I’ve written you before with advice in regards to my mate and I appreciate the advice you gave! (Also me and my mate are doing great!)
The reason why I’m writing is because I’m dealing with some family issues that are going on and its driving me nuts! My mom was adopted and we found her biological family like 17 years ago and we're connecting with them fairly well; the issue that's at hand is that my mom's adopted older sister married my dad's older brother (very confusing I know). I don't want to be racist. My aunt is of partial-native decent but has for years had this heir [sic] about her that she's better than us. She was also adopted and only searched for her biological parents so she could claim Mestis status with the government while my mom was searching to figure out who her family is and why she was given up.
At first it was easy to ignore because I was too young to know what was going on. but now that I’m older and my mom is telling me and my older bro and sister-in-law everything that my dad and her have to deal with; it's getting frustrating. I know there's a lot of issues that went on during my mom's growing up but why does it have to have an effect on me? It's like I’m being punished just because of who my mom is.
I want to say something but I can't and I’ve sat by for the past 10 or so years and had to be a door mat and just put up with it. It's to the point I want someone to make a stupid comment at a family gathering just so I can ream out everyone about what's going on to get all the toxic emotions out of me. The thing is I used to feel bad about it but now I want it to happen all the more. No one wants to listen to me about trying to move on and working out the situation. Feels like my choices are either move away from my family or ream them out.
What's a fat Labrador Retriever to do? Am I allowed to blow up at a family gathering to get my feelings out or am I waaay out in left field on this one?
Fat Puppy Owen (sorry about the baseball metaphor)
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Dear Fat Puppy,
Thank you, and glad you and your mate are doing fabulously :-3
You don’t make clear what the family argument is about between your mother and your aunt, but I will guess it has something to do with their thoughts about your aunt being of Mestis heritage but your mother is not? And somehow your aunt thinks she is better than your side of the family because of this, even though her main goal in claiming her heritage was monetary, if I have this right.
This reminds me of a situation between my grandfather (my mom’s dad) and his brother. Though this isn’t an adoption story or a heritage story, it is a sibling rivalry one. There was a bitter rivalry between the two of them. Both were musicians—my grandpa a pianist and my great uncle a violinist—and played for the MGM orchestra during the Depression. My great uncle was the older brother; he was, I will admit, much more handsome, congenial, and, I hear (because I was never able to meet the man due to my grandfather’s jealousy), a lot of fun to be around. But he also had that same air of superiority and always made my grandfather feel like he was the second fiddle, so to speak. It rather left the two sides of the family a bit broken; they would argue about stupidest things like who had the bigger television set. My mother (an only child) got to hear a lot of the crap. Such rivalries can really destroy a family, and because of it my grandfather hardly spoke to his own brother for many years and I never got to know my own great uncle.
You, dear puppy, are involved in the dispute because you are part of the family. No fault of your own, but family members always inherit the family crap, whether or not they wish to. It sounds to me as if you do not wish to take sides and just want to be left out of the entire thing, which is certainly your right, but it shouldn’t have to mean that you have to move away just to avoid the endless invective.
As you state in the form you filled out, you are 23, which is more than old enough to have a right to have a say in the matter. Your opinion should count, most certainly, and you should be able to express it. However, there is no need to “ream them out.” If you shout and scream you are just falling into their little dark hole of nastiness, and you don’t want to do that.
What you do is don’t play by their rules: Should anyone ask your opinion on the matter, you answer them with your true opinion in a firm and clear voice, without the use of qualifiers such as “perhaps,” “maybe,” or even “I believe.” Those all hedge the argument and make you sound weak and uncertain, like a sick lamb waiting for the wolves to pounce. So, just as an example, if your aunt says something like (and, again, I have NO idea what the argument is really about), “I think your mother is part of the European race that destroyed my Mestis ancestors’ lives,” and you feel that is unfair, reply, “My mother had nothing to do with what happened to the native people of this country, and you should judge her on what she has done with her own life. I support you in being proud about your background, but I don’t agree with how you tear other people down just because of their heritage any more than you would want to be torn down for yours.” No ifs, ands, or buts. If family members continue to try and press you, reply, “I have stated my opinion and I have no need to repeat myself, unless you didn’t hear me.”
Don’t go into the whole, “You guys are acting like children!” argument, even if it is true, because you won’t get anywhere with it. All that will happen is that your aunt or your mother or both or other family members will be offended, get defensive, and make your life more miserable.
Friedrich Nietsche said in his Also Sprach Zarathustra, “But like infection is the petty thought: it creeps and hides, and wants to be nowhere—until the whole body is decayed and withered by the petty infection.” Don’t let yourself be caught up in the pettiness of others. You have seen first hand what it does to them. Be your own man.
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