General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Can you help me with a difficult Thanksgiving problem?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32652points) November 23rd, 2016

GENERAL SECTION QUESTION

I am going to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my good friend’s daughter and her family. I baked an apple pie from scratch to take.

My friend went through a difficult divorce a few years ago after a long separation.

She stopped by to admire the pie just now and informed me that her ex-husband would be at the dinner, too, because his new wife was away, so their daughter invited him to attend, too.

I have met him once, but I know my friend, and I know he emotional abused and manipulated her for all the very many years they were married. I work in mental health, and I know a few things about psychology. I can see the dysfunction in her that his abuse caused. He limited her access to friends and outside activities. He constantly belittled her. He used every opportunity to rail against any good self-esteem she had.

She has come a long way, but it has taken years.

His presence at the dinner I know is one more way he is manipulating his family.

So, do I go and spend the dinner with a monster whom I truly despise?

I am the victim of abuse, and I hate seeing it in any form.

On the one hand, I want to go to be with my good friend. On the other hand, I have established a boundary with this friend refusing to allow her to talk to me about her ex. He still calls her and gets her to do things for him. I can’t tell her what to do, but I can protect myself from remotely participating in his manipulations by hearing her bemoan them.

I have thought of one idea: I’ll drive myself to the dinner instead of riding with my friend. That way I can leave at any time.

What other ideas are there? How can I attend this dinner with a monster present?

If you even remotely think you need to tell me I’m wrong about him and that he’s not a monster, I can tell you right now I will not hear it. You do not know the many details I am not sharing here.

GENERAL SECTION QUESTION

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94 Answers

MollyMcGuire's avatar

You go. All of that is not your business. Go and be a friend. She invited you.

zenvelo's avatar

Having your own ride so you can leave if necessary is always a good idea. Yes, it may be difficult, yet you can be there for your friend. Go and enjoy your dinner and your apple pie, and bail out if you need to.

dappled_leaves's avatar

It sounds to me as if the daughter invited you, and not your friend? If that is the case, and if your friend has not expressed a desire for you to come to protect or support her, I would probably choose not to go, and explain to her that I didn’t want to be in his company, but would be available to talk afterwards if she needed to. The pie doesn’t enter into it, although I’m sure it’s delicious.

The bottom line is that you can’t stop her from going if she wants to go. But going along puts you in the position of having to intercede (perhaps in situations where she feels no intercession is necessary – this could leave her feeling powerless or humiliated) or of having to sit in silence (which you would never counsel her to do – it’s like tacit approval). Not going gives her the power to act as she deems appropriate, and to tell you whatever story about it she chooses afterward.

But if she has asked you to go, I would go.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Have the dinner at a neutral location so you can leave at any time. You can still make a good meal and share it with family and friends. You can check into renting a meeting hall for $50 about for half a day.

filmfann's avatar

My wife’s first husband was mentally abusive to her, but we always invited him to Thanksgiving. He has long since lost the power to upset her.

Jeruba's avatar

Is it a dinner arrangement where everyone sits down at once and dishes are passed around, or is it buffet-style? It’s much harder to avoid someone when you’re all seated around the table together, but trust me, it can be done. You can make him invisible to you, never address him directly, and answer with the briefest response possible if he addresses you.

The daughter invited both her parents, knowing the situation. Your friend chose to go, knowing the situation. If you know that there’s just no way you can reconcile yourself to an obligation to endure the unwelcome presence with civility, if not with comfort, I think their change of plans gives you a perfectly legitimate out. Buy yourself a quart of French vanilla ice cream, stay home, and eat the pie.

If you do decide to go, though, I totally agree that having the freedom to leave when you’ve had enough is the best plan.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Your terse words reveal that you do not understand domestic abuse in the least. I will not engage with you on this thread anymore.

@ all the rest, thank you. I will sleep on it. I can see both outcomes: going and not going.

It’s a question of boundaries. My good friend is not capable of establishing healthy boundaries anywhere in her life from her years of being abused. The boundaries I have established with her regarding her ex are my way of demonstrating them to her.

cazzie's avatar

All the more reason to go and support her. Bring your own car if it gets too much for you. Offer her a ride away from him if he gets too much for her. In fact, make a loose plan for your self and her to do something nice if you have to hit the eject button on the family dinner.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. You have to go. Otherwise this jerk will probably have a longer leash than normal.

Drive your car, yes.

If it gets intolerable you can/should leave. I wouldn’t even explain myself if it came to that.

This bastard should be lucky he’s eating with anyone.

If you’re lucky, he’ll realize he’s lucky to be a part of it at all, and behave himself.

If it comes to it, I recommend throwing gravy, or cranberry on him. If whine is present, that will also do nicely. Just don’t stain the floor.

Good luck.

Peace n love.

Pandora's avatar

Be ready with light topics to change the conversation.
Be sure to tell her how much you appreciate the meal and how good it was.

If he says something nasty, like, she burnt something or it tasted like crap then tell him you enjoyed found the meal tasty and have a quick story ready about the time you burnt something or ruined a meal. Then change the topic to his kid. Something you heard she did in school or some achievement and engage the kid in the conversation. It will be hard for him to interrupt the child that invited him.
I went to a family gathering once where the ex husband was invited and he was a douche. So every time he tried to talk about his marriage or his ex, I would bring up his kids achievement. He was the type of guy to take credit for his kids abilities. It made him proud to have his child bragged about.

Then I would through in my own accounts of being a parent and the huge responsibility it is to make sure their happiness comes first. Manipulate the manipulator. He started to brag about all the good times they had together and about the last outing they had together. Then I asked if he had photos. I gave them both credit for raising such an awesome kid and how wonderful they can both come together to show support for their child and how important it is for kids to see that their parents are happy and love them beyond their differences.

He was light and cheerful the whole day. Even stayed longer than he intended. He had to show that he was a great dad.

If you know he is into sports than shift the conversation into that. Especially if he is an avid sports fan of some team you know well.

LornaLove's avatar

Your friend obviously does not understand her boundaries, but you do. If you are very uncomfortable don’t go, whilst explaining that this is a boundary for you. Perhaps she might take offense but also learn?

This is obviously what she wants to do, whether it is right or wrong for her.

jca's avatar

You said your friend “has come a long way, but it has taken years.” Obviously she is able to tolerate being with him at the dinner. If I were you, I’d go and be nice and civil to this person. You can say hello and goodbye and be a mature adult without compromising your values or beliefs. If you are not polite and civil to him, it may make others at the dinner feel uncomfortable, which makes you then become “not a good guest.”

I call it “keep it moving.” You say hello with a smile, and keep walking. Walking to the kitchen, walking to put your coat in the bedroom, walking to freshen up in the bathroom, walking wherever. “Hello!” :) Same with goodbye.

I also say go with an open mind. You may be anticipating a certain outcome and it may not turn out the way you anticipate.

Also, you didn’t like @MollyMcGuire‘s response but apparently at least, as of this writing, 5 other people agreed with her.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, @Hawaii_Jake, I understand your dilemma. At this point, I personally would go, but reserve the right to leave at any moment, without explanation. I would keep my phone in my pocket, and at the moment that I was unable to tolerate the circumstance I would whip it out, look at it, (the presumption being that it had vibrated with a text), apologize and leave. Thank the hostess and get your ass out of there.
This is not a “therapy session” or a “tolerance exercise”, it’s Thanksgiving dinner. Your personal feelings are as important as anyone else’s there. You have worked very hard to establish your own stability and well-being, today is not the day to jeopardize that.

However you work this out, I wish for you a lovely day. Pie is good.

@jca: Jake’s question, Jake’s dilemma, is reprimanding him for his reaction to a post really necessary or appropriate because 5 strangers liked it? geez

jca's avatar

@canidmajor: I don’t consider what I wrote to be a reprimand. I’m pointing out that he didn’t like what she wrote but that others agreed with her.

chyna's avatar

You are really a good person @Hawaii_Jake to help your friend through this. It makes me sad that this Thanksgiving dinner, which I feel you must have been looking forward to until you found the abuser was attending, is making you anxious. Going and driving your own car sounds like the best idea. And just maybe, the guy won’t be a jerk today. I hope your day goes well.

@jca Just because others agree doesn’t mean it’s a great answer. It wasn’t.

jca's avatar

Forgive me, please.

LornaLove's avatar

@jca I agree. I also liked @MollyMcGuire comment. Although it hurts, we can’t make people behave react etc., in a certain way. I had a friend once who would listen to my issues, give some great advice, mostly listen, but then tell me if I didn’t change things for the better, I was never to speak to her of it again.

She was a qualified counselor, but to me just a friend. As a counselor one should not get too close to the persons issue. Empathy not sympathy.

Sounds harsh, but looking back, she was right. I would have spent years and years harping on the same problem, instead of changing it. People are responsible for their own ‘stuff’.

cazzie's avatar

You guys are forgetting it’s their daughter ‘s dinner, not the ex wife’s. The daughter invited both parents to her home for dinner. They are there for HER. They will sit and be adults and enjoy their daughter’s Dinnet and if not, then people simply get up and excuse themselves and leave. My ex totally ruined the first Christmas we tried to spend it together as a ” Franken-family ” so we don’t do that any more. We do end up at social gatherings like the house warming party a few weekends ago. He doesn’t make it easy but he’s the one looking foolish.

jca's avatar

Everyone, including the guests, should be nice to each other and put their differences aside. Perhaps the man’s gotten counseling and perhaps the woman and the man have come to some kind of an agreement and reconciled, who knows. Good point by @cazzie. The hostess invites who she wants and whether others view the man as manipulative or evil is not the point of the gathering.

canidmajor's avatar

This Q is about @Hawaii_Jake. Not the daughter, not the mother, not the abusive ex. Jake. Whether or not the monster has had counseling, the mother has learned boundaries, or the daughter is thrilled to have both parents there is not the point. Jake is under no obligation to support his friend in a circumstance that blind-sided him. He was not invited as a mental health worker, or a fixer, or a family referee.

Seek's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake – I think you should bring your pie over to my place. No spazzy relatives, no weirdness. Just a 25 lb bird and some killer gravy.

jca's avatar

My advice stands. Go with an open mind and that all guests should be nice and civil to each other. I don’t think that’s bad advice, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, go. Unless you really don’t want to, in which case, don’t.
But if you go just remember you wouldn’t be the first person who is thrown into a gathering where certain people make you uncomfortable. That’s a test of our mettle. (Think, WWMD? What would Michelle Do.)

cazzie's avatar

Hete is my very last word on this for you, Jake. Forget the well meaning suggestions the put ANY onus on you to keep things jovial or fix any tension in the conversation. Fuck. That. Nobody should have to “fix” something they didn’t break. Don’t prepare any stories, don’t go in there thinking it is up to you. It is purely up to the monster to not be an asshole. If he acts like one, eject and ask your friend if she would like to join you for a coffee elsewhere. You owe nobody any mental gymnastics or excuses or enabling. If you felt this situation is going to be too heavy for you, drop in the pie, make an excuse and let your friend know she can call but not to complain about how shitty a night she had because she chose to go. She chose to stay.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am grateful for the many helpful suggestions here. I have decided to go. I will drive myself. I am grateful to have my own thoughts reiterated here: it’s not my job to have to fix their dysfunction. I will be my ordinary, happy self, and I will know my own boundaries. If there’s a scene, I will excuse myself and take my pie with me. My whole house smells like apple pie this morning, and no one is going to deny me the enjoyment of it and this day.

And in closing, I will restate that Molly has no clue how to counsel domestic abuse victims.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

And for the record, this is not a question to be decided by votes. I don’t give a shit how many “likes” any particular answer got. I am very good at what I do, and I need no approval.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why did you even say that @Hawaii_Jake?

cazzie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake it’s one of those things that if you haven’t been through it, there is no explaining it to an understandable level to anyone, especially anyone who lacks empathy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What direction did this question just take and why?

olivier5's avatar

You should go if and only if you are reasonably certain that you can be a good guest and won’t burst out in anger—that wouldn’t be proper on Thanksgiving, especially as a guest in somebody else’s family.

And from that perspective, planning to go with your own car is planning to burst. It’s planning to fail.

cazzie's avatar

There is no ‘failure’. You’ve got the wrong end of the stick there, @olivier5. He will simply leave. Suggesting it will be preceded by an outburst of anger is fallacious.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Although I’m not sure why I sensed a sudden outburst of anger from @Hawaii_Jake and @cazzie up there, I have to agree with her on the car thing. I don’t think it’s “planning” to fail, and he certainly isn’t planning to rudely lose it. I think it’s just being reasonably prepared, since he already knows ahead of time that it may not be something he can sustain, and it would be awkward trying to bow out gracefully, and politely, if you have to bum a ride.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Perhaps an illustration will help some people understand.

Imagine I have a friend named Penny. She’s delightful, but she has terrible scars on her face. It’s not something that she talks about. I know she’s divorced, and I know it was difficult for her. Over the years, a few details emerge from small things she says.

It turns out that her husband attacked her with a knife and cut up her face. He visciously stabbed her repeatedly and left her for dead.

At a hospital, she got care. She required many stitches and bandages. After many months, she was told that her wounds had healed. She looked in the mirror and saw the scars.

She will never be the same. She carries the scars with her forever. Everyone who looks at her sees the awful abuse.

Now after years, I know the story, and I have been invited to sit at the same table as the man who disfigured my friend. He will be there, too. Him. The man who stabbed my friend and left her for dead.

The pain my friend suffers is exactly the same as if she’d been disfigured.

She was repeatedly stabbed by his words and deeds, until she was disfigured in spirit. He raped her soul.

What’s worse is that now she carries this pain, and no one can see it. It sits in her, and she has to go on with life.

It’s no different.

That’s domestic abuse. That’s emotional abuse. It’s often worse for the victim, because few people believe her at first. Some people even blame her for the abuse she received.

olivier5's avatar

Why is he not in jail?

Edit: sorry, i didn’t get the metaphor. But it’s a pretty extreme one… People who have actually been disfigured may object to your comparison.

cazzie's avatar

@olivier5 because fair is weather terminology.

Seek's avatar

Unfortunately, emotional abuse is not illegal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@olivier5 He was using the stabbing as a physical example of the emotional wounds he inflicted on her.

But Penny will be there, right? Maybe she wants you there as a buffer, to help protect her in some way.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Penny will be there, and she has to learn to protect herself. It’s a difficult task, but she can do it. It takes a lot of work.

I did it. It took many years, but my abusers hold no power over me anymore. As a victim who healed, I get angry when I see abuse.

@olivier5, physical abuse and other types of abuse are exactly the same to the victim. There is no difference. He disfigured her spirit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How much contact does she have with him otherwise?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Anyway, please let us know how it goes.

olivier5's avatar

No, it’s not the same, and you insisting that it is, is just dramatizing. Ask your about the fairness of that comparison.

Why would anyone have dinner with somebody who slashed one’s face?

Dutchess_III's avatar

HE DIDN’T SLASH HER FACE @olivier5! He wounded her mentally. And it CAN be comparable. I’ve been there, but I got out early.
For her daughter’s sake, she’s willing to endure the visit.

olivier5's avatar

My point is precisely that it’s NOT THE SAME, and that if Penny would agree with such a dramatic comparison, she wouldn’t go to that dinner.

Logic anyone?

Seek's avatar

It absolutely can be the same.

canidmajor's avatar

@olivier5: this question is in General, your continued belaboring of the validity of the metaphor is inappropriate. Ask a question in Social if you wish to pursue this line of argument.

olivier5's avatar

My point is that the OP is highly irrational and emotional about this dinner, and about this man. Therefore he should probably not go. It’s ok to quietly defend a friend, but I’m afraid he’ll blow a gasket at the slightest joke.

JLeslie's avatar

I would still go without question. It’s the daughter who invited her dad. I don’t get how someone on the outside of the family would choose not to go just because the dad/ex husband will be present.

The scars of verbal and mental abuse can be as damaging mentally as physical abuse, but the reason it’s different is being attacked with a knife can really leave you dead in that moment. Once dead, well, you’re dead. I’m only speaking in terms of having dinner, not daily abuse over days and years. If he had a history of physical abuse with a weapon I would worry for everyone’s safety.

A history of being manipulative and a shitty husband isn’t reason to make a big deal at a holiday dinner assuming he will be on good behavior at the dinner. He might be very entertaining and congenial in general, and the dinner might go off without a hitch. That’s the thing about abusers, they are often 90% of the time just fine to be around, it’s that awful other 10% behind closed doors that the general public doesn’t know about, but the family does.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And most emotional abuse goes on behind closed doors, not in public, unless it’s very subtle.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also there is something to be said for distance and time. You eventually escape the abuser’s power. I did.

YARNLADY's avatar

So, how did it go?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@YARNLADY It was OK. It turned out I was not the only non-family guest. There were others, so he was indeed on his best behavior.

I drove myself. I took my pie, which was enjoyed by all to high acclaim. We sat and chatted after dinner, and when the ltryptophan began to kick in, I excused myself and came home.

I now know that despite his years of abuse of my good friend, I can be in the same room with him and maintain my composure.

I want to thank this thread. Abuse is a difficult matter. Because of my own history, I have strong ideas about it. I also have training now, so I know a thing or two. Because this involves a dear friend, I was not sure if my training would be enough to allow me to remain detached. It worked.

canidmajor's avatar

Glad to hear that, @Hawaii_Jake, you deserve a nice Thanksgiving dinner! :-)

olivier5's avatar

Well done, man! :)

nutallergy's avatar

MollyMcGuire gave good, simple advice and it looks like it all worked out in the end. Happy to hear it went well.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Molly told me to ignore the fact my friend was subjected to decades-long emotional abuse. That is horrific, not “good.”

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@nutallergy Thanks.
@Hawaii_Jake Don’t attempt to put words in my mouth. Fourteen people thought my sharp, succinct advice was right on. I don’t go for all the drama.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I just had a conversation with “Penny.” She drove her ex back to his house after the dinner. Alone together in the car, he told her that her work was worthless. She works with homeless children and youth.

@MollyMcGuire It must be nice to have the luxury to ignore the pain of a good friend.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m amazed at the idea that some people think everyone uses ‘GA’ to mean “I agree with you.” It sure doesn’t mean that to all of us. I know for sure that some of us use it to mean “Well said” even if we don’t agree.

olivier5's avatar

^^ I followed this thread from the starts and my impression is that a lot of poster GA’ed Molly after Jake started to badrap her, as a show of support. I certainly did so. I think Jake totally misundestood her advice, which he followed in the end…

JLeslie's avatar

I also use GA for a well written post that was a good argument, good point, or introduced me to information I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of before. I GA people who are debating against me sometimes.

jca's avatar

Someone who is friends with one party (the woman/former gf or wife) is only hearing one side of the story, too. There are always three sides to every story. The two sides and the truth. Whether or not we want to think that way or believe it, it’s a fact.

Even a therapist (and I know that this woman did not see @Hawaii_Jake in a therapeutic setting, she talked to him as a friend and coworker) will not get an accurate picture of a situation unless they see both parties.

jca's avatar

Even the part about him saying her work is worthless, maybe she took something the wrong way. Maybe she was complaining about how much she’s working or volunteering and maybe he offered some advice, like “do you ever think about not volunteering so much?” One might take that to mean “your work is worthless” and another might take that to mean “take care of yourself and take it easy now and then.” Who knows. Unless we were there, we won’t really know what happened. Maybe she likes to play victim and being a victim is empowering to her.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree we weren’t there, we don’t know the conversation.

I also say again, behind closed doors, in private, things are different. That’s why it seemed odd to me to not go to the dinner, it’s an event with many people present and I do think you can ignore other negative things while at the dinner. You don’t have to plague your brain with horrible abusive thoughts the entire time. It’s not letting the abuser off the hook, if that’s your concern, it mostly hurts you for having anxiety about the situation, or whatever your reaction is.

If she is going to be upset by shit he says to her in private she should do her best to avoid those situations. She didn’t, she was alone in a car with him. That’s her problem.

Was she upset for hours, or just gave an example of how he can be a piece of crap? She might be more disconnected than we give her credit for.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He told her that her work was worthless….I hope she just sees him as the asshole that he is now, and let his shit just roll off of her, instead of taking it seriously.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Can you not control yourself? Claiming I said something I didn’t is not having any kind of intelligent dialogue.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, @MollyMcGuire for Pete’s sake, give it the fuck up. This is a General question, he had a serious human concern about the holiday, he didn’t like your answer, what a jackassey set of responses related to your cookie-cutter Nike slogan “Just do it” post, which did nothing to address his concerns. If it makes you feel better, you obviously won something important here, your mom must be so proud. geez

nutallergy's avatar

How old are we? Molly does not deserve any of this backlash.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know how others viewed @MollyMcGuire‘s response, but I gave it a GA because she said, “Go and be a friend. She invited you.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t get why people are jumping on @MollyMcGuire. Most people did basically agree with her. Why is she being picked on? There were people who disagreed, but so what, the point is she isn’t the only one who thought the OP should go to the dinner.

zenvelo's avatar

There is criticism of @MollyMcGuire‘s answer because she said, “All of that is not your business.”

Yet @Hawaii_Jake had laid out why it is his business as his friend’s confidant and familiar. @MollyMcGuire was telling him to ignore known abuse.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How would attending the event ignore known abuse? i mean, if “Penny” wasn’t going to be there, that would be one thing. But Penny was there, and apparently willing to “ignore” the abuse herself for the sake of her daughter.

nutallergy's avatar

Good point Dutchess.

I think the OP overreacted. There is much anger coming from him and at least one other that was completely unnecessary. If the OP is going to be this touchy and angry maybe he shouldn’t ask such personal questions on a public site.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ve read through all the responses here, and I can see @Hawaii_Jake that you are very upset by some of the comments. I’m glad you went to the dinner. While your friend’s ex-partner may have been abusive towards her, they are both parents and her daughter invited her father to have dinner with them. The woman is a parent and cannot divorce herself entirely from her ex and especially if her daughter has an ongoing relationship with him and wants to continue that relationship.

Personally, I would see my attendance as a way of supporting my friend. I don’t think she can just tell her daughter her father isn’t welcome, and I think allowing him to attend the Thanksgiving dinner was a very mature and brave thing to do. I would imagine it took a lot of courage to put aside her own feelings to have him there. Having a friend there that she knew was on her side, who knew the background, is likely to have been a great comfort. And I really can’t see how refusing to attend would help the woman. Is the suggestion that being there is enabling abuse? If so, that ignores the daughter’s right to have a relationship with her father.

I don’t really understand why people are angry with @MollyMcGuire. Certainly her post was brief and to the point, but I don’t the sentiment was inaccurate. @Hawaii_Jake, you would have been there to support your friend and I’m glad you went and it all turned out fine.

JLeslie's avatar

Not his business regarding the dinner. I agree. She was ok with the ex coming to the dinner how is it his business to decide if it’s ok for the ex to be there?

If the OP didn’t want to go because it was too upsetting for him then fine. Maybe his past has enough similarity that the event would trigger very difficult emotions for him. But, to be bothered because his friend had been through bad times with the ex? I don’t get it. That he would take his pie and walk out if he did go and something bad happened? Take his pie back? That I really don’t get.

jca's avatar

Definitely once you bring something to someone’s house you don’t just take it back. It’s theirs now. Unless of course they give it to you, like if they have so many leftovers they offer it. In my opinion it would be very bad manners to take something you just gave them.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I obviously missed something about the pie. I have no idea what the pie has to do with anything. I know @Hawaii_Jake took a pie for them to enjoy and it would appear they did enjoy it!

JLeslie's avatar

^^Jake wrote: I will be my ordinary, happy self, and I will know my own boundaries. If there’s a scene, I will excuse myself and take my pie with me. My whole house smells like apple pie this morning, and no one is going to deny me the enjoyment of it and this day.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Ahh. Well, we all say things that we wouldn’t actually act out. That he said it doesn’t mean he would have grabbed his pie before he went home. He might have. I think the main thing for his friend would have been that he left. Not that he took his pie and went home. I’m guessing this was a somewhat rhetorical statement.

jca's avatar

To me, the statement “no one is going to deny me the enjoyment of it and this day” means he was determined to take it with him.

If it were me, I’d swallow my pride and stick around just to eat the pie. :)

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think he was very emotional and stressed. I think the pie is a side issue anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca LOL. I can picture it now. Chaos all around you, tempers flaring, and you calmly sitting down in a corner, perfect piece of pie on the plate in your hand. It’s like a scene out of a movie.

Jeruba's avatar

Yeah. Why this no longer feels like such a safe place to ask for a little help.

olivier5's avatar

It’s not fair to discuss this in Jake’s absence and after the fact. It’s speculative and divisive. I guess he decided to disengage because to him the case was closed. Let’s respect that.

jca's avatar

@olivier5: If someone asks a question and they don’t return to it, the conversation is supposed to end?

olivier5's avatar

@jca He returned to the discussion several times. Thanksgiving is over, he went to the party, managed to keep composure, ate his pie, and the question is now moot.

jca's avatar

@olivier5: But we can still discuss the issues, can’t we? Maybe someone in the future will have a similar issue and the entire thread will be of interest to them. I know of many other discussions on Fluther where the discussion continued after the event was over or after the fact. “How should we have summoned the waiter?” etc.

JLeslie's avatar

The dinner is done. Making fun of @jca for a little levity after the fact to break the tension is ok isn’t it? Before it gets modded anyway.

I have been very very anxious about dealing with certain situations and partly what helps me is people being honest when I ask for help, and sometimes that comes of the form of criticism for how I am reacting to the situation, or the other person telling me how they deal with similar situations.

Sometimes it feels unsympathetic, or I think they just don’t understand, but sometimes it also helps me reframe things in my mind and see the other side. Having empathy for the other person help me calm down. In this case it would be empathy for the OP’s friend. If I were her I wouldn’t want the OP to change his plans and I wouldn’t him storming out with his pie. It’s one thing if things got out of hand and the OP said, “I think it’s best if I leave.” But, to then make sure he takes back his pie? That’s just bad etiquette in my book. Maybe the OP doesn’t know that? Maybe he was just joking? I don’t know.

I have empathy for the OP too. If it was too upsetting for him to go then I said stay home. My sister is like that. She feels very traumatized over some things in her past, and some situations just trigger all sorts of bad memories and feeling and she doesn’t handle it well. As much as I wish she didn’t feel that way, she does. I wish she didn’t feel that way for my own selfish reasons and especially for her. I hate seeing her like that. I don’t want the OP to be in that state either. He’s in the psych field, I’m sure he knows how out of control feelings can be, but at the same time we can change our perspective on situations and then emotions often can be more in our control. That’s what people were offering I think. Offering the OP a different way to look at it. Only focus on that one day and “forget” the other stuff around it.

jca's avatar

Well said, @JLeslie.

Esedess's avatar

Captain Hypocrisy here… Just felt like I should point out that you said, ”...I have established a boundary with this friend refusing to allow her to talk to me about her ex.”

So you won’t talk to her about it anymore, and you won’t let her talk to you about it…

Then @MollyMcGuire‘s statement, “All of that is not your business,” echos the stance you yourself have already taken on the matter. And you’re right… At a certain point, once it’s all been said, you have to stop reinforcing, “I am this way because I was this way,” and decide who you’ll be now because this is the moment you have control over. Sounds like that was the precise reason for establishing that boundary in the first place. To limit her ability to dwell on, blame, and reinforce the abuse around you instead of healing. But by refusing to interact with that mentality/scenario, you essentially remove your ability to claim it as “your business.”

So… I don’t really think Molly deserves your terse words. Ultimately, you’ve done just what her emotionless/blunt suggestion said to do.

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