Family Dynamics

Nostagia is one of those feelings in life that has the potential to rip the heart out of you, albeit quite often unjustified. It's not a real feeling, it's made up, it's what our memories are allowing us to think and feel about the past. I quite often think about certain family events, particularly Christmas, and my heart pangs to relive those wonderful childhood memories. However, transport me back to the exact time and place and I would also be faced with the fallouts with my sisters, the moments directly after the happy memories when your mother shouts at you and sends you to bed early for driving her insane. We chose what bits to remember!

When we grow up, become our own people and live our own lives independent of each other, these memories are important to us (the happy ones...or the bad ones that we can laugh at!). It's because we don't see each other very much, life has got in the way. But one thing that I find most peculiar is how you easily and so often regress back to your childhood self when you get together for family events. If I meet up with one sister for a drink, we can happily catch up, have a chat and then go back to our respective lives. However, bring us all together and we have a personality transplant (i.e. the old one re-planted). We can be well rounded mature individuals but seem to be remembered only for how we were when we were kids. For me, I did my fair share around the house, but when I wasn't doing this, I was into girly things and making myself look pretty so my reputation was for being 'Lady Muck'. I still get called it to this day. The other one is that I can't cook. I still don't know where this one came from but even in my late 30's, my family are amazed at the dishes I put down to them (smug face alert!).

Our mothers think they can tell us what to do no matter what age we are, the oldest sibling will always exercise his/her right at the top of the hierarchy, the youngest will continue to behalf and allow her/himself to be treated like the youngest. But when the first person challenges this situation, all hell breaks loose and the potential opens up for serious family fallouts. I mean, will your mother ever realise that you are a fully grown woman and at your age she had grown up children. Will your older sibling realise that there is less than 2 years between you and in adulthood that means nothing. And will your youngest sibling ever have the guts to tell everyone else that they have more maturity than the rest of us put together. Probably not, because the minute you say something back, you've caused 'upset' in the family. So, do we smile nicely, nod in the right places (while quietly ignoring the situation) for peace sake or do we man up and disrupt the perfect(!) family?!!

If anyone has the ideal answer to this question, we'd love to hear from you (email us with your story).

editorial, insightsBy Lauren Posey