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Dec. 18th, 2010 @ 01:03 pm Guilt Trips by my Family
I'm more or less refusing to go home for the holidays this season due to the fiasco that happened when I went home for Dad's wedding. So far all the conversations have devolved into guilt tripping me and saying I'm selfish. Here are some of the reasons why it's critical that I go home for Christmas. Note: other family members are not getting this guilt tripping, only me.

I don't have kids
I don't have a family here
I'm not 'really married'
It's my fault for moving so far away
It's my fault for being so 'sensitive' to my family's constant political vomitting at the dinner table

So now they've managed to plant a seed of guilt in my stomach. I spend the entire night last night throwing up from the stress. It also proves without a doubt that my relationship is not considered 'real' by my family. It makes me sick, even moreso when it's obvious they don't even realize the harm of this and still don't get it if I explain WHY it hurts.

Why do I let them do this to me?
About this Entry
Pathiaicon
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From:marchenland
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
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I think you should change your phone number and not tell them the new one. *hugs*
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From:shaydenekokoro
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
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It's a cruel and disconnecting move, but I kind of agree.
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From:marchenland
Date:December 19th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
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I wouldn't suggest it under normal circumstances, but this year they have been so hard on Pathia, and now they pull this, too? Enough.
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From:wolfwings
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
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Everyone has a right to be selfish in their own self-interest. So it doesn't matter if you're being selfish or not, that's a false argument. Admitedly, this is coming from someone who advocates measures up to and including adult adoption to formalize breaking ties with birth-families if one finds a 'chosen' family one fits better with.
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From:pathia
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
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I have no need or desire to take it to that extreme a level.
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From:ff00ff
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
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I think you're being very selfish for not coming to spend Christmas with me here in Phoenix. Too good for your casual acquaintances?


In seriousness though, you don't owe anything to anyone who belittles your relationship that way. Someone who would do that doesn't get to be the judge of selfishness for damn sure.
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From:xander_opal
Date:December 18th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
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*hugs*
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From:elka_woof
Date:December 18th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I've got a kid on the way. I'd be happy to let you borrow them for an evening, if you ever wanted to shock the folks. As far as family goes, what they're saying about you wouldn't be able to sting if you didn't have some of yourself tied up in what they think of you. Why is what they are saying important to you?
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From:hgryphon
Date:December 18th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
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I have to ask, why the hell do you let them contact you? Change your phone number, change your email, don't open their letters, problem solved.
From:silussa
Date:December 18th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
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You only grew up with them and were nurtured by them. Relied on them for many years.

The problem is, you've changed and grown; they haven't.

Sometimes, when that happens, one has to part company. That isn't easy, given the emotional investment.

Time for you to write your OWN traditions for the solstice, and to ***** with them.
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From:twentythoughts
Date:December 18th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
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You've let them do it to you because they're family. Friends, one would cut off more easily. With family, that's never easy, whether or not one feels that it should be.

There are lots of people who spend their holidays with friends instead of family, even without the stressful relationship you've got with your family. You know this already, but you have every right and reason to spend Christmas in an environment where you're welcome, without having to deal with stress. If there's ANY holiday where one deserves a break from stress, it's this one.
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From:murrday
Date:December 19th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
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It is so not your fault! There you are, trying to live your life in the way that's right for you, and all they're doing is giving you so much stress it's literally making you sick. What's wrong here is *not* you. It's the stress!

It looks clear, from here, that doing what they want would be harmful to you. Pleasing them is not an option. Nothing that's healthy for you will content them. So doing what you have to, to protect yourself and insure your own survival, is what's necessary to focus on now.

I made a break from my birth relatives years ago, when I realized that holidays with them were making me miserable, and I deserved happiness, and peace. (As a vegetarian, I really didn't want to spend hours in front of a dead bird any more, for one thing. And the infighting was not comfortable either.)

I would take a holiday from the phone and e-mail, myself. Communicate by good old fashioned surface mail, because you can leave that sit until when, or if, you're ready to deal with it.

If it were me, in a nice card, I would write down what my decisions are, using I messages. Perhaps,
I have decided to stay on the west coast this year. My decision is firm. I am taking a break from telephone and e-mail discussions until (sometime in January or whenever works for you.) Then mail it, and stick to it. Program all family numbers to go directly to voicemail, and delete those messages without listening to them, until after New Years.

Do whatever it takes to get yourself through this holiday as sanely and healthily as you can. Fix yourself
some comfort food, snuggle in a warm blanket, have a nice hot bath or shower, watch a dragon movie, whatever helps you feel relaxed and calm.

And remember you are a woman of worth and courage. You deserve the good in life. Send the other
stuff packing. Hugs, Peg




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From:spazfox
Date:December 19th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
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I am shitty at giving advice because I'm blunt. What I'm about to say is going to sound really mean; you need to stop martyring yourself to your family out of misplaced obligation.
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From:rattrap
Date:December 19th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
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Only going to give you one piece of advice. Do what's best for you.

*hug*
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From:seritaph
Date:December 19th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
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Because you really wish they were a family to you, instead of strangers out to get something from you.
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From:cyriljackal
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)
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Do you listen to what anyone says to you? Its like you eat up pain and live on it. It's horrible.
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From:ff00ff
Date:December 19th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
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Stupid troll, she's venting. It's the internet. How much advice do you follow that you get on the internet? How many abusive relationships with people who have power over you have you tried to escape?
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From:cyriljackal
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
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I have known her many years and am speaking what I'be seen. At a point you need to tell friends to save themselves.
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From:pathia
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
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I was raised Catholic.
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From:cyriljackal
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
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I broke away from that early. don't let that rule you now. They're terrible to you. you don't need them. u haven't ditched friends Over far worse shit.
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From:lupinekassidy
Date:December 19th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
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Forgive the length of the response; it was necessary to provide you an answer. It may not be as concise as some or as straightforward as others, but it's heartfelt, to try and provide a measure of understanding to you as to why everyone seems to be acting the way they are and how they feel about you. The most important thing, for you, that needs to be said is this: Your Family Does Not Hate You. They are not against you, though it may seem like it because of the positions they take and the words they say.

As for why they say these things? Because, at the end of everything, they're reacting to a situation that they can't understand, that they never developed any reason to believe, and that goes against everything that's already in their heads about 'what's right', which is to say, those social norms that they are ingrained with. They are, when it comes down to it, acting human; even though it's you, they can't reconcile their emotions for you and their "knowledge" that what you're doing is somehow wrong or misguided, and all of these words are jointly ways to address their own discomfort at a situation they cannot reconcile and an attempt, however unaware they are at doing it, to enforce within you those same social norms that they believe.

It is most likely they're not aware of this part. From their perspective, they simply see you doing the 'wrong' thing and want to try and help you. They don't really realize that it's not helpful, and they don't really realize that they're causing you pain. Moreover, as mentioned, they're *human*; if you tell them 'this hurts me when you do this' it'll trigger off a chain of behavior in which you're the bad one, mostly because they're trying to reconcile what's 'right' and the notion that they're hurting someone they care about, which typically ends up with harsh words and fighting as a means to try and reconcile mounting stress due to the dissonence of doing these things.

That said... "Fault" isn't a word I can use here. It implies intention, and all this stupid, all this harm, all this stress they're causing you, it's not done with the intention of hurting you. It's not really done intentionally at all. This pain, absurdly so, is just a reaction on their part, almost as involuntary as a reflex. In its way, it's not really about you; you're just the poor soul who gets to deal with all of it.

As for why this hurts you and why you can't help but listen and be hurt? Because they're still your family. They're still a peer group that you listen to and respond to. That you can't keep the emotions from hurting you isn't wrong or doesn't mark you out as different or outcast. This is the core of being social, though admittedly taken to a level that is almost unbearable. They are, and will likely remain for a very long time, your family, the people you learned how to behave from, from who you learned how to be in the first place (even if not who you are today, having developed far beyond the simple measures of their norms), and it is very likely that you will always feel this pain when they express their disapproval, dealing with the stress of being true to yourself conflicting with their disapproval and that ingrained response, uncontrollable, of wanting to behave socially within your clade.

All of this pain, all of this stress and anger and everything: it's because everyone involved in this is human, subject to the patterns dictated by our brains. I imagine this may be cold comfort, at best; I can't provide you any solutions because there are none to provide short of metaphorically cutting yourself off from a chunk of what makes you who you are, both in the sense of being yourself and in the sense of separating from those who have been there to help you develop and still do so, even if you don't want the negative influence provided any longer.

I just hope this helps, for what it's worth.
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From:viqsi
Date:December 19th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
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This is pretty much what I was going to say, so I'll just add my endorsement and my hopes that you get through this latest episode OK.
From:funkybomb
Date:December 21st, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
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Intent is not magical--that they may not mean any harm does not make it hurt less. Her family's actions and words are causing her serious emotional distress, and they are either ignorant of why, or they simply do not care--either way, they ARE at fault. She shouldn't have to take this shit from anyone, least of all her family.

If it were me, I'd deliver an ultimatum: start showing respect, or get used to not having me around. I realize, though, that this can be a very difficult thing to say to one's family, but I don't know what else to do. :(

Just remember that this is their problem, not yours, Pathia. None of this is your fault.
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From:jirris_midvale
Date:December 19th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
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As someone who fired a family member over less, I agree with most of what was said of this thread.

They don't seem to respect you as a person, why let them continue harming you? Insults are a gift; if one does not accept them, to whom do they belong?
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From:murrday
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Insults are a "gift"? Then mercy save all of us from such "gifts"!
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From:paka
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
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You lived with these people for how many years, specifically the first chunk of your life? I hope you are able to cut yourself some slack for feeling stressed out like this; if anyone's going to be good at pressing your buttons, it's them.
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From:murrday
Date:December 19th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
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We've talked a lot about what's not working, this holiday season. Perhaps we can also share what positive nurturing customs we have developed with out families of choice. I go to the local thrift shops and look for one unique special ornament to remind me of the year, or I make one. This year, I found a rainbow colored disco ball. I know this is a small thing. Yet it gives my housemate and me some smiles. And feeling good is what the holidays are meant to be about, so it is getting back to more of the actual spirit of things. Friends and I drive around town one night to look at the Christmas lights. I make wreaths myself, and hang them up in the living room. I make silly tinsel decorations for the evergreen bush beside the front door. I go to my hometown Christmas parade, and wave to friends who are on the floats or marching in one of the groups. I choose my own
holiday menu that suits my specific food tastes. I give holiday cards to my friends, the vendors at the Farmer's Market. I get online and talk with my grandson by choice Tamoso, as he prepares for exams, in Bangladesh.

I do things that connect me to the holiday season in new and nurturing ways.

Others who are building families by choice, what customs are you all creating? Perhaps by sharing, we can help each other reconnect to this season in good ways.
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From:bikerwalla
Date:December 19th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Hi,
Just stopping by, browsing friends' friends.

I know we haven't talked much, but I don't have an answer for your last question.

Ask yourself what are you going to give up if you choose not to go home, and if you choose to spend the holidays with people who make you happy.

I had to keep my parents at arm's length when I got old enough, and eventually I told them I was happy to consider their freely given advice while making my own damn life decisions.

They're trying to apply behavioral normalization. It's the classic grade school "pick on the different kid until he stops being so different and just blends in" which obviously worked out great for all of us -- and while in the grown-up world it's done in the name of Jesus, or America, or Strong Moral Values, it's still the same. Why the hell would you voluntarily report in for another round of brainwashing?
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From:aliasisudonomo
Date:December 19th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
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"Why" is right.

They have no legitimate hold on you. The only reason you are associated with them is your mother and father fucked one night. Be done with them, if they cause you such pain!
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