Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Katana_Geldar on August 25, 2013, 06:05:11 PM

Title: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17 #33
Post by: Katana_Geldar on August 25, 2013, 06:05:11 PM
DH and I just lost our baby at five weeks, it was our first pregnancy and we got excited and told a few friends and family...which made it harder to say when we lost the baby. :( Consequently, we've had quite a few people call us, asking us how we were and things as well as giving us the privacy we need.

Yesterday, my Mum and younger sister came to visit. YS was flying out that night and my Mum was dropping her at my grandmas house which is near the airport. They said they'd stop by at around 10am on Sunday morning to see us.

Now my Mum has NEVER come up to see us, or rather never came IN. Even when they have dropped us off or driven through on their way home we met them outside and they barely got out of the car. So when I heard they were coming up on the way to drop YS off, I thought we'd get a good visit. Not exactly lunch, but possibly a cup of tea and a bite to eat...

First sign of something wrong was my stepdads car, not my Mums. He didn't get out, just dropped them off and left.

Second sign was that they refused anything to drink, saying they didn't want to go to the toilet a lot after. They did bring food, but that was for us for later.

Third sign was they didn't sit down until I asked them to after a little while, they stood over DH and me and talked while we sat.

And YS kept looking at her watch...

I think they stayed about 30 mins at the most, and most of what we discussed was small talk about cats...which was ok I guess but I did feel a bit cheated. The first thing I said when they left was "Why didn't they stay longer?"

Now I think that this might have been my stepdads fault. He might have said he'll drive them up, and as he's not very social they might have felt pressured from him to make it a short visit. Also, my mum doesn't like driving so she may not have wanted to drive such a long trip (it's about two hours for. Their place to hour place, with another hour, give or take, to my grandmas). But I strongly suspect that if had just been her and YS, them they would have stayed longer.

I am still a little upset about this, but any ideas how to approach this? I'm not sure even if I should, as I'm not particularly close in that way to my Mum (a lot of history there). But I haven't had the chance to talk to her in person for a long time, and I was looking forward to that. :(
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Zizi-K on August 25, 2013, 06:13:14 PM
Your relationship with your mom/family is so different than mine, it's hard to imagine rational reasons why your mom seems to not like to visit your home. Unless there's some obvious reason (if, for instance you were a hoarder or some such thing, or if your mom is an agoraphobic), your best bet would be to approach your mom/family with a non-accusatory honesty. Say that you miss her, that you want to spend some time with her, and you are a bit hurt that they didn't stay longer during their last visit. Ask if there's anything you can do to make visits more comfortable. See what she has to say. What else can you do??
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on August 25, 2013, 06:34:22 PM
Could it be something in your home triggers an allergic reaction?  We have 3 cats, which my MIL likes but is mildly allergic to.  She can handle sitting in our house for about an hour or so and can pet them just fine but after a while her eyes do start to itch.

FIL however can't even be in the house for more than a few minutes before the allergies start to get to him.  He too likes cats, just can't be around them for long. 

Though I would imagine your family would say so unless they're not really sure just what triggers it, they just know something does.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Katana_Geldar on August 25, 2013, 06:49:27 PM
No, they have a cat and a dog. And if it was something they were allergic to, I'd wire know or they would tell us.

Not really sure how you got that from my post...
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Sharnita on August 25, 2013, 07:27:50 PM
No, they have a cat and a dog. And if it was something they were allergic to, I'd wire know or they would tell us.

Not really sure how you got that from my post...

It was from the poster's personal experience and becaise there is a lack of any logical explanation of their behavior in the background. We have to kind of guess as to possible reasons.

Honestly, they just sound socially awkward anyway and visiting while  you are going through a difficult time may be way beyond their ability level. It stinks and I would wany.them to duck it up and power through but it sounds like they are unwilling, unable or a bit of both.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: JenJay on August 25, 2013, 07:31:38 PM
I would ask her "Mom, I've noticed you seem to be very uncomfortable visiting my home. Yesterday was the first time you actually got out of the car and you still only stayed about 30 minutes. Is there anything I can do to make your visits more enjoyable? I'd love to have you over for an afternoon some day."  :-\
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: NyaChan on August 25, 2013, 07:40:22 PM
I would ask her "Mom, I've noticed you seem to be very uncomfortable visiting my home. Yesterday was the first time you actually got out of the car and you still only stayed about 30 minutes. Is there anything I can do to make your visits more enjoyable? I'd love to have you over for an afternoon some day."  :-\

I think this is great.  Sometimes, there is no point in speculating about seemingly confusing behavior when you can just ask and save the trouble of worrying about it - I couldn't see anything wrong with what you did during the interaction. 
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: doodlemor on August 25, 2013, 07:47:35 PM
Now my Mum has NEVER come up to see us, or rather never came IN

As annoying and unusual as this behavior is, I think that she is making progress.  At least she came inside for awhile this time. 

I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby, Katana.  This must be a difficult time for you.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Acadianna on August 25, 2013, 08:15:09 PM
Could it be a control issue?

In the case of my own mother, this is the only explanation I could ever figure out.  My mother always had to be in control of things.  In my home, she didn't feel like she controlled much, so she never felt comfortable.

By way of example, when I got married, I said that I'd really like to have one holiday at my and DH's house, and how about Thanksgiving?  Of course, all the family would be invited each year.  Nope, she couldn't handle someone else being in charge, even for one holiday, so DH and I (and eventually, our children) did our own thing every Thanksgiving.  C'est la vie.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: LifeOnPluto on August 25, 2013, 10:52:00 PM
This is really bizarre. I can't fathom why a mother would decide not to come inside her adult child's house.

Next time your Mum is in town, could you ask her (and your step-dad) specifically to your house for a meal? If they hem and haw, and suggest alternatives, I think it's time to ask them flat out: "What's going on?"

For now, you could let them know (not in an accusing way, in a gentle way) that you really needed their company in this tough time, and that you were hurt that - as far as you can perceive - they were reluctant to spend any proper time with you.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Penguin_ar on August 26, 2013, 05:26:38 AM
Now my Mum has NEVER come up to see us, or rather never came IN

As annoying and unusual as this behavior is, I think that she is making progress.  At least she came inside for awhile this time. 

I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby, Katana.  This must be a difficult time for you.

I agree with this. I understand you need support like now, and why you are hurt by their short stay, but it is 30 minutes more than they ever visited before, which can be counted as a good effort.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: LazyDaisy on August 26, 2013, 02:31:02 PM
...So when I heard they were coming up on the way to drop YS off, I thought we'd get a good visit. Not exactly lunch, but possibly a cup of tea and a bite to eat...

I'm not sure even if I should, as I'm not particularly close in that way to my Mum (a lot of history there). But I haven't had the chance to talk to her in person for a long time, and I was looking forward to that. :(

I'm so sorry for your loss Katana. However given that you said you're not particularly close to your mother, I'm not sure why you expected her to stay longer. Did you arrange this ahead of time with her that you expected them to stay for tea or did you just assume they would? By their actions, it sound like your mother and sister had not planned on staying for even as long as they did. From my perspective, if I had someone stopping by on their way to/from anything, the purpose of their journey isn't primarily to visit with me, and I wouldn't assume they would stay very long, especially if they weren't someone I was close to under normal circumstances.

While you need her emotional support in this difficult time, it doesn't sound like she's ever given you that kind of support. Perhaps she just isn't capable of it or doesn't want to. There is no way to make that happen.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: Katana_Geldar on August 26, 2013, 07:52:21 PM
Okay, a sort of update...

I spoke to her yesterday, and I think we had different ideas of what was expected. Apparently it was less a visit, more a five minute drop in. They're currently doing renovations and had to get back to them, which was why they couldn't stay. But they never said anything about that until I asked.

If I'd known, I wouldn't have minded as much. Maybe.

But it does remind me of a few years ago, on my birthday, we had plans to do things that all had to be cancelled because of a house inspection. They took off somewhere and I was stuck cleaning and looking after the dog, which ended up me sitting by myself in the rain on my birthday. :(

I understand people have commitments and things, but it does make you feel less important when they put them ahead of you. Particularly when, months later we actually went away for the weekend on my youngest sisters birthday.

I know I do sound a but like I was attention-seeking, but that's different to being a person who matters and counts rather than eft to fritter away in the peanut gallery. And I thought that was changing. :(
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: FauxFoodist on August 31, 2013, 02:13:52 PM
But it does remind me of a few years ago, on my birthday, we had plans to do things that all had to be cancelled because of a house inspection. They took off somewhere and I was stuck cleaning and looking after the dog, which ended up me sitting by myself in the rain on my birthday. :(

I understand people have commitments and things, but it does make you feel less important when they put them ahead of you. Particularly when, months later we actually went away for the weekend on my youngest sisters birthday.

I know I do sound a but like I was attention-seeking, but that's different to being a person who matters and counts rather than eft to fritter away in the peanut gallery. And I thought that was changing. :(

NO!  No no no no no no no.  You are NOT attention-seeking here.  What a terrible thing to do to your daughter.  The fact that you went away for the weekend for your youngest sister's birthday makes it very clear your parents can manage their schedule just fine.

Hugs; I am so sorry your parents won't can't see the disparity here.  I wish I could say I'd think they'll change after you told them how you feel, but how in the world could anyone think that was an acceptable way of treating his/her offspring vs. the other?

I wish I had something to say for a possible solution, but I am at a loss.  Just hugs (((((Katana_Geldar))))) and please don't think you're "attention-seeking" for wanting more from your parents that your siblings get.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12
Post by: bopper on September 05, 2013, 01:52:05 PM
Katana---

You didn't do anything wrong.  Mom, or Mom + Stepdad clearly have some sort of issue. You are expecting them to act like normal parents. There is nothing wrong with this.  However, clearly they cannot or will not take on the "normal parent" role.
So you will have to be more explicit.  Invite them over for a meal. State how long you think it would take. It might be that stepdad doesn't really want to visit, so puts pressure on mom.  Or if they are renovating, stepdad uses that as an excuse.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long...
Post by: TootsNYC on September 21, 2013, 08:13:00 PM
I would ask her "Mom, I've noticed you seem to be very uncomfortable visiting my home. Yesterday was the first time you actually got out of the car and you still only stayed about 30 minutes. Is there anything I can do to make your visits more enjoyable? I'd love to have you over for an afternoon some day."  :-\

I think this is great.  Sometimes, there is no point in speculating about seemingly confusing behavior when you can just ask and save the trouble of worrying about it - I couldn't see anything wrong with what you did during the interaction.

I agree--I think this is a great approach.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12
Post by: DavidH on September 26, 2013, 04:53:18 PM
On one hand, it's the longest visit every, on the other hand, 30 min given all that's going on seems a short visit.  I think knowing some of the history would make it easier to offer advice, since there must be something else given the lack of prior visits and the issue on your birthday.  In general, I think JenJay offered very good advice.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12
Post by: Katana_Geldar on May 31, 2014, 06:20:22 AM
Well, I've recently got a message from my sister that she wants to visit this weekend on the way to my parents place. I initially thought we'd get a good visit in, maybe have lunch locally or something... But it turns out she and my Mum can only stay half an hour as my stepfather is picking my sister up from the city.

That's not how I would have managed it, if it were me I'd arrange for the lift where I was visitibg and make my way there with time for a visit. But for some reason it isn't going that way, probably due to how antisocial my stepfather is.

Well, at least I know this time it's not going to be long. I probably should just stop being disappointed in them. :(
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: lkdrymom on May 31, 2014, 09:13:01 AM
Quite frankly I would tell them you weren't available for this little drop by.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: TurtleDove on May 31, 2014, 10:06:20 AM
I would stop expecting them to be who they are not. Aspect them to not spend time in you house and to be awkward if they do. Who knows why they don't want to spend time in your house - maybe they think you are a horrid housekeeper, maybe they fear it is contaminated with some disease, maybe they think it is haunted. It doesn't really matter. Just lower your expectations and then if they are exceeded you can be pleased rather than saddened when your family, well, acts how they apparently always act.

And hugs on your loss.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: FauxFoodist on May 31, 2014, 11:22:26 AM
Frankly, if they only have 30 minutes to spend with you, it sounds more like they have 30 minutes to kill waiting for your stepfather to pick her up so your sister decided to spend it waiting at your house, which would've been a more honest way of wording it, I think, than couching it as a visit (we have a friend who did this -- she had an hour to kill between appointments and was going to be in our area so she asked if she could stop by for a visit and explained she had an hour between appointments; it would've been fine with us, except that DH and I already had plans for the day).
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12
Post by: cicero on May 31, 2014, 01:31:53 PM


Well, at least I know this time it's not going to be long. I probably should just stop being disappointed in them. :(
that's one way to deal with it. Have you ever asked them why they don't visit you/spend more time at your house?
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: lkdrymom on May 31, 2014, 02:36:11 PM
Frankly, if they only have 30 minutes to spend with you, it sounds more like they have 30 minutes to kill waiting for your stepfather to pick her up so your sister decided to spend it waiting at your house, which would've been a more honest way of wording it, I think, than couching it as a visit (we have a friend who did this -- she had an hour to kill between appointments and was going to be in our area so she asked if she could stop by for a visit and explained she had an hour between appointments; it would've been fine with us, except that DH and I already had plans for the day).
This is exactly right. They aren't there to 'visit' you, they are killing time until their ride gets there.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: ladyknight1 on May 31, 2014, 04:47:53 PM
Frankly, if they only have 30 minutes to spend with you, it sounds more like they have 30 minutes to kill waiting for your stepfather to pick her up so your sister decided to spend it waiting at your house, which would've been a more honest way of wording it, I think, than couching it as a visit (we have a friend who did this -- she had an hour to kill between appointments and was going to be in our area so she asked if she could stop by for a visit and explained she had an hour between appointments; it would've been fine with us, except that DH and I already had plans for the day).
This is exactly right. They aren't there to 'visit' you, they are killing time until their ride gets there.

I completely agree. As to another poster's comment about changing them, it is perfectly acceptable to be frustrated and disappointed by those who continue to behave in a way that hurts others.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: Katana_Geldar on May 31, 2014, 06:00:05 PM
Quite frankly I would tell them you weren't available for this little drop by.
I wish I could, but if had no idea that it was going to be short when I agreed to it. Her word was "visit", not "drop by". I was speculating having lunch with her at least. Had I known that it was only going to be 30 minutes I wouldn't have agree to it, particularly given the brevity of their last visit after we lost the first baby.

What's happening is that she's going to be at my dads or my grandmas, getting picked up in town by my stepdad and brought to my place which is not how I would have planned it at all had the positions been reversed and I was visiting her. he's going to drop my mum and sister off and then come back in half an hour.

I asked my sister if she could stay longer, she said to take it up with my Mum so I guess she wants her ride from town.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: purple on May 31, 2014, 07:56:41 PM
Just tell them that something suddenly came up and you're no longer available.
Then go out for lunch yourself instead :).
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: sammycat on May 31, 2014, 07:58:14 PM
Just tell them that something suddenly came up and you're no longer available.
Then go out for lunch yourself instead :).

This is what I'd do.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: Minmom3 on May 31, 2014, 10:56:36 PM
Me three.  I would not enjoy feeling like an after thought, or 'the red headed step child' of the family, and I would prefer to be less available to them than feel cheated AGAIN.  Those would be MY feelings, for sure!
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: bah12 on June 02, 2014, 10:32:20 AM
First, I am so sorry for your loss  :(

Second, I don't think you are wrong to expect/hope for more from your family.   It's both a natural and reasonable expectation that they will visit for longer than a few minutes at a time and keep the plans they make with you.

I agree that the best course of action is to confront them bluntly. "You're my mom and I'm going through a  tough time right now.  I need you and I need to feel like I matter to you.  Is there something about my home that makes you uncomfortable?  Is there something I can change there that will make you feel like you can stay for longer than half an hour?  I feel hurt.  I love you and want to spend time with you."

And I would also lower my expectations.  I'm not sure why your family is this way, but this is who they are and unfortunately, they may never change.  But also know that it's not a reflectation of you.  It's them.  Seek the familial relationship with those you know have the capacity to be there for you as much as you are with them.  DH, in-laws, friends, etc.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: TootsNYC on June 02, 2014, 11:05:26 AM
I'm just to stand behind bah12 and nod vigorously and sympathetically.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: kudeebee on June 02, 2014, 02:29:12 PM
I think your definition of a visit and theirs is different.  To them, they are visiting you.  They are stopping by your house and seeing you.  Sounds like the person determining the length of the visit is stepdad.  He is giving them 30 minutes and they can either take it or leave it.

Is there a reason that your mom doesn't pick up sister and then they come to your house?  That way they can stay as long as they want to, without worrying about stepdad and his time limits.  Also, why doesn't he come inside and visit as well?

Otherwise, I think you will just have to realize that your visits from mom and sister will be like this as long as stepdad is the one who is driving them around.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: Katana_Geldar on June 02, 2014, 05:13:39 PM
My stepfather is not coming in because that is not something either DH or me would be okay with. He was abusive to me while I was growing up and the last time we talked to him there was a fight, DH doesn't want him to set foot in our house and doesn't want our child (when he's born) near him. I completely support him in this.

Unfortunately, my Mum doesn't like to drive long distances so she gets my stepfather to do it for her. Thing is, if my mum doesn't want to drive it's very easy for her to get the train to my place and I can even meet her at the station. Yeah, it is his fault that they're only staying half an hour once they're dropped off, but there's other alternatives.

Both my sisters also want to plan done sort of meet the baby party for us when they can manage to get up here on the one weekend, I'm not sure how that's going to work at all.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: bah12 on June 05, 2014, 10:16:52 AM
My stepfather is not coming in because that is not something either DH or me would be okay with. He was abusive to me while I was growing up and the last time we talked to him there was a fight, DH doesn't want him to set foot in our house and doesn't want our child (when he's born) near him. I completely support him in this.

Unfortunately, my Mum doesn't like to drive long distances so she gets my stepfather to do it for her. Thing is, if my mum doesn't want to drive it's very easy for her to get the train to my place and I can even meet her at the station. Yeah, it is his fault that they're only staying half an hour once they're dropped off, but there's other alternatives.

Both my sisters also want to plan done sort of meet the baby party for us when they can manage to get up here on the one weekend, I'm not sure how that's going to work at all.

Well, I think this pretty much explains it.   You don't have any relationship with your stepfather and your mom depends on your stepfather to get her to your house.  While I do think that she should take the train or insist to your stepfather that she stay longer, I can easily see how this works out.  Stepfather drives a long distance to take your mom to a place where he's not welcome.  He does it, but not often and he's not willing to kill too much time/spend to long idling in the city before he picks her back up...so the visits remain short.


I still think you can  bluntly tell your mom how you feel and ask her if there is something else that she can work out...Especially once baby arrives. 
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: Katana_Geldar on June 05, 2014, 08:17:20 PM
So, got some news. I heard from my mum and she says they can stay a few hours as my stepfather is going to visit his brother. I'm pleased, somewhat, as it means they're staying longer and we can have a proper visit. DH isn't really okay with it and thinks I'm opening myself up to get hurt by them all over again.

He may have a point, but what I'm trying to do, at least on my side, is work out what I am okay with in a relationship with my family. He's not completely convinced.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17
Post by: FauxFoodist on June 05, 2014, 08:39:03 PM
So, got some news. I heard from my mum and she says they can stay a few hours as my stepfather is going to visit his brother. I'm pleased, somewhat, as it means they're staying longer and we can have a proper visit. DH isn't really okay with it and thinks I'm opening myself up to get hurt by them all over again.

He may have a point, but what I'm trying to do, at least on my side, is work out what I am okay with in a relationship with my family. He's not completely convinced.

Well, he does have a point, but what're you supposed to do then?  It sounds like your mum is trying to make more time for you this time.  Do you just give up on them altogether and not see if this could be a legitimate longer visit?
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17 #33
Post by: F_L_O on June 09, 2014, 07:42:57 AM
But it still sounds like the visit is being held hostage by what the stepfather is (or isn't) doing.

What if his intended visit gets cut short? He's going to be coming by earlier to pick up your mom and sister and of course they will cut the visit with you short to appease him.

It sounds like short of making peace with the stepfather, which I understand you may not be able to do, these visits are at the mercy of this man.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17 #33
Post by: Katana_Geldar on June 09, 2014, 08:42:47 AM
Had a long talk with DH about this and his main problem was with my sister, not my mum. He did say that it was a good sign on their part that they were making the approach rather than me. I also said he didn't have to stay if he didn't want to,which he did end up doing anyway.

So the visit itself, it was short but not short like last time. They stayed about two hours, we had afternoon tea and it went pretty well. I'm also going with not telling them more about the pregnancy than I'm prepared to share, particularly with my sister who is the doctor. DH did come in every now and again and sit with us, which was a nice surprise and he did help me tidy up a bit that morning as well.

We are okay having them over, not my stepfather, but as long as my mum doesn't like driving up she's beholden to him. But that's not something I can really do anything about as I no longer have any desire to have any relationship with him. She does want to come visit after baby has been born so if she still doesn't want to drive I can suggest train and bus to our place as it's not much trouble.

All in all, that went well.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17 #33
Post by: jpcher on June 09, 2014, 05:20:52 PM
That's a good update. Efforts are being made on both sides and I'm very happy for you that DH was supportive.

Any chance that maybe you can offer to take the train to Mum's area and meet her for lunch sometime? That way she isn't beholden to anybody and it shows that you are also willing to put forth an effort.
Title: Re: They didn't stay very long... UPDATE #12, #17 #33
Post by: Katana_Geldar on June 09, 2014, 06:28:31 PM
I'm 38 weeks this week and get tired easy, so I don't want to go very far when I need rest after going to the shops down the road. We don't have a car, but after last time we went up there with the argument with my stepfather and they were responsible for us getting to the station I realised that I didn't want to go up there again without one.

Then there's more issues after baby is born. DH does not want my stepfather around him at all and doesn't even want us to go in their house. He is willing for us to visit relative who lives very near their house though, which is good as relative is old and there would be no other way to see baby.

Getting up there with him via public transport does mean he needs a car seat at the other end, which could be arranged if we hired something for the day.

I would also like the point out that it usually was us going to see them in the past, and now it's going to be much more of a problem. The car thing we may be able to work on though.