Petrified of family trip


#1

My husband's brother and his wife and one of our cousins is planning a trip to visit a cousin and his wife up north and we will be leaving our little ones (for the first time EVER) for FIVE DAYS!!!

My problem is that I'm the odd man out in that I'm the only 'professed Christian' and I'm afraid of the teasing but even more than that, I'm the only one who doesn't drink and I know I'm going to be confronted with being drug out to a bar and having to deal w/ DH going overboard. I seriously go into panic mode in those atmospheres.

And just generally speaking, I'm not very good at small talk and there've been so many times in the past that I've stuck my foot in my mouth criticizing or judging certain social activities that I know I'm gonna wear egg on my face and get teased about having to be in those situations myself w/ this crowd. I guess the biggest thing I'm afraid of is being told to loosen/lighten up. Whenever someone starts teasing me in that way, I tend to tense up and shut down.

Don't get me wrong, they're really good people, I love them and I'm sure I'll have a good time, I'm just painfully shy. Even if I ask DH to take it easy and to 'be there' for me, he doesn't take me seriously and just tells me to lighten up (go figure), which makes me all the more tense b/c I realize that I'm gonna be on my own - feeling like he's gonna be on everybody else's 'side.'

Seriously considering asking my doc for some anti-anxiety meds (that I've been on before) just to get me through. Please pray for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


#2

I know exactly how you feel, and I am the same way in those situations. I'm a shy non-drinker too and I hate to be in situations where everyone is drinking and getting tipsy, and begging me to loosen up and join the rowdy, obscene "fun." If I were you, I know I would be looking for absolutely any excuse to get out of it! From your sig it looks like your children are very, very young. I would have no qualms about saying I needed to stay behind to care for the children while my husband went alone.


#3

Your not the only shy non drinker out there...I had more issues with dealing with co workers gatherings..I was religious or preacher man to them...Most people learn to work with you and respect you even if they tease you..I don't t like to recommend or not using prescription drugs, but I understand anxiety and use natural products..These are some of the cares you need to cast unto the Lord...May the Lord strengthen and guide you through this situation...In these situations I am reminded of "chariots of fire" and Eric his stand...He who honors Me, I will honor them...


#4

Forgive me if I'm reading too much into this - but is your husband aware, regarding "going overboard," that

[LIST]
*]Getting seriously drunk is a mortal sin?
*]Putting oneself in an occasion of sin to be impure isn't a great idea either . . .
*]If he does this on a regular basis, maybe he's at risk of becoming, or already is, an alcoholic?
*]He's not respecting you as his wife, loving you as Christ loved the Church, if he's selfishly demanding you go along with all this nonsense, and trying to make you out to be the "wet blanket"?
*]He's being controlling, and if this is a pattern in your marriage, it would be good for you to get some counseling on how to stand up for yourself? Because what's his motivation to change if he's enjoying the status quo? It could escalate, and then where would you be?:(
[/LIST]

All of this is worst-case scenario. I'm kind of a fanatic about ladies expecting good treatment and respect from their husbands. And I saw my own parents having in-law issues, though different ones. It isn't pretty.

Finally, I was dating someone once whose family made me feel uncomfortable with their casual acceptance of things against Church teaching, and I thank God to this day I didn't marry that guy and end up the "odd one out" and the "wet blanket" myself.

I think one thing that raised a red flag for me was that you are feeling you will be in need of anti-anxiety medication to deal with this. I would feel the same - trapped and panicky. Why should you be put through this? What's it doing to your health? Especially if it's part of a larger pattern . . . which I don't know, of course; you'd have to reflect yourself about that. You just don't want to get into "codependency" or "enabling" if he has a substance abuse issue.

If it's more of a spiritual/religious issue only, it's a matter of being "unequally yoked" and you might be able to get some advice from a priest.

Peace to you, and I'll pray for you. Again, if what I said truly sounds too extreme for your situation, simply disregard it. I just want the best for all wives - and husbands too - and the best is to be in line with God's will and challenging ourselves to be better people, rather than just giving in to baser instincts.:thumbsup:


#5

Explain that it would be hard to join the fun with your children being somewhere else. Movies are made of a Mother's love, it is natural, and should be respected by non-Christians. I wonder who you are trusting so much for this escapade, as the persons must be extremely trustworthy for you to agree. His folks perhaps? Are you cornered then? Do you want to know how little that ever happened in our family? Perhaps the children are with your sibling? Better. You need to keep sober to make phone calls to this person. Try to find a way to pierce through, with attention to their true selves, when you are with these people. Get the upper hand about the drinking. One can't drink and drive. Refuse to participate in activities that dehumanize women. Most stuff can just be good natured fun. Stay out of the way of hunters. Enjoy the common enough hobbies, look for the goodness in people.


#6

Wow, thank you guys for the comforting words. It's encouraging just hearing from others who struggle w/ the same thing. As I approach 30, I am beginning to make peace w/ who I am - a loner, a wallflower. It's much easier to be 'myself' around people who aren't as intimately connected to me such as DH's family - you know, people you spend the holidays with. But, I will bite the bullet. Believe me, I'd just assume let DH go and I could take some R&R at home w/ the kids, but we haven't been away together (without kids) since we married 5 years ago. I know it's important to him that I go. Again, I know I'll have a good time, but I am a nervous nelly and I get worked up pretty easily about social situations. Thanks and God Bless. Keep up the prayers!


#7

[quote="JLCecilia, post:1, topic:224138"]
My husband's brother and his wife and one of our cousins is planning a trip to visit a cousin and his wife up north and we will be leaving our little ones (for the first time EVER) for FIVE DAYS!!!...And just generally speaking, I'm not very good at small talk and there've been so many times in the past that I've stuck my foot in my mouth criticizing or judging certain social activities that I know I'm gonna wear egg on my face and get teased about having to be in those situations myself w/ this crowd. I guess the biggest thing I'm afraid of is being told to loosen/lighten up. Whenever someone starts teasing me in that way, I tend to tense up and shut down. ...Please pray for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

[/quote]

They might not be picking on you for not drinking nearly as much as they are commenting on your not relaxing and not casually conversing with them. Some people think alcohol is neccesary for that to happen, but it's not.

I don't really like small talk much either, but it does serve a purpose. I hate it when conversations are stuck on small talk only, but some of it can be entertaining and it can serve as a warm-up for better conversations to come. Since you are uncomfortable with it, I suggest you plan your small talk topics in advance.

Figure out some "safe" subjects. You can even go so far as to gather a couple interesting and perhaps humorous, yet non-controversial stories to share. Prepare in advance what you might say so you won't be left with that awkward feeling of not-knowing what to say. If people put you on the spot, abruptly change the subject with one of your pre-planned, funny little stories.


#8

Here's a couple of articles that might help:
The Introvert's Guide to Small Talk ezinearticles.com/?The-Introverts-Guide-to-Small-Talk&id=3484378
How to Make Conversation for Introverts theadventurouswriter.com/blog/how-to-make-conversation-for-introverts-tips-for-small-talk/
How to Chat Someone Up theintrovertzcoach.com/networking_small_talk_for_introverts.html

Edit: I just found this article that you should show your husband: Caring for Your Introvert: learningplaceonline.com/relationships/friends/caring-introvert.htm


#9

Look, as long as you are certain you have good babysitters I would go because you and your husband need time together to maintain a healthy marriage. Putting the kids first too much has its dangers too, to the marriage, and that is not in the best interest of the kids.
Having said that, I understand your feelings. I was never a party person. Found it profoundly boring. I was shy too. I never knew what to say when people teased. Would rather do almost anything else.
It sounds like your husband is discounting your needs in this. I mean he needs to interact with his family, but at the same time he needs to ask what he can do to help you feel comfortable, and you need to be very open about your distress and what might help. That doesn't mean you don't go out with these people and you should be who you are. You do not need to apologize because you do not drink or because you are Christian. That does not mean you give them a lecture either. If they want a conversation on such matters be open to that but do it with love, be honest, but do it with love. I thought the example given on another post of Eric Little from Chariots of Fire was right on target.
But you and husband, it seems to me, can explore what you and HE can do to make you comfortable or at least more at ease. What might help you if they start teasing? Are you capable of a comeback. it sounds like not. If you are shy would it help for him to deflect this? Telling you to loosen up, it seems to me, is not being helpful or thoughtful and is not a loving act. It is ignoring your needs. Not to say he doesn't love you, but he can accept that this distresses you and out of love try to do things that help. Might he say sort of lightly but lovingly,when they tease "Hey guys, I like my wife just as she is!" and give you a sweet kiss on the cheek. I mean there are things he can do. What might you suggest to him. . I would have another talk with hubby, be very open about how much this stresses you and ask him to help you.


#10

[quote="JLCecilia, post:1, topic:224138"]
My husband's brother and his wife and one of our cousins is planning a trip to visit a cousin and his wife up north and we will be leaving our little ones (for the first time EVER) for FIVE DAYS!!!

My problem is that I'm the odd man out in that I'm the only 'professed Christian' and I'm afraid of the teasing but even more than that, I'm the only one who doesn't drink and I know I'm going to be confronted with being drug out to a bar and having to deal w/ DH going overboard. I seriously go into panic mode in those atmospheres.

And just generally speaking, I'm not very good at small talk and there've been so many times in the past that I've stuck my foot in my mouth criticizing or judging certain social activities that I know I'm gonna wear egg on my face and get teased about having to be in those situations myself w/ this crowd. I guess the biggest thing I'm afraid of is being told to loosen/lighten up. Whenever someone starts teasing me in that way, I tend to tense up and shut down.

Don't get me wrong, they're really good people, I love them and I'm sure I'll have a good time, I'm just painfully shy. Even if I ask DH to take it easy and to 'be there' for me, he doesn't take me seriously and just tells me to lighten up (go figure), which makes me all the more tense b/c I realize that I'm gonna be on my own - feeling like he's gonna be on everybody else's 'side.'

Seriously considering asking my doc for some anti-anxiety meds (that I've been on before) just to get me through. Please pray for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

[/quote]

Maybe they are nice people individually, but it sounds like they revert to a mob mentality when they're together, piling on the person they view as the weakest. Well of course you're the weakest if you feel alone and the odd one out.

Sit your husband down when the house is quiet and the children are in bed. Tell him you'd like to enjoy this trip with him and here's what it will take for you to relax. Then give him a clear, simple list (verbal not written) along these lines:

I do not want my faith to be ridiculed.
I do not want to be teased about not drinking.
I do not want you to drink too much. It frightens me. What do you think is reasonable? Ok, then we agree, no more after that.

For my part: (tell him the things you won't do that he finds bothersome)

I will not talk constantly about the children (tough one I know).
I will not be critical of others who act differently (unless they're acting dangerously)
I will smile and show you that I'm happy to spend this time with you. I love you.

My words may not sound like yours, but the idea is to keep it like a simple contract. You do this and I'll do that. We'll both have a better time than if we don't do what really upsets the other most.

The first responsibility of a husband is to respect and protect his wife. This also means not allowing anyone else to ridicule her. This so-called teasing and disrespect is hurtful and causes you anxiety and to feel physically ill at the mere thought of going on this trip. This is a kind of emotional bullying and abuse that must be stopped. Many times men don't recognize it as that until it's pointed out to them.

My prayers are with you.


#11

Wow! We could be twins who married twins.

I personally (knowing what I was up against) wouldn't be able to go through with this trip so I admire your courage. I been married for 28 years and I know that putting my husband in a environment of rowdy social drinking is his downfall. So I don't do it anymore and he won't go without me, so we don't go. I am also shy but I find when people share my values it's much easier for me to warm to them and them to me.

I don't have an out for you because I already know that if your husband is like mine, he won't stick to a prearranged plan. The best you can do is bring your own car to the party or call a cab when things get too straining on you.

I also have gotten flack from my husand the next day, for being a party poop. Ignore it. It's the hang-over talking, not necessarily from the alcohol, but from your husband allowing himself to participate in rowdy crude behavior.

God bless!


#12

[quote="JLCecilia, post:6, topic:224138"]
Wow, thank you guys for the comforting words. It's encouraging just hearing from others who struggle w/ the same thing. As I approach 30, I am beginning to make peace w/ who I am - a loner, a wallflower. It's much easier to be 'myself' around people who aren't as intimately connected to me such as DH's family - you know, people you spend the holidays with. But, I will bite the bullet. Believe me, I'd just assume let DH go and I could take some R&R at home w/ the kids, but we haven't been away together (without kids) since we married 5 years ago. I know it's important to him that I go. Again, I know I'll have a good time, but I am a nervous nelly and I get worked up pretty easily about social situations. Thanks and God Bless. Keep up the prayers!

[/quote]

Please do not call yourself pejorative names such as "loner" or "wallflower!" You are perhaps an introvert, PERHAPS. Just because you aren't getting drunk with other people and being the life of the party does not mean that you are a "loner!" Sounds like maybe other people called you these names as you were growing up, trying to make you into someone you weren't! Everyone has a right to be just who they are, without all the nasty names or concepts attached.

It's easier in a larger group to keep quiet about things. And when people drink, you can easily change the subject away from things you don't want to talk about, and usually they don't notice. After all, you are the one who is fully in control of your senses! Use that upper hand and if the subjects get a little out of control, just work it, girl! Distraction, distraction, distraction. Throw another topic into the middle of the group and let them all go after that rabbit instead of stuff that makes you uncomfortable. And don't take ANYTHING they say personally! People tend to ramble when they drink.

Hey, I'm pretty extroverted and I HATE small talk!!! B-O-R-I-N-G!!! But with people you either don't know well or are trying not to provoke, it's probably the best you can expect. Just empty your head of any brain you have and yak on about the Kardashians or Lady GaGa or whatever. If you watch TV for a couple of nights before leaving, you will have all the fodder you need to blather on about inconsequential subjects.

Good luck! Think of all that time to drop the roles of Mommy and Daddy and be each other's lover again! Whew! (start heavily yawning at about 9:30 every night..."We need to turn in now, early to bed, early to rise, you know...etc. etc.")


#13

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:12, topic:224138"]
Please do not call yourself pejorative names such as "loner" or "wallflower!" You are perhaps an introvert, PERHAPS. Just because you aren't getting drunk with other people and being the life of the party does not mean that you are a "loner!" Sounds like maybe other people called you these names as you were growing up, trying to make you into someone you weren't! Everyone has a right to be just who they are, without all the nasty names or concepts attached.

It's easier in a larger group to keep quiet about things. ....

Hey, I'm pretty extroverted and I HATE small talk!!! B-O-R-I-N-G!!! But with people you either don't know well or are trying not to provoke, it's probably the best you can expect. Just empty your head of any brain you have and yak on about the Kardashians or Lady GaGa or whatever. If you watch TV for a couple of nights before leaving, you will have all the fodder you need to blather on about inconsequential subjects....

[/quote]

Let's leave any negative connotations off the term "introvert". There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. It doesn't mean that someone is anti-social or that they don't like other people. It means the person tends to think before speaking and requires some peace and quiet in order to re-charge.

I like people. (That's one reason why I am surrounded by eight children and one husband.) I like talking with people. I truly enjoy a good conversation. But I hate mindless blathering.

The extended family member I have the hardest time with is an extrovert. I don't think she likes people nearly as much as she likes talking. She rarely thinks before she speaks, and I waste hours the next few days after being with her processing all her thoughtless comments. She drinks too much and she talks too much--especially when she drinks.

No, Juliane, for some people it is not easy to keep quiet in a large group. Some people (like the difficult relative I just mentioned) it is very easy to blab on and on about inconsequential subjects with little regard for the people in the room whom they are boring to death. :sleep: If, by chance, someone changes the subject to something that actually *means *anything, they interupt with mindless comments repeated from some tv talk show they recently watched. They enjoy being the center of attention, and it doesn't matter to them if they really have anything to say when they talk. That might be why they encourage people to drink when we are with them--because only drunks and fools tolerate their nonsensical remarks.


#14

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:13, topic:224138"]
Let's leave any negative connotations off the term "introvert". There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. It doesn't mean that someone is anti-social or that they don't like other people. It means the person tends to think before speaking and requires some peace and quiet in order to re-charge.

I like people. (That's one reason why I am surrounded by eight children and one husband.) I like talking with people. I truly enjoy a good conversation. But I hate mindless blathering.

The extended family member I have the hardest time with is an extrovert. I don't think she likes people nearly as much as she likes talking. She rarely thinks before she speaks, and I waste hours the next few days after being with her processing all her thoughtless comments. She drinks too much and she talks too much--especially when she drinks.

No, Juliane, for some people it is not easy to keep quiet in a large group. Some people (like the difficult relative I just mentioned) it is very easy to blab on and on about inconsequential subjects with little regard for the people in the room whom they are boring to death. :sleep: If, by chance, someone changes the subject to something that actually *means *anything, they interupt with mindless comments repeated from some tv talk show they recently watched. They enjoy being the center of attention, and it doesn't matter to them if they really have anything to say when they talk. That might be why they encourage people to drink when we are with them--because only drunks and fools tolerate their nonsensical remarks.

[/quote]

I meant that for the OP, it might be easier for her not to be the focus of attention in a large group. Because of people like your relative, who are happy to be the center of attention, the OP may be able to deflect any conversation about her own religion, faith, etc. Especially when people drink, as you mention, they become less other-centered and more self-centered. And since the OP won't be drinking with them, she has the upper hand and should be able to out-think the ones who are drinking, provided they are not mean drunks. She just has to know what strategy to use. And when to get in a cab and go back to the hotel, if necessary.

I don't understand why you think I was being negative about the term introvert! I was telling the OP not to call herself a loner or a wallflower! I don't know that she is an introvert. I married an introvert. I think you may have a negative perspective on extroverts. Not all of us are spotlight-hogging drunks!

:shrug:


#15

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:14, topic:224138"]
I meant that for the OP, it might be easier for her not to be the focus of attention in a large group. Because of people like your relative, who are happy to be the center of attention, the OP may be able to deflect any conversation about her own religion, faith, etc. Especially when people drink, as you mention, they become less other-centered and more self-centered. And since the OP won't be drinking with them, she has the upper hand and should be able to out-think the ones who are drinking, provided they are not mean drunks. She just has to know what strategy to use. And when to get in a cab and go back to the hotel, if necessary.

I don't understand why you think I was being negative about the term introvert! I was telling the OP not to call herself a loner or a wallflower! I don't know that she is an introvert. I married an introvert. I think you may have a negative perspective on extroverts. Not all of us are spotlight-hogging drunks!

:shrug:

[/quote]

Juliane, I thought you had some really good suggestions and I certainly didn't mean to insult all extroverts. But I don't understand why you have a hard time recognizing that the op is an introvert. :confused: She claims she's painfully shy, she doesn't like small talk, and she wrote a few other things that point towards her being an introvert. Introverts are often misunderstood and often even misunderstand themselves. People sometimes misunderstand what it is to be "extroverted" too, which is why many people claim to be extroverts when they may really be introverts. I used to think I was an extrovert too.

Of course not every extrovert is the way I described my relative. I'm still processing my Christmas dinner conversation with her. My comments on this thread also served a purpose in helping me to not take her thoughtless comments personally because she just doesn't think before she speaks. Something similar might be what is going on with the op. Since she writes that they are good people and that she's sure she will have a good time but that she's painfully shy, I suspect she's an introvert who is taking some of their mindless comments more seriously than such comments deserve.

You have some good ideas on ways to prepare for social situations to mix and mingle in a group setting. Smart and sociable introverts can do various things (besides drinking or taking anti-anxiety medications) to help prepare them enjoy such events more.


#16

No, you're right, and most people aren't really one or the other, they are both in different ratios. It's just a handy system to get away from labels like "loner" or "wallflower," or even "party animal." It helps me understand my husband, who gets his energy from being alone. He can be with people, and can be quite pleasant in social situations, but too much interaction drains his energy. He recharges with alone time. I go a little nuts when I have too much alone time. It drains me to have only my own company and thoughts 24/7, I get more of a recharge from talking with and being with others. Sometimes what a person seems like on the surface is not really what is happening underneath. You have to know where that person goes to recharge before you can tell if you have more intro or extrovert.

The world is big enough for all of us though!

:thumbsup:


#17

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:16, topic:224138"]
It helps me understand my husband, who gets his energy from being alone. He can be with people, and can be quite pleasant in social situations, but too much interaction drains his energy. He recharges with alone time.

The world is big enough for all of us though!

:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Tell him he is not alone..I'm disabled from health issues from a work accident..My thyroid has
been out of whack for months..I had to stop going to church because of how draining it is..It's hard to explain how tiring it is to be "on" while in a social setting..We have a very hugging/loving congregation that I really enjoy when I am up to par...


#18

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