That time of year is on us again. It's going to be harder than usual for me this year as it'll be the first year in all of my 58 years that I haven't spent Christmas with mum. For the last 20 years, too, Christmas has just been me and mum. I've usually gone to her place on Christmas Eve and stayed over until Boxing Day. It's been our special time together. My brother and his wife live just a few minutes away, but they've never invited her over in all of that time, and they always spend Christmas with my sister-in-law's family. They usually called in on mum for a couple of hours on Christmas Eve... and then she wouldn't see them again until the new year (though my brother would always give mum a ring on Christmas morning). For a few years now, I've had a standing joke that he should have taken her surname at marriage rather than the other way around! I've spoken at length about her in other posts, so people will know how I feel. She's a narcissist. She's brainwashed my brother over the years, estranged him from his natural children, created difficulties for me... basically, caused a lot of emotional damage. She's divisive and manipulative: a very toxic person anyway, but especially to someone like me. For a long time now, I've kept friendly with them mainly for mum's sake.
Now that mum's no longer with us, there isn't really a need to keep that pretence up any longer. So I've told my brother that I'm simply not going to do Christmas this year. I don't especially feel like it, anyway - but mainly it's so that I don't need to have anything to do with them. I'm not going to write Christmas cards or buy any gifts. We only really gave token gifts, anyway. There are some family members - a couple of aunts and cousins - that I could send cards to. But my brother's in touch with them as well, and I'm sure he'd find out and would be upset. So it's just easier to leave it altogether. I think they'll all understand, anyway.
I can't help feeling mean about it all, though. It's just a card, after all. I sent my brother and his wife their birthday cards and gifts as normal in July (three months after mum's passing) because I would have felt awkward not doing it. It was a token gesture on my part. A bit of 'people-pleasing, too. I need to break ties, though. They don't really mean anything to me. Also, I find it very hard to forgive some of the damage that she's done. My brother's natural daughter, who's now over 40 and happily married and settled, still has tears over the 'loss' of her father. I think, if I'm absolutely honest, he suffers because of it all and is torn up inside. But nonetheless, he's made his life choices. If anything happened to his wife - and her health is precarious - he would be totally lost. Having said that, her family will take him in. He spends more time with them than with any on my side. He even holidays with them. And, as I said, he's always with them for Christmas.
Families! I wonder how other people feel about my intentions - and how other people deal with these matters themselves at this time. It's very difficult.
I don't find it mean at all, I'd think at least this year a lot of people will understand why you don't want to do Christmas in any form, even if they don't actually fully understand it. If your brother would like to see more of you (for real, I mean, not just meaningless cards) then that's in his hands. If he tried to achieve that and you would block any attempt that way, that would be understandable but sad, but not sending a Christmas card that both of you know would just be done out of politeness can't possibly break his heart that much. I'd think this year you can do anything you want, maybe reassess things next year regarding your other relatives. Sorry if I'm wrong with this, it's not so easy to understand this British obsession with Christmas cards that actually mean nothing to either.
I hope you'll be o.k. Somehow it's not really possible to not do Christmas, is it? Unless you have stocked up on food until January and lock yourself in, no radio, no TV... It has seemed very tempting to me to just stay in UK and not bother with it, but think it would have been rather awful really. You don't really have a choice though, you can't do Christmas as usual, so in case loneliness does start to creep in or the whole thing pulls you down a lot I hope you can find yourself some suitable company, even if it's just on this forum or so. Your needs are important too, not just those of everybody around you (while still quite far away)!
I keep thinking of national lampoon's Christmas vacation on TV.
As children we always stayed at home over Christmas. Eventually I discovered that my mother had a eating/cooking obsession/phobias, she wouldn't eat other people's food(cooking). So it was always at home. No guests were invited and I didn't visit anyone either. Just the four of us.
My father, later in the evening went out visiting other family relatives but I was never invited.
In later years when my sister had her own family, she started inviting us to visit her over Christmas. We went a few times. Then my mother refused point blank to go. After a lot of arguing I discovered that the reason was the food phobia. She refused to eat or drink anything prepared by someone else. On her last Christmas visit she had poured away a cup of tea down a plant pot when nobody was looking.
Then it was Christmas at home. No outside visitors.
Now it's alone. Since I have nobody to share it with.
Birthdays are a personal event and Christmas is a family time for the fortunate. They should understand that you are not doing Christmas this year. Leave the door open for your brother in the future, don't burn all your bridges.
Can you help at a local homeless shelter or something for the day or a few days? even in the background in the kitchens if you don't want to be in the front.
Thanks. I have left the door open for him. The last time I saw him, I said to him that if he ever wants to talk about anything at all, not to hesitate to get in touch. That was two weeks ago, when we got together to scatter mum's ashes, and I've not heard a thing from him since. He was very uncomfortable on that day - not just the emotional significance of the thing itself - and I got the feeling that he couldn't wait to get away. I don't suppose I'll hear anything from him again.
I contacted a local homeless shelter and volunteered my services, but they never got back to me. I've heard from other people that they've been similarly 'ignored'. So... I shall spend the day indoors - just me and my cat - reading, watching films, dozing. As usual, in other words!
just to add! As usual my short reply somehow got a little long,enjoy Lol.
Well Christmas I a tough time,more so now I won’t have family members to share it with, I never liked visiting any of them,but at Christmas it was mynmums home we all descended,she was the figurehead that kept us together, she insisted that the open fire was got ready for logs instead of just being shut away behind a screen, I was asked to smoke cigars that were provided, as a smoker I willingly accepted the role,
For her Xmas was about tradition and the warm social family get together, not gifts or being suitably dressed,just being with each other in a warm soft caring home, visiting the mum in her warm burrow.
Yesterday I attended a works Xmas dinner in a posh pub restaurant. When the offer first came up I said no thank you, but having not attended a wedding reception of one of the workers who had been my right hand man for four plus years I realised how so outside I was, everyone else in the company went, they all enjoyed it, they had laughter and it created a bond afterwards when atvwork, even the management that’s four of them seemed different after it.
I was so left out,no connection,just like my early life when never fitting in, always felt I had missed some party but hadn’t,I just wasn’t able to connect throughout the day,
I made the decision I must go, I must interact, I have to co exhist between the workers I lead and the managers I follow, I struggle with that role now sovanything that allows my journey to be easier is worth doing.
Me and my wife attended,we were late, that in itself caused much laughter as I am usually a bit late for work, they associated it with me.
I immediately began acting,lights, camera, action.I became what was expected, I followed the rules as I understood them, I got things wrong a few times, forgetting to ask who a partner was,not introducing my wife. Things most ordinary folk take for granted,
I sat looking around,watching the interactions, thinking”those have drunk to much” or “ I wonder why that partner is so quite?” I felt distant,not fitting, I had to flick the switch in my mind each time I was approached,start acting,
Overall I enjoyed it,or rather I enjoyed the fact I coped,appeared normal,interacted sufficiently, was told I was an inspiration to some I had passed on skills to who have now moved up from labourer to middle managers. At least three I had worked many years teaching and passing on my skills and knowledge, the drink in them allowed thevwordsvand true feelings come out.
It got loud at times fuelled by drink, I wanted to hide under the table, I felt embarrassed as one got to drunk and started being loud and quite rude and honest.
My performance was applauded, I received an Oscar of sorts, validation from coworkers, not one expected me to show up.
I am spending today recovering in that I need alone time,time to reflect,time to analyse the interactions, I give myself a pat on the back for pushing myself into something I would not ever want to do.
A lifetime of having to fit in,it has become me, As said elsewhere on here, I want to strip away the camouflage and start being Asperger me, I recently tried it st home and work! Not onevwanted me,they wanted the person they had known, I have temporarily left the true me to slumber. I will seek diagnosis and want the real me to start living,
Sorry for the long post but it helps me enormously to unburden my tangledvself. ()x()
I had my work Christmas do last week. I went, and 'mucked in' as much as I could. But I didn't really feel comfortable. Someone ordered a Sex on the Beach cocktail. I asked what went into it, and a co-worker (who's a bit of a smarm) said 'How can you not know that?', as if I was an idiot for even asking. I'm afraid I came back in a bit of a sharp way: 'Erm, well I'll take a guess. It sounds to me probably like a mixture of sand, seaweed, oil and used condoms. Not exactly my thing.' It got a laugh, at least. That's usually how I try to handle situations like that. By making a joke, or raising a laugh.
We have one guy at work who, though he knows I'm an Aspie, never fails to use an opportunity to pull me up on something, or to pull my leg. One of those sorts that really drives me nuts. I have a tendency to take things literally, so when he came in one day with a scratched face and a bruise on his arm, I naturally asked what happened. 'I was set upon by ten blokes,' he said. Shocked, I said 'Crikey... what happened? Where was it?' Cue his laughter. 'I'm kidding!' Then he went on 'Actually, I tripped over the vacuum cleaner yesterday.' Still feeling my embarrassment at being gulled in front of the others, I came straight back with 'I see... so you thought it was a Dyson, and it turned out to be a Tyson.' That got me out of that one successfully! I can be quick like that, when I need to be. It's kind of, as I say, how I cope in social situations.
Well he knows where you are. For all you know he might have been worried about any recriminations from you.
That's bad about the shelter - maybe keep your eyes open on the local radio station websites and see if facebook have a local volunteer group for such things. Hope you find something.. Good luck.
Martian Tom said: He was very uncomfortable on that day - not just the emotional significance of the thing itself - and I got the feeling that he couldn't wait to get away. I don't suppose I'll hear anything from him again.
That would be very sad really. Maybe try not to interpret too much into his behaviour on that day, this was a difficult day for both of you, maybe in different ways for each, but it will have affected both of you. And you can't really separate other things going on at the same time from the "emotional significance of the things itself", it's a blend, not individually wrapped pieces. Maybe that is his way of showing emotions - to not do it and to try to get away from the situation that triggers them as quickly as possible, and not get back to it (or to you) until things seem more distant.
Update on my Christmas plans.
I have been sort of invited to my sister's. Her text message yesterday included, "Have t arrange a visit t us nearer Xmas"
Hi Martian Tom
I read your comment about your work colleague who keeps trying to pull your leg and your way of responding to him. I must remember the comment about the contents of the Sex on the Beach cocktail as I have no idea what's in it either. I'd hazard a guess that the majority of people don't know.
Anyway, back to your work colleague. It sounds from your description that your work colleague is actually trying to be friendly with you. He's joking with you and you are joking back so he probably sees it that you are enjoying the interaction. He may not realise that you are feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed.
I don't know for sure without observing the way he is saying this stuff, but it sounds like a lot of people who just like to wind people up for fun and think that it's harmless fun. They tend to do it to anyone around them who happens to be there so I'm not sure that he's singling you out as such. He probably really likes the fact that you do come back with witty remarks.