Broken Family Holiday Blues

Well, it’s the time of year when my family celebrates Thanksgiving and eventually Xmas. Since my parent’s separation and the subsequent family turmoil, the holidays aren’t much to celebrate. Then, I get a little down in the dumps.
If my dad wasn’t involved in the holidays, we would be fine. He really drags everything down. He’s a rampaging narcissist with control issues. My mom slips into the role of diplomat, I end up slipping into my role of pissed off daughter, my poor brother turns into himself and we regress to the dysfunctional family that we were for 24 years. Fights erupt, resentments get aired, and the only thing that can pull us out of this loop is a natural disaster.
Anyone have some tips? I’ve heard copious amounts of booze can be helpful. Or anyone would like to commiserate?

Just don’t go. Find somewhere to spend time, with people you enjoy. Or travel on your own. Go skiing.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my realitives are mostly pricks, so I’m just not going to be around them if I have a choice. As far as I’m concerned, my family is my wife and kid, period.

She told me she loved me like a brother. She was from Arkansas, hence the Joy!

I completely concur with gatopescado. Although I do love my family dearly (well, most of them), they can be extremely trying to be around, particularly around the holidays and family gatherings. So this Thanksgiving my husband (who, like gato’s is my family) and I are going to Kansas City to spend the holiday with a long-time and very dear friend whom I adore and can’t wait to hang out with (we haven’t seen each other in close to 10 years and she’s never met my wonderful husband).

Your family can only make you feel miserable if you allow them to. And whatever you do, don’t let them pull a guilt trip on you for bowing out, either.

If you really, really want to be with your mother and brother but not involve your father, why not offer to host the family meal(s) at your place and simply not invite him? Then arrange to go out to dinner or have him over on a different day.

I was in your place about 3 years ago – we actually did the family Christmas thing. Even though there was a standoff going on because one parent had asked the other to leave the house and the other refused, so I had separated-parents-in-the-same-house Christmas.

It was really hard, but I’m glad I went home. I think it helped me and my siblings feel like we were in this together and were going to come out together, too. Separated parents can be pretty self-centered, so it was great that us siblings stuck together through the turmoil. However, you should definitely schedule events out of the house and with friends or family members you do want to be with during the day/week/season you see the family, so you don’t lose your sanity.

Just FYI so you know the point of view I’m coming from: I tend to be my family’s diplomat :blush:

My parents separated just after Thanksgiving last year. I even posted about it, because it upset me so much. Last year’s Christmas was about the worst holiday I could possibly imagine in so many ways. Luckily, I moved to a different state at New Year’s, so I haven’t had to be directly involved in the aftermath (other than continuing to be stuck in the middle, since both parents still call me to bitch about what latest insult the other parent has dealt).

I’m staying in Colorado for Thanksgiving this year, and my bf and I will be with his family. I will miss my family, but there’s no way I can afford to go back to California for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I’m really NOT looking forward to Christmas. I don’t know where my dad will be (in N. CA, miserable because he’s not “with the family” or in S. CA with his mom and sisters/other relatives) and my mom wants us to go to Texas just after Christmas to spend time with other relatives. I just want the holidays to be as unstressful and happy as possible - if that is actually possible. Probably isn’t.

I don’t know which is better - having an extraordinarily unhappy dad post-separation, or an extraordinarily unhappy mom (when my parents were still together). I didn’t like being around either of them in before, when they fought all the time, and now that they’re apart I can handle them singly, but not when they bitch to me. ugh.

I would like to see my sisters, my mom, and my dad, but not all at the same time. No idea if this year’s Christmas is going to be any better than last year’s whatsoever. :frowning:

I know how you feel. Though neither of my folks are painful to be around, it’s still very strange during the holidays.

I’m going down to my dad’s in NY for Thanksgiving to spend time with him and his new wife and stepkids. It’s just… very odd.

There was a point in my life when I had to make these my holidays. I kept the traditions I liked, and my kids and I developed new ones.

IMO anyone dealing with divorce and holidays is basically going to have to take the same path. My kids are my family. We did our own holiday thing. Many Christmases we had our one pitiful little fake tree with a few packages under it. No, it wasn’t the same as before.

But it was okay. And we were ok, too. Enjoy the holidays for yourself, as gato and others suggested. Good luck.

Welcome to Las Vegas…seriously.

A lot of people come here for Thanksgiving and for Christmas…it is a great getaway, and hard to get sentimental when you are surrounded by everything…I know people whose spouse died, family tragedy, whatever…great place just to get away and build a “new” tradition.

But there is no easy fix. We had a family tragedy a few years back and it has taken a few years for each family member to make their own new memories. Things are better now - but don’t just go someplace because you feel guilt. Open the doors and go where you feel happy. If you feel you need to keep family traditions, start a new one - have everyone meet somewhere else, which brings me back to my opening statement.

Welcome to Las Vegas!