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How many family and extended family members did you grow up with (including you)?

  • 2 (me and one parent)

    Votes: 21 5.3%
  • 3

    Votes: 83 20.9%
  • 4 (ie an isolated nuclear family)

    Votes: 127 31.9%
  • 5

    Votes: 60 15.1%
  • 6-9

    Votes: 71 17.8%
  • 10 or more (eg spent lots of time with large extended family)

    Votes: 36 9.0%
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crazy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Family can mitigate risk for anxiety, abuse

DAVIS, Calif., May 4 (UPI) -- A U.S. study challenges the view that people with some genotypes are at greater risk for depression, anxiety and abuse of drugs and alcohol, researchers said.

The researchers studied infant monkeys from four different rearing conditions to examine how social context and different forms of early adversity interact with genotype to influence behavior.

Animals reared in small social groups were more likely to be aggressive and anxious, particularly among those with a low activity MAOA genotype. However, no genotype effects were evident in monkeys reared in larger social cages.

Senior author John Capitanio of the University of California, Davis, said there are some circumstances in a child's development -- such as abusive parenting -- that everyone would agree constitute "adversity."

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, said even though an infant may be reared with its nurturing mother, the relative absence of other social partners, for both the mother and the infant, can result in the infant developing an anxious style of responding to challenges, particularly if it possesses a "risky" genotype.

"Animals that were raised in rich, complex settings with mothers, other kin, and peers, were completely protected from the potentially deleterious effects of having the 'risky' form of the MAOA gene," Capitanio said in a statement.

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2009...te-risk-for-anxiety-abuse/UPI-24011241410688/
Did anyone else feel claustrophobic growing up in a small family? Mine was me, my brother and our mom and dad, and little contact with extended family, except at holidays - they all lived several states away. I always craved contact with the rest of the family - we never got to see them enough for my taste, and I hated leaving them. Going back to our isolated family always felt so incredibly lonely.

Having a larger group of people to interact with would reduce whatever effect your parents' idiosyncrasies would have on you (and you on them). Nuclear families are so small, they act like echo chambers, magnifying whatever traits people have.

And of course, our genes evolved for living in relatively stable groups of 30-50 people, not 4 people...

So, how big was your family in your formative years (say up to age 10 or so), and do you think it contributed to your anxiety? Did you feel claustrophobic growing up?

I think it definitely contributed to my SA - my parents were not the best social role models, and they had a huge influence on me. Having more contact with the rest of the family might have really helped.
 

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Until the age of 8, I lived with my mother and father - there was just the three of us. Then my mother and I moved out and moved in with her lesbian lover, and I stayed with them until I was 18 when I moved in with my fiance.

And no, I never felt claustrophobic. I didn't even develop SA until I was 18.
 

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There were ten people in our family, including my parents. We didn't live near any extended family so we didn't have people over hardly ever, but there were lots of kids around growing up, and I knew almost every family on our street. I seemed to come out of the chute with SA. My parents were reserved, but I don't attribute much of my problem to my family life since the other seven kids don't have it.
 

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Confused
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I live in a family of 6 (2 brothers and 1 sister). I'm the youngest of the lot. I grew up until the age of about 12, on farmland outside a City — perhaps there's where the problem started. But according to my parents, I used to cry unlike any other baby if I was left alone in a room.
 

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I accidentally hit 3 when I really meant to vote 4 -- I'm so old I'm voting like them old farts in Florida.

I had two parents that were married till death and that lived together (not happily, but they stuck it out till death ended the misery of their marriage after 54 hellish years). Then there was me, so that's at last 3.

I'm odd in that my brothers are so much older than me. My now dead brother was 12 years older and the live one is 20 year my senior so he was already off to college making a life for himself in another city by the time I was born. My other brother was already a high school drop out by the time of my earliest memories.

I'd count those 2 as 1 since I think they only count as 1/2 a person each given that they aren't "standard" siblings that are anywhere near your own age that grow up with you and are around basically all the time for substantially all of your formative years.
 

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Oops, I forgot that my paternal grandmother (who had been a widow since 1948 ) lived with us till she died in 1986 when I was 13.

I don't know how to count her, since I really didn't know her. She live in the second flat of this duplex that is now a storage area and where my computer now resides as I type this. I don't remember much of anything prior to 5 and she was dead by the time I was 13 so that leave 8 years for me to actually know her. And she did not age well at all. My memories of her were of a very frail old woman, even though she died at 76, which is old, but not anything exceptional where you expect one to look like the crypt keeper. There is some theory in our family that she lost the will to live and basically starved herself to hasten death. If this is accurate or not I don't really know, though when she died she did have that "heroin chic" look in the geriatric version. I remember how she was referred to as that "little old lady" despite being 5'11" back in the day when she could actually stand upright. Despite living literally feet from her I never really knew her.
 

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Did anyone else feel claustrophobic growing up in a small family?
A bit, yes. Though I don't think it really bothered me until I was a teenager. It was just me and my parents, in a village where there were hardly any children my own age. The only members of the family we saw regularly were my grandparents. However, two of them died when I was 3, so I didn't get to spend much time with them. Of the other two, one died when I was 11, the other when I was 13, and we saw them maybe once every few months. Other than that, we didn't see much of the rest of the family. My parents did have friends, but they lived far away and hardly ever visited, so it wasn't exactly a social whirl. I got used to spending a lot of time alone. Or with the cat.
 

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blessed with lucky sevens
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I'm 21, my two older brothers are like 35/38... The younger of the two lived with us (my parents an I) up until a few years ago and he was an alcoholic and made life quite miserable.
 

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Ninja
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Just my parents and me. I got my first sibling when I was 16, and another one at 20.
 

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Explode or Implode
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I accidentally hit 3 when I really meant to vote 4 -- I'm so old I'm voting like them old farts in Florida.

I had two parents that were married till death and that lived together (not happily, but they stuck it out till death ended the misery of their marriage after 54 hellish years). Then there was me, so that's at last 3.

I'm odd in that my brothers are so much older than me. My now dead brother was 12 years older and the live one is 20 year my senior so he was already off to college making a life for himself in another city by the time I was born. My other brother was already a high school drop out by the time of my earliest memories.

I'd count those 2 as 1 since I think they only count as 1/2 a person each given that they aren't "standard" siblings that are anywhere near your own age that grow up with you and are around basically all the time for substantially all of your formative years.
I have the same type of family set up. I have 3 older siblings, the youngest was 13 when I was born. I think that sort of facilitates an only child type of feeling in the baby. Being the baby it also feels like you're always looking up to others and rarely your own person.

I don't think family organization has the most impact on SA though, I think a lot of it is your parents and how they relate to you. My dad isn't a big talker, whenever he comes home he mostly seems interested in eating, playing with the dogs and watching tv. My mom is more lively and chipper but she still has a nervous sort of demeanor in social situations. Most of my siblings have a sort of shyness or were shy when they were younger as well.
My grandmother lives with us in a little cottage by our house. I never realized how many habits in thinking I've gotten from her, like feeling that "no one wants to talk to/see me" or not approaching men I'm attracted to.
Funny how habits reverberate through generations.

I'm glad this post was created, its interesting seeing everyone's different back grounds and family experiences. :)
 

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Monster
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I grew up in a family of six, but we weren't emotionally connected, so that may have had something to do with it
 

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i have 2 siblings. unfortunately we are years apart as well, i am 7 and 8 years apart from them. my parents also seperated when i was around 5. my dad stayed in our home country and my mom had to work 24/7 which left me by myself for a majority of my childhood living from place to place with different guardians. ive had SA even before 5 years of age, but im sure this made it even worse
 

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I think all you need is one person to really be close to in order to have mental health. And the more people in your family the greater the chances of that. I had two siblings, they could never understand that sticking together would be better. You can't change people like that.

edit: three kids in my family, all 1.5 years apart. My parents married late and were rushing to have kids. We were close in age, didn't help me at all.
 

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I was the middle of five boys. That made for a family of seven, and in a relatively small house, too (three bedrooms). And since I lived with a roommate every year of college, I never had a room of my own until I was 21 and in graduate school.
 

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Little Winged One
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5-My brother and sister were quite a bit older than me.-10 and 8 years older.- I think for all practical purposes I was more like an only child. We did'nt play together or have experiences together.- I was a little envious that they have memories of going to the same school,playing with neighborhood kids,etc.together. Extendend family lived out of state and visits were only every few years.- I saw them so infrequently that I never felt I knew them-when they would visit us it was always nervewracking and a huge relief when they left. My parents were'nt warm people so I never felt connected to anyone really.
 

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Me and my two older sisters, mom and dad, but he worked out of town most of the time. Me and my sisters are 2 years apart. My middle sister is 2 years older than me and my oldest sister is four years older than me.
 

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sad panda
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oops, I voted for the wrong one :p I didn't see the 'extended' part. 10 plus, then. My biological mom's family are mostly mormon, so... yeah. Looots of family, family reunions, etc. oddly enough, this side is also where anxiety runs in the family. I used to be completely comfortable in the large family setting, family reunions were some of my fondest memories from childhood. Now I'm very anxious around them too. :( And now all the "kids" from my age group are getting married and having babies... makes it even worse since I don't do well with little kids.
 

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Just me.
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What constitutes "lots of time with extended family?"

I'm from a massive Catholic family (50+ cousins) with oodles and oodles of brothers and sisters. We spent some time with extended family, 2-3 times a year for Christmas, weddings, funerals, etc.

My large family was my crutch growing up. As long as I was around them, I didn't have to make friends outside of the home. I just hung around my siblings and their friends. I didn't pick up the necessary friend making social skills as a child because I didn't need to make friends. As an adult, I am trying to learn skills that most people learned as a child, and its not easy.
 
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