Alright. Let's just regroup here, commit some things to writing, and most importantly of all, try to (brace yourself, Self) LEARN from our experiences with our family of origin. We'd really like to avoid repeat performances and subsequent feelings of being all knotted up inside, having less than pleasant thoughts about the people who we grew up with, so if we could FOCUS a bit and work toward GROWTH, that would be super.
First, let's review how we'll react when our sister asks everyone if they want to go bowling, gets impatient when it takes a few minutes to decide, and then, once we agree to go, announces that she can't go after all because she took TWO of her anti-depressant pills instead of the prescribed ONE, and she needs to sleep off her little overdose. Perhaps the not-so-subtle eye roll in her direction isn't actually helping to solve the problem. Next time, just as a thought, perhaps we could ask her if she has any EXTRA pills she could throw our way, because lord knows we're gonna need something to get us through this family gathering.
Second. Self, this is an important one. Let's try NOT to engage in a full fledged debate with our mother and sister about ethics and pride when they start talking about how to get all you can from the Olive Garden Restaurant by just eating the free bottomless salad that comes with the meal all night, and then having them wrap up your entree for tomorrow night's dinner at home. Because engaging in that type of discussion with them is obviously futile, Self. We've learned that now, remember?
Third. When we pay for a family trip to the New England Aquarium, which we know is about equivalent to a mortgage payment on the house, let's not be surprised when the rest of the family lasts not one moment more than fifteen minutes inside, before they start getting hungry and bitchy. Let's not even OFFER them the snacks we thought to pack before we left the house, because we will now know for certain that their need to leave the Aquarium is really their need to flee something within themselves. Okay, Self? Let's just know this and adjust our expectations.
Regarding the CURRENT family, Self, the ones we actually CHOSE or molded into people we like and respect, let's be extra kind to them as they try to navigate the muddy (in fact sewage-y) waters of our family of origin. Let's do all we can to avoid barking at them when they are really the treasures of our life. They are the lifeboats, Self, so let's just sail away on them (say, to Jamaica in March!) and take comfort in their beautiful souls.
Hold on there, Self. Not so fast! There's this issue of our mother and how she pretends that everything is just MAHRvelous with our sister and her daily two hour naps. The mother who laughed when her own first-born daughter spat in a frustrated moment that she was PLAGUED by impatient fathers, referring to her own husband and her own father (husband of that mother of ours). That father of ours looked on to that scene with those two women with a breaking heart. Can we really try to learn from this, please, and not go in with a naive optimism that is actually a demon in disguise? Because when that demon takes her mask off, she's evil. Repeat after me, Self: "Mom can't bear to see her first-born's faults. It reflects too closely on herself." Now say it again, louder. Excellent. We did it!
Now, the next assignment is tricky, so don't expect to get it all done at once. Throughout the new year, we need to reflect carefully on what our relationship with our family of origin should really be. Should we hang out with people who make us feel rotten on the inside? What's it really for? What are the pros and cons of changing or even severing the relationship? Ask bloggy friends for advice (this part you can do ASAP).
Happy New Year, Self. May this be a year of growth and, pleaseohplease, peace.
p.s. Happy New Year to my bloggy friends too! May you also find true peace wherever you look. I'm really glad to have found you! Now start advising me - STAT!