Pain from seeing a relative's behavior

December 10, 2010
It's sad ... and disturbing ... to see a relative act in a way that is unhealthy. You realize you share the same genetic code as this other person, and then you see what they're doing, and it concerns you that their behavior can be so wrong, so irrational. The thought, "Am I like that?" runs through my head. When I was younger, I interpreted part of this as, "Oh, this relative is acting strangely, so people will also think I'm strange", and I was ashamed by their behavior. But as I get older, the feeling is more like, "Wow, it's a shame after all these years to see a relative acting like this. I thought he/she was smarter than that." (As I've grown older, I've learned that every family has one or more "strange" relatives -- something I wish I had known when I was younger and in school, and I thought their behavior reflected badly on me.) I think what's going on is it's not that they're not smarter (IQ), it's that they're not emotionally mature (EQ), at least in certain areas. But that doesn't make the pain any less. I want to reach out to this person and try to help them, but I'm also exhausted from trying to help them, and don't want to do it any more. I feel like Cher in whatever that movie was where she slaps the guy on the face and says, "What's the matter with you?! Snap out of it!"
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