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I'm being excluded by family

(110 Posts)
TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 14:16:09

Posting as I could really do with some perspective on this as I'm feel pretty low.

I have coeliac disease, diagnosed four years ago. Since diagnosis I've been consistently left out of family celebrations - birthday meals etc. There are plenty of places I can eat but the feeling is I should go and sit there while they all eat. If I don't it's felt that I'm being difficult.

The first year I was diagnosed, I went along for my mums birthday, sat there while they all went on about how lovely the food was and what a shame I couldn't eat it. I had roaring PND at the time and was struggling with the diagnosis, I got upset and left half way through the meal. Nobody got in touch with me for weeks, general consensus was i'd ruined the meal.

The second year it happened again. I asked if they could go somewhere I could be included and got into a huge argument with my sister who said I was being selfish and it's my mums birthday and she should be able to eat where she likes. I didn't go.

This year I got a text saying 'we're going to x I know it's tricky with your diet, let me know if you can come'. I replied saying the restaurant didn't cater for me and left it at that. This was two weeks ago - not heard from them since. Dinner was last night. Lots of photos on FB today saying what a wonderful time they had.

So AIBU to be upset? The illness is for life. I can't do anything about it. I just can't imagine a scenario where I would leave DS out of a family meal because of a health condition.

Im going to have to speak with them at some point but I'm at a loss as to what to say.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:01:04

I said this where they are going. I tried to have a discussion last year...they're not interested

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:02:42

Sorry for poor spelling was on the bus

TinyDancingHoofer Sun 19-Oct-14 15:05:06

The poster above is right it is about the company not about the food. So the OP should go for the company and not the food. I don't think it is too much to ask to go once a year to a restaurant you can't eat in.

You sound a bit attention seeking and difficult. Just take a Tupperware of salad and enjoy the conversation.

P.s. My answer would be different if you were being excluded every week but once a year is a different situation. Maybe organises the birthday meal yourself next year.

Nomama Sun 19-Oct-14 15:05:33


Do you have a super nasty version of CD?

Others have said they don't have so much trouble, I know DSis manages to eat almost anywhere.

I am not trying to be nasty but is some of the problem that you personally have very high expectations, maybe because somewhere got it wrong and you were really ill?

Having said that, I can't imagine not being able to have a discussion with close family about it.

MrsMoon76 Sun 19-Oct-14 15:07:02

I am amazed that there is such an issue with restaurants not able to do something. Here in Ireland almost everywhere can cater for GF diets. Maybe that's because there seems to be such a high level of people with GF requirements. My db's gf has a serious issue and is very sensitive to gluten and we have all learnt to adapt our cooking styles and choice of places to eat so that she can come. DM has even found somewhere to get GF birthday cakes. I think its such a shame that your family is so intolerant. Is there one reasonable family member that you can talk to?

LilAnnieAmphetamine Sun 19-Oct-14 15:12:08

But I don't understand why you are excluded. I have never been excluded and neither has a close relative who has CD and is diabetic. Sometimes my choices are limited but I still go along and I take my own food because I am not excluded from the company and the pleasure of it. You sometimes just have to go and suck it up rather than cutting off your nose to spite your face and staying at home.

Wedding banquets- many of them ask about dietary needs. I went to one where the kitchen offered to prepare something when none of the options were right for me or another guest. They offered to heat up food we brought in or make something.

I have another relative who is lactose intolerant and she always makes it about her, even when she is in the presence of people with far more serious health concerns. It sucks the joy out of the occasion because I have yet to see a situation where she couldn't eat something perfectly decent. But she has to discuss it non stop and everybody ends up being made to feel guilty because they don't have a lactose intolerance. Are you sure you haven't in a small way, talked about it so much that it becomes all about you and you appear to be refusing to accept that sometimes you have to adapt?

This is NOT the same as being in a wheelchair. CD does not stop you from entering any eating place I have been in. There is always a way around it with planning (and yes that has to often come from you) which might seem unfair but life is not always fair. Contacting restaurants and explaining what you'd like is a great idea and I have found that most places are receptive to this. Even if they cannot guarantee a lack of cross contamination (and they won't guarantee this because NOTHING is 100%, not even your own kitchen), most will be happy for you to bring some food along in the worst case scenario.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:14:10

tiny It's not one a year unfortunately - it's pretty much every time. Doesn't bother me most if the time but birthdays, Christmas etc it would be nice to be included.

Not sure if I'm especially I say there's lots of places I can eat no problem.

First year of diagnosis my mum glutened on purpose because she didn't believe it was a real thing. I spend Xmas day heavily pregnant and on the loo.,.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:16:35

Alway bring my own good to weddings, dinner parties etc.

LilAnnieAmphetamine Sun 19-Oct-14 15:18:15

Most places serve pure protein and vegetables. It is about avoiding anything that can have hidden gluten. So eating food as close to its natural state means I have no problems.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:22:18

I agree. I've used to opt for a jacket potato and cheese but would be ill. Realised they were plate it up next to a massive baguette that was touching it...

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:27:32

And no I never make a fuss. My digestive issues are not that interesting I dont go on about them at weddings and work lunches.

Wonc Sun 19-Oct-14 15:29:18

I think you are going to need to be more flexible. And relax a bit. Also, eat beforehand if you think there won't be food there for you. Is there any reason you can't just have a salad?
My sister's birthday recently was at a Chinese restaurant.
I have had very bad experiences with finding meat in my 'vegetarian' food. So I ate a bowl of rice. Just rice.
I can't remember what my CD Dad ate, but neither of us made a fuss because it IS about the birthday person's choice. It just is.

Yabu. Sorry.

sonjadog Sun 19-Oct-14 15:30:41

One of my closest friends has coeliac disease and has to be very careful, but he has no problem eating out. He just has a salad or asks for the meat without sauce or other wheat-containing stuff. It makes for some uninteresting meals but if he deals with it if he has to. Do you have an unusually severe version?

Andro Sun 19-Oct-14 15:32:14


My Wheelchair analogy was in response to a comment about 'dictating restaurant choice', if an allergy (or CD or anything other diet based issue for that matter) is so severe that you can't risk a certain restaurant then you might be able to enter the premises but you're still excluded (more so if your family are rubbing your nose in the fact that you can't eat there). Sitting like a lemon because you can't eat (and not all places will allow you to take your own food!) feels lousy.

Family consistently choosing to eat at places which have clearly stated they are not in any way GF friendly is sending a clear message. That OP's mother deliberately put gluten in a meal after she was diagnosed sends an even stronger message

EBearhug Sun 19-Oct-14 15:35:32

We always managed to eat out as a family, even with a coeliac, back from the '70s, when nowhere catered for gluten-free. The family member did bring her own gluten-free bread to places, but other than that - well, there were lots of vegetables and salad and fruit and stuff. I don't ever remember it being that big a deal, and there's far more gluten-free food available these days than there was 30 years ago.

I agree that families should take account of it, because it's not impossible to cater for it these days. And work as well, to be honest. The last work meal I went to, we had a long conversation about gluten-free catering; the gluten-free person next to me had fewer choices from the menu, but no fewer than me who doesn't eat fish just because I don't like it. I think your family are trying to include you, by asking if you can go to a particular restaurant - did you just say no, or did you look at the menu to see what was available? It really is unusual to find nothing at all these days. Perhaps they could be doing more to accommodate your needs - but are you doing as much as you can to meet them half way? Do they understand how you will suffer if you eat gluten, that you're not just being picky, that it will actually make you ill?

I think I would go to my family and say I was wrong to have stormed out, and I apologise for that, but I feel hurt because it feels like I am being excluded because I can't share a meal. I'd then offer a list of suitable places I could eat at, having researched the menus in question. That might not mean they will choose those places, but it gives them a starting point.

(OK, actually I wouldn't go to my family about it, because a) it's okay in my family to talk about what you can't eat, and that will be accommodated, and b) we wouldn't talk about feelings and emotions. I might go on about the social importance of shared food throughout history, and possibly witter on about shared meals in the Bible, but then there are a lot of academics and Christians in my family, and we're not necessarily normal...)

bloodyteenagers Sun 19-Oct-14 15:41:45

Who did you speak to? Have you called them more recently?

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:46:43

I work in the nhs so highly unlikely to accommodate me! Getting food for a coeliac patient usually takes a least two days. I've bought gf food out of my own money before for coeliac admitted to the ward.

I did call the restaurant and ask - they said they couldn't cater for me. Lots of places will make more effort at quiet times but not when they are busy. That's fine, I would rather they were honest than get ill. I've suggested places before - their not interested.

andro it feels very much like a message and not a very nice one.

LilAnnieAmphetamine Sun 19-Oct-14 15:47:23

A person deliberately contaminating your food with a substance you are allergic to is a separate issue to not feeling included at restaurants where it is possible to join in and be included. This thread is full of people saying they have digestive issues and diseases yet still manage to go out and enjoy themselves.

It is about family relationships far deeper than not being able to order anything on a menu.

And sorry but it is still NOT anything like your wheelchair being unable to gain entrance. The restaurant itself is not making life difficult - it is her relationship with her family. And if it wasn't this, it may well be something else because people who disregard on one thing, will disregard on another.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:52:17

It doesn't feel like a separate issue tbh. They've never been supportive or accommodating and continue to be unsupportive and accommodating.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 15:55:13

There are loads of places I can happy eat in - loads just not everywhere.

Coffeeinapapercup Sun 19-Oct-14 15:55:18

Coeliac is very different from gluten free and much harder to accommodate.

I agree with the option of bringing your own food (sadly) but really I'd wonder why you'd bother for such a load of selfish intolerant pricks

Mintyy Sun 19-Oct-14 16:03:51

I think op must have a very severe allergy to wheat if she can become ill simply from having a piece of bread touch whatever she is going to eat. I expect there are many restaurants who would hate to be sued if they caused a bad reaction in a diner and this is why they won't guarantee there can be no cross-contamination.

Have you suggested alternative local restaurants that can guarantee no cross-contamination op?

FurryDogMother Sun 19-Oct-14 16:11:17

Regarding the bread touching the potato making you ill - I would be more suspicious of the grated cheese on the spud, it often contains some kind of flour to keep the bits from sticking to each other.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 16:13:07

Thanks Mintyy I have suggested eating elsewhere, plenty of options - went down like a lead ballon.

It's not an allergy to wheat but an autoimmune disorder. If I eat gluten, even trace amounts my body attacks itself and kills bits off.

TaleTastic Sun 19-Oct-14 16:15:18

Did ask about the cheese. It's was just big standard cheddar. It was with the baguette or they put the jacket on a bread board. Either way it was not good.

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