Monday, August 28, 2006

Personal Rant

I am so glad last week is over and done with. My brother turned 21 last week and my mom thought it would be a good idea to throw him a big birthday bash with lots of alcohol. To make matters worse she invited a few relatives that she does not get along with. I knew right from the start that the party was going to turn sour real quick, so I tried to weasel my way out of going but my mom was prepared for this. All week long she played a massive guilt trip on me until I reluctantly agreed to show up.

The day of the party arrives and I show up about an hour late. I am surprised to see most of my family is already there and drunk. My mother’s sister (my aunt) who she does not get along with very well was the first one to greet me.

“Missy your late to your own brother’s party” she says with a condescending tone. Most of my family calls me Missy its short for Miss-know-it-all.
Her daughters (my cousins) chime in “I can’t believe school is more important than your own brother’s 21st birthday party” It is more important but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of arguing so I politely excuse myself and walk away. I can hear them whispering about me behind my back but I don’t want to make the mistake of confronting them again.

Last year at another family party my cousin said something real catty about me loud enough for me and a few of my relatives to overhear. I was in a pissy mood so I decided to confront her about the remark she made in front of everyone who over heard it but to my surprise she denied ever saying anything bad about me and my relatives who overheard her backed her up completely. I know what I heard and I now know that it is useless to directly confront people who are passive-aggressive, it gets you nowhere.

My mother was not too thrilled that I showed up late but she was glad that I did come to the party. I asked her where my brother was so I could say Happy Birthday to him in person but she could not find him. A few minutes later I found him in the garage drinking with a few of his friends I could tell he was not enjoying this family get-together at all. Since we are all close in age I get along with my brother and his friends very well.

About thirty minutes later my mom barges in and pesters all of us for not being ‘social’. She then announces that everyone wants to sing happy birthday and cut the cake. I brace myself for another round badgering from my aunt and cousins. They are all pretty drunk now and tensions are high.

Things go pretty smoothly until we start singing happy birthday. Right in the middle of the song my aunt starts bawling for no apparent reason. Everyone stops singing and looks at her dumbfounded. She finally manages to blurt out one single word “Joey”

Joey was her youngest child, he was her only son and the pride and joy of her life. He died two years ago in Iraq. It was a real shock to everyone when he died, everyone misses him and the pain is still raw but I can’t help to think she wants some sort of sympathy fix. After all my aunt is a dramatic person and she loves to be the center of attention.

“Why can’t God kill me now, I have nothing left to live for” she says.
I feel kind of embarrassed and sad for my cousins who are standing right next to her but they don’t seem bothered by this. Everyone goes and tries to comfort my aunt the best they can but she only calms down when someone hands her another drink. I make a note to myself to leave pretty soon before this party gets any uglier.

We cut the cake and the tensions seem to subside. “Can you believe the nut jobs we have in our family.” My sister whispers in my ear. I am so surprised she said this that I just start laughing uncontrollably. I know what she said was not nice but I just can’t help myself. I fail to realize at this point everyone is looking at me.

“What is so funny?” my mother asks.
“Nothing.” My sister and I say in unison.
Its funny how when my other relatives talk bad about us no one says anything but if my sister or I say one little crack about our family everyone jumps down our throats.

Ten minutes later I decide to leave and I say goodbye to my brother and sister. When I try to say goodbye to my mother she berates me with a thousand questions.
“Why are you leaving so soon?”
“Where are you going?”
“What is more important than your brother’s birthday?”

As usual I am the last to arrive and the first to leave. Dealing with my family is emotionally draining and sometimes I just prefer to distance myself from them. For the most part they are good people but their dysfunctional lives creates a toxic environment.


joy said...

First of all I'm very sorry to hear about your cousin, that really is sad.
Most people have no "self awarness" of their actions. It's like watching a train wreck.

Keep your spirits up Pix, surround yourself with positive people.

PixieGaf said...

My cousins and aunt are queens of self denial. They like to talk crap about everyone meanwhile their whole lives are in disarray. Its sad really I take no joy in watching them suffer but its like they say what goes around comes around.

joy said...

It's tough but your'e tougher. Don't let them get you down. Keep doing what your'e doing.

ffleur said...

My God Pix! No wonder you are getting into the psychiatric profession. Are you the only sane one in the whole bunch?

Ryan said...

Well, you could turn this into a great screenplay!
I would love to be a mouse in your house during the holidays. Sometimes I wish my family was a little nutz, just for the pure entertainment value of it all.

PixieGaf said...

Joy thanks for your words of encouragement. I try to stay positive most of the time.

Ffluer I pride myself in being one of the more mature members of my family. I swear sometimes they act like two-year olds.

Ryan the holidays are CRAZY! This was one of the more milder family get togethers.

LA said...

Pix - I commend you for making all the right choices. You created and maintained boundaries in terms of the amount of time you spent with these toxic people. You spent time with the person who the party was (supposed to be) celebrating, your brother. You did not engage the crazies, and you didn't not let them draw you into their dysfunctional games. As a toxic family survivor, I say to you, "well played!"

(Ryan - You can sub for me during the holidays if you want. My family will give you everything you could hope for and more.)

prettykitty said...

pixie, i think you handled yourself well considering the circumstances. i think family functions and holidays bring out the worst in everyone. but it's obvious you and your brother do the best you can to tolerate the cards you were dealt. if it weren't so real, i would almost swear it was one of those family dramedys.

PixieGaf said...

LA thanks I am still learning to deal with my family the best I can. Was your family as bad as mine?

PK I swear if I ever get a chance I'll probably write a dramedy based on all the crazy family get togethers I attended. At the very least they are entertaining.

Pope-rah said...

Well, I find it always helps to be drunk when I come in contact with my family, but that's just me....

M-M-M-Mishy said...

LA, the word "boundaries" is essential when it comes to most families.

Pixie, that sounds like a shitty day. Don't let 'em get you down, because its just harder to get back up again. As someone who had many a birthday suck, I hope your brother was able to salvage at least some of his birthday.

v said...

Yeah, I think your best bet is to avoid as much of the negativity as possible. But like you mention that's hard to do and just begets more negativity. It's a tough spot to be in but you seem more than tough enough to handle it.

And glad to hear School is so important in your life. It's pretty important in my life too. And the good thing is that School can turn into a great safe haven, away from a hectic social/family life.

Also sorry to hear about your cousin who died in Iraq. I thank him and his family for his sacrifice. Though perhaps if we had a competent Presidential Administration, less lives would be lost.

prunella jones said...

Ah the joys of family. My dads family are drunks, bipolars, and depressives. Major fun. My moms family are Jesus freaks and OCDers. It sounds like your siblings are fairly cool and you're a smart cookie. Don't let them get you down.

PixieGaf said...

Mishy I doubt my brother enjoyed his birthday party but I promised to take out to movies this weekend.

V Thanks for your condolences even though I was not that close to my cousin I was pissed off that he had die fighting this God awful war. As for school it has always been a safe haven for me and even though it keeps me very busy I enjoy it. School gives me something positive to focus my energy

Prunella my family also has its fanatical Christians and faithful Catholics. During Christmas each side berates the other for being a 'traitor' or not being saved. Its funny stuff.

GetFlix said...

Everybody seems to have offered sound advice, with the exception of simply not showing-up. My immediate family has calmed down over the years, but when I was your age we had some unsavory gatherings.

Here is the big clue. If it doesn't feel right, avoid the event. Any excuse will do.

LA said...

Pix - You asked if my family is as crazy as yours. The answer is yes, but it's a different kind of crazy. And then when my dad had Alzheimer's, the definition of "crazy" became very, very fluid as his dementia set in, but he seemed more lucid and reasonable than my mother did in dealing with it. My mantra during that time was "my dad's got Alzheimer's, but my mom's the crazy one." Bad times, to be sure. We're still trying to recover the definition of "normal."

PixieGaf said...

LA I am so sorry to hear that. That must have been so stressful on you. I am glad to see your wit and charm has not is still in tack.