What duty do I have to my grandfather (or, more generally, to my extended family)?
November 21, 2006 1:40 PM Subscribe
FamilyEthicsFilter: What duty do I have to my grandfather (or, more generally, to my extended family)?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My maternal grandfather has always been nice to me. As a kid, I'd see him once or twice a year and I always loved it. But since I graduated high school (I'm 25 now), I've gradually grown away from him. There was no incident to speak of, but I find that I don't really like him.
I don't want to go into a detailed list of reasons why I don't like this man, so I'll try to keep this brief. He plays my mother and one of her sisters off of one another emotionally. Another sister had been estranged from him for years until just recently (he met his grandkids from this daughter when they were 12 and 14 years old). I've heard whispers that he physically abused my mom and her sisters as children, but never anything definitive. My mom still loves him and has a good relationship with him overall. And he's never been abusive to me at all. He's been a little passive-aggressive with me, but nothing serious (example: he recently asked my mom to ask me to call him recently to talk--but I know for a fact that he has my email and phone number, so I think he's using my mom to guilt me into it).
But all that is really just justification--the reality is that I just don't enjoy being in his company. He talks about himself incessantly and I feel like I'm just his audience. This was fine when I was younger and thought he knew everything--I was in awe of him--but now that I realize he's done some astoundingly stupid things (both personally and professionally), I can't really take him seriously.
He's coming to town for Thanksgiving and I'm not looking forward to spending time with him. And I probably won't have to spend much time in any case, but I feel guilty about the way I feel. My relationship with my parents is great and I enjoy spending time with them. Same with my younger brother.
To a lesser extent, I feel the same way about the rest of my extended family. I don't feel any sort of bond with them, and I don't want to form one. The people I'm thinking of all happen to come from my mother's side of the family--my dad's only family are a couple siblings that live out of state and call or visit infrequently. I actually kind of like them, but I'm happy to maintain the status quo.
Is it wrong to limit my family activity to just my immediate family? Do I have any obligations to my grandfather or other extended family? Emotionally or otherwise? I feel like I certainly do have an emotional obligation to my parents and brother, in addition to an obligation to support them as much as I can if they fell on difficult times.