Old rolls or old roles? Which are staler. Have you changed even so you might fall back into old roles when you are back in an old situation. The expectations can still be there and you can’t resist them. Does everybody eat at the dining role table when you eat in the kitchen even though you are not a child anymore. Do you wait until everybody else has eaten before you even attempt to eat your food? Anticipating a family visit can take you back to childhood, adolescence and possibly young adulthood. and when you actually get there it can be even worse. The cues that used to set you or family members off, still do. Okay, it doesn’t happen for you. What about your partner when they visit their family.
Do we ever grow up in spite of our families? Daddy’s girl or mama’s boy are roles that are easily taken up again when around mommy or daddy again. Do you or did you have a sibling that used to boss you around, always got their way , or could beat you in a fight verbal or physical? Were you the “STAR”, the one always recognized for your accomplishments or were you invisible and if you you did anything that achieved recognition, did certain or all other family members ignore it or worse yet not even know that something like that happened?
Old habits die hard. Do family members that were used to giving you orders still order you around effectively when you are around them? Do you pick up the check, wash the dishes, mind the little children while the rest of the family doesn’t even thank you and may even go off without you. Enabling, double binds reassert themselves. Do they order for you, refuse to get you a drink, or comment on your hair or what you wear or even go so far as to pick out what you wear.
Worse yet do you become sick or somewhat spacey when planning to make a home visit. Worse yet can be family reunions where you are given no choice as to what happens or do you do the opposite and wind up planning the whole thing with everybody else’s wishes, preferences, and time schedules in mind, not yours, because it is easier for you to just give in. Do you find yourself not making a fuss even when you are grossly inconvenienced. If it is your partner’s family reunion, do you get taken along for the ride and have a miserable time. Do old dramas reoccur like Uncle George drinking all the spiked punch and getting sick and puking all over someone’s pants or carpet.
Do you wonder why you went. Was it just to go and put in an appearance. Did it even mess up your schedule and cause you to miss something else that you would have preferred to go to another family reunion, or a planned event with hard to get tickets. Do the people there smoke, drink excessively, or cuss outrageously even in front of children? How many of these events have you enjoyed? in the past ten years.
Are you still the scapegoat at these events like a school reunion, etc.. Or worse yet do you still get bullied or even worse yet emotionally , physically, or sexually abused. Some times sexual abuse by a family friend or member does not stop when the victim reaches adulthood. Do the people there go off into their own groups (old school friends) and leave you on the fringe. Or instead do you lapse into old negative behaviors deliberately talking about things and doings while openly leaving someone out and who has a miserable time.
I suggest a spa visit before to get ready or better yet after to pamper yourself. Aim to just live through it and give yourself some quiet decompression time possibly both before and after the visit. Reward yourself for getting through it even if you only went out of obligation such as “Honor thy father and mother.” You might even go so far as to do or not do one thing that that you usually don’t do or do (almost helplessly) on these occasions. Stand up for yourself, but be totally prepared for what might happen if you do this. These people can still push your buttons even if they have not been pushed in a long time.
Okay you are strong; you wouldn’t let this happen to you. What about letting it happen to somebody else just because this was the way it always used to be. You don’t want to cause any conflict. Worse yet then they might pick on you too. Have you really matured and do what you think is right rather than falling back into going along with the crowd. “The crowd” can exert a lot of pressure and you may be seen as spoiling their good time.