Please Help Me Survive Thanksgiving
November 21, 2011 9:48 AM Subscribe
Help: I need to at least seem 'okay' by Thursday. Advice?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am terrified of Thanksgiving. My family is not that big, but there are two people that would only be too happy to see me uncomfortable, out of sorts or somehow make a fool of myself on Thanksgiving. I quit drinking and smoking almost a year ago. Because of this and knowing that I have to be in their company in a few days, I'm feeling very worried and like I'm on very shaky ground. It's the last thing in the world I want to do is spend any time with these two people (not the whole family, just the two people)! Because I am not drinking or smoking I am not quite myself and I no longer have access to whatever persona I used to adopt in front of people that made me uncomfortable in the past. This factor (my newish sobriety) is also heightening my anxiety, especially now that it's the holidays. I admit I might be perceiving things as worse than they really are (however, there is no question regarding the fact that the two people are rude + verging on cruel to me and that has been going on for years). I used to be able to fake it very well that I wasn't bothered at all and could even joke and be 'fun'. I realize after all these months that a lot of that social-survival stuff (as I am not that great at social stuff to begin with) is gone for the time being as I recover from my addictions. On top of it, whenever I sense or know that a person has something against me, I tend to go into full avoidance mode and/or start to behaving as though I am ashamed/guilty. I don't want to act that way anymore, but it's harder than ever not to.
What I'm asking for are tips or advice on how to pretend, fake, or actually accomplish being okay at this gathering. I'm open to any suggestions (I am already in therapy but will not see my therapist again until the first week of December). Or, anything that might give me some perspective. I feel raw and like all of my emotions are right on the surface for the last couple of weeks. I am decidedly not chill right now and I need to be. Thanksgiving dinner will be minimum 4 hours with about 8 people in a small house with nowhere to hide (and no one in my family watches football so there's nothing else to pretend to focus on! It's all conversation). I just want to come across as not bothered by them, as 'quietly strong', with my dignity intact. I want to seem pleasant, maybe even happy, and that I am holding my own and am solid. Not nervous, not semi stuttering (I do almost imperceptibly stutter when distressed), not mumbling, not knocking over glasses, not apologizing a million times for every little thing I do and basically coming across as pathetic.
Added details. I am female. They are male and female. My bf may or may not be attending, it's still up in the air. We are all adults. I have no idea if they know that I'm sober (I never talked about this to anyone other than my therapist, my bf and my mom). As well, it is very unlikely they thought I was an alcoholic to begin with/they drink as much as I did. I mention this to clarify that their problem with me has nothing to do with my being an alcoholic (to be honest, I don't know what their problem really is with me other than they are bullies and I fit the criteria for a convenient target). Also, I think I should mention that I am not interested *healing* this situation. There is no actually fixing this. I know this from years of experience/I know them well enough to know that that will never happen. I no longer trust them, anyway. And, because of the way they treat people, I have very little respect for them. This is about getting though just one evening.
Thank you for your help, Mefites! It is much appreciated.