Family Dynamics

Posted on Posted in expat life, thoughts

For those who aren’t used to it, it’s kind of strange seeing your spouse interact with their whole family. With Jon’s granny dying, this means what limited family that exists out in the world is in the process of congregating in England. This lends itself to more familial interaction than I’ve seen in the nearly 4 years Jon and I have been together, basically, since our wedding day, which was the last time Jon’s immediate family was reunited. Jon’s brother lives nearby, and Jon’s sister flew over from Canada, so it’s been a full house these past 4 or so days! (Also, on a side note, Jon’s sister married a Canadian, Jon married an American….I think it’s fair to say the Norris children love North America. Can’t blame them, it is pretty awesome. Plus-we have seasons).

What has been brought to my attention is the sort of family dynamics that come to the surface when grown children are reunited, and how everyone seems to revert to…something. Obviously I wasn’t around when Jon and his siblings were young, but I can see whatever remnants remain when the three of them are together-the baby brother as the golden child who can do no wrong in the eyes of his parents, the oldest sister that loves to boss everyone around (sometimes nicely and sometimes not) and my dude, the perpetual middle child, fading into the background and taking the most flack, and responding to it all by either ignoring the whole spectacle, or coming back with a withering sarcastic comment in return.

It’s not exactly fun all the time, to be honest, because I’m an oldest child myself and I just end up sticking up for Jon in places where he either doesn’t give a shit anyway, or where he could defend himself better than I can due to his a) being related to those in question, and b) being more easily able to quell an emotional response (I am constantly a tightly-wound ball of emotion and rage, guyz). It’s just weird. And kind of stressful. Obviously I want to stand up for my partner, but it’s hard to do so and so fully insert oneself into someone else’s family dynamic. Especially when, let’s be honest, that family doesn’t all get together very often at all. And also, most of it isn’t worth arguing over. But that’s family, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s just because in my family we all either chill out or yell at each other. We’re equal opportunity fighters! There is no sulking or even any awkward silences. If you have something to say to someone, they will, no doubt, have something to say right back. No need to defend anyone because they are there, defending themselves, or at the very least spouting off their  (usually pretty strong) opinions. No wilting flowers from whence I came. And I think that making a new place in a different family brings all this to light, because everyone’s place is so easy to see. Another family’s dynamics, of which I am now a part. Hmm. Something to get used to.

 

And then there are times when everyone is around and we play scrabble together and enjoy each other’s company…..that’s pretty cool. So…family! In-laws!

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