Friday Question: Family

Friday Question: Family

By | 2016-04-01T16:25:53-05:00 December 11th, 2015|Categories: Questions|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Friday Question: How it works

Every Friday we will pose a question for you all to discuss or privately consider. You can engage with it publicly here on the RFAS blog, or you can join our forum (details below) for a more private discussion. You can write it down to think about later, journal about it, or bring it in to a therapy session with you.

If you would like to volunteer to become a moderator and host future Questions, please email us at volunteer@asexualsurvivors.org—or join our forum and post in the moderator volunteer thread. If you just have an idea for a future Question that you want to share, we have a brainstorming topic on our forum.

Something to Ponder Today

December is typically a month with a very strong theme of “family” and “togetherness,” which can be quite tough for survivors and ace people alike, since both groups tend to be more likely to be estranged from family. Several years ago when I was going through some of the most difficult years post-trauma, it was this time of year that gave me the most trouble. It was also this time of year when, a couple of years back, I finally told my mother (via a physical letter that I showed to her in person) what happened. I felt somewhat forced into it by the circumstances, to be honest, because my mother was noticing problems caused by my PTSD symptoms that she couldn’t understand without knowing the reasons behind my behavior. I count myself lucky that she was quite supportive when I told her. But there are a lot of things about my life that I don’t tell her about—like working on this website—for various reasons, which makes things difficult. At some point during this month, I’m hoping I’ll get the time to write about kinda having a “secret identity” around most of my family, since that’s relevant to this month’s Carnival of Aces.

However, I’m way pressed for time now in a way I totally didn’t expect a couple of months ago—because I’ve rather unexpectedly gained some tiny new additions to my family: kittens. The little fluffs require a lot of care and attention, since they were mostly feral when we found them, and are just past the age when they’d be easy to tame. Socializing them now will take a lot more patience, but I think it’s well worth it. We may end up only fostering (some of) them for a while, but even so, our lives will be richer for it.

So I’ve been thinking about family in several different ways lately, and I’m wondering if others have this on their minds, too.

What does family mean to you?

  • Who do you count as part of your family? Do you consider yourself to be part of multiple different kinds of families?
  • Do you have any kind of found family? Have you adopted any pets? What shape do you hope your family will take one day?
  • Are you out to any of your family members as ace? Have you told any of them that you are a survivor? Is coming out/disclosing trauma to any of your family members something you want (or feel you need) to do? Are there family members you have decided you absolutely won’t tell?
  • Have you felt pressured or forced in any way to either reveal or hide aspects about yourself around some of your family?
  • Whatever decision you’ve made with regard to coming out/disclosing or not, how is that going for you? Have you found any particular method of coping that helps you feel better, or any ways to distract or deflect questions so that you can avoid getting into any discussions you’e rather not have?
  • If you have to see family member you would rather not, what are some ways of coping that you have worked out? What is your plan for taking care of yourself?
  • Likewise, if you won’t be able to see some family members you miss this year, what do you plan to do instead? Have you planned anything that makes you feel more connected (either to them or to other people in general)?
  • What are the ways that your family supports you, if they do? What are ways in which you would like your family to support you?
  • What are ways that you support others in your family, or in any community you belong to? Do you like to support other families through charity work, for example?

You don’t have to answer every (or any!) question, of course. These are just different ways to approach the topic which might be helpful to consider. You can share as much or as little as you like, wherever and whenever you feel comfortable doing so.

On the Forum

Please note that we are still working things out in the forum, especially technical issues. We are gradually letting people in now who are not moderators or volunteers, but it can basically be considered “in beta” for now. So if you do join, please excuse our forum being a bit of a mess while we get everything tested. There may also be a little bit of a wait time for sending out invites.

Here are a couple of things you should know about posting to the forum:

  • All posts are private, and can only be viewed by members
  • It is against forum rules to discuss any personal stories shared on the forum with anyone who is not a member without permission of the person who shared it
  • You can post as anonymous, once you are a member

The Spoiler Tag

You can hide especially triggering details behind a spoiler tag—which also works in blog comments. Here’s an example:

[spoiler title=’Triggering stuff’ collapse_link=’true’]Explicit/triggering material would go here.[/spoiler]

To make one, just type…

[ spoiler ] ... [ /spoiler ]

…without the spaces. I hope that this helps everyone safely navigate this conversation.

About the Author:

Elizabeth is a 30-something asexual woman who is often mistaken for a lesbian, due to the fact that she is partnered to a lady. She is actually bi (but not biromantic) and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. She is formally trained in creative writing with a focus on non-fiction and poetry. She writes for The Asexual Agenda and maintains a personal blog called Prismatic Entanglements. In her spare time, she enjoys being cat furniture, coming up with new Pokemon strategies and never going to church.

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