• Jaye Gaff

I have no extended family and I love it



I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I came to the realisation that I didn’t actually love my family and that I wanted out. I think it spread slowly over time during my late teen years. I have always been cold. I have cut people out of my life without a second thought. I have also deliberately put into motion people removing me from theirs (I am a pusher).


The biggest one here was my sister. I realised when I was a kid that I didn’t love her. As we got older I tried to fake a friendship, mostly, in the hopes that one day I would like her. But I never could. She and I were the exact opposites. It seemed that she resented me and being around her, especially after she became a parent, made me utterly miserable.


I remember going to her house once and it was so disgusting and dirty that I had a panic attack. I didn’t like who she was and, as judgemental as it sounds, I didn’t think she was a good parent. To me, it seemed, she was repeating the same mistakes our parents did. Of smacking kids. Of yelling at them. Of saying that one kid was the good one in earshot of the “bad one”. And, then, the enabling of the “bad ones” behaviour and what he did to my child.


I don’t actually think she’s a terrible person. She’s just different to me. Too needy. Not my kind of person. Except I was too scared to tell her that. So I didn’t. But I sure did some passive aggressive things in the hopes it would push her into cutting me off.


I am not the easiest person to get along with. I am standoffish. I am cold. I never felt loved by my family and I’m sure they considered me needy for always questioning their love. My father was physically and emotionally abusive, amongst other things. My mother never strangled me but she knew who my father was and did nothing. I recall her recounting a story, about why she never fought for custody, and falling out of love with her in that moment.


My mum did not cater to my emotional needs. She talked horribly about my siblings when they weren’t around. She didn’t seem to like me as a person. I was too quiet. I had depression. I liked hanging out with Husband. I walked on eggshells around her. She was rude and overly critical. I never felt an ounce of love from her. I was shot down for being too sensitive, too emotional, too new-age. She felt sorry for my child to have me as a parent.


The moment I decided I’d had enough of her and my younger sister was when we were driving to their house. I envisioned getting into a car accident. I hoped for it, yearned for it, even though my child was in the car. I knew I had to get out. And so I did. My older sister took a while longer. I tried to pretend I was someone I wasn’t. A friend to her. A good sister. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t like her. I didn’t like what her child did to mine. I didn’t like the homophobic slurs her Husband used when drunk.


Once I’ve made a decision I am quick, calculating and cold. It is sudden and swift. That’s just the way my mind works. I do not look back. I do not need to reminisce and I certainly never regret my decisions. I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Why did they make me so unhappy? Why couldn’t I be a family person? Why? Why? Why? But now I realise that they are not my people and I am not for them.*


We didn’t like each other and that’s all it boils down to. I harbour no ill will toward them. I feel nothing toward them. I don’t remember their birthdays. I do not check up on their social media. I don’t yearn for them in any way, shape, or form. Do I wish I had parents who could have loved me the way I needed? Yes. But I don’t miss the parents I had. They are strangers. Nobody. Nothing.


In this world it’s really hard to be the person who has no extended family. People seem confused by it. Scared by me, almost. But if your family aren’t for you you are allowed to go find family elsewhere.


I found a man who loves me the way I need. I have an amazing child who I love in the way she needs. It takes communication and work but it never actually feels like a chore. We don’t thrive on negativity and drama. We apologise when needed. We don’t say things laced with harm. Our life is easy and that’s all that I’ve ever wanted.


I’m working on not seeing the world so black and white. I’m working on not being so quick to cut ties when people make mistakes. But do I wish I could go back and do that when I still had a mother, father, and siblings? Not a fucking chance.

*as an aside I do want to say that I think my initial hatred of my mother, when I was in my early primary years, came from what my father had to say about her and, then, the taunting of who my mum was from my stepmother. I started of life with a bad opinion about her and it only grew from there. Do I wish I could have formed my own opinions? Yes. But I don’t believe the opinions I did form were incorrect. She was that person he said she was but I would have liked to decide that entirely on my own.



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