Remember the disastrous dinner outing last year, where my family went to a Chinese restaurant in a busy mall in Toronto during Boxing Week with my uncle, his boyfriend, and the boyfriend's mother, who spoke almost NO English, and couldn't hear very well either? Well, long story short, we'd already spent the entire AFTERNOON in Toronto (my brother had to return something to a computer store that was across town from the restaurant), and it was horrendously noisy, crowded, and unpleasant, which aggravates my panic attacks, but of course, according to my mom, those are "all in my head," and I'm "just being a delicate flower."
Then, at the restaurant, I was berated for refusing to let my uncle's boyfriend hug me, for eating more than my share of green beans when almost ALL the other dishes contained meat, not eating more than a few bites of tofu (I stopped when I detected chicken fat in it) or red bean soup (I hadn't chosen it, but I tried a bite anyway, and I legitimately didn't like it, I was just kind of shocked, like "Wow, why does this soup taste SWEET?!") and not making enough conversation with my uncle's boyfriend's mom, when, aside from the language and hearing barrier, the noise level in the restaurant precluded any kind of conversation in the first place. Basically, I was made to feel uncomfortable the entire time, and then accused of being rude.
My mom gave me the silent treatment and refused to be seen in public for a few days after the incident, and she says that my uncle and his boyfriend don't really want to have anything to do with me anymore (it doesn't matter to me anyway, we're not close, and I saw my uncle in the summer, and he was perfectly nice to me, and seemed happy to see me). She says she was glad I didn't invite them to my university graduation last spring, after the way I behaved.......but, she sees every event that involves them as "mandatory," and says that I should be there and "try to redeem myself," and one occasion won't do it, it's apparently an ongoing process. So, I have a feeling that this Christmas is going to be a repeat of last year's visit, but there's no way I'm going to allow myself to be subjected to that again. I just need to make that clear to my mom, and not be bullied into going again.
That said, I'd be fine with visting my uncle and his boyfriend if we went to my uncle's HOUSE (or if they came to ours), so the visit would be conducted in a pleasant, relaxed environment that wasn't anything like a big Toronto mall during Boxing Week, and so I'd know that my food wasn't being cooked by strangers who didn't speak English well, and thought that "vegetarian" just meant "contains vegetables." But, I know that trying to establish boundaries like that would be rude, because it's not up to a guest to determine the terms of an invitation, ESPECIALLY not a guest without "voting rights" (not being one of the "heads of the household" like my parents), and ESPECIALLY not when I was the one who was "rude" last year.......never mind that my parents and brother made homophobic jokes and "Chink jokes" all the way there and back, and told me to "lighten up" when I told them to stop.
Anyway, just to clarify--I need a way to say NO to the busy Chinese restaurant (my uncle's boyfriend is Chinese, and those are the only kinds of restaurants he'll visit), NO to the offensive jokes behind their backs, NO to the scapegoating, and NO to being forced to stuff my face with inedible (to me) foods against my will, and if that means saying NO to the visit altogether, then so be it.