Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Family Conundrum

When I first started to date Peter, I understood that he had a very tenuous relationship with all the members of his family. Some of this has to do with the fact that he is the youngest child. After all, he was twenty-five years younger than his eldest sibling, and seven years younger than his next youngest sibling. Four of his nephews and nieces are older than I am. So by the time he was aware, a lot of family drama had already happened.

This happens in a much smaller scale in my house, and since I'm the eldest, I feel that I've been there since the very beginning. After all, my parents had me about a year after they were married, so I've been a member of the family almost from the very start. My sister Jenny doesn't feel this way, sometimes she feels like someone stumbling into the middle of a party.

Let's just say that Peter's family do not get along with each other. I think a large part of that has to do with the fact that there wasn't a lot of nurturing going on in that household. There's a lot of resentment that the eldest two children have towards the younger two stemming from the fact that Peter's parents were better parents to the younger ones. My parents are a thousand times better parents to my sisters than they were to me. When I think back on my childhood, it wasn't a very happy one. My father had a lot of pent-up rage and frustration and took them out on me and my mother stood by and watched it happen. I still remember the terror of hearing the garage door opening, knowing that my father had come home from work. Even today, I cannot hear that sound without feeling apprehension and fear.

I'm glad that my parents learned and grew as parents and it was very healing to me to see the relationships they have built with their two younger children. And in a way, I will always feel that they are part of one family, and I am part of another, one that doesn't exist anymore.

These feelings of family are coming up because Peter's nephew is getting married and Peter is not sure if he wants to attend. Peter's eldest sister did not attend our wedding and not one person from her family attended Peter's father's funeral. No one came to my bridal shower, not even his mother. These are people who have never been happy for Peter when he had joyous moments in his life, and people who seem to revel in times when he's had hardships. Knowing that these people really don't care for him, he doesn't see the point in attending this wedding. The only reason to go would be to continue this relationship, and he's not sure he ever wants to see these people again.

My personal opinion is that the easiest thing to do is to attend the wedding since his nephew did come to our wedding. Is this issue between Peter and his nephew? Or between Peter and his sister? Peter thinks that his sister doesn't deserve to have her whole family attend her son's wedding after her unpardonable behavior these last few years. No matter what terrible things she thinks he did, there isn't any reason for her actions.

But on the other hand, if he has no intention of ever having any sort of relationship with these people, what would be the point? Does it really matter how he appears to people he wants to avoid in the future? At what point do you give up on your family members?

1 comment:

running42k said...

I think the second last paragraph said it all, it is the nephew that should be considered here.

Peter needs to look ahead and wonder in the future, will he regret not being there?

A very interesting post. Family dynamics are always unique. I know that my relationship with my father has molded the father and husband that I am, involved with my family and completely different from the indifferent father and husband that he was.