The day my dad got shot by standing up against some dude trying to steal something from his store, or at least that's what I heard. I was only 3 at the time so I honestly don't remember much, but that day sent my life on a path that keeps spiraling towards struggle and misfortune. He ended up in a coma and getting pulled from life support around a week later by his fucked up older brother and his wife, who then claimed most of the possessions that should've gone rightfully to my mom. Mom nearly put me and my sister up for adoption because the mental and emotional distress and depression was too much to bear. But in the end she kept us and moved to California, where we grew up as a low income, dysfunctional family that would argue and fight with each other on a near daily basis, even to this day. And yet since we've been through so much together, we still care about each other. It's really strange. Mom never remarried though, just has a sleazy "boyfriend" (who was married, might I add) who's been supporting us financially for years, in return for stalking her at home, rummaging through her mail, car, address book, etc, demanding every bit of personal info from my mom, and purposefully alienating her from any friends or acquaintances. In turn she grew more introverted and began resorting to her own personal spirituality and religion to cope, and now thinks that everything that happens in the world, good or bad, is a result of her actions one way or another. You can imagine the kinds of conversations I have to go through in order to talk to her about anything. But aside from that she's fairly normal and much more capable than she was before.
I just feel really uncomfortable whenever I visit families of friends who look and act like the epitome of a "normal family", if there's even such a thing. I don't know how to act besides being overly polite to them. But in my mind I can't help but wonder, "Don't they ever... get sick of each other at some point? Viciously scream each other's heads off or try to cut off contact for a while?" and then I realize, oh that's just how I perceive a normal family to be because that's what I grew up with.
(Dad's side aside, relatives on my mom's side didn't attempt to help or understand either, saying how wonderful it was that my mom found someone to support us and that she should be grateful. I get that they have their own lives, but all that did was mess up my own notions of 'family' even more.)