For the first time in my four-and-a-half years of blogging, I took a risk and published a post that peeled the curtain back a few inches on personal family dysfunction, illustrated by some attempted manipulation at this year’s family Christmas party that resulted in my choice to remove myself from the situation by leaving the event.
Also for the first time in my four-and-a-half years of blogging, I have deleted a post – the one that was previously here.
Names and identities were not revealed in the original post, since that was not the goal of the piece. Rather, the intent of the post (which I wrote after three days of consideration) was to benefit the readers of this blog, to let those who have less-than-perfect families know that you are not alone, that you are not somehow “the unlucky ones,” and that you are not powerless – that you always have a choice, even in the tricky and downright complicated situations life may bring. That goal, I feel, was accomplished. The comments here, as well as many personal notes of thanks and appreciation, would seem to attest to that.
However, within mere hours of the post going live, a steady onslaught of social media messages, emails, calls and texts came in from extended family members, the dysfunction and array of manipulation tactics of which made the original incident at the party seem like a sunny day at the park. In one case, I was essentially disowned via text (a message which was sandwiched, strangely, between smiley emoticons). What initially involved three people grew within twelve hours, through a chain of phone calls and link-sharing, to include upward of fifty best I can tell, some of whom were not even at the event, let alone part of the situation – but all of whom have expressed strikingly strong opinions about what happened and who was to blame (i.e., yours truly), nonetheless.
If only family talked this much when there wasn’t a problem. Alas …
At any rate, this created an interesting dilemma for me. The post itself was about a choice I’d made to not bend to the dysfunction and manipulation. And yet, due to the mounting aftermath of continued dysfunction and manipulation, I’ve ultimately decided to remove the post as originally written. I’m still not sure what to make of that. I guess this replacement explanation is the best I could do – retaining the acknowledgment of my less-than-perfect family, while at the same time removing all reference of any kind to “any actual persons, past or present.”
Honestly, if it were just me being frowned upon, guilted, called names, character bashed, cut off forever and ever amen, and what have you, I’d be OK with that, even as exhausting as it’s been. But for the sake of the growing number of family members being drawn into the fray, divided into sides and recruited to put more stones in proverbial walls – some of whom are not as prepared or able to handle the emotional ramifications at this time – I’ve made the choice to remove the post. (I shudder to think what would/will happen when we all have a real problem to contend with; but I suppose that is “future-me’s problem.”)
As my friend Dib wisely says and often, “Save yourself.” In the end, some ships just aren’t worth going down with. I’ve decided that this is one of them.
A heartfelt thanks to the many readers who shared your own comments and stories, who chose to be vulnerable so that you could encourage others, and who emailed with appreciation and support.
To uninvolved family members who found yourselves caught in the crossfire, please know that this was not my intent. I trust that removing the post, while certainly no cure for what ails us, will at least serve to stem the bleeding for the time being.
Are you ready for some real change in your life right now?
The Best Advice So Far is about choice. Filled with wit, humor and poignantly real stories, The Best Advice So Far shares collective wisdom through a new lens, as well as practical application for living like it matters (because it does).