That would be my family.
I just got back from a three-day Thanksgiving visit, during which my mother and brother pronounced loudly and disparagingly about
- Catholics going to Mass on Saturday nights rather than Sunday morning
- people who don't like brussel sprouts (you know, people like me)
- keeping kosher
- PTAs doing "we appreciate teachers" events
And that was probably just one meal's worth. And those are the pronouncements that they agree on. Then there are the ones they disagree on, which adds tension to family gatherings.
My brother in particular likes to make pronouncements, in a very loud voice, and one either has to be loud in trying to respond or just give up. On Friday afternoon, he explained to me, courtesy of some business seminar he'd gone to, that (a) the written word only communicates 7% of what one wants to say, and so we should use video instead, and (b) that applying to college is exactly the same as making a cold call in sales. And so, he said, there's no point in writing college application essays because the admissions folks won't even bother to read them. I felt the need to pipe up at this point and pointed out that, as a high school English teacher, perhaps I did actually have some authority with which to speak on this subject. He disagreed, and I let it go. (But my sister-in-law, who's incredibly more reasonable than he is, and I have agreed that I will be the one to help my nieces with their college application essays when they reach that point.)
And both my mother and brother are very convinced that their way of doing things is the only right way, which leads to some conflict when they disagree about the one right way, which they do multiple times a day.
I grew up in a family that is loud, sometimes in a joyful way, but often in a cantankerous, judgmental way. The way of my family is to be critical about how people dress, what they eat, what they think, how they express themselves, how they decorate their houses, how they handle their money, what tv programs they watch, how neat or tidy their car is, and just about every other detail of someone else's life.
I've been trying to reprogram myself for years now, to become a "live and let live" person, but I always feel like I need to do some intensive reentry therapy after a visit with my family. I watch my tongue for about a week after a visit, and I watch the judgmental part of my brain for even longer, making sure that I'm not drawing completely unnecessary distinctions between what is right and not right about things that just don't matter.
It was actually a pretty good visit, and hanging out with my nieces is always a delight, but I'm now in detox mode.