How do you deal with family gatherings?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Sheila1366, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    The holidays are here and time to see family and most you see only once a year.I am having a very hard time with my parents and siblings.Our family was never close.Dad drank all the time and mom kept to herself in her room for days.Every Christmas was depressing cause daddy would always be hung over from the night before.But despite all that I keep reaching out to them in hopes to build a real family.Thanksgiving day I called my family to wish them a happy thanksgiving.The conversations I had with them left me feeling so depressed.None of them seemed glad to hear from me.I feel like they don't like me at all.My DH says it is they are jealous that I am outgoing,caring and nurturing to them,there children and to most everyone I know.They resent me trying to make a family.I don't know about that.I had someone tell me along time ago that I should not reach out to my family so much cause some are plotting against me.I think mainly my mother.I think she tells everything I say to everyone which is why I don't share much with her.Unfortunately we have talked about my sister and brother.Nothing that should be shared with them but stuff that is true.She was really down recently cause know one comes to see them but me.The other 2 come around when they want money.So we talked about it.I bet you more than anything she has somehow turned that around to burn me.
    Anyway, I have gotten carried away about this whole family things.But I was wondering how all of yo udeal with being around family for the holidays.We have a big Christmas party coming up soon on my daddy's side.I REALLY don't want to go but I will feel guilty if I don't cause daddy would be upset.I can't bare to be around my parents.You should have seen them when they came to the hospital to see Carrie when she had pneumonia.My mother even had the nerve to say that my oldest daughter was getting fat.Her I am with very sick child that is coughing up alot of blood and my mother wants to talk bad about my other daughter.I got so mad and let her know it.Now she has very little to do with me when I do call out to their house.I hurt her feelings so she pouts.That is how she does it, pouts.
    My therapist has told me to back away from my family due to how bad they make me feel.I just want a family so bad.I keep trying and getting hurt.I don't know if I can deal with the guilt of not being in their lives if something was to happen to them especially my parents.
    Can someone explain to me what is wrong with me and my family.And someone tell me what to do about this Ghristmas gathering.
    Thanks everyone,
  2. XKathiX

    XKathiX New Member

    But wouldn't it be nice if we could?

    It has taken me 15 years of therapy to learn how to deal with my family. Gratefully I am extremely close to my sister who owns the duplex I live in. She is on one side with her husband and one of her childred and I am on the other side. My sis was always like a mom to me - she is the oldest and I am the youngest (8 1/2 years younger).

    I just got back from Florida where we had a family reunion of sorts. My mom lives in Florida (dad died 5 years ago). I have a brother in Alaska that came and another brother in Utah who came with his wife, 3 children (2 of their spouses), and 3 grandchildren.

    In the last 15 years, we have all been together as a group 4 times: once 15 years ago for a reunion, once when my dad first got sick, for his funeral, and then just a few weeks ago. I don't think it's a coincidence that we all live all over the country! My brothers were both in the service and never thought twice about moving back to our home state.

    After all of the therapy I have gone through, I am finally able (on most good days :)) to realize that my mom has limitations. Her limitations hurt me, but they are what they are. I am never going to get the fairy tale things that I want from her.

    Even with all the therapy, when I go to see her I usually can get through the first 2-3 days by talking myself through it. You know, like "in one ear and out the other", "don't let her get to you", and "you know it's just mom". In fact, the first three days I talk my sister through it because she is very upset. By the fourth day I'm ready to blow. My patience is gone and the therapy went out the window with it! It usually takes me a few weeks to recover once I come home.

    I guess the best advice I can give is that you cannot always get what you want from your parents. Fighting that will only cause you more heartache and pain. If it's the nurturing and caring you are missing, try to get it from a friend or another parent figure. If you do go to the Xmas celebration, just keep reminding yourself that you cannot change another person. That your parents love you (I assume they do - it doesn't sound from your email that they are intentionally terrible people), but that they are inconstitutionally incapable of being the type of people you want them to be.

    Take what is good and try to leave the rest behind.

    Hugs to you Sheila
  3. CanBrit

    CanBrit Member

    Most of my family live six hours away. Before we moved, (and before I knew I had FMS) we rotated Christmas eve/day/boxing day between everyone. It was way too busy.

    Last year we had Christmas up here with my inlaws,my kids, grandkids and my brother's family. It was really nice. On Boxing day we drove down for my family's get together. We decided that we would do Christmas every year with my kids and Bob's inlaws whenever my daughter was off (she's an RN). My inlaws agreed because they had a such good time with the great grand kids.

    Now, they've called us saying they were coming Xmas warning or anything. My husband and I decided were are going to put our foot down.

    We will be telling them that we are doing Xmas on the 28th and they are welcome to come on the 26th but that we are going to have a quiet couple of days alone. I don't get off work until the 23rd.

    I seem to be having more pain and more flares these days. My parents understand that I just can't travel that far right now. It just knocks me out too much. Let alone that I have a full time job to boot.

    We'll see what happens.

  4. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    Thanks for the advice and sharing yor stories.My parents do love me and so do my siblings,I don't doubt that at all.They are just not what I would like them to be, and you are right I can't change people.I just get so tired and hurt by the rejection.That I don't know how to handle.I can only reach out and do so much without any sign of caring in return.I think I am going to go back to my therapist and talk about this more.She has told me to back away from them cause they cause me to be very depresed.I need to learn to let go of what I want from them and just except what I get.But it is hard.
  5. seveneyes

    seveneyes New Member

    Family are people who care about you. You already have a loving family with your children. You need to think about them. How do you think it makes them feel when you've had contact with your parents and become depressed? You can't keep putting yourself and your daughters through that. Especially if they are going to be insulted. The fat comment can be devastating to a young ego. Young girls have enough to go through without being exposed to such negativity. I know these are your blood relatives, but you might want to rethink what you really want from these people and whether or not they are capable of giving it to you. If not, stop putting yourself through this torture. Just because you share blood with someone does not necessarily mean that you have to share your life with them if they are poisonous to your happiness.
  6. cjcookie

    cjcookie New Member

    family. Your situation sounds especially sad. If you want to go to the Christmas party, you could pick out a cousin that is nice and stick by him or her for the night. My favorite thing to do is keep the little ones entertained. Everyone is grateful for that and I get to have fun with the kiddies. If you go and can't find any fun, you can always leave early. I hope you can find some joy with part of your family.
  7. risinforce

    risinforce New Member

    Aren't they all the same? Whew! Just spend Thanksgiving in the desert so I could see my little boy ride his quad. yes I know it sounds weird but better than sitting around a house with a bunch of people I cant stand. As usual either my sister or I are always on my mom's poop list. This time it's my sister. We talk about it all the time.

    My advise, don't give them clarity about your life. They really don't need it. We are grown ups. They can ask a bunch of questions but don't need all the info. I'm constantly pressured into things I can't and don't want to do by mom about my son. I know suffer with pain from being away from home, sleeping in a trailer for 2 nights. If she suffered my pain I bet she wouldn't lay on the guilt about me going out there.

    We love them but we don't have to live w/them anymore. Mine are a big support w/my son and I have to remember to be thankful I just keep my life on a private level w/my mom. My dad is great, never asks. But he too drinks alot.

    Good luck through Xmas, we will all need it. I wish people would learn to be unjudgemental. It would make life so much easier on everyone!

  8. sues1

    sues1 New Member

    The hardest thing for all of us is to accept that other's also has their expectations and also their faults.

    We want them to fill our needs and they do not. We are left feeling cheated and upset. We give and they just take. It is like they are wearing two baseball mitts, one on each hand, so they do not have a free hand to throw anything good back.

    I have learned to not expect certain things from others and not get caught up in gossip and all. Just reply something like, that is none of my business so I do not want to talk about it. OR this is Christmas, lets look for the good....etc. Say, She/He has a wonderful side also. let's appreciate that. Walk away and study the crackers and cheese ball.......

    Just try and over look their down comings. That is them. Be amused by them instead of upset. See the humor in what some do or can not change them.

    We all want white snow and a great dinner and beautiful wrapped gifts under the tree. Some want the family to stand next to each other and sing Carols. ETC.

    Instead we might have mud and slush and some arriving with their gifts in the plastic bags the store out them in. Someone will be pouting because someone made the green bean casserole different and that is ruining their Christmas.

    Anyhow we are all different. Ones that truly hurt you and you can not find a way to deal with them.....avoid. Life is too short.

    Some do not mean to upset up, they think they are doing something good. There are reasons some do certain things or change things we had planned.

    They can not change us and we can not change them......

    [This Message was Edited on 11/27/2005]
  9. fuffy

    fuffy New Member

    I agree with alot of the other responses. I don't know of many families that aren't dysfunctional. Personally, I have decided to put the FUN into dysfunctional when I am required to be present at a family event!! No one can make me feel bad about myself unless I let them do it to me! We can't pick our relatives, so I like to pick out the ones that seem the most "friendly", and concentrate on having a good time with them. There is no such thing as a normal or wonderful holiday season as the advertising industry would like us to believe. Be yourself, love when you can, and let go of the rest of it!
  10. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I'm sorry that your family gathering on Thanksgiving did not live up to what you had hoped.

    You said you feel like none of them like you or were glad to see you, and that your conversations left you depressed. That's sad; however, I imagine that it's not you--it's THEM!

    Perhaps they have their own problems and are just not sociable right now and are not pleasant people to be around. A lot of our siblings are people who, if they were not related to us, we would never even talk to them if we met them on the street!

    I really don't have anything in common with my sister or brothers other than the fact that we are siblings. I don't see them often and when we all get together, we don't have much conversation. If it were not for all the small children running around, we probably wouldn't have much action at all!

    Some parents were just not meant to be parents and are better off left alone! I know some like this! A visit every now and then and an occasional call is all you may need to do.

    If you can't bare to be around your parents, then don't. Why go around people who make you miserable? It doesn't matter who they are. Don't discuss anything personal with them that they can twist around and hurt you with later.

    Stay home at Christmas with your own family. Concentrate on your immediate family's happiness. You have 2 daughters who need you and a husband. According to your bio, your not having the greatest time with your husband now. Make this holiday about him and your girls. Maybe the stress from your parents and your family are putting a strain on your own happiness which in turn rubs off on your husband and children.

    I would do what makes YOU happy. If you don't think about yourself, and take care of yourself, nobody else will. Make an effort to pamper yourself to keep your emotional and physical health going good, then pamper your own family and don't let your parents and siblings bring you down.

    Like Kathi said, you can't pick your family. Couples will get separated and divorced; and sometimes, you have to do that with your families, too.

    Here's a hug hoping that the holidays work out for you ...

  11. FibroJo

    FibroJo New Member

  12. busybusymom

    busybusymom New Member

    Unfortunately, I pretend everything is okay, but I wish I could tell everyone I'm exhausted and sick. I have three kids, though, and don't want to ruin their holiday.

    It is hard. I also talked to my therapist about the stress of the holidays and having to put on a "happy" face. He told me just tell them you want to keep everything "simple," and if they don't understand, that's too bad. Unfortunately, guilt gets in the way, and I want to make a big hay-doo and act like everything is hunky dory.

    I am sorry to hear you are having so many problems with your family. I can only imagine what you must be feeling. On Thanksgiving, my mother did not want to talk to her own mom because of some things that were said last week in a conversation - my mother handed me the phone, said it was grandma, and if she asked for my mom, I was to tell her that I didn't know where she was. I couldn't believe she wanted me to lie to my grandmother!! I think there is dysfunction in every family - you are not alone, even though it must feel like it.

    This is a place to vent. I have vented many times, and to be honest, have felt better afterwards. Everyone on this website has so much in common and there is always someone who can relate to your pain, whether it is physical, mental or emotional.

    Take care.

  13. lbok

    lbok New Member

    We had a moment or two at Thanksgiving dinner. Again, like others have said - unrealistic expectation (I think) led a certain in-law who had the dinner get upset over nothing. Instead of seeing a beautiful dinner with her grandchildren enjoying themselves - she got mad because no one was acting a certain "way" - like it was supposed to be a Norman Rockwell painting or something. My young son has autism (of which she is aware) and his behaviors were irritating her. She said things that I did not appreciate - like she was glad my son was not her kid and also yelling at him. Shortly after the dinner started I volunteered to leave and take my son home. We did stay and things ended up being better. There comes a point though where you have to decide if their behavior is just irritating or going beyond that.

    Do you have to stay there for the entire party? What about just setting a time limit you think you can handle and then being very firm about it. It might take the pressure off you when you can focus your energy on a specific amount of time (an hour?). It would be great if your husband could really back you up on this - even to take the heat off of you if they try to give you a guilt trip about it. And - if the comments start flying, I would just suggest leaving even earlier, make excuses.

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