The holidays are a time when families get together. With dread, one is summoned to the home that has been designated to host the gathering. To refuse is to invite harsh criticism. To join in the festivities is to induce self-misery. A no-win situation.
Luckily, this is not the case for me. With my Mom’s dementia, the family stays away in droves. Maybe it is the fear of catching passive dementia? Whatever? I am grateful for the peace and so, I assume, is my Mom.
It was brought to my attention by others, who have extended family, that to not accept the dynastic offerings would lead to exile or worse. Therefore, foregoing their own happiness must take second place to the false impression of family unity.
Having never been a pleaser, it boggles the mind to think that one’s kith and kin will treat their own with such disrespect. We are all born into families that are not our choice. We do not have to like them. Nor should we ever be forced to suffer their company if we select a different option. Yet, sometimes I think it is the pleaser who have it wrong and that the other members of the family could care less whether they participate.
There is this ‘social-media’ filter which represses one’s true nature in fears of upsetting another. And it is invading the family dynamic. If we cannot be ourselves with blood relations, we are doomed as a species. No one will forgive like members of our own.
Hiding who we really are is wasteful and, quite frankly, hard work. As stated above ‘we do not have to like each other’. The important thing is to be open and honest. Especially, with those closest to us.
‘To thine own self be true’. That being said, it does not give one leave to be nasty or hurtful. There are ways of refusal which are accepted unquestioningly. Figure them out. Use them.
Being candid and aboveboard will gain you the respect needed to live amicably within the clan of your forefathers. If you are, still, forced to attend one of these functions, lighten up and enjoy. This, too, shall pass.