Dear 100 Hour Board,
My parents have been planning a major European vacation for over a year and have said from the beginning that my brother and I were welcome to come along. Tentatively, it was set for a certain month, but no specifics were laid out as far as dates. Any time I planned any major events in that month, I ran them by them first to make sure they didn’t conflict, and it was clear that I was planning to go on the trip (and pay my own way). Ultimately, when it came down to it, everyone was not available on the same dates, and it came down to whether they would take college age brother or me- both of us had no way to make our schedules work for the same dates once younger brother finalized his schedule for the summer. Younger brother said that he didn’t want to even go on the trip (he’s rebelling from parents right now and also struggles with adapting when outside the US), while I said I really wanted to go but understood if I couldn’t. They decided on dates that work for younger brother, the one week I absolutely cannot get off work (salaried job, not random hourly job I could easily switch). Am I right to be a little hurt that they would rather take him (when he’s said he didn’t want to go) than me (who wanted to go)? From their perspective, I’m sure they see it as an opportunity to better their relationship with brother (who hopefully changes his attitude on the plane ride over and enjoys the trip), but I still feel a little bit hurt by it all (but am too polite to express more than mild disappointment). Would you be hurt by a situation like this? A big part of me feels like I am just overreacting and have no right to be hurt or express hurt. Any tips for getting over the hurt?
-The prodigal son's brother
I think you've made a really insightful point with your signature.
Your situation reminds me of one that someone I know has been dealing with recently.
I think it makes sense for you to feel hurt/disappointed. While your parents decision may well be very understandable and even correct on whatever evaluative criteria they're using (i.e. the importance of fostering a relationship that's more vulnerable right now, etc.) when it comes down to it on one side of the decision was you and on the other side was your brother. Even if you frankly agreed with them that it was, in the long run, more important for your parents to take your brother on this trip, despite
Would you be hurt by a situation like this?
Probably; I think many people's first instinct would be to be hurt, even if they recognize that there was a) no intention to harm them and b) good reason to make the alternate choice to prioritizing them.
A big part of me feels like I am just overreacting and have no right to be hurt or express hurt.
I think it's helpful to separate this out a bit. Are you 'overreacting'? I'm not sure. I'm not there. I can't tell if you've stopped eating/changed your diet to exclusively takeout and Ben & Jerry's and burned all photos of your parents while cancelling your plane tickets home for Christmas, or if you just feel a bit sad inside while you're in your car alone on the way home from work. (I'm guessing it's closer to the latter than the former.)
Do you have a 'right' to be hurt? Well, I don't really know how to answer that from a moral standpoint. Obviously, we're never supposed to choose to be offended, but I don't think that feeling an initial sting is like some super fatal moral failing either. Sometimes we feel emotions even when we know they're not fair. I think that's what goes more to your next question about expressing hurt.
Do you have a right to express hurt? I think that goes to how you want to express it. There's a spectrum here, ranging from going to your parents and saying "I always knew you didn't love me. And I've always thought you were both terrible parents anyways, so I never really cared" to a comment more like "I know John needs the time with you guys more right now, and I'm glad that he's going to go on the trip. I've been feeling disappointed that I couldn't make the trip work with my schedule, though, would you mind if I flew out to visit you guys on X-Y days to spend some time together?" Are you expressing your disappointment because a) you want your parents to understand what you're going through even though you respect their decision so that they understand if you seem sad, or so that they can give you advice about how to feel better, or something like that or b) because you want your parents to feel bad about you feeling bad?
Any tips for getting over the hurt?
If you're struggling to forgive something, even (and maybe especially) something that you know isn't really 'fair' to be holding onto, I'd urge you to study and seek to apply the Atonement. Christ understands how you feel and can help you let go of the negative parts of this experience.