What does a normal family act like?
I am from a broken family all around as well. My father is and was abusive to my mother he went to prison and threatened my life to obtain a house that he now lives in. Meanwhile, years later my mother and I are being evicted and her health is spiraling downwards with no family to be seen to help.
Let me word it this way I am the abomination. My mother's family didn't accept me so I was treated as little more than garbage to them and I had two lazy eyes. My father's family didn't accept me so I was pretty much treated the same there with my father's grandmother throwing me on my face on cement as a child.
My brother being accepted by my mother's family is treated and gifted with everything while I continue to struggle. I have an english degree but no car or license and I'm just barely passing by on bills.
We like to depict perfect families as people who have a mom and dad right there, and cousins at the helm. But I think the perfect family is one that we create. Make your family and you won't ever look back at blood the same.
Diary of Fantastic Discoveries
"Normal"? "Love"? Exceedingly difficult words to define as there will always be multiple perspectives. Can "normal" be equated with "happy"? The issue then is how do we define "happy" with any consistency when perspectives will again differ on this.
I define "normal" to mean a life that has not only its ups but also its downs and you are afforded reasonable circumstances and the appropriate tools to go with it so that you are able to handle such ups and downs with poise and equanimity.
So, how can a family hope to be considered "normal"?
Several (several!) extrinsic and intrinsic factors affect "normalcy" of a family but it may help to try and narrow it down and focus on a the important ones that can have the most effect (in the spirit of the pareto principle). If we consider just the extrinsic factors and, specifically, look towards just one person who can ensure a decent level of "normalcy" in a family, that person is the head of the household and/or family (the "head").
As simple as it may sound, just two things are required of the head in order to ensure "normalcy" in a family life:
- Decency in behavior:
Behave with decorum, display reason, speak decently (not use foul language), communicate directly, not exhibit a wafer-thin or any short-temper, behave predictably, etc.
- Respect towards other members of the family:
To paraphrase the words of a wise person (the entrepreneur N.R. Narayana Murthy), you can disagree with another family member so long are you are not disagreeable with that family member. To do this you need to do one very basic thing: Recognize and respect the inevitable reality that the tastes, preferences, abilities of the other family members, not only of the young but even of the very young, will be different from your own. And, rather than ridicule them for these differences, you celebrate them and even nurture them (provided those tastes, etc. are of the "good" type). For instance, you provide constructive criticism, not snide comments camouflaged as being "constructive". Doing otherwise borders on psychological abuse.
If these two are absent, a family becomes dysfunctional, no matter what you may think to the contrary.
Of course, these two requirements aren't just expected from the head but also from the other family members.
However, note two things:
- No matter how well the other family members embody these two requirements in letter and spirit, it does not make a household/family "normal" if the head does not also embody them.
- By also embodying these two requirements, the head not only ensures a baseline level of "normalcy" in a family but also sets an example for the rest of the family members thereby, subtly and not-so-subtly, helping mould their behavior to also become "normal". This not only makes them, especially the younger members of the family, "good" family members but also "good" members of society and hopefully "happy" adults.
Being the head is a responsibility and not a privilege. The head of the family/household, as the fountainhead, has to always exhibit these two requirements. Even if the rest of the family members do not adhere to it, given the lead-by-example influence of the head, they will hopefully come around.
Every family is different. I recommend you spend some time observing people, and when you see couples or families who seem to get along well, ask them some of the things they do routinely.
Quora has many answers from happily married couples, so you can read about what things people do to make their relationship work. You might also take some classes in psychology or sociology.
When you didn't have good role models it is difficult to know how to create a healthy family life.
You do have the advantage of knowing that you want to have a supportive family, and the wherewithall to seek advice, so you're ahead of most. You can't solve a problem without defining what it is, or without deciding to fix it. You've already finished those steps, and they're the ones many people don't get.
No family is like they are portrayed in adverts - find "your people" that will be the closest thing to family you can without them being related to you - through work, through the gym, yoga classes, meditation classes, find others that have the same hobbies & interests that you do or have had the same experiences that you've had.