Family Dynamic

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Families are so fucking crazy. The bonds you have with your family members are some of the strongest but they’re also some of the most complicated. As a kid all the emotions that correlate with the family dynamic are amplified.

There are a ton of different types of families. Some are more conservative, some are pretty out there, some strict, some laid back, some crazy and some just plain weird…the thing is we can’t see what we really have, especially as kids and teens. When your a teenager, especially in high school, you look at everyone else and wish you had their life and their family. They seem “perfect.” That isn’t real. It look a long time to learn this, but EVERY family has their issues, some are just better at hiding them.

Here’s a shortened version of my family life. My mom got pregnant with me at 25, my biological father’s mother wanted me aborted and my biological dad wasn’t close to being ready to be a parent. My mom kept me, clearly ha. She met my step dad when I was three and when I was five I got a little brother. My family was pretty nice, not too strict but we definitely had rules…most of them coming from my dad because my mom’s very laid back. My step dad had apparently been cheating for years and finally my parents split up after being together for 14 years. Now they’re divorced and don’t talk. My brother goes back and forth between households each week and I live with my mom full time with basically zero contact with my step dad. There’s the gist.

The thing about my family is the current relationship between my mother and step dad really cause the most problems. My step dad basically broke every agreement they made regarding introducing my brother and I too new partners and rules for the kids. So there is so trust there. It causes my brother to be put in the middle because he is young and can’t/won’t stand up to my step father because he still loves him. I choose to have no contact with my step dad simply because I think he is an ass for what he did to my mother and the way he just let me go, abandoning me.

From the outside, you would have no idea. You’d just see a single mother working to support her kids, but there is so much under the surface that people on the outside can’t see. A little bit of knowledge that everyone should have is that everything is pretty on the surface…dig a little deeper and you’ll be surprised what you might find. Also, don’t talk/judge if you don’t know. So many people have their own struggles they’re dealing with and you antagonizing them about it if you don’t know the truth does nothing but hurt them.

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2+1=Third Wheeling

We’ve all got our best friend, lucky for me I have two…who are dating. It’s a strange dynamic. They’re each considered my best friend but now that they’re together it’s kind of weird. I don’t want to think that things have changed in any way but they have. I can’t put it into words because it’s something unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

For the most part I know everything about each of them, yet I also know every detail about the two as a couple. What used to be three best friends hanging out has now become a time where I feel strange and like I either need a date or another friend to tag along so it isn’t third wheeling. It shouldn’t feel that way because I’m insanely happy for the both of them because I know this should have happened a while ago, but now that the time has come it’s not in the slightest how I expected.

They say when your in a relationship you see all the happy single people and when your single you see all the happy couples about. I’d say that statement is pretty accurate. I semi-recently got out of a long term relationship that ended with an assault and my ex heading to prison, so being single has been pretty fantastic. I’ve taken full advantage of it and have been working to better myself, earn money and go on a few dates here and there. I’ve been enjoying being single, more than I ever have before in fact, but when I see my two best friends so happily in love it makes me miss having that feeling.

It’s strange because getting close to someone and letting them in has been extremely difficult lately. Under normal circumstances, I fall fast, easily open up and fall in love quickly, but under the recent circumstances it hasn’t been easy. I don’t trust people because I trusted my ex with all my heart and I realized he wasn’t the person I thought he was after we broke up and it makes me question everyone and everything. It’s almost as if the experience with his assault and arrest has made me loose faith in men, which isn’t something I want. I want to feel secure alone and then be able to let someone in. At this moment, I feel something I haven’t felt in a while and that is the feeling of being okay on my own.

The thing with having my two best friends dating that sucks is the fact that I can’t seem to get alone time with either of them. It’s like my girl bff and I set up a movie date and then I get the text, “Oh, I invited my boyfriend cause we were on the phone and he wanted something to do.” It’s hard to get mad because I know I would probably do the same but it just frustrates me because I’ve been in the middle of their relationship the entire time they’ve been “talking” which has been about a year and half. It just gets really annoying when I can’t seem to do something with just one of them, it’s always doing something together. They aren’t big on PDA as a couple but even so, I can’t help but feel like I’m third wheeling all the time when were all hanging out.

I can’t hep but feel scared. I don’t want to loose either of them as my friends, that would kill me. It just feels like something is going to go wrong. Either they will grow stronger together and I’ll slowly fade out of the picture or they’ll break up and I’ll be forced to take sides, no matter what I loose. If anyone out there is reading this and has faced a similar situation please feel free to give me some advice on how to handle this all, I’d really appreciate it.

Circumstantial Change

I used to think I had Nazi’s for parents…that they were as bad as it could possibly get. I was clearly very wrong and the main reason I began to notice that was because of two things. One, most of the strictness came from my father and second, I took a look at my friends parents/family lives.

Circumstance changes everything, if the time is right things will happen that may have never occurred in the first place. My parents separation was a huge adjustment for everyone. I chose to live with my mom full time, where as my little brother goes back and forth each week. I feel like that decision may have determined the fate of my dad and I’s relationship but in turn it strengthened my mother and I’s more than ever.

I soon realized that my mothers insescent pushing to get me to communicate with her more was the key to unlocking freedom. I took a big step and finally started to talk. I told her everything about boys, my friends and I even went as far as to discuss drinking and partying. I opened the flood gates and it was probably the best choice I’ve ever made. We talk about almost everything and it’s amazing. I may not take the advice that she gives me initially but her words will stick with me and they truly do help. When my father’s opinion stopped being a concern in regards to my curfew, what I can do in my free time and basically all aspects of my freedom levels, things suddenly became immensely better. My mom trusts me and that’s one of the greatest feelings. We have an open relationship and even though there are speed bumps along the way, and I still sometimes struggle to tell the truth all the time, our relationship is better than it has ever been before.

If I could give one word of advice to anyone, but especially kids/teens, it would be “communicate.” It’s hard, I’m not going to lie, but when the walls come down and there is open communication between kids and parents everything is smoother. The circumstances surrounding my parents divorce were horrendous, but from all that pain came something that will benefit me in the rest of my life.

Communicating with my parents was always hard, especially with my dad. He isn’t mature in the sense that he can’t have a conversation without jumping into screaming and yelling mode and while my parents were together I could see it rubbed off on my mom, even though she tried hard to not be that way. That was one of the main reasons I wouldn’t talk to them about the struggles I endured during my life. There was also the fact that I didn’t want them to judge me. Everyone tells me there’s no way your parents could judge you, but thats wrong. Clearly my father judges me for not wanting to live with him and his way of showing that is by cutting me out of his life, so it’s unfair to say there is no judgement in the arena of parenthood.

I was one of the lucky ones, when I opened up to my mom she reciprocated and supported me. Other’s don’t get that same benefit. One of my best friends could never talk to her parents about anything. Her mother is slowly becoming more open but her father is even worse than mine from the stories she’s told me. He’s called his own daughter certain things that should never be said under any circumstance and by doing so he’s shut down any chance of ever having a relationship with his child. I’ve witnessed first hand my friends strict parents and all the dumb rules that are put into play, like early curfews, car monitors and constant checking in on them. None of those things work, as the famous quote goes, “strict parents create sneaky kids.”

For all the parents out there dealing with similar situations or having issues with their kids, all I can urge you to do, as a teenager myself, is talk to your kids. Give them the ability to believe in you and to trust that they are safe talking to you about even the most uncomfortable topics. It will save you from a world of complications you probably never want to deal with…believe me, I didn’t talk to my parents about my life for a while and it dragged me way down hill and now that I’m able to communicate openly, I’m at such a great place in life.