Dealing With Difficult Family Members Over The Holidays
I’m sure most of us have at least one (or more) family member that just doesn’t quite get what we go through. No matter how many times we try to explain ourselves and what we go through, they just don’t get it. With the holidays coming up, I know I’m kind of dreading spending time with them.
Lucky for me, I have a pretty small family. Still, my dad’s side doesn’t really get what’s going on with me. No matter how many times, my mom, dad, or I try to tell them.
I know Italian grandmothers are supposed to make comments about your looks. I get it, but I’m still hurt by it every time. She used to just make comments about how funny my ripped jeans were, or how I’m getting taller. Since I got sick though, her comments are about my looks.
Again, an Italian grandmother’s most typical thing to say is “you look so skinny!”. It never used to bother me, because yes, I was skinny. I’ve always been skinny. But since I’ve lost a lot of weight this year, it hits a little close to home.
One of the comments I remember the most was said last year. She came up to me, as I was playing Scrabble with my mom and brother. She said, “you don’t look good, what’s wrong with you?!” And that’s when my dad stepped in and stood up for me. I haven’t been over much since then, because it sent me into a depression. I started telling myself that my mental health comes first.
My holiday plan
I’ve already started preparing myself for Christmas Eve. We go every year for a seafood dinner and to see Christmas lights. I keep reminding myself that her comments don’t mean anything about me, and it’s her ignorance talking. That doesn’t mean it won’t still hurt, but if I can try to put those thoughts in my head, maybe it’ll hurt less.
Honestly, at this point, I’ve spent all the energy I want to spend on trying to show them or explain to them what’s going on, so I won’t be doing that. I’ve shown them pictures of me getting an infusion, they’ve seen me use a cane, and it’s just not worth my time anymore.
I’ll probably just keep quiet on Christmas Eve and try to avoid any conversation about me. If I’m being honest, it’s kind of what I do in any social situation.
What to try and do
If you’re going to be seeing family that historically doesn’t treat you well because of your illness, try as best as you can to keep in mind that anything they say does not reflect on you, but back on them. It shows what kind of people they are and that they aren’t worth your time.
We just need to survive the uncomfortable dinners and hours after, until we can go home (or have them leave) in peace. Hopefully, then, none of us are sent into any weird mindsets or depressions.
What do you do when seeing family members for the holidays? How do you deal with unwanted comments or judgments?
I’m wishing you all a lovely holiday season, and all the best for the new year!
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?