This story started years ago. Years before I was even part of this conversation. I will do my best to tell the story from an unbiassed point of view, but in reality this will be impossible. I am telling this story through other peoples voices who may have been tainted from past experiences.
Let me start by saying nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. I know I have made a few in my life. If you learn from it and reflect on the part that you played, I will be very receptive of what you have to say. This is growth. Are you making excuses for your behaviour? Absolutely not! You cannot change what happened in the past.
There is a different group of people who seem to think that things just happen to them and they don’t seem to have a role in any of the “Stuff” that happens to them. It simply happens and they feel justtified on how they behaved.
Some of the names have been changed in the upcoming story as I do not have their permission to write about this.
Setting the scene: Sixteen years ago, Elenor is at her nephews wedding. She is sitting at the table with 6 of her 7 remaining siblings. The table is full. The 7th sibling is sitting at another table with friends. Elenor loves spending time with her family, but isn’t part of the family drama. She thinks nothing of this.
While on her way to the rest room, she meets the 7th sibling who is sitting at another table and says hello and goes in for a hug, the customary greeting in this family. But, instead of a return greeting, the 7th sibling Philip decides to walk away without saying a word. Not a word.
Not sure what just happened, Elenor walks over to her sibling and shares what just happened. “Oh yeah, he disowned the family several months ago” replied Susan. “He’s not talking to anyone in the family.”
Having a caring heart, Elenor wanted to know why this had happened. Why had Philip disowned his family? While she didn’t get answers, she decided to give him space and when he would be ready to come back and chat, she would listen. That hasn’t happened yet.
Fast froward to present day.
I received a FB messenger message from a mutual family member saying that Philip would like to connect with the family. He feels like no one likes him as no one is reaching out. Red Flag alert.
Remember the two types of people that I mentioned earlier? The ones who have made mistakes and have learned from them and the other ones who are the victim of circumstances? Well, based on the words in the message, I put Philip in the latter group. He is the one who decided to disown the family 16 years ago without offering an explanation to some of the siblings who were not aware, like Elenor.
I can stop here, but there is more to the story that you do not see. Let me try to explain.
First, Philip is my uncle. My mothers brother. Growing up, I knew who he was, but didn’t really know him. He is much younger than my mother which made it an awkward age. When I was a kid, he was a teenager and was more interested in partying than hanging out with a little kid. I get it!. Then when he got married and had children, I was a teenager and super busy going to school, coaching and working out. Then I moved away from my home town in my early 20’s and haven’t live there ever since.
In my entire life, I think I have spoken to my uncle Philip, maybe 5-6 times, and I am being generous about that estimate. This doesn’t mean that we weren’t at the same family functions. We were, but we never engaged in conversation.
Now, you decide that you are ready to reconnect with the family. That’s awesome. You are free to make you choices, but just because that is what you want, it doesn’t mean I have to comply.
I am not ready to start a new relationship. I’ve been working hard at putting myself first in the last few years and letting go of relationships and commitments that no longer serve me . I’ve been connecting with my feminine side and last year, started connecting with 3 of my female cousins and an aunt. I don’t have enough time to really spend with them already, I cannot spread myself thinner. Actually, I don’t want to spread myself thin. I am choosing me.
So, I will not be reaching out to my uncle at this time. It’s not him, it’s me. I know that’s a cliche, but in this case it’s also the truth. I have passed on this message to the family member who is acting as the liaison. They are closer in age and have had a previous relationship. They are not initiating a new relationship. They are resuming it. If Philip would like to add me as a friend on FB, please go ahead. Come check out who I am. Get to know me on social media first. Let’s connect there. Ill get to know you there as well. This is how I have been connecting with my cousins and my aunt.
If this answer upsets Philip, then honestly, he really doesn’t belong in my life. I don’t do drama. If he understands and allows me to have some space then when we attend family functions, come say hello. Let’s have a proper conversation. The first conversation will be awkward, but if you have taken the time to follow me on social media, and shared aspects of your life as well, we will have a place to start the conversation.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? What have you done?