lead up to a family gathering #recovery #mentalhealth #mentalillness

August 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Into the fire. I have decided to attend my family gathering on August 9. The truth is I could neither stay away nor feel safe about attending. I have organized myself so that I am attending with my grandson, and two of my nephews. They are all good friends to me, so I feel safe with them. I will also bring our senior fox terrier. He is a lot of fun and easy to hang out with.

Let’s see, what has happened so far? I have had a very honest conversation with Brother1 about the [summercabin] situation. I was able to ask him if he was ever in a group situation where he offered an idea or a solution that no one acknowledged and then later, when someone else offered the exact same idea and were celebrated for coming up with a good idea, his contribution was still not acknowledged. To my surprise, he said, yes, that is what happens to him at work everyday. . . I had no idea. He also told me that is what his wife goes through with her family. Oof. It was this disclosure that finally pushed me in the direction of attending the family gathering. I am lending him my support.

He went on to explain to me what I am supposed to do about my estrangement from Dad which is another variation of, “Suck it up, we are all upset with your relationship with Dad and we want you to fix it so we don’t have to feel uncomfortable.” But I was able to simply say, “That is not my interpretation of the situation, and that is not going to be my response. That is not the point I am making and I have a different take on the situation.” Then the call ended because he had to go. I felt good. I learned something about my brother that I would never have guessed in a million years, but now a whole cluster of baffling behaviours and attitudes I have observed are finally making sense. I am not crazy after all. I also felt good that I was able to hear out his analysis and interpretation of what to do when we face these difficult family situations, and I was able to say, “No, I don’t agree.” and leave it at that. Not angry, just matter of fact.

Next up, I heard my alcoholic brother was going to be bringing his two sons out to the gathering. But I know that those two young men have been deeply traumatized by Brother2’s lateness and no shows over their lifetimes. I could not bear the thought of them sitting and waiting for Brother2 to arrive, and him not showing up or showing up so late as to cause anxiety and even panic in my nephews. So I elected to give them a ride and made sure I was going to do that. I am happy to be driving out with them.

Now there are a flurry of emails flying back and forth because a family friend needs a ride to the event. But I don’t want to give him a ride for two reasons. First, he is living at our house and I am finding his conversation to becoming insufferable because it is all about his conspiracy theories and his work. Second, because I have 3 riders and it will be much more comfortable not to have to squish them all in the backseat. I wanted to enjoy the ride with my grandson and nephews, not get crammed into an uncomfortable tightness and then have to endure the drive to the party.

So I said, “Can’t we find someone else to take him?” Which brought to light the fact that both of brothers, Brother2 and Brother3, were planning on picking up Mom to take her out to the party. So I guess they will get that sorted out now that I have pointed it out. I know I am being selfish, but I really don’t want to give FamilyFriend a ride. I will make the best of it if I have to, but I don’t want to do it. This was most definitely new behaviour for me. I won’t leave him at the curb, but at least I will try to get what I want from the situation instead of automatically capitulating.

By the way, when Brother2 phoned me yesterday to make arrangements for the trip out, it was the first time he had called me in over a year. How strange. Of course, we will never talk about that gap. It will be treated as if it never happened. My family is so weird.

Onward.

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