It should not be a surprise, given my recent posts, that I’m not a big fan of my extended family or relatives–they have proven to be toxic as I was growing up, and at best, irritants as time went by.  I can only wonder at how it would feel to actually have extended family one can actually turn to for solid support, guidance, understanding, and love.

I’ve always been a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and it is difficult at the best of times to try to fit into whatever expectations the greater family culture sets.  Growing up here in Asia, immediate family does not exist in a vacuum, and there is always the extended family to consider.  I have read somewhere that Asian culture is more ‘collectivist‘ while Western culture is more ‘individualistic‘.

I seem to be stuck in a limbo between collectivism and individualism.  However, I digress. The topic at hand is about relatives and I can only envy and admire people who have good family culture and get along with their relatives and actually enjoy their company.  I seem to drown in their unmet expectations each time that I see them and despite the fact that I am now considered an ‘adult’ it doesn’t feel that way when I interact with them.  However, if unmet expectations and disappointments were the only problem, I would consider myself fortunate.  Many of them are poisonous characters in their own right and perhaps ought to be quarantined–if only such a quarantine exists for emotionally and psychologically toxic people.

I seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to this facet of my development–perhaps the damage to my psychological and emotional development has been so great that this part of me is unable to grow past and move on the toxins my interactions with negative people have produced within me.  In my mind, our extended family as well as our immediate family should be factors which are supportive of our improvement instead of the causes for our trauma–but we cannot turn back time and we cannot change how people are.

To this day, the difficult personalities are still as narcissistic and histrionic as they ever were and age seems to make them even worse.  The hierarchical family system here indicates that rank is conferred through seniority and by default, we must respect people who are older than us–whether or not they deserve the respect.  I know a bit better now, but as I was growing up, it was not the case–and it was to my detriment.  There is still much to learn–hence, my reading up on relevant literature.

I have stopped trying to earn their approval and I have ceased hoping that they will learn to better their ways.  This is the first step to loosening the hold they have on me.  There is still a long way to go–and Jon P. Bloch’s book The Loveless Family has categorised some of the monsters and their ways–and how to deal with them, or avoid them.

I am now reading his other book Handling Difficult People.  I shall share my thoughts about it when I finish reading it.

(c) Niconica 2013

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