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Suppressing feelings has led to resentment
First Published Feb 08 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Feb 09 2014 08:46 pm

Dear Carolyn • At what point can one stop prioritizing other family members’ life events and start prioritizing one’s own? I have dutifully attended my older and younger siblings’ weddings complete with the entire dozen or so contrived events, which were not at all convenient for me; and I have been flexible with my folks about holidays so they could accommodate my siblings’ spouses, etc. One sibling and spouse are now expecting a child — due shortly before the time my boyfriend and I were discussing for a wedding. I am 99 percent sure they wouldn’t attend, because of the baby and because they have always prioritized spouse’s family events. Is it fair to accept that people make time for the things that are important to them? At what point is it OK to stop planning my life around my siblings? And, of course, what would be the best response to my mother, who would be devastated that the whole family "couldn’t" attend?

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Dear Family • This is actually two questions. The first is the one you cop to, about whether it’s OK not to schedule everything around your family. The answer to that is easy: You have been entitled all along to live your own life, so, sure, get on with it. Whether it’s important to you to see family on holidays; or alternate seeing family and doing your own thing; or do your own thing and see family at less-fraught, non-holiday times; or whatever — OK, then make your plans accordingly. Your family will be free to freak out as they please, but that’s all part of the deal: You have your priorities and they have theirs. The second question is, can you plan your wedding for a date that’s not sibling-friendly? Possibly just because you’ve had it up to here with contorting yourself to accommodate them? The answer to that is still yes, technically, but cheez. It just seems needlessly foot-stompy if a wedding two months earlier or later would work just fine. Bigger picture: This is why it’s best not to suppress-suppress-suppress your own feelings to please others. It hardens into resentment and becomes "the entire dozen or so contrived events." Yikes.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




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