Holidays can be especially difficult for those going through BreakUps or for those who have instituted a No Contact Policy with certain family members or broken up with abusive people.
Our “Hallmark World” can get the better of us. Because we all SHOULD:
- Be with our families at Thanksgiving
- Honor our “mother and father”
- Be “good” sons/daughters
- Be grateful for things our family members have done or given us
- Be the bigger person and forgive first or reach out first
If someone physically beats you or rapes you, what obligation do you have to sit down and give thanks with them? Seriously?!?!?
If someone emotionally abuses you, what is the difference? For me, none. Absolutely none.
Abusers, Narcopaths, Psycopaths, etc., have no place at my table any time. None.
It doesn’t matter whether or not we are related by blood or marriage. It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone else on this planet has been treated that way by that person. It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone else believes my side of the story. It. Doesn’t. Matter.
What matters in my life is me, my son and my Bonus daughter. And what matters in your life is you (and/or your children).
Let’s take a better look at this:
I haven’t written much about my mother – just that almost three years ago I made the decision to have No Contact with her for any reason. The specifics of what happened that time aren’t necessarily important. It was the culmination of decades of dealing with her. It was a decision made based on my sanity and my happiness as well as the welfare of my Baby Bears.
I have no regrets. There are some moments when I feel some “societal guilt” about not having contact with my 90-year-old mother. They don’t happen often.
My life is so much more balanced and calm without her energy and influence.
So, let’s throw her into this week and my Thanksgiving plans – well, only theoretically please!
Instead of happily preparing my farm for my guests this week, if she was planning to attend, I would literally be sick to my stomach right now.
I would be a nervous wreck – having all kinds of conversations in my head and “planning” what to say and how to respond. I would be psyching myself up to stay calm and not let her get to me no matter what.
I would be remembering the Thanksgiving she came to my first horse farm about 10 years ago. She walked in the front door, looked around and said out loud, “If it were me, I would have steamed those drapes. But that’s just me.”
It went downhill from there.
I mean really – WHAT A BITCH! Who does that? Who walks into someone’s home for a holiday gathering and says something so rude?
A Narcissist. An abuser. A Sociopath. A bitch or a bastard.
My mother, the Queen Mary.
Here’s the thing – if she were not my mother, would I ever invite her into my home for any reason? Only if I’m some kind of masochist who enjoys being on the receiving end of emotional pain.
Why do family members get a pass?
We are all entitled to choose the people we allow into our lives. Some people are acquaintances and have little contact. Email and text works great for those folks.
Some people are allowed all the way in. THEY EARN THEIR WAY IN. They don’t get in by virtue of their DNA or by virtue of marrying into your inner circle. Family has to earn their way in just the same as anyone else. Maybe more so since family tends to have more contact and be closer.
If Uncle Ed is a drunk who gets “gropey” after a couple of beers, guess what? He’s not invited! If your Ex thinks there should be a family Thanksgiving for sake of your shared child, guess what? He doesn’t get a vote!
You have to learn that nothing is more important than your sanity and your emotional health. Nothing.
And family doesn’t trump that. Exes don’t trump that. “Good manners” don’t trump that. Nothing trumps that.
Give yourself a break this year. Spend Thanksgiving with people you enjoy. Spend Thanksgiving with people who enhance your life. Spend Thanksgiving with people who lift you up. Spend Thanksgiving with uplifters in general.
For me, it would be better to be completely alone than to spend Thanksgiving with my mother.
And if you’re wondering whether or not I ever miss her or have any desire to spend time with her, truthfully – no, I don’t. One of the definitions of the word “mother” in Webster’s Dictionary is “maternal tenderness or affection”. I’ve been sitting here for about 10 minutes trying to think of a time in my life when my mother extended either of them to me.
All I can think of is the day I got home from four weeks at Camp Seafarer when I was between the 6th and 7th grades. My suitcases were barely resting on the floor when she told me that my best friend was hit by a car and killed while I was at camp.
You’re wrong if you think she held me while I sobbed my little heart out. You’re wrong if you think she offered me any tenderness or physical comfort at all.
She left me in my room, lying on my bed sobbing, while she went downstairs to do heaven knows what.
No. I don’t miss her at all. She’s not invited to spend Thanksgiving with me ever.
Take care of yourselves this holiday season. Our “Hallmark World” is very experienced at guilting us into doing things we don’t want to do. Don’t buy into the Madison Avenue hype. Don’t let your friends talk you into ignoring your own intuition. Don’t let anyone convince you that they know what’s good for you better than you.
You’re the only expert on the subject of your life. Take control. Your life depends on it.
Chin up! There are so many of us around the world who have such similar stories. You are not alone.