The holidays are a time that focuses on family. Although most people look forward to it every year, it’s good to think about those who don’t have a great relationship with their families. With Christmas music playing everywhere and holiday advertisements, it can be hard to escape it all. If you’re someone with a supportive family, never take that for granted!
Reddit user Vague_Discomfort said that they don't feel at all close to their family, so they don't see a point in visiting:
“My family and I have never been that close. We feel more like a loose collection of people than an actual family. Once I’d been out on my own for a while there just didn’t seem like much reason to go visit strangers I don’t connect with.”
Sometimes work can be used as a good excuse to get out of a toxic family situation.
ClassifiedRain said, “Simply put, my family is full of grudges and alcohol. Holidays are supposed to be full of good feelings but every time one comes around someone mysteriously pulls up drama from 1992 and just ruins everything. So I'm just going to work.”
TitosHandmadeCocaine said that they were in an abusive family situation and subsequently kicked out of the house at age 16:
“My stepbrother got a part-time job and worked for months being allowed to keep all the money for himself. So I goes and gets a job and as soon as I get my first paycheck, Stepfather decides that I need to start paying room and board. I refuse because stepbro doesn't have to pay a dime. weeks go by with pressure that I need to pay or else. Because he so badly wants the money he caves and makes stepbro pay as well. $60 a week for each of us … turns out that money isn't good enough and he starts bitching that we're not paying him and demanding more money. he was actually giving stepbro his money back....
...One Saturday comes along stepfather has the night off and my mother had gone grocery shopping. I got home from work and they had gone out for dinner so there was no leftovers. So I rummage through the fridge and start making myself a ham sandwich. He freaks out and starts yelling at me that I have no right making food when I don't pay the room and board that I'm supposed to be paying. I get pissed tell him that I payed up yesterday. He goes on a tangent telling me to put the food away or get the f*** out of the house. I tossed the food into the trash and I walked out of the house. I lived on couches and flop houses until I graduated high school only really going back to sneak in and grab some clothes.”
Life can often times be a lot better when you don't surround yourself with toxic or abusive people, and we certainly hope that this person is better off without their abusive family around.
User Thatone-there said, “I realized the comments of my extended family resulted in the eating disorder I had in high school. Despite knowing I was sick due to being hospitalized, when I started eating a healthy amount again they would pick on me and tell me ‘it will all catch up to my figure one day.’”
It's pretty shocking to think about how family members sometimes don't consider the impacts of their actions, or in this case, their toxic comments.
Frostteal shared their horrifying family situation: “My grandfather molested my mother as a child, and then proceeded to molest my sister and me when we were younger. My husband and I had our first child a year ago, and it was a knee jerk reaction to kick them out completely. I wish I had been stronger earlier, but I refuse to introduce my new baby daughter to a pedophile, and I am no longer willing to stay polite and quiet.”
It definitely sounds like Frossteal made exactly the right decision in this situation. No one should have to endure abuse just because they're related to the abuser.
For Redditor ShevElev, going back to their hometown can hit like a ton of bricks because they have virtually no family left there:
“Family is mostly dead (I'm in my 20s). No parents no brothers/sisters/uncles/aunts that live in the area. No reason to visit my hometown other than my in-laws live there. Going back gives me panic attacks.”
KittyCatOmaniac said, “I don't really have a home to go back to. My dad died when I was eleven, my mom when I was fourteen. I was living on my own before I'd even turned sixteen. There's my grandparents who took me in for a year until I got my own place, but they're both 85+ and have countless other grandchildren and great-grandchildren, so it sometimes feels like I'm just another grain of sand in the desert.”
It's certainly a sticky situation for those who don't want to be a burden on others, but in turn have no place else to go.
Grumbles_to_internet remembers that their mother and stepfather steadily became more and more abusive as time went on:
“My mother was a narcissist. She got remarried when I was 10 or so and her new man was everything. She had always been abusive, but it was always of the emotional, mental variety. After his unwavering acquiescence of the abuse, he came to agree with it wholeheartedly. He would eventually step up to physical abuse, which, in turn, my mother decided to emulate. When I was eleven, his three boys came to stay with us over Christmas break from school. They were showered with gifts. I received none. Their explanation being that I was not a good child like his three. The eldest of his children, who was around twelve at the time, took pity on me and gave me an RC car that had been gifted to him...
...When I was caught playing with it, it was taken from me. When the eldest explained he had given it to me for Christmas my step douche lightly reprimanded him and then took me outside while beating me in the head. I was told to stand still and watch as he ran the RC toy over with his big truck. I then had to sleep on the cold cement basement floor for 'taking' presents from his children. I've never celebrated Christmas since. The whole holiday season makes me very emotionally wrecked with bitter intermittent flashbacks of the way I grew up.”
Although this is clearly a horrible situation, OP's stepbrother was very brave and kind to offer up one of his presents.
It's hard when you're a college student and everyone around you is making plans to fly home for the holidays. The cost of a plane ticket is just not feasible for some families during the holidays:
Happysailor68 said, “Moved 1000 miles away from hometown to go to college. Mom told me before I even graduated from high school that I'd better make some friends my first semester, because a round trip flight at thanksgiving wasn't in the budget. It's not bad. I went home with my roommate last year, and this year I'm staying with my boyfriend. I'm involved with the Macy's parade, so that keeps me busy too. I think if I really wanted to my mom would find a way to fly me back, but I don't mind waiting a few weeks till winter break starts.”
It's never fair when divorced parents pressure their children to pick sides during the holidays. It's even worse when the child falls becomes the scapegoat in this situation:
Porkflossbuns said, “My parents are divorced, as a kid I was lugged back and forth between the two. If I spent Thanksgiving at one parent's home then I had to spend Christmas at the other. As an adult I don't like to pick sides, so I chose neither and had come to blame the long distance, exams, and now that I'm out of university, I have a full time job as my scapegoat. I love both of them, but I would rather spend my time alone than worry about hurting one or the other's feelings.”
If you’re struggling with the holiday season this year, just remember that family doesn’t have to be the people you’re biologically related to — family are those that treat you with love and respect no matter what. So spend your time with friends and those you enjoy being around!