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DB has cancelled his wedding because of my mum

(44 Posts)
VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 12:22:59

My mum claims to have a really straightforward attitude to weddings. She prefers them simple, thinks that the couple should be allowed to do what they like without interference and doesn't generally approve of ostentatious spending and "sentimentality". She isn't religious or traditional in her outlook.

In reality it's a completely different story. With all the hassle she created, I had nightmares for months about my own wedding day to exH a decade ago, but later put it down to her subconsciously not liking exH.

Now my brother is getting married to his long-term girlfriend who is lovely and we all like very much. My mother became increasingly obsessed with their wedding (which they were organising and paying for themselves) and seemed to have ideas about it which were nothing like what DB and his GF were telling me.

Last week DB called me to let me know that the wedding was cancelled as they just couldn't take the interference any more. They've rescheduled a v. small registry office do and meal in a pub near their house.

My mum has been on the phone to me every night since, completely livid but unable to articulate why. They gave enough notice that no one has lost out in terms of room or travel bookings and had only sent out informal "Save the date" emails rather than formal invites. I'm just baffled and uneasy for future SIL as my mum has begun to imply that it's somehow all her fault.

What on earth is going on in her head? Or am I completely missing some very important point here? Can anyone shed any light?

purrpurr Fri 15-Feb-13 12:25:58

Your mum sounds like a terror. It's interesting that she believes she has an open, straightforward approach to weddings, but that the reality is the opposite. So she may not even be aware of her own behaviour. Is she trying to make up for her own wedding?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 15-Feb-13 12:26:39

completely livid but unable to articulate why.

Because she lost control of what she thought was her bauble.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 15-Feb-13 12:28:02

are we related? that's precisely why after 11 yrs / children we are still just engaged....

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 15-Feb-13 12:31:03

Your mother is a motherofthebridzilla. Have you told her how dreadfully she is behaving?

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 12:34:06

Yeah, her own wedding day was a complete trainwreck where she (apparently) wanted something very simple and religious / traditional family members on both sides wouldn't play ball. The specifics are so bonkers that it could be the subject of a black comedy film. But I would have thought that having been on the receiving end of this would make someone more sympathetic to others in the same situation. Clearly not...

BobbiFleckmann: I hope we're not related - I do have extended family on here but namechanged in case any of them hadn't been notified personally about the cancellation yet! If you are my cousin, DB will be in touch to explain once our mum gets off their phoneline...

BlueberryHill Fri 15-Feb-13 12:35:53

Is she worried that people might think it was her fault it was cancelled and is looking for someone else to blame? I'm assuming that your brother isn't telling everyone why they have changed their plans.

FoxtrotFoxtrotSierra Fri 15-Feb-13 12:38:08

Bravo to your DB and SIL! We did the same thing and four and a half years on haven't been forgiven. I suspect from your DB's viewpoint his relationship with his mother is soured already, but she will (most likely) never forgive him.

My mother blamed me and DH for what we did. She sulked and complained to family members about what we had done - who then sent letters telling me how disrespectful I was to the family and the family was awash with the "Foxtrot Effect". It was hard.

I think my "D"M is a control freak, and that's why she shoved her oar in. She's also very big on appearances - so wouldn't have anything "cheap" (and got us up to a projected spend of tens of thousands of pounds of our own money with her demands). Every time we said we would do something she didn't like she'd say it reflected on her as the host, which I think was a big part of it. Moreover, I think she was used to getting her own way, and that her natural response to things was "no". She didn't modify her normal, spoilt and entitled behaviour for anything, let alone someone else's wedding. So in a nutshell, she's not very nice!

Your mother may be none of these things, but that was my experience.

One other thing - how was your DM's wedding? Mine bemoans that her father took over hers and she had/didn't have blah blah blah, and then she took over and ruined both my and my DS's weddings - almost as if she thinks it's what she has to do to validate her own issues with her wedding. Have you asked your DM about her wedding?

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 12:38:52

Motherofthegroomzilla, I think. Rarer than Bridezilla or Motherofthebridezilla but still clearly formidable.

I've told her that her reaction is unreasonable, over the top and unfair to DB and GF. She responded by asking how I would feel if it was my own DC doing this to me. "Doing what, though?" No answer and long silence on the phone. Phoned back again the next day with exactly the same tirade.

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 12:40:33

No, DB is telling everyone (except me, his best man and GF's bridesmaid), that there was a mix-up with the booking at the venue and they couldn't find another date to suit...

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 15-Feb-13 12:43:00

almost as if she thinks it's what she has to do to validate her own issues with her wedding.

Precisely.
Trying to process a traumatic experience by repeating it.
Doomed to failure.

HecateWhoopass Fri 15-Feb-13 12:45:32

Why not tell her that you aren't surprised they did this. You considered yourself because she just wouldn't stop interfering. That she is a nightmare in this respect and takes over and ruined it for you and was ruining it for them. And their wedding is not about her.

I know that sounds a reall harsh thing to say. And it will hurt to hear it. But maybe she needs a really big shock. She may hate you for it in the short term, but perhaps she really needs to hear it.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 15-Feb-13 12:45:46

Whoops VPN - yes motherofthegroomzilla.

Your mother has had a lucky escape if your DB isn't make this public.

If she is normally normal then I guess keep trying to bang some sense into her. Weddings do weird things to otherwise normal people.

On my wedding day I ended up having to comfort my mother as she was upset with a relative that was there and when walking to the aisle my Dad decided this would be a great moment to tell me how concerned he was about mums stomach problems. Sheesh just for once I wanted it to be my day.

Just try and get her through the hump and keep sticking up for FSIL. Sounds like you are doing the best you can.

Catsdontcare Fri 15-Feb-13 12:45:53

Just keep repeating the question "doing what to you?"

She sounds bonkers

Catsdontcare Fri 15-Feb-13 12:46:54

Or like Hecate says just tell her why it's happening.

Katisha Fri 15-Feb-13 12:57:21

Tell her why before she starts the general impression that it's the soon-to-be-SIL's fault.

purrpurr Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:29

Sounds like it could do you all a favour if you followed Hecate's advice. Otherwise your DM may decide to wage a war against DB/SIL (more directed at SIL by the sounds of it), even if it's a war on a very small scale.

DontmindifIdo Fri 15-Feb-13 13:07:12

Yes, tell her the truth. She might strop up, but give her a harsh talking too, she needs to apologise to your SIL and DB.

Point out if she doesn't rebuild the bridges she has burned she shouldn't be surprised if they keep her away from any DGC on that side.

Teeb Fri 15-Feb-13 13:13:37

I think some women have been raised to believe that a wedding day is actually about the mothers, and not the couple themselves, because that's what happened during their wedding day. I can understand why if you've been lead to believe 'You will have your day' when your children go on to grow up and it doesn't happen that way then it may be hurtful.

However, she needs to pull herself together and accept that it isn't about her, and there is nothing she can do to change the past. Do you think she could benefit from counselling to reconcile her feelings about what happened to her and how she needs to move on from it now?

If I was DB I'd have told mother in no uncertain terms: "our wedding, how we want it, if you don't like it, tough shit!"

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 13:18:59

I know some people really can be a nightmare to stand up to, but isn't your brother being a bit of a wuss about this?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 15-Feb-13 13:20:01

That's sad, I hope DB and Sil-to-be have a good wedding day in spite of this. OP you sound very kind trying to stick up for the happy couple and at the same time attempting to see your mother's logic.

I can only guess if she had no control over her own wedding and you tolerated a degree of interference she hopes to exercise more control over your DB's day. Tbh I can see why some couples opt to get married abroad with very limited family/friend participation.

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 13:23:47

She knows there's more to it than a booking mixup. She keeps pushing both of us with random questions. Are they in debt? Had they argued over yhe venue? Has GF's very traditional father been interfering? (Hahaha - not a peep from him.)

If this continues DB will eventually crack and tell her the truth in very bald terms.

It may be better for me to do it first.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 15-Feb-13 13:27:08

Oh sorry I thought she knew what it has been changed.

It's not your truth to tell, but I would speak to DB and let him know she has been hassling you.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 15-Feb-13 13:30:02

"Actually Mum, considering they were paying for it themselves and organising it themselves, and her parents have let them do as they please, is there any faint chance you could have stuck your oar in and cocked it up?"

Maybe not.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 13:30:12

Yes, she needs to be told.

FoxtrotFoxtrotSierra Fri 15-Feb-13 13:30:15

If I were you I'd do it rather than leaving it to DB. My mother changed my telling her off about it into an apology in her head!

It may be harsh, but I think someone needs to tell her why they changed it. Though I can absolutely understand why neither you nor your brother wants to have this conversation with her.

A difficult situation all round, and I hope that your brother and his fiancee have a lovely wedding day and a very happy future together.

pausingforbreath Fri 15-Feb-13 14:43:02

I have a very similar MIL. Sadly.
All I want from her is for her to realise that I am an adult and so is my husband.
I would like to believe , that as adults we can hold our own views and make our own choices ( and mistakes ) .
But sadly, it isn't the case.
Usually, all my or our plans are scoffed at and instead she will have the 'better' idea or opinion on how we should proceed.
If I stand up for myself and dare to disagree, it's usually met with scorn and patronising comments about how 'awkward' I'm being.
I'm sure , all the blame or all the fault is attributed to me, but its just water off a ducks back now. It has been this way for over 25 years....

I feel sorry for your brother, he will be stuck between a hard rock and a stone like my husband. It sounds like it will be going on far past the wedding too- the acceptance that they are making joint decisions as adults about their future is all that is needed here.

If acceptance of that isn't happening , all your mum can hope to achieve is resentment and possibly a big wedge driven between them.

Good luck.

Carolra Fri 15-Feb-13 14:48:22

Oh this brings back terrible memories!! I cancelled my wedding because of my mum and I told her why... it took a couple of weeks but she came back to us and said she would back off, so we rebooked everything. Its wasn't too much of a big deal in the end - but she did throw her own massive party the day after our wedding and she even said it was "her party" because I had taken the wedding "away from her".

Has anyone told your mum she's the reason its been cancelled?!!

She needs to be told. At least it will shut her up.

msrisotto Fri 15-Feb-13 14:57:03

May I suggest that you let your brother and hopefully soon to be sister in law that you feel for them and are supportive? I imagine SIL will be very stressed out right now and it would be nice to know that she isn't being unreasonable.

Whocansay Fri 15-Feb-13 15:09:46

I don't understand why they kept her informed if she was being difficult? Why couldn't they just keep the details to themselves and send her an invitation? They could still do that. It has nothing to do with her.

Carola your mother sounds crazy!

poozlepants Fri 15-Feb-13 15:15:38

When she asks why did they do it to me? Just tell her she did it to herself.

CuriousMama Fri 15-Feb-13 15:21:54

Good for your DB and DSIL to be. Your mum is in total denial and needs telling. Whether she'll actually 'hear' it is another matter?

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:31:19

what would happen if you started accusing her of being the reason why they might have cancelled the bigger "do"

Mum was it you interfering that made them change the plans? Mum were you overbearing and sticking your oar in like you dod at my wedding - is that why they have backed down to a smaller do? I hope your interfering hasn't upset all there wedding plans as I will be cross with you if so and I will tell everyone you know if I find that is the case.

izzyizin Fri 15-Feb-13 15:32:53

Give your db and stb sil an early wedding present by telling your dm her interference is the cause of the deviation from their original plans and make it crystal clear that you won't tolerate any claim from her, either now or in the future, that your stb sil is at fault in any way for the change of venues for the wedding and the subsequent celebration thereof.

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 17:00:51

Our mum is quite moody and unpredictable at times although she can be kind and helpful at other times and often appears very emotionally vulnerable. We're reasonably close but I'm very careful about how much I share with her because she can twist things in the most incomprehensible way.

Sure, it might have been a good idea for DB and GF to keep her at arms length from the start and I did remind (warn) DB about my own experience. But GF is a really nice, normal woman who wanted to reach out to her future MIL in a normal, human way and thought she could do this by discussing a few wedding details and asking for her opinion on one or two things. That was all my mum needed to get her claws into the situation.

DB and GF know I'm supportive but nothing I've said so far has made an impression on my mum. Probably she would only hear complete blunt truth and I admit that I'm not good at confrontation. What would happen if I just came out with the truth? She would either turn on me or burst into tears and I'm not sure which one would be worse.

I expect she will phone again tonight.

What if you were to say to your Mum that things were getting overwhelming, so they have decided to simplify things so that they could focus on enjoying the day? That way no one is getting blamed.

OneMoreGo Fri 15-Feb-13 17:24:21

She needs to be told, by your DB. And fast. If she gets upset, it's her own behaviour that has caused her upset so... <shrugs> She shouldn't have been such a massive cock to the pair of them.

I have so little patience for petty, meddling people like this. LIfe is short! Just tell them to fuck off out of it.

Jojobump1986 Fri 15-Feb-13 17:27:54

I got around my mother's "we had to make do with the church hall, be grateful for what you can get" attitude by having my very own bridezilla moment & telling her that they might have had to 'make do' but this wasn't their second wedding & we were going to have it how we wanted. She sulked for a little while & I did try to involve her in some things but she kept a respectful distance after that. (This was after she told me I wasn't allowed to think about wedding plans until I'd got my uni exams out the way & then booked viewings at several reception venues & spoke to the vicar before my first exam even started!)

Sometimes people just need telling. Your mum was probably doing it because she loves him & got a bit over-excited. I hope they can sort it out & your DB gets to enjoy his day! smile

VPNerror Fri 15-Feb-13 18:26:18

Wow, this seems to be a really common story, sadly.

Yes, she is just upsetting herself and everyone else with this behaviour. Totally her own doing and own fault. I don't understand why she does it but Hotdamn's explanation of trying to process a traumatic experience by repeating it, rings pretty true. I wish she would go for professional counselling in general, not just for the wedding domination thing.

SoldAtAuction: That's the exact explanation I gave my mum the first time she called me with wild theories about debt, disagreement or infidelity. They were getting overwhelmed (too much of a coward to say what had overwhelmed them...) and wanted a less stressful wedding.

HecateWhoopass Fri 15-Feb-13 18:27:41

If you all protect her from knowing how her choices and actions make those she claims to love feel - you deny her the opportunity to change and to build better relationships.

In an ideal world, she wouldn't HAVE to be told. But it is what it is and right now she is damaging her relationship with her son and his future wife.

She needs to know that's what she's doing.

Try to protect her from that in order to spare her feelings, or prevent a confrontation in the short term and you just delay it and increase the risk of a larger confrontation in the future, one perhaps more damaging, who knows?

You can't protect people from the consequences of their bad behaviour and you shouldn't try.

oldraver Fri 15-Feb-13 23:07:37

I would point your lovely SIL in the direction of MN...sounds like she may need it in the future.

I would also tell your Mum, she risks alienating your SIL who sounds lovely for wanting to involve her...hopefully she may one day have dc's and it doesnt pay to sour the relationship

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