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My mum says I'm being over-sensitive. Do you think I am?

(67 Posts)
PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 10:44:49

I emigrated to southern Sweden several years ago. In the 6 years I've been here I have not been visited by anyone from my family. My mum won't fly and it's too far for my dad to drive. Two of my sisters say it's too expensive, but they will come out when they can afford it. My other sister and brother say they'd love to come and will do soon but never do. The only time I see them is when I make the effort to go back to England. I feel sad about it but resigned to it.

Yesterday I was talking to my mum and she's all excited about an upcoming holiday. The whole family, parents and siblings (and their children) have clubbed together to hire a minibus and are driving down to France to stay with a distant cousin for a week. It's here 40th and she's having a big party to celebrate and they all want to go.

Am I being over-sensitive for feeling really hurt by this? They didn't make the effort to come for my daughter's 18th or graduation and my 40th passed by unnoticed. I accepted it at the time, but now it seems like it's 'can't be arsed to make it' rather than 'can't make it'. I was making plans to get my new son baptised back in the UK so they could all come. Now I'm thinking 'sod them' and having it here. My mum thinks I'm being reasonable. Am I?

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 10:46:33

Sorry, my mum thinks I'm being UNreasonable.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 13-Feb-13 11:01:59

You are entitled to feel as sensitive as YOU want to feel. No-one gets to dictate what your emotions "should" be.

And yes, if they wanted to visit you in Sweden, they would have. They clearly don't.

LessMissAbs Wed 13-Feb-13 11:02:32

YANBU. Its like they are punishing you for moving abroad, and making sure you deal with the consequences. I would have thought that in six years, normal human curiosity and a desire to visit a new country, with free accommodation thrown in, would have tempted most parents to visit. Perhaps they have something against Sweden, and believe all the stereotypes that its cold and unhospitable?

(I visited Sweden last year for a wedding and absolutely loved it!)

Did you move for work or marry a Swede?

Lueji Wed 13-Feb-13 11:05:43

Having moved to another country myself, I never expected family to go to me, TBH.
They did about twice (my parents and sister when DS was born and one other time), in about 16 years abroad.

I always took time every year to go home.

It was your decision, to move away.

Also, flights are more expensive than sharing a minibus, I'd expect.
And your mother doesn't fly.

You should have your son christened where and when you want, but I don't think it's a case for "sod them". Not yet, anyway.

JellyMould Wed 13-Feb-13 11:09:52

I'd be pretty upset as well. I don't think you're being over sensitive.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Feb-13 11:25:37

If one won't fly, the other can't drive that far and the rest can't afford to travel then Sweden is out of range.... sorry. Clubbing together to hire a minibus is a pretty cheap travel option that doesn't involve flying and the driving can be shared. I can see why you feel hurt and I don't think you should change your plans but you have to accept that it's not easy for people to just drop by

Hoaz Wed 13-Feb-13 11:27:17

Hmm, I can understand how you feel, but you did move away, knowing that your mum doesn't fly. How did you deal with that issue at the time, when you made the decision to move? Would she be unreasonable to be hurt that you left knowing that she could never visit?

It is expensive to fly to Sweden and the siblings that say they'll come probably do mean it when they say it. I mean it when I say I'll visit my sister (who lives 200 miles away but in UK) but then the weeks pass by and before you know it it's been months. The only way it actually happens is if we get out diaries out while we're actually talking and set a date. A vague, come any time, or we must meet up soon is never going to happen I'm afraid.

I do understand that your situation must be upsetting (and I would be too) but I think as you moved away, the effort to get this organised needs to come form you.

Branleuse Wed 13-Feb-13 11:30:14

you were the one that moved, and swedens quite an expensive place to fly to. Plus not exactly a warm holiday destination is it?

My dp is french and moved to the UK, and tbh, his family dont visit much. We visit them a lot more.

mummytime Wed 13-Feb-13 11:30:54

But surely driving to Sweden is not further than the South of France?

I'd say sod it to them, personally.

Lueji Wed 13-Feb-13 11:33:59

The op didn't say where in France.
But shared driving is much much easier.

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 11:34:57

LessMiss We moved for my husband's job.

Lueji I never expected them to come to me. I just hoped they would want to. What hurts is that they want to travel abroad to visit a cousin they barely know but clearly don't want to travel to visit their sister.

I suppose I should have expected it really, they just don't seem interested in me and my family at all. I speak to my mum maybe once a month. The others only when I'm in England. They never call or email. At first I used to make the effort to keep in touch, but when it wasn't reciprocated I let it tail off.

I don't suppose it's down to emigrating either, as with hindsight they weren't bothered when I lived in the same town as them. I only ever saw them in passing if we happened to be at my mums at the same time. I haven't received so much as a birthday card from any of my siblings in 20 years (neither has my daughter).

10 years ago, when I still lived nearby, they organised a big surprise party for my dad's 60th. So 'surprise' that they never thought to tell me about it. I found out it from a neighbour the day before. I was being over-sensitive then too when I was really upset at being over looked. I was so hurt I didn't go, which apparantly showed what a selfish cow I am, because by not going I ruined it for everyone else. (IE other peoples asked them where I was which they didn't like)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Feb-13 11:35:21

"But surely driving to Sweden is not further than the South of France?"

Not much further as the crow flies (800+ miles) but it involves several ferries and toll bridges which probably means overnight stays in hotels and lots of expense. Plus.... it's Sweden hmm. Land of the £5 pint.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Feb-13 11:37:16

If they can't be bothered with you when you're in the same town, why did you think moving 800 miles would mean things improved?

AmberLeaf Wed 13-Feb-13 11:39:46

I can see why you feel upset.

There is the issue of expense, but after your last post, it seems like they are not the types to make and effort and seem fairly disinterested.

The thing about your dads 60th sounds really mean sad

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 11:41:25

Cogito If they drove, it would be no further than they are driving when they go to France.

As for the cost of flying to Sweden, you can get an adult return to the airport nearest me for under £50.

Hmm, tricky.

On the one hand, you are experiencing the typical expat thing, where everyone says they will come visit but hardly anyone ever does. It's hard but you can't take it personally. Travelling is expensive and time-consuming, it doesn't mean people don't care about you, they just can't manage it.

But on the other hand, I would also be a bit hmm if family were always telling me they can't afford it or don't have time but then suddenly miraculously can get organised enough to have a big family holiday to France. They should at least be sensitive enough to present it to you as 'we would love to come to you instead but it was too expensive/too complicated, etc.'

The bit about not inviting you to your dad's party is seriously weird though. Why do you think there is this gulf between you? Are you just very different people? Is there some bad blood from the past? It seems really odd.

If I were you, I wouldn't exactly say 'sod them' but I wouldn't be putting myself out to organise the christening in the UK either.

ps I also have a mum who says I'm 'oversensitive', it's her way of rationalising a lot of inappropriate behaviour on her part tbh

PatriciaHolm Wed 13-Feb-13 11:47:12

Given their lack of interest in you when you lived nearby, I don't think you can be surprised that they aren't bothered about spending money to visit you. I'm sorry you're not happy about it, but they weren't going to suddenly become a close loving family were they? Try not to get upset about it, it doesn't sound as if they are worth the stress.

YANBU to be sad that they don't make the effort to come. "You're over-sensitive" is very often another way of saying "you have no right to feelings, especially if those feelings make me look bad".

YANBU to feel that perhaps from now on you'll put the same effort into the relationship that they do. That's fair. It's hard to sustain a one-sided relationship.

I think you're probably BU to expect them to come - it is expensive. But I don't agree that everything should be down to you, just because you moved. Thats slightly wierd. I guess because I have friends and family all over the world, and when we have the money, we visit each other. Nobody says "well you left the mother country, you have to come to me".

I wonder, if you started making less effort, might they start making more effort? Maybe they feel they see enough of you as things are? I don't know how often you go.

Did they invite you on the family holiday to France, btw?

I notice you say that your mum "won't" fly - chooses not to, rather than has some solid medical reason not to fly? That's sad. I'm terrified of spiders, but if my dd moved to Australia, I'd go on a course and get over it!

poozlepants Wed 13-Feb-13 11:51:14

YANBU. Your family sound pretty horrible to me. Best not to expect anything from them because you'll only be disappointed if they act true to form. Your life is in Sweden have your christening there.

They are mad. Sweden is my favourite holiday destination so they are missing out.

havingastress Wed 13-Feb-13 11:51:21

My inlaws won't drive up (2hrs) to come and visit their grandchild, because it's 'too far'

Yet they will happily drive that distance, and more, to pick up items they've won off ebay.

Sounds like they just don't want to.

Sod them! (and no, you are not being unreasonable to feel sad about it)

Ah, x-posted.

OK, so your being in Sweden is irrelevant then. Stop running back to England for christenings! Send them all a Christmas card each year and forget about them.

What are your dh's family like? Have you made good friends in Sweden? You need to be looking elsewhere for "family" - people who love and respect you and enjoy your company.

I did think "over-sensitive" was a red flag for people who behave like this. Stick your nose in the Stately Homes thread!

CartedOff Wed 13-Feb-13 11:52:10

From what you've said I think making the effort to get your son christened back in the UK isn't going to be appreciated much by them and there might be less stress and disappointment if you have it done in Sweden.

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 11:52:35

As I'm feeling miserable I've tortured myself a bit more and looked it up on google maps. It's 6 hours 40 minutes to the town in France (Lyon) from the ferry terminal. Whereas it's 4.5 hours driving to mine, with a 3 hour ferry part way through. So very little difference.

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