Man and woman with assorted decorations of the American flag

Dear Anyhooo Answers: Desiring to Duck Out Of Traditional 4th of July Gathering Over Rude Family Members

Dear Ms. Anyhooo,

It is that time of year again and I am dreading my daughter and her husband visiting on the 4th of July. It has always been a family tradition in our home to gather and celebrate  Independence Day. But over the last few years, the behaviors of my son-in-law and daughter have left a sour taste in my mouth and a lack of motivation or desire to share the holiday with them.

My son-in-law seems incapable of keeping his mouth shut when he does not have a nice thing to say. In fact, he makes fun of, belittles, and mocks everything we own, even our vehicle. My daughter is an overbearing control freak who is bossy and mean. Neither of these two young adults seems to have any self-awareness of how obnoxious and rude they can be and often are.

After suffering through the past years of miserable holidays, this year I have asked my husband if we could simply go on a short vacation together and cancel the family 4th of July cookout with the kids. Well, my hubby looked at me like I was out of my mind for suggesting such a thing. I suspect his response is his way of avoiding the irate phone call from Beth, she is a daddy’s girl and will throw a tantrum no doubt.

But I honestly don’t want to deal with it this year. Any suggestions?

Signed: Desiring to duck out, Delilah from Washington State.

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Ms AnyhoooDear desiring to duck out , Delilah,

What in the Sam Hill? Y’all, and I do mean both parents, might want to do some clean-up on aisle five, just saying. Or in more proper terms, it may be way past time that a personal inventory is in order. Daddy’s little girl did not get all grown-up and can’t quit ugly all on her lonesome – you feel me Sistah? And it does not smack me on the backside or out of the blue that she would choose a partner with the same immaturity.

Now, don’t go getting your back up. Bless your heart, the answer to your predicament is both found in the present and the past. Delilah, there is always more than one way to skin a cat- but you still have to know it is a cat and not a dog. For some reason, your Lil feline has managed to ruin several holidays over numerous years without being called out for her impurrrrrrrrrrrrfections! Giggles, I can’t help myself at times, forgive me. Now, Why is that?

Precious, my Maw Maw always done said, the one who has a grip on the handle can always pour the hot grease! This is all about a power dynamic your family has enabled far too long, sugar. It’s fixin to be time to take away the potholders and let some real heat change the grip at hand.

The first thing you should do is remove your husband’s avoidance mittens. You inform him, do not ask him, that this year’s family gathering for the fourth is canceled. You have already stated your rationales so no need to ruminate further. Now let’s get a storm brewing – both of you place the call and inform the youngins the party is off. When the question arises as to why- you tell the truth. Here is your money quote ” Dad and I would like to have a drama-free, relaxing, and enjoyable holiday this year and are taking steps to ensure that desire, we truly hope you two have the same.” Then sit back and let her rip.

Sugar, I would not tolerate more than ten minutes or so of the hissy fit that will unfold before simply stating, ” Again, Dad and I love you both and hope your fourth is a wonderful holiday and perhaps one with some thoughtful introspection on board” then end the call.

Now let’s regroup, shall we? Honey child, this is what the fancy head docs would call behavior modification but down yonder we just call it correcting a crooked fence post! Oh yes, it is dropping a big ole stink bomb in the princess’s world and she will be angry, hurt, and resentful at first. But have you not been feeling that way for years over her thoughtless treatment of you and your family at times? The point here is to corral her into having to think about why her parents would pass on the event this year. If you start off flashing the mirror in her face she will just deny it and shut down in a huff. It will allow her to make the issue – the two of you. This way, with perhaps some awkward and estranged distance for a short duration she will need to search her heart for answers.

Now, when she does come back for round two and wants to know your reasoning for what you said to her she will have her ears open. It is important to stay calm and specific and allow her some self-esteem rope to hang on to, moms know what I mean when I say that. But Delilah honey, in the end, a good and deep conversation should spring forth about her and her husband’s behaviors. Always have your ears open as well – but set firm limits going forward for the relationship at future family gatherings. Tell them both that y’alls love and support are constant but if they choose to continue being so unthoughtful towards you when visiting you will continue to want to avoid those gatherings.

Oh, and no matter the outcome of this come to Jesus discussion, this year mom… you, and hubby are taking that vacation. It is important Sistah you hold firm on that and do not cave this fourth to a family gathering. Time to take in constructive criticism and know the consequence of not doing so is essential to this straightening of the fence post.

Precious, I am confident it will work itself out if you and your husband want to get a good grip on your family dynamics and are willing to be on the bump for a short while as things work their way through the system. Kind of like corn through the gullet kind of thing- what too much? Giggles.

Oh yes, I see many future fourth gatherings in your future, and no need to feel you want to duck out anymore. After all, it is called Independence Day for a reason – wink.

All the precious blessings you lil haint,

Ms. Anyhooo

Ms. Anyhooo writes for the Right Wire Report, who provides common sense down-to-earth answers to your personal relationships on love, life, and everything in between. Spun from the heart of the Tennessee mountain country, follow her on the hashtag #DearAnyhoooAnswers (save this link to your favorites bookmarks). If you have any questions for Ms. Anyhooo to answer please send them to anyhooo@rightwirereport.com or Contact Us.

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