Another one bites the dust

It seems like I’m slowly losing the support of some of my in-laws. First was my mother-in-law about a year and a half ago. And yesterday, I discovered that my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband) had also unfriended me on Facebook. I only discovered it by accident, when I was scrolling back through old posts to see who had “liked” something, and by his name it said Add Friend.

I also know that my sister has had a FB account for over a year and neither of us has made an effort to add each other. My sister and I have never really been friends; we’re just two completely opposite people. She’s interested in being the perfect suburban sports mom with the perfect kids. I’m not interested in sports at all and was most concerned with making sure my kids felt loved and accepted for who they were. I don’t get the sense that her kids have much choice in who or what they become.

Her husband always encouraged her to try to get along with me, which was why his unfriending took me by such surprise. He has a big, very close family and always wanted mine to be the same way.

Truth be told, I’ll never know the reasons for his decision. They live 1300 miles away near the rest of my family. I only see them on visits home (just once in the past 6 years) and only contact my sister around her kids’ birthdays. You can’t get much more distant than that.

Maybe it’s because I’m outspoken about my political views (which I happen to know are the opposite of his.) Maybe it’s because I’m critical of police brutality and his profile said he supported the local cops. Maybe it’s because I said in one post that I blamed Dow Chemical (his employer) for causing my husband to get cancer at such a young age. After all, my husband grew up just a few miles from Dow headquarters and is far from the only person he knows who got cancer at a young age.

In truth, I have to keep reminding myself that the reasons really don’t matter. I have to keep speaking out about the things that are important to me. I already silenced myself once, when I was trying to fit in at the evangelical church I used to attend. That felt awful and I swore that if I ever found the courage again to be my true self, I’d keep expressing it.

In the meantime, I also have to remind myself what I’ve really lost: someone who regularly read my posts but rarely interacted with them, but who often used them to spy on me and report back to my parents about what I had posted. (Like the time I submitted a book proposal: I shared it on FB for support, but not with my parents because I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. I didn’t expect my parents to be good cheerleaders for me, and they weren’t when I found out that brother-in-law had told them about it. And of course the proposal was rejected anyway.)

So have I lost anything? Not really. Still, I can’t help but have the feeling that when I show the “real me,” it’s unlikable to family. That makes me wish I could just be normal. It’s always my wish to be normal but I am obviously just not.

7 Comments

  1. I know a big chunk of my family just defriended one of my cousins for his horrific political and racist views. He actually attacked a post that one of our other cousins (who happen to be black) wrote. And my thought is…fuck him. It wasn’t even about his views. It was about the fact he was telling a black woman she was wrong with her interpretation of her experiences who was in his family. How can you be that obtuse? I say forget those people in your family who are so narrow-minded, they can’t accept that anything is wrong with the world and needs to be fixed. Don’t waste too much energy on them.

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  2. I am never going to understand how and why anyone wouldn’t be nice to you. I think you are one of the strongest and amazing people I know. I know family can be challenging, after all I am dealing with a lot of nonsense with my mother at the moment. But Holly, please never question who you are and how incredible you are because that would not be fair to you. Anyone that doesn’t treasure you and your friendship, doesn’t deserve to have you in their life at all!

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    1. Aww, thanks, Alyssa! You’re always so nice and supportive. Fortunately, I don’t have too many people who are mean to me, but I’m always shocked when people I thought were close turn on me. I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with some challenges with your mother right now! I’m taking your words to heart and reminding myself that I’m still a good person even if some can’t see it. You have so much to offer, too! Thanks for brightening my day.

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      1. You are more than welcome! You are really to good of a person to have anyone be ugly to you. The challenges with my mother have been difficult for me to deal with. Her older sister died from cancer in February. My mother went up there to help and be “supportive” to the family and then somehow became involved with her brother in law. My mother is married already to an amazing man who has parkinsons. She has been unfaithful and broke her husband’s heart too many times and I am not coping with it well. I am only upset about it all because her husband, my step father is a wonderful and loving man.
        Sorry to go into all that with you, but my mind has been in so many different directions!
        I am glad you will remind yourself of the amazing person you are and when you forget to, I will remind you!!!

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      2. Oh, Alyssa, that story about your mother just breaks my heart! It sounds like your stepfather doesn’t deserve everything she’s putting him through. Does he know? My goodness, I don’t blame you for feeling upset—I’m getting upset and I’m not even related to her! Be good to yourself, my friend! Your heart has a lot going on right now. It’s only because you have such a big heart that this bothers you so much, which is a good thing! I don’t know if you’re a hugger but I wish I could give you a big hug. ❤️

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      3. Thank you Holly. It has been an insane few months and she keeps trying to make her husband, (the victim), in the situation the one in the wrong when he didn’t do anything to deserve this treatment. She has always been a bit insane and narcissistic, but this takes it to a new level. Today, I finally told her I am done with the drama and want nothing more to do with it and to never call or text me with it again. You are so sweet and I really appreciate all your kindness and support. From you, I would be perfectly fine with a hug!

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