Voices: Should you actually go home to your toxic family for Christmas? Take the quiz!

·5-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Directions: Choose A or B in response to each question. If not A or B, please explain as honestly as possible.

1) Let’s get started. Do you even want to return home for the holidays?

a) Of course – I couldn’t imagine not seeing family for the holidays!

b) Absolutely not.

Other: Well, maybe, I mean, it just depends on Mom’s mood and whether she notices that I’ve gained weight (she always notices these things) and how much cable TV Dad’s been watching and whether my brother (who still lives at home) has been vaccinated (last I checked he was recently fired from his job for not following vaccine protocol), so you know, it’s complicated. I mean, I’m supposed to want to return home for the holidays, right? Doesn’t everyone want to return home?

2) Are you in therapy? (If not, should you be in therapy?)

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: I mean, yeah, I’m in therapy, but the rest of my family isn’t, so what good is therapy if you’re the only one doing it? It’s like I don’t even get the point of therapy because the human, living, breathing, blood-related reasons for why I’m in therapy are not even in therapy themselves. What even is this question?

3) Will you require extra therapy sessions to prepare for your trip?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: I mean, maybe, but it’s just a little fine-tuning that I need, you know? Who doesn’t require a little Preparation Therapy in advance of a relaxing family holiday?

4) Will you require extra therapy sessions to recover from your trip?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: [The algorithms can hear you sobbing, are you okay?] Sorry, I can totally do this. I can board this flight and land in my hometown and I will not be driven to tears the minute I walk through the door. I. Can. Do. This. [Sob.]

5) Do you have the time and financial resources that would make a trip home feasible?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: Irrelevant. This is a “gotcha” question. Mom always taught me that time and money are no object when it comes to family. At 45 years old, I’m expected to do as I’m told regardless of my financial situation or my actual availability as determined by my boss, spouse, children or even my own health.

6) Has your family ever invested the time and financial resources in a trip to visit you?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: Now that I think of it, I’ve been living in the same home for five years and my family has never come to visit me…What kind of BS quiz is supposed to make you feel worse as you are literally taking it?

7) Are you able to assert boundaries against badly behaving family members?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: Boundaries? What are those? And can you define “badly behaving”? Just so that I can see whether we’re on the same page. I mean, my family isn’t that bad. Yeah, maybe Dad makes comments sometimes about his Second Amendment rights and embryos being more important than literally anything, and Mom cries into her martinis about how ungrateful her children are, and my brother is training to be a sovereign citizen, but really, they’re not that ba—

8) Sorry to interrupt. Can you stay at a hotel during your visit?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: Mom expects me, my spouse, and our children to sleep in my childhood twin bed. Her feelings will be hurt otherwise — her feelings will hurt even more than my sciatica if I do not sleep in my childhood bed. She takes my back pain very personally, as though I will my spine to spasm just to be able to complain about my forty-year-old bed. She also takes my adulthood very personally — as though growing up and having adult needs (like the need to escape my childhood home for a good night’s sleep) is an affront to everything she holds dear. Dammit, quiz, if we stay in a hotel, it means we don’t love her. My hands are literally tied. Don’t you understand this?

9) Should you stay in a hotel during your visit? (Nothing to decide here. This is a rhetorical question.)

10) Would anyone understand you if you tried to describe how your mother passive-aggressively hangs ornaments on the Christmas tree, or how your father can wordlessly pass the cranberry sauce while communicating that you are one of his biggest mistakes?

A and B don’t exist. There’s only Other.

Other: Wait, is this quiz listening to my private thoughts? I mean, Dad said — without saying — that exact thing last year. How did you know that?

11) Do your children, spouse, friends, or colleagues ask you about your hollow cheeks, sunken eye sockets, ashen skin, dark circles, bloodshot eyes, or general wellness after you return from a relaxing trip home to see your family? Does your dog recognize you upon your return?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: Is…is my pain that obvious?

12) Do you ever, in your most private moments, wonder whether your family of origin loves you?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: [Sob.]

13) Just out of curiosity, what on Earth is wrong with your brother?

Other: [Sigh.]

14) Now, please review your responses and consider the original question. Do you even want to return home for the holidays?

a) Yes.

b) No.

Other: [Hello? Are you there?] Sorry, yes, was just booking a last-minute flight to Antigua and/or pretending I have to isolate for the next 10 days. This year, I’m doing the holidays my way.

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