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FAMILY OR FRIENDS? Why do some of us choose to leave our families out of our personal lives? (Cartoon by Dexter Vaughn Mancao)

FAM-I-LY

FAMILY OR FRIENDS? Why do some of us choose to leave our families out of our personal lives? (Cartoon by Dexter Vaughn Mancao)
FAMILY OR FRIENDS? Why do some of us choose to leave our families out of our personal lives? (Cartoon by Dexter Vaughn Mancao)

Dinnertime is a special and sacred tradition. It’s the time when every member of the family comes home from school or work and spends quality time with each other. It’s the time when everyone feasts on delicious home-cooked meals, usually prepared by mom. It’s the time when everyone gets to share stories about what happened earlier that day and simply enjoy each other’s company.

However, teenagers nowadays have become too comfortable in sharing intimate details about themselves to friends or on social media but feel hesitant when sharing to their own families. It has even come to a point where others would willingly share grave things such as being depressed or suicidal to their friends but lay silent when at home.

Ezekiel, a student, shares this sentiment.

“I am forced to respect my family but I am not forced to disclose my secrets to them and they’re not entitled to them either,” he asserts.

Whenever Ezekiel shares personal problems and thoughts to his friends on Facebook or Twitter, they could either help him or not worsen the situation. When it comes to his parents, Ezekiel experiences that their conversation would end up with them scolding him. Ezekiel feels bad when sometimes, his parents would share his experiences or sentiments to family friends or insult him in front of them.

“My team and I were not able to get past the elimination rounds in a debate cup. Instead of consoling me and telling me ‘It’s okay,’ or ‘May next year pa,’ they made me feel even worse by saying things like ‘Bakit kasi mali arguments mo?’ or ‘Dapat ito sinabi mo!’” he recounts.

While not everyone feels what Ezekiel experiences, many of us can relate that sharing personal things with family could get very awkward or intimidating. There is this constant pressure on people to have a very clean and spotless image in the eyes of their families. Others will go the extra mile to hide whatever dirty little secrets they have in the past and go on playing the role of the perfect son or daughter.

Quote from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. (Artwork taken from ritosescritos.tumblr.com)
Quote from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. (Artwork taken from ritosescritos.tumblr.com)

It’s quite ironic that whenever we’re with our families (where we’re supposed to be our truest selves), we choose to filter out the bad images and play the role of a somehow plastic version of ourselves because that is what is expected of us.

No matter how close we are with our families, there will always be a part of us that will hide the evil and unspeakable side because we are so afraid to be judged by the very ones we love. Sometimes, we develop this irrational fear of being disowned, rejected, or isolated from them. One would think it is better to lie than lose the respect and affection of their loved ones.

That is why we choose to open up to peers. Somehow, we know they understand.

In the book Anna Karenina, the opening paragraph welcomes you with this quote:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

From the sentence alone, it means that all families go through a certain fight or struggle with other people or even with each other. It’s supposed to be normal. If best friends tend to fight with each other what more when it comes to the family?

No relationship is perfect and when families tend to criticize you, it doesn’t mean that they hate you, it means that they care about you and want to protect you— even if it means that they’re protecting you from yourself. We interpret their words and actions as alienating, and we sometimes blur out the real concept of family. Family will always be family despite of some misunderstanding. Child and sibling and parent alike just need to understand each other better.

No matter what secrets we hide, it is better to just come out and be open about ourselves to them. The truth will always find a way to be revealed. It will definitely be a hard journey, but at the end of the day, no matter how much they get frustrated or annoyed with us, they will always come home to the people who they had loved from the very beginning. Face it, we love them too.

That’s just our dysfunctional yet wonderful families.

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