In the previous post, I described conflicted feelings in my obligation toward my siblings. In response, my friend and reader posed the following questions of me and of you–
“I have wondered for many years what characterizes the familial relationship. Does a blood relationship require love and connection? Are you required to love your siblings simply because of the blood relationship?”
I don’t believe DNA is the defining characteristic of family. There are people, I have no genetic ties to, whom I love more than my family. For me, GUILT is the primary characteristic of the familial relationship. I feel guilty that I don’t love all of the people I’m related to. I feel guilty that the people I’m related to and whom I love drive me crazy. I feel guilty that there isn’t enough time in the day for me to meet their needs and guilty when I’m resentful of their demands on my time. I feel guilty when I do not want to answer the phone to listen to a long, needy, monologue, “Hi it’s me, let me tell you all about me. Hear me, affirm my actions and confirm my existence.” Jesus! Me, me, me; it’s tiring. If I were a better person I would want to listen to that. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
A blood relationship does not require love and connection. We’re not the same, we are not required to love and connect. We are required to be decent human beings. We are required to refuse to be the familial doormat.
I do not love all of my siblings. It isn’t necessary for me to tell them that. Cruelty is unnecessary. It doesn’t feel good to be soundly rejected. When I don’t answer the phone it allows the caller to rationalize that behavior, “That’s just the way she is.” To a certain extent that’s true, I am that way.
Hanslr and I are very interested in reading your thoughts on the subject. Don’t be shy, tell it like is!