Oh My God! Was I Born Into The WRONG FAMILY Or Am I REALLY Related To THOSE People!
When YOU are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT From Your Family
The family is a place where members usually have a common ground in socioeconomic, religious/ethical, political, psychosocial,cultural, and educational/intellectual arenas. Many parents raise their children to think, act, and to believe as they do. They also wish that their children have the same or similar jobs/ careers that they have.
Familial dynamics are often complex and have a hidden agenda. Oftentimes, children are favored or scapegoated due to their personalities in relation to the family unit. Children who have the same personalities, temperaments, and outlook as the parents are usually favored and rewarded. Conversely, children who have different personalities, temperaments, and outlook are often derided and scapegoated by the parents and told to "fit in". Even though, parents assert in theory that "everyone is different", they practice a different ideology in private, steadfastly maintaining that " everyone ought to get with the program".
Many families decry individual differences because they are comfortable with familial traditions and believe that any family member who happens to be different will upset their carefully maintained status quo. These families exhort that "we are a cohesive whole and no one is going to disrupt that." These families contend that a member's individualism will destroy the delicate mechanism of the family.
There are stories of family members whose temperaments are diametrically opposed to their family unit. For example, the late Princess Grace of Monaco a/k/a Grace Kelly. Ms. Kelly was introverted, sensitive, and artistic as opposed to the other members of her family who were extroverted, highly competitive, and athletic. The Kellys could not understand why Grace was so sensitive and introverted. Jack Kelly would often deride Grace for being so sensitive. His mantra was that "she should toughen up and become competitive." Mr. Kelly further wondered why Grace would be so interested in being an actress. Mr. Kelly asserted that Lizette, his firstborn child, was more suited to be an entertainer than Grace was. Mr. Kelly and the other family members believed that Grace was a shy wallflower.
The Jacksons are another example of having discordant members within the family unit. The late Michael Jackson is a very introverted and sensitive individual. Mr. Jackson's father and brothers are more extroverted and cocksure. They often could not understand why Michael is so sensitive family and that he should be a man.
Edward Viella, the ballet genius, was born into a blue-collar family who viewed ballet as a profession unsuited for males especially if they are working class. Edward was a sensitive boy who wanted to dance and was different from other members in his family. Rudolph Nureyev, another ballet genius, was born into a peasant family. Mr. Nureyev's main goal was to dance which was a different goal from that of his peasant family.
Differences among family members should be embraced and encouraged. Oftentimes, the opposite occurs. A family member who has a different temperament, belief, opinion, and/or aspiration is often called an oddball and derided by the other family members. He/she is admonished as to who does he/she think he/she is. He/she is often told that he/she is not special and is the same as other members of the family. He/she is not often encouraged to explore his/her own path in life.
Many times the family unit disown a family member who is different than they are. Look at LGBT people who are often disowned by members of their family because they have a different sexual orientation. Many people who date and/or marry interethnically and/or interracially are commonly disowned by their family members because their respective family units believed in only marrying within one ethnic group and/or race. Many traditional religious families also disown family members if they have religious opinions, religious/spiritual orientations, and religious beliefs that are opposed to theirs.
It takes massive courage for a person assert his/her difference from his/her family unit. There are other members of the family who yearn to be different but are unable and/or afraid to do so based upon parental or other member's favoritism and their own status within the family unit. Sometimes, the differing family member can interface with other family members.
However, if the differing family member has absolutely nothing in common, sometimes it is best to sever the family cord and to find rewarding relationships among like-minded friends who will accept him/her for whom he/she is. Blood is not often thicker than water. There are many psychosocial dynamics, both positive and negative occurring within the family unit. Family is not necessarily about blood relations but about love and respect.
In summation, families often expected that those in the unit should have the same and/or similar ideas. Many families have an underlying and unspoken groupthink consensus of conformity which strongly discourages individuality. These families maintain that individuality would disturb their carefully crafted cultural apparatus.
However, there are many people who find themselves with very little in common with their families. The differences can be in characteristics, aspirations, and/or beliefs. They are often derided, ostracized, and sometimes disowned by their family members because they chose to follow their own individual life paths.
They refuse to adhere to the family dictum that things must be done a certain way "because it was always done that way in this family." Many of these people become highly successful and are confident, realizing that they do not have to seek approval in order to be their own persons. They are strong and independent, knowing how to stand on their own two feet and to seek their own counsel above all else.
© 2010 Grace Marguerite Williams