Family get-together? Would you rather climb to the edge of a tall building? Maybe you feel like your putting yourself in a dangerous position every time you go to be with family?
Family Reunion Excuses
“Oh no, it’s another family reunion? I can find an excuse for this one, I think.”
“I can’t take another afternoon of being told how to raise my baby?”
“If my kid gets laughed at one more time I’m going to burst”!
“Why do they always have to point out I’m drinking again. Of course, I’m drinking again.
I don’t have to work today and I want to kick back and relax”!
“I wouldn’t mind another family reunion but there is always this big elephant
in the room that we can’t talk about and it drive’s me nuts”!
Hopefully, none of these apply to you. Sadly, many of us have at least a small part of these thoughts every year around the holidays or before every family reunion. And with good reason, we fight the very things we should be doing to make life easier for ourselves. Throughout childhood one of our siblings may have been abusive by making fun of or pointing out our flaws. Maybe our parents were neglectful, but now they expect us to show up for everything they plan? Or maybe they constantly think we are available to fix things for them when we can’t find the time to fix our broken things! Maybe it’s, “The money family members owe you could buy the new car you always wanted.”
To me, all these things seem equally good enough reason not to have the desire to want to participate. I for one am guilty of doing some things that didn’t make a family member feel too great when I was with them. And what I discovered, later on, was there was a lot of issues I had to take care of within myself before I could walk around acting like everybody else was in the wrong. In fact, not to brag, I do have a close family that experiences closeness and lots of fun gatherings, so I can’t complain.
One Easy Trick For A Happy Family Reunion
The one easy trick for enjoying your family time with adult siblings and parents is to “Let Go” This is a temporary fix and should only be used for a short time until you get to the bottom of issues that are causing the havoc within the family. Letting Go temporarily involves “cutting the strings” that get under your skin and make you angry, sad, neglected, left out, or hurt. I can’t express more than enough that you will only find real long lasting relief by going deeper into why you can’t happily go to be with family. But, letting go of all those issues that bring back the bad feelings, even if it means telling yourself you’re finished holding that grudge could be a first stepping stone to longer relief. When you are away from everyone, think about whether you can see the person who offended you so deeply as an imperfect person as yourself or whether you need to do something else to get over things.
Go and Focus on Your Behavior Only
Have you ever said something and almost immediately regret what you said and yet you were unable to express it? Could this be what someone else did to you? Whether or not this was the case, when you focus on your behavior it may help you to realize anything you might be saying to get things started. It might busy your brain with good intentions instead of judgment and criticism. It’s a good thing!
The Elephant In The Room
Is it possible that there is something you did that you feel horrible about every time you’re with family? What if there is a possibility that the people you think are judging you aren’t? Maybe they are feeling annoyed because they can’t get over the fact that you never apologized?
I wouldn’t suggest making it the primary focus of the party, but maybe sometime before you could talk to someone in the family, and just tell them honestly how you feel about what you did. Maybe there are some things they need to know to put things into perspective. A heartfelt apology from anyone is a big, big, plus in my book and I think most people will respect it, but they can tell if you aren’t truly sorry. That could make things worse.
Is the issue that you think somebody should apologize to you? Forgiveness is not an easy thing. I remember people telling me I needed to forgive someone and I always said, How? They would tell me just to forgive. That wasn’t good enough for me. I had been hurt a few times over by this person, and there was no remorse from them. Finally, I figured out that looking at things from their perspective could help. I don’t mean only the things you can see. There are plenty of things in everybody’s life that we don’t talk and hide. Those hidden things might be at the core of why the person behaves the way they do. Also, if they don’t care that we are holding a grudge, aren’t we only hurting ourselves?
Then there is the “thing” that someone is doing, and no one is telling them directly to their face what the family thinks of that “thing.” Well….this may sound easier than it is but, don’t talk about each other behind each other’s back. Go privately to that person and tell them you are concerned about something, and maybe your not seeing the whole picture, but, you don’t think it’s a good thing and why. It’s easier said than done. And maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all. Sometimes people need to go through the natural order of things before they get it and by you letting that happen, they may be better for it.
Above all, if something in your family is deeply disturbing to you, and you aren’t sure how you should deal with it, talk to a therapist. You may resolve it in one hour, and it could give you peace of mind that you deserve. Oh, and don’t be embarrassed to talk to a therapist about anything. They’ve heard it all. They’ve been prepared for the worst of stories and are not going to pass judgment on you. They want to help you. If telling someone else, you are seeking help is going to cause them to be critical, don’t tell anyone. Too many people have refrained from getting help from a professional and after time the “thing” that’s causing them to feel a certain way, has a way of blowing up in a really, really, bad way.
Take it from someone who has experienced therapy. It’s worth it.
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