All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. –Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
I love how in the movies when someone has an annoying or stupid parent they have usually (at the point we see them) learned to laugh it all off.
Like, “Oh, hahaha, that’s just my mom acting like a fool in public, how precious, doesn’t hurt me at all.”
Uhhhm, no. In my experience lots of people still have huge issues with their parents and siblings and extended family. Little pots of differences are simmering to a slow boil over the holiday season. Maybe it’s time to turn the stove off.
This is a good lesson for life though, not just the holidays.
Most of us don’t love our family because they are good people. We just love them because…they are our family. That’s really all it takes.
Your parents aren’t going to change. If your mom has always been an asshole about what you look like than she is 99.9% likely to always be an asshole about how you look. I know you keep hoping one day she will not be a dick. She will understand she is hurting you. She either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.
Your father who doesn’t pay attention or minimizes your accomplishments won’t suddenly start singing your praises over your fabulous turkey dinner.
Your aunt will still be trying to set you up with that completely unacceptable date… you know…with the person not even on the same team as you (sexually speaking).
Your siblings will still bring all the same drama to the table.
It’s super easy as an adult to think that because you’ve done everything in your power to try to change your relationship with a family member that…they finally get it. Reality is though, they probably don’t. If they haven’t changed yet, after years of conversations about this flaw, then stop treating it specially.
Don’t react to the drama anymore. Don’t try telling you parent you just want them to show respect or ask a fucking question every now and again. Don’t tell you aunt for the millionth time what your sexual preferences are. Don’t get wrapped up in your siblings petty bullshit. Don’t get entangled in that ongoing political battle with your grandfather.
You are above all that.
Your family isn’t there to build you up and make you happy to keep living. (I know technically they are, but really, I wouldn’t bet too much on it.) Those are your friends. The family you get to pick. And thank god for them right?!
Maybe you have a great happy family with no issues…THEM I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU. Obviously.
This is a reminder to all of us with families that breed drama and resentment. Where it doesn’t start or stop at the holidays but continues, even after death. For those people with mommy/daddy issues. The kids with classic only child syndrome. People who until now haven’t quite been able to get over the past and let it intrude upon the present. The ones who haven’t accepted that change for the better may never come.
Get over your shit with your family.
You don’t have to forgive or forget. Just don’t let it always be a thing when you’re in the same room. Act like the adult you are even if they act like whiny children the whole time.
Kelly, over at Adulting shared an awesome tactic to avoid family fights. I highly encourage its use.