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To wish my mum would just stop pressuring us over Boxing Day?

(41 Posts)
Sahkoora Wed 10-Dec-14 10:17:44

Will try to keep this brief but it's been going on a while so this may not be possible.

A couple of months ago, DM had a huge argument with her sister during a very fraught time when my nan had a fall and needed a lot of care. I say an argument, it basically consisted of my aunt telling DM what she really thought of her (and us) and was basically an extremely nasty tirade, very personal and unnecessary during a stressful time.

DM did not say anything back, and she is the type of person that would rather forget about anything nasty, brush it all aside and pretend it never happened. She was devastated at the time, and I had lots and lots of tearful phonecalls saying (among other things) how Boxing Day wouldn't be a family occasion any more. She usually has my elderly parents over on Xmas Day and then either hosts or goes over to my aunt's house on Boxing Day.

My eldest DS has autism, and does not cope with large crowds well, so for the last couple of years, we've tried to keep Christmas quite low key. Last year we went away to DH's family, and this year, we planned to stay at home quietly.

But since DM was so upset, I invited her over to ours on Boxing Day, which she accepted, but only grudgingly. It was quite obvious she didn't consider that to be a family Christmas.

Since then, all has been brushed aside with my aunt and their big Boxing Day shindig is going ahead as normal. A couple of weeks ago DM asked whether she could just come for lunch on Boxing Day only so she could still go to my aunt's. Fair enough, that's her choice, although I was a bit hurt really.

Now she's making it really obvious she things we should be going too. I have said no about twenty times over the last week, but I am getting a LOT of guilt-tripping. It seems every time I speak to her, she's trying a new angle.

Now she wants to take our kids with her, which I just don't want. I know DS1 won't cope, there will be over 20 people in a smallish house, the excitement of presents and all the noise will be too much for him and he will have a huge meltdown at some point. DM is quite naive about his autism and I just don't want to leave her in charge.

She gets very tearful every time I say no, saying I'm ruining Christmas for her as she wants to spend it with the DC (but can't spend the day with them here). She's also saying we're being really rude since everyone has bought DC presents and we owe it to them to let them see the DC open them.

I live less than a 5 min walk from my aunt and I am not exaggerating when I say we NEVER see them. Only at Christmas and birthdays, and then they all sit around with catsbum faces because obviously they hate us so much, which she admitted when she was yelling at DM! So why should I owe anything to them, let alone a stressful Christmas for DS? If they want to see the DC open their presents, they could invite us round separately, or come to ours, but they won't.

Every time this has been brought up, I have been as reasonable as possible with DM and explained my thinking behind my decisions, but she's been in tears to my sisters and generally martyrish, saying how all she does is try to please everyone and how horrible I am for upsetting her so much. Am I being unreasonable to not want to spend a difficult boxing day with someone who hates us?

And to be a teeny bit jealous that DM doesn't consider being at mine on Boxing Day to be a family Christmas?

Sahkoora Wed 10-Dec-14 10:21:47

Some corrections, sorry, that should be HER elderly parents in the third paragraph!

Hoggle246 Wed 10-Dec-14 10:24:49

Urgh that sounds horrible, sorry.

Needless to say, you should stick to your guns, for the good of your dc if nothing else. You're doing the right thing.

Is your mum a bit scared of her sister or something? Is your aunt the one in charge? I'm just wondering if your mum is behaving like this because of perceived pressure elsewhere and not because she's trying to be difficult? Although horrible that the result is making you feel like this!

Spend Christmas how you want! Your aunt sounds a right charmer by the way.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 10-Dec-14 10:27:02

'Hi mum, auntie hates us and I am not spending the day with her. End of. She also hates you and if you want to do that then that's your look out. I shall be at home having a family day.'

HollyJollyDillydolly Wed 10-Dec-14 10:27:52

I would have thought spending the day with your daughter and family counts as a proper family Christmas.

On Christmas Day this year it's just me, dh and dcs but I consider it a family Christmas. There doesn't have to be a house full of people.
YANBU to be peeved.

merrymouse Wed 10-Dec-14 10:27:59

No, you are not being unreasonable. Leaving everything else aside, if your DS can't cope with this kind of situation he can't cope and that is the end of it.

I also have very little patience with the idea that Christmas can be 'ruined' unless something genuinely distressing happens, in which case Christmas is probably the least of your worries.

They may be perfectly nice people in their way, but both your mum and your aunt sound like drama llamas and I'm not surprised that family get together a are challenging for your DS.

FelineLou Wed 10-Dec-14 10:30:58

This is sad but your Mum's feelings are her own. She is using emotional blackmail with you to get her own way.
Stand firm and repeat "I'm sorry you feel that way but your DGC must be considered here."
You are allowed to make your own plans and she should treat you like adults.
She seems to want you to release her for lunch with aunt and I would do that if she continues to press.
But you do not have to go.

TipseyTorvey Wed 10-Dec-14 10:32:44

Life is really too short to spend it with people who do not love and cherish you and your family. Christmas is meant to be joyous and a time to create happy memories of giving and sharing, not stress and guilt (IMO). Stick to your guns and focus on your children.

I have a whole brainful of childhood memories of horrible Christmases with my extended family sniping at each other, as an adult I refuse to play these games. Why spend time with people you don't see the rest of the year just to be made miserable?

Sahkoora Wed 10-Dec-14 10:33:34

Oh yes, DM is definitely scared of my aunt. Probably because she's capable of being so nasty. The things she said to DM were really awful, she slagged off everything from her marriage to her cooking skills and DM said nothing back at all. When I think about it, she's just made even more effort with aunt to try and show her that she's wrong.

I am not a confrontational person at all, but even I think she's been really spineless. I feel like I offered DM something to help her when she was upset and she's been quite rude and horrible about it really.

Fudgeface123 Wed 10-Dec-14 10:34:52

This is why we go away every Christmas! fgrin

Lottapianos Wed 10-Dec-14 10:47:15

Christmas is most definitely the season for guilt trips!

She's being utterly ridiculous OP. Tears? Christmas is 'ruined'? hmm Apparently the only thing that matters is what she wants. Well bugger that. You have said no repeatedly, do not cave in now. Your son will be seriously stressed out and you don't trust your mum to be able to support him properly. So no. Just no.

I completely understand the weight of guilt and how gruelling it is to stand up to these professional martyr type people, but you deserve to have a peaceful Christmas and so does your DS. You are not responsible for your mother's happiness or for giving her the Christmas she wants.

My therapist (massive family issues of my own!) has been really helping me cope with similar feelings about letting down my parents by reminding me that they might be disappointed, but so what. People deal with disappointment all the time. Nobody gets things their own way all the time, that's just how it goes. I find it really helpful.

Stand firm flowers

Sahkoora Wed 10-Dec-14 11:08:57

Thank you all for confirming I'm not BU.

I would never have thought of DM being emotionally manipulative, but it's happening more and more recently. Every time I disagree with her, she seems to get upset and tearful.

Last week DSis had a root canal and DNephew was off school with a sickness bug. DM wanted to bring him round to mine while DSis was at the dentist to see DS2 and 3, who is 6weeks old! I said I really didn't want them to catch the bug and DM cried about this too. Saying she just couldn't win etc etc. I've started to feel like I'm being horrible to her all the time, so it's good to hear that other people think I'm not BU about Boxing Day.

MonstrousRatbag Wed 10-Dec-14 11:15:25

Actually, I'be got a lot of sympathy for your mother, who is clearly trapped in a terrible relationship with your aunt that your mother hasn't got the resources to change. That is no reason for you to facilitate the terrible relationship though-quite the opposite.

Your mother has made a rod for her own back by deciding to go to your aunt despite the nasty outburst. She presumably wants you there for moral support-to facilitate, again.

Don't do it, obviously. And I really think it is time to stop discussing it or reasoning with her. Shut the conversation down, whether it is directly with her or through your sisters (ask them not to tell you her latest moans to them, there's no point). She's not hearing you, is she? So further conversation is pointless.

Lottapianos Wed 10-Dec-14 11:16:30

You're not BU at all OP. This is classic emotional manipulation - ramping up the guilt every time she doesn't get her own way. You need to treat it like toddler tantrums - stay calm, ignore, distract, do not give in. All about the boundaries.

Good luck, its horrible

ShirazSavedMySanity Wed 10-Dec-14 11:38:50

Is your DM doing this as she wants someone on 'her side' to be there, sort of an emotional crutch if it all kicks off again?

FragrantFlower Wed 10-Dec-14 11:41:29

Awful situation for you. But if you were up to it, could you not pop round for an hour after lunch?

Have experienced quite a few of these problems in life, and have come to the conclusion that sometimes it's not worth upsetting people too much because then you're burdened with the guilt which outweighs the benefits you got by digging your heals in in the first place.

If you CAN compromise somehow, do - it's often the best way in the long run. If only for peace-of-mind.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 10-Dec-14 11:48:55

Sorry FragrantFlower I totally disagree with you on that. Why on earth should the OP put her son through a stressful ordeal for him and inevitably her to spend time with people who have admitted they don't like her family just to please someone who clearly has no interest in putting the OP first either.?

The OP has NOTHING to feel guilty about. Life's too short to ruin christmas for people who don't give a toss about your situation.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 10-Dec-14 11:52:11

Oh and I'm not defending the aunt at all here OP she sounds vile but is it possible that your mum pulls this emotional manipulation with her a lot too? If there was already a lot of stress flying around and your mum was somehow giving out 'non confronational' guilt trips it may have triggered the blow up?

MonstrousRatbag Wed 10-Dec-14 11:52:26

I also disagree with popping iin. If it were just OP that would be an option, but given what she's said about her children and how the aunt and family behave towards them, it isn't.

merrymouse Wed 10-Dec-14 11:52:37

I think I'd be a more sympathetic with your mum if she wasn't complaining about Boxing Day not being a family occasion when she has the option if spending it with you and your children.

I agree with fragrant that it doesn't hurt to be kind. However, I think this 'crisis' is largely in your mum's head. She has the option of spending Christmas either at a large family gathering or with you - lucky her.

There is no reason to be burdened with guilt just because it suits another person for you to feel that way.

Your mother is right that often you can't win - but that is life, not a reason to be a martyr or burst into tears on a regular basis.

FragrantFlower Wed 10-Dec-14 11:54:43

itiswhatitiswhatitis not saying she has ANYTHING to feel guilty for, but clearly the stress of it is weighing on her mind, and in my own personal experience it is sometimes beneficial to go for an option of compromise.

If she doesn't want to, or can't then fair enough, just saying it's something for her to consider...

Mammanat222 Wed 10-Dec-14 12:03:03

What normally happens?

Its a family do at your Mum's or Aunts? That you do not normally attend?

DayLillie Wed 10-Dec-14 12:03:42

My mother used to do this to me, and I used to compromise. Got me nowhere - the worst of both worlds.

The time for compromise is later, when boundaries are properly set, and there is no guilt tripping going on.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 10-Dec-14 12:04:37

I see what your saying Fragrant but I think if the mum would let it go instead of pestering and manipulating then the OP wouldn't be stressed. If she gives in and goes she's will feel stressed and resentful anyway and her son will have to go through unnecessary stress too. Maybe I'm a bit bias as my son has autism too so I understand why the OP doesn't want to go. There is no way I would put my son in a crappy situation he can't cope with just to appease someone too selfish to put her family first.

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 10-Dec-14 12:05:50

'The worst of both worlds' Exactly daylillie.

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