• Mon, Nov 25 - 3:00 pm ET

Holidays Are A Living Hell When You Don’t Get Along With A Relative

mariajpg

Life is too short to spend holidays with people who make you feel like shit. Repeat after me, I am an adult and get to choose who I am around, at all times, including the holiday season. I am an adult and get to choose who I am around, at all times, including the holiday season. 

I am so happy to be at a point in my life where I am fully at peace with who I need to spend the holidays with. I’m not quite sure why I allowed myself to suffer all of those years – but since I am certain there must be some of you who also have your holidays ruined by mean relatives – I am going to share my story.

For the last 15 years of his life, my father and I did not get along. Since he died, I’ve made peace with our relationship. I’ve forgiven both of us for being human and completely dropping the ball on the whole father-daughter thing. But when I look back on how I spent the holidays while he was alive, I just shake my head and think, Why?

He was your typical stubborn, old-school, Italian. Whatever the reasons were that we didn’t get along – and however much of it was his own fault – he would never admit to it. He much preferred the “intimidate into submission” route. I think my father intimidated everyone in the world but me. I was just too stubborn for his tactics to work; his large stature, silence and constant grimace did nothing but piss me off more. When his go-to tricks didn’t work – he would just flat-out ignore me.

I know my father loved me – but because of the aforementioned stubbornness and latent old-school anger, instead of letting things go – he just pretended I wasn’t there. I’m not kidding. I would show up to my Aunt’s house every year for Thanksgiving and subject myself to hours of my father being a passive-aggressive, silent bully and everyone pretending they didn’t notice. And every year I thought the same thing; “Why do I put myself through this?”

The ideal scenario would have been that we both would have just gotten over ourselves, talked things out, and moved on. For some reason, no matter how many times we tried – it never worked. My brother always insists that my father loved me most of all. I don’t doubt that with the hindsight and clarity that death brings. I just really think I reminded him of all of his parenting failures – the ones he hated himself for – and by default, the ones he ended up hating me for.

Share This Post:
  • Bethany Ramos

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have a totally toxic relationship with my father that can definitely be considered emotional abuse, and I haven’t seen him in 7 years. I’m sure that if we still had an active relationship, it would go a lot like your holidays did.

    There are some people that tell me “life’s too short blah blah blah, what if your father dies” whenever this topic comes up. I’m close to 100% confident that I’m never going to talk to him again until he dies, which does make me sad, but it’s also about self-preservation. I also don’t think it’s the grown child’s responsibility to try to fix their parents, but that’s another conversation altogether.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I would just do whatever you think you have to do for your own self-preservation – including figuring out whether it’s best for you to speak to him or not. I was glad my father and I were on speaking terms when he died, but our relationship was never repaired and probably never could be to be honest. I wrote about it a few years ago… http://guerrillamom.blogspot.com/2012/04/letter-to-my-dad-that-i-can-only-write.html

    • Bethany Ramos

      That was a really beautiful post. I totally get where you are coming from, but… sometimes when people are crazy (my dad), they don’t want that connection, they just act like they do. My dad is the master of the ole bait and switch. He stalker emails, texts, and calls to say really weird stuff, but whenever I’ve tried to pursue or have an honest conversation, he flakes out or blows up. So he does enough so he doesn’t feel guilty but doesn’t want more, IMO. That’s why I’m at peace with my decision, for now.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Believe me – I understand. This is going to sound awful, but it was a huge weight off of my shoulders when my dad finally died.

    • Mel

      That’s not awful at all, Maria. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer and I was ashamed of myself for a sense of some relief. It’s a terrible feeling to think you’re as horrible as person as they are, but you’re not. You have to save yourself. Which I know from personal experience is SO much easier said than done. I’m trying to get there. Fortunately (or un depending on who you’re talking to) he’s going to be fine. So, now I get to deal with all new conflicting emotions. It’s exhausting.

    • meteor_echo

      It’s not awful. I have at least one relative whose death I’m going to actually quietly celebrate. The woman is so toxic, even my abusive father avoids her.
      It’s normal to feel relief when the people who torment us are gone.

    • Kelly

      When people say, “What if he dies?” to me about my father, I tell them I’ll throw a party and ask if they want an invite.

    • FaintlyXMacabre

      THANK YOU. This is why its impossible to talk about parental estrangement. People assume that you’ll regret cutting ties “eventually”. I hate having to justify myself.

    • Kelly

      You’re so welcome. I hate the reaction I get when people find out about my estrangement. I’s because there are a lot of dipshits out there who think if you don’t associate with your parents you’re just an immature, spoiled brat.

      Right, because all grown up, down to earth, good people love associating with a wife beating, child abusing sociopath who enjoys torturing and killing cats. Right….

      We shouldn’t have to defend ourselves. People should just get it through their thick skulls already that not all parents are awesome, loving people.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I have a strained relationship with my father. It gets toxic when I relax my boundaries, so I keep him at a distance. Just because someone is your parent does not mean they have earned a place in your life. A good or decent or okay parent, yes. But an actively bad parent? No, I do not believe there is an obligation there. When we are born we are not automatically signed up for a lifetime of painful relationship interactions with anyone.
      When your dad does die someday, you may feel any number of things you don’t expect. Regret may be one of them. But regret comes in many forms, such as regretting things couldn’t have been different.
      I’ve been considering that eventuality with my own father, more so because my mom is gone; I don’t think about parents dying as an abstract. I’ve lived it. And still I don’t consider it reason enough to force an unhealthy relationship. Self preservation is 100% fair.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Such a good point.

  • ted3553

    I firmly believe that since we don’t choose our family, we don’t have to keep them. I have family members that I like more than others (and I know they feel that way about me too). I don’t feel that I have to spend time with someone I really don’t like and especially when they are as toxic or poorly behaved as your father. Just because you’re related to me doesn’t mean I have to excuse your poor and sometimes terrible behaviour.

  • TheGiantPeach

    I agree so much that life is too short to spend holidays with terrible people, but here’s my problem. I don’t want to miss out on the holidays with all the relatives that I love and want to see just to avoid that one person I can’t stand. My grandma’s 75 and won’t have that many more Thanksgivings, so I want to spend every one she has left with her. At the same time, my sister makes me want to slap her face every time she opens her mouth. It’s not easy for me to make the decision that I’ll just skip Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family to avoid seeing her. It may come to that though, and that makes me sad.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Yeah – that totally sucks when one person is the destroyer of joy. Ugh.

    • Katherine Handcock

      This is just a thought to toss out there, but could you visit with your Grandma at a different time? Of course Thanksgiving is special, but the really special thing is spending time with the people you love, and the day is, in the end, just a day. I know that the holiday may give you necessary travel time, but seeing Grandma the day before, or having a special brunch the day after, might be a great way for you to still have time with her without having to deal with the family drama.

  • Kelly

    Good advice. This is why I have nothing to do with my parents anymore. I don’t deserve to feel like shit all the time just because I happened to be created by two assholes.

    • brebay

      Love this. You’re exactly right.

  • NeuroNerd

    I have a love/dislike relationship with several of my relatives, but nothing this bad. I really feel for all of you in this thread.

    My issue is that I have divorced parents while my boyfriend’s are still together. Boyfriend and I prefer to spend holidays with MY family, in particular my dad’s family, because it’s so low key. Otherwise, we’d just rather be by ourselves. His parents TOTALLY don’t get it, and I’m always self-conscious that they blame ME for their son not wanting to be there (never mind their own obnoxious behavior). As a result, I usually push him to spend at least one holiday with them per year.

    To be clear, we love his parents when it’s not a holiday, but something about the season just makes his whole family go a little …. coo-coo.

    • cabecb

      I can understand that. My mother had a difficult relationship with my father’s family. When it was a small group of people she was comfortable with, it was okay. If all of my dad’s sisters got together, it could get bad and weird. Family gatherings were not always fun because usually one of my aunts or all of them would do something to my mom. It got to a point where she became very choosy about what she would go to and who she would sit with. Now, my parents moved away from my dad’s family and she is happier.

  • Megan Zander

    Maria, thank you for your honesty. I agree with not surrounding myself with those who are mentally toxic, family related or otherwise. But, this is the first year that I have children for the holidays and I’m struggling with how to handle it. Do I keep my kids away from relatives I don’t speak with? Or is that unfair to the kids?

    • KB

      I struggled with the same thing — this is my daughter’s first Thanksgiving & I’ve had to make some tough decisions. Being pregnant with her actually gave me the final push I needed to cut my horribly toxic grandmother out of my life. Similar to Maria’s situation, my family chooses to ignore the hateful shit my grandmother says, but I just can’t do that. I also can’t imagine not spending holidays with my family like we’ve done for the past 15+ years. So I made it clear to my grandmother: she has no place in my or my daughter’s life, so if she shows up to family functions, she better stay far away from us. If/when she makes negative comments, I’m not going to sit & listen to that shit — I’m gonna call her out & she’ll shut up or I’ll leave.

      I just can’t subject my daughter to the same horrible things I witnessed from my grandmother when I was growing up. I always wished my mom protected me from her toxicity more — my mom’s reasoning was she wanted to let me decide for myself. I can kind of understand that, but I saw & heard so many things no kid should have to endure. My daughter will not go through that.

    • Mel

      I wish you the best of luck KB! I understand your feelings. I’ve got my toxic father and stepmother coming over Christmas (uninvited and staying with my sis and her fam) and I haven’t yet found the courage to opt out. My therapist who is wonderful has tried to tell me that I have the right to not be around mean people who hurt me. I hope to draw strength from stories like yours. The only thing holding me back is my nieces wondering why their aunt, who is there every time they turn around, suddenly doesn’t want to spend Christmas with them when their grandparents are there. It would be hard for everyone. Regardless, good for you and your kiddo! Happy Holidays :)

    • KB

      You absolutely have the right to choose not to be around toxic negativity. I really hate when people say that you can’t cut family out of your life — the hell you can’t! Shitty people don’t deserve a moment of our time. I can completely understand your reluctance to not spend Christmas with your nieces, though. That would be really tough for me, too.

      Thanks for your encouragement :) Good luck & Happy Holidays to you too!

    • Mel

      I know you’re right. I know it in my head. You, Maria, my therapist – you’re all absolutely right. I’m so grateful for the support and I know it’s up to me to decide. Gosh, it would be so much easier if we could just take a vote and you all would win :) Good for you for protecting yourself and your daughter. You should feel proud of that. She’ll be grateful down the road, even if she never truly knows it.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Good for you – I think it’s great that you are setting those boundaries for yourself and your kids.

    • FaintlyXMacabre

      You made an excellent and freeing decision. It took me 5 years to see the damage that my biomom had the potential to do–and was actually trying to do–to my daughter, and cutting her off has made me feel much happier/safer. My only regret is not telling her to fuck the fuck on off a lot sooner.

    • emerald67

      KB what kinds of things did your grandmother say to you?? was she manipulative ? did she make you feel guilty over things? my daughter can’t seem to do anything right for her grandmother either. if my daughter doesn’t talk to her she gets all bent out of shape. she makes her feel guilty for not calling and not visiting. she is 11 years old and they have been somewhat controlling. it gets very uncomfortable.. i have had arguements in front of my daughter with her.

    • KB

      She used to tell me horrible things about my parents, aunts/uncles, and my dead grandfather (her ex-husband) — things that were total lies. She would try to manipulate me into being “on her side”. She’s the kind of person who takes no responsibility for her actions & their consequences. She thinks people are shitty to her for no reason and she’s never done anyone wrong. Truly sick, delusional shit. She turned 70 this year and told many of my family members she plans on getting pregnant and having a baby — if that gives you an idea of how completely deluded she really is.

    • Kelly

      The way i see it is if someone is too toxic for me to interact with as an adult, they’re way to damaging to expose my kids to.

    • KB

      I wish I could upvote this 932478 more times.

    • brebay

      Couldn’t agree more. If you cut a relative out, there’s probably a damned good reason. Why would you expose your children to someone who’s too toxic for their adult parent to tolerate???

    • Megan Zander

      I agree, which is why my biological father doesn’t even know I have kids ( no small violins for me please, I have an amazing stepdad who adopted me last year while I was pregnant in part because he really wanted to be THE Grandpa) but the family member I had in mind while writing this is actually from my husband’s side of the family. And visiting requires extensive travel, so it’s not as though I could send him alone with the kids. We’ve discusses it and as for now, as long as the relationship with our children remains healthy, I won’t stand in the way. We leave Thursday morning, so I will see soon enough!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      That’s a tough one. I’ve never had to deal with this because my Dad died before I had my kids. If he was still treating me that horribly – I’m not sure I would bring the kids around. But honestly – I don’t really know what to say to that question.

    • pixie

      I sort of know where you’re coming from in the sense that I’m the child of someone with strained familial relationships. While my grandmother was alive, she kind of kept the family together, but now that she’s gone, I’m really surprised my dad is even considering speaking to his sister once the estate is done being settled. I’m in the situation where I grew up with this aunt, since she lived close by most of the time. She means well, but her relationship with my dad is very strained and has been their whole lives (whether or not she realizes it).
      I say maybe give it a shot, but watch how they act around your kids, ask your kids what they and that relative talked about when they’re old enough to express that. Obviously, if you think things are getting toxic, stop allowing them to have a relationship with your kids. My dad says he’ll continue talking to his sister for my sake, regardless of what I say, but it’s really hard sometimes seeing the added stress taking its toll on his body (he’s got bad arthritis and the stress of dealing with his sister makes it worse).
      But don’t insist on maintaining a relationship with this person for your kids’ sake. I don’t like seeing my dad get so stressed and be in more pain than he already is, and I’m sure your kids won’t like seeing you miserable from a toxic relationship.

    • M00

      I think it depends on the relative. I will be keeping my son away from his Aunt and Uncle this year (my brother and sister) which I am totally comfortable with as we hardly see them anyway.
      I will be taking him to see his Grandmother (my mother) on my own after the rest of the family has left and I will do the same with his Grandfather (my dad). I’m not incredibly comfortable with having any contact with my mother right now due to her third overdose attempt int he last 12 months. I recognise she has an illness however I am becoming more and more aware that it she does end up taking her own life, she is not the one left with the hurt and having to explain things to her grandkids. I guess you could say I am passively withdrawing from her.
      My parents would have to do pretty terrible things for me to keep my son from them and even if I were not happy with either one of them I would still allow them to see him however my brother and sister do not have the same emotional investment in my son so I have no problem with not seeing them.

  • LiteBrite

    One of my co-workers was talking about this same topic a couple of years ago. After years of being treated like shit by her MIL, she finally told her husband “No more.” She told him that he and the kids were welcome to visit MIL on the holidays, but she was done. She said once she made that decision, the holidays were much less stressful to a point where she started to look forward to and enjoy them once again.

    In her case, this was her MIL not her actual parent. I can imagine that would make the decision that much more difficult. But I also think, as you said, you need to do what is best for your own self-preservation.

  • kugie

    Wow, thank you for sharing this. It really hits home for me. My mother and I have a difficult relationship. It has gotten better since I moved (far) away from home, but sometimes we still have really bad moments. Had one a few days ago, in fact, and I did choose to ignore it because I felt that the anxiety of confronting her and knowing she would not relent or see things my way would not be worth it. So maybe sometimes it works the opposite of the way you suggest? I hope so, because I don’t want to have regret about our relationship. I try so hard not to initiate it, but sometimes she says things that are so mean, but if I dare to respond appropriately, (this week I said, “I…don’t know what to say to that” and she flew off the handle) she tells me I “take everything she says wrong,” or says “I’m sorry you feel that way,” which really hurts more than the original hurtful thing. I’m already nervous about seeing her at Christmas, and REALLY nervous about seeing *her* mother at Thanksgiving. Anyway…it is good to see that this is something a lot of people deal with. Helps me feel less guilty for not being super excited to talk to/see my family..

    • Mel

      Good luck to you, Kugie. I understand not being ready, willing, or able to break the bond with the toxic parent. Just b/c it’s the right decision for some, doesn’t make it right for you. If you’re able to just let her words roll off of you for the sake of preserving the relationship, such as it is, then you should. I think the only time it can be really advised to really break it off is when it makes you sick (physically or emotionally.) If you’re able to just take it and let it go, the that’s fantastic. If you let it rip you apart, like some of us spent years doing, then you should consider your needs above what you think you’re supposed to do. I hope it surprises you by going great! If not, then you can reevaluate your choices for next time.

    • kugie

      Thanks Mel. I have gotten a lot better about letting things roll off my back, but now I’m trying to figure out how to act outwardly. Like, inside my head I am thinking, OK that was awful but I’m gonna let it go…but then I don’t know what to actually *say* in order to avoid offending her. Because if I seem offended/annoyed/angered/hurt by something she says, she picks up on it and becomes hostile, saying I am taking her wrong. She has some serious guilt issues of her own which I think is why that happens…but still not sure how to deal with it in the moment and reeeeeally wish I didn’t have to!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      You know, my mom and I got along great until I moved to the same town. Something about being able to hang up the phone did wonders for our relationship. My mom says mean/passive aggressive/judgmental things all the time but claims to not realize she’s doing it. The worst.

    • Megan Zander

      I agree. My mom and I have always been close, but moving away three years ago has given me the space to appreciate her more and let the allegedly unintentional hurts go. Though I still hold a grudge over my sweet sixteen birthday gift- a fat analyzing scale. She still claims I misread her intentions,

    • Mel

      Are you my long-lost sister?!

    • Megan Zander

      No, but if I was clearly we’d band forces and have an awesome
      Thanksgiving.

    • Mel

      I can be ready in 10 minutes :)

    • kugie

      Yeah she claims not to realize it….but then she also says I am the one not realizing how terrible I am being, so really it’s all my fault. Which, maybe sometimes? But like…is that how you really get to the bottom of an issue? Refuse to take any responsibility? Who is the adult here?

  • mofromUS

    Mom and Dad died and all I have left is a Brother and Sister. Haven’t spoken to my Sister in 2 years, Because she is a bitch and has to try be in every ones business and ruin every ones life. My Brother quit speaking to me after I gave away the family guns he was supposed to inherit (because he went nuts and got arrested for HELLO firing guns off at people because he was hearing voices.) So I hate the holidays. I live by my self have no kids or even a girl friend at this point in time. So yeah I wish I could go to sleep and wake up about the 3rd of January. wouldn’t hurt my feelings a bit. Merry Christmas Humbug.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I really hope you have some friends around you can get together with!! Don’t be alone. This comment broke my heart. :(

    • mofromUS

      Bethany I wanted to let you know how much that meant to see your response. I do have some great neighbors, and some friends that will be around. Its the waking up Christmas morning part I dread.I did it last year and its not bad enough that I can’t cope with it. Just with out family, it can get you down a bit. Again thank you and everyone else for at least offering advice and concern. It does truly mean a lot to me. Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas. You have a big Heart thank you for sharing it.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I am so glad!! If you were close by, I’d invite you for dinner. :) Happy holidays to you too!

    • Mel

      Wow, I’m so VERY sorry for your situation. I hope the holidays pass quickly so you don’t have too much time to feel down. Have a glass of wine (or five) if that’s what makes ya happy and maybe try to enjoy the bad television. Take care of yourself.

    • brebay

      Exactly what I felt like on the holidays before I was a parent. And honestly, a lot of the advice people give you is bunk. The fact is, most people do spend it with family, and friends aren’t always available during the holidays—they’re with family. My advice: Stock up on your favorite eats, hunker down with a good netflix marathon and leave the TV off with all its cheery commercials. Treat yourself extra nicely, you deserve it. January 3rd will come! Some people find volunteering rewarding, but some find it more depressing. Spoil yourself and just get through it. Some years you’ll be alone, in a few years, you may find yourself in a completely different place in your life. Don’t buy the garbage that everyone else is having a great time. A lot of them are dealing with crap and abuse and fake-smiling through it all. Do the best you can to take care of yourself. Happy Holidays and a Speedy Jan. 3rd!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I’m sorry – the holidays can really be torture. :( AMC has a Godfather marathon on Thanksgiving. I’ll be posting an open thread on this site so people can bitch – so you can hang out with us.

    • meteor_echo

      I’m really really sorry :( Wish I could give you some good advice, but I have nothing in my brain to offer except for “download a whole bunch of documentaries, buy a lot of Jelly Bellies and tangerines, and have one big damn marathon during the holidays.” At least this is what I’m going to do – I do have parents, but celebrating with them is hell. It always ends up in screaming, slamming doors etc.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Grab yourself a good boxset like The Newsroom or Homeland and settle down with nibbles, wrap a duvet around yourself on the couch and to hell what anyone else thinks. =)

  • brebay

    I don’t understand why people don’t cut toxic people out of their lives. It isn’t mean or ungrateful, it’s healthy and more people would be happier if they did it. Don’t give someone who took 18 years of happiness from you take one day more.

    • Mel

      It seems obvious, but it’s sooooooo not that easy. The world tells us that we are to love and respect our parents no matter what. Short of bruises and broken bones, one is judged very harshly for cutting out a parent or loved one. Those in the family and close circle aren’t willing to admit that they were blind to or in denial of bad treatment. I really think that’s part of it. Sometimes the pain of sticking around the awful person is better than risking the loss or negative judgement of the family you do love.

    • brebay

      I suppose you’re right. I had a very small family and the only one I liked died when I was young so it was easy for me to cut the rest out. I suppose it would be much harder if you had some you loved and some you didn’t.

    • Mel

      It’s really scary to face the possibility of being the only one left out when you really do really love and enjoy the rest of your family. Especially the little ones who don’t understand why you’re not around for family gatherings anymore. You’re already the one suffering from the ill treatment and now you’re the one isolated.

    • Kelly

      I didn’t do it until I was 30 because I was heavily shamed by all kinds of people for even considering it.

      One of my aunts (who has had to call the police on my father multiple times for threatening her) actually gasped and asked how could I be so cruel and hateful and evil to cut off my own father.

      Even his other victims shamed me and told me I would be a bad person for going no contact. That is the society we live in. That is how pro child abuser and anti abused child our society is. That’s why so many people don’t cut toxic relatives out of their lives.

  • pixie

    I agree with this post. I’m all for tight-knit families, but I’m also for good mental health. Maybe because I come from a small family where my father’s side barely gets along, I’ve never really understood why some families insist on continuously getting together every holiday when they really don’t like each other. Family is important, yes, but why put yourself through the bad emotions?
    I know it gets tricky when kids are involved. Or it can get tricky. I’m really surprised my dad is still speaking to his sister now that my grandmother died nearly a year ago. They never got along growing up, and you can tell my dad has to try really hard to not lose his temper with her whenever they speak on the phone or in person(sometimes he’s successful, other times not so much). My aunt isn’t really that bad of a person per se, just lives in her own reality, speaking both sides of any conversation, and can be very manipulative. My dad continues to talk to her, however, because of me. I’m not the biggest fan of my aunt, and if it would make my dad less stressed I’d like for him to stop talking to her, but he insists. He’s still dealing with my grandmother’s estate and technically has to talk to his sister until that’s over and done with, but he says he’s not going to cut himself away from her for my sake and there’s really nothing I can do about it.

  • Maria T.

    This story couldn’t have come at a better time for me! This year I finally took a stand (with my husband’s support) to cut my awful sister in law out of our lives. Unfortunately, she is married to my brother whom I adore and they have 2 awesome kids. She has systematically done her best to destroy my relationship with my brother for more than a decade. The whole family has let it go on and my mom (whom she also treats like dirt) always told me to just suck it up and not to make a scene. The last straw came this past summer when I finally realized that my brother was just as complicit by not doing anything about it (other than apologizing for her after particularly outrageous behavior). What kills me is that the family myth is that she doesn’t like me, that I’m difficult, etc. Which probably is true. But the real reason is that she is insecure and can’t stand that my brother and I were close and had a tight bond. Finally, I said, enough, and just cut them out. I realized that by letting this go on, I was giving her the upper hand, all the power. And now, I have it. I get to choose who gets to spend time with me, my husband and our three gorgeous kids. Luckily, everyone understands. My mother was sad, and cried, but said she understood and supported my decision. I do wish for a relationship with my brother and niece and nephew, but accept that it’s very possible that will never happen. I can’t tell you all how thrilled I am not to go to their house for Thanksgiving. Part of being an adult is knowing that you can’t change people, but you also don’t have to accept being treated like crap by anyone (well, except for my boss, but that’s a whole different story!). Thank you for this post. I needed it.

  • KAJeets

    I’m really glad I saw this post today. My husband’s sister is an awful person. Who has spent the last 30+ mooching off everyone and being an ungrateful jerk. She ran up a cell phone bill on his credit, never paid and never apologized and we eventually found out that she was talking trash to her own children about him. Last Christmas we came during the day so we could avoid her but still enjoy his mother and grandparents.This year it looks like we’ll be doing the same. His mother basically “grin and bear it” through the holidays because she didn’t want them ruined…but I told her where to shove that thought. My father passed away this year and I would give anything to have him back. Over the two years he was battling cancer he shared the regrets he had and how he wished he did what he wanted to. This is a huge reason why I will once again, skip being around someone who makes me and my husband feel like dirt.

  • SA

    The last blowout with my MIL was at Christmas last year and the relationship still hasn’t fully recovered. I have agreed for one more chance, but if anything goes wrong…zap, that is it no more relationship with me or my kid. I refuse to raise my child in a family that screams and fights and is just generally crazy. After years of last-minute cancellations, changes of times, fights over make believe situations that didn’t exist I have set my foot down that we do not get together on the actual holiday. We can do a joint Christmas-Thanksgiving on some random weekend in Dec or Jan, but I refuse to offer up my holiday for a 90% chance it will get ruined. Fortunately with 2 other sets of grandparents we have a lot of excuses on why we need to celebrate on alternate days.

  • emerald67

    Just curious what you mean my typical old school Italian…. does it mean he always had a comment about everything?? overbearing and bossy? how was your mom?? did they stay together? I am happy for you being at peace now. I feel sorry for how you have had to spend previous holidays.

  • M00

    I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this…
    My sister is emaotionally and financially abusive to my entire family but I am the only one who has the balls to call her out on it. It’s now got to the point, unfortunately at what is meant to be a family orientated time of year, that I have had enough.
    I tried earlier this year to cut her out of my life but due to a family emergency (my mum trying to top herself) I had no choice but to allow her back into my life.
    As mention, my mother suffers chronic depression and is an out patient through the phsych ward here. Part of the reason everyone pussyfoots around my sister is to protect mum from the hurt she causes. Mum is actually really lovely and holds down a full time job etc etc only it’s now got to the point with her that I am starting to withdraw myself and my kids from her for fear she will put us through the ultimate greif of successfully taking her own life. My son is 3 and thinks the world of his Granny.
    Because of my recent bust up with my sister and mothers subsequent melt down come attempted overdose (all my fault of course??!!) I had to endure incredibly abusive emails from my brother (this is despite being the person who found, cleaned up and sobered mum up after her last TWO suicide attempts in the last 12 months). He has also bagged the crap out of me to anyone who will listen at our place of work.
    So yeah, thank goodness for the sanity of my husband and the inlaws because I won’t be attending any Xmas get togethers with my maternal family that’s for sure!

  • Pingback: Holiday Family Stress from a Toxic Parent

  • Jim

    Life is too short to allow other people to make it miserable for you. I have a inner circle of friends and feel no guilt whatsoever not allowing whiners and other “outcast” into my private world. On the job etc. you have no choice but in your own home that is your right. I learned this the hard way and will never go back to allowing friends to “choose” me. Sorry, this is a members only club now.