Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dealing with the Holidays

I think enough time has passed now that I can write about my holiday experience this year.  I'm going to preface this by saying I was finishing up my master's degree (which meant unpaid hours for internship & LOADS of paperwork at the end) as well as doing all the normal holiday crap that drives me batty (baking cookies, designing Holiday cards, addressing & mailing Holiday cards, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, mailing packages, & not sleeping enough.)  So it's not an exaggeration to say my stress level was maxxed out, my SAD was thoroughly ingrained, and I was pretty miserable overall.

Donald has been doing a great job with his counselor on trying to understand how growing up in a dysfunctional family affected him.  He even did a homework assignment to figure out what boundaries he wanted to set for the Borg Queen while she was out.  With all this positive stuff going on I thought surely the visit couldn't be terrible.  Yeah.  That was a mistake.

When the BQ got here Donald was at work during the daytime for the first couple of days.  Not that big a deal really because BQ took the kidlets with her to her hotel room.  We did the normal talking just long enough to make it look like we didn't despise each other and I mentioned to BQ that we would really appreciate it if she could watch the kids for the afternoon of the next day so Donald & I could actually have a date.  She said that would be fine.  That night I reminded Donald that he had wanted me to talk to his mother about the date thing for the next day.  Everything should have been fine.  However, in dysfunctional families old habits are hard to break.  VERY hard to break.

The next day Donald comes downstairs (he was still working nights during all this, so he slept later in the morning than I did) and sees the BQ is already here.  So he walks up to her and says "What are our plans today?"  I was in the kitchen & at first thought he was talking to me.  Then it hit me that he was asking his mother.  This is when I started seeing red.  It got worse when she replied "Oh I'd like to take the kids to get pictures with Santa."  (It was a week before Christmas, so this was going to be an all day thing.)  So...apparently the conversations I'd had with the both of them had never happened.  Only...they did.  But as in the past, any plans I made with Donald got put on the back burner so he could make his mother happy.

I went upstairs to get away from them (mainly because I didn't want to have an argument with Donald in front of the kids) and a few minutes later Donald comes upstairs.  He's completely oblivious and asks if I'm ready to go.  When I informed him I wasn't going with them because we had previous plans that just got cancelled he got the "deer in the headlights" look.  Then he tried to make it my fault.  "You want mom to have to take all 3 kids by herself to get pictures with Santa?" he demands in an outraged voice.  "Nope", I replied, "you should definitely go with your mother.  I'm going to spend some me time today since our plans got derailed."  He walked off in a huff after that.

About 20 minutes later he calls and asks if we can still do our date later that day.  His mother volunteered to take the kids to a movie so we could have some alone time together.  I agreed and we did go out later that day and had a fairly good time.  So date day wasn't a total disaster, but Donald never followed through with anything he had talked to his counselor about the entire time the BQ was out.  It's like watching an addict relapse and it's heartbreaking to see.

We shall see what the future holds.  I've talked to Donald about how he can't follow through with his mother and he may be beginning to see what I'm talking about.  But I also don't want to deal with this for another ten or even another five years.  The holidays are stressful enough without the added addition of the Borg Queen.

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