Topic: What does "Family" mean to you...

English Alexithymia Forum > Personal Experience

What does "Family" mean to you...
12.05.2016 by DXS

Are any of you close to your family? I'm not. My siblings and I don't speak to each other unless we have to. In fact, my mom is all about "Family is everything" stuff. I don't relate to her feelings on this (although as a child I had to "pretend to" which resulted in faking my entire childhood.....). "Family" to me is just..... "the people I grew up with" and nothing more. Don't hate them, don't love them, but I just don't get the "family is everything" stuff. Whether or not I spend Christmas or Thanksgiving with them is not an issue, don't care if I do or don't. (Ok, I lean toward.... "trying to make an excuse not to....")

I don't know if it's me and the alexithymia thing or maybe the family dynamics ("give the appearance that we are close knit" when we are not, what a joke....)

Just wondering how the rest of you related to your family.

What does "Family" mean to you...
13.05.2016 by GelatinousPope

I'm not close with my family. I have one sibling, an older sister, we get along just fine and usually have a great time when we see each other, but we don't really have any contact in between. I don't honestly care to "catch up" on all the details of her life frequently, I just see her when I see her.

My mom and I don't have a great relationship. I like to hang out with my dad often. We have several interests in common and spend time doing activities we both enjoy.

I used to not really like holidays and family gatherings. Now I'm ok with them as long as I can leave whenever I want for a break.

"Family" to me just means biological relatives. I can't say I feel different about them than I do any friend I've known for a long time.

Same here
14.05.2016 by CV

"Family," like "home," is not a word I actually use. I reference my initerant locations by their names, and "family" are referenced as "relations."
Just because we are related. I have frequent contact with these relations, but I accepted long ago that the reasons behind my continued diligence was not due to any meaning in the relationships, but because there would be emotional drama directed at me if I stopped, and I am unable to deal with the emotional drama of others when it involves me. I am also aware that these people have feelings, and feelings for me in fact, and that anything but continued friendliness on my part would cause them harm, and I don't believe in causing harm on an ethical level.
We are on terms I consider to be as good as they can decently be. We stick to strictly benal, superficial subjects and anyone's real feelings about anything never enter dialogue. I see them often, but really, 99% of my life is off limits. This, to me, is keeping the peace and maintaining a status quo and that is sufficient.
That actually looks horrible on paper, but honestly, I believe this is how many families really operate, and people just hide behind the "family is everything" facade to avoid facing up to the real distance that is there. An alexithymic is able to acknowledge that distance sincerely.

Family means pressure
17.05.2016 by kat3lb

To me the family is equally significant as other biologically unrelated persons. Naturally, because we have shared one shelter for about 17 years, I tend to know them a bit better than other people. But this does not make the relationship special in any way, it is just a bit more predictable.
I had a period of time when I tend to speak a lot to my mother about my confusing feelings and difficulty to make decisions. I thought she must understand and give me some practical advice. But she never did and we ended up quarreling. So I gave up and she knows very little about my private life.
The problem is the pressure arising from their expectation that I feel something else to them than I actually do. They expect that I should give them priority for my holidays, that I should be happy spending time with them. I am not particularly unhappy, but sometimes just prefer to do other things. And then I am usually perceived as that pubescent rebel, who does not want to stay with her family, just because it is family. (No, its really not my case and btw I am 33).
They also expect that I would be always interested in how they are. I am not (the "how are you" question is discussed elsewhere), but I learned to fake it.
Now, as I learned faking, I also learned to lie easily. Lie instead of telling the truth that they do not understand and do not want to hear. Lie about having a boyfriend (I never had), or liking my cousins (I never felt anything in particular towards them), lie about my work and place I live (they think that the country where I stay is not safe, so yes, I pretend to be in another country).
The scary thing is that I dont feel so much guilty about all these lies. I just take it as a way to deal with their expectations. I tried to be as honest as I am here with them as well, but it ended as a catastrophy. It seems so difficult and painful for them to understand, that I think its better if they die in their ignorance.


Yes, all I have written looks really terrible. But thats how it is.

I understand.....
18.05.2016 by DXS

When people ask me if I'm going "home" for Christmas, I tell them "nope, going to visit parents." Then I get this puzzled look. Then I explain to them that "home" is where.... *I* live......I no longer live in my parents home.

My family is just "people I was raised in a house with and spent time" as one person said.... I have no special feelings. Holidays are more of a "have to" than a "want to." HATE IT!



Can relate
16.06.2016 by gihi

I am little puzzled here.

For me family is close as I still live with my parents due to economical benefits and stuff. And I think they mean a lot to me in many ways.

There is a frequent tradition to say that "I love you" in our family. I have trouble with this because I can't say that I feel love. I don't even feel emotional connection to my parents really. My brother sometimes elicits some feelings of caring in me which really doesn't occur with anyone else. But we are very distant and we never keep in contact really. I think he might also have so alexithymic traits.

It is the problem that I think I ones felt really affectionate toward my family and friends when I was still very young. But it has all changed. I don't feel affectionate towards anyone. Does anyone share this feeling of loosing your emotions? Or do you think you never even had them?

don't think I ever had them.....
19.06.2016 by DXS

I feel nothing toward my family, too! Love? What is that?

love
04.08.2016 by jdr

I feel nothing toward my family, too! Love? What is that?

I guess even for NT's it's different things to different people. To me, it's sort of a mental construct to give our lives meaning and involves choosing to care about some people more than others. For example, caring more about the soldier who is willing to sacrifice for a cause that you share than a selfish, greedy person who cheats others just to advance themselves. Misfortune happens to everyone, it's just how we respond to someone else's misfortune depends on how we've prioritized them (or how much we love them, if you will).

Evolutionary biologists have recently been spending time studying why humans are altruistic, and I think determined that caring for those closest to us (family, tribe) provided an evolutionary advantage (more likely to reproduce).

But even though it goes against cultural norms, we can choose not to prioritize our family if we feel they are not deserving. But when we choose to care about someone who also cares about us, the feelings can be self-reinforcing. "I am important to you, which validates me, so you are important to me".

Totally agree
07.08.2016 by DXS

That actually looks horrible on paper, but honestly, I believe this is how many families really operate, and people just hide behind the "family is everything" facade to avoid facing up to the real distance that is there. An alexithymic is able to acknowledge that distance sincerely.

I totally get this. That is how my family is. Everything superficial, disagreements are NOT ALLOWED.

family
02.10.2016 by treshcen

family to me is biological relations.

Three family concepts
03.10.2016 by thoughts

Three types of famillies (there may be, and often is, an overlap between the types):

1. family through blood-ties (mother, father, children, sibling, cousin, etc);
2. family through contract (husband/wife, inlaws, etc)
3. family through shared value-system

Some family is life-long while others may/may not be temporary:
-Blood ties should not be severed.
-Contract ties can be severed, however, through a due process.
-Family through shared value-system get severed when value-system is no longer shared.

Each family member of mine has certain rights on me depending on the type of family and nature of relation.
The easiest to maintain is the family through shared value-system and most difficult through blood-ties.

Ex. I may have complete opposite view/judgement than my mother on anything and everything; I may not even enjoy her company, however, it is her right that I take care of her in old age and be in best of manners... even through our clashing views and disagreements. (Example is hypothetical. My mother is most affectionate towards me)

Distortion of concepts
03.10.2016 by Abc

Husband/wife and inlaws are definitely not family through contract, because people do not sign a contract with their brother - in - law and they do not sign a contract with their boyfriend/girlfriend being in an open relationship and living together.
Who is liable for saying that a value is no longer shared? In case the answer is the facts and deviation from legality, who is liable for saying that they get severed? So the correct statement is "they may get severed". You oversimplify things since you ignore critical factors.

Being black and white is supposed to adhere to real incidents or to respectful moral rules. Which is the family of yours that you consider easy to maintain through common values and what are the real incidents or the respectable moral rules making you have a black and white point of view on the family issue?

Distortion of concepts
03.10.2016 by Abc

Husband/wife and inlaws are definitely not family through contract, because people do not alwayssign a contract with their brother - in - law and they do not sign a contract with their boyfriend/girlfriend being in an open relationship and living together.
Who is liable for saying that a value is no longer shared? In case the answer is the facts and deviation from legality, who is liable for saying that they get severed? So the correct statement is "they may get severed". You oversimplify things since you ignore critical factors.

Being black and white is supposed to adhere to real incidents or to respectable moral rules. Which is the family of yours that you consider easy to maintain through common values and what are the real incidents or the respectable moral rules making you have a black and white point of view on the family issue?

the blood of the covenant is thicker than the waters of the womb.
10.10.2016 by Hokkai

personally I feel no emotion towards my genetic family due to dealing with childhood abuse and everyone simply turning a blind eye to it which quickly made me realize that to me family does not mean who you are related to do but those you are willing to die for.

DISAGREE on blood ties.
11.10.2016 by DXS

-Blood ties should not be severed.

DISAGREE! If your blood family cannot respect your boundaries and feels that they are entitled to trample all over you and you are just "too sensitive" if you raise a fuss, then I think those should get severed if the person feels like it.

That's how my family is. I'm not "supposed" to have boundaries, I'm not "supposed" to say no. WRONG.

My Family Hates Me
13.11.2016 by stephieweffie

But they pretend to love me. I am severely alexi, but needed my parents' love and never wanted to lose them. However, after realizing that they are both mentally abusing narcissists, I had to change my mind about wanting to love them. I spent a lifetime in silence even in serious and/or traumatic situations involving others. I've always been odd like that, but after not being able to connect with people socially (no conversation skills, eye contact, TOM), I realized I was different. My parents never wanted to notice because they didn't want me talking to counselors about them. I now know they were going to accuse me of lying about anything I said about them.

Also, I get sanctioned by women a lot. They are "triggered" by me not expressing emotion when I talk about my life which is traumatic.

Sounds like you've left home.
15.11.2016 by Dave

stephieweffie, you speak about your parents in the past, like you left home; good. If your parents are really narcissists, you don't need that. Did you finally see a counselor after leaving your parents (it sounds like you did)? I was wondering what the counselor told you that made you realize your parents were narcissists, or (if no counselor was involved) what allowed you to see their true nature.

Sounds like you've left home.
15.11.2016 by Dave

stephieweffie, you speak about your parents in the past, like you left home; good. If your parents are really narcissists, you don't need that. Did you finally see a counselor after leaving your parents (it sounds like you did)? I was wondering what the counselor told you that made you realize your parents were narcissists, or (if no counselor was involved) what allowed you to see their true nature.

Sounds like you've left home.
15.11.2016 by Dave

stephieweffie, you speak about your parents in the past, like you left home; good. If your parents are really narcissists, you don't need that. Did you finally see a counselor after leaving your parents (it sounds like you did)? I was wondering what the counselor told you that made you realize your parents were narcissists, or (if no counselor was involved) what allowed you to see their true nature.

Family shells
22.12.2016 by Corvos

I've always thought of family like electron shells or maybe the layers of an onion or tree: imideate, principled attachment, "friends"(cousins that aren't annoying), and other.
While I've never felt anything like love, my parents have raised me to the best of their ability. I can tell the my dad and I will never see eye to eye regarding my personality so we keep our distance. My mom is tolerable if extremely annoying at times seeing as she assumes she knows the answer to all my problems, a trait I'm told is maternal.
The more I write the colder I seem hmm food for thought.
I'm a very principled person as I see no inherent value in morals, religious or otherwise, as such filial piety has always been big with me so I always treat them (outwardly) with the respect I feel they deserve. This is doubly so for my grandparents whom I respect. So I attend holiday gatherings if only to see them occasionally.so I put on the mask along with the rest of my clothes and wade into that horrid sea called society but the more of it I see the less I connect. As an example this year I saw two new baby cousins and didn't bother to ask for much less remember their names and faces after, I was told my dog we had given to my aunt had died of cancer and again nothing. I pretended to be sad sure but as I heard my cousin had been an emotional wreak after I had an odd moment where I truly felt alien I couldn't understand why they were so distraught. After these events I'm compleatly drained and have to hide away for awhile.
Guess I rambled abit there. Sorry this is my first post so the experience is akward to say the least.
Not much else I can say as nothing comes to mind. Now I think of it a forum for discussing the ineffable is quite amusing, if anything I'm glad I found this site as it's relieved my boredom for now and given me some answers to this peculiar personality trait.

Santioning
22.12.2016 by DXS

Also, I get sanctioned by women a lot. They are "triggered" by me not expressing emotion when I talk about my life which is traumatic.

I relate more to men than women. Cuz I'm "logical." I HATE shopping, I don't see why women gotta buy lots of shoes, I don't get this. I only buy clothes I need. I don't need to "shop."

Yeah, I get the "sanctioning" by women. I don't have the emotional stuff either.

In fact, I once dated a guy who was very emotional but he hated that he was..... and he hated that I wasn't....... Explosive relationship.

Re: I hate shopping
07.05.2017 by Arthur

In today's world most people seem to shop based on an emotional response to advertisements. People seem to have an emotional desire to keep up with the Jones', and express themselves with products, or fashion. I don't get this and that is one advantage of alexithymia. It is hard to take advantage of us by pulling on our heart-strings.

Aunty who?
25.11.2017 by Terry-Townley

I really only care for my little sister and my brother, my mum, dad and my Nan who sleeps over regularly to spend time with my little sister.
I’m told about some relatives and the awkward thing is am I supposed to even care, oh look someone I’m related too while I muster up a smile and sign of interest over a complete stranger who happens to share at least some DNA.

I’m not trying to imply that I’m a rude person, it’s just that i’v Lived with some relatives who I don’t want anything to do with. I’d just treat you like any stranger with common decency being related doesn’t mean anything.
I’m gonna keep it short, I just get a little rant and end up unrelated to the topic at hand. So to sum it up if you’re not a pleasant person in general to be around DNA doesn’t matter to me.

Aunty who?
25.11.2017 by Terry-Townley

I really only care for my little sister and my brother, my mum, dad and my Nan who sleeps over regularly to spend time with my little sister.
I’m told about some relatives and the awkward thing is am I supposed to even care, oh look someone I’m related too while I muster up a smile and sign of interest over a complete stranger who happens to share at least some DNA.

I’m not trying to imply that I’m a rude person, it’s just that i’v Lived with some relatives who I don’t want anything to do with. I’d just treat you like any stranger with common decency being related doesn’t mean anything.
I’m gonna keep it short, I just get a little rant and end up unrelated to the topic at hand. So to sum it up if you’re not a pleasant person in general to be around DNA doesn’t matter to me.

We never understood each other.
17.04.2018 by DraScuS

They never understood my symptoms, and I never understand what they are thinking and feeling.

We never understood each other.
17.04.2018 by DraScuS

They never understood my symptoms, and I never understand what they are thinking and feeling.

Family would be....
23.04.2018 by Docster

Someone who understands that I'm doing my best to show I love them, even though I cannot seem to express it in a manner that they expect. Understandably, my "Love Language" is acts of service, and I believe I'm a good provider, and even though no one ever turns down the $$ that I bring home, I receive mostly negative attitude because of my inability to articulate feelings, emotions, etc.

Family is odd when you all have Alexithymia
24.04.2018 by Ezra


So recently me (23), my mother, and possibly my younger sister (16) have all basically found out we have Alexithymia and it has really helped our relationship to each other if I’m being honest, we’ve stopped trying to fit in the usual family dynamics that’s been forced down our throats. We all see each as Just people that we happen to share a relation too and share time together, and i see them as more like your typical friends than mother and sister.

The best thing is that we have developed a healthy respect for each other spaces, and we don’t really expect anything communication wise outside a shared meme every now and then

?????
05.05.2018 by alemao

Hello everybody! All this subject is new for me, but I think all this stuff make sense. I cant have emotional feelings to my family specially my mom and dad. I realy fell bad with that and since now I dint understand why.

Familial duty
15.05.2018 by bpaull

I understand the disconnect between what other family members seem to have and what you feel towards them. Not understanding what exactly they feel has always made me curious. But knowing the value in family life I have spent much of my life in making sure I fulfill any duty or responsibility to my family as I can. Rides to the airport helping set up for familial events and so on. I know I am likely not as close to them as they are to one another but I think my responsiveness to them helps keep the relationship bonds secure.

Family
31.05.2018 by laismrt

How i feeling about my family?
I feel nothing

Family just are
15.09.2018 by Jute

Family are just people who happen to be related to me, that's it. I have very little to do with them, the same as with anyone else.

Ohana
30.09.2018 by Hsingai

I view family not as relatives but as Ohana, that is people you can mooch off of and can mooch off of you. I have good relationships with my brother and mother and stepfather, and had one with my dad when he was still alive. I wish I was better at the interpersonal thing with the rest of my relatives.

Not me
01.10.2018 by Jute

I adhere to the old adage "Never a borrower or a lender be." I don't borrow things from relatives (or anyone else) and I prefer not to lend things to people either. If I need something I buy it, they should too.

mooch
01.10.2018 by Hsingai

I adhere to the old adage "Never a borrower or a lender be."

mooch
verb INFORMAL
1.NORTH AMERICAN ask for or obtain (something) without paying for it.
"a bunch of your friends will show up, mooching food"

No Thanks
01.10.2018 by Jute

noun
noun: mooch; plural noun: mooches

1.
British
an instance of loitering in a bored or listless manner.
2.
North American
a beggar or scrounger.



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Alexithymia - emotional blindness - is a personality trait characterized by the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. Core characteristics of alexithymia are marked dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment, and interpersonal relationship.
Alexithymia is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population and is known to be comorbid with a number of psychiatric conditions. Due the inability to cope with feelings and emotions as described in psychology there are counseling services to establish mental health.
Psychologist have argued that the alexithymia construct is strongly related to the concepts of psychological mindedness and emotional intelligence.
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