This morning was a perfect example of why I dislike the holidays.
Ever since I started distancing myself from my family (for my own self-discovery reasons) there has been an unspoken acknowledgement of said distancing. I am no longer obligated to attend family outings (as rare as they are) and we tend to give each other the space we need while helping one another out to a certain extent. The week before Thanksgiving I made it very clear that I would not be joining them, and that I wanted the house to myself. When someone tells you that and they tend to spend most of their time tending to their own wants and needs, it shouldn’t take long for another person to get the picture as to how this person is choosing to live their live.
Just yesterday it dawned on me that I haven’t spoken to either of my parents (as I usually do) about a gift-getting strategy for their kids and maybe them. This year things were blindly expected of me to selflessly give to my siblings. So when my dad confirmed with me about this the day before Christmas, he became upset when I gave him my response. Trying to pull the selfish son argument (as he does every so often) when asked if I expected him to get me anything (to justify the phrase, “Why would you expect something from me/ someone else, and not think to give back to me or someone else?”) I responded with a polite, “no.” This was obviously not the answer he wanted to hear, nor was expecting to hear. Part of me feels like we should have established this weeks ago instead of waiting until the last minute to be rudely disappointed.
I didn’t want to get into it with him as to why I didn’t expect to receive any gifts. He was on his way out the door to drop off the kids and go to work. I could tell he was more upset after this response. Instead of yelling he just left the house and went about his day, getting the last words by throwing me a guilt trip as he walked away. Last I checked gifts were supposed to be rewarded for good behavior. I personally don’t believe getting multiple failing grades deserves to be rewarded in any way. Not only that, but the lack of communication for something like this left me feeling upset and stressed (which is what lead to the writing.) Feels like the rug has been swept from under me. No one asked me what I wanted, and no one implied of hinted at a single thing they were expecting. How to you expect to communicate a message this way? Telepathy? I know were supposed to be a family, but I felt (and still do) at a disadvantage.
Ever since I joined the working class their has been this constant duality of expectation between my dad and I. Once I started working, I immediately was expected to financially assist the family through paying rent amongst other things. My dad decided now that I have a steady income, he can get a bigger house, make more purchases, and justify it as helping out the family as a unit. This has started a slow decline of our relationship. Year after year he has always found a way to push me to pay for more things with my own money. This most recent effort has been through buying groceries. Although it is not directly stated, he doesn’t like when I eat the food he buys. This was a tough pill to swallow, but I had no choice and had to get over it (and I feel as though I have made the best of the situation.) His argument most often is that I am a _____ (insert variable age he chooses) year old adult and should start acting more and more like one. Due to the repetition of this message I eventually got the point.
This is where the duality comes into play. Having been told I need to start acting more like an adult (that is, paying for my own things) when I mature through experiences like these, start to formulate an opinions on who I am, my own sense of right and wrong (both on a personal and exterior level) and finally start to follow through by voicing my opinions and following through with appropriate actions, I am scolded for it. It’s as though I am given an opportunity and space to grow, but once so much growth has happened the space turns into a shape I do not agree with (that ends up reflecting the views of my dad.) I cannot begin to describe how confusing this is. I have worked so hard to try and find my own personal identity and feel such patterns of happiness and joy when I can communicate how I feel; not only that, but having someone (if not change their minds entirely) began to consider other possibilities based on another’s views. I am now learning that others are less open to suggestions and criticisms than most.
Mom falls on the other end of this spectrum. Right away she saw the behavior I was showing and recognized and respected my decisions. I am not personally hurting anyone, and there is usually a logical reason as to why I think and do what I do. My dad does not see things this way, nor will I ever think he will. He simply addresses this as inappropriate and unacceptable behavior because he is not willing to change his perspective on the world.
Having mentioned all this, I now am beginning to feel better that it is out in the open. Trying to communicate this to him directly is going to be a stressful time. All because we as a society treat this holiday with such a priority that family relationships become damaged as a result of forced sincerity whether we like it or not. “Its the holidays. You’re supposed to give gifts to those close to you. You’re supposed to be happy about it too.” Sounds like fascism to me.
I am sick and tired of living in this back-and-forth, double-standard of a household. I want to leave and be on my own already. I don’t want to keep in contact with my dad’s side of the family once I have established myself in the upcoming years. I disagree with the way they do things and do not wish to surround myself in what I feel are unhealthy behaviors and views. When views like the implied holiday expectations are combined with materialism, I start to see a toxic way of thinking. To make things short and concise, I recognize that we have different views on the world. I acknowledge that our different views are not accepted by one another, making us incompatible. Regardless of us being related by blood and by marriage, I feel that it is in the best interest of both of us that we no longer continue to try and convince ourselves that things will work out and that we will see eye-to-eye one day. The sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can move on and grow as individuals.
Now that all of this is out of my system and visible, I can digest and begin to return to a state of calm and continue to grow.