfortable within one's own mind and intellect if far superior. I have no regrets in not speaking with my family for more than fifty years, empathy, sympathy and love with my dogs than my uncles who sodomized me when I was less than seven years of age, or my cousins who found great sport in throwing eggs at me, or my mother whose sole assessment was that "he is queer as he loves books" even into her eighties and nineties. I recognize no one as being infallible in anything, and reject any form of caste system. What counts is that the individual lives his or her life fully in a way that is meaningful to himself or herself and does not cause pain or grief to another person. The only true sin is when a person goes against the will, consent, and knowledge of another.
This is indeed true. My maternal family is extremely religious. However, I was the only person in all my maternal family to rebel against such religious strictures. In essence. of all my maternal family members, I was the most rebellious and went my own way. The rest of the family acquiesced but NOT I! Hell, I am out of sync with my family and guess what-I really don't gave a ...... I am happy and self-actualized as opposed to the rest of my family members(cousins, aunts, and uncles) who live lifes of quiet desperation. As a child and teenager, I heard my father stated that she did not get any of this from us. I saw my parents' lives and mores, I found them to be quite dull and stagnant. What most of my parents said to me went in one ear and out of other. I went my own way. I did this as a child and I am not about to change EVER!
Precisely. Unless a person is comfortable with himself/herself, he/she cannot be comfortable with anyone at any time: it is a fascade. What counts is the ability to contribute, to work at being the best in your field, society, and community. All the great teachers/leaders/philosophers were out-of-sync with their communities--that is why Socrates accepted the verdict of his Athenian detractors and drank the poison, that is why Buddha left India and traveled spreading the message of non-violence that was so prevalent in his past, that is why the New Testament Jesus let a man rest his head on his chest and never married nor had a girl friend, and that is why I gave up all religions long ago and began my quest for truth so beautifully defined by Stephen Hawking in his essay on time, black holes, and the Big Bang--with yesterday's scientists finding the illusionarily named "God particle." It is best to be nonconformist (as even Shakespeare said that about himself) than to fit into one of the stable's herd in the Vatican of Pope Alexander VI (but was never tried, convicted or punished for his violations with stallions and stable boys).
Only by coming to a full and honest understanding of ones self will there be an opportunity for peace. We must denounce those, like the radical Muslims in Mali who are attacking all the shrines in Timbuktu, like the Taliban destroyed the Great Buddhas along the Silk Route, and the police at the University of California at Davis openly, deliberately and with fore-thought used the deadly pepperspray on peaceful protestors. I hail the OWS group and denounce the mass conformity sought by gaggle of goons that run DOMA, AFA, and other undemocratic organizations.
not only can you feel out of sync and not fit in your birth family, but then you can go on and have kids of your own who do not resemble or act like you and who consider you a complete waste of time and wierd - so believe it! and just have your life, compare yourself to nobody and life by your own spirit's needs. Life can be good, nevertheless!
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