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Im not sure how you guys feel at family gatherings, but for me it's quite horrible. It's my brothers birthday and I just cant bring myself to go visiting my parents and celebrate him. I know exactly how it will play out. I will be sitting at the table, no one asking me anything about my life. I'll feel horrible and like a total loser because my brother has a wife, a pet, a job, a kid, a house and is a hunter while I don't have anything. It rips me apart sitting there at the table, only existing. I've tried to be open with my life and start telling them about things in my life, but I get interrupted.

It's like they want me there, but they dont give a **** about me when Im there. I'm the one who have to go around and strike up conversations with everyone. And the conversations are always one sided, no one asks me anything. Same thing when they call me, it's a monologue. Half a year back my mother and I went to therapy because there was a rift between everything and she found out how bad I was feeling. She said "Well, we'll get to the bottom of this and we will do everything that can be done so you can feel well again." It was nice to hear, the only thing is that, nothing happened. Just empty words, Im still stuck alone with this ****.

If I spend the night there, they will sleep upstairs and I'll sleep alone uncomfortably on the sofa downstairs.

These last few weeks I've started to assert myself and say no to things I don't want to do. A way to take back control over my own life. I feel like I have no control over my life and that I have to do things only to please others. I know many will think Im a piece of **** for not wanting to celebrate his birthday, but neither him or me put much emphasis on birthdays.
 

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I can only speak from personal experience of being in similar situations. I don't get asked questions either but I realized its not that people don't care or think I've nothing to say. They just know about my situation and they don't want to make it more awkward for me than it already is.
For example, a couple of times a year an older cousin of mine brings her kids to visit my mother. In the beginning it was awkward because I would get all the usual questions about career, love life (whats that!) etc, but now after a couple of years, Im like you. I sit there with people talking around me and try to ride it out as best I can. It's awful because the elephant is the room is me but others are just dancing around the issue for my own sake.

As for social obligations more generally, well I avoid them to be honest. My folks were never ones for going to weddings and so Ive just continued that tradition. I wish I was like others my age who actually like weddings but I would rather boil my head in oil than go to one. Im an only child, so I suppose I wont have too much to worry about in that respect anyway. You can skip cousins weddings but you can't really skip brothers or sisters.
 

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The joys of being a fifth wheel.

I stopped going to family gatherings for this reason. The family is also quite divided. None of us talk to each other. When loneliness becomes overpowering, I might call my mother. Making me feel worse off than before usually.
I think we're at a point where we acknowledge there is a rift and couldn't be more complacent over the matter. Everyone is just doing their thing.

You should only go to your brothers birthday party if you love him and want to be there for him. That is going to affect how you are relating to the atmosphere.. Just a thought.

Last family event I went to was different than the rest. My aunts/uncles were either never married, divorced, or married very late in life. So there is not so much of this 'nuclear family' cliche thus any ineptitude in my character hasn't entered the radar.
I have no relationship with my cousins, I am the only member of that family who attended. So I was regarded as a bit of a novelty. Which was sad because we are in our late 20's/30's and we don't know each other. A lot of other people are close to their cousins and spent their childhood with them. I can tell they wanted this for themselves. Despite my conceived notion that they are more successful than me, there seemed to be this emanation of longing and prolonged alienation in their demeanor when they addressed me. Even their spouses seemed to be affected. It was all kind of bizarre.
 
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