Author Topic: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55, 69.  (Read 17350 times)

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Mergatroyd

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2013, 06:40:26 PM »
I hope my parents never do this.  :-X

nolechica

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2013, 07:15:57 PM »
I've vote meal/meals at restaurants or not at all.  Mom not having to cook might relieve some of the stress, but being at your sister's house might not be enough pressure to sit down and hush.

m2kbug

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2013, 07:34:05 PM »
Can your parents be civil to each other outside of their own home or does the bitterness and bickering go with them? I can see how toxic going into such a war zone would be...so what about neutral ground?

Is there any chance you or your sister's house would work for the get-together, but Mom could do the cooking and hosting she enjoys?
<snip>

This is a very good point.  My mother and stepdad are miserable and fight constantly at home, but manage to be civil in another person's home and in public.  To attend a holiday gathering together, neutral territory could very well be the answer.  My mother has also managed to be very civil to her exhusband (dad) the few times they have had to share air space in recent adult years, and believe me, that's no small feat, so I have two examples of better behavior on foreign ground.  Another option to consider.

oopsie

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2013, 08:05:21 PM »
So I met with my sister and we exchanged notes. Both of our parents have behaved inappropriately over the years but it seems to be coming to head.

I'm a real estate agent and my dad was asking me for advice pertaining to the selling of their property so he could buy my mom out and stay in the house. Both have been stopping over at my sister's house these past few weekends and unloading on to her their beefs/fights/complaints about the other.

My sister and I agreed that it needs to stop and so we decided to go over to their house right then and speak to them together about it.

We sat them down, told them we love them both and then laid it all out. Unfortunately, when we stopped to let them digest, the first thing they did was start to get in to it again and blame each other, telling us stuff that was really TMI, etc. I told them that if this their response then they really haven't listened to a word we just said. They said they did but then started doing it again. I got up and starting walking towards the door. That's when my dad pleaded with me not to leave, to stay and work this out.

I sat back down and my sister and I told them that whatever goes on between the two of them we cannot be dragged in the middle of it and that their animosity towards each other is being noticed and remarked on by their grandchildren. We love them, want the best for them and will support them in whatever they decide. However, their behaviour where we are concerned must stop now.

In the end, my mom stated that she was no longer willing to do the family things with my father anymore. It sounded like she was going to move out (I'll believe it when I see it) and "go away for a while." Guilt trip? Sigh.

Anyway, it needed to be done and we've made our boundaries very clear. If they wish to continue to have a relationship with us and our children, then it will be up to them to respect those boundaries.

As far as Christmas is concerned, we'll probably get together at my house or my sister's for lunch and invite both. If either of them cross the line, we will politely ask them to leave.  :(

Thanks again everyone for your advice!


johelenc1

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2013, 08:41:12 PM »
I'd say that was actually a fantastic update!  Your mom handed your a gift.  Run with it - even if it is a guilt trip of some kind.  If they want to live in the same house and be miserable - great, but you don't have to see them together.

The only exception I would see is that at some point it's just ridiculous that grown people can't be civil to each other.  The result is that you end up having double everything - BD parties, etc.  And, some things can't be doubled - you can't have two graduations, two weddings, dance recitals, etc.

I deal with divorced parents and once when we found out we were pregnant, I lay down the law.  We would NOT have two BD parties, etc.  Everyone was invited.  If someone couldn't deal with being in the same room as the other, they could stay home - that was THEIR choice - not ours.  And, anyone who threw a fit or misbehaved that the event would have to leave.  We were not dealing with that drama.

At some point your parents are going to have to choose how to behave if they want to be apart of the important events of your life.  YOU are not keeping them from these events - they are doing it to themselves.

I think it's so fantastic you and your sister presented a united front to your parents.  Just hang in their together and don't give in:-)  Good luck!

artk2002

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2013, 08:56:35 PM »
Very well done, Oopsie. It sounds like you and your sister both applied the polite spine to your parents. Hugs to you both, too, because this isn't easy. Parenting ones own parents can be very frustrating.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2013, 09:28:25 PM »
So I met with my sister and we exchanged notes. Both of our parents have behaved inappropriately over the years but it seems to be coming to head.

I'm a real estate agent and my dad was asking me for advice pertaining to the selling of their property so he could buy my mom out and stay in the house. Both have been stopping over at my sister's house these past few weekends and unloading on to her their beefs/fights/complaints about the other.

My sister and I agreed that it needs to stop and so we decided to go over to their house right then and speak to them together about it.

We sat them down, told them we love them both and then laid it all out. Unfortunately, when we stopped to let them digest, the first thing they did was start to get in to it again and blame each other, telling us stuff that was really TMI, etc. I told them that if this their response then they really haven't listened to a word we just said. They said they did but then started doing it again. I got up and starting walking towards the door. That's when my dad pleaded with me not to leave, to stay and work this out.

I sat back down and my sister and I told them that whatever goes on between the two of them we cannot be dragged in the middle of it and that their animosity towards each other is being noticed and remarked on by their grandchildren. We love them, want the best for them and will support them in whatever they decide. However, their behaviour where we are concerned must stop now.

In the end, my mom stated that she was no longer willing to do the family things with my father anymore. It sounded like she was going to move out (I'll believe it when I see it) and "go away for a while." Guilt trip? Sigh.

Anyway, it needed to be done and we've made our boundaries very clear. If they wish to continue to have a relationship with us and our children, then it will be up to them to respect those boundaries.

As far as Christmas is concerned, we'll probably get together at my house or my sister's for lunch and invite both. If either of them cross the line, we will politely ask them to leave.  :(

Thanks again everyone for your advice!

Be careful here. What if you ask them to leave and they refuse? Are you going to physically remove them? Call the police, etc?

I personally would take your mum at her word, and invite your dad only for lunch. You and your family can catch up with your mum another time (perhaps on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day?)

oopsie

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2013, 10:02:58 PM »
So I met with my sister and we exchanged notes. Both of our parents have behaved inappropriately over the years but it seems to be coming to head.

I'm a real estate agent and my dad was asking me for advice pertaining to the selling of their property so he could buy my mom out and stay in the house. Both have been stopping over at my sister's house these past few weekends and unloading on to her their beefs/fights/complaints about the other.

My sister and I agreed that it needs to stop and so we decided to go over to their house right then and speak to them together about it.

We sat them down, told them we love them both and then laid it all out. Unfortunately, when we stopped to let them digest, the first thing they did was start to get in to it again and blame each other, telling us stuff that was really TMI, etc. I told them that if this their response then they really haven't listened to a word we just said. They said they did but then started doing it again. I got up and starting walking towards the door. That's when my dad pleaded with me not to leave, to stay and work this out.

I sat back down and my sister and I told them that whatever goes on between the two of them we cannot be dragged in the middle of it and that their animosity towards each other is being noticed and remarked on by their grandchildren. We love them, want the best for them and will support them in whatever they decide. However, their behaviour where we are concerned must stop now.

In the end, my mom stated that she was no longer willing to do the family things with my father anymore. It sounded like she was going to move out (I'll believe it when I see it) and "go away for a while." Guilt trip? Sigh.

Anyway, it needed to be done and we've made our boundaries very clear. If they wish to continue to have a relationship with us and our children, then it will be up to them to respect those boundaries.

As far as Christmas is concerned, we'll probably get together at my house or my sister's for lunch and invite both. If either of them cross the line, we will politely ask them to leave.  :(

Thanks again everyone for your advice!

Be careful here. What if you ask them to leave and they refuse? Are you going to physically remove them? Call the police, etc?

I personally would take your mum at her word, and invite your dad only for lunch. You and your family can catch up with your mum another time (perhaps on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day?)

Fortunately, I sincerely doubt that either of them would refuse to leave if asked to. They both have issues, that much is for sure, but this isn't one of them.

However, if they did refuse and the situation got so out of hand that it warranted a call to the police then I suppose that is what I would have to do.


figee

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2013, 11:28:43 PM »
Do also keep in mind that a guilt trip is something that you need to buy into in order for it to be effective.  It requires you to feel guilty about something you've done or said which was inappropriate or wrong in some way.  Since this isn't the case here, let your mom buy you a ticket on that guilt trip, but cash it in for a nice coffee or meal or Christmas shopping with your sister instead.

blarg314

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2013, 01:28:01 AM »

I will admit that I have very little patience with adults who insist on acting in ways that would make a 10 year old embarrassed.

It might be useful to use this Christmas as a test - you and your sister have made your view clear - you are not willing to be stuck in the middle of your parents' arguments, and you expect them to behave civilly in each other's presence. If they can't  manage to do that at Christmas, they are not welcome to celebrate with you. Give them a year of no invitations to general celebrations (or acceptance of the same) - birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. After a year, you can try again.

I suspect it will take facing them down at some point - calling them on their behaviour, and imposing consequences that mean something to them. I also suspect that it's better to do it now than later - if they do split up, you'll likely end up fielding demands to hold two separate birthday parties for your kids, or competition for the holidays, when they are adamant they won't be in the same room as each other.


cicero

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2013, 02:17:24 AM »
Sorry you are going through this and hope you and your sister can work this out.

I did want to address one issue - i don't know how old your children are, but if they're noticing the tension and fights, you don't need to "gloss over" it but use this as a moment to teach how adults *shouldn't* behave; it's ok to have a fight but holding grudges etc is not

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SamiHami

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2013, 09:08:25 AM »
I'd say that was actually a fantastic update!  Your mom handed your a gift.  Run with it - even if it is a guilt trip of some kind.  If they want to live in the same house and be miserable - great, but you don't have to see them together.

The only exception I would see is that at some point it's just ridiculous that grown people can't be civil to each other.  The result is that you end up having double everything - BD parties, etc.  And, some things can't be doubled - you can't have two graduations, two weddings, dance recitals, etc.

I deal with divorced parents and once when we found out we were pregnant, I lay down the law.  We would NOT have two BD parties, etc.  Everyone was invited.  If someone couldn't deal with being in the same room as the other, they could stay home - that was THEIR choice - not ours.  And, anyone who threw a fit or misbehaved that the event would have to leave.  We were not dealing with that drama.

At some point your parents are going to have to choose how to behave if they want to be apart of the important events of your life.  YOU are not keeping them from these events - they are doing it to themselves.

I think it's so fantastic you and your sister presented a united front to your parents.  Just hang in their together and don't give in:-)  Good luck!

Having double events rewards them for their own bad behavior-and it creates a whole new battleground; which parent gets invited to the "better" or "real" celebration, kwim? Your solution of having one event, inviting all and expecting proper behavior is an excellent model for how these situations should be handled. They liked each other enough at one point in time to create a family. They can now act like adults and be civil during events important to the family that they created.

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dawbs

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2013, 09:19:59 AM »
I'm glad they're going to 'try', even if that's half-hearted.

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, this does take time.
My long-divorced grandparents eventually learned to be civil and behave and even chit-chat with one another @ family events.
But not immediately.
They both had to deal w/ some pain and some hurt and get over some crap before they could.

If your parents have the best of intentions and are trying really REALLY hard, this is still 'new' territory for them.  The pain is new and raw, the idea of moving out/moving on is new and raw, and the fact that they know they've hurt their kids/grandkids is new and raw.
Which doesn't give them a giant excuse (and yes, they *should* be used to this and this has been going on for years so in many ways, it's not 'new', but emotions and feelings are funny things--I'd bet money it still feels 'new' to them), but it *does* mean that they'll be still searching solid footing this year. 

I'd reccomend you keep expectations low and do what you can to set this up for success/make it easier.  Eventually, absolutely, they should be able to deal w/ each other politely and have coping strategies in place.  But maybe, for this year, Dad starts at your house, Mom starts @ sis's house, you ALL get together at X place for dinner, and then mom comes to your house, dad to sis's.  Or whatever else you can do to make it easier on all of you.  Because mom/dad may have the emotional resources to behave for 2 or 3 hours but not yet have them in place to do 4 or 5 hours. 

oopsie

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2013, 09:36:16 AM »
My dad was just at my house. Not even 9am on the morning after our talk with my parents last night. He said "since I'm not supposed to say anything to you anymore, I brought this printout for you to read." The printout was details about Bipolar Disorder which he then told me he thinks my mother has (I'm 99% sure she doesn't). He then described to me a particular incident in which he went in to her bedroom....(bunch of way TMI information)....

I told my father that this is exactly the kind of thing he is not allowed to discuss with us. I asked him why in a million years he would think I, their daughter, would want to hear this? I told him he is always welcome at our home but not if he is coming to talk about his relationship with my mother. Unfortunately, I had hope after last night but this morning taught me that he doesn't really get it.

I feel bad if he feels like he needs someone to talk to but as my DH pointed out, he can hire a counselor for that. I'm his daughter, not his therapist. I told my sister what happened and she was furious.

Anyway, my parents are obviously very resistant to change and this is a great example of that. I have a feeling that I will need many, many gallons of spine polish before they do finally get it. That is, if I don't reach my limit and issue a cut direct first...

« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 09:39:47 AM by oopsie »

cwm

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2013, 09:43:59 AM »
You can do this. You've told him again that he's not respecting your boundaries, now you need to keep living them. Did you give him the printout back?

Your parents may be resistant to change, but you and your sister need to be resistant to staying the same. And trust me, you two will win out over your parents. It may take the pain of your parents realizing what they have to lose, but if you and your sis stand firm with each other and support each other, you'll be able to do it. And it sounds like you also have your DH on your side, which is wonderful!

Stay strong, you'll be able to do this. It'll take a while, and it's not going to be easy, but don't give in!