Category Archives: siblings

Personal development trends

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I have shared before that I was eight years old when my family moved to the U.S.
My mom did not work the first year we were here but by the time I was ten, she was
a full-time employee and 3 of her 4 children were latch-key kids. Our youngest
sister was only around 4 so she spent her days being cared for by a retired couple
and my older sister or I would pick her up from there every afternoon on our way
home from school. This is not an atypical situation for the newly arrived and I
guess I didn’t think much of it at the time, it was just the way life was.

While I am curious about things, I am not the kind of person willing to go through
hypnosis in order to bring up memories of the past, I honestly like my life and see
no purpose in exploring what might turn out to be a negative event. I would love to
know, though, what experience I lived through or observed that made such an impression
on me that I realized very early in my life that I am responsible for everything that
happens to me; that events aren’t necessarily as important as our reaction to them.

For example, as a latchkey kid and an older sibling, I had a tremendous amount of
responsibilities: pick up my sister, do the shopping, start dinner, straighten up,
do my homework, get good grades, etc. It made no sense to complain. My dad rarely
involved himself in household disputes and my mom was a bit of a tyrant and not
in any way shy about the use of negative words or the occasional slap to make us
comply with her orders. Rather than fighting or resenting it, I did my best to
do what was required quickly so that I could spend the rest of my time on my own
interests. The problem with this method is that I was usually ahead of my schedule
but my older sister rarely was ahead of hers and I ended up doing her chores so that
we wouldn’t have to listen to our mother’s screaming when she got home tired, hungry,
and anxious after a long day at work. My penchant for “peace at any cost” became
my mantra but until recently, I never really gave it any deep attention.

I received a phone call recently from someone who was inviting me to participate
in a personal development opportunity. I have been very interested in the Human
Potential Movement since 1971 (or before probably) and I am fascinated by the things
that people do, considering myself an unpaid journey(wo)man in this field. The
invitation, rather than interesting me, annoyed me because I felt I was being
pressured into accepting giving up precious hours on an evening when I would rather
perfect my craft (writing) or do nothing at all, something I rarely indulge in.
When my refusal to attend was met with incredulity at first and an abrupt send-off,
I realized I might have offended or even hurt my friend. Alas, I am too old and now
too aware of what I do want to do with my time to worry too much about it. I suppose
it will be a while before this friend reaches out to me but it is something I accept.

I used to love to watch a larger than life personality when he first started doing
infomercials. Since my desire to make every second of my day count is strong, I was
often sewing or writing into the night and enjoyed listening to his powerful message
of transformation. I was mesmerized by his ability to grab my attention and keep it
and I stopped short of purchasing any of his “empowering” videos or books simply
because I was very frugal and did not have too much money at my disposal.

I accepted that I could change my current situation if I wanted, I held myself
accountable for every single thing that I experienced. I guess you could say,
I didn’t really feel I needed the help but enjoyed the heck out of the infomercials!
A few years ago, I noticed that my “mentor” has changed a lot.
It seems to be all about marketing now, and where his videos and books
were available for under $50 back then, his workshops are now very, very expensive. My
love affair with him has ended and while I understand that many rich people can afford
his events, I am disappointed and saddened that he has gone this route. I have a minor
in marketing and I have never been comfortable with the notion of “making someone believe
they need something they never thought about before”. I think ethics have gone out the
window and I refuse to join that club. As I used to say and haven’t had to in a long
time, I want to recognize the face I see in the mirror looking back at me. At least
for today, I still can.

Image Bing.com public domain

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Adult siblings!!

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Abraham_Lincoln_II_and_his_sisters,_Mary_and_Jesse

I am currently estranged from one of my siblings. It pains me to admit it but
it is a reality from which I will not move a finger to reconcile. After +50
years of being bullied, manipulated, lied to, taken advantage of, etc. I guess I
saw the light and saw my sibling as an individual rather than someone whose
connection to me (blood) was so strong I actually (and often) gave in to unreasonable
demands just so we could be in relationship.

I realize now that my sibling was always jealous of me and that perhaps my
loyalty lied with my parents and also I did not want to be the child that
disappointed them or made them think their parenting styles were somewhat faulty.

While I cannot really recall being compared negatively with my sibling, I do
recall my mom telling me that my sibling was somehow lacking in emotional maturity,
social skills, etc. and that because I was thought to have an abundance of these,
I should feel sorry for my sibling and include my sibling in my life and activities
all the time.

We grew up, married, yet remained connected. Sometimes long periods of silence
between us ensued as a result of life getting complicate for us both but I always
managed to connect and make sure I had plenty of information to provide my parents
from whom my sibling was estranged for years at a time.

This is the first time that I feel no urge to reconnect; the last insult was almost
a year ago and rather than feeling lonely, I feel light and airy that I have lost
the constant stress and anxiety that walking on eggshells put me under. I will admit
that losing a sibling who shared many memories of our early childhood is rather sad
but the benefits for me are what I focus on each day. These days I can honestly say
that my thoughts do not center on my sibling every day like they used to. I think of
my sibling perhaps a couple of times a week, without any guilt or desire for connection.

Life is short, only lived once and as I age I realize that no one really needs to be
a martyr and that my immediate family is relieved by my decision, one they thought I
should have taken long ago.

picture Bing.com