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My toxic parents and Christmas(7 Posts)
I have written a bit about this before, so sorry if I'm repeating myself.
In a foolish effort to be the good daughter (which I now realise you can't be to bad parents) I invited my parents for Christmas this year. It's supposed to be the two of them coming to our home with the two of us (no DC). I was mightily fucked off by them in October for very bad behaviour on their part and the scales fell from my eyes to a certain extent but now it's got worse and I really don't want anything to do with them.
A few weeks ago we were in the area and I suggested we swing by around lunchtime. My mother responded suggesting we had bacon sandwiches. I'm anorexic and the thought of something like a bacon sandwich sends me sky-high anxiety wise (not to mention that I've never been all that keen on them) as bread, fatty meat etc are real fear foods for me. I responded that this made me really anxious and I can't have them talking about food - as I have told them so many times it doesn't bear thinking about - so could they please be more thoughtful. I appreciate that they probably weren't thinking but I'm fucking ill and they need to engage their brains on occasion.
If that was it then I'd not be super bothered, but I received a text from my mother calling me names and telling me how awful I am, and telling me because she'd seen me eat I am obviously better (something she's since denied saying), then DH received a text from my father telling him to take me in hand for upsetting my mother. I then called to say it was being blown all out of proportion so let's deal with it like adults, and it's an anxiety thing only to be shouted at and have the phone slammed down on me.
For the first time ever I thought "well that was truly unreasonable" and have not gone scurrying back. My mental health has been much improved as a result - the crushing depression seems to be lifting a bit and I am functioning much better. I've also begun to understand that their behaviour is abusive and therefore is not welcome in my life. Great. Except for the bloody Christmas invitation.
There's no way in hell they're crossing my threshold. I'm done with them, I really am. The current NC is really good for me and I want it to continue. The thing is I wouldn't put it past them to turn up at the house at Christmas having ignored/punished me for BaconSandwichGate until they get here and I really don't want that to happen. But I don't want to break NC and uninvite them as that opens dialogue. I know I have to ensure, for my safety/wellbeing that they don't come, but I'm also unsure how to go about it - whether to say the therapy team say I need a stress free, quiet Christmas (they do) or whether to tell them to fuck off and why in slightly politer terms. I suppose that I'm actually scared of them, of their reactions and their responses
It's so long, so if you've made it this far could anyone tell me how they've managed similar situations/what they'd do?
I would be tempted to let DH handle rescinding the invitation, including telling them you don't wish to be contacted.
Best wishes for your recovery. As your parents are wilfully refusing to understand what anorexia is, I think your nc over Xmas and beyond is very understandable.
Ask your DH to uninvite them: "Given the last conversation we all had we all know that Christmas together won't work. You need to make other arrangements as we won't be home to host anyone."
Then dismiss them from your mind.
I have a particularly odd DF and keep my DH on standby, he knows what DF is like and will step in and say no very firmly, as and when needed.
Might this work for you?
Get your DH to tell them and well done for going NC, your anxiety may well be rooted in having such terrible parents.
I would get him to preferably email something and set your email to received and read so you know they have received and read the msg.
'Do not contact sweary or myself under any circumstances in the future in anyway whatsoever'
Then depending on your anxiety you could get him to add 'do not expect a response if you message back'
I have a relative with anorexia, fortunately we all make an effort to accommodate this which decreases her anxiety and helps her.
Well done for going NC - it can't have been easy. It's obviously working well for you so the last thing you need is to scupper it. I totally agree with asking your DH to deal with it. I like Ourblanche's response above - polite but firm.
It's dreadful behaviour on their part - absolutely no need to put up with it.
Thank you all for your comments. I was worried that I was being avoidant in getting DH to do it (do my "dirty work") but the unanimous suggestion makes me realise that I'm just being sensible. I've reworded ourblanche's suggestion and sent to DH to text - which I like as a medium as the previous text in the chain is the one where DF tells DH to take me in hand for upsetting my mother. We're going for direct, firm, closed and non-accusatory. Though we know that it'll be twisted in family lore. That's the thing with text though, you have a record.
Lots to do in therapy - as ever. I didn't realise until I typed the epic OP that I am actually afraid of them.
I am glad that helped. It is easy to write such stuff as an outsider, I am useless at doing it for myself
As for being afraid of them - keep that in mind and give your self permission to rely on your DH to step in, when you need him. It isn't a nice realisation. Mine wasn't fear as much as disgust that mine was so bloody entitled and greedy.
Still, once you eyes are opened it becomes much easier to refuse to deal with them.
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