Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Family Ties - or the Ties That Bind?

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What would we do baby, without Us? And there ain’t no nothing we can’t love each other through. What would we do baby, without Us? Sha la la la.
- Theme from "Family Ties" -

Family - The connotation of it. Iconic, loving, everlasting. Generations both young and old, coming together. Blended heritages meeting at the middle. Births. Deaths. Marriages. Divorce. Remarriage. Losing and gaining is a daily occurrence in extended and immediate families. Fragmented. Dysfunctional. Flawed. Fabricated. The strength of a family can go a long way. Innumerable movies about the power of a family (Soul Food, Crooklyn, Claudine, Steel Magnolias) are what bring us warm fuzzies. As they should.

But there are ALSO family structures that are intrusive, overbearing, overprotective, and smothering. Those structures are equally dysfunctional, (generational) and are downright nosey. Not nosey in the concerned perspective, but in a way where it's intrusive to the immediate 'nucleus' family.

I know people that have families that are extremely close. They go on vacations together, shopping together, and anything in between. They sincerely care for each other and would rather be in the company of their family more than anyone else.

Then there's the two opposite ends of the spectrum.

The family that doesn't give, but pulls. The begging, complaining, never getting anywhere family. A history of violence, abuse (verbal, physical, sexual), where folks either flee and have NOTHING to do with them, or continue the cycle.


The family that is way too close for comfort. The ones that get in your business like NOBODY's business. The family the pries, pokes, and interferes at a moment's whim. The daddy's girl, mama's boy, nosey sister, overprotective brother, bossy auntie, rich uncle, and 'just like my sister' cousin who can't seem to stay out of the affairs even upon request.

OR any combination thereof.

I've seen all of these. And my family is one of them.

Before We delve into our topic, I must say this however; A family is NOT just the bloodline. Ever. There are those who touch your life and are in your life that have moved and touched your lives more than any bloodline ever could or would. Particularly if you come from a fragmented family; these are your family and you should treat them as such. Also, there is an element of dysfunction in all families. No family is perfect; that's not the directive of this piece.

With that said, we will turn it over to the readers:

Do you think there is a such thing as "Too Close" OR "Not Close Enough". Is your family "Love Filled" or "Drama Filled?" Any friends with families like the aforementioned?


Miss Ahmad said...


well since i love my family to pieces but have literaly left the continent to gain myself some breathing room i've seen both sides of the coin.

i feel like there is family and then there are those whom you are related to. Relatives are not always family and family is not always related.

i love my family to pieces, but there are some relatives i could simply do without!

i feel like that's the reason folks strike out and create a family unit of their own...you know find someone like minded and create a new bond filled with that which you find important...or your best interpretation of..

J. G. said...

This a very nice blog but let me break down my family. My family is very tight but don't get it twisted:

Mom-She changes her moods like she changes her under wear ok! Love her but she can be a hand full. I wasn't always close to my mom and you know why shit happens.

Dad-Is the perfect example of LOVE IS BLIND...don't ask. He is a hard worker just don't mess with his family.

Older Sister-She more like my mom not my sister. She has the biggest heart and will always protect her kids, sisters and brother.

My middle sister-She is a straight out biotch! She is a free loader, lazy, victim of everything. But will put up a fight until she wins.

Brother-He is a hugh protector not bossy but he protects my older sister and I like no ones business.

Me-I'm a roudy biotch, I don't give a phuck!!! I protect what is mine and my love one's, I also protect my closest friends. I don't put up with drama and I don't put my happiness aside for anyone.

My Husband-He just doesn't care he gets along with EVERYONE. Put a beer in his hand and he is the life of the party lol!!! He will admit he isn't a fighter that's my job he is the LOVER.

I will admit that when we are all together we know how to have fun. We all like to have a drink or two ok or maybe 19 lol. But when one of us is sick or depressed or going through stages in our lives we are there for one another.

This is my inner circle.

chele said...

My family doesn't really fit into any of these categories.

We love each other but we give each other space. We are always a phone call away and will be there in a heartbeat to give a hug or beat some ass. We comfort each other in a crises but if I had to go on vacation with any of them for an extended period of time ... it would not be pretty.

jenstillinak said...

I feel like an asshole on this one, but I love my family, I think we aren't too close nor too far apart, we're just right!

I am so blessed to have the family that I do. If I ever needed anything they would all be there in half a second to help, but if I need my space they can recognize that without me even saying anything.

True, our extended family has some crazy bits & pieces, but that's just a given. And even in all the craziness, they are still basically good people, just made some bad choices.

But, I'm happy to say my immediate family (parents, brother & his fam) are pretty great. I couldn't love them more!

T. Cas said...

Me and my siblings have a dont ask, dont tell policy. We don't pry, we dont judge, we dont get involved unless asked. Most of the time it works for us, but then there are times when the lack of communication causes problems.

Mom Dukes: We all have a different relationship with her. She wants to be my sister's best friend. So she is really close to her to the point that my sister has to pull back.

With me, she tries occasionally, but I dont really tell her nothing. Especially since she has never liked any woman I've introduced her to. (on a sidenote -I ve decided that she will meet my future fiancee at the wedding, not before the wedding. LOL)

And with my brother, the baby: She is way too involved for my tastes, but he tolerates it, so its not my place to say anything.

I've taken over your comments, so I'll stop now.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

Great post...

My family is ALL DRAMA...wait, lemme re-phrase that. My MOTHER is all drama. She had to have a hand in EVERY.SINGLE.FUCKING.DECISION I've ever made (with the exception of the last 3 years).

My In-laws area also ALL DRAMA...mother-in-law raising two ungrateful ass grandchildren that belong to my sister-in-law who's pretty much off the hook when having to deal with any of her 3 children. She's free to run wild, with no job and little ambition to do SHIT. But I love them...they grow on you over time like warts.

The only thing I hate about being on vacation is that I can't be hollerin "FIRST BITCHES!!" That sucks.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

You're jealous...I'm watching HONG KONG PHOOEY right now.

Isha said...

As for my family, the answer to each of your questions is a resounding YES!!

Too Close - On my mom's side sometimes it's hard to get "new friends" cause I'm cool with hanging with my family. Mostly girls (cousins) we all can enjoy each other so much that "outsiders" are just that. We recently had a B.B.Q. at a male cousins house who his REALLY into his union and for most of the party it was US and THEM. The two groups only got together at the dominoes table where we played them in teams.

Not Close Enough - I dont' know most of my dad's family and from those that I do know I'M GLAD. Lots of greed, selfishness, beggin' borrowin', competition and back stabbin'. Truly pieces of work.

Love Filled - I know that I have a place to lay my head from Lancaster to Mo Valley and everywhere in between for no reason at all but to be with family (well at least on my mothers side...on my dad's side...Well I don't do bugs).

Drama Filled - On BOTH sides, we have our fare share of crack heads, dead beat mama's, crooks, "special cousins" with questionable parentage, uncles the kids have to stay away from and old folk skeletons that no one mentions until they're dead.

But all in all...dey' mine, I love em' all, but I also praise the Lord for extended family who I can choose for myself.

Msnhim said...

My family is like a "Planters Factory" were full of Nuts! LOL

On the real, I love my family their all crazy but for the most part I know that they will have my back if need be and I theirs. Are they nosy? HELL YES but who isn't. We're not as close as we use to be since most of them moved, but we do get togther for birthdays and holidays and thats really enough.

Closet Owner said...

Hmm, guess i got a lot to catch up on.

BTW I'm Back!

Supa said...

Heeeey P! And Glam! And Tam! And..

Yeah, I been out the mix fo' a minute. And I come back here, and u talkin' bout family... :(

Hope you been good, chic. Will check back in witcha

Jaimie said...


The only person in my family who has never left my side is my mother.

My own father is not loyal to me, and just recently blamed me for the abuse that I just recently received from my ex-husband, then continued to take no responsibility for leaving me for 10 years. It was at this point in the conversation that I told him he was NOT my father. I really have little of a relationship to him, so it may sound cold, but I wouldn't care if we never spoke again.

Other than my mother, James is the only other person who I feel will always be there. Technically, he's not family, but he is so intertwined in my life (despite the break-up), that we will always be family, best friends, everything. Not only that, he is Stella's Godfather--so we're stuck together.

And then of course there's Stella: my child, my daughter, my girl; two peas in a pod. I love her, maybe too much (but is there really any such thing?) I could be completely alone, but still have Stella, and live a wonderful life.

Life would be completely pointless without her.

Unruly Brown said...

Most of the girls in my family are close, but there are subgroups within that one group. Like the three oldest girls are closer to each other. The three youngest are closest and then two sets in the middle are closer than any of the sets of three. It's weird. The boys are way out there somewhere and not close to anybody. I'm the distant one. I go off and do my own thing, but they know I'm here if they need me, and vice versa.

Sangindiva said...

My family and I aren't that close...
but we aren't an "angry separate"We give each other space but it is my mom who keeps us all together.

Anonymous said...

My fam is real close. But i'm especially close to my mom and my sis, we three party together, travel together and just get together on weekends to shoot the shit...i'm also close to my brothers, well at least 2-3 of them, i love them, but hey they are very dependent. I'm the youngest and i guess the most stable, so it seems when anything goes down or they need anything they come to me. It would be okay if it wasn't so often...1 of my bro's we were close but he's a user, and i got used enuf...so i had to establish some distance. I grew up poor, and i vowed i wouldn't live that way...but the fam, damn if they don't want to keep me that way...i give, they take...sometimes it's a neverending circle...and i keep thinking if only i had more to give...wishful thinking for now...but most of the time we have the best of times when we have nothing...ain't that some shit~