Family


Through my son’s search for his cousins, I have discovered three of my sisters ad one of my brothers on Facebook.  The question is, do I contact them?  None of them are on their pages regularly.  Some haven’t even posted this year.  If I did send a Friend Request, how long would I have to wait for a response?  At what point would I stop thinking, ‘maybe I’ll hear today’.  They look to be happy and relatively healthy and successful.  Here I am battling a life-long depression, and facing foreclosure and possible bankruptcy.  Makes me feel even more inadequate and unworthy of their attention.

Carol Kahlhamer

One of my sisters. She says she’s in her fourth year of remission.

I have to ask myself what would I gain?  After virtually no contact with my family in some cases 20 years, would I be welcomed?  Would I finally have a sense of belonging?  Would I be rejected?  I don’t know if I could bear the rejection again.  Also I understand they are all quite religious, complete with bible quotes on their pages, I don’t know how my radical Atheist ideals would go over and I know I couldn’t stand if I was being preached at all the time.

So what do I gain by contacting my ex-family?  I cannot honestly come up with any reason.  I can’t think of anything my life currently lacks that they would provide.  Perhaps I would feel loved by them, but the fear of the pain of rejection right now is much stronger. 

I was wondering what I would discuss with my therapist today.

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22 thoughts on “Family

  1. Have you thought that maybe they miss you. I don’t know why you have lost contact but maybe just tell your sister who is in remission that you are sorry to learn of her illness and how pleased you are that she has come through it.
    If she doesn’t respond you won’t have lost anything.
    You have more to gain than lose.
    Were you close in the past?
    How would you feel if one of them contacted you out of the blue. Would that have pleased you? If so then maybe they will feel the same way.

  2. Wow, what an exciting discovery. I can really feel your love for your sisters and brother. You would expect Christians to not reject anyone, but who knows? I don’t know what happened 20 years ago, and you do. If you would be my sister I would take you in my arms, no matter what. But maybe it’s for the next generation to take a step. Is your son in touch with his cousins now? I wish you peace in this, no matter how 🙂

  3. Wow, this post really has my brain spinning. I have so many questions. Were you ever close? Where are you in birth order? Why did you all lose contact? Were you raised in a religious home? Do these siblings live near you? Forgive me, you’ve probably answered lots of these questions in previous posts. As for what you should do as far as contacting them, I think you are right in discussing it with your therapist. These situations are highly personal, and while it’s easy to say what we might do if we were in your shoes, it’s impossible to really know. I wish you the best and will be thinking about you. I’ll also be looking forward to an update. 🙂

    • Part of the dilemma of contacting them now, is that we were never close. None of us in the family ever were close. There are 8 of us kids and we all seemed to live our lives apart, or at least they lived apart from me (emotionally) The break up is a long story and I’m sure I will write about that shortly, so stay tuned.

      Thanks for your kind words and support.

    • It’s actually very hard to tell with my family. We were never close, at least I never felt close to any of them and if they felt or feel close to me, it has been well hidden from me. That’s one of the reasons this is so hard for me.

  4. Sorry to be the bucket of cold water- you already know the answer, and it’s no. Rehash the past? Start building relationships from scratch? You’ve got enough to deal with without adding that to the menu.
    A family member contacted me a couple of years ago and I explained we didn’t really know each other and I already had enough friends. Just because we’re related doesn’t mean there’s any real connection between us.

    • Yes, you are right of course, except I always wanted/needed a relationship with my family. There is a big hole in my life that I feel my sisters would help to fill. I am leaning toward no contact, because I do know the answer won’t be what I want. We were never close. They never needed me in their lives as I needed them. Still my therapist and I are discussing some letter writing (whether or not they are sent) to help get some resolution in my heart.

      Thanks as always for your frank and to-the-point comments. You always make me pause and reconsider and I appreciate that.

  5. Quite a decision…. 20 years is a long time but you know If I had sisters and other close relatives and thought that now there was a way to make contact… I’d mull it over like you are…weighing the pros and cons.. I have no idea what your relationship was or wasn’t and the reasons.. only you do.
    I think the fear of rejection is uppermost in your mind and no one likes rejection… I’m trying to remember if you have the option on fb of sending a message without being a ‘friend’.. If so you might think about saying something to them to get some answers… I think you can message them.. whether you want to or not is something different.

    I think the ‘relligious’ differences can be dealt with… but I would guess you’d want to let them know up front….As a Christian myself if I had a sister for example who wasn’t … it would likely make me a little sad like it would vice-versa likely for her…. but it wouldn’t mean I wouldn’t love her or accept her for who she was… ‘unconditional love’ …..
    I’m just throwing some thoughts out there..

    Hope you’re able to feel a peace whatever you decide… Diane

    • As always, thank you Diane for your kind words and concern. I always value your input.

      I will be blogging about the family split and history later this weekend. That will answer some of your questions, and help you understand my trepidation.

      You would think sisters would want to be close, but it never seemed like any of them wanted to be close to me, or at least not for any length of time. More on that later.

  6. Boy that is a tough one! On the one hand your family could provide the love and support only a family can but on the other hand, it may be opening up old wounds and until you feel stronger – it’s probably too risky. I hope your therapist helps you out on this one.

  7. To each their own but if I were going to contact an immediate family member (or even a once close friend) after 20+ years, Facebook or any other social media platform would not be my preferred channel. Write them a personal letter or telephone them and create the space for an authentic conversation. Facebook is a shallow tool (IMHO).

    • Since I have no other contact information after 20 years, it’s my only option. Though I am currently leaning toward possibly finding better contact information should I decide to contact anyone.

  8. I do have same problem with a brother as you write about and I must say, that I would try again, at least to have the last goodbye in my heart and soul. Then I could close this chapter. Maybe it will end up positive and you didn’t lose anything, but win…..
    It is difficult, specially because of your fear for rejection. You seem to be very realistic in your life, so why not try?
    Good luck!
    Irene

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