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AIBU not to go? Advice needed

(8 Posts)
KinkyDoritoWithJingleBellsOn Tue 23-Dec-14 12:17:18

I posted this in AIBU, but wondering if it is better placed here.

DAunt has fallen out with DM and Dsis. I'm stuck in the middle. DAunt feels neglected. She doesn't have family and she's only ever worked a couple of hours a week. DM still works FT and runs house (DBro is at home); DSis works 4 days a week and has two young boys. They do struggle to make time for other people - I know this as they rarely come to me! However, I have perspective because I'm very busy too.

Some of the things DAunt (DA) feels affronted by are justified, but I don't think she's been very fair to DM. It's like DA expects us to do all the running.

The big fall out happened before last Christmas. DMum offered an olive branch, tried to see her, spoke to her, but to no avail. She's continued to send cards, with invitations for DA and DU to come to family gatherings that DM does, like Bonfire Night, Christmas Eve. Dsis also saw them and tried to make amends. I think DU was up for reconciliation, but DA was having none of it, she told me she's too hurt.

Anyway, I always make an effort - go and see her. It's not very often as I don't live locally and I work a very busy FT job, but 2/3 times a year I visit. DA does come this way to see other relatives, but doesn't come and see us or phone to see how we are. It all comes from me, and us going to see her.

My DM was keen for me to keep going to see her so that communication was happening still - she is really upset over the rift. However, this year I have been to DA 3 times - each time ringing to see if they are in and taking DC to go and see them. She's never contacted me or invited us over, although she's always really pleased to see us and makes a fuss when we are there.

I'm just starting to feel a bit narked off that the reason she is cross with DM and Dsis is their lack of attention/concern for her and yet I seem to get none from her even though our relationship is supposed to be okay. I'm not that bothered by it, but I think it's hypocritical that she's cutting them off for something she does herself.

I should be giving her a ring and attempting to see her Boxing Day/day after, but I'm really tempted not to bother. AIBU?

It makes me sad that I know I will be making things worse. DM is a people-pleaser, although has become a bit harder as she's got older, but will do anything for anyone. I'm like her in this respect and will put myself out frequently for other people, yet feel like nobody ever really puts themselves out for me.

I hope this is the right place to post and I would be interested in people's thoughts on this as I am quite worried about it all and fed up that I feel like our family has a divide in it. I'm not sure I'm going to win with this one, either way. sad

pictish Tue 23-Dec-14 12:35:26

Your aunt sounds rather self centred, and wilfully unaware of the time constraints and pressures her family are under. It's as though she struggles to view anything other than from her own perspective.
I don't know what you can do about it tbh.

I relate a little, as my dh's aunt, who has never married or had children, has decided since retiring that we are her nearest and dearest. She has manipulated and pushed herself upon us as being someone significant we must consider. The sort of relationship she wants, is more commonly had with a parent or sibling, and it feels intrusive, forced and inappropriate. I don't love her, yet she seems to feature in my life significantly.
It's not the same as you are going through...but I feel a similar sort of pressure from her to perform, when really she is looking for something from me that isn't my job to provide.

I have no answers, just sympathy. x

KinkyDoritoWithJingleBellsOn Tue 23-Dec-14 12:45:42

Thank pictish thanks. It is really hard. I think there is a lot of nostalgia connected to my relationship with her; she was like a second mum at times and I know it was hard on her that they couldn't have children. We were the only children on my Mum's side of the family. I want us all to be close, but she seems to have got increasingly difficult as she's got older (I'm sure I will too fgrin). I try to appease, but it's just dawned on me that it is only me bothering! I was tempted to see if she rings to invite us; she will be waiting for me to ring to organise to come! She said that Dsis never invited her round, yet she never invites us, she expects me to contact her. It's so complicated!! Maybe she doesn't want us round really, maybe she wants rid of all of us.

It's very bizarre. Like I said, she does have grounds for feeling this way to an extent, but has made little effort herself in the past.

pictish Tue 23-Dec-14 12:53:15

I think that in order to disentangle yourself from this emotional pressure, you ought to leave the call, if it must be done, to her this time. And if she doesn't make it (likely) then gently explain that she knows your number, and that there was nothing stopping her from ringing it.

I think you need to establish a status quo whereby she is making the effort as well...if you don't, this injustice and lack of self awareness of hers, will needle and fester, until you're at the point you dread having to deal with her at all.

pictish Tue 23-Dec-14 12:58:22

In short, she seems to want it all her own way. The problem with thinking that way, is that other people stubbornly tend towards having their own agenda that may conflict with hers. Something she (improperly) resents...hence the falling out with your kind sounding mum and sister.

It's not on.

1FluffyJumper Tue 23-Dec-14 13:10:37

Casually mention yours making trifle / mulled wine/ something else yummy on Boxing Day and she's free to come to yours if she can.

KinkyDoritoWithJingleBellsOn Tue 23-Dec-14 13:49:47

Thanks again pictish.

It's a nice idea, 1, but I will be at Dparents (where she lives too) quite a way from home. I think if I was closer, much of this would have been avoided. However, she still has no contact unless I make it. There can't be a casual mention to her without me ringing up and I'm getting frustrated it's always me.

The idea is usually I call her, ask if we can go round (from my Mum's), we go and spend a couple of hours and she's really pleased to see us, then we go and I don't hear from her again until I call her later in year to say we're over and can we come round again.

She says she's really hurt that she's been left out for so long. She told my mum that I was the only one that makes an effort, yet she makes no effort for me. So strange.

WhenShepherdsWatchedStrictly Tue 23-Dec-14 15:58:00

You could make the effort this time because you always have and she has no way to know your feeling have changed.

However, during the visit you could mention that it will be her turn to organise the visit next time and you will await her call. If she can be bothered, she will, if she can't then that's entirely her fault, you told her it was her turn to make the effort. There are loads of really nice ways to put it, after all most friends and family take turns.

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