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To be cross with my DM about Christmas Day.

(15 Posts)
Ridingthestorm Tue 16-Dec-14 09:30:15

Sorry, another ChristmS/family rift story to get brought!!!

We (me, DH and DS) invited my parents for Christmas as we do every year. We have a small DS (DD on the way!) and we find it easier that 'everyone' comes to us as we have the space and also in the past there was just 'us', my parents and DH's parents. FIL died at Easter and MIL is now living with us as we are building her an annexe to live in. We really don't want to leave MIL and it is now a struggle fitting 'us' at home because my parents are in the process of divorcing but still live in the same house but separate bedrooms.
This is the problem:
I invited my parents again for Christmas. I asked my mum first as I was on the telephone to her. Her response went like this: "I would absolutely love to come and spend Christmas but if your father is going, I won't be". This made me VERY cross. I reminded my mum that she was doing EXACTLY what my now estranged brother did five years ago - they congratulated me on my engagement but said they were unlikely to attend the wedding due to my parents being there. As it turned out, they didn't attend and it was the last time I heard from them. They cut ties with us; refused to forward on their new address when they moved abroad two months later. I told my mum that both were invited and I would leave it up to them to decide what to do and put the phone down (the conversation came to an end - I didn,t slam the phone down!)
I asked my dad a week later during a few days visiting. He didn't give me an answer but I did say to him that I will leave it up to him and mum to discuss the logistics. On the day me and DS were leaving, mum asked me what I wanted to do with the presents. I said either she, dad or both will be bringing them down. She asked if dad had given a reply, I said no, not yet and she got cross about dad not giving a reply until I reminded HER that neither had she, really. We left it at that.
Move forward a week (yesterday) and dad phones me to say mum not mentioned it to him but yes, whatever my mum has stated, HE will be down regardless. I thanked my dad and told him what she had said. I reiterated that I was very cross and found it very childish. This is why.

My parents are still living in the same house. My mum pushed my dad to seek a divorce despite me telling her that she should be doing it because she was the one that wanted it. I am still really non the wiser as to why she wants it except that she maybe going through a midlife crisis (her very good friends don't think she is 100% committed to wanting a divorce). I think she pushed my dad so she can demand that he pays for the divorce on both sides, demand my dad pays ALL bills including the mortgage and expect half of everything. My dad, obviously, hit the roof. She even wants bank statements to go to her solicitors and claims she has always kept the joint account in control despite her never contributing to it - my dad always has. The solicitor even wants my GRANDMA's bank statements despite it not being relevant to the divorce (gran in a care home with Alzheimer's) Anyways, digressing, this is their living arrangements:

Mum still does dad's washing and ironing, they do the 'books' together every morning, she still cooks his dinner etc (including roast dinners), shopped for work clothes for him at half term and when she bought a pack of mince pies for herself, she bought my dad a pack of his favourite sausage rolls!!!!

Does this sound like a woman who wants a divorce?

Also, if she can do all that (they do sleep in separate rooms), why the heck can't she spend one christmas day with us???? If I said don't bother coming to both of them, they would be together on Christmas Day as it is, at home! At least, coming down to us means they have four other people to take their mind off each other, especially their DGS and mum is so very hands on with him as it is! She even came upstairs laughing when DS said something funny about my dad. She wasn't laughing maliciously, but more because it was genuinely funny.

I have told both parents that I will stick by both of them whatever their decision but have made it clear that I believe they are doing the wrong thing - both refusing marriage counselling. I don't speak to my mum about the divorce, I prefer it that way, but on the odd occasion my dad will tell me something my mum has done, mainly to let off steam because he has nobody else in his life; friends seem to be 'siding' with my mum despite them agreeing with 'us' that divorce is not something they are convinced either one of them wants. I think it is because my mum is more outgoing than my dad but over the years my dad has always claimed that my mum has stopped him from having friends. Certainly going on past history, that would be the case.

So AIBU for being angry with my mum for refusing to share Christmas Day with my dad and 'us' when she does all of the above as it is???? I would feel guilty if she didn't but at the same time, it would be her doing, her choice, nobody else forced her to make that decision. I don't want either parent being alone at Christmas and one of them certainly would be if either one of them stayed at home. Fair enough if they both had other partners, we could alternate christmas and new year, but they don't.

Sorry for the epic post. I didn't want to drop feed but give as much of the facts and back story as possible.

Frogme Tue 16-Dec-14 09:37:00

I think you need to step back and let them sort it out themselves. You can't be seen to be taking sides at all. If dm decides not to come, say that's a shame. If you change your mind even at the last minute then you know you are always welcome.

Oppugno Tue 16-Dec-14 09:38:05

I don't think that YABU and like yourself I do think that it is a strange living situation for them both to be in, it sounds like your DM hasn't made up her mind about the divorce to me but that's only my opinion ultimately only your DF and DM know what happens behind closed doors.

I think that it's great you have given them both the option to attend and I think that your DM made a childish comment that perhaps she didn't mean. You've done the right thing, whether they attend or not is their decision at the end of the day.

Ridingthestorm Tue 16-Dec-14 10:32:40

Frogme
I am not getting involved in their marriage woes, hence why I told my DM that I would not discuss who said what and who has done what with her. Likewise with my dad. I think he has told me twice since June things that have happened. In both instances, I have listened but not gave comment. Although I did state my feeling about my mum's decision regarding Christmas Day. The only 'difficulty' they will have which is going against the 'norm' in their current circumstances is the journey to our house - two and a half hours in the car together - will be uncomfortable. I have suggested they can always come in separate cars. I would suggest that one of them stops over (usually mum as dad is self employed and needs to work) but mum works in retail and her work days happen to fall on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day this year so unlikely Meitner one would do.
All I want is for DS to have his grandparents and parents together at Christmas (like always and especially since FIL has now passed away). It isn't as if they haven't done this before when they have had a rift.
If DM still refuses to come down, do you think I should give her the option of spending New Year with us? Normally we don't 'celebrate' new year but it is an alternative.

MiddleAgedandConfused Tue 16-Dec-14 10:33:04

When my parents split and were living apart, my dad would go round to my mums and do odd jobs for her. When I got married she announced she couldn't cope with him at the wedding, despite being able to put up with him routinely in the week. Just one of many examples of her trying to manipulate her own children as part of the game of divorce.
So my view is that this is power game between the two of them and you are becoming a pawn in it.
Let your mum play this game out - she will find Xmas day lonely and boring by herself. Don't get drawn in or let her play you. She will learn quickly that you won't take part in her games.

GingerbreadPudding Tue 16-Dec-14 10:47:37

My parents are in exactly this same situation. Mum wants a divorce but they're still living together, she still does all cooking etc. he is house hunting for her but this has been going on for ages.

We invited them both for Christmas (I really didn't want mum to say yes) and in the end mum is going to do something with friends.

I think you have done the best you can by inviting both and leaving it to them to decide. Don't put on 'new year' just for your mum. They're grown ups. They've navigated many years of marriage and they'll work this out. Possibly they're enjoying the kick of seeing how far you will go to accommodate/side with one of them.

If your mum can tolerate your dad in a day to day basis now she's just being awkward about not being able to manage it for one day with you. As for the journey - they can both drive so if they don't want to come together they can drive separately.

Oldraver Tue 16-Dec-14 10:54:13

Oh just leave her to it...tell her she is welcome but its up to her to decide if she wants to come

Ridingthestorm Tue 16-Dec-14 10:54:57

I think that is the problem. I haven't been getting involved (at hers and my request) but I think deep down she wants me to, I keep reiterating that I am not taking sides. Their marriage woes are their problem and not mine. My dad is still my dad and likewise with my mum.
Both can be difficult people. Neither has contact with their family (parents and siblings and their own son) and they have only one couple they call on as their friends. My mum also hates her neighbours which has always been the case for as long as I remember no matter where we have lived!
I worry about them being lonely despite them living quite an isolated life from other people as it is. They have only ever had each other - since being school age and married for thirty nine years last month.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 16-Dec-14 11:15:20

"I reminded my mum that she was doing EXACTLY what my now estranged brother did five years ago - they congratulated me on my engagement but said they were unlikely to attend the wedding due to my parents being there."

"My mum pushed my dad to seek a divorce despite me telling her that she should be doing it because she was the one that wanted it."

Could I just suggest that you should be cross with your mother about a heck of a lot more than Christmas Day? shock

Firstly, did your brother not attend due to your parents being there, or due to your mother being there? Secondly, why is your father PANDERING to your mother? She sounds like a total piece of work.

Ridingthestorm Tue 16-Dec-14 16:59:22

I suppose I am cross with DM over a lot of things. That is a whole other thread!

She is a very challenging person, aggressive in mannerism and personality, and is 'never wrong'. You just have to look at the list of people that have come and gone in her life, people she has shunned because they do not live up to her expectations, or have said or done something unforgivable trivial, nobody is perfect or, as I found out yesterday, because she has been intiating affairs for much of her married life (38 years). I suppose I am the one constant in her life, despite our own massive falling out when I was 18 which resulted in us not speaking for six months. Nevertheless, she is my mum. She has done/will do anything for me if I am upset or having life woes of my own (as I am doing recently - currently not at work due to stress).

My dad panders to her, I suppose, because he is soft. He comes across as aggressive and impulsive himself but deep down, he doesn't want a divorce. He is doing this because my DM wants it. He isn't intelligent enough to realise my DM probably forced him to initiate it because she knew she stood a better chance of getting him to finance the entire divorce as well as all bills, mortgage and debt they have. My dad has tried to buy my DM out of the house but the mortgage company refused due to a loan they have on the property. He has already said that if she refuses to pay half of everything, then he will stop paying the mortgage and have the house repossessed which means they both end up with nothing or very little.

I am trying to stay out of their marriage strife but this Christmas Day fiasco is actually drawing me into it and I don't want to be part of any of it. I have treated them equally, inviting both for Christmas day and told my mum she has the option of driving herself here if she will find the journey uncomfortable. My friends, like everyone here, have said this afternoon that my mum has made a choice and it is her decision. She cannot blame anyone but herself if she doesn't like the decision she made. I do think she will make herself out to be a victim. Over the past few weeks I have had my own suspicions that she has played the victim in all this to an Oscar performance. She will persuade my 'aunt and uncle' that she has been wronged and I am tempted to ring them (DH has wanted me to ring them for months to 'put them in the true picture') and tell them of what has happened before she has a chance to manipulate the situation to her advantage.

The more I write this, the more I realise just how deceitful and manipulative my DM has/is being. But still, I cannot abandon her. She is my mum and despite me being drawn into this, I cannot shun her because of her relationships with my dad, extended family and her friends.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 16-Dec-14 17:09:49

Don't let yourself be drawn in. Buy your dad his favourite beer for the day and just let your mother [narc?] get on with it.

PortofinoVino Tue 16-Dec-14 17:12:11

"I would absolutely love to come and spend Christmas but if your father is going, I won't be".

At this point you should have put the phone down and thought no more about it tbh.

Ridingthestorm Tue 16-Dec-14 21:23:14

Right! She said no when my dad asked this evening. Said it would ruin my Christmas. She is using me as an excuse to play 'the victim' in her divorce with my dad. It wouldn't not ruin my Christmas. FFS I visit them every month for a few days with DS. Due to her confusing behaviour (washing and ironing DFs clothes, cooking his meals, buying work clothes for him, buying treats for him) my visits to them are absolutely fine, not uncomfortable so why the hell she thinks Christmas would be ruined is beyond me!

No more will be said. The offer will stand until the last moment. We always cook far too much as it is so there would be no danger of there not being enough Christmas dinner!

But she hasn't confirmed her status with us yet. I only know because DF told me via text this evening.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 16-Dec-14 23:43:06

" I do think she will make herself out to be a victim. Over the past few weeks I have had my own suspicions that she has played the victim in all this to an Oscar performance. She will persuade my 'aunt and uncle' that she has been wronged and I am tempted to ring them (DH has wanted me to ring them for months to 'put them in the true picture') and tell them of what has happened before she has a chance to manipulate the situation to her advantage."
Spike her guns. Make the call. Your DH is absolutely right.

MiddleAgedandConfused Tue 16-Dec-14 23:49:37

Keep steady - you are doing the exactly right thing.

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