Author Topic: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55, 69.  (Read 17337 times)

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Pen^2

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2013, 11:30:49 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't let the grandkids ask either of them simply because they have shown not to play fair.  The last thing they need is to say "Why aren't you eating with us grandpa?"  and he says "Well, grandma is bi polar and (inappropriate stuff) and (inappropriate stuff)."  It would be better for OP and her sister to say, before they meet with the parents "Kids, grandma & grandpa are having a tough time right now and are acting funny towards each other.  If either of them act funny, it is about them, not us."

I feel the same way. They could well start to give a lot of TMI, since they don't have a good hold on what is appropriate when it comes to their spats. I don't like the idea of risking that. It's not fair on the children.

oopsie

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2013, 12:15:25 PM »
Actually, I wouldn't let the grandkids ask either of them simply because they have shown not to play fair.  The last thing they need is to say "Why aren't you eating with us grandpa?"  and he says "Well, grandma is bi polar and (inappropriate stuff) and (inappropriate stuff)."  It would be better for OP and her sister to say, before they meet with the parents "Kids, grandma & grandpa are having a tough time right now and are acting funny towards each other.  If either of them act funny, it is about them, not us."

I feel the same way. They could well start to give a lot of TMI, since they don't have a good hold on what is appropriate when it comes to their spats. I don't like the idea of risking that. It's not fair on the children.

Yes, I think my mother would use a little more discretion but I'm pretty confident my father would not. I do not want him to have any opening to start unloading his crap on my children.

Another update:

My father was just here again. He did not apologize for yesterday but rather asked if I had had an opportunity to look in to what the acreage would be worth (again I'm a Realtor) so he could sell it and buy my mother out of the house. He said that although her name is on title, that she doesn't own it, not really (ummm, yeah, good luck with that fight buddy!!!)

I told him that I didn't think it would be a good idea for me to be involved with it. He said "okay fine, then I'll ask your uncle to do it." My uncle, as in my mother's brother who also happens to be a Realtor. I told him that I didn't think it was appropriate to involve him either. He said "well, I guess I'll get someone else to do it." Then he got up in a huff and left. As he went out the door he said "well, I guess I'll see you next year maybe." He was here less than 5 minutes.

It's so funny that he hadn't been by to visit me in quite a while but the second I specifically ask him and my mother to just stop with us, he's been here two mornings in a row specifically to do exactly what he'd been asked not to.

Seriously?? He's my dad and all but WHAT A JERK!!!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 12:17:10 PM by oopsie »

PastryGoddess

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2013, 01:56:33 PM »

Seriously?? He's my dad and all but WHAT A JERK!!!


It's always an unsettling epiphany when we realize these things about our parents isn't it?  I remember the time I realized my mother was an extremely selfish and rather self centered person.  I seriously thought the world was going to stop spinning when I admitted it to myself

Pen^2

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2013, 02:11:59 PM »
Wow. 2 mornings in a row? It's like he's testing the waters or trying to get some sort of response from you. I hope he realises it's not working and drops it instead of upping the ante.

Good on you for not playing ball. "It's not a good idea for me to get involved in this," might seem similar, but it is much less JADEing than, "I won't get involved because what you're proposing won't work." Keep it up.

And, ((hugs)) because your parents (especially your father just now) are acting like children and that sucks.

Hillia

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2013, 02:34:20 PM »
<sings>
Why would the kids put jam on the cat?
Strawberry jam all over the cat?
Why would the kids do something like that?
They did it 'cause we said 'No'.

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hobish

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28
« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2013, 02:51:04 PM »
It sounds like your father, at least, has interpreted the talk you and your sister had with him and your mother as, "You're making stuff up. We don't want to hear made-up stuff." That's why he got on the defensive immediately when you first brought it up ("But she is that bad! Let me give you a billion examples to prove it...") rather than responding to what you actually said. And coming over today with printed "proof" seems to be him trying harder to show you that he's not making it up. Your mother's probably of the same mindset, but she didn't go the extra mile to show it, so it's not as easy to say.

Unfortunately for him, he's missed the point completely. I'm sure you were very clear, OP, but he's stuck on the idea that there is something wrong with your mother and he has to prove it for whatever silly reason. When he's told that he's behaving badly, he responds by deciding that he needs to show that your mother is worse. He's really fixated on finding reasons why she's bonkers. It doesn't matter what the problem is--he needs to stop making it the problem of you, your sister, and his grandchildren. As you've said, if he wants to talk, he can get a counsellor, not rely on his daughter.

I think refusing to discuss it with him was a wise move. You don't want to reenforce this behaviour at all. I hope things start to go more smoothly as you "re-train" them until they realise how to behave in a more civil and courteous way for their family.

That is very insightful.
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cwm

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #51 on: November 27, 2013, 02:55:03 PM »

Seriously?? He's my dad and all but WHAT A JERK!!!


It's always an unsettling epiphany when we realize these things about our parents isn't it?  I remember the time I realized my mother was an extremely selfish and rather self centered person.  I seriously thought the world was going to stop spinning when I admitted it to myself

It took me years to realize that about my dad. Now that I'm comfortable with the idea, life is a lot easier.

Parents are just people like everyone else. Some are great, some aren't. And some are great some of the time and not at others. It sounds like your dad's just veering into the "not great" territory right now.

Good job standing up to him. Remember, you're retraining both of them out of entrenched behaviors. It may take some time, but don't give up. You're making a difference in the long run.

Bethczar

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #52 on: November 27, 2013, 08:11:03 PM »
<sings>
Why would the kids put jam on the cat?
Strawberry jam all over the cat?
Why would the kids do something like that?
They did it 'cause we said 'No'.
Lol - the next step is beans in their ears!
Well, at least they won't hear each other sniping.

blarg314

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2013, 12:45:32 AM »

I will say I'm not too surprised at the updates.

It's a pretty common pattern - you've gotten fed up, and are trying to enforce boundaries on behaviour you previously put up with. The person behaving badly 1)  takes this as a challenge - they figure they need to push harder to get what they want and 2) are testing the boundaries to see if you mean it.

Dealing with this can be surprisingly like dealing with a toddler. You need to stand firm, or they'll quickly figure out that you don't really mean what they say. And you need clear, immediate consequences for their bad behaviour, so they learn that if they do X, Y will happen, and then don't want Y to happen.

If your Dad keeps pushing, I do think that blowing up and getting mad might help. Get exasperated, raise your voice, tell him that you're sick and tired of being pulled into the middle of their marriage and you're not going to put up with it. You're not going to listen to his complaints, you're not going to watch him sulk, you're not going to hear his armchair diagnosis of your mother's mental state, you're not going to offer advice on legal or financial issues, and if he doesn't respect that, he won't be talking to you at all. Then stomp out of the room and ignore phone calls for a while.

As an aside - one thing you might find useful for your own sake, if it's feasible, is having a few sessions with someone with a speciality in family counselling. Tell them you're not interested in fixing your parents' problems, but you want to learn how to avoid getting pulled into the middle, and how to deal with them most effectively when they're being difficult. A specialist will have seen dozens of situations like this, and know what can work and what doesn't, and what the dynamics are.


cicero

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2013, 02:18:21 AM »

I will say I'm not too surprised at the updates.

It's a pretty common pattern - you've gotten fed up, and are trying to enforce boundaries on behaviour you previously put up with. The person behaving badly 1)  takes this as a challenge - they figure they need to push harder to get what they want and 2) are testing the boundaries to see if you mean it.

Dealing with this can be surprisingly like dealing with a toddler. You need to stand firm, or they'll quickly figure out that you don't really mean what they say. And you need clear, immediate consequences for their bad behaviour, so they learn that if they do X, Y will happen, and then don't want Y to happen.

If your Dad keeps pushing, I do think that blowing up and getting mad might help. Get exasperated, raise your voice, tell him that you're sick and tired of being pulled into the middle of their marriage and you're not going to put up with it. You're not going to listen to his complaints, you're not going to watch him sulk, you're not going to hear his armchair diagnosis of your mother's mental state, you're not going to offer advice on legal or financial issues, and if he doesn't respect that, he won't be talking to you at all. Then stomp out of the room and ignore phone calls for a while.

As an aside - one thing you might find useful for your own sake, if it's feasible, is having a few sessions with someone with a speciality in family counselling. Tell them you're not interested in fixing your parents' problems, but you want to learn how to avoid getting pulled into the middle, and how to deal with them most effectively when they're being difficult. A specialist will have seen dozens of situations like this, and know what can work and what doesn't, and what the dynamics are.
this, a thousand times.

Like you say, it's hard to suddenly see our parents for what/who they are. I think that my siblings and I are dealing with this too - it's not that we never *knew* these things, but suddenly they are becoming more and more inapproriate.

and lots of hugs.

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oopsie

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46
« Reply #55 on: November 29, 2013, 09:34:39 AM »
Thank you to everyone here for your advice, thoughts and support!!

My father called at 7:50am this morning. It began with a brusque, insincere (imo) apology followed by more attempted guilt tripping ("I'm planning on spending Christmas alone").

Long story short, it didn't go especially well and ended with me telling him (in tears) that he was being mean to me. He hung up on me stating that he was too emotional to speak to me any longer.

At this point, I feel like I really need to take a break from this whole stupid thing. When/if my father calls or comes to my house again over the next few weeks, would it be warranted for me to tell him that I can't speak to/see him right now?

Also, although she hasn't done anything wrong since my sister and I had the intervention with my parents, I don't really feel up to seeing/speaking to my mother right now either. The whole situation has left me feeling kind of raw and emotionally battered and I feel like I need time to heal. However, the timing couldn't be worse - my grandmother (my mother's mother) is undergoing surgery for cancer today.

Should I just suck it up given the circumstances or is it okay to say enough is enough? I'm not looking to issue a cut direct, more like a time out.


cwm

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55
« Reply #56 on: November 29, 2013, 09:46:43 AM »
You are perfectly justified in needing a time out. If a parent calls you, don't answer the phone. If they come to the door and you can see who it is, don't answer the door. If you can't see, and you do answer the door, just say "Sorry, I don't have time to talk." Close the door and go about your business.

If you want to be there for your grandmother, that's great. Go with your sister. If your mom (or dad) tries to start something, say "I'm here to support grandma right now. I don't have the time or energy to deal with anything else." The second time, "I'm here for grandma. I will not discuss this." Repeat as necessary.

((((hugs)))) This can't be fun. Focus on you and who you want to right now. Ignore the rest.

AzaleaBloom

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55
« Reply #57 on: November 29, 2013, 09:52:20 AM »
Oopsie - you are well within your rights to call a time out.  You have more than enough on your plate.  You don't need to be an emotional punching bag for your parents' drama.

Even though you didn't ask for them, ***HUGS***

RubyCat

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55
« Reply #58 on: November 29, 2013, 10:17:53 AM »
It's totally understandable that you feel the need for some space right now.

When both my parents were living, they behaved very much like yours. In fact, I used to call them "the poster children showing why some people should divorce."  I didn't have your backbone, though I did the best I could. One of the strategies I used was to back off and take a time out for myself. And therapy (for me) helped too.

I was just thinking the other day how the holiday season brings all the dysfunction to the surface even more than the rest of the year. I hope things turn out well for your grandmother. Huge hugs to you.

JenJay

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Re: Parents should be divorced = awkward Christmas! Update #8, 18, 28, 46, 55
« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2013, 11:02:19 AM »
Best wishes to your grandma!

That guilt trip stuff is so low. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I would text or email him one last time and say something like -

"I never said I don't want to see you or speak to you or have you in my home. I said I don't want to hear anymore bad-mouthing of Mom. The issues between the two of you are YOURS. Sis and I are done listening to it from BOTH of you. Find a more appropriate person to vent to than your children.

So yes, if you have nothing to say to me other than crap about Mom, it looks like we won't be speaking for awhile. That is YOUR choice."