Navigating Conflicting Feelings When You Love Your Family But Also Want to Strangle Them
I’ve been harping a bit about setting boundaries, saying no, having an exit strategy... basically setting up ways to get away from your family around the holidays (or any time really) when/if they drive you to the brink.
And for a lot of people, this is necessary. Coming up with ways to get away and be in control feels like the best way to maintain your sanity.
But then there’s a whole lot of people who have rather lovely families and family was never really that much of a stressor. I mean, sure, you had your moments and you‘ve vented many times to your friends about how out of touch one parent is or how overbearing the other is. But overall? You don’t have too many complaints.
So why is it that there has come this point where you both love your family, but you also find yourself losing patience or disagreeing more? You don’t feel as comfortable at home after 2-3 days as you used to. But when you leave, you’re sad and feel nostalgic.
What a mind fuck.
You know that feeling when you walk into your family home and it just feels familiar? (And maybe that familiar feeling is love, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s anxiety... whatever it is.... each family has it’s own thing...) Well I call that the “Family Soup.” Each family has it’s own unique flavor and basically you enter the soup and you pretty quickly fall back into that familiar family role you played growing up.
Were you the mediator who calmed everything down?
Were you the hot head that spoke your mind and let everybody have it?
Do you even want to play this role anymore?
My assumption is there are many of you who have started to really anchor yourself in who you are as an adult (and of course that journey continues,) but these identity shifts tend to build distance between who you were as a kid growing up and who you are now as an adult. And that can feel weird when you go back to that childhood place.
I encourage you to accept the growth you've achieved this far in your life and celebrate that. Also realize that your relationship with your family can remain loving and caring while also taking some shifts towards redefining roles as your parent(s) age and you cement yourself as an adult versus a child.
And so what if you choose to spend 3 nights at home versus the typical 7? If this helps the family remain happy and loving without pushing the limits into driving each other crazy... then why not make a few changes? It's not a negative thing to switch things up a bit if it means things will be more positive for everybody.
This has been a bit more long winded than typical posts, but it's important that everybody sees that family is just complicated. Even the most "perfect" families have some difficulties. And that's okay.
Okay, I'll stop rambling. You guys get the point. Enjoy your holiday season and try not to strangle anybody. That would be a bit of a downer.
Until next time,