HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

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For me, family has always been such a mixed bag. Family is so chock full of trauma, deceit, and bad memories that it’s hard for me to take solace in such a word. I’ve had people always come at me with, “Well, blood is thicker than water, so you gotta stand by your family no matter what.” I can’t get with that, my response has always been, “You’d think a bit differently if you went through all the shit my family put me through.”

Being the youngest child, I was always the one who got picked on. I was the punching bag of the family. I was the one who could be blamed for any wrongdoing. I was every so often a bad kid who would lie from time to time, so because of that anytime somebody else did something, I was blamed and I was guilty until proven innocent. Recently, because of some life circumstances and things going on around me, I’m being made to relive some of the trauma I went through and process things I didn’t even realize until now were trauma and abuse. I just always assumed that all people went through these sorts of things and so there was no point in ever talking about it, it was just so quotidian.

Because of all this, I am much closer to friends than I am family. I find it hard to truly honestly get close to people, but when I do it’s something that’s very strong and meaningful. I cannot do that with my family. They’ve never fostered an environment where that was a safe thing to do. Even now I’m stuck with some of the aftereffects of the things they did. Things are beginning to change, I’ve started opening up to my mother more and she’s been really good about it, but all in all, blood is not always thicker than water, and that’s okay.

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La Familia

My family has always been very closed with communication. Although my parents have always tried to be open for discussions, there are always topics they try to avoid. I’m not sure exactly what crosses through their mind but it may just be fear to give the wrong advice. I remember this one time my younger sister tried asking my mom questions about sex, she was curios about contraceptives. My mom freaked, she had no idea what to answer. So she proceeded with a questions. She interrogated my sister on why she brought up the topic and what she knew about it. So my sister explained the small amount of information she had. And my moms answer was, “that’s all the information you need”. My sister was confused and left the room, and so i asked my mom why she wouldn’t talk to her about the subject. However, she ignored me while trying to avoid the topic. This has always been the communication with my parents. although my parents don’t talk all subject to us we have found a way to be comfortable talking between siblings. I honestly always wanted to be able to talk to my parents about everything. And although if we tried to do it now it might not work with me and my older sister. Communication is key in any situation, and i believe it would make a difference with my younger siblings. they could feel more comfortable talking about anything and this way be more open. I think that my family could start with conversation at the dinner table with the typical how was your day question. And from there engage in making conversation about why the day was good. Also, in my family we tend to have movie nights and this would be the perfect place to have good talks about any topic. However this would require an open mindset by my parents and siblings.

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Family Members

My family life has always been a little different, as my parents divorced when I was very young, and I lived in two separate households until I was 16. So it was very difficult spending half the week at one parent’s house and the other half at the other parent’s house, especially when they live in different cities. Then my parents started dating other people again, and eventually a new step-parent moved into each household along with kids of their own. Or in the case of my dad’s house, we moved into his girlfriend’s house along with her two daughters. And at my mom’s house her boyfriend moved into our house along with his two daughters. So I had two separate houses along with two different families to live with throughout most of my childhood. Since there was so many people living together in the same households, I was always forced to share a room with my brother, and before then I even had to share a tiny bedroom with both my brother and my sister. The three of us cramped into a tiny office-sized room sharing a bunk bed was not the best sleeping situation, to say the least. It was basically 3 families living in 2 houses, and my brother my sister and I were the family that had to go back and forth between those 2 houses. And because my parents lived so far apart, there was nearly a half hour drive between the houses, it was like living in two entirely different places. One house in a forest with no neighbors and not near any real town, and the other right in the middle of a suburban neighborhood in a small, quiet town. But it was interesting, and sometimes difficult living with and being part of three different families while growing up.

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Family Members

Unfortunately my family lacks in communication or I may not feel we communicate enough. I never really realized how our communication lacked until I met other students here on campus. One of my close friends expresses the relationship she has with her parents, and it is truly admirable. She video chats them every night and they always have something to talk about. When it is time to end the conversation they make sure to express how much they care and love each other before ending their call. Now, when I compare that to myself my communication is nothing near similar to theirs.

I do communicate with my mom in subtle ways everyday most of the time through text. They are currently remodeling their house and me being a big fan of Pinterest I am always sending her picture of ideas for the house. I try to call them at least once a week just to check in how they are doing or how their week was. I do think that this may be something happening more with me than my younger siblings. My sister is always hugging my parents telling them how much she loves, and as for me I dislike hugs as a result I only reciprocate a hug when someone else reaches to give me a hug. Whereas, my brother he kisses my mom and hugs my dad every morning. They may show more affection because they are younger than me, but that still does not indicate why the communication still lacks between my parents and I and how it has not changed even if I am few hours from home now.

To create a better communication I surmise that I would have to be the one to make the change. Where I express myself more and say what I feel. My parents have shown to treat me how I treat them. One option would be trying to call them at least once a day for the smallest thing maybe to wish them a good day.

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Closeness or not

When I was a younger child I felt a lot closer to my family, but as the years passed by It became more clearer that people who I truly felt closer to were my friends. For friends are the family you get to chose. The reason might be because my friends and I are in the same age range and have done many things together. Or it might be because my family was not around that much. I do not know the exact answer, all I know is that I feel closer with some of my friends than I do with my family. In fact my friends know more about me than my families does. In fact I basically refuse to tell anyone in my family anything personal. Personal information includes basically everything, such as what I do outside of the house, if I’m dating, or even if I’m sick or hurt. I tell no one in my family this information and even a select few friends know this information too. For me personal information is well personal. They don’t need to know my about my business, the same way I don’t need to know about theirs. Many things in the past has made me reserved like this. One of which is where I had some members in my family criticized me for no reason. The other reasoning being a bit personal to share. Still this does not affect how I feel about my family. My feelings for my intermediate family, grandparents, and extremely few aunts/uncles is that I care for them. But my extended family I don’t care at great lengths like I “should.” And the reason being for this is that they didn’t give much thought about us like they did with everyone else. Generally me and my sisters were a bit outcasted by them. So if they didn’t care about us, then why should we care about them. I say we because my sisters and I feel the same way about this topic.