Posted by: fosteringcare | July 26, 2010

All is Fair…or Not…

          When we begin to belittle our own feelings, we lose the capability to truly know how we feel.

           Normal, teenage behavior, personality differences and living in a house with five children would have been a difficult enough road to navigate without the added pressure I put on myself to uphold the “perfect” image I thought I had. I assumed that since I had been spared the horrors of living through abuse, I should be completely happy, content and grateful all the time, so when I would get mad or annoyed at anything my foster siblings did, it felt like there was something wrong with me. Somehow I began to belittle the fact that I was a human being with my own emotions and issues, constantly comparing my “problems” with what they had been through. Since there was really no comparison, I believed my feelings were invalid.  As I was creating this paradox of emotions within myself, another foster-sister was brought into the mix, and although it did allow me to regain my own bedroom, it also ended up triggering my melt-down.

          One thing my parents were amazing at was making any child that came to us feel as though they were truly part of our family. No matter how long they stayed, a day, a week, a month or years, my mother’s deepest desire was that  they believed there was something different out there, that not every family was like what they had been born into. My parents were as “fair” as they could be, expecting all of us to do chores, and do our part as a family. The longer the girls stayed, the more comfortable they became, truly blending, as if we had always been sisters. The thing was, they weren’t…not really. I already did have a sister from birth, and a strange thing about birth siblings is that you have no underlying guilt about their past, which frees you up to fight and scream and throw fits about things not being fair. Complaining about my foster sisters made me feel like an ungrateful, selfish brat. When my birth sister would have an attitude about a chore, did it half-way, or talked back to our parents…that felt normal. When my foster sisters did the same…it made me furious. The unrealistic ideal I had for myself, being happy, content and grateful all the time, I had inadvertently put upon them for the exact opposite reasons. Since they were “saved” from their former lives,(as opposed to being “spared” like I had been) and given a safe place to live, with clothes, food, shelter and lots of extras, THEY should be happy, content and grateful all the time. What unattainable expectations I had for all of us, I just didn’t know it. To me it simply felt wrong.

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Responses

  1. Hi There 🙂
    I don’t think you had unattainable expectations, I think they were quite normal considering the situation you were in. God bless you and your parents for taking in children whose concept of “normal” would be more like a Jerry Springer extravaganza to those who live a more consistent family structure.
    It should feel wrong to see anyone doing something viewed as ungrateful to your family, the problem was those foster children didn’t have that skill because their parents neglected to teach it. In a way, you showed them what a good family does, they have each others back. Hopefully, they took that with them into their own lives.

    • To clarifiy my meaning of “unrealistic”… I meant that NO human, especially a teenager, could be happy, content and grateful at ALL times. So when I or a foster-sibling would have “normal” teenaged reaction to things, I would either think I was being selfish or that they were being ungrateful. It’s a very fine line between being a teenager and being outright ungrateful. I can honestly say that I do not believe ANY of my foster-siblings were ever Outrightly ungrateful. I just didn’t know how to process the conflicting feelings I was experiencing.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement, my family was definately an amazing family.

  2. I tried to comment on here before but it didn’t work. This post made me feel like I could relate to someone that I feel is “normal”. I know there is no real normal, but I just mean someone who isn’t messed up like me. I always thought that the only people that knew what it was like to hide and not be able to feel were the people like me who are messed up and dysfunctional. And I know that how I grew up that it was a defense mechanism but its good to relate to other people. I know that God uses this about you to relate to other kids that have come through your life and relate to the foster children.

    and i love the quote at the top. i love you jane, thanks for writing this blog so we can all feel like we relate to something or someone some how. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through you and this blog!


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