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Advice needed from you O Wise Ones! Invited to estranged sister's wedding - do I go and risk a massive family row?

(61 Posts)
Lionessy Sat 15-Jun-13 21:32:01

Sorry for the length and any spelling mistakes!

My younger sister has sent me an invite for her wedding at the beginning of September. We have not spoken for nearly 2 and a half years.

My younger brother (also not spoken to him for same time frame as little sis) also has his wedding the weekend before hers and we have not had an invite although my mother asked me if we could make the date. That was before I had ANOTHER massive fallout with her about my childhood and her abusive behaviour towards me though. I have concluded little brother has decided not to invite us to his.

2 and half years ago I 'confronted' my mother and stepfather about their abuse of me when I was growing up and their continued abuse to me through my DC (criticising my parenting/calling DC names/showing blatant favouritism to one while excluding his twin etc). I had had my DC4 a few months before after a long gap (same DH!) and I was also very upset that no one visited/showed any interest at all in him. I could not understand it.

In fact when he was 3 weeks old, we went to visit them to show him off at their invitation, no mean feat travelling 5 hours with 4DC and they told us that they had an appointment the next day, after saying they were free, after we finally got there late at night so we spent the whole of the next day from 9am -6pm alone in their home so we got in the car and drove back which they concluded was very rude hmm. Stepfather even refused to hold DC4 when I needed to go to the loo in the brief time he was there.

During my pregnancy, I started therapy for panic/anxiety and of course the first thing my counsellor wanted to talk about was my family and I finally woke up to my 'scapegoat' role in the family. I had never really thought about it before and it blindsided me really.

I had always hated myself, always felt worthless and alone, never asked for help with anything, accepted my siblings view of me as a 'nutter' and their disassociation from me and constantly tried to win my mother's approval.

My real father walked away when I was 7 with no further contact and I was always compared to him as evil, nasty etc. My father was never to be discussed, he did not exist anymore. Looking back I did nothing wrong - no drugs, no boozing, no crime, no fallouts with siblings although I did 'run away' for a week when I was 17 with my 1st boyfriend to his parents house as my mother banned me from seeing him for no other reason than she did'nt want me to have a boyfriend. She sent me to live with my older sister at the other end of the country for 3 months afterwards as she 'would'nt have been able to stop herself from killing me' so I missed college and later dropped out. This is something she has never forgiven me for apparently.

So anyway I sent my mother an email as she had invited us for Christmas after the visit we had abandoned a few weeks earlier telling her we would NOT be coming and how I unimportant I felt to her also bringing up some quite terrible stuff she and my stepfather had done to me as a child (still can't quite believe what I went though and how I disassociated from it) copying in my 7 siblings as a way of vindicating myself to them that I was not a 'nutter' and saying how hurt I had been that none of them had offered any help when we had had a really bad time a few years before, hoping as we were all maturer that a better understanding of ME may bring us closer together.

Of course, my mother was traumatised and deeply hurt by my 'truth' and all my siblings sided with her and cut contact. My only 'full blooded' sibling who I had seen a handful of times over the last 16 years called me an 'attention seeking fuck up'.

My mother and I had an uneasy truce a few months later instigated by me after a Christmas with no contact with anybody as I could'nt bear being shut out of the family. She admitted that what I put in my email did happen but denied doing anything other than her 'best' for me. I later found out from an older sister (the only contact I have had with that sister since then) that my mother had told my siblings that I had a 'breakdown' due to the death of my 2nd DD at birth a few years before and they should not contact me as I was 'not ready'.

Up until this past Christmas I was only having sporadic telephone contact with my mother, still no contact with siblings. She sent birthday gifts for my older 3 DC on time but kept forgetting DC4. She sent Christmas cards leaving my DC4s name off them. One for each of the other 3 DC and one for DH and I, but not DC4. This upset me but she said that she'd 'forgot' him.

In March I stopped seeing my counsellor as I was getting no further nor feeling any better and could'nt afford it anymore. Shortly afterwards, I had a telephone conversation with my mother, discussing my DS2 being assessed for ASD. She said that his behaviour was basically because I was a crap mother and no better than her, so I shot back that I had learned how to mother from her but would never treat my DCs like she did me, so she slammed the phone down on me (I felt strangely very strong standing up to her). I immediately called her back as I wanted to sort it out and not end the call like that, only for my stepfather to pick up the phone and tell me not to call again.

She later sent a text saying that she could not deal with this any longer and not to contact her again if I was going to keep on about my childhood. I left it for almost 2 months and texted her asking if she would call me when she was ready. She did not reply. So I texted again last week and she (or rather my stepfather) sent me a long email stating that I had caused her to question herself as a mother but she has decided she has been a good one hmm. She does not need this at her time of life, I have always been jealous of everyone etc. I sent an email back sticking to my guns but also that she was still my mum and I still loved her. Nothing has come back.

In this time my anxiety has been through the bloody roof and I feel like I am in a big black hole!

DH has said we will ALL go to my sister's wedding and fuck it! He will give them a few home truths if anyone (especially my brothers) starts something. I am obviously terrified but feel that I NEED to face them all.

I am sure my mother has told my siblings (and everybody else who will listen) about this last argument so either no one will talk to us or it will create a big argument and I have no wish to spoil my sister's day or have my DC overhear anything. I don't even have my sister's telephone number to call her and speak to her about whether she wants us to come now. She did not put a number on the invite and I can't ask my mum for her number.

What a fucking mess! It's so ridiculous I could laugh about it if it was'nt so hurtful sad.

springytat Wed 19-Jun-13 10:24:47

oh yes, I recognise this: My little sister asked if I could 'keep my mouth shut for just one day so we could all be a happy family'

Back to the 'it's all your fault. If you just shut up/stop breathing/stop being a human being/not have a face we would all be happy. YOU'RE the culprit'

There should be support groups for family scapegoats imo.

to my shame, for a while I did 'keep my mouth shut' in order to 'keep the peace' (not my peace it has to be said angry ). I died a death, ended up like a plank of wood. Nailed to a cross for the sins of the family. If I laughed, or showed any expression of any kind, my sister jumped, looking at me with alarm and fear. ffs!

You have to wonder that it is they who insist it is us who are mad.

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Jun-13 01:02:23

Yay Lionessy! thanksthanks
Glad you contacted the bride-sister and GOOD CHOICE to not go. Fanbloodytastic of you, you stood up to the fuckers!

Glad your DH has, albeit grudgingly, realised that it is NOT you, it IS your horrendous mother/family. And hopefully he will stop pushing to go to the wedding without you now. Your DD will get over it.

I know it won't feel like it, but honestly? You're better off without them. Now you can concentrate on yourself, and finding out who you really are without all the external negative pressure/moulding on you.

You're FREE! Enjoy it. smile wine

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 19-Jun-13 00:31:52

X-post, Lionessy
I am glad that you've made a stand and created the boundaries. And that your Dh is listening and thinking more on your behalf.

You can ignore my suggestion of getting your sister a generous gift, or even a card, after what she said! And blanking your brother right back at him is right on the mark, too. Result! I can feel your freedom from here.
grin

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 19-Jun-13 00:20:51

I agree with the poster up thread who said you are being set up.
Your narcisstic Mother is going to be the center of attention and ruin your sister's wedding day and have everyone blame you for it. Imho, she has already engineered it, regardless of whether you go or not. She is using you, yet again (she always will). You can not stop her. However, you can choose whether or not you are going to participate in it.

Please do not go. Make consolation plans for the same day a hundred miles in the opposite direction to distract DD, if not yourself. Dare to make it a happy day for yourself. wink

Call your sister, be happy for her but politely decline. Send a nice card and a generous gift, perhaps which you could hand deliver a couple of weeks after the event (depending on locations, proximity to narc mother..if not too inconvenient).

Your Dh. My guess here, is that he does not like seeing you upset. It is nice that he wants to go to bat for you. But really, how your family is dealt with is your call and he needs to respect that and/or potentially mind his own business. I do not know what he has in mind, but feel with all certainty that a wedding is not the place or time to do it.

That he suggested going without you was rude and reveals that he has no clue to the family dynamic or what it means to have suffered what you have. Here, I suggest limiting how much/what you say to dh about your family in the future. A sad development, but he just doesn't get it and will be a cause of more unnecessary stress in the circumstances, iyswim.

Your DD will be sad to miss it, but I would not let her go without you to be at her elbow debriefing her on every comment, sneer, insult in the moment...so best to just not go. Perhaps she is old enough at 16 to be acquainted with the concept of narcissism, dysfunctional dynamics etc, without necessarily naming names.

Lionessy Tue 18-Jun-13 23:34:21

Oh thank you ladies. You know she almost got me! I could feel myself plunging down into that bloody pit of despair again. Not this time.

I have spoken to 3 of my sisters tonight! I was on a roll. I remembered one sister's landline that is still the same and she gave me the other 2's numbers. None of them remember me being evil but one immediately told me that I had always been 'doolally' (a favourite word of my mother's) when I mentioned that I suffered from panic attacks. My oldest sister said she's always 'there for me' despite not talking to me for over 2 years and visiting once in 16 years!

My little sister asked if I could 'keep my mouth shut for just one day so we could all be a happy family' if I came to the wedding. She said she would ask our mother if I could come. I said I had kept it shut for long enough and told her we would not be able to make the wedding. DH seems to be understanding me a bit better after reading that last email and agrees.

Little brother is still getting married and No, he was not going to invite me. Fine.

I also replied to my mother's email telling her not to expect any further contact. She has lost her scapegoat.

Fuck it. I need to put on my big girl pants and live my life as me, not that terrified, bewildered little girl I used to be.

Inertia Tue 18-Jun-13 22:55:57

From what you've posted, I think there's every chance that your sister thinks your family could kick off with her at her own wedding , because they always need someone to pick on.

If you're invited, then you get to be scapegoat for the day.

And if your relationship with your husband is as bad as your description suggests , then there's every chance that he won't give you the support you need (or worse, will add to the problem).

You can't make them into the family you would like them to be- you can only ignore them.

mummytime Tue 18-Jun-13 21:03:12

Block all emails from her, block her on Facebook, do not read her texts.
Do not engage.

Get some more counselling if you can, preferably with someone who knows about dysfunctional families.

springytat Tue 18-Jun-13 21:02:27

Well that posted before I was ready!

This is how it goes:

We, as a family, are perfect. If you are having problems, you are mad. You must be. Because we are perfect.

I went on to have awful problems in my teens. I was extremely distressed - but, tbf, nothing like the shit teens do these days. I was 'good' if that makes sense, just very distressed.

And it really was NO WONDER. Took me years of therapy to get that.

My family still think I am mad. They have recently tried to prove it with downloaded mh dx. They never let go, you see. They can't let go and let you be who you are. They have to demonise you and make it all your fault.

During a recent horrific family upset, my dad said to me repeatedly. 'It's all your fault! Take the blame!' And that's all he said to me for weeks, every time I spoke to him. I thought it was ironic. Out of his very mouth was coming the family script, unadorned.

As NumTum says, this is classic narcissism. She didn't try to help you. My kids have had their issues and I would never fling those issues in their faces during an argument. I love them and protect them, regardless what is going on.

springytat Tue 18-Jun-13 20:56:52

oh my dad did this to me recently. He said something about me being evil and my sister coming to him saying I was doing this or that (what kid doesn't, but there we go...). I asked him how old I was. 6, he said. With a completely straight face. Like it was a good argument!

Xales Tue 18-Jun-13 19:42:58

You need to stop engaging with your mother.

She will never accept that she has done anything wrong. You will always be the scapegoat.

NumTumDeDum Tue 18-Jun-13 19:42:40

No you are not nutter. This is classic narcissistic behaviour. It's all about how you made her feel. Is there one ounce of compassion there? No. This is another way to control you by making it your fault. If she was that worried about you, what did she do to get help? Nothing. Because it wasn't you. You need to cut her out. This is not helping you at all. You were beginning to feel better and just one invite and one email later you are doubting yourself. She isn't going to change. So you have to break this cycle yourself. Love yourself op and give yourself a chance.

Lionessy Tue 18-Jun-13 19:36:05

springtat That's totally OK. It is a frigging mess.

OK I have had a return email from my mother stating that the reason she used to call me 'evil' and 'touched' when I was a kid was because I 'terrified her so much that she used to lock up all the knives at night' (she knows that I have suffered terribly from OCD intrusive thoughts concerning my fear that I may go crazy and harm someone). She did not elaborate on why I terrified her or what I had done. She wrote that she did not want me to know about it but I had opened the 'Pandora's Box'.

She also said that I was never happy unless I was doing something nasty and spiteful to my siblings. That's why they don't bother with me.

'you would do almost anything to annoy your brothers and sisters and seemed to take pleasure when you realized that you had got through to them, the rule that everybody would stay at the table until everybody had finished was taken by you as one of the ways you would get through to them as you were always the last to finish' So it was not that I was forced to eat meat that I hated then and was made to sit at the table until my plate was completely clear!

Opinions please! The first bit has really fucked with my head due to my OCD/panic/anxiety. I was convinced I was a nutter, I have only recently started accepting that I am a good person. My mother has now confirmed that I always was fucked upsad.

springytat Mon 17-Jun-13 23:15:23

oops, 'such a mess' was a bit unhelpful! sorry blush

springytat Mon 17-Jun-13 15:38:39

Really sorry to hear you're in such a mess at the mo Lionessy . Not surprising with your history ((( )))

Keep going though. It's long haul, and you'll be working on it for the rest of your life one or another; but when you finally leave them behind, when you are finally free of them in your head and heart - well, nothing compares to the bliss. Truly, to be free of them for ever is absolutely wonderful.

I did hang on and hang on (for decades), hoping that somehow things would turn out alright, people would mellow, see the light etc. It simply doesn't happen and it's just so good to leave the stinking pile of shit that they are behind; knowing you didn't deserve it, you never did, that it was all their dysfunctional, toxic shit.

You know about projection, right? How people can focus on something and dump their shit on that? It has nothing to do with the focus, all to do with the dumper.

Hurts, mind xxx

mummytime Mon 17-Jun-13 14:12:45

I would suggest you talk to someone RL, maybe Women's aid, to see if your view of your relationship with your DH is correct. Because he sounds a bit naff to me, after all the wedding vows say "For better for worse, for richer for poorer".

You need to put your foot down and decline the invitation then tell him none of you are going, don't negotiate, you know its the right thing.

But I would contact the sister personally and talk to her about the whole situation. I would probably start by asking "Did you really want me at your wedding?" A but of bluntness is what is needed here; you can tell from her response what her real feelings were.

BookieMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 11:51:09

It sounds like you're all being set up. No doubt there are questions being asked about why they have no contact with you. If they engineer a scene at the wedding, they'll be able to justify to themselves and their audience why your relationship is as it is.
Don't go.

Lionessy Mon 17-Jun-13 11:15:12

DH is from abroad and only sees his parents every few years. They do cry, show emotion, hug etc especially as we see them rarely and they are in their 70s now. My mother has never hugged me as an adult and I can't remember it as a child, that's why I make sure I grab my DC for a hug every day even though they fight me off most of the time!

DH has turned into an utter cunt over the last few years I must say. I suffer terribly from panic attacks/OCD/general anxiety and he has seen me change from a very strong, attractive, in control, confident career woman into a 'too frightened to work' complete and utter wreck. My looks has changed beyond recognition too. He has lost respect for me and has no patience as he has no understanding at all. I have often told him that I wish he could just spend one hour in my head - he would not cope.

In fairness though, we have been through hell the last 10 years. We have been through more shit than most couples experience in a lifetime. I am a nightmare to live with due to our circumstances. I am also not the person he married, that's true so I will call him an utter cunt and hate him momentarily for his lack of compassion for me BUT I know he loves me as I love him and when things are better again hopefully we will be fine.

He has a misguided plan that we attend the wedding, I show my family that I don't give a shit what they think of me and then I feel better. He has not taken into account how painful it is for me and how I will probably just revert back to my 'role'.

cleopatrasasp It is slowly sinking in. I was told by my last counsellor that I have to grieve for the family I did not have. The problem is I have this feeling of aloneness. I find it hard to make friends as why would anyone want to be friends with me? right! I feel that if I walk away completely that I will be totally alone in this world. I know I'm not really but it taking a lot to convince me.

Your DH and DD will be played by your birth family for fools if they attend this wedding. What on earth are they thinking here?.

Why is your DH saying this at all, his primary loyalty should be to you and you alone. He spoiling for a fight with your birth family is not going to end well. He has no comprehension whatsoever of what toxic families are like. Facing these people will just end badly because they don't ever apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.

What Cleopatrasasp wrote earlier as well in its entireity, particularly the second paragraph.

Your birth family all need to be deleted off your FB account, infact I would make myself unavailable on FB by shutting this account down. FB is such a good tool for narcs as well.

springytate Mon 17-Jun-13 10:40:13

Ignore everyone from 'normal' families who gives you advice to 'build bridges' etc. Unfortunately, the majority of people who come from functional families just can't seem to be able to face the harsh reality that not everyone's family is like theirs and that if you just keep trying hard enough yours will be too. This is utter shite.

If you go back to your family they will play with you like a cat plays with a mouse. You will never get answers or apologies from them, this is the stark truth. Build your own loving family and friends from people who actually like and care for you, this is your way to happiness

Perfect, cleopatra . So perfect, it has to be repeated imo.

ime you have to keep repeating the truth to yourself. It takes a huge amount to get it to sink in.

You will never get what you want and deserve from your family

Stop trying

RenterNomad Mon 17-Jun-13 08:14:26

Oh, don't let yourDH and DD go. Your DD will be exposed to the family as a new ally or victim (neither nice), and DH may get into a fight, as he won't be able to accept their behaviour, either.

Hide the invitation if you have to

mummytime Mon 17-Jun-13 06:33:00

Your DHs family sound a bit strange to be honest, even given the "different culture". I might ask a few questions either on the net (including here with a name change if you want) or from rel life acquaintances from that culture.
Maybe some couples counselling would help him understand your family are never going to be "normal".

cleopatrasasp Mon 17-Jun-13 06:21:16

Don't go. You have escaped and this is your chance to protect your DCs from your toxic, dysfunctional family, it's your job as their mum to do this so do it for them if you won't protect yourself.

Ignore everyone from 'normal' families who gives you advice to 'build bridges' etc. Unfortunately, the majority of people who come from functional families just can't seem to be able to face the harsh reality that not everyone's family is like theirs and that if you just keep trying hard enough yours will be too. This is utter shite.

If you go back to your family they will play with you like a cat plays with a mouse. You will never get answers or apologies from them, this is the stark truth. Build your own loving family and friends from people who actually like and care for you, this is your way to happiness though it worries me that your DH is not supprting you but is actually causing you further stress - is he generally kind and supportive other than this? Oh and delete all of them off your Facebook account.

Be brave, you deserve to be happy.

Shellywelly1973 Mon 17-Jun-13 01:16:59

In all honesty what door you really expect from your family?

Your dhs response seems strange...

I wouldn't go.

Thumbwitch Mon 17-Jun-13 01:02:50

Yes, if they go to the wedding you NEED to go too, you can't allow stuff to happen there without you knowing about it.

Your DH is a completely insensate idiot if he thinks you "should just get over it" - not every mother is an appropriate parent, and yours certainly isn't.

It's a hard mindset to shift, the idea that it's somehow your fault, and this is because it was imprinted on you at a very early age. The earlier we pick up these ideas, the more embedded they are - they are core beliefs. Will PM you.

springytate Mon 17-Jun-13 00:10:47

I'd be wary of a 16yo dd going to the wedding. Around about that age, kids start to think their parents are shit. You don't want any budding ideas she has on your shitness being confirmed and egged on by your family.

T-shirt! angry sad

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