Discover more from Abnormally Normal
Beware of Archaic Attitudes and Their Negative Influence on Your Sense of Place
The feeling of belonging is instrumental to our well-being
Our sense of place usually starts in our family of origin. This can be particularly complex for adopted people; depending on their age, when the adoption occurred, they may consider their biological family as their family of origin over the family they were raised in or vice versa.
I feel strongly that those of us outside the adoption sphere can learn by listening to the stories of adoptees. We can improve how we communicate to help build belonging and minimise some adoptees' feelings of rejection, identity confusion, and loss.
I was recently in the company of a man who continually spouted hate, judgment, and stigmatizing opinions and perpetuated attitudes from fifty years ago. Not only was he aggressively homophobic and sexist, but his attitude toward adoptees left me feeling violated on every adoptee’s behalf.
“My sister has four sons and an adopted boy.”
I wanted to scream at him, “No, your sister has five sons!” there was no need to differentiate between the biological children and the adopted child.
His words isolated the individual he considered as “different” and held him at arm’s length, quick to distance himself.
Unfortunately, this man’s ignorance isn’t rare.
Do we need biology to connect?
As someone who has intentionally chosen not to have children, I find it fascinating that some people cannot extend compassion and kindness to anyone outside their shared biology.
The spiritual leader Sadghuru once said,
“What you are looking for is not a child. What you are looking for is involvement. Right now, your problem is you simply can not involve with people unless they came out of your body.”
Kinship is important to me. We are all people of the planet. Yet, some people become preoccupied with creating divisions and building walls. They find comfort in othering those they can’t identify with.
The nuclear family is a victim of its own capitalist insistence. And yet here we are in 2023, where more people are jumping from these sinking family ships or, worse, being pushed! Either way, our chosen family is ready and waiting to catch us.
Dysfunctional families are more common than you think
A functional family is described as one where:
“Parents strive to create an environment in which everyone feels safe, heard, loved and respected. Households are often characterized by low conflict, high levels of support and open communication.”
So a dysfunctional family is the opposite of this. Everyone deserves to feel safe, heard, loved, and respected. Of course, there may be times when we don’t feel lovingly or respectful toward others for good reason.
Apparently, 70% - 80% of Americans consider their families dysfunctional. My concern is simple. It is extremely difficult to feel like you belong if you don’t feel overwhelmingly loved, safe, heard, and respected.
Feeling like we belong builds a scaffolding system of support. When we don’t have this, we may endure an excavation of confidence and self-esteem. And with such high figures of dysfunctional families, do we have an endemic of lost souls wandering around searching for their place?
I’ve written before about family estrangements. It may not surprise you to learn that most estrangements occur due to parents not approving of their grown child’s political or religious alliance, sexual orientation or identity, or choice of spouse.
It is impossible to feel like we belong if we aren’t accepted for being ourselves.
Find your place
There will always be those who other you for being true to yourself or cling to something beyond your control to exclude you. These are not your people, and they will not hold space for you. Flow over their words, and protect your psyche from their barbs. You deserve love, respect, safety, and to be heard.
Remember, the wrong people may repel you, but the right people will throw open their arms and help you find your place in the world. Look for the right people, and when you find them, you will find your place.
Have you had anyone challenge your sense of place in the world? How did you respond? I’d love to hear your input in the comments.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this piece, please share it with a friend and subscribe to the Abnormally Normal newsletter.
Don’t forget to give us some love on our socials.
Abnormally Normal is for everyone who feels like they don’t fit in.