|Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 14, 2011 at 10:10 PM|
In The West we have endless myths about Family.
We are given the idea, somehow, that family relationships have a special quality that excludes them from the normal shittiness of human hearts.
We are quietly conned into thinking that somewhere out there is a normal family full of unconditional love and mature mutual respect for all family members. We are sure that family must exist but we all know it's not OUR family. In that comparision OUR family suffers terribly.
I don't use family in the traditional sense in my own thinking these days. For me, family is still that ideal thing - unconditional love and mutual respect - but it has nothing to do with blood relationships or the house I grew up in.
Blood relations are no different to any other stranger - some of them are fantastic, some of them are criminal, some of them are selfish, some of them are nice, some of them are takers, some of them are givers. You get the picture, just because someone is your blood relation has no bearing on how they will treat you. If you accept that fact then you just totally exploded the myth we all tend to buy into - blood family is something special.
In fact, a bad family member is MORE dangerous and damaging to you than a bad stranger.
Now the reverse is also true, if an important member of your family is a really wonderful person, that has a bigger impact on you than if a stranger is a wonderful person to you for five minutes.
But it's a major lottery about which kind of family member you are going to grow up with.
Most of us grow up sharing a house with people who cannot help burdening us with the overflow of their own gross imperfections. The nature of that overflow can be across a wide range - from the parent or sibling who is constantly violent towards us, the parent who neglects us or ignores us, the parent who loves us but with a serious amount of their own self loathing staining the message, the parent who loves us pretty well but also leaves us feeling a bit afraid of the world and feeling weak, the parent who overflows with love and positive energy but struggles to let us go and be fully grown up,..... etc etec............it's a wide range.
None of that range measures up the mythical family we all wish was our family. No-one has that mythical family, it doesn't exist.
For those who suffered in families at the really shit end of the scale, the myth of a normal happy family is a massive burden, one because it makes us think our crap family is less normal than it is and two because it stops other people recognising the whole truth about the families they are looking at - so we stay isolated, not recognising how much helpe we all need. We all tend to push out of our minds the suffering and pain we see in other families because seeing it everywhere undermines our grasp of that comforting myth - normal happy families are common.
No such thing as a normal happy family.
But if we see that, really admit it, then we have to ask ourselves a whole load of uncomfortable questions about humanity and our society and our culture and our beliefs.
Most humans are walking around ignoring the pit of loneliness and pain sitting in well of their soul. Clumsy sentence but you got the drift of it.
By holding onto the idea that happiness is common and normal and that families are the happiest places of all, we train ourselves to only see THAT reality rather than actual reality. We train ourselves away from noticing other people's pain, and thus, our own as well. Perhaps it works the other way, by refusing to feel our own pain we make ourselves incapable of feeling other people's pain. Every stick has two ends, can't pick up one end without picking up the other end.
I don't have any "moral" to this blog. It's just a blog. Something I was thinking and I'm trying to really put into practice the knowledge that for me writing is good therapy even if it seems pointless in terms of structure and content.
Oh, do you think this blog means I'm anti-family, as if you can be "anti-family", family is unavoidable. I'm not anti-family but I certainly don't put a special frame around family relationships, they are just relationships like any other and contain all the good and bad any relationship might, in the same ratios but with greater power over us because we are IN those relationships so closely and intensely for the first twenty or so years of our life.
What's more important, in my mind, than the blood group I was born into, is the relationships in my life that ARE about unconditional love and mutual respect. In fact, I'm happy for them to be "less" conditional love and mutual respect as I think "un" conditional love is pretty rare.
Not just being in them, making the effort to create them. I'm not so good at that, my own blood family left me with really good self isolating skills and if I don't pay attention I tend to ignore the very people in my life who offer me the richest friendships and the freest love. (Sorry Dave.)
OK, blog over.