You are most likely and almost certainly reading this because you are or have had hard times with your family, cousins, uncles, aunts, or grandparents or you are just interested in how f*cked up my family situation is to the point where I feel the need to write this article. Nevertheless, you are here and might encounter any of these feelings and situations in the future so please read on.
For me, I have always had problems with everyone who shares my blood except my immediate family. I have always held deep compassion for my family so being estranged from my extended family makes me so sad, mostly because the problems are because of the silent actions and history between us all. I live to enjoy life and to be surrounded by the ones I love but that is such a small circle because my extended family is so distant from us.
"Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening." - Emma Thompson
Most people who don't listen are the Grandparents or the older members of the bloodline. The older generation is harder to talk to because of their old mindset and their beliefs that they refuse to budge on. This is an aspect that most will have to deal with but in recent years, more people have become accepting of less conservative aspects. My grandparents are the opposite to this trend because one of them called my sister's unborn child an "it" rather than a "she" because she is having a child out of wedlock. Times have changed and although she is having a child out of wedlock doesn't mean they don't love each other, they are young and are taking it slow to be careful and cautious, not rebellious. The fact that someone who is connected through family said this really hurt, especially to my sister who loved them dearly.
Communication is the key to any successful relationship so why are my extended family always silent in person yet loud and clear behind our backs? This baffled me for the longest time until I came to realize that my family was scrutinized and treated us like outcasts because we were not my step-grandfathers blood. We were treated to half-*ssed love and constant discipline while making an effort to make a connection while they tore at what I struggled to build up.
My advice? Confront them and try to work through it with them and if it falls through then it wasn't meant to be fixed at that point in time. Because of their short-sightedness, my sister might not even want my grandparents to see the child when it's born because (I personally fear) they will treat her like they treated my sisters and me: terribly on an emotional level and like an outcast.
"I can't say it's not painful being estranged from most of my family. I wish it could be otherwise." - LaToya Jackson
I thought I had a wonderful relationship with my step-grandpa (Papa) and treated him like he was my real grandpa because I love him but apparently he sees it differently. I thought I had a great relationship with my grandmother but she takes her husbands side and thus treated my family and me as outcasts while scrutinizing my Father and Mother. There is an invisible force of tension when we all get together because I look nothing like my step-grandfathers children and their children.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't hurt by being so distant from those that I call my extended family. I haven't talked to my grandparents in 6 months, my cousins in years, my uncles/aunts in about a decade, and everyone else is a distant memory. I find it so depressing that although I want so desperately to make peace with my extended family in order to enjoy life and talk to them like a normal family would, that they may not want to take that step to understand how I feel or how my family has felt since they joined the family.
My advice? I have put up with it and looked past it for years but it wasn't until recently that I said "to h*ll with this" and have decided to confront every single person in my extended family. I don't want to one day find out someone I loved died but I hadn't talked to them in so long because of a problem that we couldn't resolve.
"Everybody's family has problems." - Greg Kinnear
The fact that my family and extended family may read this scares me but I recently realized that no matter what, a family does things for a reason. Yeah, sometimes those reasons are really shitty and stupid but they had a reason for it and I only wish to make peace and take the initiative to talk to my extended family to either make peace or to cut them out of my life. I don't want to do that but it is entirely possible if they are toxic to me or my family. My family comes first but I am open-minded and will listen.