Over the course of the weekend, I came to realize just how similar my sister and I are. And how we mirror many of the same insecurities and fears that our mother does. I realized then how all of us (mother included) seem to have come out of the same family with the same issues, even if we express them somewhat differently. And it was nice to know that I am not the only one. It feels like, if we all have these picadillos, then it wasn’t just me overreacting. That I wasn’t simply an ungrateful child with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement who caused more of my flaws and brokenness than my environment ever could.
At the same time, though, it was incredibly sad. Seeing how much damage my family still carries, and how being around each other makes us all more sensitive to it, is not the happiest of moments.
I don’t know if my family can be “fixed.” I do know that it is very… interesting to see the different coping mechanisms we’ve all come up with to combat the overwhelming sense of “not deserving” that seems to be our universal undercurrent. It’s interesting to see the different ways in which my sister and I have both, in our own ways, sought out relationships and lifestyles that have an extremely high level of structure… how we seek out clear-cut boundaries so we know when we are messing up and when we can reasonably say "you don't get to treat me that way." It’s interesting to see how we all have taken to dealing with our hyper-awareness of situational control and the intense emotions that come up when our environments are not entirely ours to direct.
I love my family. I also find my family immeasurably difficult to be around. I appreciate the chance being around them gives me to gain perspective, and I have to struggle not to try to “fix” some of the things that make me most uncomfortable. And maybe, sometimes, I wonder if our family isn’t the only one. If maybe part of being a family is the shared ways in which we are broken and break each other. If maybe that isn’t part of what makes those relationships different. Special.