Hey everyone! Welcome to the second post in the “My Relationship With” series. Today I’ll be sharing about my relationship with my family and how I am trying to make it better. I hope you enjoy it!
A little background for you. I grew up with three brothers, my parents and some extended family too. I think that’s common practice to grow up with your cousins, aunties, uncles etc, in African culture at least. As time went on, people moved out and eventually I remained with my parents and brothers. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m the only girl and I’m the first born too. I wrote something with my mother here for my last blogging series and you should read it just to get a small idea of who she is and what she does. The post I did with my mother is one of my most viewed posts on the blog so you should read it!
One of my goals this year was to grow my relationship with my family. To get closer to them, relate more and strengthen the family bonds. I’d describe our current relationship as good but it hasn’t always been this way.
My relationship with my brothers has been interesting to see. I think that’s mostly because I haven’t been around so the distance has made our hearts grow fonder lol. Sibling rivalry is an extremely real thing between my siblings and I. Being the older one, I always tried to break up fights between my brothers but then they would end up ganging up on me.
We were never really close. My brothers never talked to me about their crushes or anything like that. They tried to include me in their games when we were younger but I just always kept to myself and sat in my room so I didn’t really give us a chance to grow our relationship and because of that, it makes sense that they wouldn’t talk to me about things that bother them and other stupid conversations siblings should have.
Anyway, when it was time for me to leave for school, one of them said something in the lines of how they wouldn’t really miss me because even when I was home, it’s like I wasn’t because I always sat in my room and didn’t talk to them. It was a joke but I knew there was some truth in that and I felt bad because I had unknowingly built a barrier between my siblings and I.
My relationship with my brothers has taught me to let people in. It has contributed a lot to that lesson. Simply being related to someone doesn’t guarantee having a good relationship with them or having any relationship at all. In fact, when we were younger my mom used to say she was scared we would end up as the siblings who don’t talk or get along because our fights/arguments would be so intense and scary sometimes.
I did not let my brothers in and I did not communicate with them. That built a wall or a barrier between us and so they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. We couldn’t build a solid relationship but I loved them still.
I once asked my brother why he doesn’t talk to me or come to me about certain things and he asked me if I talked to him about the same. The answer was obviously no. That really opened my mind to the truth of our relationship.
I’m very closed up, private or guarded. People don’t get to know much about me because I’m not the most open person there is. So that affected the growth of our relationship and I more or less had to start from scratch and let my brothers in, trying to build a relationship with people I’ve known for years. It sounds silly but it is what it is.
I have also learnt to be very forgiving and patient because dealing with siblings requires just that.
My relationship with my parents, on the other hand, taught me to stand up for myself or at least try to get a word in before a decision, that affects me, is made.
In my teenage years, whenever felt my mom spoke unfairly to me or felt a certain decision regarding me was unfair, I wrote her letters explaining why I wasn’t happy. I wrote letters because I have never liked confrontation and I was not about to confront my mother. I’d slide the letters under her bedroom door and regret it instantly. I wrote about the silliest things but I appreciate that not once did she make me feel like it was silly. It worked and we would talk about what I thought was a problem, hear her out and she would hear me out. So that taught me to speak if I feel wronged.
Another thing I learned from my relationship with my parents is to be understanding of others. My parents and I aren’t on the same page about everything or sometimes I feel my mom gets too worried about things that don’t really worry me but I suppose that’s what parents are for. I’ve had to learn to understand them and where they are coming from because some things just don’t make sense sometimes.
When I first left home for school, my parents and I didn’t talk extremely often. They have always been the type to give me space to breathe when I leave the house so there was nothing strange about that. They were giving me space and time to settle down or something in those lines. And that’s just how it went and I got so used to it and thought it was normal until I heard my friend talk to her mom literally everyday. I was amazed and decided I would make an effort to call home at least once a week.
So my goal to get closer to my family? That’s one of the few goals that I actually met this year. I will say though, in this case distance has made the heart grow fonder. Someone once said relationships with parents flourish when you aren’t in the same house and honestly, I agree. I’m way closer to my brothers. I’m not blocked from seeing statuses so that means I’m considered a cool sibling now.
Obviously, considering the fact that I’m not home, my brothers and I don’t fight/argue as much. I talk to them every week. Not everyday. I try to check in as often as possible and we have talked about personal things too. I found out my immediate younger brother is secretly protective of me. We are just more open and closer now. How did that happen? I made an effort to reach out to them. I realised I actually had to let them in if I wanted them to let me in.
Now they call me to talk about their disagreements with their (our) parents or to ask me to convince my parents to do something for them or let them do something.
It feels good to be that sibling because my youngest brother always rushed to his brother and never me when he had a problem but now he comes to me too, sometimes.
As for my relationship with my parents, we never really argued when we were together and we never really argue now. I am a lot closer to my dad now than I’ve ever been. I’ve always been a “daddy’s girl” but now it’s very evident. We still have disagreements and times where we just aren’t seeing eye to eye but one thing I appreciate that my parents do, is they try to create an atmosphere where we should feel free to talk and be open about things we don’t like. So I’ve just grown up with that, if I’m not happy with something, I will let them know.
I talk to my parents at least once a week and if a weekend goes by without me calling, my dad will start to wonder if I’m okay.
I’ve always struggled with communication and just being involved in things and that’s exactly what hindered my relationship with my family or my siblings to be specific. I’ve had to communicate with my brothers, be open with them and actually let them in.
Something I’ve come to learn is if you don’t let people in, it’s almost impossible to build a solid and good relationship with them.
Like I said earlier, this is one of the few goals I have actually met this year and I am not perfect, but trying to be better and to do better. To be a better sister and a better daughter. My brothers and I will definitely argue, will disagree and we won’t always get along. My parents and I will disagree and there will be times when they will not be happy with me. I really don’t care about all that but I’m just grateful to have them.
I understand family dynamics differ from family to family and my situation is definitely not yours. Family can be toxic sometimes and that’s the ugly truth. I have seen it for myself. That’s why I would love to hear from you. Let me know what your relationship with your family has taught you. I’ll have a “question” tag on my Instagram and we can have a conversation on family and family dynamics. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org , DM me of Instagram: @wonxni_ , or leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!