That is where it all starts, doesn't it?

2/19/20243 min read

I am not really a family person. But that is for a reason...

I grew up in a normal, working family as the youngest daughter. I have a 7 year older sister and a brother 4 years my senior. Unfortunately, my dad passed away suddenly at relatively young age when I was 13. And this even definately had a huge influence on shaping my character and the way I perceive people and the world. I will elaborate on my dad's death and circumstances in a separate post because it is an issue which deserves more attention.

I usually consider people in two dimensions. One is their role in our life - such as this woman being our mum - and the second one is the person, the human being behind their given 'role'. Certain 'roles' can be chosen such as a partner for example but some are just 'enforced' such as parents. And here is how I perceive my family.

MY MUM. I can honestly say that I have a great mum. She did an amazing job bringing us up in a difficult situation that she found herself in. We were all well looked after, never hungry and never worried about daily stuff. She enabled us to study and and do whatever we wanted to do in life without being worried about money or student loans. She worked hard to provide for us and even though we could not afford latest gadgets we never felt that we are missing out on anything. And personally, I am very grateful to her for that.

My mum as a person, well, we do not really like each other too much. She was not very warm or emotional. She was suffering with depression from the time I can remember and it probably only got worse after my dad passed away. While I appreciate that she was in a difficult situation it does not justify her being a very negative person. A person that is always right and will never admit that she can be wrong even when proven wrong.

Having said that, I like to think I do my best to keep our relationship on ok basis. She is over 70 years old now and while we live in different countries I do try to help her however I can. I tend to visit her 2 times a year and on a good trip we are good with each other for up to 7 days at the time. Afterwards it can get difficult but as a general rule, I do my best to avoid open conflict. I would rather suffer in silence for few days than start an unnecessary argument. It is however extremely frustrating not being able to talk openly about everything to her. Hence, we never got a chance to build that close bond.

MY SISTER. She is a decent person I guess. Problem with our relationship was the age gap because we never had a chance to spend quality time together. She was always too old and I was always a baby of the family. We only managed to build some sort of a relationship when she came back to live at family home after Uni and I was already 18/19 at the time. We could have some adult conversations, go out together and do 'adult' stuff. She then got married and moved out again and we went our separate ways. We obviously stay in touch but I would not say we are very close. We do not tend to share intimate details from our lifes and we certainly do not know a lot about each other.

MY BROTHER. This part is most painful for me because growing up me and my brother made a good team. He was an older brother but did for me many things a dad should. He tought me to drive and how to fix a car scratch so it is not noticeable. Useful life skills lol. We were still pretty close even when I moved out to live in London while he stayed at family home. All has changed when he met his future wife. If someone had told me 15 years ago that my family will be broken to the point we are not talking to each other I would laugh in their face. Impossible. I would not believe that something might happen to build such a grudge between us. But I have underestimated a third party input and what it can do to a relatively normal family. I will at some point in the future address this subject separately because it requires more attention but long story short - I have not talked to my brother for about 9 years now.

For many years I was feeling guilty because I was convinced that there is something wrong with me for not being able to care deeply about people closest to me. But those feelings cannot be enforced. Every relationship, being it a blood bond, partnership or friendship, they all need a huge amount of effort from both parties involved to create and maintain that special bond.