How do I cut off my seemingly well-intentioned family? My whole life, my little sister was the favorite. Growing up, other adults even commented on it to me, which actually helped because it showed me it wasn’t all in my head. On the outside they are a well-meaning Southern family, but to me they are suffocating.
Christmas is particularly painful. At 7, I learned Santa wasn’t real after I received nothing from my (modest) Christmas list, while my sister got everything she asked for and then some. No matter what I asked for, no matter how small, I never got it. I know Christmas isn’t just about gifts, but there’s something especially painful about being asked what I want and then never getting it. I’ve gotten bathroom towels for the last four years while she gets expensive appliances and makeup. I don’t need any more towels. Now our family group text is filling up with outrageous requests (brand-name vacuum cleaners, designer luggage, 4K TVs). I’m frustrated by their selfish demands, seeming indifference to my budget, and disregard for me. They’re like this all year long at every holiday. (“Why can’t you fly home for one day for Easter?” “Why won’t you pitch in for your sister’s birthday present, even though we got you nothing for yours?”) If I somehow got up the nerve to tell them “No” when asked if I am coming home for the holidays I know there would be tears, fights, and a Southern-style guilt trip. Can I ghost my own family?
—Just Want Out