|A female age 41-50, anonymous writes: Hi,I’l l try and keep this short. I am not angry or sad. If anything I feel at piece. However, recently some mutual friends have started pressuring me into reconnecting with my family and I know they mean well, but… I just do not feel the need.My mother had me out of marriage and I never had a father. While she was alive, I was part of the family, her family. However, when she died, I was 20 at the time, they started treating me differently in small and very big ways, e.g. they would “forget” to invite me to family gatherings and they tried to butt in on my inheritance (not that there was much of it) – for my own good, they said. The big thing happened a few years after, when a cousin asked me to relocate to another state and come and work for her, because she needed help (read: unpaid labor). It meant that I should leave my paid work and more importantly my studies. I politely refused explaining why i t was important for me to get a degree. Then, she tried blackmailing me emotionally – they were the only family I had left (all of a sudden « she » somehow became « they »). I stood my ground. Ever since, there was no contact between us. I tried contacting some other members of my family, thinking that whatever had happened was between me and this one cousin, but they never returned my calls. I don’t mean to oversimplify things but I think they felt very uncomfortable and didn’t want to upset her, she was (and as far as I know, still is) the biggest earner and is helping them financially.All of this happened 20 years ago. The mutual friends I mentioned think that they are helping when they say I should contact them, but I just do not feel like it. Honestly, I think that would only overcomplicate things for me. But, if my cousin or any of them was to ever reach out, I would be here. I wouldn’t give them my kidney, but I would be open to listen. Sometimes it gets lonely not having a family, but I am grateful for what I do have. I’m blessed with a good man for a husband, to start with. I understand that being a part of a family is a blessing and I do not hold a grudge, I just do not feel the need. Is that ok?
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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious + ♥, writes (15 June 2019):
For me the most important line of your post was at the beginning when you said you feel at peace. If your mum’s family ignored contact from you 20 years ago, you have obviously survived quite well without them all that time. Did you ever consider getting in touch before your well meaning friends decided they knew what was best for you? What is it that sparks the conversations and the “well meaning” suggestions? Do you, perhaps, say you feel lonely without family or something similar?We can’t choose our family but we can choose our friends and, thus, have the support we would normally expect from family from a different source. Cliche as it sounds, friends are the family we choose for ourselves. You have been blessed with a good husband. Hopefully we have friends who mean a lot to you and who support you when needed. If not, in your shoes I would work on that area of my life.
A female reader, Honeypie + ♥, writes (15 June 2019):
I don’t see why you NEED to contact them. You have obviously done fine without them for 20 years, and they without you.There is a saying that we don’t get to pick family. Genetically, that is true. And for some they would do anything for family because they are the close-knit kind.YOU in a sense DO get to pick who you will regard as “family”. As in close friends, in-laws etc.If you don’t really FEEL a need to contact these people, REGARDLESS of being related, then don’t. YOUR choice.YOU had every right to turn down an offer to move out of state and work for the family. I would just politely tell the mutual friend that you aren’t really wanting to reach out (can add a “for now”).