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Christmas without contact with family (parents/grandparents/siblings). Why does it make me feel so empty?

(16 Posts)
WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Sun 13-Dec-15 21:20:24

This is my 5th year and it does not get any easier. DCs were used to staying with my family and loads of people being around. Now it's just us. I am having to overspend as I feel so guilty that the DC only get presents from us, they used to have a massive pile of presents under the tree so I am having to over compensate so the few they get from us doesn't look so small. DD last year was quite upset with all her friends posting pictures on Facebook of their 'piles' with stuff from grandparents, aunts, uncles.

Sounds shallow but it kills me!

DH's family don't celebrate it (different culture) and rarely get them anything and if they do it's only because we have invited them over. Can't be bothered this year as last year they arrived at 5pm when they said they'd come over at noon, dinner was waiting in the oven and then left at around 8pm, not even staying for games/drinks when they had said they would stay overnight. They have form for this though so more fool us for inviting them!

I am desperate enough now, just for extra people, that I told DH to invite a work colleague and his wife whom have never met, as he mentioned that they didn't normally celebrate it!

Feels so bloody lonely. Really don't want my DC to remember Christmas's as boring and lonely. We have our own traditions, we go out for walks but it still feels the same as any other Sunday. It's having other people around that makes it special for me.

Anyone else?

WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Sun 13-Dec-15 21:26:49

Actually reading back my title, it's pretty obvious why I feel empty. I suppose the question should be why do I feel so empty when my mother is an abusive witch and my siblings all turned their backs on me and my family? I guess it's just a longing for having other people to care which is more painful at this time of year when most families come together.

uglyflowers Sun 13-Dec-15 21:44:45

I'm not having any contact with any of my family this Christmas either. I know what you mean about the emptiness but it's probably still better than the feelings of anxiety/rejection/insecurity/rage that you'd have if any of them were actually there. You don't miss YOUR family - you miss a kind of idealised family that doesn't exist. I do too and I'm not sure how we should deal with that. flowers

Flamingo1980 Sun 13-Dec-15 21:47:26

I feel exactly the same. I'm dreading Christmas. Just me and my mum and my daughter. So depressing!
There should be some sort of meet up group where everyone can congregate!!

Itisbetternow Sun 13-Dec-15 22:09:43

My children's grandparents died this year and over the last few years I have lost lots of relatives. I feel the same as you - I want the big waltons family Christmas. Instead it will be me, my kids and my stbxh! I feel I have to compensate for the lack of gifts my kids get from family.

Twinklestein Sun 13-Dec-15 22:18:26

Your family sound like you're well rid. Do you have any close friends you could share Christmas with instead?

WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Sun 13-Dec-15 22:26:00

Too right Uglyflowers I'm the scapegoat of the family so I shouldn't really miss the spiteful comments, put downs, favouritism, and family legends of how awful a child I was. I know we're not missed as there are so many of them that I doubt our absence is noticed. It's us who are alone who notice it.

Sorry to hear that others are in the same boat flowers.

WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Sun 13-Dec-15 22:30:33

No friends Twinklestein. A legacy of my complex PTSD, a gift that keeps on giving! DH has work 'friends' and childhood friends abroad but as we have moved about a bit hasn't been able to make friends socially as he works 12 hour shifts so no time for hobbies.

Imbroglio Sun 13-Dec-15 22:32:36

Feel the same. My head says I don't need to compensate the kids, but there is a huge sense of guilt, even though I know I have no need to feel bad. I can't do anything about the people have died or become sick, and my kids are deffo better off without toxic people in their lives. I'm putting other things in place but its not the same as the Christmas I used to dream of.

Beachlovingirl Sun 13-Dec-15 22:33:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Clueing4looks Sun 13-Dec-15 22:38:30

I'm in the same boat, except I'm a lone parent, so it's just me and my 2 kids. I can echo almost everything - I'm not nc with my parents, they just have never been the type to bother. The over compensating is getting out of hand as I still buy and wrap the kids a gift from their dad and aunties etc so I end up spending ridiculous amounts of money so they don't feel as left out and alone as I do. It sucks. I know it's not supposed to be about presents, but it's not about extended family and being surrounded by loved ones for us so I've had to so it makes it more special, and not like a glorified Sunday.
flowers for you as it's a shitty club to be in.

springydaffs Sun 13-Dec-15 22:39:15

What's that saying about cutting according to cloth?

Ie this is your situation so... this is your situation. Mine too as it happens. You have to stop feeling guilty around the kids. It'sso bad for them, they're getting the message loud and clear that what they get is sub-standard, crap. It's not! What they had before was sub-standard and crap.

Present the Christmas you have with confidence, don't skulk around. Accept this is how it is room now on in. Hankering after what it isn't is a recipe for misery. Yes it's a challenge to not have extended family at Christmas but you have kids which is more than I have, not that that's necessarily relevant . it's up to you to make it special, don't serve it up like it's rubbish.

knaffedoff Sun 13-Dec-15 22:44:46

I feel your pain, although I shall be doing the entire Xmas celebrations this year with family, I suspect it will be our last. This year, I will spend the time walking on eggshells, hoping to God my children will be on their very best behaviour (no petty squabbles / no tiredness or over excited induced meltdowns) as they all stand in judgement of me and my dh & kids. Unfortunately, my wider family have been poisoned against me over the last 12 months.

Whilst your day may not be great, many families simply paper over the cracks but it's not always that easy either fsad

WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Sun 13-Dec-15 23:31:58

Knaffed Oh I remember the judgement - happy days! Sending you strength to get through it flowers. Reminds me of the Boxing Day walk on which Stepfather told me off for letting my then 5 year old DTSs throw pebbles from the riverbank into a river as I obviously had not taught them not to 'harm the environment as those pebbles are there for a reason'. He was very cross about it wierdo. I then immediately stopped them doing it stupid while DH was all WTAF, but he didn't have the guts to stand up to him either.

springy I need that kick up the arse. It's my non-existent self-esteem that seems to make me believe that my DC could not possibly have a good Christmas with just me & DH I suppose, I even feel sorry for them that they have me for a mother quite often! Just reading this sentence '*Present the Christmas you have with confidence, don't skulk around.*' has made me change my perspective. I shall remember that.

Thanks for all replies.

springydaffs Mon 14-Dec-15 00:31:31

Oh well done! flowers

Have you had any therapy/done any work on the effects of growing up in a toxic family? Essential ime - no wonder you have low self-esteem sad

But it stops here, yes? Read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward; take a look at support sites like Out of the Fog. Loss of us out here in recovery from toxic families.

Do it (recovery) for your kids if you can't do it for yourself, lovely xx

PeasOnEarth Mon 14-Dec-15 01:45:23

I don't see my family over Christmas, or in most cases at all, either. I think you are providing a lovely experience of Christmas for your children - you're giving them quality time with the people that love them the most (you and DH) and teaching them real 'Christmas' values by inviting people who are perhaps lonely or out of place culturally into your family.

I second how vital therapy is. It can't be emphasised enough. Look into what techniques might help with both low self esteem and the PTSD. You'll become able to let people close again. Ideally 'friends are the family you choose' - we humans do thrive if we live in community. Some of our communities of birth are damaging - so we can learn how to make another one. Which you are doing. flowers it's difficult, keep going.

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