Thursday, July 05, 2007

Family Frog Reunion?

Why is it family will say things they would never, EVER, dream of saying to friends and casual acquaintances when they find themselves among family members?

You see, it seems whenever my family gets together they most closely resemble a bunch of frogs, sitting on their lily pads, just waiting for the opportune moment to ZING another hurtful verbal lashing out there.  This word-lashing is almost like an actual sport in our family. You'd think that their was an actual trophy or cash prize at stake based upon the frequency and tenacity of the unfurling of these word-zingers.  And sadly enough, the surrounding audience also seems to derive a rather twisted pleasure from witnessing any given "zing" at the expense of the poor "zingee."  I guess, it bothers me the most when my parents are the ones who wind up being the zingee.  It just seems so disrespectful from where I'm sitting.

I'm curious, though:  I wonder does just my family engage in this narcissistic sport or are there other families out there who seem to enjoy this word-zinging too?  Further, I have to wonder does my family have an actual "zing gene" which enables them to whip out cleverly disguised criticisms and tear-downs left and right? Or perhaps they've succumbed to some terrible virus and their word-lashings are a lingering, permanent side-effect?  I wonder the latter because those who marry into our clan appear to rather readily acquire the gift of "zing" for themselves, exhibiting little hesitation before joining in on the game during family get-togethers.

I am a sensitive person, I know, but even outsiders who I happen to bring to our family gatherings have commented on my family's (extended) gift for "zing". And IT/ZING really bothers me! It makes me cringe at the thought of family get-togethers. And if I say anything to address the cruelty of a given comment after  it's been unleashed then: "I am being over sensitive" and  "People shouldn't have to walk on egg shells around me ", etc., etc.  Sadly, even my children have commented on the word-zapping at our family get-togethers: "Mommy, why does Aunt XXX or Uncle XXX say such mean things?" they wonder.

I just wish the people in my family would stop and think before they open their mouths to speak, before letting random mean and degrading things fly-out. We tell our kids "If you don't have any thing nice to say: don't say anything at all." Doesn't this apply to adults too?

P.S. This 4th wasn't too bad with the exception of one sister who is under a lot of stress lately with a little one up all night. Is that an excuse? Guess so?

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