My mother’s behavior has alienated my brother, my sister-in-law, and my other siblings as well. At my nephew’s recent wedding there was a procedure in place by my nieces and nephews to deal with her so she would not upset or disrupt the wedding or the guests.
My daughter is getting married next year, and she and her fiancé, who have high-paying professional jobs, are paying for the wedding themselves. My daughter has been very vocal about refusing to invite my mother to the wedding. Her fiancé and his family, as well as her cousins and siblings, support this decision. I’m torn.
On the one hand, she only wants people she loves and who love her steadfastly to be there, and my mother has been vocally unsupportive of my daughter and her relationship for years. My mother has insulted my daughter’s fiancé for his race as well as for his job. On the other hand, my mother is the only family member not invited.
My daughter and her fiancé recently announced to my mother that she was not invited. This occurred when she was trying to insert her own plans for their wedding, such as telling them to have it at church even though my daughter and her fiancé are non-religious. This resulted in my mother yelling, and my daughter and her fiancé first defending themselves and then, when my mother wouldn’t calm down, leaving. My mother then burst into tears and asked why my daughter hates her. She is now urging my siblings and me to convince my daughter to change her mind.
My husband has said he will support my daughter and her decision, as will I. I don’t know what to do to make this situation better. — Mother of the Bride, Daughter of the Uninvited
Questions likes yours are perfect for me during this exhausting, sleep-deprived (and hopefully short) period in my life because they’re so simple to answer. Your daughter and her fiancé are paying for their own wedding and you have absolutely ZERO say in whom they invite. The end, period. If you are honest in saying that you take steps to protect your daughter from her abusive grandmother, you will wholeheartedly support her decision to not invite the woman to her wedding.
Now, as for how to “make this situation better,” I can only assume you mean, how can you manage your mother’s feelings and behavior around this decision. And the answer to that is also simple: you can’t. You have no control over how your mother reacts or behaves to anything. If you did, I imagine you would never have let her verbally abuse your daughter (or you or any of your other loved ones she’s managed to alienate over the years). Your mom is going to behave the way she wants to behave. The good news is you CAN control your own reaction and behavior. And you know what you should do? Refuse to discuss the wedding with your mother. Tell her she’s not invited because she has alienated your daughter and her fiancé and they don’t want her there and it’s out of your control and the topic is not up for discussion. Then when she tries to discuss it with you, as you know she will, change the topic. If she keeps bringing it back to the wedding, leave/stop talking to her. Take a cue from your daughter and set some boundaries.
I understand how difficult it must be say no to the woman who raised you and whom, I’m sure, you no doubt love despite her flaws and her mistreatment of her children and grandchildren. But setting boundaries doesn’t make you a bad daughter. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your mother. It means you love yourself (and your daughter) enough to say “enough!”.
Go to your daughter’s wedding and enjoy yourself and celebrate the love she shares with her husband-to-be and be proud of how you raised a woman strong enough to stand up for herself, financially stable enough to throw her own wedding, and confident enough to stand by her decisions. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about—and so much to celebrate.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.