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@mamacita, thank you for opening this thread for me. My simple answer is: you can only change yourself; you cannot change anyone else. That being said:
You can change your behavior and that may encourage them to change their behavior. For example, my husband used to irritate me so badly and I was almost always in a bad mood around him. I have a laundry routine that gets 90% of the laundry sorted, washed, rinsed, dried, folded or hung up, and put away in one day. He likes to put in a few items at a time as he needs them. He taught himself how to do laundry. So . . . I would find partially dried clothes in the washer (washed and left in the washer) and moldy clothes in the dryer. I talked to him repeatedly about it, showed him and modeled the behavior I wanted. Nothing worked. So, I decided to stop trying to change him and make myself happier. Whenever I walked into the laundry room and found his "style" of washing I turned around and walked back out.
After months of NOT cleaning up the laundry room after him and making sure all laundry was done on a weekly basis I walked into the laundry room one day to see him throwing laundry around. When he saw me he chastised me for letting the laundry room get so messy. Ordinarily I would have been embarrassed and quickly pitched in to get it cleaned up. This time I said, "Every time I come in here and find dirty clothes thrown all over, washed and dried clothes in the washer, and moldy clothes in the dryer I get so mad I want to scream and hit something. So I have decided to leave the room rather than go in and clean up unnecessary messes while I'm in a rage." Then I left the room.
The laundry room is still not as clean as it could be, but there is no clothes left in the washer or dryer anymore. I have been happier and more pleasant straight through.
My suggestion is that if you feel like you are a doormat, get up, get yourself a glass of wine (or whatever) and sit with everyone else in the living room visiting or at the table waiting for food. If you are hosting 20+ people, make one thing and have everyone else bring the other parts of the meal. If you are hosting you have already put a great deal of work into cleaning and setting up for all those people. Unless, that is, you are a relative of mine who has dust that has fallen from the ledge of the window to the floor because it got too high and has left the last 2 weeks of dishes in the sinks.
Here are a couple mantras I use: (1) If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. That means that if everyone is waiting for you to host the holiday dinner, do NOT volunteer. Plan on PBJs for your holiday meal.
(2) Stop enabling. That means that if you are putting yourself out to do something for someone else that they could very well do for themselves, you are enabling. Enabling is making something comfortable that should be uncomfortable. Don't do it! Remember to take care of yourself in at least equal portion to the care you give to other people. It's hard, but so is what you are already doing.
I am glad you posted this today, as I am faced with just such a situation today. I am putting it in another post because this one is so long already.

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Replies to "@mamacita, thank you for opening this thread for me. My simple answer is: you can only..."

@2011 panc

Sounds like you had a Felix and Oscar situation and so glad you were able to come to grips with it. I love your mantras.
The holidays only magnify some of the worst traits in family members and it’s not always easy to rise above or change the situation.

I grew up in a wacky family where I didn’t know if many of the people I knew were really my aunts or uncles or cousins. I thought everyone had families like mine and went on the same bizarre adventures as I did.. I married into a totally sane family and raised children who were close to both the wackos and the sane ones. As a result we all are kind of blasé and even tempered . My son in laws family are not the best examples and their behavior , especially at get togethers can be embarrassing, My darling son in law , the sane one, was always concerned about their influence on his children. My daughter hosted way too many holiday dinners because we believe in family. But over the years they have gone to fewer family events due to time constraints and this is the first Christmas that she won’t be doing the hosting. We are having a restaurant dinner just for us. My daughter in laws family is more sophisticated and we split holidays. I love them.

My grandchildren have seen the best and the worst growing up and are now all sane educated young adults. I found the behavior of my son in laws family funny at first then not so much. At this point in history no one tolerates anything anymore. We love them but……it took a while to separate our lives a little. They have always considered me family and they are close but in a suffocating
way. They will always help you if the can. Same for my sons family. The nine of us are extremely close (my kids both have 2 children each). There’s a place now and there always will be for me so I am fortunate.

Some people are closer to best friends than family. I am appalled when I see how some elderly people are abused or disregarded.
But that’s another topic indeed. Happy Holidays if you celebrate. Try not to let the unimportant things get to you……not worth it.
I reaped the benefits of growing up in a “not so normal” family. I gotta say everyone had a great sense of humor. Thanks Mom and Dad.

FL Mary

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