There are times when I wonder if I'm just a horrible person for saying this but as the holidays approach, I just cannot understand the facination and ultimate masochism of bringing together families that are so destructive to each other.
I sort of come to this opinion as a child that was given up by my mother when I was a toddler. My aunt took me in and my cousins became more like my sisters than my genetic siblings. Of course there was much fuck-upitude in my head over this as I went through my teens and early twenties. There is some sort of horrible inclination in the human genome that compels people to seek out their genetic families and assume that those genetic families will:
1. Want them
2. Care about them
3. Be respectible citizens in this world
4. Not be doing tooooo much cocaine and booze
I remember as a kid thinking that I must have done something wrong to make my mother give me up. I thought that if I just tried hard enough, I could come back into the family and be "one of them" even though we had totally different childhoods. I had a stable home. My siblings were shifted around in the foster care system as my parents, in all reality, had no business having children. Even though everything I was seeing in my genetic family was negative, I wanted to be with them BECAUSE THEY WERE MY FAMILY.
I think I was in my very early twenties when I came to my present thinking on this subject. The breaking point was a horrible middle of the night call from my fucked up brother in which he stated that he would kill himself and, oh yeah, his two young children were in his trailer with him in their beds asleep. When I arrived at his trailer, there was a squad car there and I thought Shit! He's already done it!
As I got out of my car I was visibly distraught and I asked one of the officers if my brother had shot himself. They looked at me in confusion. "We're here for the trailer next door." I was told.
Ooops. So of course, I can't exactly take back what I said but a part of me doesn't want to. My brother is threatening to shoot himself when he has two small children in the trailer with him. At that point, I feel the need to protect his kids more than anything.
So of course the police knock on the door and my brother screams profanities at me and I just turn around and leave. That was the precise time that I decided that I was not going to let my fucked up family drag me down the rabbit hole with them. I was not going to play into their dramas. I was not going to get involved.
Now, this might be a little more extreme than a general tiff around the thanksgiving dinner table but I frankly see it in the same way. Even if you are sitting around with the people that share your DNA, the ability to let your mind drift away can be an essential survival skill. Learning to ignore your ass hole relative that always tries to bait you politically or the other one that tries to score brownie points with your mother by tearing you down, that can be an essential survival skill. To be able to look at relatives, realize that they are only going to affect you negatively, and to be able to put up that imaginary shield and perhaps just give them a bemused smile as they try to rip you to shreds, THAT WILL DRIVE THEM NUTS!
Yeah, and wouldn't THAT be fun???