Forever Hold Your Peace

stop-sippin-haterade

I wasn’t nice to my brother’s girlfriend. She was 17, and he was 20, and I was jaded by the string of girls he brought along before and thought “it’s not like he’s going to marry this girl,” and so I gave her the cold-shoulder. And then he married her. And boy was that awkward for awhile (like, even now, 8 years and a sorta-divorce later). I didn’t have the decency to treat her nicely at the beginning, though, deep down, I have a pocketful of reasons to give in defense of my bad behavior, if it’s ever necessary. What I learned from that experience, was my relatively shitty inability to articulate my feelings in the moment, which could have saved years of conflict down the road.

All of this was brought up in my mind, yesterday, when I was chatting with my bestie Ruth about a conflicted experience she had recently. In my brilliant wisdom (sarcasm? maybe?) I reminded her that emotions are stored on one side of the brain, and language on the other, and that sometimes it’s hard to get the language and emotions to match up nicely and to be able to articulate all those fee-fees that you’re having. Not to mention, it’s fucking awkward to confront someone, regardless, because very few of us were taught how to do this type of communication in our formative years (and as adults, do we really want to risk losing relationships if the conflict goes badly?).

It’s reminiscent of the “forever hold your peace,” line they say in movie weddings (because, that’s not a real wedding thing…right?). But you know what, this ‘forever hold your peace,’ shit is pretty fucking hard when you’re someone who has lots of opinions and thoughts and wants things to be logical.

I don’t like things that feel incongruent. I have a hard time when I see people say one thing and then do something else. I have a hard time when things don’t seem to add up or make sense, at least on some level. When I sense these mixed messages, I feel confused, and frustrated, while also unable to articulate my feelings in a way that doesn’t seem rude or attacking because it’s hard to verbalize frustration with unspoken energy actions. Does that even make remote sense?

I’m good with conflict in the moment, when I feel something and am able to say, “I’m annoyed,” or “I’m feeling uncomfortable.” What I have a hard time with, is feeling annoyed or uncomfortable with something, brushing it off as ‘no big deal,’ and then having something else happen, and something else, and something else, until finally I’m at the point where I’m unfriending them on facebook (true story: hi sis!) and they’re like “um, wtf just happened?” If I had just told my sister that I was annoyed with her inconsistent love and open acceptance paired with terribly racist retweets on facebook, the first time it happened, maybe I wouldn’t have been so far down the line that I either wanted to shut down (or cut off) or scream and throw things.

So I’m stuck in this dilemma and I don’t know what to do, how to change, to be a different person. It feels unfair to bring up conflict or frustration over something that happened six months, two years, ten years, ago, especially when realized that is bottled up and I might not be able to say it in a nice way. And yet, I feel like trying to live in the ‘forever hold your peace,’ camp is eating away at me. And I would feel shitty, too, if a friend came to me six months later, I might be like “why didn’t you tell me when this happened? Why did you pretend everything was okay?”

What to do?

Because avoiding it is only adding to the pressure, and I don’t want to be a fucking psycho, you know?

 

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Adoption & Siblings

Do you have siblings in your adoptive family? Were they also adopted or not? What was your relationship like in regards to adoption? If you are in reunion, did you find siblings as part of your search? How you been affected by your sibling relationships? If you searched and found siblings, and had adoptive siblings, what has that been like? If you don’t have siblings, have you found any benefits to being an only child?

Yes, I have siblings, both biological and adopted. Our relationships are complicated.

My little half-sisters are biologically related to me, but there is such a generation gap that they function more like my nieces that I see a few times a year. My half-brother and sister on my biological mom’s side are the same age as my adoptive siblings, but it’s weird trying to get to know people that age who are family and yet not family.

They grew up a different religion, socieo-economic class and in a different area, so there is a  huge cultural difference that is hard to overcome.

My adoptive brother is most recently in my life in a close-way because we both have kids, though we would not really be friends outside of that, because of such a difference in philosophies on work, religion, politics, etc. We relate on a familial level because we are both, now, parents, but I sometimes find it hard to talk with him about much else.

I am probably closest to my adoptive sister.

Though, this weekend I did something dumb. Something super passive-aggressive and un-becoming of an almost-30-year old.

I unfriended her on facebook.

Sigh.

Yeah, I am that kind of person.

In my mind I have all sorts of justifications for it, but mostly I was hurt, and have been hurt, not as much by her actions, but by the actions of her live-in-boyfriend-almost-fiance.

It as triggered by a sequence of photos from their trip to see her biological family in Oregon. I wonder if my reaction would have been as strong if it hadn’t been a vacation there, though I am not inherently jealous of her other family. It was that he was in the pictures with her. And from previous conversations with her, I know that he “just loves them. It’s so easy with them. They don’t judge him, and it’s just relaxed, rather than when he’s around mom & dad he feels judged and they’re always asking them questions.”

So, in my head, I am annoyed because once again it seems like she is in a relationship with a selfish jerk who expects her to spend time with his family, and he can make time to travel 4 hours to Oregon, but can’t come to my parents house in the same town as them, or visit Seattle when my sister does…like…for Potamus’ baptism or say, this Thanksgiving. But he can make time to train to be a cage-fighter (un, he’s 32) and visit her other family in Oregon.

Major butt-hurt right here.

And I blame my sister because she has done this over-and-over-and-over with different guys. So I’m frustrated with her because she keeps choosing guys that treat her family like poop. But I’m also frustrated that he doesn’t love her enough to make an effort with us.

Wanting to change my relationships with my siblings is a challenge. Mutual adult relationships are difficult, and I often find it easier to hang out with friends because we have some of those mutual beliefs, interests, shared grown-up experiences together, that aren’t accompanied by the baggage of family.