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Having to see a relative I am NC with...(16 Posts)
I'll try and keep a long story short!!
Back story: I have 2 older sisters. I live near the eldest and we have a good relationship; she works full time with adult children, we are both busy but make time when we can to catch up over coffee etc.
The other sister (I'll call her Sarah) lives in our home town, 300 miles away. (Eldest DSis and I went to the same uni and settled in the same town away from home).
I have been NC with Sarah for about 5 years. We never got on well even as children, but her behaviour got worse and worse over the years. She was unbearable to live with, she caused huge problems in the house with lies, alcohol, taking or 'borrowing' money from either me or our parents and never giving it back, that kind of thing.
I have four children under the age of 13. Despite playing out being the perfect aunty to family and on social media, Sarah never remembered birthdays and would tell blatant lies about sending them cards even though she hadn't. I stopped visiting her at home when my eldest two DCs were little for many reasons, but for example, she reeked of alcohol at 11am in the morning, (you couldn't have her in the car with the windows up as the smell was so bad), she wouldn't turn up to places we had arranged to meet when we did go home and then the straw that broke the camel's back was when I lent her a large sum of money to bail her out of not paying her rent again (with the clear explanation that I needed the money back as I had been made redundant and would be tight without it) then ignoring my calls / emails about paying me back but posting pictures of expensive, new purchases on Facebook.
So, that's the short version but of course there's much more to it.
My eldest DSis is getting married this year. Sarah is invited to the hen-do and also the wedding. I am dreading being in the same room as her. The last time I spoke to her was under my mum's duress, over the phone at Christmas in 2011. She was obviously drunk and making sweeping statements of being sorry, being an awful sister / aunt, that she would make an effort to see us blah blah blah. I told her at the time that she could contact my DCs if she wanted via email / phone etc but she never has. I had my 4th baby in 2012 and Sarah has never even acknowledged the baby exists.
How do I handle seeing her? And more importantly my DCs? The youngest two won't know who she is as they are too young to remember seeing her. The eldest two have already asked if Sarah will be there, and I have told them that she will be invited but I don't know if she will be coming or not.
I do not want to have contact with Sarah. I don't really want her to have any contact with my DCs, either. I also don't want there to be any scene at the wedding... although I will obviously be polite but won't instigate or maintain any of her attempts at conversation. Hopefully she won't come
I would decline the invitations to both the wedding and hen do (particularly that occasion given the unhealthy relationship Sarah seems to have with alcohol).
You still have a choice here and no contact is precisely that. Presumably your other sister knows (and perhaps does not also fully accept) your no contact status with Sarah. Have you talked to your other sister about this matter to date?.
You would not have put up with this from a friend either, family are really no different.
Presumably your other sister still has or wants to maintain a relationship of sorts with "Sarah" and that is why she has been invited.
My DCs have all been asked to be a part of the bridal party. I can't not go.
My eldest sister knows that Sarah and I have no contact. She understands the reasons why, and is supportive. She hasn't been on the receiving end of the worst of Sarah's behaviour and they rarely see each other / speak to each other, but that is mostly due to distance. They weren't close as teenagers despite being closer in age; they are very different people. I think the invite is more out of politeness than anything, and because it is the 'right' thing to do.
We have spoken about the wedding, and what Sarah is likely to do. DSis asked if I had thought about what it was going to be like to see Sarah considering the circumstances, and I reassured her that I wouldn't create any problems but wasn't looking forward to it.
Just take a deep breath and remember the events are for your sister.
I would imagine given your description of her she actually highly unlikely to even turn up to either event .
Just think after that you won't need to see her- ask to be seated away from her too.
DSis and I discussed that Sarah might not turn up even if she says she's coming.
If she is there, then I can only foresee her drinking herself into stupor and passing out in a corner, if history is anything to go by.
"I think the invite is more out of politeness than anything, and because it is the 'right' thing to do".
Both are rubbish reasons on your sister's part for actually inviting Sarah in the first place. Doing the "right thing" with toxic relations is more often than not a mistake sometimes bitterly regretted afterwards.
Has Sarah actually confirmed that she will attend?. Can your sister actually trust Sarah to at all behave at her wedding. Will there be ushers or people on hand prepared to remove Sarah if she at all kicks off?.
Sarah would likely blank you completely at the wedding even if she did attend (unlikely as well given her overall flakiness) but its not an occasion you are going to enjoy fully anyway because you may well feel on edge the whole time.
I would certainly not attend the hen do and decline that now; you can easily avoid that occasion.
I know they're not great reasons to invite Sarah. I suppose it is also a sense of duty to our parents too - they would be very, very upset if Sarah wasn't invited.
I would anticipate Sarah being all over the DCs, declaring her undying love and how sorry she is that she hasn't seen them for a while. That bothers me more than anything - she isn't an Aunty at all, not by my definition!!
DSis wouldn't mind if I didn't go to the hen do. It's a long weekend away which she knows is difficult for me as DC3 is disabled and I'm her main carer.
Just be cool, polite, civil. No conversations about the past, her alcoholism, future contact. This is absolutely not the time for reconciliations or deep conversations.
If well-meaning busy bodies try to force a reconciliation etc, firmly but gently remind them that today is about eldest DSis and that the long reconciliation process with Sarah might be possible eventually if she gets her alcoholism under control but today isn't the day to force the issue.
If Sarah gets pissed and makes an arse of herself or tries to pick a fight with you, ignore it, like she was, say, the groom's mate's alcoholic auntie. Bemused pity combined with total refusal to get involved.
Above all, avoid her on the day.
Have you considered that Sarah could be an alcoholic?.
Your parents have also done their bit here to enable Sarah to act as she has done; they've enabled her and excused her over many years as well. Everyone who has tiptoed around Sarah has ended up being used at their own overall expense.
Hopefully there'll be enough people that you can get lost in the crowd.
Atilla I know that Sarah is alcoholic, and I've said for many years that she is dependent on alcohol, particularly for social situations.
My parents are, and always have been, in denial about Sarah's many problems. And yes, they enable her. I went no contact because I refused to enable her any further (her leaving me and my DCs without money was a huge eye-opener at the time) and I refused to be hurt by her any more. I wanted to break away from being one of those that enabled her to carry on using alcohol and destroying. Most importantly I refused to allow her to hurt my DCs with her selfish, hurtful behaviour.
I think a pp was correct, avoid the hen weekend at all costs, if she is going to show herself up it will be here. Explain to you dsis why you can't attend.
Go to the wedding, be gracious for your dsis getting married.
As soon as the reception is over, remove your dc from the situation, this will be when Sarah starts her antics getting drunk, loud etc. When/ if this happens remove yourself from the wedding quietly. Be a quiet spectator, lie low during on the wedding day, just keep thinking of the bride.
Once the day is over you can go back to NC with her.
Stop making this drama all about you and Sarah, start thinking of your dsis the bride. She must be v stressed about all of this. She has enough to be thinking about. Try focusing on her for a change.
There is no drama over Sarah and I - being NC sees to that. I am very much focussed on ensuring that DSis has a fabulous day, which is why I asked how to handle Sarah.
Sounds like you have the perfect reason not to attend the hen party due to your DC's needs.
With the wedding, is it an afternoon and evening do? Do your DC's needs lend themselves to an early exit reason? EG "Of course we will all be at the ceremony and the meal, but will need to leave soon after as DC3 will be tired/needing medication routine/over-stimulated/etc." This would hopefully mean you could get away before Sarah gets too drunk.
Do you know how many people will be there? Will your elder sister cooperate with putting you on a table far, far away from Sarah?
I would drill it in to my head that 'Sarah' is own her own path and that's nothing to do with you. She has totally fucked up but your not going to let what she has done in the 'past' ruin your other sisters present day wedding. Try and cut off from what she has emotionally done to you and just see her as another guest.
It's really tough - I have a family member who I have to do this with soon. I have to do this as I could honestly strangle them and they suck all the good energy from me.
Good luck !
The ceremony / meal / reception are all in one venue which and we are staying overnight. DSis is fairly familiar with DC3's routine and won't bat an eyelid if we slink off for a bit, even if it is with all of my DCs. That's a good idea and thinking of it, it makes me feel much better with a plan to retreat if need be.
It's also a good plan to think of her as just another guest. I don't know many of DSis' friends so it won't be difficult to blend Sarah in with other people who I don't know. DSis wouldn't sit me next to Sarah. I'm helping with setting up the venue so I can always swap place cards if need be
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