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To not invite her for Christmas?

(28 Posts)
Edenviolet Thu 30-Oct-14 09:26:00

Have posted before about family issues, problems mainly with DM (and in the past with dsis)

I get on well with dsis now, she has made huge efforts to help me with my dcs lately, even learning how to care for dd2 (she has an insulin pump due to diabetes) and is the only family member so far to show any interest in helping with dd2. Things are improving greatly and the dcs really like her.

DM can still be very 'difficult' and would be best described as 'toxic'. She is very self centred and can be hateful but swings between hateful and all powerful to suddenly being frail and vulnerable when it suits her or a completely different person if anybody outside of our family is there and then she makes out that she is never in the wrong/is a nice person etcetc .

We have been thinking about asking dsis and her dp round at Christmas for the day, they always make a huge effort with the dcs and growing up we never had people round so it would be nice I think to have a bit more of a normal and sociable Christmas.
However, I know if I also invite DM it will change the dynamics of the day completely. She seems to bring an atmosphere with her wherever she goes, and it will I think make things uncomfortable, she also will be doing her vulnerable act and dh will have to pick her up/drop her back etc and then he will not be able to have a drink with Christmas dinner. DM and dsis don't really get on at all anymore so it could potentially end up with an argument too which I don't want dcs to witness.

I do feel bad though as I know if I don't invite her she will be alone all day and there is no other family nearby so I feel if I don't ask her I will look awful (and she will make sure she tells everyone what I've done excluding her).
In previous years we have gone to her her house on Boxing Day (the last time was 2012) but it was unbearable, she invited everyone but then proceeded to be angry that she was having to cook whilst everybody was playing with dcs etc, we did offer to help but then she got all annoyed we were not doing things how she would and she ran the day to such a tight schedule that it wasn't actually any fun and the dcs played up a bit. Dd2 was also very ill that year so it was stressful anyway and we decided we wouldn't go to her again at Christmas.

Dh thinks I should ask her anyway as she will say no (in his opinion as she doesn't like going far from her house/eating at other people's houses) but I know DM better than that and she will probably accept purely because she will assume if she's not here she will "miss out" then will quiz me for weeks afterwards as to was everybody talking about her etc etc, she hates me and dsis getting along too and whenever she is with us and we chat she does everything she can to call one of us away then gets tearful that she's not part of anything when usually we are only talking about the dcs or some other subject and not about her!

I just don't know what to do. I know with dsis and her dp we could have a fun day, the dcs will be happy etc but with DM there too there will be an atmosphere. On the other hand I can see how rude and uncaring it will look if I don't invite her as well. I don't know what to do?

WIBU to not invite her or should I just put up with her this year and try to make the best of things ?

VodkaJelly Thu 30-Oct-14 09:28:43

Why would you invite someone who will probably ruin your DC's Christmas Day and spoil their memories? If your mother is toxic then it is her own doing and no, you shouldnt invite her. Why spend the day with someone who makes you feel bad and crap?

Edenviolet Thu 30-Oct-14 09:35:04

Its hard to explain why I'd even consider it. I sometimes think maybe DM is not all bad and that something obviously made her the way she is, maybe if I extend the invitation to her she might be happy for once and change but that's a far fetched idea in reality.
Secondly I know full well that she will tell anybody who will listen anout her lonely Christmas if not invited and I will be painted as a cruel daughter who excluded her. She does a superb job to 'outsiders' of painting herself a s a caring yet downtrodden mother when behind closed doors she was anything but caring. She likes to be a victim outside of the house to gain sympathy but is actually a bully.

I know how much it will make the day less special but like I'm trying to be more sociable for the dcs and have the fun christmas I never had growing up I'm very aware how DM was towards her own mother for the same reasons I'm thinking of excluding DM. I wonder if I could somehow break the cycle but it would be hard to invite her,put up with her and still make the day nice just to try and break the horrible cycle within the family of being so disjointed.

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Thu 30-Oct-14 09:35:21

Don't invite her but don't mention you're asking your sister?

OR invite her over for Boxing day.

minkymuskyslyoldstoaty Thu 30-Oct-14 09:38:51

oh op, you sound so caring and the way you have written this post conveys so well your dilemma.

I don't know all the terminology used within the advice given on the toxic threads, ( Stately homes is one of the main threads). Yet i did come across something describing that guilt feeling when i was reading on here the other day.

I read that this is normal, tho it mightn't feel it. You are only human, remember that.

HappyAgainOneDay Thu 30-Oct-14 09:46:03

OP, your mother does not have to be lonely on Christmas Day. Presumably, nothing should stop her from inviting someone else to her house for Christmas - another single person perhaps?

Don't invite her at all if you think she will spoil the day for you and your family. Alternatively, have your sister (and her family, if any) for the Christmas lunch and invite your mother just for a couple of hours well after lunch. If she doesn't live far away, she could get a cab. Your DH would be unable to pick her up because he will have had a Christmas drink and ensure that your sister's DP has had a Christmas drink, too..

Edenviolet Thu 30-Oct-14 09:49:30

I think it may turn out worse if I don't say we are inviting dsis. DM has already been talking and laughing about dsis possibly not having a good Christmas. There is a horrible family history of secrets and lies so although I know it will cause a problem if I say it I feel like its another cycle I'm breaking by being open.

ifuknow Thu 30-Oct-14 09:53:36

Hi Hedgehog get over to 'Stately Homes' where there are some wise people who will point out exactly why you shouldn't feel guilty about not inviting your DM for Xmas.
I've been in the same situation as you, it's horrible, if she comes there will be an atmosphere, if you leave her at home you'll be wracked with guilt.
If you do invite her, can you make it more on your terms? E.g. make it clear DH won't be providing a taxi service as he wants to enjoy a drink, which is perfectly reasonable. Can you try to ignore her negative behaviour? You can't change how she acts, but you can control your reaction to her behaviour. Don't get sucked into her game playing and don't allow her to spoil your Xmas.

Brassrubbing Thu 30-Oct-14 10:06:20

I grew up with a doormat mother who couldn't say no to her own awful, elderly mother, and moved her into our tiny, already overcrowded house for large chunks of our childhood - every occasion was spoiled by this spiteful woman taking the fun out of everything, and saying deliberately hurtful things that rankle to this day. It was very clear that my mother regarded her own children's happiness as considerably lower down the agenda than that she assuage her own guilt and be seen to have her mother living with her.

Obviously, both my mother and grandmother were creatures of the circumstances that made them, but I do still blame my parents for not prioritising their own children at least some of the time, even occasionally. I don't remember a single Christmas when we weren't being tidied off out of the way and told to be quiet in one of the bedrooms so we didn't bother my grandmother, while my mother danced attendance on her, and my father didn't stick up for his own children's right to play on Christmas day in their own house.

OP, you are giving your mother too much of your mental space. If you think there is a serious risk that having your mother round on Christmas day will ruin both your enjoyment and that of your children, then don't even consider doing it. For one day, put the 'I should' guilt out of your mind - you cannot honestly think that ruining Christmas day is worth it because of what other people would say if your mother spread the word that she had spent it alone?

Invite your sister if you think that would be nice, or have a family Christmas and invite her on Boxing Day. Neither option should commit you to having your mother, or to having to tell lies about it. Tell her what you've said here if she complains.

ChasedByBees Thu 30-Oct-14 10:14:07

Isn't the situation for your DM going to be what it was anyway?

You weren't originally going to invite her (I assume). Your DSis doesn't like her so I assume she wasn't either. So it doesn't matter if you don't invite her in a sense. Your DSis wouldn't thank you for bringing her if their relationship is strained.

elelfrance Thu 30-Oct-14 10:18:37

Agree with everyone here, your sister seems to really be making an effort, and a christmas together with her & family would be lovely...but don't ruin it by inviting you mother to ruin the atmosphere

Edenviolet Thu 30-Oct-14 10:21:38

No we just wanted to invite dsis and her dp but dh mentioned to me about the problem it will cause when DM finds out. I don't feel we should have to keep it a secret or feel forced into inviting her but her personality is such that either way it will be difficult.

It really hit home when dh said that if he was inviting his dsis/db to us for Christmas all his DM would have to say about it would be how nice it was they were all getting together.

wobblybobbly Thu 30-Oct-14 10:29:07

Oh op my DH could have written similar about his mother and I know the levels of guilt and stress this causes. Add to that the excitement and stress caused by making christmas run smoothly and it's a recipe for disaster. So many people tell me christmas is a time for families to come together but in families where there is history of issues that just cannot be possible.
It sounds like your dsis and her dp will make Christmas Day a happy one for you. Only put yourself, your dp and your children first. That's what we are doing this year and it feels great! We will see DMIL on Christmas Eve, which will ease the guilt on Christmas Day.
Hope you find a solution that works.

Brassrubbing Thu 30-Oct-14 10:34:10

Jesus, your mother has really done a number on you, hasn't she, hedgehog? It sounds from your post as though she actually got off on you and your sister being at odds with one another, and would like to do anything in her power to stop you getting along now - and she's already managing to do this, without having to lift a finger, because you're now considering not inviting your sister even though you want to.

If it helps to take the guilt away, I would say to focus on your children and what would make their Christmas happy, rather than your own preferences. Though of course you should be consulting your own wants too. It seems very clear that having your sister will make their Christmas even better, while having your mother there is likely to create a strained atmosphere of drama and manipulation as your mother tries to set you and your sister against one another again, like a manipulative ten year old who doesn't like it that her two friends are now getting on together.

waithorse Thu 30-Oct-14 10:43:43

I agree with everyone else. She sounds a nightmare, don't invite her.

CookieB Thu 30-Oct-14 10:55:07

I wouldn't sacrifice a lovely day with family for someone who was unhappy if they were there or not. She could potentially ruin your children's Christmas and for that reason she wouldn't be getting invited.

NightOfTheLivingRed Thu 30-Oct-14 11:07:35

The guilt issues are so hard, and are so deeply ingrained that they can affect you badly when finally making decisions that are right for one's own family not the toxic parent. It is such a no-win situation, until (if ever) the stage of no-contact is reached......and it doesn't sound as though you are there, yet, OP.

I would agree that you should do as you would want to ensure a happy family day, but it is obvious that you are very worried by the potential fallout. So, my suggestion would be to schedule a late Christmas meal (rather than at lunchtime) and invite her to that. That way, you can enjoy a relaxed day with your sister and family, a really nice picky lunch together, and only put up with the storm for a short while at the end. Mother arrives mid afternoon, and is gone by childrens bedtime. She will have been included, does not actually need to know when your sister may be arriving, and her time with you will be fairly short!!
Damage limitation of this kind did work for me for years before I finally went NC over other (less controllable) issues.

babyboomersrock Thu 30-Oct-14 11:17:19

I sometimes think maybe DM is not all bad and that something obviously made her the way she is, maybe if I extend the invitation to her she might be happy for once and change but that's a far fetched idea

You're right, OP. People like her don't change just because someone keeps pandering to them - and though she may well have "issues", it isn't her daughter's job to sort them. It's far more important that your children enjoy Christmas day so do what will make them happy. Your DM has brought this on herself, and you're not going to improve the situation by giving into her manipulative behaviour.

Don't worry about what other people think - I know it's hard when she seems like Mrs Nice Guy to everyone, but people will draw their own conclusions.

Make it a good Christmas for your children and include your sister; your mother may well be annoyed by your good relationship, because people like her rely on 'divide and rule' to exert control. That's her problem.

babyboomersrock Thu 30-Oct-14 11:24:57

So, my suggestion would be to schedule a late Christmas meal (rather than at lunchtime) and invite her to that. That way, you can enjoy a relaxed day with your sister and family, a really nice picky lunch together, and only put up with the storm for a short while at the end

I can see why you'd consider that (I had many years of the same sort of thing) but I'd never have had a pleasant day knowing what was to come later.

I suppose OP has to balance her feelings of guilt against the feelings of dread - as the daughter of a challenging mother, I'd suggest OP gets herself informed about toxic relationships and learns to be assertive before it becomes unbearable. The only chance you have of changing someone's bad behaviour is to change your own. I wish I'd known that sooner.

HoodwinkedByStealth Thu 30-Oct-14 11:28:02

Why does she say this: DM has already been talking and laughing about dsis possibly not having a good Christmas. ?

IF she says it again, can you not just say, well then I'll invite her to ours for
Christmas.

NightOfTheLivingRed Thu 30-Oct-14 11:38:41

I'd suggest OP gets herself informed about toxic relationships and learns to be assertive before it becomes unbearable. The only chance you have of changing someone's bad behaviour is to change your own. I wish I'd known that sooner

YYY
It is not a short journey though. Making a stand can, and frequently does, take considerable courage.

Edenviolet Thu 30-Oct-14 12:09:38

Because dsis moved out of DMs and dm thinks it will be horrible as its her first "proper Christmas away" she wants her to be unhappy and miss 'home'

Osmiornica Thu 30-Oct-14 12:15:01

If your sister has only just moved out of your mother's home then this is the perfect opportunity for you to show your sister what a normal, loving family Christmas is like by not inviting your mother to spoil it all.

elQuintoConyo Thu 30-Oct-14 12:27:02

Your DM is responsible for the fall out of her own horrible actions.

Your Dm is responsible for the fall out of her own horrible actions.

Your DM is responsible for the fall out of her own horrible actions.

<and repeat!>

Are we sisters? Our DMs sound the same.

I have just had my DM to stay for two weeks - a week longer than usual because she booked flights thinking only of herself. It was hell. It has taken me a week to recover and I.haven't spoken/emailed/texted since she left.

She ruined DS's first Christmas - well, he was two weeks old, but she ruined the whole thing for all of us. DS is 4, she hasn't been invited back since.

"We want to do it this way" is the only explanation you need to give. "We want to do it this way, would love to have you over for boxing day lunch" or some such thing.

State what you are going to do and don't give reasons.

Fear
Obligation
Guilt

FOG: it's tough to live with.

thanks

ifuknow Thu 30-Oct-14 12:40:47

BrassRubbing unfortunately there are lots of us whose mothers have 'done a number on us' and it can take years to undo the damage and learn to stand up for yourself.
Agree wholeheartedly with LivingRed deeply ingrained guilt issues are difficult to overcome.
The fact that your DM is actually hoping Dsis is unhappy at Christmas says it all, what a nasty piece of work. I'd say don't invite her at all now. Concentrate pn having a lovely 'normal' Xmas with DC that they will remember with happiness.

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