Exclusivity In Families

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Feeling on the outside

Have you ever got together with someone whose family seem to welcome you but in fact, often exclude you too?

This sometimes happens in very close, happy families where people want to keep to what they know and ideally they only want others to join them if they have the same ideas and ‘world views’. This perpetuates their own ideas and they don’t have to spend too long pondering why someone else hasn’t fitted in to that. It makes life easier if any in-laws think the same as them!

Other families, who aren’t necessarily ‘happy’ in the usual sense, still have ideas about who is acceptable to join their family and who isn’t. They might be a family who is different from others in their community and that might be due to economic, religious or cultural norms. Inviting someone who is different into their family can dilute all their beliefs. 

These attitudes probably originated hundreds of years ago, sometimes due to economics and sometimes to religious views. Rich landowners ideally wanted their children to marry someone who was also rich and would bring financial security, in the form of owning land, into their own family. From a simplistic point of view, if a family belongs to a minority religion, they may feel that it’s better if their children can marry someone with the same religious beliefs to ensure the survival of their religion.

However, those attitudes aren’t as important today, although they still exist in some circles. Most people want their children to be happy and make their own choices but if they’re honest, they also want their adult offspring to make a choice that they too are happy with! It’s very easy to get into the “we’re the Smiths and we do things this way”, forgetting that there are other ways to do things; not necessarily better or worse, just different.

So if you’re part of a close family that always sits together at a table at weddings, parties and get-togethers, maybe try socialising with some of the other people there too.  It might be interesting and help you to meet new friends. 

If you’re feeling on the ‘outside’ of such a group, try to push yourself forward and enjoy their company – who knows, they might eventually realise that ‘different’ can be very positive!

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