Author Topic: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?  (Read 3872 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« on: November 21, 2012, 04:04:53 AM »
My FH and I are getting married in January and we decided (back in September or earlier) that we'd like to spend Christmas at home, with just us. Around this time my Mum (who lives two hours away from us) was organising a dinner with my sisters and my aunt in the city, rather near us. It did seem very nice but we both felt strongly about what we wanted to do and declined, saying we were not going to attend but they could drop by for a visit if they wished.

We feel strongly about this as its the first Christmas before we are married and it is something I want to share with him. There will undoubtably be other years where we visit family. There's also the fact that FH has spent a few Christmases alone and I have had particularly bad ones ruined by my stepdad (who seems to enjoy tormenting people) and my sisters. It is SO NICE to think that I can have one nice Christmas and not have to worry about ANY of that.

Well... Ever since I told people there has been no end of drama. My mum decided to cancel the dinner in the city and have it at home. Fair enough. My younger and youngest sisters have now decided that I am selfish for wanting to spend Christmas with FH and have tried to convince me to change my mind. Which I won't, and have convicted me to be stronger about this.

They just don't seem to get it. That when things happen in your life (like getting married) things change. There's also the fact that they're used to running straight over me to get their own way and I just refuse to roll over anymore.

Any advice? I had no idea when I got engaged that things would be like this.

ClaireC79

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 04:19:02 AM »
Would you be prepared to host something (or go to something) or either xmas eve or boxing day?  I wonder if that would be ok, I know my parents were a little upset when we decided xmas day was in our house just us and the kids - but either they will come to us, or we will go to them one day around xmas (usually day before or after but was 27th one year due to work) and that works for us, together with a phone call on the morning itself

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 04:22:32 AM »
No, you're not selfish - especially if these people ordinarily "torment" you.

Enjoy your Christmas!

peaches

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 04:31:34 AM »
You don't have to do what other people want you to do.

On the other hand, you can't control their reactions to your decisions.

If you feel you've made the right decision (it seems reasonable to me), then stick with it and let their comments roll off your back.

You can always reiterate "We'd love to see you if you want to drive down," as you've said you would welcome a visit from them, and add "anytime during the holiday season - just let us know".


cicero

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 04:43:56 AM »
are you selfish for wanting to have a quiet, drama-and-abuse-free holiday?

no.

you just have to be able and willing to be strong about your stance. When people grow up and get married, their core family dynamics change - you are now not *Katana* but *Katana and FH or DH* and you have to take him, and *his* family and *his* traditions/desires/needs into account. as well as your own - you don't want a drama filled holiday - that is perfectly understandable.

don't explain, don't justify, just say "we are going to be spending the holiday at home". if you can/want to invite your family over, then add "you are welcome to buy on [day] at [time until time] - we will have eggnog and put on some cheesey movies"

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 05:21:00 AM »
Would you be prepared to host something (or go to something) or either xmas eve or boxing day?  I wonder if that would be ok, I know my parents were a little upset when we decided xmas day was in our house just us and the kids - but either they will come to us, or we will go to them one day around xmas (usually day before or after but was 27th one year due to work) and that works for us, together with a phone call on the morning itself

We live in a small apartment, we're not really ina psoition to host people for Christmas all day. That's why we have just offered to host a visit. I said we were thinking of heading up there Boxing Day or something, but my sisters are going somewhere else after Christmas Day.

And I think FH is working Xmas Eve.

Geekychick1984

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 06:49:38 AM »
I think you're fine doing what you're doing.  Just bean dip them and stay firm with your decision.

BTW - you're not missing family Christmas.  You and DH are your own family now, and you can make your own traditions.

weeblewobble

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 07:00:54 AM »
Yes how selfish of you to take away your stepfather's favorite target! Who is he going to pick on now?  He might start picking on them!  How dare you not serve as the entertainment for people who have ruined previous holidays.

Ok I just abused sarcasm there.

I think you're making the right choice. This is the best time to reestablish boundaries. And who wants to spend the holidays with people who enjoy tormenting others?

weeblewobble

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012, 07:03:05 AM »
BTW you're older sister. There is a pecking order. Tell your sisters to mind their own business. :)

TootsNYC

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2012, 08:02:23 AM »
When people won't drop the topic, that's a good time to try the "cut-and-paste" routine.

That works more powerfully for a "continuous pressure in a single encounter" situation.

If it's multiple occasions, you might try approaching this like a parent.

"You're not going to get a different answer just because you've asked me with different words."

Peaches is absolutely right:
Quote
You don't have to do what other people want you to do.

But she is also right here:
Quote
On the other hand, you can't control their reactions to your decisions.

Not only can't you, you don't get to. You would be out of line to pressure them to react the way you want them to. (After all, they don't have to do what you want, either, right?)

At this point, the only problem is that they're unhappy with your choice, and their solution is to badger you about it. So go straight to THAT; address the real problem.
"Guys, our decision is not going to change because you are pressuring me. But what *is* changing is my attitude toward you. I'm getting kind of pissed off, and by now I'm not enjoying any of my conversations with you. You don't have to be happy that we won't be there, but you need to stop harping on it, because it's starting to affect our relationship."

Even if there wasn't unpleasantness, you are completely fine to decide to not attend the family Christmas.

Margo

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2012, 09:07:25 AM »
No, is is not selfish.  It's completely reasonable that you want to spend your Christmas with your fiance. You've offered compromise, you've invited them to come to see you. They've chosen not to.

If they are still harping on at you, and particularly if they are explicitly making comments about you neing "selfish"  then I think it's appropriate to respond with something along the lines of ,

"I've already explained [several times] that that won't be possible. DF and I will be spending Christmas in our own home. It's our first Christmas, and it is important to us. We are not going to change our minds, and it feels as though you are pressuring us and are trying to force us to do something you know we don't want to do. That makes me feel that you are bullying me , and that  you don't respect my right to make decisions with my partner about our own lives.

 We've said that you are very welcome to come by to see us on Christmas afternoon if you'd like, that invitation is still open. But we are not going to discuss this any further.

If they keep going, then repeat "we are not prepared to discuss this any further"

I hope you and your fiance have a wonderful (peaceful) Christmas!

acicularis

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 09:15:07 AM »

I think you're making the right choice. This is the best time to reestablish boundaries.

Absolutely. You're getting married soon, and establishing your own traditions. This is the natural time to make changes about how holidays are celebrated. Otherwise, things have a way of getting carved into stone, and it's much harder to make changes later.

You are not being at all selfish or unreasonable. Especially since you invited them to drop by and visit when their original plans involved being in the area. You set a clear boundary, but also extended an invitation.

Don't make the mistake I once did of bending over backwards to compromise and placate your family in regards to Xmas. Many years ago, after a few years of always spending Xmas with my mother and visiting my husband's family later in the week, we decided to go visit his family for Xmas. You would have thought I was cutting off all contact forever! My brother lived nearby, and was planning to spend the holiday with her. But I was leaving her "all alone."

To placate her, we came over on Xmas Eve, spent the afternoon and had dinner. Made the 3 1/2 hour drive to his parents, arriving at around 11:30 pm. Really not how I would have liked to do things, but I thought we'd get our obligations out of the way, and she'd be happy. And we'd have the whole next day to enjoy, right?

But when we got to his parents' house, his aunt and uncle and cousins insisted on opening all the presents right then. And it turned out they'd already had Xmas dinner without us. Even though MIL knew our plans, she never bothered to tell us she was going to do that. It slowly dawned on me the next day that not only was the whole present opening thing done, but there wasn't even any Xmas dinner to look forward to. We had to scavenge for leftovers in the kitchen. Odd.

And after all that, I was still in major trouble with my mother because I left her to "wake up alone on Xmas." 

O'Dell

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2012, 10:16:22 AM »
Did you ever have someone tell you not to point out others faults because when you point your finger you're pointing the rest of your fingers back at yourself? Well I think that is especially apt when someone like your sister claims you are selfish because *she* isn't getting what *she* wants. Ditto any others saying this about you.

I'd go with the non-apology apology for any of their fussing at you. "I'm sorry you feel that way. This is our plan and this is what we will do." And redirect to another subject or end the conversation.

Sorry that you are having to go thru this. In a twisted way, they seem to be affirming that your plan is the right one.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Just Lori

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2012, 10:46:21 AM »
Selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first, and you need no apology or explanation.

My only caveat would be to consider what sort of holiday relationship you will want with your family in the future.  If you think you're going to want your family to accommodate your needs in the future if you have children or if you decide you want to start hosting a large extended gathering, then maybe you need to find a solution that involves some sort of compromise.  If you feel comfortable getting together with family only when it's convenient for everyone involved, then you're fine.  Every family dynamic is different, and only you know what's right for you.


Lynnv

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Re: Am I selfish for missing family Christmas?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 11:39:00 AM »
Selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first, and you need no apology or explanation.

My only caveat would be to consider what sort of holiday relationship you will want with your family in the future.  If you think you're going to want your family to accommodate your needs in the future if you have children or if you decide you want to start hosting a large extended gathering, then maybe you need to find a solution that involves some sort of compromise.  If you feel comfortable getting together with family only when it's convenient for everyone involved, then you're fine.  Every family dynamic is different, and only you know what's right for you.

I agree with this entire post!

DH and I are selfish about Christmas.  We do not travel from Christmas Eve through Christmas morning.  Not to my mom's (a couple of hours away by car) or the IL's (a plane ride away).  We are willing to travel to my mom's (2 hour drive) if she wants to do a relatively late afternoon or early evening Christmas dinner.  And I will happily spend all Christmas day cooking up a feast to be served in the early afternoon.    We also don't fly back to his folks during the week before or after Christmas.  And we don't have to worry about abusive family members.  We just want that time to be for us, not for everyone else.

Because of this, we are willing to make a lot of compromises for other days around the holidays.  DH nearly always goes to visit his family for Thanksgiving, even though I only go with him about 1 year out of five.  We are willing to have a big family meal on New Year's or the week before Christmas if everyone can clear things up for those dates. 

It is okay to be selfish and think of yourself first sometimes.
Lynn

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