Holiday emotional "hangover"? Need help on two items, the post-family-drama blues, and please give your thoughts on the concept of "but it's family..." - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 12-28-2011, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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1) If you are someone who tends to get blue after the holidays, what things do you do to cope?  It seems most years (extended) family drama seems to rear its ugly head and this year was no exception.  And a few people did some particularly hurtful things to me and I am just really feeling down to the point where I just don't want to see anyone from my family (other than my husband and children) but this is a challenge because this is the time of year when aunts and uncles and grandparents want to visit with my children and take them places.  It is fine--I am not going to stop that--but I am having trouble dealing with people myself.  

 

2) My brother, and others too, are often heard to say things like "well, it's family and that is the most important thing" and if you don't agree with him, you are the problem.  Again for clarification, he is talking about extended family.  He is married but with no children yet FWIW. Does anyone feel like giving their thoughts on this concept of "but it's family..."?  No offense or judgment taken!  

 

To him, "family is the most important thing" means doing things like making nice and re-arranging plans and ignoring all differences and avoiding unsafe topics and confrontation because "it's family" and we should all be spending time together whenever possible.

 

It also, for him and his wife, often includes a fair amount of lying, because no one can possibly do all these things and not offend someone somehow.  (We have a big family).  Well, my husband and I do not believe in lying for any reason--even little white lies or being deceptive for the sake of appearances.  And again, it seems that to make nice and not offended anyone, lying is what a lot of people do.  But lying is not fail-safe by any stretch.  So inevitably someone finds out and all the hurt they were trying to avoid happens anyway.  

 

Anyway, that was rambling.  But does anyone get where I am going?  I would love to hear anyone's thoughts on this.  Maybe I am just a social misfit--ok, well I know I am that lol!  


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#2 of 9 Old 12-28-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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Hey fellow social misfit. wink1.gif

I do a couple of things after the holiday. For one, I always do a sort of spring cleaning. I declutter, and take inventory of what I have, and what I need, and what things I need to accomplish in the coming year. It's good that it coincides with the end of the year / New Year's thing. If you have family willing to take out your kids, then great, at least you have more time to do it. smile.gif I am also journalling like crazy again, and reading some good books. I hibernate in the winter and it really kicks off after the holidays, as it is a quieter, more relaxed time for us. 

I'm not sure I get what your comment about your brother is about... It sounds to me like family is just really important to him. That doesn't sound bad in theory, although your energies might be focused on your own immediate family instead of your whole extended family. I guess unless I had some huge issues with someone it would be well to do just smile-and-nod for a lot of it. Sure, family matters. Maybe he's going through some rough period where he's lonely and needs support. Maybe spend some time with him and see how he's doing, maybe he'll open up about something that's bothering him? I would just shift the focus off of what he thinks family "should" do and see WHY he's being so, I dunno, needy, or else just really rigid about what family "should" do.

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#3 of 9 Old 12-28-2011, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sry I didn't explain 2 well. I am just frustrated about the amount of lying (and covering up the lying) that goes on for the sake of appearances. I guess I feel if certain people have to do that much deceiving why are we even doing the get together in the first place yk? Or if it is done to avoid hurting someone that doesn't work either since more than half the time someone finds out and gets hurt anyway.
I guess I realized once I typed some of this out that my feeling down has a lot to do with the lying that goes on in the family. So I guess I am really back to question 1 lol.

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#4 of 9 Old 12-28-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by MoonJelly View Post

 

2) My brother, and others too, are often heard to say things like "well, it's family and that is the most important thing" and if you don't agree with him, you are the problem.  Again for clarification, he is talking about extended family.  He is married but with no children yet FWIW. Does anyone feel like giving their thoughts on this concept of "but it's family..."?  No offense or judgment taken!  

 


 

I am the problem!!!! I believe that I, as a human being, am more important that the abstract concept of "family."  My situation is fairly extreme because my needs, even basic needs for little things like personal safety, were sacrificed when I was a child for the abstract concept of "family."

 

So f*ck 'em. 

 

My extended family is so toxic that I don't bother with them for holidays.

 

With my own children and husband, I strive to find a way to keep each of us as *individuals* nurtured, the family unit being there to *serve us* rather than being something we are each meant to sacrifice for. It's a completely different way of looking at things. Honesty with kindness can be difficult at first.

 

I don't get holidays blues the way I used to, but I find it helpful to focus on the future, rather than the past. My DH and I have been working on our list of goals for next year, and now our kids are old enough to add things. This has led to a bunch of conversations about what kind of vacation we want to take next summer. It's all good fun.

 

Also, get some movement in. Anything that feels good to -- run, go to a gym, take a yoga class, use a DVD or gaming system. It really does help clear the head and let things go.

 

Part of the reason I don't get holiday blues like I used to is that I've gotten good at saying "no" to a lot of things that used to drain me.

 

In your situation, you could figure out a line to use whenever someone indicates that they want you to lie. "That seems like lying to me, and I'm not going to go there" or something like that. It might be hell the first time or two, but they will adjust.

 

 

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#5 of 9 Old 12-28-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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HA! I"m the problem too.  My aunt came to town with her husband and even though my mom asked me nicely to invite her to dinner Christmas day I flat out refused... even though she's family, she's negative.  And she's here because she pissed off her kids and they didn't want to deal with her...

 

I don't make nice either... just for "family"

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#6 of 9 Old 12-30-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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On the "it's family so...." (they can abuse you however they want) type sentiments. No. Uh uh. not here.

 

The place in mine or my children's' lives is earned. I don't mean someone has to kiss our rear ends. I mean that one needs to act like a flippin' normal person with the barest of social normalcy and common decency and respect. If they can't manage that, crying "but I'm your ____!" (enter family relation here) or "but we're family" or whatever isn't gonna cut it. We don't lie either. We do what we can do and what we're willing to do, try to be polite about what we can't or aren't willing to do -- and if someone gets bent because of it, I'm sorry about that but their emotions are their responsibility. I'm not carrying that on my shoulders.

 

Maybe because, like Linda on the Move touched on, a lot of crazy, unhealthy, emotionally-unstable, abusive CRAP happened to and around me as a kid under the blanket "but it's family" or "well, family comes first!" excuse -- whatever the reason, it's not happening in my family. Even with my own children, I don't feel "entitled" to a relationship with them just because I gave birth to them. I treat them with kindness, love, and respect because I want a relationship with them as adults (and because I love them but you know what I mean). Family is created through mutual respect and love, not by happening to be born into a heap of dysfunction.

 

So yeah, I think your holiday blues may subside a bit once you get to the place where you can truly feel at peace with the boundaries you are wanting to create. It's not easy at first, because of course you're the "bad guy" who's upsetting the whole dysfunctional applecart, but oh well. My family's personal peace comes before my extended (and anyone other than myself, my husband, and kids is "extended") family's guilt trips, mock-hurt, or entitlement issues.

 

Don't get me wrong, I have some super awesome extended family (siblings etc) but some of them are doozies.

 

 


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#7 of 9 Old 12-30-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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Hello fellow black sheep! I too think the concept of "it's family" excusing certain types of behavior is complete and total BS. I mean, think of it this way - if our partners were emotionally/verbally abusive, routinely lied, gossiped behind our backs, etc. people would be calling for divorce! "You've got to get out of the relationship; it's not healthy". So why is it different with our other relatives? Why do they get a free pass? I think family should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one. 


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#8 of 9 Old 01-20-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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Tumble Bumbles, I could just hug.gif you. This is SO on point! Thank you for sharing this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumble Bumbles View Post

On the "it's family so...." (they can abuse you however they want) type sentiments. No. Uh uh. not here.

The place in mine or my children's' lives is earned. I don't mean someone has to kiss our rear ends. I mean that one needs to act like a flippin' normal person with the barest of social normalcy and common decency and respect. If they can't manage that, crying "but I'm your ____!" (enter family relation here) or "but we're family" or whatever isn't gonna cut it. We don't lie either. We do what we can do and what we're willing to do, try to be polite about what we can't or aren't willing to do -- and if someone gets bent because of it, I'm sorry about that but their emotions are their responsibility. I'm not carrying that on my shoulders.

Maybe because, like Linda on the Move touched on, a lot of crazy, unhealthy, emotionally-unstable, abusive CRAP happened to and around me as a kid under the blanket "but it's family" or "well, family comes first!" excuse -- whatever the reason, it's not happening in my family. Even with my own children, I don't feel "entitled" to a relationship with them just because I gave birth to them. I treat them with kindness, love, and respect because I want a relationship with them as adults (and because I love them but you know what I mean). Family is created through mutual respect and love, not by happening to be born into a heap of dysfunction.

So yeah, I think your holiday blues may subside a bit once you get to the place where you can truly feel at peace with the boundaries you are wanting to create. It's not easy at first, because of course you're the "bad guy" who's upsetting the whole dysfunctional applecart, but oh well. My family's personal peace comes before my extended (and anyone other than myself, my husband, and kids is "extended") family's guilt trips, mock-hurt, or entitlement issues.

Don't get me wrong, I have some super awesome extended family (siblings etc) but some of them are doozies.



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#9 of 9 Old 01-20-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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I especially love this: quote Tumble Bumbles: "My family's personal peace comes before my extended (and anyone other than myself, my husband, and kids is "extended") family's guilt trips, mock-hurt, or entitlement issues."

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