Thursday, December 11, 2008

the edge of panic

Warning: complaints ahead.

Friday night is the boss's annual holiday party. Ryan and I will arrive fashionably late, head straight for the bar, and spend a couple of hours socializing with the people I already spend more time with than anyone else.

Saturday morning will come way too fast, when I will have to run out to church to meet the piano tuner at 9:00 a.m. for an emergency piano-tweaking before choir rehearsal at 10:00 a.m. By 11:00 I will be yelling myself hoarse because no one listens to me when I say things the first time. What page are we on again? What measure are we on? Oh, I didn't know you were starting there. Are the men supposed to sing here, too?

Saturday afternoon we will not be having a brass ensemble rehearsal because everyone decided at the last minute that they can't make it.

So, I will go home to deal with my parents who want to come over so my father can perform "odd jobs" around the house for me, such as hanging wreaths and any other appropriate decorations. However, what this really means is that my mom and dad will come over, later than they said they would, and hang one wreath only. Then my mother will ask me if I want my father to do anything else. I will politely decline. My mother will then try to take me aside and "encourage" me to come up with something else for my father to do so he will feel needed.

Meanwhile, my father will begin poking around in the fridge for beer or other alcohol. When I finally think of something my father could do, he will have already consumed one beer and will have started sucking down a second. He will also complain about how he is now ready to go home and it is "all about control" with my mother.

It will be more of the same in the next week and a half until Christmas and then afterward. While we are eagerly awaiting the arrivals of my sister and brother and my brother's SO on Christmas Eve, neither Ryan nor I is excited about spending the majority of Christmas Day with my parents.

I don't necessarily want to air all of my family's dirty laundry here on this blog, but I do want to do a bit of venting. Alcohol plays a large part in the problems my siblings and I have with our parents. Couple that with over-emotional guilt-tripping and other assorted manipulative tactics and you've got a potentially volatile mix of personalities that keep my brother, sister and me on edge, all the time. (Yes, I realize at the beginning of this post that I mentioned I would be heading straight for the bar at the party tomorrow. Since alcoholism appears to run in my family, I am extremely careful to watch my intake and not go over-board. I monitor my coping mechanisms and believe me I am very aware of where my own personal imbibing can lead.)

I haven't fully enjoyed a Christmas in a very long time. Probably not since I was a kid, when I was too young to understand what was actually happening.

More on this at a later time. Maybe.

End of rant.


Ryan said...

We'll power our way through the season like we always manage to do. At least we can balance the eventful time with your family with some tame & uneventful time with mine.

Pamela said...

I spent some quality time with a 'nutcracker' to sort out my family's alcoholic behaviors, and the most useful thing I took away from it was to set boundaries and stick to them like a lifeline. Not to say you should build walls or anything, but decide in advance what your the limit to what you can handle is. And hit the road before the shit hits the fan.

battlemaiden said...

Pam, you are so right. My sister and I have been discussing this very thing a lot recently. Caving in used to be par for the course, but we're at our wit's end and refuse to allow ourselves to be treated like crap.

battlemaiden said...

Oh crap. I just realized I called you Pam. Like back in college. I forgot you don't care for that. Sorry! Pamela!

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