(edit: If viewing in Reader, title makes no sense.)
If you have ever been to rehab or a 12-step meeting, you discover quickly that some people consist of complaints and not much else.
Constant Complainers also tend to have scant self-awareness, so there is little motivation for them to shut it.
I complain, too much I’m sure. I hope I sprinkle enough positivity, or hell, neutrality in there to keep people guessing. I’m terrified to know how much self-awareness I lack. My husband sometimes fills me in, but when that dam breaks and a torrent of failings head my direction, I’m usually too pissed at him to give a damn what he thinks.
My parents consider it abusive – they actually use that word – when I reveal an annoyance, big or small. Hilarious (to me): at my last session my therapist exclaimed, “You have such a dysfunctional family! Oh Jesus.. so dysfunctional! Why would you want to be around these people at all?!?”
She has NO idea. I’m there for some CBT; talking about the past is only therapeutic when I’m able to amuse someone or myself with a story that captures part of my family’s… unique way of interacting.
And therapists don’t find anything about dysfunctional families amusing.
I started this post planning on getting some complaints off my chest, but instead I’ll tell you about The Year I Ruined Thanksgiving. Forever. It’s not ha-ha funny, but it will give you a tiny glimpse of the insanity and the hoops I have learned to jump through to keep the peace.
Our family rented a house on the Oregon coast. Mother-in-law was there along with my brother and his family. No problems so far. Things are peaceful, normality is prevailing.
Getting ready for dinner, I noticed that my mother made a Caesar salad, which has anchovies in the dressing. My husband is a vegetarian, and simply could not live with himself if he knew he had consumed a miniscule amount of anchovies. Yes, I think it’s a bit silly when he has leather seats installed in his car, but we can’t always be morally consistent.
I tell him about the dressing. It’s exactly the kind of thing he would be unaware of, which my mother was apparently banking on because obviously Thanksgiving is ruined if Bill can’t eat the salad.
Thanksgiving was ruined. I took about two minutes of her moaning about the horror of it all and how evil I was for revealing dressing ingredients and left the table, sarcastically saying “Well, I guess I ruined Thanksgiving.”
“Yes You Did!”
Impressive. Especially considering I was sober.
The next morning neither parent would talk to me (my dad follows my mom’s lead – wimpy, yet smart) except when we left. My mom declared that it was terribly unfortunate that our family could never celebrate Thanksgiving together again.
And we haven’t.
I’m ok with that.
However, I have grown somewhat proud that I am a person who Ruined Thanksgiving… Forever! Family members who accomplish such feats should be accorded special status.
I still love them.