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.

Don’t Talk If You Don’t Know

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The thing about families, that every ignores, is that they’re all complicated. Every family has issues, it doesn’t matter how “perfect” they come off on the outside. As a kid, I would look at other families and wish they were mine because I felt like mine was so messed up. I was right…my family is really messed up but you know what, I fucking love it.

When I was inside my mom, my biological dad wanted me aborted and when I was born he only visited me when he could bring friends along to show me off like I was some kind of toy. When my mom told him that couldn’t happen anymore he stopped showing up. I haven’t had my biological dad in my life for the 17 years I’ve been on this planet; I’ve only met him once and that was in 8th grade.

Since I was three, I’ve had my step-dad in my life. I’ve never once considered him to be my step-dad, he’s always been my dad until he really dropped the ball. About two years ago, he cheated on my mom and they broke up officially. It’s been a messy divorce. I don’t move back and forth between houses like my little brother does, I know it hurts him and is a constant struggle for him which kills me.

The reason I started specifying that he is my step-dad is because he proved he doesn’t care about me or my family. He got engaged without telling me to a woman he’d known for two months. Then forgot to invite me to the wedding and took on his girlfriends daughter like his own, kicking me to the curb. I lost all respect for him as a man at that point and choose not to have him in my life anymore.

The thing that bugs me is the fact that people pretend like they know you. They think they know your story based on the outside appearance of a situation, when in reality they known nothing because the actual severity is too deep for them to comprehend as the shallow human beings they are. I wonder why certain people find it necessary to talk about other people’s lives like they know the truth, but then I realize it’s because they’re too disappointed with their own lives. Those who do that are people I feel pity for, I can’t imagine hating your life so much that you see it necessary to talk about others.

I won’t lie or pretend the situation with my father didn’t hurt me. It did, it killed me and ate away at my self confidence, mental health and happiness for years but I have become a better person for it. I’ve grown up. I no longer allow issues with other people to damage myself. It’s something I am now able to move out of my mind and live with, without allowing it to hurt me. As someone who played the victim for almost their entire life, it feels amazing to stand tall and proud.

It’s important to be supported, but not by weak links. When it comes to situations or people who bring you down, quit fast and move forward. When you can consciously make the choice to remove yourself from a situation that is hurting you or remove someone whose doing the same that is how you know you have grown up.

Family Feud

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So because I was 16 when my parents split, I was able to make the choice on wether or not I wanted to go back and forth between my mom and dad’s house every other week. I chose not too because first off that would be such a hassle and secondly, I’m not a fan of my dad after what went down with my family. My brother on the other hand was forced to do that. He’s been doing it for the last year or so and it never really affected me but I’m starting to notice some annoying habits my mom has been creating during the week my brother is here.

It seems like when he comes, it instantly becomes spoil Phoenix week. Like everything that we had planned or had going on is dropped to take him surfing or something. It really annoys me. My mom says it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it because the week that he isn’t here, I get spoiled. I wouldn’t really say that’s true since my schedule basically stays the same week to week. Also there’s the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever seen my brother clean something at my moms house, where as I get yelled at and loose privileges if I don’t clean the bathroom or something.

What it looks like to me, is that my mom is trying to get my brother to like her more than my dad. Which I don’t see how that would even be a question since he sucks but whatever, that’s my brothers prerogative. I think he just needs to stop trying to please both of them and think independently because he’s just scared to hurt my dad’s feelings which is dumb because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any.

I Cantaloupe

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Marriage is a beautiful thing, its the uniting of two individuals to create one. I don’t think marriage should be rushed or done through betrayal. Which is precisely why I will not be attending my step-father’s wedding in Mexico this summer.

My biological pops isn’t in the picture, he dipped out when I was born and I’ve only met him once, ironically, I never want to meet him again. So when I was three my mom introduced me to the guy she’d been dating, Todd. They continued dating for the next 12 years and I consider him my father, but due to recent circumstances the common term I used for him, “dad”, is now consciously being changed to “step-dad.” Simply due to the fact that I think he is an asshole. (Sorry to be so blunt)

You see, he and my mom never got married…aka he never proposed and then after a solid 12 years of togetherness he goes and cheats on her. I have a little brother so because of us my parents worked things out and stayed together, but history repeats itself and he cheated again…and again. Finally my parents split up.

Then came the hard part, my younger brother was destroyed by it and that was the hardest thing for me to witness, and the fact that my mother was so hurt by it all. My step-dad acted as if none of it mattered and it wasn’t his fault, that’s why I think he is an ass. Custody became and issue and because I’m old enough legally to make those decisions, I live with my mom full time where sadly, my little brother has to go back and forth each week.

Once again my step-dad broke trust when he introduced his new girlfriend to my brother and I before the agreed 6 months of dating my parents had discussed. Another reason to think he’s a jerk. I choose to distance myself from him and his new family. His girlfriend…well now fiance, has a daughter who just so happens to be very close in age to the time my step-dad took me on, ironic huh?

The thing about my step-dad is, he wants but he won’t give. I don’t play that way. If you want something from me, you must give effort back and I will reciprocate especially when it comes to having a relationship. I won’t do a one sided relationship, either both parties put effort in or I’m out. I initially tried and didn’t get anything in return so I gave up. Having a relationship with him is no longer important to me, but now he’s putting in half assed effort and expects me to be all for it and attend his wedding with some woman he’s known for less than a year…no thank you.

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.

Hypocritical is the New Black

It’s almost comical how you can say and do one thing and turn around and do the complete opposite. It’s like, oh hey, let’s tell so and so not to do this thing but then lets go and do that exact thing in a couple days. It’s just not fair. I don’t get people who are hypocritical and I don’t get why it’s become such a trend.

Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say I’m the Almighty Athena who has never done anything hypocritical in her life. In fact, I do it quite often. It’s not something I necessarily want to do or intend to do, but it just proves my point that we all do it. It only makes sense though, that we are as humans hypocritical because it’s always easier to give advice to someone else but it’s not always easy to take that advice.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of hypocrites and I’ve been called one plenty of times, but I feel it’s harder to control when your young. Where as when your older it should be something your able to recognize and terminate when the behavior shows it’s ugly head.

That is why I don’t take it lightly when people in my family are hypocritical of me. The most prominent example I have of that is all the times my dad has called me out for being immature. Just because I stopped putting in effort to have a relationship with him after he basically stepped out of my life that makes me immature in his eyes? How does that make sense? He is the adult and he is also my father, it’s his job to take initiative in rekindling our relationship, not mine. I say that because I’ve tried, I’ve put in a serious effort to try to get things back to how they were when I was younger but he shuts me down every time.

A lot of the shutting down also ones from me. He’s asked me to come over for dinner or to hangout and I just don’t want too. I’m not supportive of his marriage and I don’t want to put myself in that situation where I have to converse with his fiancé and her daughter. It’s not something I am willing to do, even for the sake of our relationship. I want a father daughter relationship…not a father daughter plus his little family in tow relationship.

In my eyes it’s hypocritical of him to blame me for not wanting a relationship or putting in effort to have one, when he does the exact same thing!

I feel somewhat hypocritical writing this. What am I doing complaining about all this stuff? Maybe somewhere out there on the internet my dad has a blog and is writing about how frustrated he is with his life, but I guess we’ll never know. All I’m trying to say, simply put, is it sucks to in a world with so many people saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Sea of Separation

I’ve seen divorce, seen the kids broken down, seen families fall to pieces in the blink of an eye…never did I think I’d fall next. I watched my parents fight for years before it began to hit me that they may separate. That day came in November of 2012. Shocked and heartbroken I sat and watched my mom fall apart. I stood strong, trying to mask all my feelings on the subject; I felt it was my job to be the rock.

My mom and I got closer as time passed and she told me the reason for their split. My “father” had been cheating. Hearing that broke my heart… I’ll admit to my flaws and mistakes, I’ve cheated but I’ve also been cheated on and in no way could I imagine being betrayed by the person I’d loved for 13 years.

My hatred for my father began to increase as time went on. I didn’t and still don’t understand…he’s my dad and he just left me standing the shit storm. He didn’t even look back. I never wanted to lose our relationship but suddenly it all disappeared right before my eyes when I told him I didn’t want to move back and forth each week. The contact between us just stopped and without even realizing it, he became nothing more than a wallet to me. I think the hardest part for me to swallow was when I found out he was engaged from my little brother and that the woman had a 5 year old daughter. She replaced me and even if he doesn’t want to admit to it or see it, his actions make it perfectly clear.

You see, my what I guess is technically my step father, took me on when I was 3 years old. I don’t remember that day exactly but when I think about it now, I think about how I finally got a dad, someone to look up to and to have there for me through thick and thin. I was wrong.

Divorce hasn’t done all bad to me… my mom and I’s relationship has never been stronger in my opinion, but it’s hard sometimes when I see how much it affects her. She’s there for me through it all but she snaps. Not violently, but she will get upset about seemingly meaningless things and lash out at my brother and I with words. Now I admit, sometimes those thing’s are my fault or I provoke them but it still hurts. I already lost my dad, I can’t loose her too.

Plain and simple, divorce sucks. It takes a toll on the 2 adults involved but I think it affects the kids the most. Being a child coming from a divorced home, I am bias but don’t ever think for a second that it doesn’t kill us inside everyday. The thing about kids from divorced families, is we learn better than anyone how to hide our emotions because even if no on will openly admit to it, we feel responsible and feel we must be the anchor in the rocky sea of separation.