Dear Ms. Vicki,
I’m not trying to be mean, but I hate the holidays with my family. It’s awful, but every year I have to go through the same routine just to make my mother happy.
My mother likes the holidays, but they make me miserable because I don’t get along with anyone in my family. There is too much sibling rivalry and many hard feeling between me and my sisters.
Why should we bother to spend our hard-earned money when my husband is a sergeant in the Army?
I was mistreated by my sisters while we were growing up. My mother turned her head and acted like she didn’t even notice. My father was in the Army too, so he was always working and he didn’t know half of what was going on.
I have tried to make amends with my sisters, but I always get the pie thrown in my face.
For instance, my sisters will give each other’s kids expensive gifts for Christmas, but they will give my children stuff that looks like it comes from the Dollar Tree.
If my children are doing any little thing, my sisters will chastise them harshly when their own children are doing the same thing.
I don’t know how to resolve this issue and keep family peace for the holidays.
My husband said he is being forced to go to my parents' house for Christmas and he doesn’t want to go because of all of the drama.
Now we are constantly fighting and arguing. He said I am making him miserable. He is no better than my family because he is bashing me too.
I just don’t know what to do, Ms. Vicki. Should we spend the money to travel over 600 miles for me to go home and see a family I can’t stand to be with or just stay home?
-- Holiday Blues
Dear Holiday Blues,
Your signature says it all. There is often a big buildup of excitement surrounding the holidays. People can get the blues both before and after them.
Perhaps it’s because the holidays aren't all they hope they will be -- especially when you surround yourself with relatives with whom you have unresolved conflict.
This is not good. According to your report, your husband and your children are also reaping the discord right along with you.
Think about it: Your children are watching your relationship with your sisters. They are learning from your behavior. This gets even worse because this issue is causing conflict between you and your husband too.
All of this could potentially blow up in your face and cause more problems in your marriage and jeopardize your relationship with your children in the future.
I’m not blaming you, but someone has to take the high road to start the healing process. Honestly, I don’t think this is the best time for you to take a 600-mile road trip to see your parents and your siblings.
First, you said your money is limited. Because of this, why should you spend money on gas and other travel expenses and to purchase gifts for family who according to you won’t appreciate the gifts?
Second, you said your children are mistreated by your sisters. Remember, it’s your responsibility to care for your children and to show support to your husband. He doesn’t want to visit with your family.
Third, I think it’s time to start healing and reconciliation. A therapist could help you with this. In the meantime, I think you should write both of your sisters a letter and express how you feel about your relationship with them.
You should also do the same thing with your parents. Sometimes, parents can simply miss things or even consider sibling conflict to be normal while kids are growing up.
Remember, you are simply saying how you feel about some of the things that have taken place and how you want to see things change for the better.
Hopefully, the next time you visit, you will receive a warm welcome and they will reciprocate by visiting you and your family.
Finally, it is time for your family to start holiday traditions of your own. Let me know how everything goes.
-- Ms. Vicki