Childhood allotted me with parents that could be considered narcissistic. I’ve said before that they had children and continued to be selfish despite having children. Sensitive folks would take that statement negatively without understanding the context. In itself, that has allowed my brothers and me the luxury of being better prepared for the world and only trusting those worthy of trust. I'm not angry with my parents, but I don't put up with their foolishness either. People tend to think that because you are related that it allows some level of acceptance. Personally, the whole thought is complete bullshit. Being family doesn’t automatically give you a pass to run folk down, tell stories and embellish for a juicier story, insert into someone’s life opinion, or feel like some time should be provided. On the contrary, a family can teach you about society and what’s expected. Being family is respecting differences, meeting people where they are, listening, apologizing when you’re wrong, and supporting one another. I give all credit to my parents for who I’ve grown to be. I don’t put up with the drama, take shit from anyone, am confident in my abilities, trust few, watch few, possess the drive to achieve, am relatively smart, and treat those closest to me with respect. No judgment comes from me in their actions or reactions. Why? I love them to be them and show appreciation for the things they do. I prefer to remove myself from environments that don’t support my continued growth. Love is earned not simply given. I tend to avoid garbage people. Garbage in and garbage out as they say or you are who you surround yourself with— On several occasions, I have had the pleasure of hearing my mother and her followers run me down, my wife, my brother, and anyone that comes into contact. The stories are fabricated for dramatic effect. Does this make me angry? No. It justifies my behavior in doing the bare minimum..the same bare minimum we were provided as children. On the contrary, she joins in as those around her run us down, not realizing that if she possessed some level of loyalty, we would do more. She has everything she asked for; yet, my youngest brother and I, and anyone close to us is left to the wolves. Mind you, there are three of us, but we are the ones being accosted. A son of yours and his wife live not 8 minutes away, and you never see him. Hmmm…do you see a pattern? I’m sometimes in the house and hear some of the discussions. Count your blessings for those of you surrounded by family that is just that, family. Don’t surround yourself with posers just because they are called a father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. At least my father talked us up even if we didn’t talk to him about anything. He had his issues, but he at least worked every single day outside the home. Now that I look back, I understand more now than before why. Folk preaches that family is everything but run you down. I happened to be in the house one day when she and my uncle were engaged in a conversation about how the doctorate I earned from Michigan was “just a piece of paper.” The shit had me rolling because two people were engaged in a conversation about something neither of them earned. I can’t make this stuff up. But, if your parent will run you down, it gives you a birdseye into people in general. Obviously, this is not for those that grew up in that type of loving and supportive environment where the family actually applauds your efforts. So, be careful with these posers that call themselves your family. I’ve learned to be resolute, confident, drama free, conscious, aware, reclusive, and committed to making my life the best that it can be. From time to time, I will share the knowledge I’ve learned over time to support those I feel deserve it. Were my brothers and I taught to be better? Not directly, but when you have to do things yourself, and the prose of negativity always surround you, time gives you the courage to be a better you.