In a family there is often a family member who stands out from the rest of the family. Sometimes the difference is in their hair color, their body type, their abilities or their sense of belonging. Humans especially have a need for belonging. Groups of packs, tribes and families constantly remind us of our need for belonging.
We have reached beyond the smelling of people to determine if they are one of “us”. Sadly, the substitution of a simple smell test has been a lengthy list of requirements from each tribe or family for how one belongs. People often say that mothers automatically love their children, but while this is the natural norm, it is not always true. Parents often shape the fate of their child with unfavorable comparisons to others, love based on performance and repeated behaviors to suggest that you are loved as long as you perform. Conditional love from parents, makes self-love almost impossible and sets up siblings to be competitive and non supportive.
The child who has trouble keeping a job, making good grades, keeping a marriage intact or living from crisis to crisis becomes despised by the siblings who do not have this difficulty. In time of crisis, the troubled child gets no recognition for what they have done, only that they have not done enough and they are banished one way or another from the family. The laughs and good times are quickly forgotten, the help that is given is negated, achievements of that person are meaningless. The person who needs love and support the most is denied what they need and not allowed to contribute what they can. Families implode. Children in imploded families are affected regardless of age and they are taught to treat their parents as the elders in their family are treated. So if grandparents are shuttled off out of sight and complained about as a burden, that is how they will see their care of their parents. If they see that the Uncle or Aunt with problems is dismissed and demeaned by their parents, then they will feel justified when they do not like their sister or brother’s spouse or hairstyle. Sarcasm is often used at family gatherings to tear away at the flesh of the weaker sibling.
We can not control the behavior of others, especially through anger. So every family must decide how the family can achieve Mental Wellness. Can you love people where they are, for who they are , with all of their limitations? Can you establish boundaries without stating them angrily?Can you happily justify your anger and resentment so that you continue to punish that weak family member and drive them out? Can you check in regularly on the telephone with the despised family member and if that is hard to do tell the family member why? Does this troubled family member talk over you, over react, interrupt you or not follow through? Maybe a meeting or two of the family with a therapist could be helpful.
In some animal packs or herds, they drive out the weak in the herd, they may even eat them! You can not with humans truly divorce a family member as someone will always track you down to identify the body unless you move around a great deal.
So get the help and support you need during times of family stress to promote Mental Wellness instead of multi generational family dysfunction. Each generation in a family learns from prior generations how to treat each other and that is how healthy or unhealthy family systems are created.
Are you happy with how your family is treating you or each other? Do you and your siblings have the sort of relationship you hope your children will have? When you deny a person love and belonging you contribute to the poor quality of their life as well as your own. When you silently seeth and resent someone you are poisoning yourself. Drink a little poison down or choose to grow in love and do things a new way.