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Family Members Emotionally Distant?


Llwellyn
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I am a missionary kid from Africa, and currently living in the US. Growing up, I had a good relationship with my parents -- we were always close, but it was a different story with my brother and sister.

 

My sister, older by 4 years, was always uptight and emotionally reserved. She was never close to me and even seemed scared of me, I'm not sure why. She left my parents' home to go to a boarding school when I was in 6th Grade. Today, she is a missionary in Africa with my parents. :loser:

 

My brother, older by 2 years, was always very depressed, shy, and emotionally bottled up. He would rarely speak a kind word to me, and would often pick on me or insult me. I think he was very insecure and unhappy. Today, he cannot smile for a camera, and his teeth are all ground down from TMJ. I think he is opening up a little bit after having a son, but he is still quite reserved. :ugh:

 

Neither of my siblings took me under their wings as a confident or a protege. They never taught me about life or shared their lives with me in an intimate way. It almost feels as if I grew up as a single child. Sometimes I feel a sense of loss when people talk about having a close relationship with their siblings, because I never had this. :vent:

 

At Subway last weekend, I saw a pair of identical twins stopping in before going to the bar, and I thought to myself, "How awesome would that be -- to have an identical twin!" -- you would share so many experiences and feelings. You could compare ideas and learn things together. :HaHa:

 

I somewhat blame Christianity for this experience. It seems like Christianity teaches a kind of a paranoia and mistrust of others, and that can likely enter into the family as well. Maybe my siblings and I could just not be honest with each other and be ourselves around each other because we all imagine that we stand in need of "forensic justification" and "imputed righteousness." :twitch:

 

What about you, were you close with your siblings? How do you think Christianity relates to this experience? :woohoo:

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Hey Llewellyn,

 

I'm sorry to hear about how your brother and sister are very distant to you.

 

It's the same with me as well. I'm estranged from my parents (my father is a fundie pastor - you've probably read my story here), but my brother called me the other day for the first time in a year. I was abused physically and emotionally by my father, and my mother did nothing about it. My brother, who is two years my junior, just invalidates me all the time, even though he knows I have had psychotherapy which lasted about seven or so months earlier this year and even though he can hear me getting teary at the other end of the phone.

 

It cuts me up, and he just says, "Stop talking about it or I'll hang up." This was the other day - the phone call after a year, which was just to check if I was "still alive".

 

Oh yes...they're all bible-wielding, church crazy fundies mind you. They just don't give a shit about their own daughter or sister. They'll say they love me, but not one single action shows it. If they need to admit to any wrongdoing on their part - and there is a HELL of a lot of it - they won't. They'd rather just tell me to shut up, that it's all my fault and get on with it. Because of that line, I cut off from them all last year. It's been over a year since I spoke to my parents now, and I'm all the more happy about it.

 

My brother is now a police officer. I don't think he'll ever change.

 

I blame Christianity for it, because all of this stems from the abuse my father dished out to me (never to my brother though, for the simple fact that my brother is a boy - my father just hates women who challenge him, so my mother is the demure, subservient type who does as she's told). My father always justified his abuse with the bible, so I think the bible is FUCKED! I think that way about Christianity too.

 

But yeah...I can totally relate to you. As far as I'm concerned I have no brother, and no biological family either, since they all cut me off when I cut my parents off.

 

Talk soon!

Amelia

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My family was (is) very disfunctional, some members more than others. I'm sure that the fundy Christianity that dominated in my family had much to do with it, but not all. We'd still have been screwed up to a certain extent without the church.

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It's not just Christianity. My brother is an atheist and has been for most of his life (my parents are agnostics so we were not raised with religion). He's always viewed me as kind of a personal insult to him because I was born. He's always talked down to me, made fun of me, sometimes physically abused me, and made it very clear he wanted nothing to do with me growing up. Even as an adult he was just very aloof and exclusive. Polite and tolerant, but it's obvious we have nothing in common. Once I called him because I was in the hospital with a broken foot and needed a ride home he told me he couldn't come get me because he had friends over. Would have taken him less than a half hour of his time.

 

After that I realized he was just a born douchebag to wrapped up in himself to give a shit about anybody else and I've made a point not to talk to him since. According to my mother, he wonders why.

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  • 1 month later...
What about you, were you close with your siblings? How do you think Christianity relates to this experience? :woohoo:

 

I've always wanted to be close to my siblings and have tried on many occasions. But they never have seemed interested in having any sort of relationship with me. I find this very sad; when I try to talk to my dad about it, he makes excuses for them saying that they have their own lives. So, I guess that means they didn't and don't want me to be a part of it? Really, I don't think it's that hard for them to take a few minutes out of their lives to return a phone call or reply to a handwritten letter.

 

I would say Christianity plays a huge role in this, as all of my brothers and sisters (I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters) are bible thumpers (one brother is a preacher, one is a deacon). I have always felt like an outsider among them and they have always seemed to look down on me even when I was a Christian. I remember one brother boasting how he was saved before I was even born and another brother boasting how he was one of the elect and I wasn't. Even going so far as when I was a little kid to skip over me during Christmas (i.e. no presents, no hugs, etc...) Now because I don't believe, I am the black sheep of the family more so then I was before. Now some of them go out of their way to fault their religion even on MySpace. Lol. I noticed today my nephew changed his title to "Jesus Died For You" and has added a bunch of religious stuff that wasn't there before. (So being the apostate that I am, I changed mine to "No Gods, No Masters")

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What about you, were you close with your siblings? How do you think Christianity relates to this experience? :woohoo:

 

Hi Llwellyn!

 

I am sorry to hear about your family experiences with your siblings. Your comments struck a cord with me, which I have to admit bothered me for some reason; I guess as your comments are genuine regarding heartfelt emotions. I grew up in a rather psychotic, violent family, so to be kind and loving is not the norm. I had a cousin growing up, and I hated him, he was a cruel punk. I was raised as mostly an only child by my mother, but once I got to be 10 I was really raising myself as she was a drug addict. My father left before I was 1. My grandparents did most of the real raising of me in my early years. My grandparents were Christians and my mom and aunt were nominally so, as was my older cousin on my mom's side whom I grew up with.

 

Anyway, I was not close to my cousin or my family. I was too busy trying to figure out what was wrong and why my family was filled with anger and hate. My cousin's mother (my aunt) was very abusive towards me...her evil son was always 'misunderstood' for the evil he would do. I was always somehow linked to why he did the sick stuff he did. Reality was I wanted to be left alone in my room to draw and play with my toys, and I think she hated my innocence and meek heart (her son was such a piece of garbage. Even at 14 the cops used to catch him out breaking into cars and she or my grandparents would have to go get him from the police station). I wanted to commit suicide when I was 11, if that is any indicator. By the time I was 13, I wanted to kill my mother. She used to beat me until I was black and blue. When I turned 14, I finally took revenge on her for all the abuse since I could remember (I think 2 years old). I beat the fucking shit out of her, and I felt like I was a real person for the first time in my life. Sick, eh?

 

All the time, my grandparents used to make me go to Church and accept my mom's brutal behavior. I spoke against my mom to my grandparents when I was about 13 (that was something I never did before) and they rebuked me hard. My 'loving' grandmother said "How DARE you speak against my daughter!" and my grandfather said "You deserve her punishment!" After that, I hated them both. When my grandmother died in agony from cancer when I was 18, I laughed. I was glad she died. My cousin wanted to fight me, he thought I was a monster (what a hypocrite!), and I told him to fuck off. I took a huge stab at him, and said "You fucking crybaby! She's dead, get over it." He shook so hard...I wanted him to strike me, I had become a terror of my own by then, training 3-4 hours a day in boxing and karate since I was 16 with my best friend Roger who became a very strong fighter. His parents had wanted to call the cops on my mom when I was younger a few times. But once I beat her at 14 I think they just said "Fuck it. At least he's doesn't get beat anymore". MY mom would call them and tell them to make me go home. Roger's dad would come out front and say, "Shawn, you want to go home?" and I'd say "No way." He told her "Shawn's staying here, and I can't make him leave. Come get him if you want, otherwise, stop calling me. Click!" LOL! I loved that. They used to want me to go to mass (they were Catholic) and read the Bible. My own family didn't even have me read the Bible, but expected me to go to Church and do the religious crap.

 

My grandmother's death was the turning point for my whole family. My cousin and I butted heads minorly a few times after that, but I always made sure I put him down verbally...my thing was, I wanted him to strike first. I could easily see my grandfather calling the cops and saying I started it, he was such a back-stabbing pussy. I left on my 19th birthday to move in with my friend Roger and his family, and never came back.

 

Well, that's my early life story. To this day I don't speak with any of them (there was an exception when I got 'saved' for a year in the USAF 1996, and one more time in 2002-2005 that was turbulent, after that I broke for good) and never will. I'd sooner die than say even "Fuck you" to any of them. I was in contact with my cousin on my father's side (I thought he was 'legit'), but I've already stated what happened there. Another 'Christian' family member who I revile. I live a lonely life, and most could not fathom it. I would not change any of it. To do so would be to become weak and pathetic. There's days I feel the hand of God against me. And I just say 'fuck you, asshole', and 'fuck your satan too.'

 

I spend most of my time weight lifting, boxing, and doing Qi Gong. Also studying IT technology, I have servers and routers in my place. I seem to have a strong ability of empathy; I can oftentimes figure people out quickly. I guess all the years of emotional trauma gave me a very high tolerance level to pain and suffering. Sometimes it's of little use to me though; love is not a strong point in my life. I saw a joke on the web one day, it went something like this:

 

“Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad he’s never cried. Ever.”

 

I’m sorry I cannot open up like some of you here. I feel this is just one long wasted post. Maybe someone will get something out of this.

 

 

Shawn

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I'm sorry I cannot open up like some of you here. I feel this is just one long wasted post. Maybe someone will get something out of this.

 

 

Shawn

 

Shawn, I love reading your stories. You give such vivid detail that I can see and hear what is going on. Anyone can fill in the feelings from there. Keep writing, Shawn. Your input is valued here.

 

Scarlett, my heart aches that you were even passed over when it came to gifts. Most of the time I managed to get as many gifts as my sisters, which was very little because money was not a strong part of our family.

 

I've been thinking recently about the impact of religion and the emotional ties I experience with my siblings and what I've seen in other families. While we were growing up, my sisters close in age to me and I were inseparable. What one of us knew the others knew too. In other words, there were no secrets. That changed when we grew up and were separated. We no longer had the same life experiences. I don't know exactly why but I've never felt the closeness we had as children.

 

I don't think religion has anything to do with how close families are. But religion is used big time to justify and reinforce dysfunctions. I've seen diagrams on family relationships. There is such a thing as enmeshed relationships where family members are too closely entwined for emotional well-being. That's our family. We're knotted together in love-hate relationships that nothing can penetrate, so it seems. Sometimes it seems that the only thing that binds us is critical judgmentalism of each other. The only acknowledgment or attention we can get is negative so we seek it. Extremely stressful. Sometimes I think that kind of negative attention is fostered by the religion. There are verses in the Bible that can be used strategically to keep people bound together like that. When our spiritual well-being is judged by our method of relating to others it gets pretty tricky. So I guess from that perspective, religion does play a role. One's culture probably determines what kind of relationships are seen as ideal. For example, a very different type of relationship is valued in mainstream Western culture than in the relgious community I come from. Individualism and independence are valued and nurtured. In the community where the individual is sacrificed on the alter of the greater good of the community, esp. when it is always and consistently the same individuals who are sacrificed and certain authority figures are invariably served thereby, it becomes severely abusive.

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I'm emotionally distant from almost all my relatives. I've never lived closer to them than about 600 miles since I was 17. The distance and the inferquency of visits has certainly been a big part, much more so than just leaving Christianity.

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Shawn, I love reading your stories. You give such vivid detail that I can see and hear what is going on. Anyone can fill in the feelings from there. Keep writing, Shawn. Your input is valued here.

 

I agree with RubySera, I have always enjoyed reading your posts Shawn.

 

Scarlett, my heart aches that you were even passed over when it came to gifts. Most of the time I managed to get as many gifts as my sisters, which was very little because money was not a strong part of our family.

 

 

Thank you. It wasn't a matter of money in this case though, I can assure you. And in spite of everything I've tried to get close to my brothers and sisters; even to this day when I do see my siblings I am still ignored by them.

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