Drama in the Family

Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go by any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds; they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Families shouldn’t be war zones.
One person not talking to another;
One saying hurtful things about the others.
Families shouldn’t be war zones.

We can’t choose our family.
Our friends? Yes, and sometimes they’re
Closer to us than our blood relations.
We can’t choose our family.

Pray together, stay together,
So the adage goes.
But too often, prayer goes unanswered,
And rifts become chasms
With no meeting of the minds.
Leaving behind heartache, loneliness,
Confusion, worry, fear, and anger.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
The Prophet advises.
A balance between separation and connection
Seems difficult to attain
When one wants to control and another
Refuses to be controlled.

Perhaps unconditional love is merely a myth,
And the family you’re stuck with
Isn’t the one you’d have chosen
If you’d had a choice.
Which you didn’t.
Trust, once broken, becomes doubt.
Drama belongs in novels and on stage,
Not in holiday gatherings of loved ones.

Some people, you know, are just toxic.
They nag, criticize, demand, and throw tantrums
Every time they don’t get their way.
They never get enough
Love, attention, presents, money.
Being around them requires super-human patience;
Breaking free of their sphere feels invigorating.
Some people, you know, are just toxic.

Note: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Domer is home and we’re celebrating enthusiastically! Sadly, not all family gatherings are happy ones — may your family dramas be nil and your holiday easy and peaceful!

15 thoughts on “Drama in the Family

  1. Here’s wishing you and yours a truly super Thanksgiving! Luckily, I wouldn’t change my family for the world – even if they are mainly quite mad. What I love about them most is their innate ability to welcome all-comers into their fold. Wishing you all love & peace 🙂

    • A welcoming attitude to friends and not-yet-friends is a good thing, Lucy! Thanks so much for your friendship, Lucy, and here’s hoping you and yours have a delightful Thanksgiving, too!

    • What a sweet thing to say, Barb, and I feel the same about your friendship! What is it about holidays that brings out the worst in some people?? This poem was inspired by something our priest said at Mass this past weekend. He said the most troubled families he’s seen invariably have someone who just can’t get enough — whether it’s liquor, food, presents, or some other type of drama. They make the family gathering pretty unbearable. “Surviving the holiday table” is a good way of expressing it. I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving, with no drama (unless you like that sort of thing, ha!)

  2. Debbie, what a faaaaaaabulously expressed and written post because it’s so true about certain families and family members. I for one have many family members who I no longer associate with because of their toxic ways. I love the last paragraph of this poem. You’re spot on!

    To be honest, there are many of my friends I feel are more like family than my real family.

    Thanks for sharing this poem, my friend. Well done!

    Wishing you, Domer, and Dallas a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

    • Thanks, Ron. I find it sad that the folks who need family the most are the very ones who chase everybody away with their drama. And I know exactly what you mean about having friends who I’m closer to than some family members.

      The thing is, family members too often feel they have a right to press another person’s buttons, to treat others shabbier than they would strangers. Why is that, I wonder? Seems that, just because there’s familiarity, there ought not be presumption.

      Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better and will have a simply delightful Thanksgiving! Don’t work too hard, now! {{{YOU}}}

    • FF, you’re much kinder than I am! I positively dread having to be in the company of certain people, holiday or not. I’m very possessive of my “Debbie-time,” and I guard it zealously. I guess I just need my space! Maybe “prickliness” comes with creative people??! Since you don’t do Thanksgiving, have a couple of nice chocolates and maybe watch a movie?!!

  3. I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with Domer! My family is riddled with rifts and I’m caught between my mom and my aunt. They say what’s going on with them shouldn’t affect my relationship with them but it does… saw that after I told my mom I had talked to my aunt. Between that and what’s going on in my own life, it was an odd holiday. There’s always something to be thankful for though, so it’s okay 🙂

    • Thanksgiving here was lovely, Janna, thanks to not having any of the toxic ones around! I just don’t do drama well, when it comes to real relationships (drama in novels is so much different!!) I certainly can relate to your being caught in the middle — that’s my usual spot, too, and I hate it! Sadly, too often, we’re dragged kicking and screaming into battles we didn’t start — and don’t want to participate in. You don’t need that, not with everything else going on in your life. Glad it’s not bringing you down, though!

  4. We had a very nice Thanksgiving. Just me and my kids, with Henry and Oliver in tow. And we had so much fun being together. But the world is a scary place these days and my preoccupation with it and concerns, have kept me away from the blogosphere. So, sorry I haven’t been visiting your blog on a regular basis. Cheers!

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