This year, I'm thankful for conflict avoidance.
October 25, 2012 2:48 PM Subscribe
My mother and I are not talking. I am thinking about skipping Thanksgiving. How do I do this without causing even more turmoil?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My mother and I are trauma survivors, with the difference between us being that I have been in treatment for many years and she has not. As a result, she spirals more and more out of control with every passing year. She says inappropriate things, flies off the handle, blames the trauma on me when she's upset, and is generally difficult to be around.
I love her very much. She is the only blood kin I have with whom I try to maintain any kind of relationship. But in July she crossed some boundaries in a very serious way, and we have not been able to reestablish a harmonious relationship since.
I've been setting pretty strict boundaries for the last few years, and they have mostly worked. Except at holidays. On Thanksgiving and Christmas my mother usually gets very agitated, and no holiday passes without a fight.
I don't want to have a fight this year. I don't want to have Thanksgiving. It's awkward, and it's never fun, and the only reason I would go is for her benefit.
I promised her I'd make up my mind by tomorrow. She is not happy with even the idea that I would skip Thanksgiving. My partner and I have considered the following options:
1. Go to Thanksgiving, but in a very limited capacity. Instead of going for an overnight stay and dealing with a stressful car trip with my mom, we would take public transit (a longer trip, but more peaceful) and we would only stay for dinner. I feel like the idea is solid, but probably too stressful for me this year.
2. Go out of town, explain that we will be out of town, skip Turkey Day altogether.
3. Go out of town (or not) and invite my mom to my neighborhood for a weekend brunch or similar, so that she gets to see me during Thanksgiving weekend but in an even more limited capacity than in the first option.
None of these plans will please my mother. I want to minimize the explosion -- because there will be one unless I do exactly what I've done every year. But I also want to look out for my own welfare, and I'm just not up to taking any abuse from her this year. None at all.
If you've ever skipped family holidays, how did you do it without causing an uproar? Please note that without me, my mother will have only her boyfriend to cook for on Thanksgiving, which would sour the whole holiday for her. I don't want to make things worse for her, but I don't want to make them worse for me, either.
Any suggestions on how to handle this?