• March 22, 2018, 12:59:39 PM

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Author Topic: “We are always late, but no one should mind…” “I do mind” (really long)  (Read 15894 times)

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I get that you want to spend tons of time with your mom, but it may be that they are using this to bully everyone else, especially because your OP stated that she told you she'd consider it a slight to her if you didn't meet them at their house before going to the restaurant.

How did I miss that? That right there is where I would have been all "Uh whut." I seriously do not understand HOW that could be a slight, and I would politely and firmly press for an explanation. A sensible one.
Words mean things.


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Could you perhaps eat when/where you want and join them at their restaurant for drinks/dessert if it is convenient.

POD. This might look like less of an affront to them than BYO.

Adding my POD -- I think you breaking out with your own food would be as welcome an action as you getting up to leave when M&S showed no indication of heading to the restaurant any time soon.  I think if you just make sure to eat before you get there, then you can still see them without having to get irritated yet again about the delay in having dinner.  If they get upset about you eating dinner before you get there, you could ask them why does it matter since they want to eat late and isn't it more important to be able to spend time together, whether or not you actually eat a meal with them?  If they truly care that you eat with them, then they need to make an actual effort to compromise; otherwise, you just continue to eat dinner before you arrive.

Also, I don't understand the part about making everyone wait to order food, thus making dinner even later.  I agree with other posters; if they don't want to order meals, then why shouldn't you and your siblings be able to order appetizers.

Anyway, I think the problem might be solved (for you eating in a timely fashion) if you just eat before you get there.  You can't change their behavior, but you can change how you react to their consistent inconsideration.

Diane AKA Traska

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Oh dear.  I have to say, having read the update... okay, I'm going to add a disclaimer NOW, that what I'm saying is at the very least uncharitable, but this is based off of my gut instinct.

She's using her illness for sympathy, and playing off of your guilt/near-grief.  That's so not good it isn't funny.
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And while it's great that S was there for your mom, if they were married, imo, that falls under "things life partners do for each other", and isn't really something for which he should receive tons of praise. I get that you want to spend tons of time with your mom, but it may be that they are using this to bully everyone else, especially because your OP stated that she told you she'd consider it a slight to her if you didn't meet them at their house before going to the restaurant. If honestly sounds like a power struggle. This. A pointless one (not that they're ever really non-pointless, but still.)

You are correct in that we've all got a limited time to interact with loved ones, but be honest do you want to remember times with your mom where you felt like your needs didn't matter more than S&M's wants? Also, this.

I think your siblings should express their feelings as one unit. It sounds like your mom can levy a guilt trip more than your siblings can. Also, if it's made clear (and followed through on) that last-millisecond restaurant changes and lack of concern for the needs of others will no longer be accepted and given in to, things will change or you will go to a lot of cocktail times at their house, but few dinners out.

Out of curiosity, does S try to control the conversation/be the center of attention? Because from your posts, it sounds like he likes the spotlight on him. (You're focusing more on him when he's holding everyone up than when he isn't). Either way, he seems childish, and your mother is enabling him to control social situations.

Okay, I've rambled enough. Bedtime.

Not to be harsh,  but your mom could very well play the subtle 'I could die any time' card for the next 20 years. Your sibs have young kids--so, she's probably in her 60s or 70s? No reason why she shouldn't live for 20 more years. Even if she's 85, another 10 years is possible. Do you really want to let her and stepdad run the show at you kids' expense for that long? No matter how glad you are she made it, after a few more years of this inconsideration you'll start to resent them. Guaranteed.

And the idea that you all having a discussion about how you don't like being jerked around to someone else's tune is 'emotional blackmail' is, in itself, emotional blackmail. Manipulative. I'd find it way too annoying to deal with. But then I'm old and cranky.  ;) I long ago ran out of patience for those sort of games. If I consistently found myself having acid reflux all night after 10pm dinners, I'd just be showing up at their house w/ a granola bar in hand. Then maybe have a salad if dinner ever is actually ordered.  ::) And if anyone gave me grief about it we'd be having, as they say, a spirited exchange of ideas on the matter.

Also Traska was much more succinct. So Pod.


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I think you do have to accept that if you want anything to change at all, you will likely cause offense or hurt feelings.

The way things are now, your mother and stepfather make the plans for dinner. They ignore your reasonable requests to eat before eight. They have no problem with telling you that dinner is at 7, having you show up at 6, and having no intention of eating  before nine. They will change plans at the last minute without consulting anyone, and announce it on the drive to the restaurant. They regularly show up late. They insist that you come to their house to socialize before going out to dinner, and get offended if you don't. And everyone goes along with this without question or complaint.

Basically, they've got everything arranged so they get exactly what they want, when they want, and don't have to answer to or consider anyone.  So there's no reason for them to want to change.

So you personally have to decide how far you are willing to go to challenge this, and how much you can put up with.

In my case, I think I'd start challenging gently and slightly passive aggressively, rather than full out rebellion.  Have prior commitments that mean that you have to go to the restaurant, or an early morning meeting that means you have to leave by 10pm. That introduces them to the fact that you're not always going to dance to their tune.

And you can play the health card.  Eat before you go, and tell them, calmly but directly, that if you eat after 8pm you get horrible heartburn, and you know they never eat before nine, so it's easier if you eat ahead of time.


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Dear OP,
I actually understand what you're getting at about eating by 8. Although I don't have any doctor's orders or official medical reasons, I always eat by 7 because of digestion issues. I never take anything other than water after 8.30pm. Also, if you eat after 8.30pm, you are more prone to putting on weight.

The way I see it, it is time for you to make it clear that your eating schedule will not change for their plans. You can do it in a number of ways. Your sandwich and apple in the bag is one. I would think that you can eat your own dinner first, and when they eventually get to the restaurant, just order drinks and a salad or more drinks while they eat. While it may be rude to some people to not be eating when they are, it is important for you to state clearly that you can no longer eat something heavy after a 8.30pm because you have been experiencing some digestion/gastric issues. If they want further elaboration, you should beandip ("it's not an appropriate topic for the dinner table", or "I am uncomfortable with discussing my physical discomforts") and tell them to enjoy your meal. You can also tell them how much you enjoy their company and would love to be there with them for dinner even if you're only going to have something small.


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I think you have to train them again, like other posters have said.  For the next invitation, I would remind them again about eating before 8.  If they won't do it, politely decline the invitation.  "Oh, go on without me.  I couldn't inconvenience you." blah blah.  If they say they will eat before 8, start the questions/verifications: "What time will we leave your house?"  "And are you planning to have a drink before?  Because then we should plan to leave 1/2 hour earlier so you have plenty of time for the drink."  "Will we order right away?"  etc.  Confirm the answers to all of the questions: "Oh, so we'll leave your house by 7:00?  Like, we'll be in the car then?"  And if at any time, they get upset with the questioning, then you bring up the 'Well, last time...' comments.  'Well, last time we were so delayed leaving the house that we didn't even get to the restaurant until 8:00.  I just want to make sure that won't happen again.'

And have your backup plan ready.  First of all, NEVER ride with them.  If they don't leave the house at the appointed time, then give them a little reminder that you need to leave.  If they don't keep to the schedule and start being p/a and delaying things, say it's been great, but the delay just won't work for you tonight.  But you hope they have a wonderful time, thanks for inviting you and you hope you can get together soon. 

Yes, you may make them mad.  Tough.  You have needs too.  And if she gets mad, then you just reiterate that you were told X and when X wasn't happening, it didn't work for you anymore.  People on this forum always say that if you accept an invite and then the plans change, you are allowed to then change your response to decline it if you wish, because the invitation you accepted isn't happening anymore.  This would be the same situation.  You accepted an invitation for a dinner to be eaten before 8 p.m.  They changed it without informing you.  Therefore you have every right to decline the new invitation. 

And I get that you're glad your mother is around, but really, any single one of us could die a tragic death tomorrow, or could have escaped death today and we just didn't know it.  So the fact that she's here now is wonderful, but it's not a pass to continually get your own way at the expense of someone else's medical need.  And really?  It's freaking DINNER!  And you're her DAUGHTER!  If she wants to eat with you, then she can just make sure they eat early.  And 9:00?  Geez, that's bedtime for a lot of people, not dinnertime!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 11:36:11 PM by Goog »


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The way things are now, your mother and stepfather make the plans for dinner. They ignore your reasonable requests to eat before eight. They have no problem with telling you that dinner is at 7, having you show up at 6, and having no intention of eating  before nine.

This, yes. Which means they're lying to you every time they make plans. They wouldn't see it that way - "they" never do - and phrasing it that way when talking to them wouldn't help at all. But it might help to keep it in mind when you're dealing with them. You have every right to be treated better than this.


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I would start meeting them at the restaurant and ordering your food in a timely matter regardless of what they do.  Being that late for a reservation is horrifically rude for the waitstaff.  Had you all been on time they may have been able to turn the table.


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I know I'm reaching here, but what is it going to be like when/if you and your brother have kids? Will they make the children wait to eat?  If they don't realize how rude and disrespectful they are now, they will never change.

I'd have another talk with your mom.  I'd tell her that your "eat by 8 rule" is not just some random rule you made up, it's a rule you have adopted because of health issues (acid reflux is no joke, I have it and I know the eat-by rule well!) and your work schedule.  Tell her it's hurtful to you when she and SF ignore the plan and delay meals and meetings because it wrecks your routine, which is not as flexible as theirs.  Ask her to please reconsider their behavior. I'd even try to muster up the courage to say something about how you feel this has become a power-play issue where SF feels he is the "alpha" and always has to have his way, but you see the family as equals and we should be caring and considerate of eachothers needs.  Right now, you have a need that is continually being ignored, deliberately, and you find that very painful to have your needs disregarded.

Barring the serious talk, I think the only other solution is to not eat meals with them, or at least not dinner. Tell them because of the lack of compromise to your meal-time requirements, you can't do dinner with them anymore, but you're happy to come to their place for coffee/dessert/drinks (drink water, have a small bite if it's late, or none) because your esophagus just can't take the burden of dining after 9, and you can't keep being late for work because you were up at 3 am with a burning throat and hacking cough.


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She's using her illness for sympathy, and playing off of your guilt/near-grief.  That's so not good it isn't funny.

It sounds to me like your mother and stepfather are behaving in an incredibly selfish way, in deliberately ignoring your medical needs.  And yes, I also wondered whether she wasn't playing the medical card (even implicitly or tacitly) to keep everyone in line.

I think the time for reasonable discussions with m&s has long passed.  You've tried that already, and all they do is to make promises they obviously have no intention of keeping.  In future, I'd decline the dinners entirely.  Short visits at their house, pre-dinner drinks, yes.  Dinner, no.  And make sure they know exactly why.


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The OP has a valid, medical need.

The parents have a childish urge to control and bully their family.

Yes, time with your family is precious, but it should not have to come at expense to your health, nor should you have to play these immature games in order to have time with your mother.  Your mother's 'preference' to dilly-dally is not on equal ground to your medical needs.  She's just being selfish.


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I just had another thought.

Is the parents' passive-aggression towards these evenings out an attempt to keep control of the family socialization?  I'm wondering if these parents are looking at their adult children and feeling bothered by the fact that they are no longer at the center of their lives.  Adult children do tend to have a will of their own, and might occasionally exert more influence over social plans than the parents.  The parents could be bothered by this, and might be behaving in such a fashion to ensure that it is they, and they alone, who are in control of family outings.  They may just be struggling to establish the fact that they, as parents, must be in charge, and that's the end of it.


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Before I give my opinion, I would like to know how many times a year do you all get together?


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I think that eating first seems like a good option but I feel sorry for the OP that it would mean she can't enjoy a full meal in the restaurant and will only have an appetizer to pick at while everyone could be lingering over three courses.

OP, I think the time has come to speak to your mom about it. She opened the door by saying she thought you were rude. I would speak or possibly write to her to say: "Mom, I've thought hard about what you said the other day and I'm sorry I offended you by getting up to leave and not waiting for S to play more of the CD. I did not mean to offend you and I'm sorry that your feelings were hurt... Maybe we should take a break from this kind of dinner because it seems to be a problem for you to accommodate my need to start eating at 8pm. If I seem hurried or cranky sometimes it's because I find it really difficult to wait so long to eat. I've tried to accommodate the rest of you in your choice of restaurant in your choice of timing and where we meet beforehand. But I can't do it any more and it's taking the fun out of the event for me to have to wait so long to eat."