The distance from the situation that arose on vacation has given me some perspective. Although I will always love my extended family, there will be times that I don't like them. This vacation was one of those times. I can honestly say that from the first day we arrived I was uncomfortable. I am not sure why this trip seemed to so bad, but I can only attribute it to the constant turmoil that surrounds them. I know that I tend to err on the opposite side, and I have found myself avoiding conflicts that are necessary to keep moving forward, but they seem to look for battles everywhere they go.
I did talk briefly to my brother about the situation, and I was baffled by his responses. First he said that he believes that his family unit a unit, and that any battle that one is in, they are all in. That means that instead of calming each other down, they rile each other up. It also means that even if they each only had the normal amount of conflicts, they would end up with fives times that amount as they take on each others battles. He said that it was about trust. I think he should trust the other members of his family to fight their own battles.
The part of the conversation that confused me the most was when he referenced the fight or flight response, and said he normally chooses flight unless it is something very important. I looked in his eyes as he said it, and I could tell he truly believed that. I don't think anyone who knows him well agrees, and that led me to question how he could really believe it. I haven't reconciled that yet, but I am still thinking about it.
As I mentioned, I have been trying to gain perspective on this, and of course I have been talking to my husband who thinks the situation is much more cut and dry. As we talk he keep bringing up things that have happened with my brother's family that I have forgotten. We're talking about 12 years of on and off conflict, and I don't remember more than half of the problems. That leads me to something strange to be thankful for. I am very forgetful. Normally that is not something to be thankful for, but in this case it helps me not hold grudges. So even though I will remember that there was a scuffle, I won't remember the details, and for that I am thankful