What I want v's what people expect...

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Anita in NC, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Anita in NC

    Anita in NC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    I finally figured out the source of my Christmas stress. It isn't to do with how I want to celebrate the holidays. I'm happy with my choices to not exchange gifts, send cards, join in the shopping madness, eat until you feel stuffed etc...

    My stress comes from the guilt trip people give me because I'm not meeting THEIR expectations of Christmas. Now I just have to figure out how to stop them from stressing me out.
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    I never could figure that out either. No matter how I expressed my desire to simply be left out of it all folks insist on dragging me in kicking and screaming then act like their feelings are hurt when I won't cooperate. It only got worse when I fathered children.

    December has become simply an annoying month to get through. I've really come to look forward to January.

    .....Alan.
     

  3. Melissa

    Melissa member

    Messages:
    23,498
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    I look forward to January too. I love the freshness and the lack of stress. But I am going pretty good this year. If you think about it, we don't have unlimited time, you never know which day may be your last, so why not live each one in the best way for you.

    And Anita, most people wish they could do what you are doing! I don't know too many people who are really enjoying each day and living life on their own terms.
     
  4. dixiedoodle

    dixiedoodle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Tenn
    I,m in the process of telling my ,so call Daughter I want nothing,else to do with her. She has always been jelious of my son. We are close. I live 500 feet from her Grandmother and ,I just get a toot from her horn. She will stay down there 3and four hours. She says she doesn,t have time to stop!My MIL says SHE thinks she was the one who had her. See her Daughter lives 6hours away. Only comes in 2-3times a year.Takes her back just to babysit for her. My Daughter will bring presents up ,stay for 15minutes or so. Then she is back down there for maybe 6hours or so. I am hurt to the point,that,s it. My MIL has shoved out money and even put her name on the check-book just in case she runs out of money.She is trying to buy her. I don,t have the money to spare,my self. We live on a small retirement check. My GD hasn,t even came up the last 4times she was down here. Back about 3/4 years ago, my MIL came up to get her one nite. She told Jessica,your MOMMY told you not to come up here. Then MIL told me she didn,t Leave me the **** alone!!
     
  5. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Wow, Dixie, that's really harsh for you. I'm so sorry you're going through that. Maybe you could write your daughter a letter, telling her how you feel about the situation, asking if there's anything you can do to set things right. You can tell what action you can take by your DD's reaction to your letter. {{{HUG}}}

    As to the OP, I'm having a MUCH better holiday season than in years past. My expectations are MINE (well, mine and DH's), and they're pretty low. ;) We've made them known to others, and have become "the broken record" when they try to hang their guilt trips on us. "Gee, it's too bad you feel that way" (never say "I'm sorry" because it's not your boggle -- it's theirs) and "This is what we're doing this year" are the phrases we used most.

    Surprisingly, people stop their lobbying once they realize we are not backing down. :) Best of all, I don't have to get my feathers ruffled, because I calmly repeat my phrases, helping them to understand that their priorities are not mine.

    Merry Christmas!

    Pony!
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    Well I just got off the phone with my mom---another 5 guests are going to be at the party that I hadnt planned on "buying or making" for....I'm so mad ---I just want to crawl in a hole and hibernate like a bear for the Christmas season. :help:

    January is better than Dec. but myself and 2 sisters have B-days that I also dislike celebrating....it never ends....SIGH

    I feel bad for you Dixie....its a hard spot.
     
  7. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,233
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    I think maybe the guilt begins to stop as you get older or at least I've found this to be true for me.

    I think back and think how pressured I felt to meet everyone else's expectations ... not my own, necessarily ... but other people! Not just Christmas, but other things as well.

    For Christmas, it was always Christmas cards written and sent, gifts for everyone, Christmas tree, holiday decorations, big Christmas dinner ... doing the planning and cooking if I was the hostess and planning the dinner "contribution" and hostess gift if we were going somewhere else, workplace Christmas parties ...

    Other things as well ... having my house clean to someone else's standards, "formal" entertaining (inviting someone for evening/ meal rather than just friends/neighbors dropping in), showing up or sending card/gift to "required" friends/family for weddings, graduations, baby showers, housewarmings ...

    None of this because I WANTED to go/do ... but because it was "expected" by someone else and they would guilt-trip me if I didn't.

    The older I've gotten, the less I actually do feed into this attitude and the less guilt I feel. I think part of it is the fact that as I get older and have less energy and am aware that I do have less time ... my focus has tended to get more personalized.

    Do I want to do this?

    Do I feel I should do this?

    Am I doing this for someone I am very close to that would be hurt if I didn't?

    When the answer is "NO" to all three questions ... I don't do it and ... being in my mid-60s ... I very rarely feel guilty. I guess it's taken me 60 years to get totally comfortable with myself and not be concerned with what other people may think about my lifestyle and my attitudes.
     
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    Well I'll be... that's EXACTLY what is bugging me! The husband and I make very little fuss over the holidays. And then... there is everyone else. It is simply impossible to meet their expectations. But that doesn't seem to stop me from stressing out completely over it. I mean, chew the nails, yell at the spouse, stay up into the wee hours, and spend too much, stress over it.

    Now, why am I making myself crazy?
     
  9. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,553
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Once again...we teach others how to treat us. And they are not mind readers, if you go along with their wishes even when it not something you wish to do and therefore can not enjoy, it's your fault not theirs that they think you are there doing whatever because you too enjoy it.

    Dixie, I'm not sure how to say this and not hurt your feelings, have you ever considered the possiblity that IF you share with your daughter your thoughts, just as you have with us, she might also have hurt feelings from the visit? Go back and read your post as if you are your daughter listening to you, now be honest, would you look forward to spending time with the person talking to you? I've seen that over and over again, where parents of adult children, out of love, still feeling responsible, wanting whats best for their children, no matter how old they are they are still talking to them as if they are very young children needing lessons and guidence. Once your child has reached adulthood, like it or not, happy with the results or not, your job is done. You can either accept them as equals or you can push them away from you by being to parenting. Hope I haven't hurt you, and that there is a message of hope :)

    Anita, you've made your decisions, you should be happy with them :) Perhaps you could go sit in front of a mirror and practice saying, "No, I'm not taking part in any of that this year." "No, thank you." "Yes, that sounds like fun for you, but I'm taking this year off." If all else fails "What part of No are you not understanding?"

    Back to the cave...

    Marlene
     
  10. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,795
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    Western WA
    Absolutely! I'm very slowly getting my wife to realize this concept.

    We have been married for 23 years now and her family is big and getting bigger. Every year for those 23 years they have done a gift exchange game. This year my wife casually mentioned to mom that she and I were tiring of the game. I followed with an email to mil and fil saying essentially the same except more directly, suggesting that we drop the game this year. I fully expected to be kick out of the family for questioning such a tradition.

    Much to my surprise mil and fil are tired of this game each year as well (have been for some time). They polled other family members and it turns out almost all were in support of doing away with it. Of course when mil/fil polled other family members it was communicated as "Wayne's idea", so I'm sure I'll be a Grinch to a few of them, but I'm good with that. :)
     
  11. patnewmex

    patnewmex Jane of all trades

    Messages:
    1,794
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Sunny Northern New Mexico
    You have 95% of the problem figured out. Good for you! Now, the thing to do is called letting go. Let go of the fact that guilt is something that people are trying to give to you.

    If you wanted to be a smart-aleck, you could say "Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving!" and smile at them when they try the guilt gift. Tell them you want NO gifts, including guilt. Then smile and be at peace with yourself. Don't turn on that inner dialogue with them after the incident. Just be peaceful and know you for who you are.

    You'll just have to let the guilt roll off you like water off a ducks back.

    Pat
     
  12. patnewmex

    patnewmex Jane of all trades

    Messages:
    1,794
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Sunny Northern New Mexico
    Why did you accept another 5 guests if you don't want/can't handle that number? Probably family pressure.

    Tell your mother to uninvite them and to stop doing that. Just be sweeeeeet as apple pie when you tell her "no". That's it. Or you will be trampled on once again and it will be your fault.

    I hated being a doormat, but that is what I was for years on end. Until I decided to stop that behavior. You are a grown woman and your mother's job of parenting is over. Period. End of sentance. It's your house and your celebration/holiday.
     
  13. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,219
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Alabama
    to mpillow why not fail at their game? When everyone comes over open the Cheetos and ask who wants beer and who wants water? Or if you would have 40 starving people on Xmas day ask who wants frozen pizza and who wants macncheese?
     
  14. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    The party is at my mom's house...a 1 hr drive min. for all of us...I dont mind the extra people so long as its potluck and just the meal-----....its the gift exchange that is "over the top"....I was thinking my shopping was done just a little cooking left to do....WRONG!

    I dont like crowds---family or otherwise---I am the youngest of 6-8 kids...and I'd reckon to say I have the most responsibility (farm and homeschooling) and the smallest budget....all we do is go go go....it stinks! I want to stay home, drink egg nog and play Scrabble and feed my critters on time!

    A dozen free range eggs is not a gift .....its expected.....

    We dont even have a tree up at home yet! Maybe tomorrow...

    Its this way every year....I have failed to adjust....to their standard willingly :shrug:
     
  15. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT

    LOL. I just love this. Lower the expectations!

    But I know where mpillow is coming from.