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Thread: What kind of family did you grow up in?

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    Senior Member skip's Avatar
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    What kind of family did you grow up in?

    Bio parents, step parents, adoptions, foster system, siblings? Summers with your grandparents in Wyoming? You can include pets if you consider them to be family.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that a problem.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Bio mom, bio dad, kid sister and a dog. My parents traveled a lot and I spent significant amounts of time with both sets of grandparents, and an aunt and her girlfriend.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

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    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    Shiny and New Charde's Avatar
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    Mom, dad, younger sister (by 5 years). I had two local friends who I could see after school, but intellectually and otherwise we were pretty different and did not do much together after a certain age.

    Mom was an RN; she would occasionally switch her shift long-term to night-shift from day and vice versa; for night shift, she would be gone after 10pm while we slept, and would also sleep from 7-9pm.

    Dad was a music director and later an insurance salesman. He was never home except for late at night and sometimes on weekends, and then he would leave to go to the bar or whatever else; he was a chronic alcoholic. Typically I would stay around the home until he was there, then I learned to avoid him because of the inevitable conflict. It was pretty common to hear my parents arguing when I was trying to sleep or being kept up by a loud TV, yelling on the phone, or opera blasting through the house.

    I had one official pet growing up (an inside/outside labrador retriever). But we also had some outdoor cats, and even some chickens for awhile. And I guess there was an aquarium for a few years, although I'm not much of a fish person.

    My parents were both from the same city about three hours away, so for Christmas for a few days and then often for a week in the summer we'd drive there to see all the grandparents and any other relatives who came, and stay with my mom's parents. My dad would go originally but due to fighting with my mom's relatives (from his drinking), he quit going when I was young, so eventually it was just my sister and mom and me.

    We lived in a very very rural area, so pretty much aside from school I was at home. It was all corn fields and cow pastures. One day a week, we'd go food shopping and to the local library (about 15-20 minutes away). I would say the experience of being so alone, with no real nearby friends and certainly no local relatives, did impact who I am today and my level of interaction with people.

  4. #4
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    first i lived with grandparents and parents and brother in a motel we owned in LA but were driven out by the early 90s riots. then we lived in small town/city in our motel until we moved to the burbs. hung out a lot with cousins and we were all close until aunt and uncle got a secret divorce... my grandparents on the other side immigrated and we struggled as we lived with undocumented family members... and this topic already seems way more personal than usual.

  5. #5
    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    Grew up in a rural Southwestern region populated by bandits outlaws and cowpersons. It was just my parents and I. I met an aunt and cousin, but no other relatives. My mother was/is a library administrative assistant. My father was an animator a few decades ago but he hasn't done anything since then.

    We had two dogs for a long time. We also had a series of cats and chickens who generally suffered violent and tragic deaths (due to raccoons and cayotes). Also, a hamster, and some fish.
    "Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends—and if it never ends, at least we’ll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness...The constant—and very real—fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of “mere” humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate." - Toni Morrison

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    Member Noir's Avatar
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    Bio Mom, bio Dad, older brother, younger sister, assorted pets of the furry/scaly variety (no birds). Paternal Grandparents were divorced, so I had three sets of GPs growing up. Not that I ever saw them anyway--my parents were career missionaries in China for 13+ years so I spent most of my childhood being shuttled between the US and Asia for varying amounts of time. Home is a foreign, nebulous, borderline meaningless concept for me.

  7. #7
    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Mom and dad, older sister (10 years older than me). So, a nuclear family, except in a lot of ways, almost like an only child. Middle class neighborhood, fairly sheltered, nice subdivision up on a hill. Lots of arguing about stupid shit, but no real hardships.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

  8. #8
    Mom and dad split up when I was a baby, mom ran off to the other side of the country with me. She sent me back when I was three and she came to terms with being incapable of caring for a child. Dad got remarried around that time so I had a stepmom. Mom got remarried when I was 6 or 7. I ended up with a half-brother and a half-sister on either side, 8 and 9 years younger than me. At 10 I moved back with mom and immediately hated it because step-dad was an abusive asshole and mom had mental health issues. Still, mom's an ENFP and dad and step-mom were both SJs so... idk. The whole thing was weird.

    My dad's a mechanic, still works at the same place he started working at at fifteen. My mom was in customer support for a software company. Neither of them ever went to college.

    All my grandparents died before I had a chance to meet them. Apparently three were alcoholics, one of whom was severely mentally ill, and the fourth died young of some kind of cancer.
    Last edited by pensive_pilgrim; 04-24-2014 at 03:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    Bio parents plus older sister (by 4 years) in Ohio. There was much tension between my parents, which they did not want to confront directly so they just rechanneled that energy into making the kids miserable, especially my mother. So far as I can tell, the tension was due to each not living up to the other's expectations of a good partner, which apparently they never discussed before getting married. When I was 9 and my sister was 13, we moved 20 minutes down the road into what my parents thought was a better school district (and got a dog at the same time), and went from a house in a neighborhood full of other kids that we would play with to a house in the middle of nowhere with one neighbor three years younger than me who was...special. I think this was a mistake (not the dog). It was surely a richer school district, but the kids were horribly snobby and the school was oppressive and there was nothing to do after school until my parents got home except watch soap operas and set the house on fire. My sister took a hit to her self-esteem from which she never recovered, though I seem to have adapted just fine. Glad I'm out of there though, that's for sure. Looking back on it now, none of those people were nearly as rich as they thought they were. Congratulations, your dad could afford the most expensive house in town! Which cost all of $150k!

  10. #10
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Biological parents, two brothers, and myself. (And several dogs over the years--also as a kid I used to keep several guinea pigs, breed them and sell the surplus offspring to pet stores for a few years.) Pretty frequent contact with grandparents and aunt/uncle/cousin sets on both sides of the family, although the latter were mostly dispersed over a fairly large geographic swath of the United States so visits were big long-distance vacation affairs. I never knew my paternal grandfather, who died before I was born, but otherwise I grew up in a standard nuclear family with two generations' worth of extended family as significant secondary characters in my life.

    My parents are pretty much middling in every possible way, or that's how I put it--middle class, residents of the midwest, moderately liberal members of a large, milquetoasty Protestant religious denomination. (Methodism)

    I always found their outlook and parenting style a bit strict and conservative for my taste (and not passingly--even now, as an adult with my own child, I still consider a lot of their parenting approach to have been unnecessarily restrictive micromanagement which I endeavor not to emulate), but it wasn't actively bad in any particular way. I notice I don't have the kind of intimate personal friendship with my parents that seems common among adults slightly younger than me (I turn 31 in two weeks), but in general we get along just fine. My nuclear family remains a durable unit of people who are generally helpful and supportive to one another. (I have coworkers who will have a taxing day at work and then casually call their mothers to kvetch about it--I don't think I've ever made a phone call of that nature to either of my parents in my life.) I'm relatively close pals with one of my brothers but not the other one, whom I nonetheless get along with just fine. I have surmised that my mother was probably dealing with some sort of mild-to-moderate mental illness throughout my teenage years if not before, but that topic would be exactly the sort of thing that's just a bit too personal for me to feel comfortable discussing with either of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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