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Trapped into family Christmas

(24 Posts)
Lemond1fficult Sun 10-Dec-17 18:39:04

At the age of 36 I've never spent a Christmas away from my family. I have a lovely long-term dp, but to avoid upsetting anyone we go our separate ways at Christmas.

For various family dynamic reasons I've never enjoyed my family Christmas (separated fm and ddad, dsis hosting with her dp and dn7). But this year will be the first year without my very ddad, and the thought of spending it round the same table with the same people, minus him, literally makes me feel sick. I really would rather be on my own but feel completely trapped into coming by said dynamics.

My dn is only 7, so I know I'll have to put a brave face for her sake. But that only adds to my anxiety.

She as not to drip feed, I have a lot of anger against my dm for the constant aggressiveness and negativity she put my ddad through right up to his death that ruined every occasion. Both me and dsis were conditioned from an early age not to defend him, and I feel as if she's 'won' because she's there and he's not.

I also feel like a total kid - no dp, sleeping in my teen bedroom, never an option to host, whole days agenda dictated (getting drunk round the table, instead of the quiet Christmas I've always wanted).

I do love my sister, and I know she would feel as if I've abandoned her to my dm. It would just be the four of them, which would put a dampener on the occasion, already down one person.

It will also be very selfish, as my sister doesn't have the luxury of opting out of Christmas, and she sees a lot of my dm as lives just down the road. And if she didn't host dm, there'd be no one.

So realistically, I know I'm going to have to just suck it up. I'm just dreading it, almost to the point of tears when anyone asks me about it.

So I guess what I'm asking is - what can I do to make it more bearable? And what can I do in the future? I don't want to be 40 and still traipsing home out of nothing but obligation.

RandomMess Sun 10-Dec-17 18:43:57

You need to make new traditions. Host instead for the year or go with your DP - losing your dad and your grief is enough of a reason to say YOU need to do something different.

Maelstrop Sun 10-Dec-17 18:46:07

Can't you have your dsis and dn round to yours? Or if that would create hell on earth, how about going to your dp's family? I know it would leave your dsis in a poor situation. sad

Lemond1fficult Sun 10-Dec-17 18:55:41

Sorry - should have said; I live about 100 miles away, and I wouldn't drag my dn from her house and toys at Christmas.

The big issue is my dm. She drives both me and my dsis completely nuts, and dominates every occasion. I know having me there makes it more manageable for dsis, so I just can't do it to her. If it weren't for the loss of ddad making things unbearable I'd just be accepting the status quo as usual.

ChristmasFOG Sun 10-Dec-17 18:56:23

Could your DP come with you this year - as a first step towards breaking the tradition/coming up with new ones?

Your Dsis does have the option of opting out - although she may not see this. You are not being selfish.

happypoobum Sun 10-Dec-17 18:58:43

Your Dsis has just the same options as you have about who she spends Christmas with.

You have described your mother as a most unpleasant person (not judging, mine is a horror) so if you don't want to spend Christmas with her she is just reaping what she has sown.

Maybe have a read of the Stately Homes thread.

You do not have to do this, if you go you are choosing to do it, which is fine, but be honest with yourself and think about whether you really want to do this to yourself every year. flowers

NapQueen Sun 10-Dec-17 18:58:50

Just go to your dps family or you and dp do your own.

Goodclearout Sun 10-Dec-17 19:00:09

You are allowed to break with tradition as you become an adult you know. Everyone who has left home has to have a first year where they don't spend it with their childhood family.

Your sister has a partner and a child. It is not as if you are abandoning her. Why don't you just call in for a visit over the Christmas period, Christmas Day if you are close enough?

We spent Christmas together as an extended family for years but as it got harder to host for various reasons, we just have a short visit, share a drink and pass round the presents and everyone cooks in their own homes with their own families.

I think you should bite the bullet and change it this year.

MurielsBottom Sun 10-Dec-17 19:04:03

Honestly, phone in sick. Stay at home and enjoy yourself. You are only trapped by your own expectations, that you need to be a good and dutiful daughter. You don't have to go along with your dm's routine and neither does your sister.

ChristmasFOG Sun 10-Dec-17 19:05:36

Actually ignore my comment about your DP coming this year.

You absolutely do not need to go. The fact that the only thing getting you there is obligation tells you the level of toxicity from your DM.

As Goodclearout mentioned - your sister has her DP and her child. You are not abandoning her. You are not being selfish. You have every right to spend Christmas how you choose. flowers.

Do you feel able to speak to your Dsis about your feelings?

MotorwayMingebag Sun 10-Dec-17 19:36:12

Fear, obligation, guilt - FOG. You are lost in it and you can't see that wanting to do your own thing at Christmas is entirely reasonable and that an understanding family would want you to do whatever made you happy. It sounds like your 'D'M has done a right number on you and your sister sad

NerNerNerNerBATMAN Sun 10-Dec-17 20:09:12

Honestly if I were you I'd take the opportunity to have Christmas with your DP, away from your M and DSIS. I think the break would go you good.

I like your username OP. You have to remember that Lemonhope eventually escaped his creators and fled Lemoncastle to start a new life in the candy kingdom, where he had the chance to breathe and be himself, and ultimately, be happy.

apologies if I've read your name incorrectly, otherwise you'll literally have no idea what I'm on about

Runningwithscissors12 Sun 10-Dec-17 20:13:52

It's one day ( or if it's More make it just one day). Do it for your dsis. Then next year plan something completely different.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Sun 10-Dec-17 20:16:18

Is your DP not welcome? Can you grin and bear it this year and let them know now that next year you are going with DP to his family or having it at home?

Lemond1fficult Mon 11-Dec-17 00:45:54

Thank you for all these lovely replies. Sorry for my late one. I went for a walk round my friend's house in the snow with dp.

@Goodclearout the bullet is bitten. The long and short of it is that me and dp had a good chat on our walk about Christmas coming up, and he offered to come with me. I do feel much better. So we're going to do Christmas Day at mine and Boxing Day with his family, for the first time ever.

In previous years, I've never seen the point in insisting he misses Christmas with his family (whom he adores and doesn't see as often as he'd like) in order to spend it with us, when even I don't enjoy it. But I do have problems asking for things I need, so I'm happy that he's intuited this will make things better and is happy to do it for my sake.

@ChristmasFOG and @happypoobum yes, she's not all bad, but can be a total dickhead, especially where my dad is concerned (possible Borderline PD) I'm okay with her in small doses, but Christmas is just so bloody loaded, isn't it?

@MotorwayMingebag yes she has done a number on us all, but it comes from quite an unhappy place, I think. Which doesn't make her easier to deal with, but it does make her harder to hate.

And finally - @NerNerNerNerBATMAN I DO know what you're on about (unabashed adult Adventure time fan here) but it's actually from The Thick of It (difficult, difficult, lemon difficult).

So... if not sorted, I feel my lot has improved an awful lot on my ranty first post earlier. Thank you all.

MyRelationshipIsWeird Mon 11-Dec-17 01:04:37

Glad your DP is onside this year. It will help to mix things up a bit and maybe pave the way for something different again next year. Just having him there will be nice for you and, as adults, it doesn't matter hugely if it's Xmas day or Boxing day for visiting family. It's just like having two Xmas days!

If it makes you feel any better I will be spending Xmas day with my DP, his ex GF, my exH and all the DCs, so it could be worse grin

Insomnibrat Mon 11-Dec-17 01:21:39

This sounds quite familiar.

Will there be the inevitable post Christmas fall out when the event didn't turn out the way she envisaged?

AcrossthePond55 Mon 11-Dec-17 02:59:13

If you really feel you can't 'abandon' DSis, is there any option to alternate years 'hosting' your mother? One year she has Xmas with DSis, the other year you have her to yours? I realize it may be a big 'ask' for you to entertain your DM on your own (or with your DP there) but at least you and DSis would have every other year 'off'.

claraschu Mon 11-Dec-17 03:22:44

It sounds like you have a wonderful partner. I am glad he is making everything a bit better for you.

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Mon 11-Dec-17 06:48:26

Sounds like you have a wonderful DP. Make it known that next year you will be spending it with his lovely family.

SmokeintheR00m Mon 11-Dec-17 06:58:00

I know it can be expensive, but why don't you suggest for future going out to a restaurant for Xmas day for food. Takes the pressure off someone cooking and you never know who you will meet or chat to.

Lemond1fficult Mon 11-Dec-17 09:12:42

@Insomnibrat actually, it'd be the opposite - everything swept under the carpet. But to be honest, we don't tend to see her spiteful side now my ddads not here to direct it at. So it's all happy families in a way, though obvs I don't feel it because it's come at the expense of not having my ddad around.

@TheWorldIsMyCakePop We'll have to play next year by ear, but I do feel the routine change this year will help me rewrite the script somewhat.

AngelsSins Mon 11-Dec-17 10:28:25

If you feel too guilty to cancel, maybe go this year but tell your sister that you will not be coming next year. That gives her a whole year to decide what she wants to do. If your mum ends up spending Christmas Day on her own, well she only has herself to blame frankly.

Your sister has her partner and child with her, she's not alone in dealing with your mum, and I'm guessing as you're 100 miles away, she deals with her fairly often on her own so is more used to the situation (that's not meant to sound judgy, I live about the same distance from my mum too!)

TheWorldIsMyCakePop Mon 11-Dec-17 12:06:00

We had a Christmas heavy with expectation last year and it was hard going, but this year we're staying at home and doing our own thing. Really think about your own mental health.

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