Do I not attend my father’s milestone 80th birthday celebration to avoid crossing paths with my estranged brother of two years?
My sisters and I are already going away with him the weekend before so there’s that. Plus I could spend the morning with him and leave before the evening dinner party celebration. I do know that my father and my sisters (one of which who is also estranged from our brother for the same reason and timeframe + the other two sisters only speak with him in relation to practical details relating to our aging father) will say that all my father wants for his birthday is for everyone to be together. (He’s done this before.) That line works for two of my sisters who live close to him in the city, however I find this particular tactic manipulative. I simply do not subscribe to superficial, plastic, surface dwelling kind of living, which to me, would be attending the celebration and pretending everything is fine and everybody gets along just great. What a farce. Authenticity and integrity are key values in my life all the way through. Am I doing the right thing by sticking to my Truth/values?
Can you be in the room and not speak with your brother? Can you spend the time talking to everyone/anyone else?
I do this at my sister’s house – I talk to the kids, to my BIL, to the dog and have a set time when I leave. I sit at the other end of the table – I can have a good time. My elderly mother wants us all together and I get through by enjoying my time with the people whose company I actually enjoy (e.g. my nephew and that dog – I will take it out for a walk)
Yes – you do have to have boundaries and you do have to be assertive at times to uphold them. Over time I have discovered that I have taught my family how to treat me and the behaviour has improved.
Remember your perspective is yours only, and what you think is farcical / superficial / plastic is not the same for everyone. Can you find any good / nice elements about such an event that would fit your preferences? If you want to have integrity and authenticity, can you walk into such an event with clear purpose and intention and a plan on how you can uphold those values?