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Author Topic: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)  (Read 8804 times)

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lovestoread

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How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« on: April 14, 2016, 06:29:41 AM »
BG:So, my relationship with my mum is …. Difficult.  She’s very stroppy and wants her own way all the time.  I think the issue really is that my mum still feels we have a parent/child rel@tionship, rather than two adults (I’m 32 and my sister is 39).  Whereby, she feels like she should be able to issue instructions, and hates that we’ll do our own thing or question why we would do things a particular way.  My parents split up acrimoniously 15 years ago, although they are on civil speaking terms now, but we didn’t have any contact with our dad until about 3 years ago, but we get along very well now.
I posted in another thread about guest list issues.  I do not want IgnorantUncle (IU ) and his wife to be invited to my wedding for various reasons.  My mum is FURIOUS about this (she really sees IU as her ally against other siblings, due to other thorny family issues).  So she reacted badly when I told her he wasn’t being invited…. Which was nothing in comparison to how she reacted when I said I would be inviting my father (and his partner, who he’s been with for approx. 6 years)  She was SCREAMING down the phone at me, saying that she’d be humiliated if he was there, no one takes her feelings into account, etc etc.  she finished by hanging up on me saying that she wasn’t coming.  I called back to confirm that was what she actually said and it was.  I was saying nothing through the call, apart from that it wasn’t any of her decision and she was a guest (although she keeps telling my fiancé and I about how this is an extremely big day for her).  (END BG)


Soo… wedding plans have changed, and we’re going away to have a much smaller, scaled back wedding with immediate family (and not my mum).  The last communication with my mum was a message sent a week and a half ago in which I detailed how upset I was that through the entire wedding process so far, she had given no consideration to what my fiancé and I wanted and she only considers herself.   My mum isn’t the type of person who can ‘put a face on’ and make the best of something for a day – she brings a LOT of drama.

Her first response was a message today, saying that she hoped my fiancé and I were having a great holiday (we’re not on holiday) and to call her when we get back so that she and I can have a catch up.

I just need a few phrases to keep my spine shiny.  I think I want to text back and say that I’ll meet her, but I don’t want to discuss any aspect of the wedding with her – do you think this is ok?

Looking at the bigger picture, I would like a rel@tionship with my mother, but I simply don’t want her at the wedding.  When I made the decision to not invite her, a weight lifted off my shoulders.




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Chez Miriam

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 08:33:25 AM »
Huge hugs, lovestoread.

If your mother believes you are away, I would take the time to reflect a bit [and on the other answers that are sure to pour in from wiser eHellions] before responding.  What does your fiance feel about her outburst?

When you do text her, maybe just arrange to meet, and then bean dip about the wedding when you do meet up with her.  I would be concerned that a text *up front* stating that you don't wan't to discuss the wedding could fan the flames of any drama.  When you meet, any questions can be answered with "we've got that covered, how about this pickled-onion cheesecake we're eating, eh?".  I'd also make sure to meet on neutral territory, with an easy "escape route" planned in case she decides on another screaming fit - walking out of a cafe to your own car/a taxi rank is much better than having someone drop you off at her place & returning in three hours time if she lives away from regular transportation!

Good luck with your meeting; I hope she decides to behave like a nicely brought-up adult.

Edited because I know the difference between "you are" and "your are"
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 09:37:18 AM by Chez Miriam »
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buvezdevin

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 08:55:07 AM »
Is the reason for a smaller wedding somewhere else due to your mother's demands as to who you will invite, or primarily other reasons?

Either way, I think that when she brings up the wedding - which seems likely whether you try to take the topic off the table preemptively or not - you could say that since she affirmed her unwillingness to attend, you are now planning a much smaller wedding away.  Then add that since you want to continue a relationship with her, and the wedding discussions have been a cause of tension - you won't further discuss wedding matters with her.
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Moonie

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 08:58:14 AM »
Honestly, I would also pretend I was on holiday.....a holiday from her drama...and not contact her till after the wedding.

Browyn

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 09:20:04 AM »
She's having a tantrum, you need to put her on a timeout until she can learn to behave like a grown up.  I also vote for no contact until after the wedding.

EllenS

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 09:43:59 AM »
I think if you feel like seeing her, a text to say "How about lunch next Tuesday - as long as there's no wedding talk," would be perfectly appropriate - not mean or rude in any way.

Will it work? Possibly not. You'd need to be prepared to redirect the conversation with phrases like "Oh, let's not talk about wedding stuff, how is your [current interest/hobby/work/relationship] going?" or "I don't want to get into all that, I hear the bean dip here is great." And you may need to be prepared to leave if she won't drop it.

It would be perfectly understandable if you don't want to deal with her, and if you don't want to get together until after the wedding to spare yourself stress, that's okay.  But it could be done if you're ready to be quietly assertive in that way.

lovestoread

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 09:51:25 AM »
OP here.

My fiance tends to take a back seat with stuff like this, he hates drama and has recently said that he's tired of playing devil's advocate where my mum is involved, which i can't blame him for.  I just count myself lucky that i'm so close to my sister, she's a great support!

I like the idea of meeting in a neutral location - I have attempted to arrange this previously, the last time there was a falling out, but my mum cancelled at the last minute and refused to rearrange, so I had to go to her house, where, predictably, we  argued again.

We had originally planned to go away to get married (a destination wedding), but I found it a bit overwhelming when i started to look into it, so we looked into a wedding here and starting planning along those lines.  However, due to minimum numbers for packages and things, it was starting to rapidly grow and expand past what we were comfortable with, which includes extra stresses.  The ourburst from my mum highlighted my reluctance to deal with that kind of additional stress, and we've went back to the type of wedding that we originally envisioned, which we're both much happier about. 

The wedding isn't until the end of July, so its quite a time to go.  I quite like the idea of just saying that i won't discuss wedding matters with her as it leads to tension.

In all honestly, i feel like this has been more of a wakeup call for me than anyone else.  When i step back and look at the bigger picture - my mum has been acting consistently, with all the drama etc.  I keep expecting her to act better, but she's never given any indication that she will do so - I think it's a real case of me having to manage my expectations.

Thanks for all of your input so far, I appreciate it very much!!




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GreenBird

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 11:19:07 AM »
OP here.
....
I like the idea of meeting in a neutral location - I have attempted to arrange this previously, the last time there was a falling out, but my mum cancelled at the last minute and refused to rearrange, so I had to go to her house, where, predictably, we  argued again.
......

Just a thought on the above - if your mum again cancels and refuses to rearrange, you don't have to go to her house.  You can just say, "Okay, well, let me know when change your mind." and go on with your day.  Much easier said than done, I know, but just because she digs in her heels doesn't mean you have to do things her way, especially if you know her way is likely to blow up. 

Harriet Jones

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2016, 11:24:17 AM »
OP here.
....
I like the idea of meeting in a neutral location - I have attempted to arrange this previously, the last time there was a falling out, but my mum cancelled at the last minute and refused to rearrange, so I had to go to her house, where, predictably, we  argued again.
......

Just a thought on the above - if your mum again cancels and refuses to rearrange, you don't have to go to her house.  You can just say, "Okay, well, let me know when change your mind." and go on with your day.  Much easier said than done, I know, but just because she digs in her heels doesn't mean you have to do things her way, especially if you know her way is likely to blow up.

This.  Don't feel like you have to jump through all of her hoops.  If you always acquiesce to her demands, you're validating the way she treats you.

jedikaiti

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 02:15:54 PM »
I'm going to POD pretty much everyone.

If/when you do see her, only do so in public (if she cancels, or tries to re-locate, just tell her to contact you when she's ready to reschedule. Do NOT go to her home or invite her to yours - it's public or nothing.)

If/when she tries to discuss the wedding, shut her down and beandip. "That topic is not up for discussion. How's your lunch?" Lather, rinse, repeat, and say nothing else on the matter - and I do mean nothing else. And keep it that way until after the wedding. If there's anyone who is likely to act as her flying monkey with regards to your wedding, don't tell them anything, either.
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auntmeegs

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2016, 02:27:42 PM »
It's your wedding so you can invite or not invite whomever you want.  But I think that having a relationship with your mother after not inviting her to your wedding seems like a pretty unrealistic expectation to me. 

gellchom

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2016, 02:43:38 PM »
Oh, dear.  What a mess.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I actually feel sorry for all of you, in fact, including Mom, no matter how obnoxious she is being.  I especially feel sorry for your fiance's family -- I've been there, and it is kind of sad to have your child's wedding held hostage to the other family's drama.  But it's not a big deal, and certainly very small potatoes compared to your concerns

You are asking both about the wedding and about how to manage your relationship with your mom. 

As for the wedding, if ever there were a time for a private (destination or not) wedding, it sounds like this is it.  Just too many guest issues.  Have a party later if you like.  Or maybe your dad will give one, or your fiance's parents.

Your mother goes to extremes and makes communication just impossible.  I can't help but notice that a little bit of that all-or-nothing thinking seems to creep into your posts, too, although without the drama she lards on.

Quote
I think the issue really is that my mum still feels we have a parent/child rel@tionship, rather than two adults

Well ... aren't they both true?  Both with my relationship with my mother and my relationship with my adult children, I feel like we are all adults but still have parent/child relationships.  I think that all of us, as well as my husband and my brother, feel the same way.  Where it feels like it can only be one or the other, step back and see if what it's really about is a battle over control that both of you feel you must win, rather than being on the same team. 

And this:

Quote
I was saying ... it wasn’t any of her decision and she was a guest ... she keeps telling my fiancé and I about how this is an extremely big day for her.

I'm definitely not equating your words and behavior to hers!  No way.  I don't think you have been wrong, but I do think there is a way you can be more effective.  My point is only this: if you turn it into a zero-sum battle, you will both lose (and so will everyone else in the family)-- no matter who is right.

In the second quoted passage, she is saying that this day is important for her, as the mother of the bride.  You are saying she is just a guest.  She is totally wrong to make the whole wedding about her and her feelings.  But she isn't wrong to feel like her feelings should matter somewhat, too, and that she isn't just an ordinary guest.  (Wouldn't you feel kind of bad if your own mother didn't think of your wedding as an important event in her life and care more about it than the wedding of some acquaintance?) 

Similarly, she is wrong to try to dictate the guest list.  But there is a whole world of space between that and not caring at all.  Most parents would want to have some input about whether one of their siblings were not to be invited -- not veto power, but I think it's understandable that it would matter to her and she'd want to avoid humiliation and hurt for them.  You don't have to do what she asks, but it's wise to listen and let her know you hear and care about her concerns -- maybe even find some other way to assuage them.  Same about your father, as tough as that one is.  You definitely get to include him if you want, no matter how she feels about it.  But don't brush off her feelings entirely as if she had no right to have them.  At least acknowledge that you understand how it could be hard for her.

Do you see how these arguments you're having have taken the shape of really polarized, all-or-nothing entrenchments?  The issues are indeed real, and you are not wrong in your positions on them, but framing them like this is getting you nowhere fast.  Maybe you can try to find the sweet spot in there in the middle: let her know that she isn't just any old guest, but in the end, it's your wedding, so you get to make the decisions -- but you do understand and care that those decisions can affect her, you regret it, and try to do something to help her feel better, whether that means small compromises, modifications, or compensations, or even just not changing a thing but acknowledging her feelings.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 04:03:47 PM by gellchom »

auntmeegs

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 02:54:44 PM »
Oh, dear.  What a mess.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I actually feel sorry for all of you, in fact, including Mom, no matter how obnoxious she is being.  I especially feel sorry for your fiance's family -- I've been there, and it is kind of sad to have your child's wedding held hostage to the other family's drama.  But it's not a big deal, and certainly very small potatoes compared to your concerns

You are asking both about the wedding and about how to manage your relationship with your mom. 

As for the wedding, if ever there were a time for a private (destination or not) wedding, it sounds like this is it.  Just too many guest issues.  Have a party later if you like.  Or maybe your dad will give one, or your fiance's parents.

Your mother goes to extremes and makes communication just impossible.  I can't help but notice that a little bit of that all-or-nothing thinking seems to creep into your posts, too, although without the drama she lards on.

Quote
I think the issue really is that my mum still feels we have a parent/child rel@tionship, rather than two adults

Well ... aren't they both true?  Both with my relationship with my mother and my relationship with my adult children, I feel like we are all adults but still have parent/child relationships.  I think that all of us, as well as my husband and my brother, feel the same way.  Where it feels like it can only be one or the other, step back and see if what it's really about is a battle over control that both of you feel you must win, rather than being on the same team. 

And this:

Quote
I was saying ... it wasn’t any of her decision and she was a guest ... she keeps telling my fiancé and I about how this is an extremely big day for her.

I'm definitely not equating your words and behavior to hers!  No way.  I don't think you have been wrong, but I do think there is a way you can be more effective.  My point is only this: if you turn it into a zero-sum battle, you will both lose (and so will everyone else in the family). 

In the second quoted passage, she is saying that this day is important for her, as the mother of the bride.  You are saying she is just a guest.  She is totally wrong to make the whole wedding about her and her feelings.  But she isn't wrong to feel like her feelings should matter somewhat, too, and that she isn't just an ordinary guest.  (Wouldn't you feel kind of bad if your own mother didn't think of your wedding as an important event in her life and care more about it than the wedding of some acquaintance?) 

Similarly, she is wrong to try to dictate the guest list.  But there is a whole world of space between that and not caring at all.  Most parents would want to have some input about whether one of their siblings were not to be invited -- not veto power, but I think it's understandable that it would matter to her and she'd want to avoid humiliation and hurt for them.  You don't have to do what she asks, but it's wise to listen and let her know you hear and care about her concerns -- maybe even find some other way to assuage them.  Same about your father, as tough as that one is.  You definitely get to include him if you want, no matter how she feels about it.  But don't brush off her feelings entirely as if she had no right to have them.  At least acknowledge that you understand how it could be hard for her.

Do you see how these arguments you're having have taken the shape of really polarized, all-or-nothing entrenchments?  The issues are indeed real, and you are not wrong in your positions on them, but framing them like this is getting you nowhere fast.  Maybe you can try to find the sweet spot in there in the middle: let her know that she isn't just any old guest, but in the end, it's your wedding, so you get to make the decisions -- but you do understand and care that those decisions can affect her, you regret it, and try to do something to help her feel better, whether that means small compromises, modifications, or compensations, or even just not changing a thing but acknowledging her feelings.

POD to this entire post

lakey

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2016, 04:00:34 PM »
I think it would be very sad to get married and not invite your mom. However, the OP knows her mother's past behavior. If there is a good chance that her mom will ruin her day, then she is reasonable to not invite mom. It may seriously damage her relationship, but there are people out  there who just won't stop behaving unreasonably. Caving in to them only makes them worse. If her mother is like this, then it would be best to not discuss the wedding at all. Previous comments about meeting mom at a restaurant, and leaving if she causes trouble are good.

greencat

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 04:39:55 PM »
My mother has another daughter and didn't tell me?  Hi sis!  Since my mother isn't speaking to my father or any of her own siblings (my father still has a good relationship with them), I'm not imagining any situation where my own is going to be a drama-free attendee of any major life event.  On the other hand, not inviting her to your wedding is going to create a long-lasting rift, despite her telling you that she won't attend it. 

I was able to deal with my mom by not letting it bother me when she got upset and tried to guilt trip me.  She "disowned" me one time when I pushed back against her boundary-trampling.  I had found eHell and read how other people had dealt with issues like that already, so I just said, "okay Mom.  I'll talk to you later." and ended the call.  She lasted two weeks.    8)  The result of it was that I kept my boundary up, and I found that I liked the peace and quiet of not talking to her very frequently.