Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Anyone else's family terrible at communication?

(8 Posts)
Lampstoday Fri 28-Apr-17 12:34:13

This doesn't feel like Stately Homes level of family dysfunction, but it is really, really getting to me and is love to hear from anyone else dealing with the same.

So: my family have always been a bit shit about communication. Big things don't get talked about, awkward conversations get avoided. (eg: as a teenager I found out about my great-grandmother's death only when my mum mentioned clearing out her house to someone else when I was standing next to them.)

This has always been irritating. Recently, though, it has got a whole lot worse and it is driving me mad. We have had a run of bad luck as a family (health, unemployment) and now it feels like a) nobody communicates ANYTHING and b) I'm expected to be psychic and know anyway.


- My parents never call me. Never, ever. So I initiate all communication. Regularly get passive-aggressively sniped at by siblings for not doing this often enough or at the right times: "Mum was having a bad day, I'm sure she'd have liked to hear from you. You could put a BIT of effort in you know."

- Someone having operation. Needs some help and support at home when recovering. Asks for this by obliquely mentioning "oh I have a clinic appointment..." when discussing something else, hoping others will join dots from clinic -> op -> needs help and co-ordinate support. Cue last-minute scramble when someone works it out.

- Family event at uncle's new house. Mum/aunt stressed about how me/DH/DC will get there (we live furthest away).
- Me: What's the address?
- Them: Oh no, you can't get there on your own. <goes back to CCing me in on stressy conversations about hired car seats>
- Me: Just tell me the address, I'm sure we can manage it.
- Them: No no, don't worry about it. We'll get you there somehow. <more stressing>
- Me: OK, what's Uncle's phone number?
- Them: No no, don't bother him...


Anyone else deal with this? How do you cope?

WellyNelly Fri 28-Apr-17 12:41:02

I have similar with the IL. Shit communicators and extremely bad at organisation to the point where I now refuse to just "go along" with any plan or trip devised by them. Your example of visiting your uncle is familiar - we now book our own travel and accommodation and sort out out our own food because we've had some awful trips where we relied on their arrangements (or lack thereof) and had a bloody awful time (cold, wet, hungry, late etc!).

Lampstoday Fri 28-Apr-17 12:54:28

I can imagine, Welly! Gah it's so frustrating. My ILs are at the other end of the scale on planning - MIL likes to have every little detail planned way in advance and gets anxious if there's any uncertainty. So you can imagine what trying to sort anything with both sides of the family is like...

Right now we have two family holidays planned in the next couple of years, one with DM and one with MIL. The MIL one is about 18 months away and MIL already wants to pin down daily schedules and meals. Meanwhile, the DM one is 6 weeks away and I'm still not sure she's actually coming.

Makealist1 Fri 28-Apr-17 12:54:40

My family are rubbish communicators as well. I am with welly on making my own arrangements. I feel it's a control thing really, because everyone knows what is meant to happen, but then they just don't happen to get round to doing things until the last minute/ something's come up/can't come now etc etc. It's a nightmare. Not telling you information so you can sort yourself out - knowledge is power ?
Family do so love their hierarchies. Where are you on this ladder ? The question to ask = what's in it for them re withholding info ? hmm

floraeasy Sun 14-May-17 13:32:04

Not telling you information so you can sort yourself out - knowledge is power? Family do so love their hierarchies. Where are you on this ladder ? The question to ask = what's in it for them re withholding info?


SundayT1r3d Sun 14-May-17 17:12:56

Parent/s never phone, its all one way ( they dont use mobile phone)

Parent went into hospital and I was not informed

After one major event happened, I said to them "I am not a child and dont treat me like one, I am X years old" and they did improve slightly
I think they realised that they had to improve (otherwise I was thinking about stopping all communication)

However, I have come to realise that they are never going to change !

I have received complaints from other relatives about their lack of communication.

I have tried to encourage more communication

I have found the lack of communication over the years frustrating

CigarsofthePharoahs Sun 14-May-17 18:44:22

My sister is like this.
I invited her and her children to my sons birthday party. Didn't get any response at all. Thought it might have got lost in the post so I sent an FB message. No reply.
Just over a week before the party she rang my mum to arrange a weekend visit.
My mum actually asked her if she'd be going to the party if she came up that weekend.
"Oh, yes I suppose so."
My mum told me, never had a word from my sister.
The funny thing is that when she does come and see us, she's perfectly chatty, but won't communicate with me at all any other time. Everything is done via my mum.
She's also well known to plan to meet up at a certain time and then be very late. We just carry on with our plans as I'm fed up of all the hanging about.

KramerVSKramer Mon 15-May-17 11:33:44

Similar poor organisation here. We went to their house for NYE a few years ago and took food, drinks etc for all to share. They'd arranged nothing and sat there eating ours, not even asking if we wanted a drink.

MIL will still be making egg mayo half way through a party. Grand kids not allowed to stay over as there's "not enough room" - 5 bed house so two spare rooms!

Usually Kate dropping kids off which impact on bed time. Even though we offer to collect to ensure we are on time.

Any slightly awkward conversations are avoided like the plague and therefore there is a real lack of support for anyone in need.

A very, very strange family dynamic which affects my wife in so many ways. She isn't consulted as an adult, or shown the respect that she deserves from these self absorbed oddballs. She's really seen how they are and can't believe how frustrating they are to deal with on the simplest of matters.

It's largely driven by my MIL who is a controller, but FIL is also complicit and has got worse over time.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: