Wednesday, September 4, 2013


For a 6 letter word it has a pretty strong hold on us humans; be it good or bad.  It conjures up feelings of love, hate, guilt, belonging, jealousy, anger, comfort, sadness, joy, annoyance, a sense of duty, honour, protectiveness, loyalty, disappointment, pride, embarrassment, shame, and probably many others. Interesting how a word that was created by man and is relatively small could have that much impact on us.  We are taught to love thy family, but sometimes it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain that expectation.

It's been said that family dynamics are made up of several forces that exist within a group of people that ultimately contribute to an individual's behavior.  Those dynamics can and will alter and change a person over time. Those forces also consist of many different influencing factors; such as the size of the family, the type of relationship the parents have/had with the children, a death within, alcoholism or substance abuse, a missing parent, or abuse (in whatever form that takes).  Within these family units, especially large ones, these factors often cause the "children" to take on different roles within the unit.  Very rarely are these conscious decisions.  In many large families, especially those that have lived through a serious issue such as a death or alcohol abuse, one can often find the constant peace keeper... the irresponsible child... the hero... the care taker... and the mascot.   Research suggests that each role has a specific duty to the family and it is often impossible to alter the role once it has been established.

Okay, so all that babble aside, up until 2 1/2 years ago I used to joke about having a dysfunctional extended family, but I didn't really believe it.  Considering the lousy hand my father's family had been dealt growing up I was pretty impressed with how well all most of them turned out.   There are 9 of them (children that is) and funny enough, I can assign names to all those titles I just listed up there quite easily.  That being said, they still managed to remain a tight unit.  Of course over the years there have been several family squabbles, but somehow they've always managed to come back together over time.

Without getting into any details (because it's not my story to tell and frankly I don't really know the story) there is now a huge  gigantic  humongous  irreparable rift in this once very loyal, close knit family.  The rift began between the one I would label as the irresponsible child and one I would label as a care taker (and quickly spread like wildfire through the rest of the group).  Not terribly surprising considering these two roles could end up being co-dependent on one another.

So while I'm comforted in the fact that this happens in a lot of families (we are not an anomaly), I'm honestly beyond saddened that the actions of one would be enough to rip an entire family to shreds.  A large group of once close people now pulled in every direction and all away from each other. Outside of my immediate family, these people are the last ties I have to my dad.  It's hard for me to walk away from any of them.   It's really hard to pick sides when I just don't want to have to.  It's much harder to do it when you only hear snippets of the story and never directly from the two parties at the centre of it all.  Everything I've learned has been hearsay and hearsay isn't enough evidence for me to cast someone out of my life, someone who is directly tied to one of the most important human beings in my life.

Do I condone the behavior that was displayed to get us where we are now?  No way, I abhor it!  I am very disappointed and upset that it was carried on this long, that it seemed to become easier and easier for one to take advantage of another.  But, I guess deep down inside I feel like there should be a way to fix this.  I'm not dumb, I know that's not likely possible and I have a feeling I'm not getting through this, without being dragged into it, with all of my family members still actively in my life.  That scares the shit out of me.

I read a quote by Joe Rogan (ya ya...that guy) that stuck with me enough that I had to seek it out and it's been on my desktop for months now.

"The world would be a beautiful place if everybody was allowed to get their shit together and we forgave people for a reasonable amount of bullshit. Not like rape and murder and stuff like that, but a reasonable amount of bullshit. If we could forgive people for things, and move on, the world would be a much better place." 

I'm sure everyone's idea of what a reasonable amount of bullshit entails is different, and for those affected negatively in this particular situation the threshold will be much higher.  I guess I'm hoping for one person to make it all right again.  I guess I'm hoping that one person will get their shit together so the others can forgive them and we can all go back to the way it was.  I guess I'm hoping all the people I love will forever have a place in my life.  I hope I'm not hoping for too much.  


  1. and this is why the only family I really consider my family is the little one I've created myself... includes people who are not related but mean the world to me - my dopey ass husband who I happen to love, and my amazingly awesome son - and two ridiculous dogs!! You're awesome Holly... love your blog posts

    1. My dad taught me just that as well Rebecca. I'm just really struggling with the realization that a group of people who were always surrounding me with support and love in the distance (and a group I clearly took for granted) could be dwindling down to very few. And not as a result of anything I did. I could deal with it if it was something I created or forced....

      I'll cope, I'm sure. It just sucks. Thanks for the reminder though, you're so right.