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Family row - mum not talking to me - AIBU?

(35 Posts)
muminthecity Tue 22-Dec-15 11:02:53

We are usually a very close family and hardly ever argue so I'm finding it difficult to know what to do. Every year I spend Christmas at my sister's house with DD, my parents and my sister. Our only other family is my lovely aunt (mum's sister) her husband and their 12 year old. Aunt lives too far to travel to us on Christmas Day, and Dsis doesn't really have space for everyone, so aunt always invites us all over a few days before for a family Christmas celebration. She goes to loads of effort, makes a huge traditional Christmas meal, bakes cakes, buys us all lovely presents etc - really goes to town.

Anyway, this was due to happen on Sunday. We'd all been looking forward to it for weeks, especially the kids. On Sunday morning, just as we were about to leave, we got a text from mum saying she was tired and had a bit of a cold so she and dad weren't coming. She hadn't even let my aunt know yet. Dsis and I were so disappointed. We knew aunt would've gone to so much trouble, and this would be her only chance to see family over Christmas. My mum has a history of letting aunt down and making no effort with her only neice. We were really embarrassed that they'd be so selfish and really upset on aunt and cousin's behalf.

Anyway, the rest of us went and had a fantastic day but it was clear that aunt was really hurt by the fact that they'd cancelled at the last minute.

When we got home late that night, Dsis and I both had a text from mum saying 'well thanks for the phone call!' She was annoyed that we hadn't called her during the day and that she'd been left out! Even though she was the one who'd cancelled. So I called her on it and told her that we hadn't called because we'd been putting all our effort into trying to make sure aunt and cousin had a good day to make up for the fact that they'd cancelled the only family Christmas we have for such a shit reason.

Mum was very offended and demanded an apology which I have refused to give (I didn't say anything nasty or rude, or untrue so don't feel I have anything to apologise for.) So now she is not speaking to me, and we are all due to arrive at my sisters on Christmas Eve to spend the whole of Christmas together.

My Dsis completely agrees with me but is trying to stay out of it as her and mum don't have the best relationship anyway, and Dsis is worried she'll just make things worse.

So, my question is, have I been unreasonable? And where do we go from here? Any advice would be really appreciated.

KondosSecretJunkRoom Tue 22-Dec-15 11:11:29

Your dm was unreasonable for carrying on over not getting a text.

I think you were unreasonable for saying that you didn't text her because you were making up for her not being there. A text takes no time so it was a tit for tat passive aggressive response. You should have told her to wind her neck in and leave it at that.

And your Aunt was unreasonable for acting put out and making you an audience to demonstrate how hurt she was that your dm wasn't there.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 22-Dec-15 11:18:33

Does your DM have form for making herself the centre of attention?

You posted that she has form for letting her DSis down, it seems to me (from the little that you have posted) that its all about her and she will do what she can to make herself the centre of things.

Dipankrispaneven Tue 22-Dec-15 11:21:01

Kondos, OP's mother wasn't asking for a text, she was asking for a phone call, which is rather different. I really don't get why she expected to be telephoned when her daughters were out, I think it would be really quite rude if someone visiting me disappeared to make a non-essential phone call. And if she really felt the need to speak to her daughters, she could have phoned them.

As for OP's aunt - you have no idea how she acted, so it's ludicrous to suggest that she was unreasonable. Guess what, when you care for someone you know when they're hurt even when they try to hide it, there is no reason to assume the aunt made a big production number out of it.

OP, I don't think you have been unreasonable in any way. If your mother was that desperate to know how the day was going she should have made the effort to turn up, and sending passive-aggressive texts just makes her conduct worse.

I don't really have any advice for where you go from here. I'd be tempted to tell your mother to grow up and stop spoiling everyone's Christmas, but I know that that is probably the best way to inflame everything. Can you talk to your dad about it and see if he can calm her down?

Wolpertinger Tue 22-Dec-15 11:26:19

I don't think you are being unreasonable. It strikes me that a lot of close families that don't argue stay that way because everybody knows how to behave even if one person is unreasonable - rather than being a healthy sort of close where people argue and clear the air.

Do you think that describes your family?

scarlets Tue 22-Dec-15 11:28:43

Maybe your mum has got it into her head to be jealous of your and your sister's strong bond with your aunt and cousin (you mention that your sis and your mum have a strained relationship). This could explain her odd behaviour.

muminthecity Tue 22-Dec-15 11:31:32

Yes Wolpertinger, that describes my family to a tee. We do all love each other dearly but any issues/upset are always swept under the carpet and never mentioned again. Especially if they might upset my mum.

As for my aunt, she didn't make a production of it at all, she put a smile on, didn't mention their absence and tried to get on with it, but it was still clear to me that she was hurting.

muminthecity Tue 22-Dec-15 11:33:07

Also, it wasn't a text that mum wanted, it was a phone call. She'd have wanted us to all call her together and pass the phone round to tell her exactly what was happening and how much she was missed.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 22-Dec-15 11:36:52

Kondos must be the OPs mum, I can't see any reason why she would be so defensive!

OP you weren't unreasonable at all. I wouldn't have called my mum and I don't get why she thought you would?

YANBU and your mum is being mean for the sake of it.

KondosSecretJunkRoom Tue 22-Dec-15 11:39:27

Ok, phone call/ text, neither need to take very long. I just think the OP escalated things by saying she couldn't call because she was too busy making up for her dm's poor behaviour. I don't think it was necessary.

The OP's dm has a history of being flakey (or worse) with her sister. The OP's Aunt won't necessarily be surprised that her sister didn't turn up. She's known her sister for a lifetime afterall. There was no need for the OP to 'make up' for her dm's choice. Her Aunt is probably more emotionally resilient than she gives her credit for.

However, if the Aunt made the OP feel she had to make up for her dm's behaviour, then that escalated things too.

The whole thing just seems emotionally charged in a way that seems disproportional to the situation.

I may be biased. My dm behaves in a similar way to the OP's. I can't change her, you can't logic someone or guilt them into better behaviour. You can't apologise or compensate for someone else's behaviour. You can only create clear boundaries and not fuel the drama.

Strokethefurrywall Tue 22-Dec-15 11:40:38

Oh dear god your mother is a child.

Tell her to grow up. And don't apologize!

KondosSecretJunkRoom Tue 22-Dec-15 11:42:39

I am not the Op's Mum grin. <Stomps feet, feigns illness and descends into a pool of self pity>

OnlyLovers Tue 22-Dec-15 11:42:47

She'd have wanted us to all call her together and pass the phone round to tell her exactly what was happening and how much she was missed.

This sounds so tedious and exhausting.

I'd turn up at Christmas all breezy and cheerful, and if she tries to bring it up just say airily 'This again?' and change the subject until she gets the message.

Sparkletastic Tue 22-Dec-15 11:44:03

What's your DF doing in all this? Why didn't he go to Aunt's as arranged? Your mum sounds like a petulant immature attention seeker. Treat her with calm politeness but make it clear that you will not be apologising for a drama of her making.

Dipankrispaneven Tue 22-Dec-15 11:48:16

I do agree with OnlyLovers, the thought of having to make some bit family phone call from an event that your mother could have perfectly well have attended for herself sounds incredibly tedious. If she genuinely hadn't been well enough to go, it would arguably have been quite inconsiderate to call her when she might have been sleeping just to tell her what a lovely time you were all having. And if she wanted to know what you were all doing, she could just as well have found out the next day.

Hullygully Tue 22-Dec-15 11:50:50

The fact that your mother sat there waiting for a call to prove how much her absence mattered and didn't call you all herself says it all.

diddl Tue 22-Dec-15 11:51:58

"she was tired and had a bit of a cold so she and dad weren't coming."

So not even really ill, not alone & expected phone call(s) from people whilst they were out?


" I just think the OP escalated things by saying she couldn't call because she was too busy making up for her dm's poor behaviour."

I agree with that also.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 22-Dec-15 11:56:55

Your mum sounds like and attention seeking nightmare and you called her on it.

I think she is the only unreasonable one here but you will have to deal with the fallout. I agree with being bright and breezy!

Narp Tue 22-Dec-15 11:59:00

Your mother is behaving like a baby.

Narp Tue 22-Dec-15 12:01:27

But I agree with Kondos to an extent.

Youarentkiddingme Tue 22-Dec-15 12:03:07

I'm often surprisd by the number of people who "expect a phonecall". You want to speak to someone? Pick up the phone and call them grin if they aren't bust they will answer. If they are either leave a voicemail or text if its to pass on information.

I would just not mention it. If your mum mentions it repeat the same line over again and change the subject like you would to a toddler/young child.
"Mum you knew we were out and you were too ill to come and speak to the people we were with"

rainbowstardrops Tue 22-Dec-15 12:03:51

I agree, just breeze in on Christmas Eve and don't mention it.
If dm does then just sigh loudly and suggest dm gets over herself.
She sounds quite draining

Fairenuff Tue 22-Dec-15 12:04:29


ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 22-Dec-15 12:05:40

It's very true that she could have called you all rather than leave you to mind read what she wanted.
What if she had been in bed, resting, and too ill for a phone call?

MetalMidget Tue 22-Dec-15 12:10:22

If my mother said she was tired and ill, I would have not wanted to disturb her in case she was resting. :/

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