1. You learn to laugh at your misery. Yeah, last month it felt like the end of the world when your parents had that huge fight. But now? It’s a funny story you can tell over Thanksgiving dinner. You always get through the tough times, because you know it’ll lead to an interesting anecdote in the future.
2. You learn to appreciate the people closest to you. You don’t believe in the whole “family will always be there for you” bullshit. That’s a lie. Family can walk away, just like anybody else. That’s why you genuinly appreciate the siblings and cousins that actually keep in contact with you.
3. You learn to have high standards in love. You’ve witnessed way too many family fights and disappointing holiday vacations. That’s why you’ve vowed to only date people that treat you right. You won’t let your future family become as dysfunctional as your current family is.
4. You learn from your relatives’ mistakes. You have cousins in jail. Aunts with DUIs. Uncles with drug problems. You’ve seen how shitty their lives have turned out, and you’ve promised yourself that you won’t make the same mistakes that they have made. They’re your unintentional teachers.
5. You learn that relationships don’t always last. Your family has been through almost as many divorces as marriages. It’s sad, but it’s taught you that it’s okay to get your heart broken. It’s okay to fall for the wrong person. Life will go on. It always does.
6. You learn that you’re not alone. You’ve mentioned your family problems to your BFF and she’s told you about equally scarring problems with her family. You’re not the only one going through hell. It’s just not well-known, because most people keep their family drama to themselves.
7. You learn that love never fades. You might hate one of your relatives with a passion. You might have cut them out of your life. But even if you avoid their phone calls and refuse to give them your new address, there’s still a part of you that still loves them. You always will.
8. You learn to take care of yourself. You can’t rely on your parents to put a roof over your head and pay for every meal. You realize that you need to take care of your own shit, because you can’t rely on anybody, but yourself.
9. You learn that animals are better than people. The only family member that has never let you down is your pet. Puppies and kittens are way more loyal than a human could ever be.
10. You learn that friends can feel like family. Blood doesn’t matter. You’re the first person to admit that. The people that are there for you, no matter what, they’re your family. They’re the ones that matter the most.