I’m going to accidentally meet one of my family members for the first time today? That kind of makes me want to stay home!
I think, in real life, we do meet our parents and siblings over and over for the first time then we marry some of them and we form friendships with others. I think many of us fall into relationships with people very like our parents and siblings, unconsciously working out unresolved questions and relationship conundrums. In fact, I think it’s inescapable.
I’ve had male and female friends who were very like my mom; charming, insecure, competitive, manipulative and physically violent. I’ve tried to rescue people, unconscious that I was involved in a rescue, unaware of how much they were like my brother — I even tried living with one whose dependency on me and expectations that I would care for him were just like my brother’s. The important thing is that it took me THREE YEARS to figure it out. He was as adept at creating a believable false reality (con job) as my mother had been!
My wonderful French therapist said long ago (by way of explaining this) that we all look for love and we “find” it in that which makes us feel comfortable, what is familiar, known. For some people, the “familiar” (like family) is not that great. It would be a lot more interesting if we could actually meet and form relationships with people who are NOT like people we know already. In my case, that’s proven nearly impossible.
I wrote to this prompt last year on the VERY DAY I drove away from San Diego. 🙂 I wrote about a friend who’d proved not to be, really, much of a friend. He was, in fact, one of those people with whom I’d become involved who was unavailable. That has been a common motif in my life — reaching for the person who offers me a little something but, you know, not much, similar to the little something I got from my mom and my brother. Mostly it was nothing, but on rare occasions, it was wonderful.
I think everyone sooner or later has to “get over” their family. At the same time, no one probably ever succeeds completely at that. There’s more involved than simple (ha ha ha) environment. There is genetics. One of the strangest things is how much my niece, who never really knew my mother and was not raised anywhere NEAR my family, has grown up to share many of my mom’s traits — some of the good ones, some of the bad ones.