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I feel lost in my family
My parents have been separated for as long as I remember. Since then they have both married other people and have given me three younger half-brothers who I love dearly (one on my dad's side and two on my mum's). I am in shared custody and, by my own choice, spend a week with my dad and the next with my mum. However, the older I get the more I realize the damage the split custody is damaging my familial relationships.
Split custody has led to problems forming close relationships with my brothers and has often made me feel like an outsider in the family. On my mum and stepdads side, I have a very large extended family. While my two brothers on my mum's side seem to have close relationships with a lot of the family, I have maybe two or three cousins that I could hold a conversation with. Again, this makes me feel like an outsider, especially at family events at which I normally spend the time in the corner on my phone. I have the opposite problem on my dad and stepmums side. My dad is only close with his parents which means I rarely get to see my cousins and have never met any of my extended family since I was 6. I crave seeing more of my family, especially my cousins, but am unable to due to my dads tense relationship with his sister.
Finally, my dad and stepmum are moving to a town an hour away. They want me to move with them, but I have no interest in leaving the life I have behind. They say that whatever my decision, they will be happy, but after a short discussion about it where I shared my honest thoughts, they both got angry and disappointed and told me I was being selfish by not going with them. They haven't moved yet and I still spend every second week with them, but I fear that once they move I will be damaging my relationship with them. I wouldn't be able to spend weekends with them due to transport and scheduling issues, but my holidays are also usually filled as well with friends, sports and various other things so I don't know when I would ever get to see them.
Overall, I dont know what to do. On my dads side, I feel utterly alone in a strict household, whereas at my mums I feel overwhelmed in my large family and am given way too much freedom at a time in my life where I need some semblance of structure.
I can completely understand why you are feeling this way. My mother married some one who wasn’t my father and I know how hard it can be finding your place, feeling connected and supported.
the situation you described with your father is a tough one. I can see you must feel like your feelings have been dis regarded. However, your feelings are very valid. I’m sure your father has good intentions but here it seems he may have made an incorrect assessment of the situation.
I know when I try to explain my feelings I can never quite articulate them right and can come off the wrong way. I’m not sure if you share this issue but it maybe helpful to discuss it with your father again having written down what you’d like to say or perhaps even a letter. Your dad may have felt his decision was being challenged by you, his child and retaliated as a result.
To get your desired result (which I believe your family would ultimately like as well) try to use non challenging language explaining how their choices and dynamic have impacted you and perhaps offer suggestions on how you’d like to proceed as well as communicating you are open to compromise.
In regards to connecting to extended family I suggest once you have found peace with your dad to let him know you’d also like to have a positive relationship with your cousins. I obviously can not know your aunt but I will assume she is reasonable enough and would be receptive to you reaching out to spend time with them.
As for your moms side as you’ve found you’ve not been able to form close relationships with them currently you may find this will change with age, or; The way you are feeling about your immediate family maybe impacting on the way you interact with extended family.
all in all communication seems to be what’s missing here. It might be helpful for you to seek more advice by calling beyond blue directly. They have comprehensive lists of great resources to help you heal your relationships.
my warmest regards, I will be checking back to this post to see if you’d like to discuss further. Send my best wishes that you may feel more comfortable
Welcom here, I think Strangefemme2000 has given some good advice.
It looks like at the moment you are with both households and that is your wish. Being with each one of course has pretty big downsides, and it would be good if your dad's side was more open and your mothers a less overwhelming.
Sadly when families split up things don't work quite the same as a unit that is still together, and one ends up feeling more alone as a result. This in itself can be the cause of very great pressure, even if it looks like things are running along smoothly on the surface. People looking on may have no idea.
I think it would be very understandable if you wanted the family arrangement to stay the same, and I'd guess it might be the reason you do not wish to move with your dad. While he and your stepmother are unhappy at the idea do you think they could have it explained to them? They must on the whole be reasonable people or I doubt you would have wanted to be with them half of you time.
Living in a town an hour away is not an insuperable barrier, true your schedule may have to change somewhat, maybe with a slightly longer stay with each family, I don't know. I do know if you want to be with both then you will make it happen.
Please feel free to come here and discuss whatever you wish
I'm sorry that you have been put in such a tough spot. You face a really difficult choice and it's not fair because none of this situation is of your making. On the flip side, it is awesome that you have so many people in your life that love you and want you to live with them.
The words in your post that jumped out at me were, "I have no interest in leaving the life I have behind." Maybe this means you know in your gut what you want to do but that it's actually the act of articulating a choice that is painful and troublesome. If that's the case, I would certainly understand it. You have already given up a lot to keep both of your parents in your life.
If you do stay with mum, one real positive is that it will give you the chance to put down deep roots and develop closer relationships with your brothers and members of the extended clan. You might find that you will no longer feel an outsider in your own family. You can always visit Dad and he can visit you and you might find that in some ways your relationship with Dad will strengthen.
My extended family lives in Canada. Every year I take my two children to visit their Canadian family. This is really special time, where everyone makes a tremendous effort to visit, talk, share experiences and spend as much time as possible together. You might find that spending a week or more each school holiday with Dad is similar. It won't be the same as living with Dad but it won't necessarily be worse.
No one can tell you what to do. Follow your heart. Listen to your soul. Remind the adults in your life that this is difficult for you and that you need their support and unconditional love.