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Family relationships

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by onlything, May 10, 2018.

  1. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have an older brother. We haven't been too close and he caused more of my meltdowns and panic attacks than I care to remember. Maybe if we both were 'on the same page', we would be closer - isn't it what should normally happen between two kids that got only each other, metaphorically locked down in a dark place that cannot really be called childhood? And yet we were always so different that we went out of our ways to hurt each other, not knowing how to connect. It's better now, after I left. Sometimes you realise that you care for someone only after you don't see them for years.

    He got married two years ago. Now he's going to be a father. I'm going to be an aunt and the possibility of him asking me to be a godmather is rather high.

    What I mean, is that I never saw myself as a mother material. Not a mother, not a godmother, not even a distant aunt. I don't think that I am a good choice for any of these roles. Yes, I did turn less... sharp-edged with time but it doesn't make me a good godmather material. Especially for his child. It also doesn't take back all these things that happened between us.

    I don't know how to be a sibling, not to mention how to be an aunt. It's a great responsibility, isn't it? I cannot see myself fullfilling this role well, that role of caring for something so small and delicate, even if not 'full-time', possibly not even 'part-time'.

    But if it's going to happen anyway, I can at least do what I can. So, if you have any advice for me concerning that role I'd be grateful, since I have no idea how a good family should work and where exactly does my role lie in there.
     
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  2. Chance

    Chance "all who wander are not lost" - Tolkien V.I.P Member

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    Your worrying over it... Already makes you a great aunt!

    If you didn't care or hated the fact... that would tell another truth...
    My bet is You will do great, in your own way. : )
     
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  3. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    Can you ask him what his expectations of a godmother are if he does ask you? I think it might mean different things to different people so would be important to clarify before you make a commitment. He may only expect you would take over if something happened to he and his wife or he might want you to have more involvement than that. This might also be an opportunity to get a new start in your relationship with your brother and who knows, maybe you will end up finding more understanding and caring between you. But I also agree with Chance , that if you didn't care you would not be worried so that's a great start.
     
  4. Fitzo

    Fitzo Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It seems like a number of us here had a difficult and dysfunctional childhood.
    I never had children either because I was afraid I'd be like my own mother and I was never maternal.
    However, I became an aunt three years ago and although I see my nephew very rarely, I really enjoy having him in my life. I like the fact I now make a real effort when they come for Christmas in a way you only do when there are children around. And I like buying gifts for him because I used to see all this great stuff for kids but no reason to buy any of it.
    Also, it turns out he is on the spectrum and it was only because of researching around that, I came to realise I was too. Had it not been for him, I would probably still be wandering through life feeling like an alien but not knowing why!
    So in many ways this little boy turned out to be a blessing I never expected. And it's also created a bond with my brother that was missing before.
    I hope your experience is just as positive as mine!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  5. Gritches

    Gritches The Happy Dog V.I.P Member

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    Your situation sounds a lot like where I'm at with my sister. We just do what our parents taught us and pretend like nothing ever happened. You can do that without forgiving or forgetting.

    As for playing the role? Don't set yourself up for expectations you know you can't live up to. I figured I wasn't "father" material either, and I was right. So I'm just her kids' distant uncle, because distant uncle is the best I can do lacking in any sort of paternal instinct that might make me fit for that kind of duty.
     
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  6. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you, Chance, although I cannot say I'm too sure about this role at all.

    The problem between us has always been our characters. He's got our father's temper, yes, but more than anything our mother's emotional nature and a great need for natural closeness which always clashed with my rather cold and absent behaviour - he was the one to seek affirmations and hugs and since I didn't show anything as a child, we grew so distant that it seems impossible to rebuild at times. We are as different as it comes since he always has been an emotive child and me a quiet, almost cold one. The relationship between us was always highly dysfunctional with avoiding each other at best and getting out of our ways to hurt one another at worst. My tendency to lash out with sarcasm and cutting remarks whenever I would start feeling vulnerable didn't help at all. I think that him confessing 'I didn't think you could feel at all' shows how badly damaged this relationship is.

    Worrying simply doesn't seem enough in this situation.

    Honestly, the child's being on a spectrum is one of the worries I have. I mentioned before that he's a really emotive person and his wife is even more so. They are good for each other but I'm afraid of how much misunderstandings between the child and them could appear, leading to every party included being hurt. The ones between me and mother were big enough for me to fear this possibility... Although I have to say that shy hope that maybe the kid would be like me is also out there.

    Above all, I'm confused about the role of an aunt itself. What kind of expectations are for a 'good aunt'? Who is a 'good aunt'? How to behave as a 'good aunt'? For me, it's like another of seemingly simple titles with thousands unsaid rules written into it as if into a contract, rules I have no idea about.

    What I'm afraid is that he's got... expectations towards what kind of an aunt I should be. Ones that would break any possible hope of mending that relationship between us.


    Thanks for answers. Knowing myself I will just research it as if it was a new project.