With the holiday season upon us I want to touch on a topic that I know a couple of my lurking readers may appreciate. Every year, I have friends who drive all over creation to attend family traditions that leave them emotionally exhausted and upset. They tell me that saying no is something that they can’t do, that the backlash from it would be too much.
Let me tell you something:
You are under no obligation to spend time with people who make you feel unsafe or unworthy. You do not have to put up with passive aggressiveness, guilt manipulation, or those who disrespect your boundaries.
You do not have to sacrifice your happiness for someone else.
You do not have to spend time with people you dislike.
You do not owe anyone an explanation – ever.
Everyone has jokes about their dysfunctional families. For many people, however, the dysfunction is actually abuse – often in terms we wouldn’t automatically file as abuse (emotional and verbal). If you find yourself the family scapegoat or black sheep, realize that you are under no obligation to spend time with people who make you brunt of family jokes, unduly criticize or attack your beliefs, life choices, or significant other.
Oh, and if you ever hear “This may be Gma or Gpa’s last _______!”
Or, “Just suck it up, ______ could go at any time!”
It’s manipulation. 9/10 times it’s a control tactic said by enablers who want you (their meat shield) there so it’s easier on them.
A dying asshole is still an asshole.
Most importantly: an invitation is not a summons. Just because you have been invited somewhere does not mean you are obligated to attend.
Remember to take care of yourself. You should always be your first (and most important) priority. Spoil yourself. Create new traditions with your significant other or friends. Turn off the phone, unplug social media, and enjoy.