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I need help.

I think this is like my third post here...I've lurked for a while now...anyway...

This is my issue. My mother and I have never had a really stellar relationship, and the holidays always have a way of bringing out the best in people. Well, she called me today out of the blue and says, "I'm not working on Christmas like I thought so we'll be going to xxxx's house to eat around two." I had no idea that she was ever scheduled at Christmas, I thought everything was the same and that we would be at her place to eat around noon. I am making dinner for my in laws and now I had to push that time back because of this. Then I asked if my aunt would be there to which my mother replies, "Oh no, we already did the xxxxx Christmas." She never once called to let me know that her side of the family was getting together. She never mentioned the possibility of working on Christmas. My DH is pretty mad about this situation because she always seems to have a way of hurting my feelings about things. I didn't ask her why we weren't invited to the Christmas dinner they had because it sounded like she was at work and I would've just ended up crying or saying something really bitchy anyway. So...do I say anything about it to her? Or should I just pretend like it didn't happen? I aksed my BFF about it and she was blown away and made a good point...I mean, was everyone in on us not being there or did she make some excuse as to why we weren't present? Granted, they've been less than nice in the past but this is a new low. I just don't know what to do. DH doesn't want to go on Christmas and is ready to wash his hands of the situation entirely. I just don't know....they're still my family, but this just seems really really mean. Sad

Re: I need help.

  • "sorry we already have our xmas plans"

    end of story

  • If her plans for Christmas Day don't work for you, then tell her that.

    That being said, I would never just assume things would be the same - you should have confirmed.

  • image TgerLilyXx:

    I am making dinner for my in laws and now I had to push that time back because of this.

    No, you didn't. You chose to do that. Your mother treats you this way because you allow her to treat you this way. Instead of demanding that she treat you with respect, you allow her to treat you like crap and then act grateful and rearrange your plans (and everybody else's plans) when she does deign to throw you a bone. That's on you, not her.

    fiizzlee = vag ** fiizzle = peen ** Babies shouldn't be born wit thangs ** **They're called first luddz fo' a reason -- mo' is supposed ta come after. Yo Ass don't git a medal fo' marryin yo' prom date. Unless yo ass is imoan. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Then yo ass git a all-expenses paid cruise ta tha Mediterranean n' yo ass git ta hook up Jared Padalecki on tha flight over while bustin yo' jammies. But still no medal.
  • image zitiqueen:
    image TgerLilyXx:

    I am making dinner for my in laws and now I had to push that time back because of this.

    No, you didn't. You chose to do that. Your mother treats you this way because you allow her to treat you this way. Instead of demanding that she treat you with respect, you allow her to treat you like crap and then act grateful and rearrange your plans (and everybody else's plans) when she does deign to throw you a bone. That's on you, not her.

    That really isn't what I'm upset about, honestly. What bothers me is that my entire family has already celebrated Christmas and no one said anything to me about it. Which has never happened before. But I do agree with you. I let her treat me this way. It's just gotten to the point where I can only have a relationship with her on her terms, and I don't want to cut my mother or her side of the family out of my life, no matter what issues we may have...so basically I just go along with it. We really only see each other on holidays anyway...so it's only a few days a year. A few days that are obviously more precious to me than to her.

  • I guess I have a couple of follow-up questions: could you be a little more descriptive about how they've been less than stellar in the past and (more importantly) how that relates to your husband being ready to wash his hands of it entirely by now? ?The reason I say that is- sometimes our spouses are in a unique position of seeing a lot of the behind-the-scenes, intimate family situations that friends don't, but (unlike you, who have grown up with it and are to a certain extent used to it) can be slightly more objective. ?A spouse, for example, is more likely to see "This is kind or kindly intended" vs. "This is mean or cruelly intended," whereas when we think about our own families, our perspective tends to be, "This is what I'm more or less used to" vs. "This is what I dream of or idealize or wish would happen." ?What does your husband see? ?If this was your husband or best friend instead of you, what would you see? ?What would you advise someone else to do? ?With family, sometimes it's easier to see where to draw a boundary or speak up about if you think about it in the third person rather than the first person.

    From my "third person" perspective based on the info you posted: I actually wouldn't move the dinner with my in-laws, and when I next talked to my mom, I might have said: "I'm sorry, Mom, I would have loved to visit with you for Christmas, but we have already made plans with my in-laws for Christmas evening and won't be able to see you at 2. ?It sounds from our last conversation like the family already got together for Christmas anyway, which surprised and upset me- can you tell me why I wasn't invited?" She may or may not be able to offer an explanation, and you may or may not accept the explanations she gives, but I would put it out there that you noticed, didn't appreciate it, and won't be rearranging your plans to suit hers. ?

    And in the future- if you want to see your mom for the holidays and know based on this experience that she isn't going to put forth a lot of effort to make sure that happens, I would be proactive about making the plans- probably by either inviting and hosting a family gathering myself, or calling and asking others about Christmas plans. ?

  • Another question - is it normal for your mom's side of the family get together on a day other than Christmas?  If so, why not directly contact your aunt or other members of your family to stay in the loop?  Especially if your mother isn't hte most reliable person or you don't have the best relationship.

  • Without going into a whole lot detail because I could really go on for days...Uhm, my mother has never been able to get along with me, basically. Everything is a battle with her. She has a huge chip on her shoulder from her own mother and that has been passed down to me. How it relates to my husband is we have been dating since we were teenagers so he has been privy to a good bit of the battles with my mother and also my stepfather. My mother is an alcoholic and my stepfather pretty much just gives her things to come after me about. To make a long story short, I was booted out of my house at barely eighteen because my now husband and I were part of an underground illegal street racing operation. I kid you not, my stepfather actually came up with this story and made my mother believe it. What his issue with me is, I will never know. So my husband has pretty much the same understanding of the situation as I, without being emotionally attached to anyone but me.

    As for what I would tell someone else, I don't know. I believe that I would tell them to do what they think is best because no one can tell you what is going to help you sleep at night but you.... Which is the attitude that I have regarding this situation most of the time. But I know that it drives my friends and my husband crazy to have to stand by and watch all of these things happen. For my sanity and my marriage I should probably limit my contact with that side of the family even more but I can't stand knowing that she will blame me for our lack of a relationship instead of thinking about how she has affected it.

     I guess I should've said from the very beginning that she is an alcoholic because that completely changes everything, really. Especially all the wonderful things she has said to me over my lifetime that she can't remember.

  • image casmgn:

    Another question - is it normal for your mom's side of the family get together on a day other than Christmas?  If so, why not directly contact your aunt or other members of your family to stay in the loop?  Especially if your mother isn't hte most reliable person or you don't have the best relationship.

    It's actually not. For longer than I have been alive everyone has gone to my mother's house on Christmas Day at noon. And the few times it has changed someone has called to let us know. I guess that's why I was so blown away by this.

  • Thanks for replying- I definitely see what you mean when you say a less than stellar relationship. ?Your husband knowing a lot of the history and seeing a lot of the relationship without so much of the emotional attachment is about what I was thinking of when I wrote my first reply. ?His perspective can be a great thing to help you check yourself against when you want to make sure you're making the right or fair response, instead of the emotional response. ?

    From my experience, hard as it is at first, people who have their mind made up unfairly about you no matter what you do can be a gift, in a way. ?Think of it this way- if no matter what you do, your mother will not remember or consider her contributions to the lack of relationship and will ?blame you entirely for the state of your relationship with her- why not have the relationship on your terms? ?By which I mean- call when you want to talk to her, but don't expect her to want to call you in return. ?Call and arrange to visit when you want to see her, but don't expect a warm reception or equal effort that she hasn't been known to give. ?When you only expect satisfaction from doing what you feel is right, rather than doing what you hope will make the relationship warmer or closer or more genuine, and only gaining satisfaction when your mother responds in kind, I think you will find more peace. ?

    For me, for example, there are relatives that I am not close too, but who I still want some contact with. ?I used to tear myself up wanting them to love me more, care more, make more of an effort, and I was miserable. ?I tried not contacting them at all, and I felt miserable- even though they weren't making an effort either, I didn't feel right about not contacting them at all. ?When writing a Christmas card or birthday card became an end in itself- a "Well, I did what I felt was right by this person, and it would be nice if they appreciated or returned this sentiment but even if they don't, I feel good about having done this for them."- then I felt much more at peace with the relationship and with myself. ?Try to make your peace with this relationship dependent on your actions, instead of dependent on hers. ?Hope that helps. ?

    Also, if you're not involved, a support group for children or loved ones of alcoholics may be helpful for you. ?All the best.

  • You do have a huge chip on your shoulders. I grew up with an alcoholic parent, and I have a fine idea of how it is you'll twist yourself into knots over their casual cruelties, their thoughtless neglect of important matters, etc.

    What you have to do is figure out what it is you and your dh are doing for the holidays; and you have to stick to your plans. You have to stop 'assuming' and 'presuming' and 'guessing' etc as to what drunks will do based on what they have done in the past, which is a total laugh, and you have to stop hoping that drunks will suddenly awake from their alcoholic haze and start putting you and others before their own ignorant, thoughtless, selfabsorbed, drunken ways. You have to figure out what you need, figure out how best to get what you need, and quit waiting for the alcoholic to prove to you that they love you by giving you what you need when they have never done it before.

    I strongly, and I mean strongly, suggest that you go to Al Anon, and to Adult Children of Alcoholics support groups. They are free; they are incredible resources for how to handle precisely what it is you are going through , and how to keep from repeating these patterns of behavior with your own children. 

    You are responsible for your own happiness and that of your husband and children; and letting a drunk run your holiday planning is not the best way to assure that you will get anything other than what the drunk feels like letting you have at the moment, if they even think about you at all.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • And if I have not been clear, I am really, really sorry this has happened to you in your life. My post is not meant as any kind of flame; just hard earned knowledge from bitter life experience. I've had enough holidays, birthdays, special days, and normal days ruined by drunks to last me a lifetime and I sincerely hope you can find a way to help yourself in this.

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • I commend you for trying to keep the bridge there with your mom, but if she's janking you on plans at the last minute, just tell her you already have plans and can't make it to so-and-so's house. No reason for you and your DH to both be miserable. Enjoy your Christmas with the family that wants you to be there. Maybe your mom will plan better next year.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Thank you to everyone who replied and gave me great advice. I eventually told my mother that we would be there, but that I had plans so I wouldn't be able to stay too terribly long. I also asked why I wasn't invited to the previous family Christmas gathering and she didn't really have an answer other than she thought we didn't want to go. My husband and I talked at length about this last night and I do agree with the ones who said I should look into Al Anon. I'm definitely going to find a meeting in my area and I think my husband and I are going to look into counseling for ourselves. I want for the cycle to stop with me so I know that I have to deal with my life and my relationship with my mother. It's a good thing I really love my inlaws because they are becoming my pseudo parents during all of this. Thank you again to everyone who replied. I appreciate the kind and true words.
  • Just want to say I think it's great that you are open to going to Al Anon and to counseling.  Good luck.
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