When people become the mini-me of their parents

On the dad’s side of my family, I am the youngest of my current generation among all the cousins, and also the only girl. Of my paternal grandparents’ four children, their eldest son had three boys, their second eldest son (my dad) had a boy (Ed) and a girl (me), their third child, a daughter, had one son, and their fourth child, their third son, never married and had no children. Of the people who have probably went against the grain among these cousins, it’s probably me and my cousin from my dad’s sister. That cousin is fully estranged from his mother, and his dad passed away in 2012. While he and I are in contact, he does not maintain contact with anyone else in our family. Ed’s gone, and so that leaves my three much older cousins, who are 13, 16, and 17 years older than me.

While those three cousins, Ed, and me, we grew up in the same building in two separated flats, so we basically grew up like siblings and were as close as you could be despite the age difference. Yet somehow, I always felt like my three cousins had never really “grown up” properly, as not only did they not participate and do “normal” things that people do at certain ages, e.g. go to prom, leave home for college, move out of their house in their twenties, they never really dated anyone until they met the women who would ultimately become their wives. It always felt so weird to me. Not only that, sometimes they would make comments comparing their soon-to-be wives with ME. That’s just flat out gross.

The cousin who is 13 years older than me is probably the biggest embarrassment in our family, though. He’s married to someone who served him an “ultimatum” to get married, otherwise she’d dump him by a certain point, and they hate each others’ guts. Her family hates him, and he hates her entire family, including her. They share a child who has mild autism, so the road of parenting has been tough to say the least. He moves from one job to the next every 3-5 years, making racist comments about anyone he perceives to be a threat, particularly White and Indian people for whatever reason. On top of that, I’ve realized that of all three of the boys, he is most like his dad, who passed away 21 years ago and who I perceived to be one of the biggest losers I’ve ever known: constantly complains, is extremely and openly racist and sexist, blames all his life circumstances on others instead of ever taking responsibility for himself. His default is to complain and whine, particularly about people behind their backs. Yet he lacks the balls to ever confront them in person (that’s actually a theme in my family; no one ever wants to confront anyone. It’s all back talking). And to think he’s still as immature and ridiculous as he’s turning 48 this year is even more embarrassing for me. It’s basically embarrassing for me to be associated with him. He literally complains about some person or another every single day and, no fail, always has to state their race in his complaint.

If anyone ever saw some of the texts he sends me, which I have muted, they’d immediately assume I was a bad person for having any kind of a relationship with him and he was a terrible, racist person.

When people become so similar to their parents, though, especially the worst part of their parents, I always wonder what level of awareness they have of this and if they actually think it’s good or bad, assuming the awareness exists. In my cousin’s case, he’s delusional; since his dad died, he’s basically built a metaphorical shrine for him and thinks of him as the best dad and role model in the world. What a joke. We need to accept the good parts of people as well as the bad instead of sticking them on some untouchable pedestal after they’ve died.

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