Having a hard time - need support

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Stress Bunny, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    It's JT'S 21st birthday today. We have very little contact these days, but I called him and sent a card with a pizza gift card.

    Anyway, Thanksgiving is coming up, and my mom and dad host. We celebrate a bunch of November birthdays, including JT's.

    Hubby and I are finding the thought of being around JT at this gathering to be quite difficult and unpleasant. He brags about himself, loves attention, and will relish in showing up as redneck as possible, against our wishes that he show respect in his appearance and actions. After everything that's happened, we feel very emotionally depleted. Hubby wishes JT wouldn't come. But we're trying to take the higher ground, and my parents invited him.

    Apparently, JT called or texted my sister to ask HER if he can bring his girlfriend along. JT told me this today, and I said he really should have contacted either us or his grandparents. I asked why he contacted my sister, and he said it was because she always seems to be in charge of everything. Right! He wanted somebody to say yes, that's why. And apparently, she did.

    Why does it bother me SO much? I wish this didn't upset me, but I'm hurt and angry too. What right does my sister have to make that call? Why didn't she tell JT to call us or his grandparents? He's a manipulator and got exactly what he wanted. Plus I'm upset to boot, which probably makes him even more smug. He knows exactly what he's doing. As an adoptive mom, I've always wanted to be the best mom possible for JT. He exploits that, and gets his jollies out of this kind of thing and telling me hes going to have to move in with his birthmom if I don't help him in some way.

    My sister never mentioned this conversation with JT to me, and I have spoken to her plenty. She thinks she is so much more popular than me, and how cool is it that her nephew is contacting her instead of his parents and grandparents? Wow! She really is special. This is the same sister who leaves me out of things regularly and then tells me what a great time she had with some friend or whatever. She also doesn't share information with me, leaving me in the dark, as if I'm not important enough to tell.

    I've spent so much of my life trying to get her to like me, and she knows I want a good relationship, but she must step on me. I'm very fortunate to have good brains, a successful career, and great marriage. I've always felt she resented me for my academic/career success as well as my fitness. No matter how hard I try, I can't overcome these jealousies she has. I have given far more than I receive from her, and I bite my tongue regularly.

    My sister knows that we have been struggling with JT these past two years. I am just hurt by her overstepping boundaries in this situation. She has also made sure to tell my parents all the stupid, negative stuff JT posts on Facebook. My parents and we are not on Facebook.

    This whole situation is hard enough without my sister playing into this with JT. I was looking forward to our annual after Thanksgiving shopping day (Mom, sis, and me) but JT is ruining that too. Or maybe I am. Maybe I'm overreacting.

    I can't see things clearly through these tears.
  2. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Stress Bunny, I am so glad you shared this for I go through similar issues as well with a difficult child and the same type of thing with siblings. It's so offensive to our sensibilities. The situation between your family members (son and sister) is so fragile as it is, and to have it come together like this , it literally feels like a bomb goes off in your emotions. I know exactly how you feel right now. I don't have any words of wisdom. My message is more or less thank you for sharing this because it makes me feel less alone. I don't feel so weird now in feeling the way I do about these types of situations. It seems that your sister kind of likes the drama aspect of it and will use it to make her feel better about herself. I don't understand why she has to tell your parents what JT says on facebook. It's bleeping facebook. All young people and young adults say stupid things on a daily basis on facebook. It's something that you don't bring into "real life" and mention to anybody unless it's super important of course. Your sister is making herself look foolish for doing that. Hell, you might even want to tell your son that his precious aunt reports everything he says on facebook to his grandparents. Of course, I would wait until after the holidays.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Stress Bunny, I can so relate to what you are going through with your sister. I have 3 older sisters and over the years have had issues off and on. I'm finally in a pretty good place with all of them. I once shared with my oldest sister that I was envious of the relationship she has with her daughter whom is a dream child, grown successful, responsible, the complete opposite of my difficult child. My sister shared something with me that changed my perspective, she told me she was envious of me because I had a great husband and marriage. My sister has had 3 failed marriages. I learned that day to be grateful for what I have and I no longer have those "envious" feelings. We each have good and bad in our lives.
    One of my other sisters made comments years ago about my difficult child and that if he came to live with her she could get him on the straight and narrow. My son did spend some time a few years ago with that sister and just went on and on about how great she is, however she was unsuccessful at getting him on the straight and narrow.
    Family dynamics can be challenging at best but mix in the holidays and the stress level can skyrocket. I can only offer this; as hard as it is be the bigger person, no matter what your son looks like when he shows up or what his girlfriend looks like, do not engage him, even if he says something that irks you. Keep your words to him short and sweet or just say nothing at all. You said he likes being the center of attention, let him, I'm sure others see what you see. He may be your son but he is not a reflection of you so don't ever apologize for him. As for him contacting your sister, I would guess he knows how to push your buttons. These are the kinds of things you just have to let go of. Holding feelings of anger and hurt only hurt you. Don't give them that kind of power over your emotions.
    Keep focusing and being grateful for what you have.
    I hope you are able to have a good Thanksgiving.
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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Stress Bunny, I am so sorry. I would feel pretty bad too if all of that happened to me. Family dramas happen to many of us, particularly around the holidays which we all have so much invested in, so many expectations which can so easily go awry.......holidays seem to bring out all the underground feelings we can usually keep at bay during the year, but can come tearing out around the holidays in full force.

    Your sister acted inappropriately, however, it sounds as if that behavior is somewhat normal for her. It's unnecessarily hurtful and could have easily been avoided. But, as we all know, family dynamics begin when we are children and we play them out almost unconsciously throughout our lives. I recall one Thanksgiving dinner where I realized we all still sat in the exact same place at the table as we had as children.........I sat in another seat and everyone was disoriented and bothered. We are creatures of habit and when the family gets together we assume our "roles" for better or for worse.

    Here's my take on it SB, take what you want and throw the rest away. You sound like an earnest, thoughtful, sincere, kind, compassionate person whose had to deal with a very troubled son. You didn't get the accolades and benefits many get from parenting a healthy kid, so, often we beat ourselves up about that, thinking we must have done something to cause this...........even though we know in our minds we didn't, deep down many of us harbor a secret thought that we could somehow have made this different. After all, we are MOTHERS, we have super powers! Well, we don't. You don't. You did your best and this is what you got. You don't have to prove anything to anyone about anything. Guilt will keep you tied to the very scene you want to get away from. Do your best to let it go.

    As far as your sister is concerned, for whatever reason, jealously, envy, competition between siblings, it doesn't even matter, you needn't try to get her approval or to get her "to like you." It doesn't appear that she has your back, the jealousy of you clouds her ability to empathize which is not in your best interest. You seem to understand that the relationship is not an equal one where everyone wins, in fact, you lose. It may be time for you to stop going after the approval of someone who is likely not going to give it to you. It causes you hurt. What she thinks of you isn't important, it is what YOU think of you that is the most important.

    You've done your very best with your son and now, in as far as you've indicated here, you are gearing up to let go. I have found that once I did that with my daughter, the hardest person in the world to let go of, our child........then I began seeing others whom I needed to let go of too. Perhaps not have no contact with, but to let go of the part of the relationship which was hurting me. It became a lot clearer. And, it wasn't easy to see it or to do something about it.

    It sounds as if you are taking a good look at those around you and seeing who loves you the way you want to be loved and who doesn't. Then you have choices. You can certainly hang out and seek out approval or try to make someone like you, or you can move on. None of this is easy. I've had to do this many times in my life........these realizations take our breath away...........it isn't what we want, but it is what it is. That sounds so simple, and it is, but it takes us humans some time to accept what is.

    These things are really hard SB, give yourself some time and space to think about what you can do that will take care of YOU. Your sister and your son will continue doing what they've been doing, but YOU can change your responses to them.

    Sending warm hugs........and thoughts of peace for your wounded heart...........as Buddha said SB, "YOU yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." You.
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have spent my lifetime watching "normal" families interact, and decided at a fairly early age that I was glad I had only to deal with a few family members as my DNA tree is small. The incredible sibling rivalry and backbiting that goes on in so many "families" just boggles my mind. And we are taught to love our DNA connections, no matter how badly they treat us. It is sort of hard to get that mindset out of your head, but I will offer my own perspective.

    DNA does not mean love. In fact, since you adopted JT, and love him in spite of himself, you already know t hat DNA is not necessary for love. The other way around applies as well, although it is beaten into our heads that we have to be nice to our DNA family.

    This bothers you so much because it seems as if you have been trodden on, that your wishes (which I'm assuming everyone knows) were not taken into consideration when JT was invited and now that his girlfriend is also coming. It hurts because perhaps you feel your family is taking his side when he has been so vile to you. I would not feel good about it either. I think most of us get it.

    I'm going to offer a suggestion that you don't have to even consider, but we have done it. It is your mother's table...she can invite who she likes...but you can decide to take a different path, not out of anger, but out of self-preservation and to avoid drama and more heartache. I will offer one example; there are dozens of them.

    When we got sick and tired of the backstabbing of even our small little DLNA collection, my husband and I decided to only have the holidays with those people who truly love and respect one another...no drama holidays. On certain years, we went to visit my dauthter, who is out of town, on a different weekend rather than on the holiday and then have a Thanksgiving of four of the rest of us on the actual holiday. For the most part, we have had peaceful, happy holidays. It may be a tradition for many people to visit the family, but it is also a torturous event for many people or it is usually good, but one bad apple experience like this one makes you want to stay away. If that's how you feel, and I don't know if you do, you can have a quiet Thanksgiving without your sister or son and his squeeze. Nobody controls you, unless you allow it to be the case.

    Your sister and JT are playing games with you, and both know it. How you want to deal with it...stay home and avoid drama, hold your head up and go and don't show your hurt, have it out with her...that is your decision. I have learned that for me choosing peace is the best route. Maybe that is not your most comfortable choice. We are all different. You do what you feel is right and do not let Sis boss you around. She is only "in charge" if everyone allows her to be in charge. You are free to have Thanksgiving at your own home with your other kids or just the two of you and pass on the drama and, trust me, it will be better than you ever dreamed. However, you can do whatever you like as well.

    You are in charge of you. Nobody else is.

    Hugs a nd I also hope you figure out your best option and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! :)
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  6. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    Guide me - Thank you for your perspective. It helps to know I'm not alone with the family dynamics. My sister, as much as I do not want it to be so, seems to take some kind of perverse delight in our misfortunes with JT. She considers herself a "cool mom" and me, well, not cool. We were too strict, she thinks, and now JT is rebelling because of it. Never mind the fact that he was like this from day 1. To add to the drama, my cousin works at the same place as JT, and when she saw what JT posted on Facebook about his boss, she texted, you guessed it, my sister, to tell her to tell JT not to post such things! Really? I guess my sister is JT'S mom now. We'll good luck to her. If just telling him not to do something actually worked, it would have worked already, for heavens sake.

    Tanya, you're right about being thankful. I am doing a better job of that lately. Disengaging is so important. I admit that I feel a little trapped in this situation, with nowhere to go to escape. I'm dreading the whole thing, and we're it not for our younger son, I'd want to opt out.

    Recovering, you are so wise and so right about the childhood roles. My childhood role was to be a perfect overachiever; the best at everything; a rule follower and people pleaser. This caused me to become anxious and depressed over time, and despite my achievements, to develop deep insecurities and a tremendous fear of failure. My sister wasn't pressured the way I was, but she probably couldn't live up to it all either. Just a year apart, and just the two of us, we grew up like twins. I would trade anything for a great relationship with my sister. I always wanted to be close. She has a cousin of her husband's that has taken on the role of a sister with her. It's strange, and sometimes I feel like my sister would like it if I just disappeared. In any case, she is no doubt quite smitten that our son is troubled while hers turned out okay. The truth is that I feel very alone and isolated. I don't feel good about myself a lot of the time, so you're right I need to work on this.

    MWM, I know you really get this whole situation. Your DNA comments got me thinking a lot. My constant struggle to gain my sister's approval has probably kept me from establishing other friendships over the years. Making new friends at my age is proving difficult. My hubby has brought up doing something different for Thanksgiving, but we know it would hurt our parents' feelings, and our younger son loves to go. Now I'm thinking along the lines of an easy exit or having something else fun scheduled just for us that weekend. So glad you have found some peace separately from your DNA collection. Also hope all goes well with your medical procedure.
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  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SB, I am the oldest and the former people pleaser and over achiever, it comes with the birth order I think. 'Deep insecurities and fear of failure' are what happens when we set our own expectations higher then we can meet. It is a common occurrence with us. Take it from me, way up here in senior land, drop that right now.........drop all those unrealistic expectations of the perfect mom, the perfect daughter, the perfect sister, the one who takes the higher road. Screw that. Take whatever road feels best to you! I have a younger sister too. She doesn't speak to me. I would LOVE to have a relationship with her, but..........I don't. I've had to let it go, there is nothing I can do. She has numerous mental illness' and I have no power to make it any different.

    It's hard to feel good about yourself when you feel you are not worthy of the care, love, understanding, compassion........etc............because you can't live up to an unrealistic, self imposed expectation of who you think you SHOULD be. None of what you are saying is unusual nor is it a life sentence......it comes from our own perfectionistic expectations, our own shame and self cruelty.........I've been looking at those issues within myself for what feels like centuries. I know that feeling of aloneness and isolation. Make an intention to change this SB, you can. You're young and can make a difference in how you feel about yourself now, don't wait until you're older, do it now. It will give you many years of a lot more joy and a lot more peace.

    And, I agree with an easy exit and having something fun planned for the holidays. Do whatever you need to to make it a good day for YOU. Be creative. You don't have to put up with bad behavior from your son and your sister...........minimize the time spent with them and make the holiday about what YOU want (with your husband and younger son) You will feel a lot better about yourself if you do that.

    MWM and I have been at this longer then you, she and I have worked through a lot of the family stuff (thank God) as it sounds like Tanya has.......take it from us, start doing what makes you happy.........make yourself the priority............put yourself first.............love yourself, accept yourself, honor yourself.........don't wait until you're in your 60's, do it now!
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  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Tonight I was at a family gathering and observed my daughter in law and her older sister. It was fascinating, yet almost disturbing. They clearly love one another, yet this rivalry thing is ever present. Does it ever go away or at least get better? I know my good friend would very likely in that situation of had told my son had he called with that question "I don't know, call your grandparents or ask your own parents." Maybe siblings react inappropriately when they are feeling insecure...and then they crave that one upsmenship "thing" stemming from childhood. As best as you can, try to let all this go. As you know by now, difficult child's are draining to the core. Their antics can drive you crazy; so simply don't let it drive you crazy. Sorry so simplistic, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Life is too precious and you are too smart and valuable. I too think he is trying to push your buttons. As you also know by now, only those who actually have a difficult child "get" what having a difficult child really is like. Maybe you can do mom and dad's TG every other year!?!? consider a cruise!!!! They are great! This stuff is frustrating. You are human, so you will feel it. Shore yourself up with good self talk, pampering, trips away and by planning ahead.
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  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    For years I hated the holidays, usually because Miss KT would do something embarrassing and tick people off, leaving me with the family fallout. Since my brother is more perfect than the rest of us, I would get snide remarks directed at my parenting skills. Hubby and I would go for the absolute minimum amount of time, make nice, and head home. So uncomfortable, year after year after year, because my mother wants everyone together at Christmas "no matter how uncomfortable it is." Yes, she actually said that.

    This year, however, it's a whole new ballgame. Miss KT and her husband will be here from Oregon, and my perfect brother has decided to stay home for Christmas. My mom is furious, but I'm delighted. I get to spend lots of time with my only child, who I don't see very often since she lives 14 hours away, and nobody has to be perfect.

    Have an exit plan, should you decide to go at all. Go late and leave early if you want. Make it about what you and Hubby want, and have a wonderful time doing it.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    KT's Mom, your story reminded of my ex's total determination to force his two kids (mine also) to get together. I think he thought that if Scott (the grown child we adopted at six) and Julie (my precious, beloved daughter who was Scott's best friend and whom he dumped like an old newspaper after he met his wife) got together again, they'd forge a new relationship. Although Julie fought it for years, she finally caved in for a breastfast meeting with her SO, Scott, NOT Scott's wife (she would never show up) and her father for breakfast. She told me she was so nervous she could barely brush her hair.

    He wanted them to have a relationship. He was going to force it.

    Well, they had breakfast. Nobody said much. What they did say just made Julie have more disdain for him. But mostly it was silent and eye averting.

    I guess that's better than a fight or harsh words. My kids, minus 37, are more apt to clam up than to give it a shout out.

    My ex was probably very disappointed, but you can't force it. I only know Julie's side of the story. She and Scott were very close growing up and he depended on her social skills a lot because he was very shy. He liked to take her with him to parties so he could loosen up. Scott's wife, after she met him, wanted him to herself and was jealous of his relationship with his sister. So she told him to pull away and he allowed her to influence him to do it. Drama, drama, drama.

    Ex has not once, since that disasterous breakfast, tried to make the two of them come together for his sake.

    But there are parents, and ex is one, who thinks he can influence his grown kids. He really isn't THAT controlling, but he has his moments.

    Needless to say, we have all our holidays without Scott, by his wife's choice. And he goes along with her. Or agrees with whatever she thinks of us for whatever reasons she thinks it (shrug). It is what it is.
  11. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Stress Bunny,

    Hi - just want you to know I'm sending my support and empathy your way.

    It seems like you're in a no-win situation. JT and your sister are setting you up to look foolish on Thanksgiving. I don't think JT wants to get together to "give thanks" and be around his loving family in the true spirit of the holiday, do you? Your Mom & Dad, however, and Bubby, want that very much, and you want to share that with them as well.

    It seems like not going at all is not an option. If you go, you may be humiliated. If it's not feasible to do a pre-Thanksgiving enjoyable get-together with your Mom, Dad and Bubby, and skip the actual day that JT will be there with his girlfriend, then you can go this once and exit if it gets weird. Either way, you'll be blamed. No good deed goes unpunished, does it? If things are unpleasant, and your parents see it for themselves, then any holidays to follow can be shared separately with your parents. That seems like a good compromise. If your sister is offended, that would be a shame, but you're not here for her distorted entertainment. If she was a decent person, she should have your back. It's a shame that JT and your sister are manipulating both your parents and you and hijacking the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Sending understanding hugs...
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  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I get this.

    It isn't that anyone needs to dress formally, but it is part of Thanksgiving to honor and to remember gratitude, right? It isn't just another reason to party. And I get the thing about the girlfriend at Thanksgiving dinner, too. Maybe for him to bring her for dessert, after she has had dinner with her own family.

    None of this happened for me, either.

    One time, just as we were getting into all this? We had Thanksgiving upstairs in the dining room for extended family. difficult child daughter, who was only about fourteen then, had done well through dinner, and had some friends over after dinner. They were downstairs, in the family room...and one of them, a male, began barking and howling like a wolf.

    It was one of our weirdest Thanksgivings.

    You can imagine.

    We still had something like 20 people upstairs.

    I felt like I was in Christmas Vacation.


    I'm sorry he twists the knife like that.

    What do you do, how do you talk to and take care of yourself, when he says something so tailored to hurt?

    Ha! I get this one, too. Everyone in our family and most people in our neighborhood too, given that I had been such a snooty, know it all kind of mom, believed themselves ten thousand times better, smarter, kinder, and more patient than way too formal me.

    After all, their kids were fine.

    But I was so broken when it all began to crash and burn that, like you, I had no defense.

    The dream was broken, and it would be a desperate twenty years until I admitted it was gone.

    It would be years and years until I understood that I was not responsible, that there wasn't some essential missing piece to my mothering that made it impossible for my kids to walk the paths husband and I had cleared for them.

    By that time, by the time I knew that?

    Each of the members of our extended families had taken their shot at straightening first difficult child daughter and then, difficult child son, out. They had failed too, of course. As we finally do learn, here on the site, the kids are the ones making the choices. We can tell them not to do that until we are blue in the face.

    And all we get for that is blue in the face.

    I'm sorry, I forgot where I was going with this.

    I think siblings sometimes have us on such a pedestal that they can't help but take us down. I think they never understand, until we have finally turned away, that the pedestal was of their own making.

    She does. Where you or I feel tender or protective toward a younger sibling, the younger sibling, I think, needs to knock you off that pedestal she put you on before she can even see who you are.

    This may take a lifetime.


    I think you are not overreacting. These things happen, just as you've described, to so many of us, here on the site. The issue, for you and for us, is how to respond, how to see it for what it is and not make that the real reality. I don't mean to sound like a goofball here, but can you see the hurt underneath the sister's actions?

    You have come a far way, in that you can admit to yourself that you have been hurt.

    There can be compassion for how impossibly hard it is to be human. If you look for it, you will see that.

    Your sister will only see it if she looks for it. Right now, she will not look there, because she is needing to knock you off that pedestal she put you on in the first place.

    It is a hard thing, to be human.

    Told you I would sound like a goofball.


    This is very true. It is hard to keep that perspective when it hurts.

    It is a very hard thing, to be able to do what we all do. We need to acknowledge that, and hold ourselves with compassion, and trust ourselves to know we will try to do what is right.

    That is a very lonely place to be.

    I like this advice, very much. A time away from time for you and husband will be so good for both of you. Duty first, do your best, and a time away, a time to recuperate.

    That was very good advice, Nomad.


    Bless and cherish yourself and husband. These are very hard things. And once Thanksgiving has come and gone?


    But how good it would be to know you were doing a getaway with husband after the holidays.

  13. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Since you have time before the actual Holiday practice saying simple things that shut things down. Example: sister says something inappropriate so you find a simple word or line that shows that you understand that she is trying to get to you say as in "oh really" and then nothing else. Or "Did you really mean that to be so offensive?" Also you can prepare yourself by reviewing past situations that pushed your buttons. As you review these see the what's and how's that got you to react and prepare yourself to "duck and cover" when people try to push your buttons. Being overly kind and calling people out in a nice way on their BS takes the whole fun out of the games they are playing with you.
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  14. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I opted out of the Norman Rockwell (not) holiday gatherings many years ago. I do not do well with extended family drama. I have enough of it in my own nuclear family. I used to gather with my family of choice ( friends who felt the same way) and had a blast. My son enjoyed these non judgmental gatherings. His behavior, lack of scholastic success, and my obvious poor parenting, were not the table conversation. Let them find someone else to dissect. My son did not suffer from lack of family contact.

    I now spend my holidays with my favorite person- me. I go somewhere nice or not.

    Your younger son wanting to visit with family is understandable. I think that you are taking the high road by putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If your family refuses to see JT for what he is so be it. Sisters are highly overrated. If she were not your sister, would you want a relationship with her?
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Pasajes4, I needed your post this morning. In the midst of all this medial stuff, MY SISTER TEXTED ME! She is the one who usually talks to me for a few months than opts out for mnths or years and thinks the stuff in her toilet doesn't stink. What a good question. If I didn't have DNA relations to her, would I want to know her? NONONONONO! That applies for most of my DNA family. Thank you for bringing up that sisterhood and any form of DNA is overrated and just drummed into our heads that we HAVE to love them, when often there is such negativity going on there.

    I love my quiet holidays. There is absolutely not judging, comparing, underlying meanness or jokes at anyone's expense. I don't feel demeaned by anyone. I don't have to eat fast and hope the evening passes quickly, like I used to do. Or hide in the bathroom with a book for as long as I could get away with it.

    There is something to be said for starting your own traditions and making your own happy choices so that you can enjoy the holidays. This is hard to do when family "expects" you to show up. It is all a matter of what you can handle, what you feel is the right thing to do, and how bad it really is to be in the middle of the family drama. Some families all get along very, very well and are loving and kind to one another. I do not know too many people who feel this way about their family. Most tell me, "Can't wait for the holidays to get over."

    Nothing changes if you don't change it.

    Just food for thought :) Thanks again, pasajes4. Your posts are short, but often so full of insight.
  16. jnkyle6

    jnkyle6 New Member

    Unfortunately some of us don't ever fit well in our biological families. During holiday get togethers the same old roles and behaviors continue on from the past. For me, if I keep my expectations in check and make sure my own self esteem is strong through the holidays I fare better. I just unfortunately need to arrive prepared. They do not determine who I am today. Regarding family getting involved. That type of triangular conversing is typical of families with problems. Stressbunny it is not easy at all. I went to my granddaughters birthday party arriving at the party site while the rest of the family arrived at my daughters house and arrived together. We weren't invited. Sad and hurt. However, I must build a life that apparently won't include her at this time. They must mature to appreciate us. I can provide an ear through the holidays.
  17. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Hi SB, I haven't been on here lately bc I'm dealing with difficult child's worst situation yet (just when you think things are looking up, right?) but wanted to chime in about the holiday stress.

    I think we all feel it to some degree, if we have a difficult child. You hold your breath for no meltdowns. You don't want certain relatives to know certain things about difficult child. You feel the need to protect elderly relatives from knowing what difficult child has pulled now-it would crush them, break their hearts, and possibly cause their demise. Although you're glad for the get together, there is a great deal of pretense and downright deception. At least, this is how I'm feeling anyway.

    So you're not alone dreading the holidays. Hope it goes better than expected for us all.
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I like this.


    I will use this.

    Oh, please don't believe that, pasajes. I was so focused on finding and fixing that I lived a life very different than the one I might have risked reaching for. In the end? I learned what I learned. Given that we have such troubled children, we are probably among the most loving, committed parents on the planet.

    You did nothing to cause this, pasa.

    You loved your child.

    Not to steal thunder here? But mine has been calling. And she keeps calling. At first, I answered. Then, I stopped answering. I feel rude to continue doing that, so I will be picking up again, I just know it. husband says that without a victim to take down, the dynamic between my mother and my sister doesn't work as well.

    It's confusing.

    I don't want to think about it, but find that I am.

    Or during any get together.

    I seem to walk around regretting that I did not do whatever it was better in pretty much every aspect of my life. I am noticing this about myself, and just trying to accept that real humans strive for and may attain happiness, contentment, joy...but probably, not approval.

    Not unlimited approval, especially not from ourselves. I know all the dark and creaky places, the times I did not do the right thing ~ or did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

    It's a funny thing, but I am beginning to see that those values ~ happiness, contentment, joy...those things are free for the taking.

    Approval, on the other hand, is very pricey.

    Like any addiction.