If You Don’t Yell at Your Family, You’re Doing It Wrong
THROW YOUR FAMILY FROM A CAR
I have a great friend who comes from a passionate family of yellers. Nothing is resolved without a knock-down-drag-out hair pulling, smacks delivered, and finally, a massive makeup fest.
This appeals to me. I’m terrified of what my family would say if I actually told them everything I thought. Would they banish me? Agree with me? Tell me what they thought, perhaps? Who knows? I’ll never tell.
I once threw my sister out of the car, my friend told me. Was it moving? I asked. Of course, she said. That was sort of the point. I paused. Was she okay? My friend laughed. Jesus, she said. You think I’d tell you that story if I killed her?
Here’s the thing about my friend. She’s not crazy. She’s remarkable. She’s a CEO. She’s the lead singer in an awesome band. She’s married to a man she adores. She still dances ballet. She attends Broadway shows with all the original cast members. She’s got it going on. She’s a little full of herself at karaoke bars, but my God, would you leave her alone for a minute? She’s a Queen.
With the family tossing though, she’s onto something. I think, by throwing her family members out of moving vehicles, she’s mastered the boundary. C’mon. How many of you were on a road trip, with your family, that wouldn’t have been improved upon by tossing one of them onto the highway? Honest answers only, please.
Okay, you’re not a killer. You can drop them at a nice roadside motel. Fine, the one from Schitt's Creek. Do you feel less guilty now? You’re a good person who can admit when enough is enough and is generous to cough up money for a motel.
I’m not encouraging murder or bodily harm. Murder leads to internal strife and your road trip would lose its joie de vivre. It would become more of joie de woe is moi. I’m not looking to put more angst on your plate. I’m looking to free you.
Maybe I’m crazy, but throwing your family from a car seems like a good idea. You’re probably thinking that I’m an orphan who has no siblings. That’s why I can be so brazen. Not so.
Do you know what my brothers and sisters are thinking right now reading this? Fine, Amy, take the nice room at the Airbnb. We didn’t realize you were certifiable. That, or I’m not driving anywhere with Amy unless she’s saddled up in a carseat. Man, those things are straight jackets. No wonder so many toddlers take Xanax.
The other day, I asked my sibling-tossing friend for some advice. I said listen, I’m afraid if I toss one of them from a moving car, they’ll get back in eventually. Got any other tips? This is what she told me.
Wisdom from the sister tosser —
If you’re not yelling at your family on every visit, you’ll develop an ulcer, a heart attack, or a drinking problem. I recommend a drinking problem.
Don’t yell at your family about politics. Everybody yells about politics. Tell your mother all the other mothers were like Mary Poppins and she was like Voldemort. Tell your siblings your life was ruined by being the middle child and you blame them for your birth order.
Make up something awful your family did to you and get offended when they can’t even remember. I suggest you accuse them of not attending a play you starred in. Say Fiddler on the Roof. Everyone remembers seeing Fiddler on the Roof. If they say, “You were in that?” run out of the room hysterical. Then, ask yourself why you were never in Fiddler on the Roof? Was it because none of them supported your potential as an actress?
The louder you yell, the bigger your truth is. If anyone in your family yells back at you, yell louder. Everyone in a family knows the biggest wound wins. Also, if any one of them has had therapy, eventually your temper tantrum will usurp their petty grievances because they learned how to let go. You’re in it to win it.
You’ve paid good money for your therapist to tell you you’re right and they are crazy. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t go to therapy. It’s like bribing the jury.
It’s important for everyone in your family to know exactly how they wronged you. Brutal honesty is a gift. In that case, why don’t you write everyone in your family letters for the holidays telling them exactly how they wronged you and put a bow on it. Saves money and it’s handmade. Who doesn’t love a handmade gift?
If your family members want to return the favor by telling everyone how you wronged them, tell them, “It’s not your turn yet. It will never be your turn. I am the most wounded. I win.” Say it with me. I am the most wounded. I am the most right. I win. Make it your mantra.
If you want real intimacy when you come from a dysfunctional family that hasn't mastered boundaries, marry someone who is the opposite of your family. Then, begrudge them for not acting like your family.
When your partner behaves rationally, yell, “We’re clearly from different places. I can’t communicate on these terms. I wasn't raised like that.”
When your partner says, “I thought you married me because I was so different from your family!” You have to respond, woundedly, “How can you say that? They’re all I know. I feel like you’re asking me to disown my tribe. You’re as bad as Columbus.”
So, there it is folks. More wisdom than you can get from a sustainable can of sardines marinated in sriracha sauce. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, yell at your family and because happiness loves company, bring someone along. Get married and have your own kids, so the cycle can continue.