Apr 27, 2011

I've Grown Accustomed to her Faith.

Dear Ask A Punk-
My girlfriend insists we spend certain holidays with her family. I hate going to these things and it isn't because I'm a jerk, it is because even SHE doesn't like her family, in fact I think I like them better than she does, but she feels this weird duty to show up and be miserable and really it seems like that is the only reason any of them are there. I didn't have a perfect home life growing up either but these people are worse than anything. I can't figure out why they bother going through the motions at the holidays when it is clear everyone would be happier if they all stayed home. Of course 99% of this has to do with the family's split views on religion - the one they grew up with vs. the ones all the kids fled to. She and I don't talk about or practice much religion at all, but when she goes home it is like a battle of theolgens - who also happen to hate each other on other levels too. How do I get her to stop this behavior? - Holiday Dis-spirit.

Dear HD-S-
Your best bet is to try talking about this at a time BETWEEN Holiday gatherings... You don't want to open this up in the days leading up to a visit or in the decompression period afterward... Find some harmless Tuesday afternoon to bring it up and maybe suggest that everyone's mental health would be better off if she opted out of the next Family dinner. It is worth a shot, but don't count on her coming around. Family Insanity has a pull to rival gravity... People just can't stay away from the very people that consistently bring out the worst in them... and no one does THAT more efficiently than dysfunctional family members.

It might cause some static in your relationship, but you could always tell her that YOU don't want to be part of the next next round of Holiday Madness... but be careful. You have every right to not want all of YOUR holidays ruined, but you don't want to appear 'unsupportive.' Why not tell her (and her family) that you have to 'alternate' between her family functions and your family functions? Then, when it is 'your' year you can decide to stay home (with her) and maybe once she experiences a couple holidays that don't include calls to the police etc, she'll be better able to wean herself away from the crazy she knows so well.

It is worth a shot.
Good luck.