Posts Tagged ‘whiny kids’

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Dealing with the Turkeys Who are Our Relatives

November 24, 2014

Due to impassioned pleas from desperate followers, I am sending out a short, emergency post for re-booters who are dreading spending time with their families. Do you feel like you’re hanging on by your fingernails, the last shreds of your sanity having packed up and vamoosed a few days ago? I bet. That’s why I’ve decided to bliss out with a “family free” Thanksgiving. Ha! Jealous??? Alas, such tranquility is not for you. Instead, you find yourself marching towards the gallows. To quote Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain.”


The holidays should come with a warning label: Danger! 100% Likelihood of Exacerbating Unresolved Family Conflicts. If it makes you feel any better, from coast to coast, I have friends confiding how tired they are of pretending to like their relatives. No Norman Rockwell scenarios here, I assure you.


So over the next 2-3 days, you get to steel yourself for the garden variety of familial sniping, posturing, eye rolling, or good old fashioned exhaustion. We’re all fed up with the bullshit, whether it’s from our whiny kids, our demanding parents, our unhelpful spouses, or disapproving siblings. We seek refuge in too many glasses of wine and then heartily regret our actions. So, here are a couple of things you might want to try to retain your calm and maybe even entertain yourself.


Strategy One: It’s great to watch comedies like Caddyshack, Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, A Fish Called Wanda—the more ridiculous the better. Everybody can laugh and it’s humor that makes otherwise difficult times bearable.


Strategy Two: Before you pour yourself that third drink, try this instead–look around at all these characters you’re marooned with for the day and imagine how Saturday Night Live would spoof what’s going on. Take whatever inane thing you observe—whether it’s an argument over how to prepare the sweet potatoes to snipes about supporting the wrong political party or football team and imagine how it might be portrayed on tv. How would Steve Martin exaggerate what’s going on? He’d make it funny, not mean. That’s what you need to do, too.


Strategy Three: pretend you have an extra thick, woolen coat on when you interact with the people who grate on you. Whatever their barbs are, you’ve got that coat on, so they can’t penetrate. Ignore them. Don’t take the bait. It’s not worth it.


Ok, so I hope this helps in terms of desperate times with relatives. For those of you who just LOVE everyone in your family, well, you’re a rare bird, indeed…We’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming of re-booting tomorrow.



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