Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Why are my family so weird?

(26 Posts)
chimichanga1976 Fri 26-Dec-14 23:12:02

I'll try to be concise, which means missing out some details but I can't be writing an essay! ( which I could easily.)

I'm already estranged from my mother ( hate even calling her that!) and have never known my father but I've always kept in touch, and visited my mother's father. My Granda is 93yrs old and my uncles have always lived with him. This is bloody weird in itself, but at present I'm glad as my Granda can remain at home and has company.

Basically this has all come to a head recently as I visited them from Holland, where I now live, with my husband, 3yr old daughter and my best friend who lives in the area. I made 2 seperate visits a cpl days apart as one uncle said he wouldn't be there Sat but would Tues, so we went back Tues to see him.

So on both visits we didn't even get offered a cup of tea or anything, my uncle no.1 just stands there like a bloody guard so that my husband and friend don't even take off their coats, they feel so ill at ease. My Granda did give me £40 in a Xmas card but there was certainly no present for my little girl. So we go back Tues to see uncle no.2, again no offer of a drink and even before we set foot in house my Granda is like " You're late, you said you'd be here in the morning", it was 1230 and our hotel was a long way away. Then I'm informed my mother is coming 1330 cos she changed her day to visit, so immediately we feel unwelcome once again and like we're an inconvenience.

So we sit making small talk to fill the silence, my Granda doesn't even stick around but disappears into the kitchen, uncle no.2 stands with his arms folded ( there's a bloody chair right there in the room!) and my Granda brings him a bloody cup of tea and he stands drinking it in front of us! But the thing that really pissed me off so that I feel this is the final insult is there was nothing for my little girl. No pressie, how hard can it be to buy something for a 3yr old?, not even an offer of juice.

For years I've made excuses and allowances for my Granda. He's 93yrs now but is the full shilling believe me, and fully mobile, so he is not infirm. But when I reflect from the age of 18yrs old, when I got kicked out the house by that Cowbag and her husband, even though I always visited, no matter where I was in the country, never once did he extend an invitation to spend Xmas dinner with him and my 2 uncles. Even knowing I'd been turfed out and didn't know my father so he was the only family I had. I think it's cos it's Xmas and that I've a child now but it's made me really look hard and look objectively at the weirdness, also from my husband's and friend's eyes.

I would offer a plumber, a total stranger, a cuppa but they cannot even give the most basics of hospitality and I couldn't have had a colder welcome if I'd stepped into a walk-in refrigerator! But I look back and think, they've barely ever offered me a cuppa, there's never any warmth in their greeting and I have to actually tell my Granda to sit down ( the uncles never do cos they never stick around to chat!) cos it makes me feel nervous! I actually suspect uncle no.1 is autistic now, he's that bloody awkward. My 2 uncles and mother are all serious oddballs and I feel something went disastrously wrong in their upbringing for them to turn into such socially inept weirdos!

They're an enigma wrapped in a secret riddle and I don't think I'll ever get to the bottom of the awkward, cold, detached, disinterested people I have to call "family". But what I do know is, I'm nothing remotely like them and I really don't have to plough on feeling duty-bound to make the effort all the time. I wanna let rip in an email and let all of this out cos, quite simply, their behaviour is not acceptable and I want to just wash my hands of the bloody lot of them. I'd rather have zero family then those feckers!! And needless to say, there's been no phone call to wish us happy xmas or thank me for the pressies I gave my Granda! That'd be way too thoughtful. I'm expected to ring them!!

OK rant over, I knew it'd turn into a long-winded moanathon but you know how it is when you feel totally hacked off? My daughter, in the end, took a little teddy bear off their xmas tree and claimed it for herself. She had to half-inch her own xmas present! How bloody sad......Thanks for reading, nite xx

MyDHhasnomemory Fri 26-Dec-14 23:19:22

I am sorry you are faced with family who can't offer basic hospitality. I think you need to realise that they cannot be the family you deserve. Don't email them though, keep your dignity and bow out with grace. Send a card next year, don't visit.

roland83 Sat 27-Dec-14 00:50:33

Wow, I wouldn't bother with them anymore.

My dad is useless, although a bit better than your family sounds.. but I have to distance myself and really lower my expectations, otherwise I am constantly disappointed and feel like I've done something to deserve it.

It's not you, it's them, just remember that x

roland83 Sat 27-Dec-14 00:51:16

Wow, I wouldn't bother with them anymore.

My dad is useless, although a bit better than your family sounds.. but I have to distance myself and really lower my expectations, otherwise I am constantly disappointed and feel like I've done something to deserve it.

It's not you, it's them, just remember that x

roland83 Sat 27-Dec-14 00:51:43

Wow, I wouldn't bother with them anymore.

My dad is useless, although a bit better than your family sounds.. but I have to distance myself and really lower my expectations, otherwise I am constantly disappointed and feel like I've done something to deserve it.

It's not you, it's them, just remember that x

springydaffs Sat 27-Dec-14 01:18:36

Perhaps you could ask 'do you want us to visit?' and see what they sat.

They sound like something out of an Ann Tyler, all living in the same house. Do they ever get visitors? I seriously doubt it. I doubt they even know how to be hospitable. There are some women in my village, mother and daughter, who have special needs (not sure what kind) and they have clearly been taught hospitality, to the point they are rigid on it and can't deviate from the script. Perhaps your uncles have never been taught hospitality, giving presents, thanks for presents. Perhaps a child is an alien concept to them, they haven't a clue what to do, what is socially acceptable.

You say you grandfather is the full ticket, is he your mother's father? If so, and you have cut her out, who knows what's been said; he may also have some loyalty towards her.

Yes, they're weird but you knew that. It may well be on the spectrum, as you say.

springydaffs Sat 27-Dec-14 01:19:16

*see what they say

mamapain Sat 27-Dec-14 01:35:03

They sound very strange. If your grandad is your mums father, and all the uncles live with him, is it possible he is the root of all the weirdness anyway?

I suppose, I outdent expect anything from a 93yr old in the way of providing gifts or entertainment for my child because to me someone of that age is the priority and realistically it could be the last time you see him. However, the lack of welcome is unpleasant and you're clearly very unhappy with it.

If neither of you are getting anything out of these visits, maybe you should just stick to Christmas cards and a relationship on a level with acquaintances.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 27-Dec-14 01:54:14

Your grandfather is a cold man who has raised DC just as cold as he is.

chimichanga1976 Sat 27-Dec-14 09:45:38

Thankyou all for your views. And Roland X3 ; )....Well I'm still gonna send an email in a cpl days, which will tell them in no uncertain terms what I think/feel. It'll be cathartic if nothing else! I will make it mature and non-sweary tho, a few profanities on here is good for venting the spleen mind : )

Obviously I'm not expecting much but it'll be a chance to see what they say in response, if anything. I'm not holding my breath though. I honestly would rather have no family than this flipping Freak Show TBH. It's been like this forever. I remember visiting with my 1st boyfriend, as a teenager, and him saying it was like visiting the Adams family!! I'm 38yrs now so, as you can see, they're not going to change their ways now but that doesn't mean I'm not within my rights to call them out on their unacceptable behaviour.

You never know, by challenging them and showing them their weird, abnormal traits, they may offer something in the way of an explanation. I doubt anyone has ever challenged them before, they just tow the line and say nothing. But this isn't normal and I'm not going to stay silent for fear of upsetting people, they've upset me!

I suspect this will end up me washing my hands of them which doesn't bother me in the slightest. Why should we remain loyal and tolerate things we wouldn't in others just because people are relatives? It's like relations have special rights to p1ss you off and get away with murder. It's like we're programmed to tolerate more from family.

Well my friends are my family. We can't help being born into a family of dysfunctional A-Holes can we? Thank God for being a black sheep, that's all I can say! : )

Anyhow, it's a winter wonderland here and snowing heavily so I can see sledge buying and snowman building will be the order of the day. It'll be interesting to see how the Dutch cope with the snow compared to the UK! We had non last yr......Enjoy your day everyone, TTFN xx

diddl Sat 27-Dec-14 10:18:38

The "standing guard" is horrible. They might as well have just turned you away!

the only thing I would say is that I would assume the £40 was for my daughter/both of us.

springydaffs Sat 27-Dec-14 12:08:54

Hold off on all guns blazing email, I should. Start with 'did you want to see us?' and see what they say. Yes they're weird but it may be they can't help it and blasting them one will only cause a serious rift when there may not need to be one.

A golden rule of therapy is to use 'I' messages eg 'I felt blah blah' - instead of 'YOU did/didn't do this or that'. It's a way to test the ground to see what is really going on, which may not be what you think.

It's easy to say 'who needs em!' but actually it can be very painful to have no family at all. You are obviously hurt by what happened at the visit. I'm not saying you should hold on to them regardless but I am saying that cutting off all family is hard in the long run. Sometimes it's necessary - I have cut off my family but I'm not pretending it isn't painful, especially at times like christmas. A massive relief, but painful.

comedancing Sat 27-Dec-14 12:24:22

My immediate reaction is they are all on the spectrum so maybe if you read up about it you will see they are not doing this deliberately.. People got very little help years ago so they have never learned social stuff. Just accept them the way they are. They are not going to change but there is no meanness in it. Buy some treat with the 40 pounds

holeinmyheart Sat 27-Dec-14 12:44:27

These people may well be very introverted and do not know what to do or say to you. So please think twice about writing to them.

I come from a loud, nosy, up front family and I found my husbands family extremely cold and weird. I still would not say that I know any of them. They do not respond when you enter a room. In the past we have been invited to Sunday lunch and been given sandwiches. I would have to ask for a cup of tea. My SIL on one occasion when we had eaten a couple of sandwiches got up and went out to play Tennis. This left us not much option but to leave. My BIL always stands up when we go to his house as he is so socially hopeless. He comes over as aggressive as he is soo shy.
As my DH comes from this family I have had years to observe them. They are silent and secretive and unemotional. My DH is similar and has no interest in his relations and has not seen his DM sisters or his only cousins for 40 years. They are all loners.

I just accept them for what they are and don't expect anything from them.

I think you have to just accept your Grandpa for what he is. He did give you £40 , which may be his way of trying to show he cares about you. Talking about his emotions, or showing his emotions may be too much for the whole bunch of them.

greener2 Sat 27-Dec-14 12:54:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cafesociety Sat 27-Dec-14 13:33:53

I come from a cold and generally unwelcoming family. My mother wouldn't offer me a drink when I visited after a 50 mile round trip to see her. It was weird, but in her later years she seemed to learn that it was usual to offer a visitor a drink. I think a friend of hers taught her.

We had a bad relationship, and I interpreted it as not really wanting me there. It was all part of her rejection of me. I always tried to put things right, but people like this don't see they do anything wrong and challenging them makes it all 100% worse in my experience.

The rest of the family are dysfunctional too, superior, judgmental and arrogant, cold...and I too thank god I am a black sheep. I see none of them now and am happier for it. I walked away, no explanations.

chimichanga1976 Sat 27-Dec-14 14:00:05

Thanks all for your insight and advice. It's interesting, that's a few people now mention they might be on the autism spectrum. Definately think uncle no.1 is. He has no interest in interacting with others and shows zero emotion. He's never had a partner, never been abroad so doesn't own a passport ( neither has other uncle, as it happens ), his room ( yes I sneaked a peak. Yes it's naughty but I didn't rummage, just looked in the doorway! ) looks like everything has been placed using a geometry set, he's worked the same job, as a civil servant for the tax office, since he was 16yrs and has just retired at 60yrs old! Oh how I would've loved to be a fly on the wall at his work place!

He has never invited anybody to the house. He drives a scooter, not a car ( like, how unsociable is that? Particularly when he could've taken my granda places, even if only for the weekly shop! ), there's probably other stuff but you get the picture. And I have never in my life ever sat in a room on any of my many visits, and had a conversation with him. Other uncle was never really there at weekends and if he was around he just stands around anyway!

Springy - I shall take your advice re using " I " in my email. That's interesting and I don't want to come across as accusatory. That's why I'm holding off for a few days, so I'm not gonna be all reactionary and let my hurt/anger take over. I just want to make them aware of how I feel about things from mine and my husband's perspective, without flying off the handle. Give them a chance to digest what I've said and then perhaps respond.

I'm too angry and disappointed at the moment to construct a suitable email, honestly, everytime Ii think of this visit and all those yrs I would visit, it makes my blood pressure rise! But I will keep you all in the picture.

That's why it's useful for me to get other peoples' take on my situation, and I'm grateful for any advice, opinions etc. I could've placed this thread in the Stately Home thread but it'd probably get lost, though, that is a very interesting thread ( and huge! ) and it makes me realise there's a lot of people with a fooked up family out there!

Seriously, how I used to daydream about being part of the Oxo family back in the 80s! The lovely, late Linda Bellingham never knew how much I wanted her as my mam when I was a kid! LOL. I even thought it was dead strange when I'd call on my mates to walk to school and they'd all get a kiss goodbye from their mams at the door. As I was brought up with zero affection/love, I can reflect that I was the abnormal one not them! But thank God I broke the mould and I can recognise things for what they were now and, needless to say, I more than make up for it with my daughter. Me and my husband are a very tactile, demonstrative pair and it's a no - brainer we want our little one to feel loved every single day. This is why my " family" are so very alien to me. It's like we aren't related at all.

chimichanga1976 Fri 09-Jan-15 12:37:57

A shameless "Bump" to this thread, if just to say that I sent the email on New Year's Day and not heard anything back yet. I have a hunch that Uncle No.2 ( that's the only email I have ) has maybe changed his email, or never looks at his emails, even.

Therefore, I'm gonna print out the flipping message and snail mail it today, to ensure they read the bugger. I shall send it to my Granda incase either of the uncles see it and withold it from him. God what a palarvar!!

But, as I said above, another e.g of their weirdness is that none of them have passports. Seriously. None. Infact, none of them has even stepped foot out of the N.E of England for years, if ever!

I know this for a fact cos I've just been estranged from my "mother"for a cpl years and she knows neither of my uncles have been abroad or ever go anywhere ( not to mention,never had a relationship and never brought anyone back to the house!), she spent a cpl nights in Wales years ago but has never been overseas either, my Granda hasn't since the War, and the "mother's" husband has never been abroad.

I still have to pinch myself that these clowns and crackpots are even considered my "family"!! Esp when I think of all the countries that I've been to over the years. The thing that strikes me the most though, is that NONE of them have ever even shown the least bit interest in goin anywhere away from home. Now, this is just not normal behaviour is it? To not have the inclination to even want to see another country, let alone just another part of the country!

The more I think about it, the more detached I feel from the whole, buggering lot of them. Surely not many people on here can relate to this example? Fair enough if it was decades ago when people didn't tend to travel anywhere, other than their closest seaside town perhaps....

But do you ever feel so far removed from your family that you are sure you're not even related? So I shall send this print out of the email and await a response, if any.

I still recall goin to see them when I was 16yrs, with my 1st boyfriend and him likening them to the Adams Family! I can see see why he thought that now too!

Twinklestein Fri 09-Jan-15 13:00:45

Honestly don't go ahead with the letter. You just have to accept they're oddballs and this is who they are. They may be ASD spectrum, or they may just be extremely odd. Sending a letter will just upset a 93 year old and to what end? They won't understand it, and it will change nothing.

I'm a bit surprised that you expect an old grandfather and a house of bachelors to give your child a present, I doubt they would have the remotest idea even where to start. Surely the £40 gift to you was for you to spend on yourself and your family including your child?

There's no point always wanting something from them and not getting it. They are who they are, they won't offer you tea, ask you to sit down, or thank you for presents. You make the decision whether you bother to see them in the full knowledge that they will never alter their behaviour.

LiviaDruscillaAugusta Fri 09-Jan-15 13:08:48

Sounds an awful situation but I really wouldn't bother posting the email. I would just leave things alone now - if they are interested they will get in touch (don't hold your breath!!)

I do have a bit of an issue with the passport thing though:

The thing that strikes me the most though, is that NONE of them have ever even shown the least bit interest in goin anywhere away from home. Now, this is just not normal behaviour is it? To not have the inclination to even want to see another country, let alone just another part of the country!

I am sure that with their other behaviour they are a nightmare.

However, in 44 years, I have been abroad once, for two days. I haven't actually been on holiday even in the UK for 20 years. And in all this time I didn't realise that my behaviour was in any way odd or abnormal. And I would hate to think that people would label me just for that!

Lottapianos Fri 09-Jan-15 13:09:36

'But what I do know is, I'm nothing remotely like them and I really don't have to plough on feeling duty-bound to make the effort all the time.'

Yes. This. Hold onto this. Like you said, you cannot help the sort of family you have been born into - its not your fault. Its also not your responsibility to keep a relationship going single handedly. You said that dropping contact with them would not bother you in the slightest - that's very telling. You're an adult and you get to choose where you spend your time and who you spend time with.

One word of warning - please be very careful about confronting any of them about their behaviour, either by phone or in person or through email. Think very carefully about what you would like to get out of this, and be ruthlessly honest with yourself about how realistic those expectations are. People don't change, people don't usually have revelations about their behaviour - its highly unlikely that anything will make this situation change. Its very sad and hurtful but that's the way it is. Think how much more hurtful it would be for you to pour your heart out and have it either ignored or flung back in your face. This kind of confrontation rarely ends well.

Lottapianos Fri 09-Jan-15 13:13:43

Sorry, I'm a bit late with my last comment. I would strongly advise not printing the email and sending it. You will drive yourself mad waiting for a response which may never come. Invest more energy in the good things in your life. You say you consider your friends to be your family (I do too), so make some plans with them to take your mind off things.

I know how much this hurts, and how deeply weird it feels when you have nothing in common with your own family, and your grandfather and uncles' behaviour is certainly very weird. You can't just flick a switch and turn your feeling off. But honestly OP, just get on with living well. Enjoy your life and all the good things in it. Dont' waste any more time on these people.

chimichanga1976 Fri 09-Jan-15 14:38:24

I hear what you are all saying and appreciate your input and insights. Ultimately, I realise they're obv not goin to change, of course not. Re the email, I was basically challenging them ( without coming across accusatory or aggressive, might I add ) and calling them out on their behaviour and trying to explain how it came across from another's perspective, i.e Husband and best mate.

I think, truthfully, I was wanting some sort of explanation/realisation from them, as to why they are the way they are. Why they think it's OK to behave in such an unreasonable manner but expect everybody else to accept this as normal and go along with it, unchallenged. Cos it's NOT normal, to be frank!

Think I just feel begrudged, also, that I've been the worlds' biggest mug for years too. It's honestly Xmas and visiting with my family that's brought this all on. I wouldn't be posting any of this if I'd just had my usual solo visit! It's like the veil has lifted since I saw them with my family and BF. I've become more analytical and detached.

Livia - no offence intended. It's just that it's my entire family on my mam's side that are like this, not just an individual ( so you could excuse them for being a homebody, nowt wrong with that ), but several people who have the means financially? It was just an example of how totally unlike me they ALL are.

Whatever, I will be sending this message for my piece of mind and cos I feel it's reasonable to put across my point of view, especially if I'm feeling hard done by. We are all adults after all, and I think 3 grown men can hack it TBH with you. I want them to be well aware of how they come across. A dose of reality, if you will.

ArtVandelay Fri 09-Jan-15 15:08:23

Are you mad? Why on earth would you want to upset a 93 year old? It won't make a jot of difference to their behaviour and makes you look a bit funny.

The damage has been done, they have behaved for years in ways that upset you. Why not just leave them to it? Go 'back' to your nuclear family and don't bother with them anymore. If you think that Uncles are on the spectrum then its rather cruel to give them "a dose of reality". If they cannot help their ill manners then what good does it do chastise them?

Put it out of your mind either by yourself or with the help of a therapist. Spending all this emotional energy in running it through your mind examining every way they are wierd and wrong is not healthy. I have been through this (coincidentally also same age and NL DH) and I know it sucks, it hit me a lot younger so I really couldnt give a monkey's now. Time and distance IS a great healer x

Twinklestein Fri 09-Jan-15 15:20:42

I have to agree with pp. An apparently healthy 93 year old can have a stroke brought on by even minor stress. I know this because I've seen it happen.

There's no point 'calling them' on their behaviour because it's 'normal' and 'reasonable' to them. They don't know any different.

You're focusing all your (justifiable) anger with your dysfunctional and bizarre parents on them. An old man who's just sent you £40 as a Christmas present. That's more than I got from my aunts and uncles and they're all very wealthy.

They will just see it as you attacking an old man who just gave you a present. And they'd be right.

In their own way your actions are as almost as socially inept and dysfunctional as the family you come from.

Be different. Be happy with the family you have created.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: