AIBU to speak to my parents about their Xmas expectations?(118 Posts)
DH and I have spent every one of the past 7 Xmas Days (since we were married) with my parents/family. This despite the fact that for 2 of those years we had planned to spend it with his mum instead and then - due to my (very very difficult) mum throwing a wobbly - changing our plans and just keeping my mum happy instead. (Yes, I do feel awful about this btw and know it wasn't fair or right)
Once again this year, my parents are assuming we are going to them; on hearing that we haven't decided yet (not even a flat-out no!!) they have started piling on the emotional pressure - mostly due to the fact that if we don't go it will 'only' be them with my brother, SIL and SIL's mum, who they don't get on with.
3 years ago the pressure was piled on because it was just going to be them with my sister and BIL, who they don't get on with.
I have tried to talk to them (well, my dad) in the past and told him that we do have DH's family to consider too (not to mention the fact that DH's parents are divorced which means there are TWO separate extra people to incorporate in our plans, IYSWIM). I have clearly got nowhere. Dad just blandly half-agrees (he is scared of my mum) and mumbles vague things about, "yes, it's obviously v tough) and Mum (on the one occasion I dared to raise it) went on a mini-rant about my MIL and how she never sends them Xmas cards etc etc (I think this means, in her eyes, that MIL does not deserve to have anyone with her for Xmas...)
I am stressing out to the point of tears this year because of this. I am pregnant and dreading this whole thing this time next year when obviously MIL and FIL are going to be even more unhappy about not getting to see us on Xmas Day as they will want to see the baby. MIL and my mum don't get on (obviously) so we would not even be able to have them both at our house next year - the stress would be too fucking awful to risk it.
My question is - AIBU to be considering calling my parents - my dad first probably, as he is more approachable even if useless - and having a very very stern word about this?
My trouble is that I recognise that - though they have been the unreasonable and unpleasant ones - I am the one who has allowed this to continue (apart from the occasional attempt to fix it) and so are they going to be rightly put out and upset that I am suddenly out of the blue saying that they can't carry on like this?
Or does that not really matter because I have absorbed their needs and highly selfish desires for years, to the detriment of my rel/ship with Dh and MIL who have both been very upset with me in the past about this? Is it absolutely time to tell my parents a few home truths?
Obviously my strategy would not actually be to call up and start accusing - I would if anything probably be too wimpy about it. Probably (seieng how I feel at the mo) I will cry and then they will just think I am being pregnant and silly.
Any advice would be HUGELY appreciated - I am sitting here torn between picking up the phone and getting this all off my chest, and not saying a word because I don't want them to get upset/angry. But I hate absorbing all this, especially now that I am pregnant.
are they going to be rightly put out and upset
No. They are going to be wrongly put out and upset.
Trills, I spend half my time thinking that and then I think that it is (partly) my own fault for allowing this to continue. My mum is a tyrant yes (seriously) but my siblings have managed to carve out Xmas plans they are happy with in the past, despite her disapproval. I am rubbish at handling her.
Oh dear. Families and Christmas's are tough! Is it not possible for you to invite both sets to you over Christmas?
"Hi Mum, we have decided that we are doing X for Christmas this year."
"No, we have decided what we are doing and that is that. I am calling to let you know, not to discuss it."
<more attempts at emotional blackmail>
"I'm sorry if you think that you will have a horrible Christmas but you now have two months to work out how to make it nice and decide what you want to do."
"Got to go and do the school run
talk to someone who is not moaning. Bye Mum"
I'd bet that you will feel better getting it off your chest. Also, I'd bet that your husband's family would LOVE to have you over to theirs for Xmas - or them to yours.
Tell your mum to stick her ridiculous attitude where the sun don't shine!
You're being a push over, I'm afraid. Just tell her that she's being very unfair on your inlaws, who would like to see their son this year. Then put the phone down. She's going to moan, and try to make you feel terrible. You need to be strong and stand your ground.
You don't need to say "you have been horrible and I don't like it", you just need to say that you are not going and not discussing it.
Trills you sound just like my counsellor I know you are right about this btw.
Imsosorryalan - nope - MIL and mum hate each other. More accurately, MIL is terrified of mum, who hates MIL.
Mum cannot be remotely trusted not to be a bitch and pick a fight.
christmas!!!!!! so many people dread it!!
FWIW i think your mum is very lucky to have even ONE other child there at xmas - tough tits if they dont quite like thier SIL.
My DF is a widow and doesnt get on with my other siblings so I have him every year and he comes with ALOT of baggage and is very very hard work....if HE could have one other DC there at xmas it would take the burden off me.
Last year I just wanted one year with a break so I really hurt his feelings and said we just wanted an xmas to ourselves! It was WONDERFUL. We had him down for weeks in January instead...
So i think your DP's are very very lukcy to have each other and another child to have there.
So on that front dont feel guilty.
You MUST tell them you cant do this xmas and you simply HAVE to see your MIL this year - you simply cant get out of it or justify another year where YOUR husbdand cant see his mother! If she kicks up a fuss - stand firm, " I am sorry you feel that way, but there are other important relationships in my life - and how you feel about us not being there is how DH DM feels about us not being there - the difference being we have NEVER been there!!! so sorry, but this year we are going there. "
Trills - you're right, I don't need to say 'you have been horrible and I don't like it.' Do you think that would make it worse?
The thing about Christmas, when you are an adult, is that how you did it in the past does not dictate how you have to do it in the future. You are free to change plans, see other relatives, and please yourselves by running off to the Maldives or volunteering at Crisis. All sensible parents realise this. Only unreasonable deeply selfish parents start a campaign of highly emotional blackmail over it.
So start as you mean to go on by establishing the principle that you won't be dictated to over Christmas, and you will be doing different things over the years (I wouldn't offer alternate Xmases, as that's just another straitjacket).
I'd just ring your mother directly (best to get the backlash over with) and say you won't be with her for Christmas. And I would be tempted to refuse to debate it, and just say that's what you've decided, as calmly as you can. It really doesn't matter what she thinks-you're not being cruel or unreasonable, she isn't being banished. You're just going to MIL's for Christmas.
We used to see my parents pre Christmas, Xmas day on our own, and Boxing Day with his parents.
You just have to put your foot down and stop listening to their whinging.
Now is the perfect time, with a baby on the way you are going to have to suit your own little family over and above the extended.
Decide what you would do in an ideal world, and make it happen.
You have made it worse by allowing it to continue, that can't be denied, but you have not caused it. The cause is that your parents are whingy and clingy and emotional-blackmail-y and think that it is your job to make them have a nice Christmas. It isn't. It's your job to make you have a nice Christmas.
If you feel too emotional for a confrontation (and who can blame you) don't have one. No need to have it out with them - actions speak louder than words. Next time it comes up, you tell them you are going to MILs. No further discussion. Stick to that line and change the subject if they persist. If they still persist, say the doorbell rang/the cat's on fire, anything to get off the phone.
elizaregina sorry to hear you have Xmas woes too.
Thanks for the advice... I think part of me just feels the need to point out how bloody unreasonable they have been but I do see that this might not be worth it. Hard to drop that feeling though.
FWIW I know I am a pushover. I stand up to my (awful) mum in lots of big areas but I tend to let things like this go as it just feels easier (ha!) to keep her happy at times.
My advice would be to get your DH to speak to her. He won't be emotionally blackmailed by her and can calmly state what is going to happen.
I am very firm now with my mum if I think she is out of order but a few years ago
before I joined MN and grew a backbone I used to get DH to talk to her if I couldn't face it.
it sounds like your mum 'doesn't get on with' a lot of people. does she recognise she is the common denominator here?
personally, i would actually enjoy disabusing her of her notion you will be there. this kind of emotional bullying drives me insane. i have family like this and i take every opportunity to establish boundaries. take the first step, you may feel liberated.
don't give in. good luck.
She's not going to like it. She's going to moan. But, at the end of the day, you just have to let her complain. There's the old chestnut about not being able to control people but being able to control your reaction to them - so control yours and don't cave.
Argh. Nightmare for you. Trust me out your foot down now or otherwise when babies here it will be far far worse.
Exactly as Trillssaid, no debate, just very matter of fact. Good luck
It sounds like a really hard situation, could you put it to your mum that you will spend next christmas (baby's first christmas) with your parents and you are spending christmas with the inlaws this year so they won't be upset about missing your baby's first christmas?
you're also storing up problems with DH and MIL further down the line. One day you might need their support but have always niggled out of your responsibility to them where your parents are concerned.
If you want to be treated fairly then act it.
Your siblings have managed to balance parent time, about time you did.
Just phone and tell them what you are doing over Xmas. ie seeing the in laws and ask when they would like to see you. eg. Boxing Day, New Year. It is not fair on your in laws to never see them.
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