I am often baffled at how one side of my family acts towards each other. And Facebook does not help this bafflement.
My mom came from a good Catholic family where there are nine kids. She has always been the black sheep of the family when she went off to business school, met a non-Catholic man, and married him despite her family’s objections. It has always fascinated me how much they judged him for his non-Catholic status. To give you an idea of how much they disliked this union? I believe the wagers on when they will get divorced have all fallen by the wayside after my parents hit 20 years together. Yeah, they were that openly convinced the non-catholic union was going to fail.
To be fair, my mom’s family is rather broken. It has to be when you consider the kids were raised by a father who was an alcoholic until my mom was 18 and a mother who had such horrific childhood abuse that she self medicated through prescription drugs until I was in college. It should not shock me how fucked up this family is – yet it always does.
This morning I logged into the internet and was checking the usual – email, Facebook, fetlife – when I saw a comment on a photo that caught my attention. One of my mom’s sisters had gone back to visit family – and a photo was taken of her with two other sisters. I guess a comment was made about a sister being missing. There were actually TWO sisters missing – my mom and another. They were talking about the other. The back and forth between the sisters there resulted in my dad going “Huh?” to a comment. My mom piped in that last she checked, she was still alive. Which led to the discussion turning to the siblings accusing my mom of lacking reading comprehension among other things. Sadly, nothing was lacking —- they are just assholes.
I paused a second to send something in response. I fucking hate it when they exclude my mom as they she is no longer part of the family having moved out to the west coast. And I hate it more when someone attacks my mother online as though she is not a human being. I fucking hate computers for this reason – social media specifically – because a piece of software meant to bring humanity together has resulted in bringing people together to forget their humanity. And it happens all because of the keyboard – the piece of hardware that seems to enable people to do this easily. But I digress.
I ended up not responding. I ended up having to look at the situation in a different way. They got called out – and instead of owning up to it all, they chose to shame my mom and blame her for it all. Not one will reach out to her when she is sick. They know this – and that is likely what drove their response. Their guilt. But blame and shame are their weapons – their weapons to absolve themselves from not acting like family. Nothing I say is going to change that attitude.
I know because one of my cousins actually hosted all of my aunts and uncles and others at his house when my other cousin was playing professional football and there was a game while they were all visiting. As the game went on, they started airing family grievances…..and started going after his father, a man who is truly a caring and loving human being and would do anything for any one of them. My cousin took as much as he could, exploded, and tossed their asses out of his house. Not his finest moment, he would later admit. But he could not believe they thought that was acceptable behavior. My mom’s siblings – the ones doing it – they agreed that he was to blame for how things went down – they were not. Like I said, nothing will change this crew.
So I try hard to change my anger into something else.
I try to change my anger into reflection of how I view family. Family is not always blood. Family are people who show up when you need them. They see who you are – flaws and all – and still love you anyway. They are fiercely protective of you when others try to run you down. But at the same time, they are going to tell you the truth – even if it is hard – because they care. They don’t try to take advantage of you. They want you to be the best you can be – not wanting you to be unhappy or feel like a failure. I’m happy that the family I have created fits my image. I’m happy that the people who are not blood – that I consider family all fit that way too.
I guess that’s what I’m trying to focus on.
I’ll let you know if it starts working.
Because, damn, sigh…..it’s dangerous ground when someone goes after my mom….