I spent last week in New Zealand on a holiday with my family. Whilst I did enjoy it I was frustrated by being limited in what I could and couldn’t do.
Whilst I generally do what I want when I want, I find that when I’m with my family, I revert back to the dynamics of being a child. The dynamics of never expressing an opinion when asked because I don’t want to add another voice to the confusion. The dynamics of going with the flow even when I don’t want to. The dynamics of allowing others to make decisions for me. The assumption that my fiance and I would automatically get the kids bedroom whilst my parents and sister and her husband had the masters.
One of the interesting things I found was that I recognised these things happening and whilst I probably didn’t behave the way I would were I with other people, I did make a few key decisions that asserted myself.
This time was important to me because although I’ve made leaps and bounds in how I handle myself and the situations around me, my family has always been my biggest struggle. It’s hard breaking out of the role that people are used to. It’s hard finding the line between being natural and having thought about an action for so long that it comes across aggressive and abrasive when you finally do say something.
This happened to me and to be honest I was quite happy with how I handled it. I’d driven my fiance and brother in law to the pub to watch the cricket and have a few drinks. After that we went to the supermarket to pick up a few things. My BIL insisted on going in himself and as he was told what was needed by my mama I didn’t bother going in. Turns out he bought the wrong stuff – tomatoes instead of tomato pasta sauce. My BIL stayed in the car talking to my sister whilst my fiance and I came in with the groceries. My dad got really angry at me as we were already late and had bought the wrong stuff. Normally I would have just stayed quiet and apologise but I thought “Why am I being blamed for something that I didn’t do?” So I said so. I explained that a) I had no idea what groceries were needed because I wasn’t told, b) that I didn’t even go into the supermarket and that c) I didn’t appreciate my dads tone of voice towards me. I’ve never spoken back to him like that and whilst he was pissed, he later apologised to me.
I know that scenario seems like a relatively minor thing especially for people who grew up in families where you could speak back without fear of repercussion but I didn’t. The fact that I spoke up and that my dad apologised speak volumes in how far we’ve both come in terms of our own personal development.
It was definitely an interesting time away and whilst I enjoyed it, I can’t say I’d like to do it again. The dynamics are still too geared to what is best and easiest for my sister, her husband and child and whilst I completely understand that, my family need to realise that this is still my holiday too and I should be able to do as I please without the limitations placed on my sister being placed on me.