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Toxic parents, family wedding, deciding not to go - in need of some support

(28 Posts)
Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 12:34:49

Very brief history - both my parents are narcs and highly toxic, have been very low contact for the past few years (see them about once a year, text message every 3-4 weeks, no phonecalls). I'm still grieving our relationship but life is definitely better this way. I'm no contact with highly toxic and scary brother. Am in contact with my sister but get zero emotional support from her, just stick to chatty topics.

First cousin on my mother's side is getting married in the summer. I have not seen this guy for about 15 years and have no relationship whatsoever with him. Apparently, the whole family is invited - me and siblings plus all our partners, my parents, my mum's brothers and sisters.

I am set on my decision to not go to this wedding. I am very much the 'black sheep' of the family and, surrounded by her family, there would be too many opportunities for my mother to be a toxic bullying nightmare. So it would be madness to put myself in that situation. However, my sister will be flying home from the Middle East for a couple of weeks around the time of the wedding and I do want to see her. So that means I can't say we have booked a holiday or similar around that time, as I will be visiting some time around the date of the wedding.

I'm fine with saying that we won't be attending and just saying 'that weekend doesnt' work for us sadly' but what do I say if I get pushed to explain exactly why? Some of my family members may well be this cheeky and intrusive and I want to stay strong if/when I need to. So I just need a final push and some ideas from you lovely people about how to handle the pressure, if it comes. I'm convinced that not attending the wedding is the right thing to do, just need some extra arrows in my quiver if needed. Thank you

Hissy Mon 23-Mar-15 12:40:22

Make arrangements to see your sister separately, and don't go to the wedding. your cousin will be fine with a card and a some cash.

You do NOT have to explain yourself to a soul. You are an adult.

'We are unable to attend'

Don't make matters more complicated than they need to be.

Hissy Mon 23-Mar-15 12:41:04

your sister can come to YOU. If she doesn't that is DOWN TO HER.

Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 12:44:00

Hissy, she can't really - I live in UK and wedding is in Ireland. You're right, I don't want to overcomplicate things, but I know what these people are like and 'we can't attend' may well be met with a very pointed 'WHY????'

I have no guilt about just sending cousin a small gift and a card

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 23-Mar-15 13:00:54

Hi Lottapianos,

If they say why cite reasons of work; I have used up all annual leave.

Has your sister made contact with you as yet?. I understand your wish to see your sister but this is someone who gives you no emotional support; could you only stick to chatty topics upon meeting her?. How will she behave?. Would she want to put the boot into you re your family of origin?.

Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 13:08:46

Hi Attila, I will be fine seeing her. No she won't put the boot in - we have similar feelings about our parents. We're in touch on a weekly basis though Facebook, she's the one who told me that me and DP are invited to this wedding.

She will be visiting with her new man who she's planning to marry so interested in meeting him too. I will also have my partner with me - I never meet any member of my family without him, it means that everyone stays on their best behaviour and I know that I have him on my side. To be honest, I don't think she will give a fig about me not going to the wedding - she's just desperate to go along and show off her new man!

chicaguapa Mon 23-Mar-15 13:09:39

Re your sister, if the wedding is in Ireland, are you flying over there to see her? I agree with Hissy and think your sister should come to you. Cite no annual leave etc. See if she'd make the same effort to come to you and you're expecting to make to go to her.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 23-Mar-15 13:12:07

I did wonder about that hence me asking; would not want you to be further hurt.

So you have not received a direct invitation from first cousin?. Its been left to your sister to tell you that your man and your good self have been invited to first cousin's wedding?.

Hope you and she can sort something out with regards to meeting up.

SaucyJack Mon 23-Mar-15 13:15:23

If I were you, I'd wait to worry about it until you've actually had a formal wedding invite smile

Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 13:16:33

Actually Attila, apparently my mother was supposed to issue the invitation but I've heard nothing from her, just had my sister telling me about it. None of this is unusual or surprising in my family. It just makes me feel even more strongly about having nothing at all to do with this wedding, other than sending card and gift. I have no relationship and nothing in common with these people.

chicaguapa, I know the answer to that already, but I do want to see her

Hissy Mon 23-Mar-15 13:29:07

Can't your sister fly via London/UK airport? you can see that way. It is her choice - she can do that easily.

you don't need to give anyone any explanation at all - "I have said we can't attend"

you are also creating issues in advance of them happening - they may not ask, and you don't have to take phone calls, or answer texts or emails.

Hissy Mon 23-Mar-15 13:30:25

AFAIK, there are no direct flights to any irish airport from the middle east...

Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 13:55:42

Hissy, I am not creating issues but anticipating them. Yes, they may not ask, but I am in the habit of strapping on my emotional armour any time I have to deal with members of my family (not my sister).

Just writing about this situation is helping me to feel even more convinced that my decision to avoid this wedding is the right one. I'm not going and that's all that matters. I will work out the situation with my sister separately. Thank you all

Hissy Mon 23-Mar-15 14:50:12

I understand that, but nothing has happened and you are keying yourself up over this. you are stressed already, and that is wrong.

You are right to avoid this wedding, you don't need to justify it to a soul. You just need to allow yourself the space to be the adult you are and let everything wash over you. You can handle them, they have no right to question you.

I know you want your sister to be the person you would like her to be, but she might not be and there is nothing you can do about that either. give her the options, she knows where you are, she can come and see you - who knows perhaps the issues you have are caused by the dynamic of how you both regress when you are 'home' and under the influence of the toxic family?

Her coming to see you is easier than you going to see her in Ireland.

pocketsaviour Mon 23-Mar-15 14:59:49

Definitely the right decision not to attend.

I find a useful stock phrase when you don't want to go into details is "It's a private matter." Then just stop talking. Silence is a very under-used tool for those who have grown up in controlling families. We always feel the pressure to fill the silence with appeasement. Guess what, we're adults now and if we don't want to attend an event then we owe nobody an explanation about it.

Lottapianos Mon 23-Mar-15 15:02:01

Very good points about using silence to your advantage, pocket smile

Joysmum Mon 23-Mar-15 15:02:28

If I were you, I'd wait to worry about it until you've actually had a formal wedding invite

Exactly smile

MeerkaRIPSirTerry Mon 23-Mar-15 19:34:57

lotta could you say "other commitments which I can't go into" if they are rude enough to push? Or even if you feel it would help to say "commitments from my husband's side of the family" and then plain " I don't wish to discuss this any more". You're going to have to develop an armour of steel to handle these rhinoceroses trying to stampede you.

MeerkaRIPSirTerry Mon 23-Mar-15 19:35:16

And yes, if you don't get a formal invite, well, all is solved isnt it!

derxa Mon 23-Mar-15 21:18:34

If I were you, I'd wait to worry about it until you've actually had a formal wedding invite

Inertia Mon 23-Mar-15 22:18:37

Just tell anyone who asks that you haven't received an invitation!

Charlesroi Mon 23-Mar-15 22:36:31

You really shouldn't have to say anything other than "sorry, we can't make it". But if you can't face the shitstorm then go along with it until a couple of weeks before the wedding, when DP is going to do his back in or something. If you hardly speak to them, they'll never find out.

Lottapianos Wed 24-Jun-15 13:59:30

Hi all, update on this - we did get invited (as I knew we would) and I declined. I felt that I needed the armour of a concrete excuse so I said that my friend is due to give birth the week of the wedding (true) and that she may need me to have her 3 year old while she's in hospital (not true). I know that my mother and my aunt have been pulling this apart among themselves and I had a mild inquisition from my aunt at the weekend - don't worry, I didn't give her any information but it seriously pissed me off! Next time, there will be no excuse, no reason - just a simple 'we won't be attending', rinse and repeat as necessary. There's nothing for them to pull apart that way. What would be reasonable behaviour with other people (giving an explanation) is just fodder for my family so sod 'em.

I've also had attempted guilt trips from my dad and my aunt along the lines of 'oh it's SUCH a shame you won't be there, it would be so nice for us all to be together to celebrate' which I have responded to with radio silence. 'So nice' for who exactly??? Not me, that's for sure! No - it would be 'nice' for them to play happy families and pretend that everything is wonderful. Well the truth is that its very bloody far from wonderful so no - I refuse to play.

I have found all of this pretty upsetting (FOG hangover) but I'm even more convinced that family events are not something I want to be involved in, and I'm feeling about a thousand times stronger than I would have done a few years ago. Its amazing just how effective reminding myself that I'm an adult who answers to no-one can be! Thanks to those of you who were supportive when I was first wrangling with this issue smile

sherbetlemonD Wed 24-Jun-15 14:13:50

You have made the right decision OP. It sounds like I'm very similar to you- black sheep of the family and family get togethers awkward because I don't have a clue what to say to people I have zilch in common with so I try to avoid them as much as possible. Difficult for me as I still live at home.

Next time though I wouldn't tell a lie- if it's found out (small chance I know) your just adding more fodder to their cannon. Just refuse to go. Your an adult, it's your decision. If they give you grief about it hang up the phone/block numbers/don't check emails or whatever.

sherbetlemonD Wed 24-Jun-15 14:18:47

Also Im on the fence about getting your sister to come out to you. Just because she doesn't support you over your parents etc doesn't mean she doesn't care- maybe she just chooses not to get involved. Doesn't mean she's on your parents side- maybe she just has coping mechanisms that you don't. If I could cope with my parents behaviour then I wouldn't be planning on cutting them off in the not too distant future (hopefully...)

Why can't you go over and see her and stay in a hotel? I have to be honest and say I don't see why she should have to fly home, fly out to you to see you because you don't want to see your parents when you can try and find a way around it.

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