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How to stop father worrying

(20 Posts)
Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 09:40:20

I have difficulties eating long, formal meals as I get very nervous and often will have a panic attack. I've been this way since I was quite young I've had counselling, tranquillisers etc and although the panic attacks are much reduced I tend to get them when I see my df and stepmother and in formal meal situations - now only a couple of times a year. If a meeting with my df is casual I can cope fine.
Unfortunately df finds the fact that I can't cope with formal meals unacceptable and wants me to sort myself out. He is blaming me for lack of contact with with his grandchildren. They live 5 hours away. They won't contemplate a casual meeting/day out etc and tell me I have mental health issues. I have no clue as to what to do.

pog100 Tue 09-Aug-16 10:08:46

I don't usually do anything but lurk but this is so obviously their problem and not yours! If they want contact they need to facilitate it and loving parents do not treat their child as they are treating you. I would imagine that your problem with formal meals stems from some abysmal parenting on their side. What you do is just ignore them. They have no power over you. They don't matter as you seem to feel they do.

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 10:17:58

Thanks so much pog. I think I needed to hear it from someone outside the family. I'll keep in contact at a safe distance.

AbbieLexie Tue 09-Aug-16 10:20:46

pog100 sums it up. If they are that interested they will make the effort and compromise.
Life is too short for this nonsense from them.

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 10:29:09

That's what's puzzled me. Up to now they have been pretty flexible. But being told I have a mental health disorder and they are tired of tiptoeing round me was pretty awful. They were angry with me.

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 10:32:48

And it was done under the guise of 'we care for you so much....'

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Tue 09-Aug-16 10:34:27

If they care for you so much, they would modify their behaviour to help you. It's hardly a big deal is it, having a casual meal with family?

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Tue 09-Aug-16 10:35:16

Sorry, just to clarify, THEY are being ridiculous and you are not. flowers

springydaffs Tue 09-Aug-16 10:46:45

Food issues in others can bring the very worst out of people. As you have seen sad

It may be he is trying to shock you out of this (what he considers silly) problem. Well he's getting it spectacularly wrong. Driving over you with a tank is going to have the opposite effect.

Entirely his stuff. Entirely. Try to stay calm but draw your boundary lines: you will not join in with a formal meal. Period.

Counterpane Tue 09-Aug-16 20:08:22

There is no shame in having a MH problem, many people do. It sounds like you may have an anxiety disorder but telling you to 'sort yourself out' is not helpful (whenever anyone takes that line with me they get a "Really? I never would have thought of that!" response).

Your DF and DSM need to understand that you can only do what you are comfortable with. If they really can't do 'informal' then it sounds like they are the ones with the problem.

I don't know how old your DCs are but what do they think about this, are they happy to attend long formal meals as a condition of seeing their GPs?

Cary2012 Tue 09-Aug-16 20:24:06

OP, my son is just like you, I totally understand. He will eat dinner with me, his sisters perhaps, but extended family, anything formal freaks him out. I and his sisters never pressure him. His dad and his dad's new partner refuse to acknowledge it, and just say he is being 'difficult'. This has resulted in DS refusing to visit his dad, because his father insists on eating formally. This is so short sighted of his dad, but it is his problem. He is so unbending, it's driven a wedge between them. I have no advice, just wanted you to know I understand. DS is 19.

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 20:43:57

My dc's are of an age to start finding grandparents not quite so exciting. So aren't thrilled about formal meals anyway. That's the silly thing. There are so many things we could have all done instead.
Cary2012 yes I have total empathy for your son. If I am with really sympathetic people I can sit through a formal meal and play with a salad and a drink and have good time whilst they eat their way through whatever they want.. Then go home and eat toast. It's more to do with anxiety and a mild phobia of vomiting than an actual eating disorder. I can only eat when I'm relaxed.
I'm not always great round Christmas dinner either. But the folk I have it with really don't mind - and I'm often the one cooking it- which helps a lot.

Cary2012 Tue 09-Aug-16 20:50:43

It's feeling relaxed, not the food with my son, if I have loads of people round for Christmas dinner say, the food isn't the issue, it's just the sitting and eating with lots of people, or extended family, he can't do it. He has his dinner on a tray, in the same room, but a bit apart, he can cope with that. I am happy if he is. His dad won't compromise at all though. His loss, but such a shame. Thank you for understanding x

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 20:52:38

I'm always so relieved when weddings we attend involve a buffet rather than a sit down meal

Cary2012 Tue 09-Aug-16 21:00:41

I know! Even buffet food is a struggle for ds if there are loads of people eating together, last big family buffet, he ate nothing, I got him fish and chips on the way home! Going back to your first post, it really is other peoples problem you know. Some people are too blinkered, and can't cope with anything but their perception of 'normal', their loss x

Claraoswald36 Tue 09-Aug-16 21:01:21

Good lord op it's so their issue its not even funny. They sound like my father who I am
Nc with for various but similar reasons.
My first thought was how bloody dare they patronise you like you are 5. Please don't allow it anymore flowers

NeedAnotherGlass Tue 09-Aug-16 21:28:00

They're trying to cure you and take the credit for it.
Incredibly rude and inconsiderate of them.
You do what makes you comfortable OP.

TendonQueen Tue 09-Aug-16 21:32:00

That's just ridiculous of them. You're not stopping them seeing their grandchildren at all. Mine would happily fall in with whatever our plans were. Don't be bullied like this.

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 21:37:59

It was just all so weird and scary that although my DH has been very supportive of me it's good to get other views and extra reassurance. I won't let it happen again, but I will keep in contact from a distance. I'm generally very good at taking care of myself.

MakeItRain Tue 09-Aug-16 21:59:00

I used to feel exactly like you do about eating out. Strangely enough I love it now (years of counselling!) I think it IS a mental health issue to have panic attacks about eating and like a previous poster said, there's no shame in that. Sounds like you deal with it well, eating with people you feel relaxed with and not feeling pressured to eat a lot. Your father can either accept you and arrange informal meals, or not. It's his problem. Just keep calmly saying "I don't like formal meals but would love to see you at..... x"
I don't really know what helped me with the food issues. I had counselling for anxiety but oddly I don't think I talked about eating much. Counselling did unpick the anxiety though and I'm the opposite with eating out now, loving the whole starter /main /dessert /coffee. I hope you do get to the bottom of it eventually and until then don't feel guilty about avoiding your dad. flowers

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