Determined to Enjoy Thanksgiving

I’m hosting my first Thanksgiving in several years. (Thank you, Jesus!) I’m looking forward to cooking the big meal and having a lovely party. I am determined to enjoy myself.

Thanksgiving has been a difficult holiday for my family in the past. My youngest brother is prone to manipulative and narcissistic behavior. He has good stretches, but he’ll go on horrible rages for months at a time. He’ll accuse the family of being abusive, racist (his wife is Asian), or any other rotten thing when he doesn’t get his way. He has a history of controlling the family with these angry tirades. Thanksgiving has been a hotbed for this behavior.

I will pray a few Rosaries for him and ask for St. Dymphna’s intercession. (This is the behavior of a sick person, not a bad person.) I suspect this will at least change my orientation toward the problem if not the problem itself. What else can I do to enjoy my Thanksgiving, regardless of how my brother behaves?


I’m not sure what this is but good luck with it.

Good luck. I have no other ideas for you sorry.

I guess I would talk to my other family members who have agreed to come, and ask how they think any issues from the Problem Child ought to be handled, should they arise. A pre-determined consensus could be the best way to go. If you lower the uncertainty, you will probably lower the anxiety level, too, even though you can’t control what everyone actually does.

The other possibility is that you may want to decide for yourself how you will handle things, and give your other guests the heads-up about your decision. If you aren’t interested in opening this to debate, then as the host that is your legitimate perogative. In that case, allow them to make their own plans accordingly, and no hard feelings. They may understandably want to see him spend a non-abusive meal with the rest of the family before putting themselves out into the arena for this side of their family.

If you have no idea how to handle this, with or without outside guidance, get that advice from a source you trust before you will need it. Blindly hoping that nothing will go wrong is not going to be the ticket to a serene day in your heart. Instead, have a plan and the knowledge that with God’s help you will get through the day, whether the plan unrolls as you thought it would or not.

Yes, pray to St. Dymphna, and remember that any landing you walk away from is a good one.

I hope the best for you. I think I finally figured out that I need to have planned activities during this time of year. Lots of stuff going on in my family too and having something to do gives people less time to think about grievances and problems sometimes it just feels awkward like there is a white elephant in the room. I am hoping to make the focus on some fun games, and if the weather cooperates a walk in the local forest preserve, rather than the meal his year. At Easter we decided to go to brunch. I think the fact that there was an ending to the meal and everyone went home after worked well and was a relief. I don’t like the idea of eating out for holiday meals, but think that was a good way to handle it and we enjoyed ourselves.
Whatever you do,prayers to you.

Hi MyLittlPwn,

I am so sorry that you have to deal with this situation.

It seems that those of us with dysfunctional families usually have to think ahead about what might happen during the holidays, if we have any kind of family gatherings with other family members.

I guess that my recommendation would be to just think about how you would handle things if your brother were to start anything, and then just take it from there. For example, would you talk to him about his behavior, or would you just ignore it.

Your brother can’t control you unless you let him. If during dinner he starts on one of these tirades, Simply point out that this is not the time or place for this kind of behavior, and if you can’t respect others then maybe you should leave. And if he continues, get his coat and open the door for him. He can only abuse you if you let him do it, don’t reward his bad behavior.

Hope you have a Very Happy Peaceful Thanksgiving :slight_smile:

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