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Author Topic: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)  (Read 8828 times)

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lmyrs

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2016, 04:45:04 PM »
It is sad not to invite your mother to your wedding. I think it's even sadder when a mother refuses to attend her own daughter's wedding because the daughter has the gall to invite her own father. Any mother that says it's him or me about any guest, much less the bride's own father doesn't deserve a chance to have her "opinions" heard at her choosing.


LifeOnPluto

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2016, 09:55:57 PM »
I agree that if you don't invite your mum to your wedding, the chances of you having a good relation-ship with her afterwards are probably nil.

Personally, I think that not inviting a parent to your wedding should only be done in exceptional circumstances. Obviously if you believe your mother will completely ruin your big day, you shouldn't invite her. But otherwise, I'd err on the side of including her. I'd tell her "Mum, we're scaling back the wedding. Only immediate family and their partners will be invited. I'd like you to be there, but please know that I will also be inviting Dad and his partner. If you decide not to attend on that basis, I'll be sad, but will understand." 

jedikaiti

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2016, 01:14:22 AM »
Honestly, based on OP's comment that she felt like a weight had been removed when she decided not to invite her Mom, I think it's very much the right call. At this point, her mother's behavior has been so outrageous that even if she behaved herself the day of (which seems unlikely), OP's big day would be ruined by the stress of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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sammycat

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 01:53:25 AM »
Honestly, based on OP's comment that she felt like a weight had been removed when she decided not to invite her Mom, I think it's very much the right call. At this point, her mother's behavior has been so outrageous that even if she behaved herself the day of (which seems unlikely), OP's big day would be ruined by the stress of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I have to agree with this.

Not quite the same, but my ex-SIL didn't attend her daughter's 21st party (21st's are a big deal here; second only to weddings for a lot of people). Long story short, it also involved a mother giving an ultimatum over her ex husband and his partner being invited/attending.

I can't remember all the details now, and thankfully SIL isn't anywhere near as bad as the mother in the OP,  but Niece and her mother have repaired their relation.ship, so the OP not inviting her mother to the wedding isn't necessarily a permanent death knell in their relation.ship. In fact, I would say that Niece and her mother get on even better now, probably because Niece drew a line in the sand, so SIL knows that boundaries can and will be enforced. 

I myself did not attend my sister's wedding (for an entirely different reason, but it was something I felt very strongly about), but in the following years we reconnected and our relation.ship became even stronger than it was beforehand. Again, I think it's due to the other party knowing a boundary can and will be enforced if things reach a certain point.

Reconciling later may or may not be the case for OP and her mum, but if OP feels that her day will be better without her mother present, then that is a very valid stance to take.

rose red

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2016, 08:23:49 AM »
Honestly, based on OP's comment that she felt like a weight had been removed when she decided not to invite her Mom, I think it's very much the right call. At this point, her mother's behavior has been so outrageous that even if she behaved herself the day of (which seems unlikely), OP's big day would be ruined by the stress of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I agree. I wouldn't want to invite her either. However, it's not the wedding she needs to worry about, but what happens after. The OP states she still want a relationship with her mother and she needs to prepare herself that it may not continue (at least not the way she wants). I doubt her mother will accept her decision gracefully and politely. The OP needs to steel herself for that.

lovestoread

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2016, 09:57:42 AM »
Op here again - thank you all so much for your comments... i have plenty to mull over and its very much appreciated that you've all taken the time to express your views (i love this forum!)

The whole situation, to me, is the latest in a long pattern of my mum trampling my boundaries.  When we lived together (and i paid rent) I had no real privacy - I knew for a fact that she riffled through my room when I was out at work.  When I said about a parent/child rela.tionship, its more that my mum expects to dictate what will happen, and we should just automatically fall into line, without daring to venture our own opinions or anything.

Part of the issue is that I just can't trust my mum to behave on the day.  There would be plenty of dramatic eyerolls, huffs, snorts, and supposedly under-her-breath mutterings - and that's if she DOESN'T blow up about anything else.  She's very passive aggressive, and frankly, i just don't want to deal with that on the day.  If we were having a bigger wedding, it would fade into the background a bit, but in a much smaller group, it would be VERY apparant.  I don't want to deal with it, and I don't think anyone else should have to either.  It's going to be a fairly bittersweet day anyway, as my fiance's dad passed away a year and a half ago, and we'll be feeling his absence keenly, especially my fiance.

I'm just done, basically.  This has just happened to be the trigger and its a shame that its occurred at my wedding, but I've had to sit down and have a think about the actual kind of day my fiance and I want to have.  This is the one day where I feel totally justified in putting our wishes above all else and to not have to consider other people's wishes to the extent that we usually do.  I know in myself that i'm a bit of a people pleaser and i've started drawing my boundaries more firmly in regards to that.

Don't get me wrong - i do feel harsh not inviting my mum to my wedding... but more about the theory of it than the practice, if that makes sense?  I haven't had a wobble of indecision since finally admitting to myself that I would have a better day without my mum present.

The best way I can describe my mum is like an emotional vampire.  I think she's had some hard knocks in life and i've deeply sympathised - but it's never enough for her, she always wants MORE sympathy and MORE consideration.  And I feel its time for me to draw my boundary and stick with it.  I'm hoping we can weather this and come out on the other side with a stronger, healthier relationship, but I am prepared for that not to happen as well.

Thank you all again for sticking with this and sharing your thoughtful, wise replies, it's very helpful and it really aids me in considering what I want to achieve and the best, most tactful way to approach these kinds of situations.




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gellchom

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2016, 10:07:28 AM »
Honestly, based on OP's comment that she felt like a weight had been removed when she decided not to invite her Mom, I think it's very much the right call. At this point, her mother's behavior has been so outrageous that even if she behaved herself the day of (which seems unlikely), OP's big day would be ruined by the stress of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I agree. I wouldn't want to invite her either. However, it's not the wedding she needs to worry about, but what happens after. The OP states she still want a relationship with her mother and she needs to prepare herself that it may not continue (at least not the way she wants). I doubt her mother will accept her decision gracefully and politely. The OP needs to steel herself for that.

That's a very wise post. 

Weddings loom so large, we often tend to view them -- and decisions about them -- in a vacuum.  But that's not how life works. In fact, if anything, it seems to be the opposite: feelings about weddings reverberate through relationships longer than most other things do.  And, importantly, not just between the main players.  These things affect a whole network of relationships.

Even if it were just about the wedding itself, I'm afraid that the OP is seeing not inviting her mom as a way to prevent the problems with her mom from affecting her wedding day.  Unfortunately, I don't think it will -- it will just change the way in which it does, and maybe even magnify it. The absence of a parent is sure to draw a great deal of focus. I know the OP doesn't want that to be the main thing people are thinking abou during and remembering from her wedding.

That's why to me the best course in the OP's case seems to be a private wedding (and this is coming from one for whom weddings are definitely family events.) I can sure see not including Mom.  But I think in the long run the OP will be happier if she does that by not inviting any parents at all. Which will probably only work out okay if there aren't any guests -- maybe just a pair of dear friends as witnesses, or maybe even easier yet a private, just the two of you romantic destination wedding.  Parents will still be disappointed, but it's a whole lot better than the pain of the only one excluded and the consequent awkwardness for those who are invited.  (If I were the groom's mom, I'd feel uncomfortable.)

Then have your fabulous reception at home with the original guest list.  Invite or don't invite Mom -- either way, it's just nowhere near as big a deal, either for her to be excluded or, if you decide to invite her, if she is dramatic or anything.  Still unpleasant but not on your wedding day.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 10:17:18 AM by gellchom »

mime

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2016, 11:02:34 AM »
respectfully snipping (and bolding)...

Don't get me wrong - i do feel harsh not inviting my mum to my wedding... but more about the theory of it than the practice, if that makes sense?  I haven't had a wobble of indecision since finally admitting to myself that I would have a better day without my mum present.
and the best, most tactful way to approach these kinds of situations.

This makes so. much. sense. You feel harsh because, you know, who on earth doesn't invite their own mom to their wedding? When we think of these happy occasions, everyone is hugging and smiling and relationships are perfect and the only thing to worry about is that the flowers were delivered with blue ribbons instead of grey, and crazy old Aunt Martha tucked 3 pieces of wedding cake and a dinner roll into her purse for later.

It feels harsh *in theory* because *in theory* the mom-daughter relationship is healthy, and the wedding day is a highlight in life for both of you. It feels better *in practice* because *in practice* all of that stuff is not happening. The things to worry about are what bomb your mom is going to drop on the day that will overshadow your vows and forever be a part of the memories of your wedding.

There are definitely pros and cons to either choice, and both long-term and short-term. I do like gellchom's suggestion of a very private wedding day with a reception later that your mom can attend. You could have someone catch the actual ceremony on video and have it playing for the reception guests, or even cast the ceremony live, so they can remotely be part of it. ...and keep your mom on mute.  ;)



lmyrs

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2016, 11:35:37 AM »
gellchom, I understand your point of view, but I feel the need to vehemently disagree with it.

The OP's mother threw a fit because the OP said that her father would be invited to her wedding. Her own father! The idea that she would have to share space with the bride's other parent caused the mother to state that she would not attend the wedding. The mother herself drew the line in the sand that it was either him or her. The mother forced this decision upon the OP and the OP made it. Now, we should tell the OP to go back on it? When mother reiterates that she won't attend if dad is there, then what? Or worse, mother does attend and throws a fit at the wedding?

The OP's and her fiance's well-behaved parents should not be held hostage to the whims of this child dressed up in MoB clothes. Saying that none of the parents should be invited because one is going to cause a problem is no different than punishing the whole class because one won't sit down and listen. It's not fair, it's not reasonable, and I would never advocate it.

HannahGrace

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2016, 11:39:28 AM »
gellchom, I understand your point of view, but I feel the need to vehemently disagree with it.

The OP's mother threw a fit because the OP said that her father would be invited to her wedding. Her own father! The idea that she would have to share space with the bride's other parent caused the mother to state that she would not attend the wedding. The mother herself drew the line in the sand that it was either him or her. The mother forced this decision upon the OP and the OP made it. Now, we should tell the OP to go back on it? When mother reiterates that she won't attend if dad is there, then what? Or worse, mother does attend and throws a fit at the wedding?

The OP's and her fiance's well-behaved parents should not be held hostage to the whims of this child dressed up in MoB clothes. Saying that none of the parents should be invited because one is going to cause a problem is no different than punishing the whole class because one won't sit down and listen. It's not fair, it's not reasonable, and I would never advocate it.

I agree with this completely.  OP, I am glad you have made a choice that gives you a sense of relief.  That tells you that you are doing the right thing.

scarlett

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2016, 12:05:41 PM »
Very timely! We are going through this same scenario for SD's wedding in June. SD's mother was not invited to SS's wedding last year and it was definitely the right move for them. The couple weren't stressed out and the family wasn't on pins and needles waiting for an outburst. SD wants her mother to help with decorations and asked my opinion (we are close) I told her, "of course you want your mother to be at your wedding; but do you really want to re-open this can of worms?" She has been estranged from her kids for over 2 years due to the fact the they chose to not kick their father out of their lives when she wanted them to. It was a Him or Me proposition and they chose to stay close to us- so she cut them off. Seems to be a common issue! :-\

SD did admit the last two years have been the happiest in a long time due to lack of drama and emotional manipulation. They are meeting for the first time in 2 years next week and we'll see how it goes.

Just because someone gave birth to you doesn't entitle them to the honor of being called, "mother" and being involved in your adult children's lives.

There will be 2 mother's and 2 step mothers at this wedding and I am bowing out of the competition to act as wedding coordinator

SamiHami

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2016, 12:21:34 PM »
gellchom, I understand your point of view, but I feel the need to vehemently disagree with it.

The OP's mother threw a fit because the OP said that her father would be invited to her wedding. Her own father! The idea that she would have to share space with the bride's other parent caused the mother to state that she would not attend the wedding. The mother herself drew the line in the sand that it was either him or her. The mother forced this decision upon the OP and the OP made it. Now, we should tell the OP to go back on it? When mother reiterates that she won't attend if dad is there, then what? Or worse, mother does attend and throws a fit at the wedding?

The OP's and her fiance's well-behaved parents should not be held hostage to the whims of this child dressed up in MoB clothes. Saying that none of the parents should be invited because one is going to cause a problem is no different than punishing the whole class because one won't sit down and listen. It's not fair, it's not reasonable, and I would never advocate it.

I have to agree with this. I also get Gellchom's reasoning, but disagree with her conclusion. It's not a matter of trying to prevent later relation-ship issues with Mom; those issues are already clearly there and will continue to be there regardless of how the wedding goes. This is an issue of picking your battles. I think that ones own wedding is a hill to die on. The mother knows that she is unreasonable to expect OP to exclude her own father from the wedding. The mother is the one that issued the it's-your-father-or me ultimatum. That was her own decision. That shouldn't translate into all parents being excluded. Future accusations about being excluded from the wedding can be met with a simple, "I didn't exclude you, Mom. I wanted you there, but you refused to come because you didn't want me to invite my own father, and that wasn't reasonable. Your absence was your choice, not mine."

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mandycorn

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2016, 12:26:59 PM »
I support OP's decision to not invite her mother, especially based on the sense of relief she's feeling now, and I don't think that means they need to forego inviting other guests, if she's willing to accept the relationship consequences of not inviting her mother to her wedding (and it sounds like she is).

I did want to point out the other side of the relationship consequences coin, though: there are also consequences for their relationship if OP invites her mother and her mother causes a big scene, and I suspect the end result of that will be very similar - it will also change the nature of their relationship (not for the better). So by forcing the issue earlier by not inviting mom, OP protects the rest of her guests from experiencing a mom-storm, and the end outcome is similar.
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gellchom

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2016, 12:28:59 PM »
gellchom, I understand your point of view, but I feel the need to vehemently disagree with it.

The OP's mother threw a fit because the OP said that her father would be invited to her wedding. Her own father! The idea that she would have to share space with the bride's other parent caused the mother to state that she would not attend the wedding. The mother herself drew the line in the sand that it was either him or her. The mother forced this decision upon the OP and the OP made it. Now, we should tell the OP to go back on it? When mother reiterates that she won't attend if dad is there, then what? Or worse, mother does attend and throws a fit at the wedding?

The OP's and her fiance's well-behaved parents should not be held hostage to the whims of this child dressed up in MoB clothes. Saying that none of the parents should be invited because one is going to cause a problem is no different than punishing the whole class because one won't sit down and listen. It's not fair, it's not reasonable, and I would never advocate it.

I don't disagree, in terms of who is wrong and who is innocent.  But that was exactly my point -- I think it works much better to think these things through in terms of how it is actually all going to play out, not in terms of who is right and who is wrong

Whatever any of the parents deserve, good or bad, my focus was on how the OP herself was going to feel.  Just as mime points out that our theories of how things should be between mothers and daughters are based on happy situations that may not match ours, my concern is that the OP may similarly be basing her vision on how she will feel if there is a big wedding but Mom is not invited may be based on a likewise unrealistic vision of how that will all play out.  Maybe she will indeed be able to forget all about it and there will be no distraction for anyone or second guessing, no emotional spotlight on the empty space.  That's very possible -- it seems to be what happened in scarlett's SD's family last year at her brother's wedding, so good!  But every situation and every family is different.  Only the OP, perhaps in concert with selected relatives with experience and good judgment, can really predict about her own situation.

I completely agree, though - I wouldn't have a wedding with guests and not invite any of the parents just to keep Mom away.  I recommended a private ceremony with no guests and then a reception later with all the guests the OP wants, Mom or no Mom.  This takes the issue away from her memories of her wedding day.

It's not a question of punishing the whole group for the bad behavior of one.  That gets right back to focusing on who is right and who is wrong, who deserves what, and so on -- and that rarely leads to good decisions.  It's just a question of planning what is going to work for your group -- not based on who is right or wrong, who deserves what, what in theory should happen, and, importantly, not looking at the wedding in a vacuum.  Like a family with 4 children of varying ages, say 4, 9, 12, and 13, deciding where to go on a family outing with Grandma, who is in a wheelchair.  The 15 year old may feel "punished" for being older if the choice is a petting zoo instead of a Shakespeare matinee, the 9 year old may feel "punished" if the amusement park is out because Grandma can't participate, and so forth.  But of course no one is being punished; it's just what is going to work for the family this time.  The parents may well really, really want to go to that matinee, but still decide it just isn't in the cards this time, no matter how much they deserve a treat.

I am not equating being little or in a wheelchair to Mom's behavior!  Of course not.  My point is only that the innocence or guilt involved in the factors can't be the only consideration.  Even when no one is to blame for anything, sometimes you just have to make your plans the way they will work best.  So even when someone is to blame, that doesn't really change your challenge.  Indeed, it can become a distraction.

So as always I think the best way to decide is to think through each possible choice, all the way through the wedding and beyond, setting aside theories and questions of right, wrong, fault, entitlement, and blame, and ask yourself how each will likely play out and how you will feel about it.

SamiHami

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Re: How to deal with my mother (Long,sorry!)
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2016, 02:19:44 PM »
gellchom, I understand your point of view, but I feel the need to vehemently disagree with it.

The OP's mother threw a fit because the OP said that her father would be invited to her wedding. Her own father! The idea that she would have to share space with the bride's other parent caused the mother to state that she would not attend the wedding. The mother herself drew the line in the sand that it was either him or her. The mother forced this decision upon the OP and the OP made it. Now, we should tell the OP to go back on it? When mother reiterates that she won't attend if dad is there, then what? Or worse, mother does attend and throws a fit at the wedding?

The OP's and her fiance's well-behaved parents should not be held hostage to the whims of this child dressed up in MoB clothes. Saying that none of the parents should be invited because one is going to cause a problem is no different than punishing the whole class because one won't sit down and listen. It's not fair, it's not reasonable, and I would never advocate it.

I don't disagree, in terms of who is wrong and who is innocent.  But that was exactly my point -- I think it works much better to think these things through in terms of how it is actually all going to play out, not in terms of who is right and who is wrong

Whatever any of the parents deserve, good or bad, my focus was on how the OP herself was going to feel.  Just as mime points out that our theories of how things should be between mothers and daughters are based on happy situations that may not match ours, my concern is that the OP may similarly be basing her vision on how she will feel if there is a big wedding but Mom is not invited may be based on a likewise unrealistic vision of how that will all play out.  Maybe she will indeed be able to forget all about it and there will be no distraction for anyone or second guessing, no emotional spotlight on the empty space.  That's very possible -- it seems to be what happened in scarlett's SD's family last year at her brother's wedding, so good!  But every situation and every family is different.  Only the OP, perhaps in concert with selected relatives with experience and good judgment, can really predict about her own situation.

I completely agree, though - I wouldn't have a wedding with guests and not invite any of the parents just to keep Mom away.  I recommended a private ceremony with no guests and then a reception later with all the guests the OP wants, Mom or no Mom.  This takes the issue away from her memories of her wedding day.

It's not a question of punishing the whole group for the bad behavior of one.  That gets right back to focusing on who is right and who is wrong, who deserves what, and so on -- and that rarely leads to good decisions.  It's just a question of planning what is going to work for your group -- not based on who is right or wrong, who deserves what, what in theory should happen, and, importantly, not looking at the wedding in a vacuum.  Like a family with 4 children of varying ages, say 4, 9, 12, and 13, deciding where to go on a family outing with Grandma, who is in a wheelchair.  The 15 year old may feel "punished" for being older if the choice is a petting zoo instead of a Shakespeare matinee, the 9 year old may feel "punished" if the amusement park is out because Grandma can't participate, and so forth.  But of course no one is being punished; it's just what is going to work for the family this time.  The parents may well really, really want to go to that matinee, but still decide it just isn't in the cards this time, no matter how much they deserve a treat.

I am not equating being little or in a wheelchair to Mom's behavior!  Of course not.  My point is only that the innocence or guilt involved in the factors can't be the only consideration.  Even when no one is to blame for anything, sometimes you just have to make your plans the way they will work best.  So even when someone is to blame, that doesn't really change your challenge.  Indeed, it can become a distraction.

So as always I think the best way to decide is to think through each possible choice, all the way through the wedding and beyond, setting aside theories and questions of right, wrong, fault, entitlement, and blame, and ask yourself how each will likely play out and how you will feel about it.

I get what you're saying, but it's not only the OP's wedding. It's her fiance's wedding as well and it may be (and probably is) important to him to have his parents present. I don't think it would be reasonable to even ask her fiance to exclude them for a reason like this. Yes, she may look back on her wedding day with a tinge of sadness that her mother isn't there, but I don't think also making her fiance, her new IL's and her father also sad is the way to go.

It seems to me that this mother is very manipulative and is likely stirring up all of this as a means of asserting control. I have my doubts that she really cares much about her ex husband being present; I suspect it's more about trying to make the OP bend to her will. (Please correct me if I am wrong, OP). If I am correct, then I think excluding the other parents is very much the wrong way to go because that would tell OP's mother that she really does have the ability to control OP and could actually make things worse.

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