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Old 12-14-2008, 05:25 AM
 
90 posts, read 190,320 times
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Default Do you get together with relatives you do not like at Christmas?

Every Christmas my brother and I get together with relatives we do not like for Christmas. Why? Because of history. We have been getting together with them for our entire life (over 50 years) and it is expected.

Because my Aunt and her children (my cousins) know we are coming and take us for granted, they are cold, distant, aloof, and uncommunicative. No matter how hard we try the conversation is strained and we feel ill at ease. My cousins do not want to be there and they spend most of their time looking at their watches, arms crossed in a defensive way and say as little as possible. Getting my Aunt to say anything is like pulling teeth. You can cut the tension with a knife.

With this in mind should we:

Tell them we are busy this year (for the first time in 50 years)

Try to engage them in a discussion on why things are so tense? (It has never happened and all issues are unspoken)

Continue to attend this annual event and put in our time?
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:15 AM
 
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Forego the discussion; you'll only get defensiveness and a stone wall. It sounds as though no one is happy anyway with these get-togethers, so just don't go. They'll talk about you just the same as other years.
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:54 AM
 
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Do you two go to make your mother or anyone else happy? Is there anyone you like who would be dissappointed if you don't go? If not, then I'd just quit going.
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:05 AM
 
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I'd personally bring the topic up. No one is getting any younger and living the rest of your life without relative communication leads to more distance. I would bring it up in a non-chalant manner, such as: "gee, every year we get together, but no one seems to be happy about it." There may have been something from a long distance past, that some relative didn't like about another relative and it had the trickle down effect.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Back Home In TN…YAY:):)
15,651 posts, read 15,018,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by political genius View Post
Every Christmas my brother and I get together with relatives we do not like for Christmas. Why? Because of history. We have been getting together with them for our entire life (over 50 years) and it is expected.

Continue to attend this annual event and put in our time?
50 years? And you've been miserable and this is the first time you have your own thoughts on this? You say you do this for history well that's why some people vote party lines and go to church. It's the way it is in their family. At this point you might as well continue the charade. If you had only been doing it for a short time like 5 years and learned you can't change them you might have had a shot. It's too late now.

Expected by who? Aren't you an adult capable of making your own decisions? Sometimes you just gotta move on.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
1,612 posts, read 2,036,341 times
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I try and avoid the holiday as much as possible. Soon as a holiday song comes on the radio, I change the station. I'm waiting for people from my past to come to me in the middle of the night and wake me up- take me to see others and maybe I'll get a little more into the annoying materialistic season. The only thing I do is send out cards, and I don't put any return address on them because I hate it when people send you a card just because they feel obligated. So no return address relieves them of the pressure.

Now, the reason I do not like the season is because I am estranged from both my parents, and the people that raised me never were into it so I'm living through experience. Maybe one day if and when I get married, have a family my thoughts and emotions will change. Till then, I hate it with great passion-

Baaaaa humbug !!
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Back Home In TN…YAY:):)
15,651 posts, read 15,018,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImCurlybelle View Post
I try and avoid the holiday as much as possible. Soon as a holiday song comes on the radio, I change the station. I'm waiting for people from my past to come to me in the middle of the night and wake me up- take me to see others and maybe I'll get a little more into the annoying materialistic season. The only thing I do is send out cards, and I don't put any return address on them because I hate it when people send you a card just because they feel obligated. So no return address relieves them of the pressure.

Now, the reason I do not like the season is because I am estranged from both my parents, and the people that raised me never were into it so I'm living through experience. Maybe one day if and when I get married, have a family my thoughts and emotions will change. Till then, I hate it with great passion-

Baaaaa humbug !!

I am sorry for that. Holidays are very hard for a lot of people. To me they just aren't important. It is one day that is chosen, picked or celebrated by the masses because hey it's what we do. I choose to make everyday in my life a holiday so all my days have the potential of being great.

I send out the cards and we do stuff for the kids and grandchildren but that's it.

Maybe one day you will have your family and make your own traditions but for now don't worry about it.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:19 AM
 
90 posts, read 190,320 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestCobb View Post
Do you two go to make your mother or anyone else happy? Is there anyone you like who would be disappointed if you don't go? If not, then I'd just quit going.
No, these people have died.

If we said after all these years that we were busy and made up excuses that would make us guilty of the same passive aggressive approach to conflict that they are doing.

But on the other hand I have few positive examples where trying to talk out your issues with someone has been successful, outside of my my spouse which is a more intense relationship where continued conflict or avoidance does not work.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
1,612 posts, read 2,036,341 times
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What's fascinating to me is I have a few "Good" friends, however, at the holidays they all scatter and forget about the single people-

If you want to do something thoughtful this year, invite a single person who may have noone over for Christmas, or Christmas Eve- what's one more person at the table? All my friends scatter- they are so into their own families they forget about those who have no one. It's sad to me.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:33 AM
 
Location: NJ
7,106 posts, read 12,891,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by political genius View Post
Every Christmas my brother and I get together with relatives we do not like for Christmas. Why? Because of history. We have been getting together with them for our entire life (over 50 years) and it is expected.

Because my Aunt and her children (my cousins) know we are coming and take us for granted, they are cold, distant, aloof, and uncommunicative. No matter how hard we try the conversation is strained and we feel ill at ease. My cousins do not want to be there and they spend most of their time looking at their watches, arms crossed in a defensive way and say as little as possible. Getting my Aunt to say anything is like pulling teeth. You can cut the tension with a knife.

With this in mind should we:

Tell them we are busy this year (for the first time in 50 years)

Try to engage them in a discussion on why things are so tense? (It has never happened and all issues are unspoken)

Continue to attend this annual event and put in our time?
I don't get what's going on..
Who is having the Christmas at their house, is it the aunt?
Do they invite you?
Almost sounds like they didn't but you show up anyway?

Stay home. You're married now, invite your brother to your house.
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