A Different Jealousy

I’m beginning to wonder if relationship jealousy would be easier to handle than this.

My family is jealous of how I treat my boyfriend. To be more specific, they believe I treat him “like a king” while I treat them “like crap”. The problem here is they were jealous because… I wore a dress.

I very rarely wear dresses, but I chose to for our anniversary weekend. Somehow, my family believes daring to wear a dress for a special occasion means trying to impress someone rather than just doing something special for a day that’s, well, special.

In other words, treating my boyfriend like a king means wearing a dress to his house. Meanwhile, treating them like crap was akin to… not giving them the password to my personal computer.

If there were ever one absolute bit of proof that shows how poisonous my family is when it comes to relationships, it’s this. I don’t expect a date between my boyfriend and me to be of any importance to them, but to be jealous over your family member’s partner? To get upset because I wear a dress for one special day instead of all the time at home?

To be truthful, a small part of me always suspected jealousy from them, but I don’t like to play the “you’re just jealous” card because I see it as immature. But I really don’t know what else to call it. It’s not the first time they’ve gotten upset about me spending time with my boyfriend. It’s just the only time they’ve accused me of treating him better than them. They make the same accusation when it comes to how I treat my friends too.

The kind of funny thing is they might be right. It’s not something I can personally see, but there’s a good chance I do treat my boyfriend better than I treat them. Except what they view as “special treatment” is really just the treatment that results when you don’t demand respect because “well, I say so”. My boyfriend and I have had our pitfalls, yes, but most of the time, we treat each other well and respect each other’s space and feelings. Most of my family wouldn’t know “respect” if it smacked them behind the head, and it’s a generational thing.

To give a recent example, my father wiped out my computer. It’d broken down and I intended to take it to a tech expert to be fixed. Instead, he took it upon himself without any permission from me whatsoever to try repairing it, and worsened the problem. On top of that, he had no idea why I was so upset, which didn’t surprise me since it wasn’t his computer he wiped out. Prior to this, he’d used my computer numerous times without asking, often when I was asleep or out of the house. When I restarted the computer after it was wiped, I set up the personal account again, but did not re-enable the guest account. Yet, he still tried to use it without my permission and asked for my password while I was visiting my boyfriend. I didn’t respond to the messages and deleted them.

This happened after a night where my dad and my grandfather had a heated argument that became physical because the latter intended to drive the family’s car while drunk. The car is under my father’s name and he believed my grandfather would get into an accident, which would result in him being penalized. That’s a legitimate concern, but my grandfather did not care at all. Note that my grandfather also has no valid license, which means he’d be breaking two laws. I don’t believe physical violence is how to solve things (my dad says my grandfather attacked him first; I didn’t see what happened), but look at the link there. My grandfather has zero concern for what could badly affect someone else. Thus, my dad, who was raised by this man, doesn’t either.

Those stories are two of many examples across my family. And yet, they still believe they’re entitled to my respect for no other reason than “family comes first”. If I really do treat my boyfriend better than I treat them, I have no guilt about that. Their jealousy isn’t something I’m going to worry myself about. At this point, I’m genuinely convinced they simply do not want me to realize the way they think of and treat people isn’t a positive thing. I figured that out years ago, but the more I get out into the world, the clearer it becomes. I often think about how my teenage self would be horrified if she knew what she’d be doing in the years to come, but maybe it was so horrifying because I was afraid of what I didn’t know and only had my family’s stories to go on. As it turned out, the world outside of what my family made for me is tough, but not so scary. It’s big and bright and alluring. They know it. And they know they can’t keep me from it anymore.

Friends Before Family

Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday. Since I don’t have much money, I bought her a pack of milk chocolate Milano cookies as gift. Not the most special gift, but it is the thought that counts, isn’t it? Plus, she loves anything that’s chocolate. She also invited me to her birthday party tomorrow, which is being held at a local park. It’s a small gathering of friends and possibly her family. I haven’t seen her since the after-graduation party back in June, so I’m definitely going.

To my surprise, my sister got jealous of my gift for Jen. It was a very inexpensive gift, yet you’d think I bought a puppy for Jen’s birthday. Turns out my sister was angry because I didn’t buy her a gift for her birthday last month. Never mind the fact that I’ve bought and made gifts before and they’ve gone unappreciated. My sister expressed that she was angry that I was putting my friends before my family.

Well, that’s not how I thought of it. In my mind, I had simply bought a pack of cookies to be a gift. I wasn’t thinking of putting Jen ahead of anyone. I was thinking only of Jen and what she may like as a gift.

Still, I must admit my sister isn’t wrong. It may be subconscious, but I do think to think of my friends before I think of my family. However, there is a reason for that. The former actually treats me like family while the latter treats me like dirt. Not all the time, I’ll admit, but enough that I find them nearly insufferable. How can I not put the people who have been there for me, helped me, and treated me with kindness since I met them ahead of the people who have driven me to emotional breakdowns, made me feel worthless since childhood, and generally frustrate me? Sure, I’ve known my friends for a much shorter time and they’ve changed over the years, but that doesn’t change those facts.

My friends are not the ones who push religion on me. They are not the ones who put me down. They are not the ones who make fun of my dreams and goals. They are not the ones who treat me unequally to the others. And they are not the ones who use me as a scapegoat.

There is a saying that blood is thicker than water. Besides that being literally true, I found a better saying: Love is thicker than blood. If you’re my family, then that simply means you’re related to me by blood. However, if you’re my friend, that means we like and care about each other, and enjoy each other’s company. We may be related by blood, but it’s irrelevant. I’d rather be connected to someone by a strong bond than merely by blood and DNA.

The Problem…Is Me

Heads up. This post will be more rambling than straightforward. Over the last few days, I’ve been realizing and thinking about some things and the prom gave me a huge perspective on something. Basically, I just want to talk and since no one is around who can understand, a post will have to do. Plus, it’ll feel better to write it all out anyway.
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