How I Survived My Family Vacations by Not Going to Them

While it’s near impossible to make it through family vacations alive – let alone without a fight – I finally found the perfect method to keep my sanity and my corporeal existence intact: simply not going.


While many in my immediate family have deemed my methods “cruel” and “too far” and “so, I guess I’m just a terrible mother, huh?” – I only adopted such an extreme course of action after I tried and failed to see results from what my family would consider more “palatable” measures of survival.


Prior measures I attempted included: being on my phone the whole time, inviting a friend to come with me, being really quiet and passive the whole time, and being really loud and confrontational the whole time.


Being on my phone the whole time failed because my mom asked me why I was on my phone the whole time and I immediately folded and cast my device into the sea (old habits die hard).


Bringing a friend failed because my family made quick work of indoctrinating them into our poisonous familial dynamics and eventually turned them against me (I miss you, Anna).


Being really quiet the whole time failed because my sister asked me why I was being so quiet and weird and then I cried (again, old habits die hard).


Being really loud the whole time failed because I actually really fit in with my family and that scared me so much I went into a prolonged comatose state (and then my sister asked me why I was being so quiet and weird and I cried again).


So, after much trial and error, I found the only measure that delivered any real results was simply not going.



By avoiding the trip altogether, I avoided all the inevitable family fights in exchange for sitting on my couch and watching a bunch of movies about other people having fights. I avoided the strained awkwardness of watching my parents interact with waiters at restaurants in exchange for eating takeout by myself in peace. I avoided enduring the constant critiques about my personal life from my parents in exchange for sitting alone in my apartment and attempting to stifle my critical inner voice that offered those same critiques anyway. See? Not perfect, but definitely better.


In the end, while I do feel sad I don’t get to see my family more than once a year, I’m also extremely happy to miss a week-long family brawl on the beaches of Boca Raton. Everyone has to decide for themselves what matters most to them – and, to me, being alive and semi-mentally well is more important than biting the bullet and listening to my dad ask the waiter at the crab shack if they could whip him up a steak.