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Trip to visit family is a DISASTER and I don’t know what to do


femmefatalty
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My family is very dysfunctional and used to fight a lot. Me and my sisters moved out and started our own lives, and have since tried to repair our relationships. I quit my job moved to New York back in July to go to grad school. Ever since I moved I have been really lonely and have had a hard time adjusting. I don’t have very many friends and my savings account is running out so I’m stressed about my finances. I was really excited to visit my family and friends sine I haven’t seen them in six months.

Ever since I got here, there has been nonstop fighting. I can’t even go into detail about the fights because it is too much to type right now. But they have been very escalated and triggering for me. There has been fighting everyday, including Christmas, to where I spent the day alone crying eating ramen noodles because I was too upset to be around anyone. Me and my parents are staying in a hotel, so I can’t just leave and go to my room, and I have no money so I can’t get my own room.

Now to top everything off, I have COVID, so I can’t leave for another two weeks. Me and my dad have to quarantine in this room while my mom picks fights with me. All I wanted was to see my friends and family because I missed them so bad, and now I want to run away and never come back, but I can’t. I wish I would have never come and spent Christmas at home. I am really depressed and have been crying a lot. I really don’t know what to do. I’m not going to come back to visit them anymore. I love them and will always be there if they need me. But I’m going to limit communication from now on and I feel like that will further isolate me and make me more depressed. 
 

I also broke up with my ex back in April, so this holiday has been especially hard since it’s my first one without him. I’m just really sad that now I feel like I’m losing my family too. I really don’t know how to cope with all of this right now. 

Edited by femmefatalty
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So first I got upset with my sisters because I tried to confide in the, about some of the things I am going through in New York and they were very negative. They told me that that’s why I should have never went and they told me not to and that now I have to deal with it. My other sister told me I’m depressed and was running away from my problems and that I will never be happy in New York until I fix my mental health problems ( she may not be wrong, but she said it in a way that kind of belittled what I’m going through in New York). I was in a bad mood because of this and they said that I’m being ungrateful now because they are trying to make me have a good trip and I don’t appreciate it. 
 

My sisters are fighting over something dumb honestly and aren’t even talking. They had a disagreement about whose house to host Christmas Eve at and it blew up into a huge argument from there. 
 

My mom and sister are fighting because things that have been happening between them for a while before I got here. I think it just all came up to the surface now and has escalated to the point of no return. I really don’t want to say what happened because it’s really bad, but there were police, defax, and violence involved and that’s what has been triggering me the most and making me want to leave right now. It’s bringing back traumatic memories form my childhood and I thought things were different now. 
 

my mom is arguing with my dad because she says he won’t stick up for her, and she is saying really mean and awful things to him. She picked a fight with me over something that happened over 6 months ago and we’re all in a hotel room together so we’re just bickering and arguing all day and I can’t leave because I have COVID. 
 

im sorry if that’s not enough detail but honestly if I type exactly what happened, I will probably start crying again. 
 

I want to work, but I am in architecture school and it is extremely demanding. They actually do not recommend you work your first year and focus on studies. None of my other classmates work because they are also very stressed with the workload. I work on my class work for about 10+ Hours a day, and have pulled several all nighters to complete projects by the deadline. It’s not just me either my classmates tell me the same. I am getting a job once I return to New York, but my schoolwork is going to suffer. I only managed to make all b’s devoting all of my time to it. 
 

 

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It sounds awful. Keep your eyes on the ball with your program and consider it your ticket to freedom and better employment opportunities at the end. It may sound frustrating but forget this family feuding. It’s going to end in a matter of days. Meanwhile, your cortisol levels are raised and you’re carrying that stress around for longer. Your sleep is probably horrible too. Sleep deprivation.. I could write a book. Be good to yourself.

When you return to NY wipe the slate clean, fix that baggage you’re carrying or from feeling sorry for yourself. Even the process of engaging in a couple of hobbies casually on the side or working part time may help alleviate the stress.

Do you have access to wifi and a smartphone at the hotel? Create a couple of new playlists or look for podcasts. Put on your headphones and engage in something else besides the bickering and hurtful comments. Your family may see you’re busy and stop talking at you. Don’t respond to inappropriate comments or choose not to escalate any issues. It may not be instant peace but you may slowly see those around you just stop because you’re no longer paying attention. 

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Sounds rather unpleasant, I'm sorry you're having to deal with such negative people.

As much as you would feel isolated, I think cutting down on family interactions is the only way you can save your own mental health. Developing even online friendships is probably far more healthy at this point.

If you drove yourself, and are safely capable; then covid be hanged and make it back to your place. If you flew or took other mass transit, then look for options of other hotels to kick your mother out to. Anything has to be better than your mother having a go at you and your father.

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I'd pretend sleep a lot, and I'd plug into centering meditations on YouTube and decide that nobody else is allowed to knock me off my center.

When my family has tried to be cranky with me, I model how I'd prefer that they respond. Instead of reacting and taking their bait, I smile as though I didn't understand what they just said, and I say, "I love you, too, honey, thank you."

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A variation on catfeeder’s strategy, for surviving the duration of your stay, do everything you can to not get sucked into a single other argument, not one. Present zero opposition. 
 

mum says hurtful/untrue thing 

you say 

‘ok’

’i’m sorry you feel that way but ok’

’My perception of this event is different to yours and I don’t agree with you but I respect your right to feel how you feel about it’ 

Being unable to even leave the room occupied by a faulty human who feels so much more comfortable in a conflict state that she’s going out of her way to create it sounds like pure hell. I’ve adapted my not getting sucked into an argument answers from captain awkward, I enthusiastically recommend visiting her site and reading through the archives. Especially letter responses centred around having to go home for holidays with difficult family members, it’s kind of her forte. 
 

I wish you all of the stamina and strength to get through the rest of this visit. 

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