Why do I feel like I have nothing in common with my family?
According to Ifop, 53% of people associate family with happiness, 44% with sharing, and 34% with solidarity. Except that this isn’t the case for everyone, including me 😅! So I did a little introspection to ask myself why I felt I had nothing in common with my family.
Distance and a different context
When I was younger, I didn’t feel any different from the people around me. But when I was 18, I left home to go to university. As we lived in the country, I moved to the city several hours away 🚗. The more time passed, the further away I moved geographically. This physical distance increased the emotional distance... We saw each other less and less, and obviously, we evolved differently.
👉 Our lives influence our character, and this can deepen the feeling of distance from our families. This is even truer when there’s a change in social status 😫!
As I became independent, my maternal grandmother passed away. It wasn’t easy to go through the stages of grief, especially as my family imploded, too 🤯. Indeed, my grandmother hid all the family secrets, so when she left us, everything came to the surface! Old stories from 30 years ago or even more surfaced between different family members, which only made things worse. Exhausted by this, I distanced myself because I couldn’t deal with the resentment between them.
It was only when my own mother died suddenly that tensions eased. Everyone understood that there was no point in quarreling over old stories, but for me, it was too late 😢.
You may be interested in this article >>> 10 Signs you grew up in a toxic family
A generation gap
Something else I’ve noticed over the years is the generational aspect that causes the distance to grow. We have different concerns, but that’s not the most complex thing. The older generations grew up with a not-so-caring upbringing and weren’t educated about mental health 😅. It’s tough love that takes precedence, so it’s a far cry from the listening and non-violent communication that I strive for. It’s really difficult to face this old school that keeps saying, “In my day, we didn’t do it like that, it was the hard way and that was it!” No matter how much I explain that this is no reason to manage relationships like this, many just do as they please 🤦♀️... It’s hard to invest in a family relationship where positive values don’t circulate much.
A real incompatibility
For all these reasons, I feel different from the other members of my family. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Marie-Claude Gavard also explain that frustrations encountered during childhood can be the origin of this incompatibility. We never felt understood, which widens the gap 😫. Added to this is the guilt of being who you are and not necessarily having followed you’re your family expected of you. Not to mention the change in social status in the poorest families... This can cause a narcissistic injury because they didn’t evolve in the same way 😓.
It's ok not to be compatible with your family!
We understand that there may be several legitimate reasons why you’re incompatible. The hardest thing now is to accept this difference. For me, it took a long time to see my family for what it really was. I grew up with Christmas movies where everything was perfect and families were close 🙃. It was a long road to understanding that this wasn’t my reality and that that was ok. You need to accept the fact that you’re different from your family and that you don’t fit in with them 🤷♀️.
What to do about this incompatibility with your family?
Even if you’re incompatible, is that a reason to break with your family ⚡? The choice depends on each individual and their family history. For me, even though we distanced ourselves and there were different interests and a misunderstanding, in particular, I try to maintain a link. When I lost my mother, it was like a tsunami in my life 💔. I realized that day that no matter how different we were, I loved my family, and they’re part of my identity.
Find a balance
You, therefore, need to find a balance between distancing yourself and taking it on the chin. The geographical distance is always there, so I don’t always have to deal with my whole family. It allows me to choose when I want to see them and to be sufficiently “armed” to suck it up. This makes it easier for me to deal with conflicts or unpleasant remarks 👍. Nevertheless, if your family is more open about mental health than mine, it’s always an option to consider family therapy. Even if you’re incompatible, it doesn’t mean that there’s no love and no desire to move forward together 🤗.
Of course, this only applies if you want to stay in touch with your family. There are people for whom it’s impossible to maintain the link because of traumatic reasons such as psychological violence. In this case, your priority is to take care of yourself and heal from painful events 🤕...
The possibility to choose your own family
You need to bear in mind that family isn’t only embodied by blood ties. You can choose to recreate a family, especially if you have a difficult family history. We often hear that we don’t choose our family, but we do choose our friends! You can therefore surround yourself with caring people who give you a boost and with whom you have chemistry. Then, as you get older, you can also decide to start your own family and focus on this new family sphere. After all, family love is embodied in different ways. The trick is to be at peace with yourself and those around you 🙂!
Editor’s note: Difficult relationships
Family relationships are never simple, we don’t choose family, so we deal with it as best we can. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it’s more complicated, then it’s difficult, how do you explain not getting along with your own flesh and blood? Why are we so different? Why do they make us feel bad? These questions are complex and lead back to our childhood, experiences, old traumas, etc. That’s why it may be interesting to make an appointment with a psychologist in order to better understand this family history and to learn how to manage it in the best way for your happiness. Don’t wait to make an appointment.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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