Same Family, Different Parents?
Do you ever feel like your family system isn't typical? Ever have a sense that just don't fit in? Have you had a moment where you noticed the relationship of your sibling with your parent(s) and thought: "They have such a different connection or dynamic than I ever had or can ever imagine having with them".
Those are thoughts many siblings have about each other. It does not mean that your parents are that different in the ways they are from moment to moment. It would get exhausting if they changed the way they spoke to differ between each child.
However, although there aren't external differences, there are many subtle differences in ways that parents relate to each child. It is very possible, and almost probable, that you have been engaged with in a totally different way than your sibling(s).
You may find that your dad adores your older bother, believing he can do no wrong, but you always mess up no matter what you try. You may be trying to get the approval from you mom for years but no matter how many ways you go, she never even notices the efforts you put in. Or, you may feeling like the "average kid", never really making trouble but never really feeling seen at all.
When we are raised in a home with other siblings, comparisons are bound to happen. Thats just how social creatures are. We come into the world as infants, with a need to be held, seen, responded to and share giggles with. As we mature, we need our caregivers to help us get to know the big wide world out there, how to navigate it, what to do in certain situations and most importantly to know that there are people to come home to after a long day.
Thats how we get to know who we are in this world. Boundaries and being able to check in with our mom or dad help us learn where we start and where others begin. The fine divide yet secure connection to those around us.
So why do some of us have a better relationships with mom than others? Why do you have warm feelings when thinking of dad but for your brother, the thought of him may push him running? Simply put, human beings are complex. When an adult chooses to have a child, they envision a wonderful new baby coming into their world. Bringing joy, connection and building their family. Passing the legacy, paying forward the nurturing their parents gave them or to teach young minds about the wonders of the world and how to make a difference .
The things we don't often think about is how there are so many components at play throughout the developing years of each individual.
Children are born with a personality. A nature. A predisposition. There are social and environmental factors that affect how a child feels internally and externally. Is there any aging grandparent living in the house? Is there an older sibling who has special needs or who takes up more space or time? Are the parents overwhelmed with worries or responsibilites? Or, do they feel like they haven't found their niche in their social circles.
Connections are key to our survival. We're born programmed to wanting to survive. Families are our first experiences of connection. And even more so, our parents. Take a moment to check in on how you may be feeling in regard to your parents, friends, siblings, children, spouse or acquaintances. Good? Eh? Connected? Sorta?
Notice the differences in each of your relationships, what components are at play, and gain insight. There are ways to get closer and feel more connected to loved ones, even when you feel far away. If you'd like to strengthen a bond, heal a wound or connect more authentically with someone, you can. Allowing any kind of change will take some creativity and finding the balance that feels right for you and the other person. Check in with yourself, and if it feels right address it gently, with openness, with the person you have in mind.
This is your life. You make up half of each relationship and you can create a shift.
Take a small step in feeling more connected today.