Anticipating an outcome before an event has even taken place is something many of us do, particularly around social gatherings for business, parties, reunions and especially before those jolly good traditional family gatherings. Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head and comments muttered under ones breath are spoken just loudly enough that the intended relative knows it was intended for them. Sparks fly, tensions mount and before you know it an explosion of pent-up hurts and decades-old anger bubble over the surface.
Year-after-year now, many people look forward to getting together with their families and dreading it, too. It is seldom they have ever been completely in-accord with one another and that's a sad thing. Dysfunctional together, yet perfectly normal in their own homes, they tend to react. They become what they try so hard to suffocate. Mr. Ugly has his way and eggs them on, until they cannot help it. They say the very thing they never intended not to say. They were just waiting for the right moment. You are not alone in this either. Many people think up things to say beforehand, just in case they might need some sibling ammunition. Normal.
"Do you find yourself feeling this way when you perceive someone is about to upset you? Do you feel edgy weeks prior to an event? You're not alone. You're normal".
Most of you out there know what it is to absolutely love your family, do anything for them, protect them and defend them from an outsider, but will take them to task and allow childish hurts to be resurrected. It makes one want to take a trip, be unavailable, out-of-town for the holidays. Still arguably, loving the holidays, they innocently look forward to getting together with these people they love. "What's wrong with us, we hardly ever get to see each other!" they demand of themselves. "Why cannot we drop our defenses and release the past in order to truly relax and enjoy our company? Why is there always resentment just under the surface of our politeness?"
They start off expecting this holiday gathering to be better than last year. They expect everyone to smile with a singular purpose (without the sneering and jeering of meaningful looks), without glances that belie the curve of their mouths. They expect sincerity to ooze out and everything to be Pollyanna Perfect ... but it won't work. Believe me. Someone will say the wrong thing, let slip a secret they were never-ever to mention, or insist upon taking that photograph they know the subject doesn't want taken. Why, oh why, do grown-ups still behave like kids!
This year is already tugging on you to relinquish the past and embrace the holiday spirit. To expect the best and not allow resentments to creep in, trying to ward-off resentments. If you're a betting person ... I wouldn't bet on your intentions either.
Remember to adore your family ... even if you wonder how some of them were allowed in! Ha!