Family Isn’t Just Blood, and Blood Doesn’t Mean Family

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I come from a very blended family. My immediate family consists of my Dad, Sister, Step Mom, Step Sister & Brother. My extended family is the same, with random marriages here and there, step siblings, grandpas, parents. We’re a pretty mixed bunch, and I completely love it.

Though as some of you know, I don’t stay in touch with my mother’s family. 90% of it is we are just living different lives, and lost touch over the years. Some of them I avoid because they’re toxic human beings who made me miserable and influenced my life in negative ways. Hell, while I now know my Dad’s side of the family (estranged for most of my not-adult life thanks to shit I had no control over), and I love talking with them, I’m also not super close to them. It is what it is, and just because we share some kind of genetics doesn’t mean I have to force them to hang out with me, or go out of my way to hang out with them.

I will go out of my way to help or spend time with my immediate family, not so much outside of it. However, I also include other people in my “family”. I have close friends who I consider family, people who have been there for me during the rough times as well as the good times. Hell, I would drive across the damn country if I was needed. That’s what family does.

My point being, is that it doesn’t matter your actual blood relation, adoption, or marriage for that matter.. what counts is your actions. Just because you’re related to one another doesn’t mean that there has to be some sort of relationship, that also means that you don’t have to tolerate negativity from someone just because they’re “related” to you.

While I learned this lesson long ago, someone close to me is learning it now, and it’s hard to watch it unfold even though I’m happy to see them standing up for themselves. This person has been struggling with their family’s constant monitoring of them, and their need for constant contact for years now. I’ve watched it unfold as they were expected to drop everything, regardless of their plans to preform some menial task for family. Over the years, as this person learned tasks that are pretty essential to being an adult, they started to wonder why their family didn’t teach them any of this, and why it seems like they were set up to fail. Hell, I wondered that much myself. All it took was them standing up for themselves and asking their parents to stop doing something illegal and frankly absolute bullshit for the threats to begin.

It was the eye-opening moment for them, they were able to see that if their family doesn’t get what they want, or the control they apparently crave, they will attempt to undermine this person’s livelihood. 

Unfortunately, sometimes that’s just the way it is. All you can do is accept whatever behavior your “family” has, accept their attitude, and ask yourself: “Is this what I’m going to subject myself with for the the foreseeable future?” You can either deal with it, accept the negativity or back away, limit contact or cut them out of your life.

No one should have to put up with blackmail, negativity, abuse, or any of that in their life just because “they’re family”. That’s an absolute horseshit excuse. Just because someone is “family” to you, doesn’t mean you get to use them, threaten them, or control them.

That’s not what family is, and family is more the blood.

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