Growing up with siblings or relatives | INFJ Forum

Growing up with siblings or relatives

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Gaze, May 28, 2017.

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  1. Gaze

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    What was your experience like growing up with siblings or extended family such as cousins (or close relatives) who were regular part of your lives (not just occasional visitors)? Did it strongly affect how you grew as a person? Did having family members around regularly changed how you look at people or interacted with people outside of family? How did being a part of an extended family shape your feelings about others?
     
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    #1 Gaze, May 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
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  2. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
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    Oh my Gale...i could write you a book on these questions. I'll be brief :)

    It started with just my older sister and me...and grew from there.

    While I was growing up our first foster child arrived just before I turned four. Her name was Sandra, (I'm Sandie). She looked similar to Mrs Beasley. Which is a blue and white pokadot doll with black frame glasses. She was fun.
    Then the newborn babies started to arrive, we were a 'pitstop' so to say in the process of them being adopted. The babies were ready but new mom and dad were not.
    Then some cousins stayed at the same time because my aunt was going through a divorce at the time.
    Over a twenty-five year time span we had 54 foster kids in and out of the house. Not counting all the babies (I lost count of them, some didn't even have a name while they were here, so I had fun making up names because it made me sad that these little ones did not have one). Plenty of cousins, and one uncle (two weeks younger than my older sister) stayed because Gram had a surgery because she developed breast cancer.
    I believe each of these surrogate siblings and relatives helped shape who I am today. I had a crocheted backpack that I kept all my 'sacred' personal stuff in. This was because things like toys, clothes, shoes and such were shared with those that 'showed up'.
    I think so. I treat everyone as family, unless they give me pause not to. There are some outsiders I meet that send off such a negativity I avoid them all I can; but, this rings true for me with some family members as well. I hold a neutral kind of tolerance for these individuals and do not go out of my way to seek them out for help nore to help them.
    I believe it helped me refine my love, acceptance and tolerance skills. Also shaping the mindset that to expect the same reciprocation is foolishness on my part. I believe also having to move through some of the experiences that I have with some of these people has increased my independent nature. I 'need' people for help in somethings, for example a ride home after being doped up for medical treatment. Or, to assist in moving something heavy or large. Otherwise, I maintain no expectations from others. If they show through their actions that they love and care for me in a way I'm familiar with, well then that's just awesome :D
     
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  3. OP
    Gaze

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    Thanks Sandie! :) I really do agree with you about learning to have few or no expectations, and letting people show support through actions.

    I grew up early on in an extended family community. Cousins were more like sisters and brothers. Always at each other's houses. Everything was interconnected and there was a strong sense of interdependence and community. It was very nurturing. There was always someone there to assist in taking care of us as kids. We played together all the time, went to the same schools, etc. Grandparents, aunts and uncles were like second parents. But when we left that situation, and moved to other family, that interdependence was there but it wasn't as consistently positive. Some of the warmth disappeared. Later on, we became a typical nuclear family, where we just stayed to ourselves and were self sufficient, especially since there was some distance (physically and emotionally that changed among family). We maintained limited contact with family, visiting occasionally, and then eventually when we moved overseas, we kept up a once in a while check in call, but little or not interaction. It's a bit sad, because I miss the family reunions and that family playfulness and camaraderie from having family in life regularly. But then drama turned some relationships into disconnect.

    I do value some of the things learned in that family community I got the chance to see lived out early on, although I'm not always good with living up to those values today as I think I should, mostly because it's so easy to focus more on protecting ourselves from those who would abuse or take advantage of blood relationships, which I see happening now.

    One of the things that's really important to me is mutual support and reciprocation with people who are supposedly a support system. I hate it when someone is never there when you need them but expects you to drop everything when they want or need you. True interdependence (not co-dependence) can be beautiful and healthy if not abused, truly cares about their well-being, and everyone is considerate of each others needs and respects boundaries. Without these traits, it won't work or won't work as well.
     
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  4. Eventhorizon

    Eventhorizon Permanently relocated
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    I could probably devel deeply into this but don't feel as if I have a lot of time.
    Quickly I felt very close to all of my family to include 3 brothers. Later in life I found I trusted no one more. When younger I had no desire to leave home. Today I do perhaps in part because I feel as if I have no home. In any case undoubtedly it has had far reaching effects on my life that I can only guess at. I would be a completely different person I think without have had that family.
     
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  5. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Well my extended family is majorly dysfunctional.. My mother, brother and I were disowned by her siblings after she divorced my father due to my father abusing her. It was very bizarre. That was over 20 years ago, and she has only recently started talking to two of her siblings after SHE apologized to them wanting to make amends. I think it has in a way influenced me to be wary of others and fiercely loyal to people once they do earn my trust. I'm very close with my mother and my brother. I don't make friends easily, but when I do, my friends are adopted into my family. My mother's friends became like aunts and uncles to us when we were kids. My son just turned 2, and he is constantly surrounded by my SO and my family and fawned over. I can see how it is influencing him. He is extremely social and just believes that everyone in the world loves him. I take him to the store and he wants to high five and hug everyone and tell them, "I love you!" It kind of scares me that he has no fear of people, but he has only ever known acceptance and love.
     
    #5 acd, Jun 6, 2017
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  6. MrSquared

    MrSquared Well-known member

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    The best is once you've grown...and you finally speak with them about such things. Only to discover that they were actually jealous of you, usually at the same time that you were jealous of them.

    :)
     
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  7. Bellosome

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    - chaotic and noisy. and full of expectations and responsibilities.
    -it did in a way. it taught me well how to adjust to others i guess.
    - LOL oh god yes. this made me want more peace and quiet-- which i cant find while i was growing up. but growing up with all extroverts, it made me more extroverted and my adaptability to people in general. more assertive in a way.
    - i was merely an observer. it helped me be able to read people accurately than what they let them see. and made me more eager to know more about their deepest thoughts and feelings.
     
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  8. infinite dreams

    infinite dreams Serene Doge

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    I have one sibling, my sister (ISTJ) who is 10 years older. We've always gotten along exceptionally well despite (?) the age difference; it's safe to say that neither of us has a closer, more trusted friend. We grew up in an abusive household (primarily verbal/emotional) and bonded permanently from that shared experience.

    Having my sister around definitely made things easier and more fun. Also, having been through the wringer before, she frequently came to my defense when she sensed I was being treated unfairly.

    I looked up to her work ethic and admired her focus and attention to detail. I would say that she helped me in both those areas, neither of which I would deem an inherent personal strength. Despite being an SJ (often typecast as rigid and inflexible) she encouraged me to be my own person and to do things my way.

    Hmm, not sure. I suppose it made me more selective about whom to trust.

    I had cousins who lived nearby but I can't say I was ever particularly close to any of them. Our family unit was kept tightly coordinated by design. I guess on some level that was part of what taught me to be self sufficient.
     
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  9. kfg(atj

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    I was the oldest of 5 children, my mother and father both also coming from 5 children. Needless to say cousins are abundant as well as siblings. There was a lot of dysfunction in my family though. A lot of uneducated and impoverished members of the family. I think that fact alone created a hostile environment amongst us in that maybe people were competing to survive. Fighting over food and supplies. I would say I have remained close to 3 of my 4 siblings (one in prison for a long time) and it's taken many years as adults to say "I love you" and express healthy emotions towards one another.

    Absolutely. I don't enjoy crowded spaces and value privacy more than the average person probably. I have had a lot of issues with sharing and giving freely because I often find myself easily manipulated into doing too much and I can sometimes revert to that survival mindset.


    I actually had no clue what "normal" was until I ventured out of the toxic family. Being away I have been able to see my extended family through a more clear looking glass and pinpoint behaviors that I've spent years in therapy to undo. I have a 1 year old daughter and I am very cautious about how much she interacts with extended family because I feel it is in her best interest to not associate with them. There is a lot of misogyny, racism and perversion with them.

    Though I will say, that I have always admired people who could call their cousins their friends. I have a few sane cousins that I speak with every once in a blue moon, but I have unfortunately disassociated myself quite a bit. I think you're lucky to have a loving family for your 2 year old. Embrace it! I wish I could have had more of that.
     
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  10. OP
    Gaze

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    Great response, but I'm sorry I don't have a 2 year old. Maybe you are referring to another member?
     
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  11. kfg(atj

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    Oh, yes! So sorry! I was speaking to @acd in that portion!
     
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  12. Eventhorizon

    Eventhorizon Permanently relocated
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    Not nice to suggest a forum member might remind someone of a 2 year old.
     
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  13. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    @selcouth thank you. I'm grateful every day.
     
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