Another holiday season is upon us. You’ve already made it through part one, so congrats on that. Still in one piece, terrific. Pat yourself on the back. I want to share a bit about how I made it through mine – and it was alot like the stance Pacifists take – just refusing to engage. (for other strategies see “Embrace the Chaos”)
Minefield one: family visit by a person who can get set off easily, especially by her siblings. It can be so easy to take sides when both are looking for enforcements for their battle. Just refused to engage. Voila, they worked it out just fine. I give much much credit to sibling one, the oldest, who seems to have figured out something major in the last year, namely, how to let stuff go. The biggest challenge with her up to now was days of sulking, huffing, storming off, etc. Something has really changed. She left the room, spoke to her husband, and came back as if nothing had occurred. Sibling two also then acted normal, and we all had a better time. I avoided taking sides. This was a new dynamic, and much more pleasant for all. Dancing.
Minefield two: My son tried to start something with me about how “often” I was texting him, so he called to see what was “wrong”, I’m sure anticipating drama. I just said nothing was, and everything was fine. He was ready to start a battle, I didn’t engage, and this also passed.
Minefield three: Family thanksgiving, my parents and brother not speaking, not a word. Not my problem. Pretend you don’t notice, and don’t reply if someone brings it up. It passes. And thanksgiving 2016 is over without drama, without tears, without anger. If you think this was so easy, let me give you a recap of what I could have gotten upset about:
1. My eldest (stepdaughter) in from out of town with her children, refusing to let us make any plans for her, controlling her activities, including having her mother and grandmother for a whole day at our house, during which I was expected to be gone. My plans got canceled, so I joined them. Oh well. It was fine.
2. My husband telling me I couldn’t have the cleaning lady at the house that day, because it could make them uncomfortable. Insisting she not come. Oh well, he lost. No way I was going along with that.
3. My eldest declining to go along to see her newly born niece, via my son. How much does that suck? Her children would have loved seeing the baby and their dogs.
Sad for us all. I can’t tell her that she said something unbelievably hurtful to his wife some years ago when she was intoxicated and in the middle of another family drama fighting with everyone during a family vacation, so that’s the reason they’ve been cold to her ever since, she has no idea. It won’t ever be repaired, not my problem. I can’t fix it.
And that’s just one tip of one iceberg. I guess there are many within every family and every family event is a choice to engage or avoid engagement. My advice, keep dancing as much as you can. Focus on the enjoyment, the grandchildren, whatever makes you smile. Dance away from the drama, and just keep moving. Then afterwards, you can think back to all those traps you avoided and congratulate yourself. You did it!