Blocking Family

April 14, 2024 • Louie Mantia

You ever just... block family members? 😬

I believe there was a time when my brother and I used to get along. When we were kids, we’d bond over video games. Sal had Pokémon Yellow, I had Pokémon Blue. We would race VW Beetles on the N64. We switched off playing 1-player games like God of War. I enjoyed this relationship with him.

We became teenagers and both started to pick fights with each other. We had a nasty habit of zeroing in on one very specific detail we thought was wrong to pressure the other one to admit they were wrong. There’s no room for nuance.

When I moved away from home, Sal and I grew apart. The last versions of each other that we saw were total jerks. As a result, we don’t talk very often anymore. When we do, it starts great, but after the first hour, it’s a nightmare.

Sal messaged me recently about moving to another city, and that conversation started great. But as he became fixated on one point, I just blocked him.

I needed to protect the potential infinite drain of my emotional energy.

When it comes to family, I try to ask myself if I knew any of them apart from being related, would we be friends? When the answer is unequivocally “no,” I reach for my found family.

I can try to work on those blood-relative relationships, but only at profound cost to my emotional health. I can’t do it if we aren’t working toward the same goal. Conversely, I feel like I don’t have to work very hard with relationships I have with others who aren’t my family.

When I see how easy it can be, it’s really hard for me to see why blocking my brother isn’t the compassionate move for both our sakes.

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