My brother came into town with his 3 kids recently, for a few days, during spring break. They live in Coeur d’Alene, ID. This was the first time they’ve come to Portland, ever, I think. I’ve been trying to get at least the kids to come since we moved here almost 3 years ago. As excited as I was that they were coming, the day they drove in I was so anxious. I have this complicated relationship with my family and all of these complicated emotions that come with it. I was at work that day and not feeling well. I didn’t associate it with anything until later in the day when I noticed the anxiety come on. Then I got in my head a little bit, once I realized. We have trouble communicating. Not just my brother and I but my family and I… or just my family. I like to think I’m a good communicator. That is one area in my life that is always in focus. Communication is such a key to success in relationships, career, etc.. I think it is also the biggest hurtle between my family and I: how I communicate vs. how my family communicates. We have 2 very different styles. I do. They don’t!
I think I’m more of an empathetic communicator in my day to day life. I take pride in my ability to read people. I think I’m often accurate in my abilities to read people. I try to converse in a way that will provide the person I’m communicating with what they are needing out of the conversation. For example, I can bullshit with people. I don’t love it, but I’ve worked in situations where that was a necessary quality to have, so I’ve figured out a way to do it. The secret is to keep the conversation revolving around them! People like to talk about themselves. I am not this way. Well, I can be. If I trust you, which is hard to get to that point with me, or if I’ve been drinking a little bit… Also, I think the majority of the people I interact with on a day to day basis don’t want to hear about “how I am.” Bullshitting does not need an ounce of genuine intention and I’m far too real for that. So I’ve adapted to the keep it about them trick! It’s easier that way. In the grand scheme of things it also protects me a bit, I suppose, from getting too close to people by not having to open up and feeling vulnerable. You get hurt that way and it is not breaking news at this point that I’ve experienced plenty of that by now.
Elaborating on what I mean when earlier I said my family and I have “trouble communicating.” As I write this out, allowing me to process the idea more, it leads me to a conclusion somewhere around this: Little information. Little emotion. Less personal details. Not a far concept from my prior paragraph. This is specific to my brother and I’s relationship. I guess I’ve adapted the bullshit style with him too. I actually really enjoyed him the whole time he was in town! I’ve always really enjoyed him, but he’s been a big teaser (I’m the youngest sibling.) Teasing that almost goes too far though. Then, if I take something personally, for example, I don’t know that we fight, per se, but we just don’t vibe as much. I’m not sure how to describe it. You bring emotions into it though and you’ll see things shift. There was none of that this time. I’m not sure if it was because it has been a really long time since we’ve spent time together, or…
on a side note, I don’t know that I can even remember the last time we spent time alone together, and although the kids were around, we had a good majority of one day where we were alone together. As long as emotion is left out of things it will go smoothly, I’m learning. I am a fairly open book with most anyone. I have this emotional side that I can tap into, as you can see considering it has become a side I most often share here, in my blog, and with my husband. That is not a side that will do any good sharing with my brother and therefor things are never quite “real.”
I wonder what his astrological sign is. He was born mid November. He’s technically a Scorpio, which is interesting because my husband is as well. Reading through the sign I’m finding I either 1) Do not know my brother very well, which doesn’t seem like an out of reach concept OR 2) he is more of a Sagittarius. He is right on the cusp of both. It’s funny, I see my husband being so different from my brother in my ways. They have a lot in common though. “They” say you choose partners like the figures in your life, don’t they? I’m recognizing this sign more in him.
There’s this communication style with my Mom… now, forgive me, it’s been awhile since I’ve even spoken with her so my memory won’t serve me as well… where you just do NOT talk about, well, problems. This prevents a lot of “realness” from happening. In fact, it promotes one to shut off completely because in theory, if there are obstacles in the way of something, you can’t avoid them and still get to the other side. One of the obstacles could explode as your trying to get around it killing you in the process. You could get lucky and instead, one of those obstacles could reach out and cut you. You live but maybe are left with a gnarly scar or even a lost limb. It is the most damaging communication style I have encountered. Unfortunately, at this point, it has taken over the many good things that our relationship shares.
My mom is also on a cusp. Again, Scorpio. Technically she is a Libra.
Then there is the communication between my husband and I. We take our upbringings style with us into adulthood, which is so healthy for us…*sarcasm. Communication is our biggest hurtle. We’ve been together almost 13 years now and this piece has definitely tested our love for one another. I don’t even know how to describe it. We bicker, we always have. – I feel he doesn’t hear me. He feels I have no patience with him. He said, she said, you said, I said. Well that’s not how I meant it. Well say what you meant then! – At the end of the day, the BIG things in life; where we want to go, where we want to end up; we see eye to eye on. It makes our bickering seem more trivial than it already is. It’s this love that he never gives up on and wants to always work out. I haven’t had that in any other relationship in my life. Hopefully the communication piece is something we can work out. I’d like to be able to say we rarely fight.
Now it wouldn’t be honest of me to avoid the obvious between all of these relationships. Trauma. We’ve all had plenty of bad things happen to us. We have not all processed and worked through the events. I think that is a piece that will never stop for certain events that happen in life. As we grow, and change, the trauma will resurface. All 3 of these human beings I’ve mentioned have had trauma in their life that I do not know how I could survive from. They are all 3 the strongest people I know.