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My mum says I'm being over-sensitive. Do you think I am?

(67 Posts)
PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 10:44:49

I emigrated to southern Sweden several years ago. In the 6 years I've been here I have not been visited by anyone from my family. My mum won't fly and it's too far for my dad to drive. Two of my sisters say it's too expensive, but they will come out when they can afford it. My other sister and brother say they'd love to come and will do soon but never do. The only time I see them is when I make the effort to go back to England. I feel sad about it but resigned to it.

Yesterday I was talking to my mum and she's all excited about an upcoming holiday. The whole family, parents and siblings (and their children) have clubbed together to hire a minibus and are driving down to France to stay with a distant cousin for a week. It's here 40th and she's having a big party to celebrate and they all want to go.

Am I being over-sensitive for feeling really hurt by this? They didn't make the effort to come for my daughter's 18th or graduation and my 40th passed by unnoticed. I accepted it at the time, but now it seems like it's 'can't be arsed to make it' rather than 'can't make it'. I was making plans to get my new son baptised back in the UK so they could all come. Now I'm thinking 'sod them' and having it here. My mum thinks I'm being reasonable. Am I?

RememberTheGoodTimes Wed 13-Feb-13 17:08:12

Having lived abroad, I personally wouldn't expect people to be able to come over to see me.
I know my parents would make the effort. I also know my DH parents wouldn't do the trip (various reasons but not linked to the fact they wouldn't want to make the effort iyswim).

I actually think there is an issue with the AS. Your IL have clearly accepted how their ds is (and you) whereas your family hasn't. Your IL are delighted to see their ds having a family etc... and are ready to support him/you. Your family clearly still has some issue to accept you/understand how you both function.

There is also such a thing as being forgotten when you are not there.....

PandaOnAPushBike Wed 13-Feb-13 17:10:55

your relationship with them prior to Sweden is key. You must have fallen out over something?

No, honestly no specific falling out other than telling them when I'm upset and them getting angry because they don't want to have to face it. Another example, one of my sisters told me to fuck off, hung up on me and then didn't speak to me for almost a year (about 15 years ago) because I rang her and asked her why, as a nurse, she hadn't thought it necessary to take my daughter to hospital when she accidentally burnt her arm on an iron while in her care. I only found out about it a few hours later when after she dropped my daughter off and my daughter said mummy look what happened. This was on speaker phone at A&E because the staff told me to ring and find out what happened. Prior to the call they were really snotty with me as I think they thought it was down to me. After the call they couldn't have been nicer and I had to take my daughter to their burns clinic for several weeks.

I suppose that is quite specific. They don't like being put on the spot about things they do wrong. Like with the birthday party. Being questioned about me not being there made them feel uncomfortable therefore I'm the one in the wrong. Being questioned about the burn made her feel uncomfortable, therefore I am in the wrong.

It can't be this one sided for no reason. They are close to each other but not to you. Do you send them birthday cards? Not inviting you to your Dad's 60th is a massive snub.

I have always sent birthday presents to them and their children. I can't bring myself not too, even though it's never reciprocated. They don't even send a thanks or acknowledge receiving them. I did post about that once before here under a different name and was told in no uncertain terms to knock it on the head. I know that advice is right, but I can't bring myself to follow it.

Not having a go I just can't make sense of it.

Me neither. I used to think I'd been mixed up at hospital or something as a baby as I am just so different from them. Maybe it's the autism. Or perhaps growing up on a Liverpool council estate and being the only one to win a scholarship to a very posh independent school changed me somehow. Funnily enough I once joined the same church as my youngest sister. A few years down the line I was at a prayer meeting and one of the leaders said that when I first joined and they knew whose sister I was they were very wary as they thought 'oh no, here we go again' but that they quickly realised that I was quite nice and fairly normal. The others all chuckled and agreed. My sister left shortly after I joined because I'd joined.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Wed 13-Feb-13 17:12:20

That is great news about the In Laws.

I have some family members just like yours. I don't think they mean to be nasty but they are unthinking. The problem is that I keep hoping they will change even thoughi know they won't. I can only manage my own expectations.

SignoraStronza Wed 13-Feb-13 17:25:48

No YANBU. I'm in a similar situation. Lived on mainland Europe near a well-serviced airport for five years. My mum and dad visited once and then my mum on her own twice more in that period.

I now live in the UK, about 250 miles away. Takes about 4 hours on a good run. Been here 22 months now and they've visited three times - although one of those times they were kind enough to help move some furniture.

They have a bloodyhouse in bloody France which takes eight hours to get to after an overnight ferry journey. They go at least four times a year. They always complain about how tiring the journey is. When I suggest that of they can manage that journey they can come and see us sometime my father said I am being unfair. I have two grandchildren. The 8 month old they have seen twice.

Fortunately I have a fantastic MIL.

ThatBintAgain Wed 13-Feb-13 17:26:23

Panda - I really feel for you and I know exactly where you're coming from. It's horrible when you finally take stock of your situation and realise your family are selfish gits with no interest in you or your family. I have a similar situation; I moved 90 mins away from my family and they never ever visited. However, my brother who lives on a tropical island got three visits in 12 months. hmm It shouldn't even be about whether someone else lives in a nice warm holiday destination, it's the fact that they don't care enough to visit and in 6 years not flying/not having the money is a pretty poor excuse.

I got lots of lovely support from people here when coming to terms with it all and the Stately Homes thread is a good place to start.

I'm so glad you have a lovely mother in law. Like you say, you have to concentrate on what you do have and sod the rest. I certainly wouldn't be breaking my neck to set up a Christening in the UK.

Branleuse Wed 13-Feb-13 17:32:52

if they didnt get on with you in england, theyre not going to travel.
I dont think the fact that youre a sister and the other person is only a cousin makes any difference. Id see ANY of my cousins a lot more enthusiastically than id see my brother.

lljkk Wed 13-Feb-13 17:46:11

Don't care if it's U or not, I'd be cheesed off if I were OP.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 13-Feb-13 17:51:33

Do you think they would notice if you decided just to mark birthdays with a card (if you can't bring yourself to stop that) and made no other contact - putting them resolutely out of your mind other than as a 'duty' (post a card - tick)?

Angelmist Wed 13-Feb-13 17:54:26


I think the family need to explain why. I think they have been thoughtless and if they have excluded you on pupose ask them what you have done to offend them. If you haven't iffended them they need to make it up to you otherwise resentment will grow and eventually no one will be talking.

brass Wed 13-Feb-13 18:00:29

I'm shock about the burn incident with your daughter. That would have been enough for me.

OP move on with your own life and plans. Surely the AS part of you can see the logic in that wink These people will continue to punish you in this way and that will only bring more and more sadness.

arthriticfingers Wed 13-Feb-13 19:16:55

Panda YANBU; I have lived in mainland Europe for over 30 years. My mother has been about 5 or 6 times - half of those on a trip with my sister's children - they sort of dropped in.
My sisters have never been. One sister never came because 'she just could not fly' - did not seem to stop her having exotic holidays every year. When I mentioned the holidays to the others, they all rallied round her 'Oh but you should see what a state she is in before flying. hmm
If I ever mentioned going to Britain to visit them, my mother would make a big song and dance about not being sure she would be free - before I had even mentioned dates!!!
And no, I was not invited to my father's 60th either - and it was his last birthday sad
So, either I am the worst person in the whole world - or they are toxic messed up.
I think I would have noticed if I had done something so terrible they just could not be bothered.
I didn't, and neither did you.

hattymattie Wed 13-Feb-13 19:35:05

I'm in this situation and I live in France - no other specific reasons for not visiting either it's always down to us to make the effort and go to the UK. We do have a very small house and three DC's but other people's parents in the same situation will rent a cottage or something. My parents are not so hard up that they can't afford to do this. As for my siblings they could easily visit and kip on the sofa.

I do feel that maybe we're not luxurious enough for them and if we could supply glamorous french holidays they would be here like a shot.

WorriedTeenMum Wed 13-Feb-13 19:56:31

When we lived abroad in NL one of the things we factored in was paying for flights - we chose to move abroad so we couldnt expect parents to foot the whole bill of visiting.

In the time we were away parents visited regularly but siblings visited once each. TBH we arent a majorly close family.

Adversecamber Wed 13-Feb-13 20:09:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingbohemian Wed 13-Feb-13 20:23:00

Panda, your family sound bonkers. And very rude. Don't put too much effort into them, focus on your DH and DC and the ILs who sound very sweet.

Lueji Thu 14-Feb-13 00:24:58

Ok, with a bit more background, it does sound like they really can't be that bothered about you specifically.

In that case, I wouldn't bother that much either.

Do the christening where is more convenient for you, and the family that bothers (ILs?).

HoleyGhost Thu 14-Feb-13 11:55:41

They have pigeonholed you as stuck up because you went to a posh school and have done well in life.

It sucks but you have made a new family and found happiness. Let them go.

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