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WWYD - longstanding family rift(9 Posts)
I'm afraid it's a long story. I was invited to my cousin's wedding years ago and accepted. I booked DM and I into a hotel. However, DM did not receive an invitation and it became clear that this was intentional. She was deeply hurt. On the day, I simply could not face going as I felt that by doing so I would be betraying my DM and accepting that it was ok to treat her in that way. I therefore did not turn up. Obviously this was not the best approach and I am older and wiser now. I then explained to my aunt why this had happened and she said that she was deeply ashamed of what she had done (she arranged it rather than my cousin and his wife as they were abroad) and asked me to promise not to tell anyone why I didn't go. Foolishly I agreed. Since then her other DCs have been incredibly rude to me and blank me in public. The cousin who got married is not in contact any more but he has always been polite although not interested in staying in touch, understandably so as I did not provide him with an explanation. My aunt has not made any effort to say that it was a personal reason that could not be shared but that it was legitimate. Anyway, over a decade on, I have received the round robin with all the news. I know that I will not meet her grandchildren and that I am not considered part of the family any more by her DCs. However, she wants to stay in touch and visit in the NY etc. I didn't go to a family event in the summer because I knew most of the people wouldn't bother to talk to me anyway. I now feel that enough is enough and that I have been judged and condemned for ages over something that that I handled badly but was actually quite understandable in the circumstances. I am now proposing to write to her to pretty much says this and say that as nobody treats me very well that I wish to break off all contact from now on. WWYD?
OP, does the omission by your aunt mean there was some sort of bad blood between her and your DM? My first thought is that if they though there had been some mistake surely there would have been questions and genuine concern that you were not able to attend soon after the wedding .
Well, it is fair to say that they are quite different people and not best friends or anything but there was no major rift that should have resulted in her not being invited to the wedding. There was concern that I wasn't there but this was pre-mobiles and instant communication so it took a while to work through and I then decided to write and explain so I could express myself clearly and that resulted in the conversation with my aunt and the events I have described. Families are not always easy but I suppose I feel that weddings are an opportunity to being people together for something positive and that was one of the reasons I found it so upsetting. I feel now that I would probably be turned away from her funeral so see no point at all in staying in contact.
Your aunt sounds a bit manipulative - not inviting your mother, making you promise not to tell why you didn't go to the wedding - and now expecting to visit you.
She appears to want a relationship solely with you while blocking your relationship with her children. You don't know what she has told them about you - perhaps something awful which is why they've let contact lapse?
Are they people you think you would like to have in your life at some stage? I'd be wary of allowing your aunt to make that decision for you - I assume if she is in contact with them then she thinks they are nice people?
Can you contact one of them privately and perhaps feel out why they have cut you out?
If it were me I would write to the most gossipy member of the family and say " you do realise that the reason I didn't attend so and so' s wedding was because my mother was deliberately excluded, don't you?"
Then leave the ball in their court...
Very true. I hadn't thought about that. I think it is too late to reconnect to be honest which is why I want to stop contact. I have a great network of family and friends so am not now bothered about trying again. However, I don't want to be "friends" with her as I feel she has damaged my reputation in the family and actually been quite cruel and that she has not taken responsibility for any of that. They are a very close family and I would not want to affect that by damaging her relationships with her children but if I continue to see her then I am basically saying that it is ok to treat me like that and it isn't.
You're right, your aunt has been cruel. I personally would sever ties as I think she's bringing you unhappiness.
I think it's strange that the cousins have cut you out on account of a wedding no-show. It's bad form, of course, but why hasn't anyone asked you about it directly rather than just snubbing you? It seems an overreaction to me.
manipulative aunt might have handled things to ensure that cousin's (justifiable) upset was blown out of all proportion. Does she have a habit of making unfortunate incidents worse, or is this a one-off?
She had no right to ask you to keep quiet about the reasons. The shitstorm was bound to end up falling on your shoulders; a no-show at the wedding and no explanation either. Hurtful and bloody rude - if you don't know the circumstances. I really do not see why you should be the fall guy for such actively unkind actions by your aunt.
In your shoes I think you actually owe your cousin a (neutrally phrased) explanation and apology, even though it was all those years ago. Something along the lines of you're moving on and you realise that he was never given a reasonable explanation and the time has come to lay out what happened, and that you certainly did not mean to slight him. Since then things have obviously become more and more awkward rather than fading into the past. Then explain exactly what happened in calm and neutral terms; apologise and wish him well.
Then walk away with dignity.
Cheek of the woman, tell the truth as to why you didn't attend the wedding and apologise for not saying earlier. Your aunt is a manipulator and it's time to call her out and tell her that your done with her.
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