Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Want to Tell Off my Family at our Reunion”

I’ve got a family reunion coming up where I am the only member of my immediate family going. Both my mom and my sister are boycotting it after the treatment we got last year from my mother’s brothers and their wives (my brother has been boycotting the family for years). Last year there was a baby shower the following week of the reunion for my cousin – a first time dad. The shower host claimed she couldn’t find our addresses then proceeded to make a big deal out of the fact that we “must come”, etc, though she never told us exactly when or where it was. A little later in the reunion my sister accidentally overheard my aunts (all of my mother’s SILs) discussing that we weren’t actually invited so to make sure that no one let slip where it was, when, etc.

This wasn’t the first time something like this happened. More like the twelfth. We have been excluded from weddings, other baby showers, etc. The reality is my mother’s SILs hate my mother deeply (kid sister who’s brothers adored her once a upon a time) and they make sure to exclude us from everything. Until now my mother has repeatedly asked/requested/forced us to take the high road – just let it slide of our backs, but I can’t do it anymore. Since I am going to this reunion alone they will ask were my immediate family is and I want to tell the truth. I want it out loud in front of everyone. I’m going not because I want to hurt my aunts but because I want to see my great-aunts and uncles and their kids and grandkids. I love them very much, and I am not missing an opportunity to see them at this stage in the game.

What do I say? How do I proceed? What do I do? I’ve been playing the “bigger person card” all my life and I just can’t do it anymore. When my great aunts and uncles pass away, I’m not going back to the reunions. Which means I probably will never have to see my mother’s brothers and their wives again. But how do I deal with them at family reunions until then? — Broken Family Ties


Why in the world would you continue going to a reunion for a family who clearly wants nothing to do with you? If it’s the great-aunts and uncles you want to see, schedule a time and a place where you can see them without the overbearing and oppressive presence of your uncle’s wives. Life is too short to spend weekends with people you despise when there’s no reason to put yourself through that. Make a special trip to see those great aunts and uncles wherever they live. If they’re coming to your neck of the woods for the reunion, see if they can stay an extra day or two to spend time with your immediate family. Or plan a reunion at a halfway point between your two towns at another time of the year and don’t invite the family you hate. The point is: you have options. You don’t have to spend time with the miserable shrews your uncles married. Being a “bigger person” doesn’t mean being a martyr. It doesn’t mean putting yourself in terribly uncomfortable situations when there are plenty of ways — and reasons — to avoid those situations. Be the “bigger person” and skip the family affair where you’re obviously not warmly welcome and make plans to see those family members you do like on your own time.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

35 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Tristy August 11, 2011, 7:51 am

    LW, this is one of those situations where being the bigger person is the best option – just as your mom & Wendy pointed out. A reunion is the last place where you want to tell off these family members – it’s tacky, these “mean” aunts will have more of a reason to hate you, & the rest of your family may think the only reason you came was to cause a scene. Skip the reunion & find some other time to see your great aunts & uncles.

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  • avatar

    Maracuya August 11, 2011, 8:16 am

    Don’t tell your family off at your reunion. This can only end badly. Considering that you’ve been repeatedly slighted by your aunts on the down-low, you’re the one that will come off as 1) crazy 2) demanding 3) tacky to everyone else.

    Do what Wendy said. Then call up your aunts and tell them how rude their behavior is over the phone. Then when they tell the story to other relatives, you can deny it and THEY’LL look crazy 😀

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    • avatar

      Maracuya August 11, 2011, 9:56 am

      Though to be honest the tactic I mentioned probably won’t work 🙂 But I do think standing up for yourself over phone is a good idea, “[Sister] overheard you talking about how my family wasn’t invited to [cousin’s] shower. I don’t like being lied to, etc.” But kerrycontrary is right that a lot of the time our daydreams of triumphantly telling people off normally don’t come out the way we imagine.

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  • avatar

    Quakergirl August 11, 2011, 8:46 am

    If you blow up at them in the middle of a family gathering, you’re going to come off as the crazy one. No one is going to magically come to see the reality of this situation for what it is if they haven’t already. My family also has some mean girls (and boys…) in it, and I’ve found that what infuriates them the most is being ignored. So don’t go! Don’t give them any more opportunities to knock you or your immediate family. As Wendy said, you can always schedule time with your great aunts and uncles away from your other family. Chances are you’ll enjoy that time much more without worrying about the mean girls, anyway.

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  • avatar

    sweetleaf August 11, 2011, 8:50 am

    Maybe I’m immature, but I like to let people know that they can’t pull one over on me and I did this same thing and went off on my own grandmother for putting my child molesting father on a pedestal and denying that he ever did it and denying that he was a drunk, drug addict abusive man. Haven’t spoken to her since and you know what? I feel better letting her know that. And I don’t miss her one bit!

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    • avatar

      beans629 August 11, 2011, 9:48 am

      But hopefully, you didn’t tell her off at a family gathering. 🙂
      I think the point is LW doesn’t have to bite her tongue and be a martyr for the ’cause’ she can very well tell them what she thinks BUT there is an appropriate time and place for it. The family reunion is definitely not the time and place.
      Oh, and Thanksgiving dinner is another inappropriate time/place for telling a family member off.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 11, 2011, 9:01 am

    I agree with Wendy that you should try to schedule another time to see these family members. Although a family reunion is more convenient because everyone is meeting in one location, I’m sure you could figure something out around the holidays or another time in the year. If you are really set on expressing your anger towards these family members I would write them all a letter and just lay out everything you would say. If you are certain that you don’t want to interact with these people again, then go ahead and send the letter. If not, just putting it down on paper will probably make you feel better. Plus “telling them off” may not go as well as you planned. Actually saying those words without getting too emotional, lost in your thoughts, or even crying can sometimes be difficult. We all imagine what we would say to someone we are angry at, but a lot of times we fumble on our words and just come off ridiculous. On another note, I’m sorry you can’t have the relationship with your family that you want. It’s unfortunate that we chose our friends but we can’t chose our family. Best of luck!

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  • avatar

    Greebo August 11, 2011, 10:09 am

    Wendy’s advice is absolutely dead-on accurate. Maintain relationships you want with those who want to know you. Ignore the rest. Frankly, I wouldn’t confront the “mean girl” aunts at all. Either they know their behavior is appalling and don’t care or even enjoy it, or they genuinely don’t understand how poorly they’re behaving. In that case, an epiphany on their part is, shall we say, unlikely.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t lie or hedge if I were asked directly by anyone about why I (or Mom, Sister, Brother) wasn’t there. However, I wouldn’t expect anyone from the family to rally around me, either. It sounds like all these people have been complicit, at least tacitly, in this bad behavior.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom August 11, 2011, 10:18 am

    If you told off the family at the family reunion then you would come off looking terrible to the family you actually do want to see and the mean aunts would love it. You would make their day.

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  • avatar

    crazymary August 11, 2011, 10:38 am

    Mean people suck. I have a couple of sister in laws that are just mean. Oh, they were just fine UNTIL the wedding day, and then it all changed. In case you didn’t know, the world resolves around them… their lives, their opionions, their kids… Oh well, I’m too old for the bullshit. My kids and I just stay away.

    Would I love to tell them how selfish and mean they are? Yes. Will I? No.

    My silence, and my living well without them in my life, speaks volumes to them. I don’t need to say a word. I am certain of that. 🙂

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  • avatar

    LTC039 August 11, 2011, 9:55 am

    Oh my, I’ve been in your situation many a times. Sometimes, you’re so over being the bigger person because unfortunately when someone does you wrong multiple times, you don’t feel like the “bigger person” by not reacting, you feel like a doormat;idiot; w/e you wanna call it. However, usually, taking the high road is the best option, even if the thought of calling the snarky bitches out in front of everyone & raging this all out war would feel amazing (you may think). It sucks that your uncles have allowed their wives (who’ve obviously teamed up in this game) to come between the relationship with their younger sister. Those women are obviously heartless, insecure, crazy, witches. I agree with Wendy & most people on here that you shouldn’t go to the reunion. That would probably make a bigger statement than going & either sucking it up or screaming at them. I feel that you should write a letter to them & let them know everything, but in a calmer, more rational way. But unfortunately, if you confront them at the reunion in the way you want to, the only thing people are going to notice is you going crazy & they’re not going to acknowledge the real problem.

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  • avatar

    AnitaBath August 11, 2011, 10:57 am

    I can understand why it might be next to impossible to get the other family members together that you want to see. Maybe they live a couple states away, and just planning a nice brunch with 20 people spanning 3 generations isn’t exactly realistic. If you can see them another time, do that, because it seems like the much better option. If that’s not realistic, go to the reunion and keep your mouth shut.

    Actually, don’t even talk to your aunts. If they ask a something, give a one word answer and kindly excuse yourself. “Where’s your family” “Dunno.” Walk away. If your aunts really do hate you, they WANT to see you upset. They want to see you mad. Giving them the satisfaction, especially in front of all of your family, will only make you look bad and will allow them to say, “See! See! She is an ungrateful brat!” You’re there to see the family you do like, so just ignore the ones you don’t. I guarantee you’ll make them more upset if you just ignore them and barely speak to them then they would be if you told them off.

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    • avatar

      sarita_f August 11, 2011, 11:12 am

      I agree with AnitaBath here. If it’s truly not feasible to get your favored family members together then go to the reunion and just freeze those bitches out.

      It sounds like you’re jonesing for a good fight, and I don’t blame you for that. But if you’re anything like me and 99% of other people out there, your vision of how it’s going to go vs. how it actually will go is going to be vastly different.

      If you want to rain verbal hell on them then do it in a letter like kerrycontrary suggests. Perhaps send it Friday afternoon before you head out to the reunion so they’ll get it Monday. You can spend the whole reunion feeling smug and secure in the idea that they don’t know what’s coming to them. Of course, you run the risk of them actually making amends out of the blue over the weekend, so you best be sure about your position here.

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    • avatar

      Blitzen August 12, 2011, 2:29 pm

      or…

      Evil Aunt: Where’s your family?
      LW: Oh, they didn’t want to come because of the way you have been treating us for the past (x) years. *smiles sweetly*
      Evil Aunt: Whooooo? Meeeeeeeeee? That’s so not true!
      LW: It is actually, and you know it. I’m just here to meet XYZ. Oh there’s great aunt Greta calling me now… excuse me.. *walks away still smiling sweetly*

      I find that talking to people who infuriate me in a very polite, calm tone, all the while saying exactly what I wanna say, smiling all the time, and gently withdrawing self has been very effective. Plus the looks of befuddlement on their faces are priceless!

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      • avatar

        SweetChild August 13, 2011, 3:12 pm

        THIS. Do this. Rude people get more and more mad and angry as you get more and more polite. It’s just fact. If you remain super suuuuper polite you cannot possibly end up looking like the crazy one, they will. Then you can say exactly what you need to say and rub it in their face and as long as you don’t lose your cool, they can’t do anything about it. Just detach yourself emotionally and be there to see the people you want to see and treat the bitches just like Bitzen said. I’m also the person who likes to call out bad behaviour because the way I see it, taking the “high road” often doesn’t achieve a lot. Sometimes bad behaviour needs to be pointed out so that they will know they can no longer get away with it. Just remain SUPER POLITE that’s the key!

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  • avatar

    JennyTalia August 11, 2011, 11:21 am

    Why are you even going? Stay home.

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka August 11, 2011, 11:27 am

    I would only tell them off if, and only if, you felt like it would actually result in a change in behavior. I don’t know enough about your family from this letter, so you’re going to have to make the judgement call here, LW.

    This letter reminds me a lot of my brother, who always butt heads with my father because he wanted to “let my father know” that he (my father) couldn’t mess with him (my brother). While I agree that my father is a bit cray cray, yelling at him won’t make a difference, so I’ve just chosen to ignore him and there have been no fights between us whatsoever. That isnt good enough for my brother who also wants to put my dad in his place and ultimately change him. I personally don’t care enough.

    That small aside should help you on your path to deciding whether to attend the family reunion and/or whether to tell off your family? Do you want to change them? Do you care that much?

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  • Budj

    Budjer August 11, 2011, 10:27 am

    I experienced the same situation for different motivations from the “mean family members” and my family unit did exactly what Wendy suggested. We don’t go to the reunions and we stayed in contact with my great aunts and uncles…works fine and you don’t even have to think about the family you despise.

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  • avatar

    Kelbells August 11, 2011, 11:42 am

    Yes, if it feasible to get the family members you life together somewhere outside of the family reunion, go that route. However, if you family is as spread out as mine, that would be impossible. It took us 10 years to get all of my cousins together, and that was for my grandmothers funeral. If this is the case, I would still go and spend time with the family members you do like. There is no need to talk to the others that you reallly want to have nothing to do with. If they do continue to ask/harass you about the rest of your immediate family, I would camly and diplomatically tell them why they are not coming. Don’t get emotional or upset. Say why they are not coming and then leave no room for disscussion. If you let it lead to a disscussion, it will probably get heated concerning how upset you are by their treatment of your family.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady August 11, 2011, 11:54 am

    I agree with everyone that however satisfying the fantasy of telling them off seems, the reality will probably be decidedly un. Imagine if one of your aunts popped into your kitchen and started doing the same thing. There wouldn’t be any “Aha! She’s SO RIGHT!!” moment for you; she would be unwelcome and unhinged. It would be the same for you. However stupid and petty your aunts’ reasoning for not liking your mom, they have reasons that, to them, are valid. No one ever wakes up one morning and decides to dislike someone without motivation because they’re eeeeevil. And as hard as it is to swallow, the rest of your family has chosen to put up with them rather than stand up to them, even though it excludes you, and they’re okay with that, so not only are you not going to get your movie moment slow clap like you’re hoping (I use this as an example only because this is usually what happens in my telling-off fantasies) you may end up with a fair number of them angry at you.

    Here’s what I would do: if your family reunions are anything like mine, there’s always at least one night where everyone has a free night. Figure out when that is, and make arrangements to see the family members you want to see then. My family’s all over the country, so if I were to go see each one individually, I would have to make at least six plane trips starting California and ending in Pennsylvania, so that may not be practical. If you meet them for dinner, explaining why you aren’t at the big reunion, then you get to send a very clear message to your aunts – who will doubtless hear about it – which is speaking in their own passive-aggressive language. Don’t make a big deal when you invite them, just “Hey, Great-Aunt Sally, I’m not coming to the main reunion because Aunt Petunia and Aunt Marge make me uncomfortable, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see everyone else in the same place.”

    Inevitably, someone’s going to ask for details about why you can’t be around them, and while you don’t have to tell anyone, if you do, I suggest keeping it classy and also keeping it simple. Don’t go into motivations (jealous of your mom, etc) because you don’t know for sure what their motivations are and that can sound a little cray-cray. As Dragnet would say, just stick to the facts, ma’am.

    I would also caution against the screaming fit for nothing else than this is a grudge against your mother – we assume – that has been held against you as well. I’m guessing they’ve both been in the family longer than you can remember, and sometimes people hold grudges against other people who actually did awful things. I once stood up to my cousin about my uncle (his uncle as well), and I found out some stuff I didn’t want to know about my uncle. So as understandable as all this is, just. Don’t. Do. It.

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  • avatar

    Giancarla August 11, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I’m going to go against everyone here and say DO IT. If you were invited to this shindig and you want to go and air out your beef with the family, then DO IT.

    I don’t usually post, opting to usually read the letters and comments because I more often than not agree with Wendy’s advice and everyone’s input. THIS letter however, made me SO mad when I read it.

    Maybe my family dynamics are different but this kind of drama is par for the course and we don’t let things like these slide. When MY mother was being insulted, demeaned, and disrespected on a regular basis by extended family, I would call them out on their BS. I don’t need any of my extended family to survive. As far as I’m concerned, my nuclear family is all I need and what’s the most important to me. I have very few buttons that people can push that will affect me and my family is one of the few and the biggest one. In your case LW, even your sister and brother are affected, not just mom.

    HOWEVER, you have to weigh in if you think this is worth potentially damaging your relationship with the members of your extended family that you do get along with. You said that if they ask where your family is that you want to tell the truth. Well, most of the time the truth hurts; but lying about it also hurts you inside.

    Your choice. Either way it’s going to hurt. Either your extended family’ will think you crazy and alienate you more (if that’s possible) or you keep bottling this inside you and it continues to fester. Gotta decide which is the lesser of two evils.

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    • avatar

      Jshizzle August 11, 2011, 6:37 pm

      How fake. I’m on team don’t bother going, maybe start up a side reunion of your own, without the jerks.

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      • avatar

        SweetChild August 13, 2011, 3:18 pm

        No, it’s not fake. You start up another reunion and don’t invite them you’re no better than they are. And straight not going is lying down and letting them dictate the relationship you have with family you do actually like. Giancarla is right, the LW needs to decide what the lesser of two evils is. Either she goes and gets what is bothering her off her chest and takes whatever outcome happens, or she doesn’t go and learns to live with the feelings of hurt and anger these women cause her. I’m all about going, saying what you need to say but you have to be polite and it’s imperative you don’t lose your cool.

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    joy August 11, 2011, 1:09 pm

    I totally agree with Wendy. Respect your mother’s wishes. If you want to see other family, then do so outside of the reunion where your mom can also go. Don’t bow down to your mom’s SILs antics. My mom and her sister had somewhat of a falling our recently. Actually my aunt’s husband said some very terrible things about me to strangers at a dinner party while my mom was in the room. She didn’t say anything because she frankly was shocked that he would say those things. As much as I would have liked to call my aunt and uncle and tell them off, I held back. Fine, they don’t like me for my choices, but it’s none of their business. My mom is perfectly accepting of them and that’s all that matters. So, do what Wendy says and pick an alternative venue to meet up with your other relatives and have a good time without all the drama.

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  • avatar

    Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 11, 2011, 1:19 pm

    I’m going to say do it. But carefully manage HOW you do it. I would write a nice speech about the importance and value of family, which you can conclude with a frank recital of the reasons you will no longer participate with your family in these unhealthy and damaging ways. Put on your coat and walk out.

    Sure, you should take the high road, but what is that going to get you? Or them? If they have been treating your mother and her side of the family this badly for this long, more martyrdom isn’t going to change a thing. So I say do it: give them a well-written list of reasons that you don’t wish to participate in this kind of behavior. A relationship with them has already become untenable, tell them why.

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  • avatar

    AKchic August 11, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Yeesh – you could be describing my maternal uncles or their wives right there. My grandmother is starting to act just like them now too. I partially blame their new church, but in one uncle’s case – the attitude was always there. In the other – his wife’s “holier than thou” attitude is partially to blame.

    My mom (and her husband) and I have have distanced ourselves. There have been a few “tiffs”, but trust me, the “come to Jesus” meetings don’t work. When they are as sanctimonious and riding their high horses as they are – they are always in the right and if you tell them off, it proves how “right” they were to exclude you and your immediate family in the first place.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 11, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Telling off a bunch of people who already apparently don’t like you guys will only add more fuel to the fire. I’d just not go. Really. I don’t see what the point is. Oh, wait. Drama. Drama. Drama! But seriously… Let it go. Telling them off will only make you LOOK crazy, as others suggest. In the end, it will reflect badly on you even if you are completely in the right.

    I must now confess that I do wonder what exactly your mom did that so irritated the other side in the first place? Details like this probably wouldn’t be very illuminating, but would sure make your letter a lot more interesting.

    PS — If your uncles actually gave a rip about your mother they would stand up and do something. Frankly, they all sound very trashy this extended family of yours. Walk away. Just walk away. Unless, as I suspect, the anger and hostility from your aunts actually stems from a legitimate beef…

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    • avatar

      beans629 August 11, 2011, 2:00 pm

      I don’t think it’s so much that her mother did something but more of the SILs’ being insecure in their own relationships.

      Many moons ago, I used to date a guy from a family of 6 boys and 1 sister. So they were always really super protective of her (even though she was a middle child). The brothers and the dad basically filled every need that she had so she never had to do anything for herself. They drove her to/from work, gave her money, and the list goes on.
      I never really cared because I’m a baby sister from a large family so I got it. But two of the brothers had wives that ABSOLUTELY hated the sister. They acted as if her mere presence on earth was keeping them from getting EVERYTHING their husbands had to offer. Literally, they would plot against her and talk about her behind her back in the most horrible fashion. It was the worst drama filled drama about a some stupid drama that I’ve ever seen in my life.
      The sister knew that they hated her even though she was always super nice to them and never ever said anything remotely bad about them. Seriously, I was SO glad the sister never had children because that would have caused even more stupid drama and a child would have been stuck in the middle of that stupid pettiness.

      SO….
      I think that I have just reinforced your point of a lot of women sinking to petty cattiness to feel fulfilled. 🙂

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 11, 2011, 2:07 pm

        Yes, you have, I am afraid. Seriously. What makes some women so bitchy? Note, I did not say all, I did not even say, so many — which would have sounded better, but some. Just some.

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        AKchic August 11, 2011, 2:58 pm

        Insecurity. The feeling that they are not the #1 in their husband’s life and they feel that they should be #1 at all times, irregardless of any other history or familial connections prior to their relationship, or even AFTER their relationship.

        I’ve even seen some women get jealous of their own daughters because of the attention their daughters got. Or, get jealous during/after divorce and play nice so long as there wasn’t another girlfriend in the picture, but when a new woman comes into the picture – boom – Psycho Ex-Wife Syndrom. Anything to sabotage the relationship to continue being #1 and in control.

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        Painted_lady August 12, 2011, 2:14 am

        I think part of it is socialized – so many of us are taught that we must be the best over other girls. The best way for a woman to get ahead in life up until perhaps the generation before mine – I’m late 20s – was to marry well, and there are only so many eligible bachelors who only have one wife (at a time). Competition with other women was key to making it, and while obviously many women transcended that, I think a lot of us transferred that competition that our mothers were raised on into careers, which is why you have a lot of women who need to “win” at work at the cost of the other women they work with. I think also because husband-nabbing harkens way back to the Stone Ages, our reptilian brains equate love for a man, whether sexual or not, to success, and therefore another woman in the picture equals losing. I find it interesting that the women who don’t have this sort of competitive streak are more happy with themselves, and I wonder which caused which.

        Also, I think it’s some socially enforced norms as well: people do what they think others expect of them, usually. Think about – God, showing my age and my pop culture knowledge here, but – Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears back in the ’90s. Because they were doing similar things and had come from the same background, everyone assumed they were rivals of some sort. Both denied it, both seemed pretty confused about the whole thing, like, “Rivalry? Don’t really even know her. No rivalry.” Then finally, someone in one camp said something like, “They don’t hate each other! They’re never going to be best friends, but they don’t hate each other!!!!” And the entire world went, “Never going to be best friends!!! See?!?! RIVALS!” And then gradually they became more and more antagonistic in the press toward each other till they both self-destructed.

        Anyway, I could go on forever. It makes me crazy that some – again that word – women see other women as the enemy. We’d get so much farther so much faster if we stopped trying to rip each other apart.

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    Jaime August 11, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Well, it seems that only one other person mentioned this but it is possible your mom did something to start all of this craziness. Look, I have a hard time believing all of the sister-in-laws banded together to hate on your mom for no reason, unless there is some sort of racism or prejudice involved. Perhaps, you should gently tell one of the sister-in-laws that you do not know what the root of the drama but the time has come to bury the hatchet.

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  • avatar

    NaturalBlue August 11, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I agree that blowing up at them during the family reunion would more than likely not turn out the way that you think. You would only end looking like the bad guy while your aunts (from the sounds of them) would quickly turn themselves into the ‘victims’, claiming they have no idea why you would say such things to them.

    (Disclaimer – I tend to be pretty confrontational and have been known to speak my mind in a manner not conducive to keeping the peace, so my advice is not for everyone). If you simply can’t go on without defending your mother and family, perhaps take them aside and ask them plainly what it is about your mother and your family that they find so offensive. Most people are taken aback by simple directness, especially when they are the passive-agressive, needling type. Bullies are also unused to their victims standing up to them. They will most likely try to pretend they don’t know what you are talking about, but come prepared with specific instances (write them down in case you are like me and confrontation makes your mind go blank). You can say something like “I do not know what has caused this blatant acrimony, however I do not appreciate the way that you treat my mother. This is our family too and I will no longer tolerate the way that you try to keep us out of it. From now on, every single instance of your past behaviour will be called out and brought into the open. I wonder what the rest of the family will think about this?” Alternatively, if the last threat is not your style, you can always try to get to the bottom of what the problem is to begin with.

    Good luck. I know that were I in your shoes I would not be able to keep my mouth shut, but as I mentioned in my disclaimer, that has not always been the best method of keeping up family relations. I would rather the truth be out and people mad about it than covering it up and have everyone be happy with a lie though – that’s just me.

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    • katie

      katie August 11, 2011, 9:59 pm

      i like this advice.

      i am very on the fence about this issue, because you cant just stay silent and let people treat others in bad ways, but at the same time its better to not create drama. i think this is a good way to have the best of both worlds. get the issues out in the open, talking about them, but still keeping it civil so there are no screaming matches.

      i would like to add that you should talk about how they are bringing people into their arguements that had nothing to do with them, and they are keeping the LW from having a relationship with other family members..

      i have told this story before, but my family is so torn up and fragmented over things that happened before i was born that i dont even know what almost everyone in my extended family even looks like. i imagine there were times like this, long ago, where maybe something could have been done and i would have a family in my life…. i would hope that the aunts would maybe understand that- if this goes on, the LW’s children may not even know his/her cousins, and that is a travesty to happen over something so stupid and petty.

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    Leyahn August 12, 2011, 9:08 pm

    LW wrote – “I want to see my great-aunts and uncles and their kids and grandkids. I love them very much”
    LW should do JUST that – spend time with the family she wants to see and simply ignore the others. Instigating a huge confrontation at the re-union will not end well and further rift in the family – spreading it to a new generation.

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