Family Matters, Speaking from Experience, The World We Live In

Family Matters, at least it should.

Girl on a swing in the woods

 

Welcome back blog readers,

I’m just going to come right out and say it, My Family Sucks!

I feel that I should clarify that there is a handful that I do associate with and none of those members are included in what comes next. Nor are the family members that have been the most supportive (my husband’s family), they are not involved in my family bashing post. It’s important that I say that up front as there are a few that do follow my blog, this is not about you.

Now that I’ve made that disclaimer let’s get into this.

Due to my childhood, having been separated from my family at the age of 9, it is understandable as to why I feel deeply compelled to reconnect with family. I have patched a few relationships within my family because I know how it feels to be cast aside, given the silent treatment over stupid petty issues or pride getting in the way.

I don’t know where my deep sense of family values came from, it certainly wasn’t from my parents or my immediate family. They honestly do put the FUN in dysfunction. As a 40-year-old woman, I wouldn’t think that this shit would bother as much as it does, but yet here I sit in tears because my family fails to disappoint me at every opportunity.

I do believe that this post has triggered my inner child to emerge and that is where the tears are coming from. I know that things aren’t going to change because they haven’t in my entire adult life. Yet, that small part of me, my inner child keeps holding onto a false hope that one day she’ll be worthy enough and loved enough for her family to make an effort to visit her. How do you tell a child that once they reach 9 years old, her family will never come to visit her? Imagine carrying that around with you for 31 years.

Sure I have some of them as “friends,” and we share the odd message every once in a while, but it’s idle chit chat, nothing that really matters. What’s worse is that I’ve been putting a few on “snooze for 30 days” and limiting their posts because they often share hateful, racist messages that I don’t want to be associated with.

The only time specific family member seek me out is when they are asking for money. There was an incident back in 1998 when I was living in Florida when I received a call from my mother (we were on talking terms back then), and she mentioned that family member (one of her aunt’s that I had never met) had been diagnosed with Cancer. I offered my sympathy and sorry that I can’t do anything to help as I was 19 and trying to get settled after moving 1,000 miles away.

A few moments later I receive another call from someone claiming to be a family member and sharing the bit of news that my mother had just talked to me about. I found myself baffled that this person has never reached out to me in 19 years, I don’t know who they are even though they seem to remember me, to call out of the blue because they want money. If my mother had not called me first, I honestly would have thought it was a scam. This was back before PayPal and e-Transfers. Have I ever heard or seen this mystery family member since then? Nope. Not a single peep.

My mother’s side of our family is huge. My grandmother has 7 siblings, those siblings have 3+ kids each, and they grew up to have 2+ kids of their own. I have so many second and third cousins out there, some I had never met because I was taken away from the family before they were born and they have no idea I exist.

Like this morning for example; I received a friend request from one of my cousins. I knew of her, she reached out to me last night, and I replied this morning. Letting her know that I look forward to getting to know her, thanks for reaching out and I was happy to answer any questions that she might have. She admitted that she didn’t realize I was family (I wasn’t surprised because she is one of the younger cousins), but she’s pushing her line of jewelry and hoped I was interested in placing an order. I declined because I don’t wear jewelry, but I did offer a quick rundown as to how I fit into the family. That was met with an ” Ok, well if you would like to still show support that is much appreciated, share my video when I go live.” Awesome, that makes me feel great, I was just a cold call to drum up business and nothing more. Yeah, I’ll be sure to share your videos and promote your $5 jewelry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for showing support and helping people promote their business, books, buying from your kid’s school fundraiser. I’ve donated to various GoFundMe pages to send your kid to Washington D.C, or send your kid to Japan, sending your family money for medical expenses because you’ve fallen on hard times. I’ve placed orders for Tupperware /Mary Kay/PartyLite/Pampered Chef for items that I don’t need just to support your side home business.

What do I get in return when I’m promoting a fundraiser for Children’s Cancer? Nothing.

What do I get when I share the news that I’m a best selling author and offer a free copy of my book? Nothing. Nobody says a damn thing. No congratulations, no comments, no inquiries. No acknowledgment. No shares, no likes, no downloads or purchases.

I know they’ve seen the post, actually several posts that I’ve shared. They comment and share the posts before and after, just not on the milestone that actually means something to me. When I decided to write my book, I thought it was best to use a pen name as many authors do. Due to the nature of the contents, I was afraid of the backlash that often comes with sharing an experience like mine. Not all family members were cast in a positive light. I did change the names of all living family members except for those who granted me permission to use their real name.

I took a considerable risk in sharing this milestone with my family, most don’t know I even wrote a book, some know, but don’t know what pen name I used. Those that do know, I have their support. I chose to create a separate author page because I wanted the distance from my personal life. It’s been a year and my views have changed. I wrote something that I am proud of, and it sucked feeling like I couldn’t share that with my family/friends that really know me, not as Hannah Reinbeck. I have reached a point where I no longer care if feelings get hurt, those people should have made better choices and did more to protect me. I will not apologize for how some people are portrayed, their actions were their choice.

I have to stop expecting my family to be better than what they are.  I have to stop caring about what they think and be honest with myself. They don’t care, as much as they profess. It’s difficult to throw in the towel and give up on family even when they’ve proven that you are not a priority. Maybe it stems from me believing in treating people the way I’d like to be treated, I don’t know. This issue has been an ongoing struggle and internal battle that I keep fighting, yet knowing I’ll never win.

That’s all the time I have for now. Thanks for listening.

 

 

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