What is your relationship like with your 1st cousins?

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Wish, Jul 14, 2018.

  1. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    I am wondering what a normal, healthy relationship with one's cousins are suppose to look like? Do you only see each other on holidays and special occasions? When you do see each other, is it just polite and short chit chat or does your relationship/conversations go deeper than that, even if it's just a smidge deeper, meaning do you talk to them outside of special occasions and holidays? Do you all keep in touch? Do they let you know what's going on in their lives and vice versa? How close are you? I have no idea what real relationships with cousins is suppose to be like.

    Last but not least, what do you think a normal relationship with a cousin should be like?
  2. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    What are* your relationships like with your first cousins?
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I saw this post and decided to answer. Foo doesnt get a lot of traffic.

    I have never been close to or had relationships with my first cousins. There were only three. We barely saw one another growing up. But I am a poor example as I was the family scapegoat and, after my dear grandmother passed, i did not have, nor want to have, relationships with my very small DNA family. From a very young age I felt distant and different from all of them except my dear grandma amd knew I would have to build a close family outside of them, which is what i did do.

    in my opinion your DNA relationships are what both of you want them to be. There are no rules. Some cousins probably choose to be close. Others lose touch. Same with parents, siblings uncles, everyone. Each family has a different flavor. The Brady Bunch was just a TV show.

    If you dont mind and you dont have to answer, why do you ask?
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  4. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Hi Swot, thanks so much for answering and giving your experience and advice.

    The reason why I ask is really hard to explain. Basically, I have a huge extended family on both sides. I have many cousins and almost 20 years ago, I stopped associating with all of them, on both sides. It has caused a lot of awkwardness. I dealt with it great in my 20's but in my 30's and 40's, it became a different animal. A lot of my cousins started getting married, the wedding invites, especially with my once closer cousins. I was put under EXTREME because my Grandparents and other family members gave me a hell for not going and nevermind the guilt I was feeling myself for not going. It was a 10 year stretch of missing weddings, baptisms, bridal showers, even funerals. If it were just me, I wouldn't even care, but my daughter is the reason why it hurt me so much because it was hard on her.

    How it all started: I decided after 25 years (I was about 25 at the time) that I was tired of being of being so hurt about my daughter and I being so rejected and ignored at family functions. Despite my very best efforts to associate with everyone, no one cared to associate with us at said holiday's or events. To sit in a corner by yourself with your child while everyone around you is associating with everyone but you is extremely hurtful and humilating. It became excrutiating for me. How many times can one put themselves and their child in those situations? So I pulled out. I said enough is enough. I can't possibly do this anymore. However, my daughter still wanted to go and my family took her to all these things without me. I had no control over this. I did not want my daughter to go because I knew one day she would realize what I realized and I didn't want her to go through that pain.

    Anyway, when I pulled away from all of my cousins and most of my family in general, as I said the first 10 years, it didn't bother me a bit. It was when everyone started getting married, having kids, or dying that it became the "different animal" that I said earlier.

    When I first joined this forum, the reason I joined it was because of Family of Origin part of it, I just hadn't gotten around to it.

    Just to give an example out of MANY and this is really hard for me so please bare with me, I am probably going to break out and cry multiple times over this. I am just going to go write this really quick. Two years ago, one of my younger cousins who I absolutely adored and treated like gold when we were kids was getting married. My daughter drove 500 miles to go to her wedding. I rarely look at their facebook page but I wanted to see the pictures of the wedding. My cousin posted an album on facebook of 535 photo's and not one, not one had my daughter in it and my daughter adores my cousin, I can't even imagine how that must have felt for her although she said nothing. See there goes the tears. I have to stop.
  5. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    I edited my last response. Please re-read. Had some errors.
  6. Pink Elephant

    Pink Elephant Well-Known Member

    When I was a kid, me, my siblings, and all of our cousins (first) were always together. My mom would round us up, and my aunts would round up my cousins, and we'd head off the beach, or have picnics, or just get-together at one another's places.

    Around the time my youngest two baby siblings were little, I started babysitting for an aunt (first cousins), so I was still actively involved with cousins regularly.

    Fast-forward to my later teen years... early 20's as well. Not a lot in the way of association between any of us, and now that we all have families of our own, we never touch base anymore. We've all ground apart. Also, many don't even live in the same town anymore.

    I sort of blame today's times for such, because being that jobs are so scarce, people have to follow work, and that tears relationships and families apart, unlike back in the 50's, 60's, and even 70's, where one generation was born in a town, raised their families in the same town, and their children even went on to raise their children in the same town. Those days for the most part are over.

    I would have personally liked to grow even closer with a few of my cousins, but I also understand how dynamics behind friendships and relationships change through the years, so I'm not surprised that almost none of us associate with each other anymore.

    I think this sort of thing is harder on those like myself who were born at the start of the 60's, because close and loving relationships were the heart of most families. That's what life was about, getting together with friends, family and loved ones, being there for one another, supporting each other, and growing together as one, but that's all been lost to today's day and age where family seemingly doesn't seem to mean much a lot anymore.
  7. Pink Elephant

    Pink Elephant Well-Known Member

    Wish, I can relate to so much of what you've spoken of, pictures and things included.

    I know it wasn't our family per se, but we tended to be shunned by a good number of relatives when we were kids. We were excluded from party invites, lake and beach get-togethers and gatherings and such, and whatever else happened to arise. As young ones, we were never wise to it, but my folks were, and I recall my mom talking about it with others in the family. I think for my mom, she took it hard, because my mom was always so giving, so offering. If someone needed help, mom was there for them, that's just the way she was, and in turn, she felt that others weren't there for her.

    When I got older and learned of the rift, it created a divide, a sort of, to heck with all of you, attitude from me, and that I believe was the start of me not having much to do with many of my cousins. I also felt a duty to protect my mom and to side with her pain and frustration over the matter, so that made it easier for me to accept the lack of closeness.

    To this day I still carry with me a sense that we were outsiders back in the day (with certain family), but being older now, I can hold my head up high and walk with pride, knowing their actions or lack thereof, more than likely contributed to such poor relations, and really, that's pudding in their faces as far as I'm concerned. :)
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Not all families were close, not in the 1700s, not in the 1900s and not in 1965. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and knew many, like mine, that couldnt wait to leave. Birds of a feather stick together maybe. As an older adult I am hardly the only one without close DNA of any kind. Many just drifted apart. Diistance causes less closeness. Hurt does. Death often causes fights and chaos. Some things cant be fixed. Many people have their own families(hub and kids) and they come way first.
    Sometimes we dont like our DNA or how they treated us and still do.

    People can move around and chose their family now. There is no shame in this. I am so much more content since I figured this out.

    If you love and miss your family, it is easy to find people now on the internet. I could have done this, could still find cousins I never met. But I not only never liked my DNA, save for my grandma and Dad (not sure why I loved him so but I knew he always loved ME), but I never even felt like a part of the DNA. I dont miss anyone but the two I mentioned. Had anyone treated my kids bad, and some did, that would have been a reason for me to be content without them.

    Only you can decide how to do this. Are you wondering about them now because you truly love and miss them or do you just think you SHOULD be closer or is someone pressuring you?

    In the end what we do is our decision, based on many things. There isnt and never was a rule that because your sister's mother got married and had a kid you all must be close.

    Like wife beating and child abuse, there were always families that didnt get along or love each other. It just was never talked about then but it existed. Always have, always will.

    I hope you can find peace with this. I am always glad to chat here.

  9. Pink Elephant

    Pink Elephant Well-Known Member

    Right you are, SOT, not all families were close, but compared to today, well... there is no comparison. Family life today, at least the way I see it, leaves a whole lot to be desired.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Many families had similar lives back then but they were more careful about hiding it. Alcoholism was hidden. Abuse of all kinds was hidden. Sexual abuse hidden....it still often is. My family was as seperated then as you think only families are today. Its not different, just discussed in theh open with less of a stigma. I am glad. I wish I could have discussed it as a kid.

    I dont think there was much of a difference other than things were hidden and abuse was accepted. My family was hidden. Until I became a teen and started talking. And I found out there were others in bad situations too.

    Many kids left at 18 because of crazy family life. Beaver Cleaver was a television show, not everyones reality. But thats another thing. Abuse was never shown on the media.

    So I dont think anything was better other than what we showed to the public. The CEO who hung himself across the street from mine, the one with such a great marriage and lovely kids, did not have a chance to tell his story. Back then, nobody talked and nobody listened.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  11. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this Pink. I am to the TEE like your mother in this way. I feel the same as she does. The same.

    Yes, all the above. Although I feel this way about all of my cousins on both sides, it is this particular set of cousins that are the problem for me at the moment. They are my mother's older brother's children. There are four of them. I am the oldest out of all the cousins on this side and then I have my younger brother. So on my mother's side and their father's side, there are only six of us 1st cousins total. Me, my brother and the four kids. Anyway, I adored my younger cousins growing up. When the two youngest were born, they were like my own baby dolls. I loved and doted on them. I loved, loved, loved kids and I was so happy to have two baby cousins. I played with them, took them to the playground, I did everything with them when they came to visit, etc.. (again, tears, this is so hard because I am painfully reminded of how they did none of this for my daughter). It is when they got older and I saw the way they treated my daughter is what hurt me to the core and began the hard feelings.

    A quick explanation of why I think me and my brother were treated so differently. My father and my mother were both "difficult children" within their own families. Both sides of our family and extended did really well in life. Had lots money. They were all for the most part very happy. Had everything. My parents were the only one's who had major, major, major problems. On welfare. You name it. So my brother and I were treated as the "ew kids" and "just politely ignore them" of the family and it got worse and worse as we got older. My brother and I were so totally different then the rest of our family , aunt's , uncles, cousins, distant relatives, it' wasn't even funny. We stuck out like sore thumbs and that would be an understatement. It was so hard growing up in a family were no one even came close to the circumstances you were growing up in. It seperated us mentally big time.

    Anyway, I digress.

    The reason why I have been feeling extra about all of this in the last 6 years I would say is because each of my younger cousins have been getting married, having kids, everything left and right. I seperated myself from them about 15-20 years ago and haven't seen them physically in about 10 years. So it hit me how much I did miss them when they started to get married and all of that and I hated it. I also was being pressured to go their events and I refused to go. Finally, the youngest cousin got married this past June. This is why me and my daughter went back to our hometown (I had another post about this). It was a nightmare trip for me. I didn't want to go. I only went to escort my daughter so she didn't have to drive 10 hours by herself. This is the damn trip that I got sick on. Anyway I digress again, I'll try to get back to the point. I thought finally, finally, they are all married, I am off the hook for any major events for a long time!!!!!

    To finally answer your question Swot

    My cousin within these four siblings (he is the second oldest and not the one who got married in June), he said a few nasty things to me over the years that I have never forgotten. It stayed with me in my heart that's how painful it was. Anyway, the reason why I am feeling so extra about all of this is now his health took a turn for a worse. He is for the most part, dying and he is dying a painful and slow death and I think he will be dead soon. And I don't want to go to the funeral. To be in a room with all of those people who I haven't even seen in god knows how many years and all their weddings that I missed, I rather die myself. The pressure will be so intense for me to go. I am thinking of actually breaking my own leg and arm so this way I have a good enough excuse not to go. I know I am a horrible person.
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Who puts you under this pressure? Are you not a grown adult? So who can pressure you? You dont even have to talk to them. Dad and Mom even must respect your decision. Or not. You dont need to do what they want anymore.

    It is only you who decides to go or not. A funeral is to comfort the living. The dead are in a better place already and I believe they understand. My husband was in the hospital with a heart problem that was potentially serious the day of my fathers funeral. So I missed it. I do not feel this means I dont love or respect my dear father. He was already with me in spirit and I still feel his presence. Sounds to me like the funeral, which is sort of a stage, was a place for my sisters kids to make great speeches...my kids do t do that. What did we miss? I still love him dearly and I know he still loves me and is with me.

    Who benefits by your going to the funeral? If not you, you are not obligated to go. Funerals are a lot for show. I dont even think I want one for myself.

    Again, it is up to you if you allow "people" to pressure you to do something that will not benefit your cousin and could not help you. Will others want your comfort? If i felt I could be a comfort to others I would go for that reason. That can be your only function.

    If you are going to be treated like dirt because these people feel you are not as good as them, why go? How creepy of them to ever treat you that way.

    You can not comfort your cousin once he has moved on to the next more beautiful world. It is all up to you if you wish to help your relatives who remain!

    You have time to think about it. Spend time on it for yourself, make a decision and move on.

    Would they care about your funeral? Morbid I know :p

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  13. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Not at all. If I felt that my presence would comfort anyone, anyone at all, I would go. However, I think it would hurt my grandfather a lot if I didn't go. He is the only one that I worry about. Even after all of these years, he still thinks he can get me and the rest of the family to be close. I know this is what he has always wanted and I know he wants it for me and my daughter. What he always failed to understand and he would always shut me down when I tried to explain it to him is that it was not my decision. I would have loved nothing more than to have a good relationship with my extended family. I yearned for it for the first 25 years of my life. I was left hearbroken and distressed about it time and time again which is why I had to cut them off.

    So the question remains, do I go for my Grandfather, the one that has helped me and my daughter through everything.

    Yes. The way they would ignore me , my brother and then my daughter......words can't describe that rejection. We were like absolute ghosts at these family functions and holidays. Yes the word creepy is more than accurate. Like we absolutely did not exists or matter. Especially by our cousins. All of our other cousins associated with each other, but not with us. Painful, painful, painful.

    Exactly. And I said, if anyone reached out to me, anyone, including him and told me he would like for me to come visit him, I would have in a heartbeat, even after the two nasty things he said to me in the past. I said this way, at least I would know that he wanted me to be there. Just one invitation from my aunt, my uncle, my other cousins and him, himself. I would have gone to visit him. I know in these situations one shouldn't have to be asked, but in my particular situation, I would feel like a tresspasser if I went to go visit him on my own accord because it's been that long since I seen him or anything. I would not know if my presence would make him uncomfortable and that is the last thing I would want. I think if my aunt or my uncle or my cousins wanted me to visit him, they could have sent me a quick message and if I refused, then I could understand where I would be the jerk. I would even call myself a jerk for that. But I need to know that I am wanted and that my presence matters in order to make such a big trip, even if I lived closely I would need a simple invite to visit him to make that big emotional trip. They never contact me for anything. Notihng. All invites to their things are all filtered through my grandparents and that is suppose to be acceptable for me. They never once called me on their own. None of them. Isn't that so weird? That just shows that I am right about how I feel. They only invite me and my daughter to things because of my grandparents (my grandparents half raised me and my brother). They feel like they have to. This is pretty obvious lol.

    Well let me put it to you this way. I live in a different city 600 miles away now for the past 10 years almost. When I went back to my hometown for visit, my Uncle dropped by. Remember, I hadn't seen him in 10 years. He is a minister/preacher of a big lovely church. Does missionary work in Africa. Has his own little village there that he has built a school , doctors office and the such for. He is there half the year of each year for the past 10 years.

    So anyway, he came by. He visits my grandparents every so often. He was very nice to me and we all gathred at the kitchen table to talk and eat. In the middle of the conversation, he says "So how is Orlando?" I don't really live there but for privacy purposes, that is what we will use. I said " great, the weather is great. Very nice". He goes "Oh we love it there. We have been so many times with the kids and grandkids". Now keep in mind, the oldest grandchild is 8 years old. That means he has been here in the last 8 years. Do you see where I am going with this? Not once. Not once did I hear that they were in town. Not even by my grandparents. They know me and my daughter live here and you would think, that they would want to see us???

    So I don't know if that would answer your question. The only reason why they would come to my funeral is if my grandparents were still alive and if it were in my hometown where they live.
  14. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Wish, I have a friend that is treated the same way you are by her husband's sister and family. I think it is appalling.

    As far as cousin's go... My dad had 1 sister and I grew up being close to her family (we only live 5 miles apart) 1 of my cousins is only a year younger than me and we hung together. Now I live in a different state and we stay in contact via FB. My mom's family lived may states away and we only visited every other year.

    Fast forward to now-a-days. My sister's kids and my kids are very far apart in age so there wasn't any real camaraderie there. They are all friendly with each other but the age and distance is too much for any real relationships. They were all invited, including their kids too mydaughter's wedding. The ones she really cares about all came. So the bond did transcend distance and age for that. We also went to their celebrations both before and after her wedding and will continue to do so.
    Writing this made me think...hmmm..2 of the 1st cousins on my husbands side are the same age as my daughter. They don't have any type of relationship with my daughter. My daughter has never given 2 hoots about her dad's side of the family. She says to me "they are just different from us". I agree but I am not quite sure what the difference is.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Ok. Your decision just became a lot easier.

    It isnt about your cousin or the family that you were shunned by. What it boils down to is yourself and your grandfather only. Does he truly not know how the family treated yours? Can you not sit him down and tell him that you wish it were different, like he does, but that you were never part of the family and never will be and nobody will care if you dont show up?

    My father wanted me to be close to my brother and sister. My plan in my head was that as soon as he passed I would not see my sister again, and as for my brother....that was up to him. I didnt care. I talked to them for a few weeks. Then my.sister said she felt it was okay that she called the police on me many times for nothing. I realized it was hopeless and that I wanted to be free of them. But my father .didnt know I planned this. He does now, but he undetstands now. When he was alive I didnt tell him my plan.

    You can either go or.not go. Unlike me, he will know if you dont go. But it sounds like it will be a big ordeal if you go.

    This is totally up to you and the only other person involved is your grandfather and his pointless wish. You have a lot to think about. When you do, take yourself into consideration.

    Love and light.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention this. It just isnt important on my radar although it should be. But I truly did not know my first cousins.still,this was odd.

    I mean, I was soooooooo treated like a non person in my DNA collection that when two of my first cousins passed away, at different times, nobody even told me!!!

    Now we werent in any way close but this is just news normal families pass along.

    Even more, my mother had a brain tumor and told everyone not to tell me so nobody did. I am not sure to this day why I couldnt know.

    Eight years later Mother got brain cancer. I had not seen her per her desire for at least ten years and she did not ask for me even then. I let my siblings handle the illness and went to the funeral just to comfort others. It was a stranger who had died. I had grieved her way before then. I felt nothing about this person who had repeatedly rejected me. I was disinherited, no surprise, never sure why she hated her DNA oldest daughter (shrug).

    I learned to intend to be kind to all but to only give my heart to people who want it. My DNA is no exception. Fortunately my family of choice is amazing!

    Hope I didnt steal your thread. Sorry if I did.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  17. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Not at all Swot. I am very interested in your responses. I learn from other's experiences. I am also a good listener and geniuely like hearing other people's stories. Please feel free to write whatever you like. You have offered me such great advice already. Just don't mind me if I take a while to respond, it takes me a long time to write sometimes.
  18. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    Don't forget, I did ask the question for everyone's experiences and I meant it :) Everyone's story is different and am sure requires more than just a few responses. Write as long as you need. I will do the same. Whenever I write about myself, my history and my story, it takes me a while because it takes an emotional toll, so don't mind or take personal the delays in my responses. It's harder than usual for me to write these days but I thoroughly enjoy reading. I wish I could respond with my mind telephathically because sometimes, I get so darn lazy to write too. I am low on energy these days.
  19. Wish

    Wish Active Member

    edited ^
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have no real relationship with any cousins.

    One cousin lives in my town. We bump into each other at Costco. It is awkward. Last time she did not recognize me. I told myself it was because I had aged so much. We do make small talk about the family. She has no interest in me and I feel inferior to her. She is a mover and shaker. I am an interloper. And weird to boot.

    It has been 25 years to 40 years since I saw cousins on my maternal side.

    There was so much trauma and division for me the normal state is running away.

    But that is what I do.

    I feel nothing in common with any of them. Why should I deny what I feel?

    Sometimes I think about contacting the maternal cousins, to basically ask how was your life, and to affirm the connection at least. To say I am sorry and I wish it had been different.

    Maybe I will. Thank you wish.

    Miguel is different than me. He may run away but he is always mending, restoring, affirming family relationships. Even from afar. I think thats a good way to be. I respect that.

    But I don't feel strong enough. I am vulnerable. I don't want to be hurt. To him, there is no risk.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018