But gasoline can start a fire.
If there’s one thing that a staged mass crisis does is emphasize how much most of us can’t stand too much family time. Another is that it is so true that we can’t choose our relatives.
My family is ridiculously dysfunctional (like that old platitude: we put the FUN in dysfunctional.) This person doesn’t talk to that one. This one is mad at that one. Blah blah blah ad nauseum. Of course, I admit, there are some of my family members with whom I don’t speak largely because they are nosy, intrusive, judgmental, self-righteous assholes.
Friends are, indeed, one’s true family. I have friends I’ve known for decades with some going back to high school and even earlier. People who have been there for me (and vice versa) during difficult times who don’t judge but are there to listen and offer advice (when asked, of course, unlike family members who seem to always know what you should do and don’t hesitate to lecture every chance they get.)
But why is it that friends are oftentimes so much better (for want of a better word) than family? First of all, you can choose your friends, and if you don’t like them or you have a falling out then you can say your goodbyes and be on your way without the extra baggage of a massive guilt trip.
Family members, however, tend to take one another for granted. They are oftentimes rude, self-centered, discourteous, entitled, and have little loyalty to one another. ‘Tis sad.
Maybe you are one of the lucky ones with a very close family in which everyone gets along and there are never harsh words, undue criticism, abuse, tears, or alcoholism. If so, congratulations and best of luck with your fairy tale existence.
I’m willing to wager, however, that most of us have at least one or 12 toxic family members
A toxic person is a toxic person regardless of their ancestry, and simply because you share a bloodline does not necessarily mean that you need to let that poison invade your own bloodstream. Think of this toxicity as an allergen of sorts. Repeated exposure to an allergen oftentimes forces one’s immune system to react to this foreign body. Voila, an allergy is born. So, if you find yourself breaking out in hives every time your Uncle Felix comes near or when your Grandma Edna tells you that you’re too skinny or your hair is the wrong color or your clothes are not flattering or she doesn’t like your spouse or that you live in the wrong city or that you could get a better job or what-the-fuck-ever, then that person is toxic and you are likely allergic.
Unless you want to purchase stock in Benadryl, just stay away. Far, far away.