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“My Parents Don’t Want Me to Marry My Fiancé”

When my fiancé and I got engaged earlier this year, we decided to keep the news to ourselves for a while. For one, we had just started living together after I moved across the country for him and I was already under a lot of stress trying to find a job. The other reason is that, while we knew his family would be thrilled, mine probably would not. Basically, we wanted some “us” time to process what marriage meant to us before being flung into the craziness that is wedding-planning (and I’m glad we did it!).

Two weeks ago we announced our engagement to our parents. I wrote a letter to his side of the family, thanking them for raising him, for welcoming me, etc., while he wrote a letter to mine. As anticipated, his side of the family is super excited. Mine, on the other hand, didn’t speak to me for a week. Neither of my parents congratulated us, but they merely said they wouldn’t stop us. When I started telling my mom what we were planning in terms of the wedding, she slashed my proposed guest list in half and forbade me from sharing the news with the rest of my family, to prevent “rumors” from circulating over the next 18 months (we plan to marry in August 2015).

Honestly, I was expecting this (if not a worse reaction!). But gosh, I thought that meant it wouldn’t hurt! My fiancé and I are sticking to our guns and continuing with our plans regardless. (We’ve been saving up to pay for the whole thing ourselves anyway). The close friends I’ve told are happy and supportive, so I’m trying to count my blessings. But as we’ve been planning, I keep getting these nagging feelings that I don’t deserve the big family wedding we’ve been hoping for and should instead just quietly elope and not make a big deal of it. Like, I almost feel that I should be ashamed of myself. How do I snap out of this foolishness and let it all go? — Disappointed in Lack of Enthusiasm

I’m not sure that what you’re feeling is foolish, to be honest. You’re getting married and your parents didn’t even congratulate you?! They even went so far as to forbid you from sharing your engagement news with the rest of your extended family? It’s not foolish to be hurt by that and to even start wondering if it’s not them but it’s you. I highly doubt that’s the case though, and I suspect your family’s lack of enthusiasm may have something to do with expectations they have for your life and marriage that they feel aren’t being met. But guess what? It’s YOUR life and YOUR marriage. You’re an adult, and they don’t get to call the shots on either. And neither should they call the shots on your wedding or whom you inform about your engagement, especially considering they won’t be paying for it.

This should be a happy, exciting time for you, and you should focus on the people who are supporting you and showing enthusiasm for your big news. No, you may not get the big, family wedding of your dreams, but perhaps it’s time to adjust your fantasy. I mean, there’s a lot of middle ground between a big, family wedding and an elopement. It’s not like those are your only two options. Have a great wedding celebration. Include the people who are supportive and happy for you. Maybe your family will come around and show you enough support to be part of the big day — they still have 18 months, after all — and maybe they won’t. If they don’t, it’s their loss and there’s no reason you should let them ruin this happy occasion for you. The only people who should feel ashamed in this scenario are your parents for whatever close-mindedness is keeping them from celebrating their daughter’s happiness in finding the person she wants to spend her life with.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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{ 153 comments… add one }

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 9:10 am

You’re a grown woman, paying for her own wedding. Your mother has no right, and no place, to dictate your guest list or with whom you share your engagement with. Ugh!

avatar Lily in NYC May 1, 2014, 9:12 am

What is your family’s issue with your BF? What kind of rumors would your family spread? I’m just really confused. If your family is toxic/dysfunctional in general, then do whatever the hell you want and don’t give them another thought. Invite them to your wedding, tell whomever you want you are getting married, and tell your parents you hope they will come around. Why does your mom have any say over your guest list? You mentioned you are paying for the wedding yourself; that means mom doesn’t have to get her way. I would tell her she is not allowed to be involved in the planning unless she can muster up the ability to accept your BF and welcome him to the family.

I just don’t understand the “family rumor” thing. I feel like there’s something big missing from this letter that might change my point of view.

avatar MissyC May 1, 2014, 9:12 am

I absolutely agree with Wendy. Particularly if you’re paying then you get to call the shots!

Although I’m a little curious, why did you think your family would react in this way, LW? Do they not get along with your fiancé? Are they over-protective and don’t want you to be away from them and are resenting the fact that you’ve moved away, in with him, and are getting married? Or something else?

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki May 1, 2014, 9:13 am

You should be able to be excited for your wedding (congratulations, by the way!) without your parents raining on your parade.
I must admit, I wondered while reading this WHY your parents didn’t want you to tell the rest of the family and why they slashed your guest list. Would the rest of your family react the same way as them? Or is it more likely that your parents want to feel justified in not accepting your decision and that by letting the rest of the family in on the “secret,” they know they’ll look foolish when everyone else is happy for you?

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 9:13 am

WWS. But I’m super curious why your parents are against this wedding LW. Like, I need to know. I have a million things running through my head. Regardless of the reason, I agree with Wendy. Your parents are being quite silly and you can have a fabulous wedding with or without them. Expand your definition of family to include anyone who loves and supports you and you’ll have the wedding celebration you’ve always wanted.

katie katie May 1, 2014, 9:14 am

so what is the rest of the story here? why are the parents so mad? i know you know, LW, you cant just leave that out!
.
but WWS regardless. jake’s mom actually did something similar at his brothers wedding, like dictating who the brother could and could not invite because of all the little petty fights that happen in that family, and i remember jake thinking it was so ridiculous, and it is ! invite who you want, tell who you want, and be happy about it. you are an adult now, especially if you are planning on getting married, so now is the time to start acting like one.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 9:18 am

Right?! WHY do the parents feel this way?

Kate Kate May 1, 2014, 9:21 am

Yes, what’s interesting is the LW anticipated this, but doesn’t give any reason why.

LW, are you 19 or 20 years old? I was when I first got engaged, and my parents reacted kinda similarly. Like, we won’t stop you, but we’re not thrilled about this. They did go ahead with the big nice wedding, more just because they figured I’d just elope or something.

Or is there something about your fiancé they have legitimate concern about?

Or are they just nuts? I feel like if they are just crazy, you would have mentioned it?

avatar Kate May 1, 2014, 9:27 am

PS – my parents were right to be concerned. I was walking down the aisle with my dad, and he was like, “you don’t have to do this, you can back out now and it’s ok.” (He would have been wasting $30K if I did, obvs). Foreshadowing, my friend. I should have listened.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki May 1, 2014, 9:46 am

That sounds just like what happened to my friend at her first wedding! And she went through with it and later realized she should have just walked out.

avatar applescruffs May 1, 2014, 10:49 am

That’s what my grandfather said to my aunt – you don’t have to do this, it’s not too late. At my mom’s wedding he said, take a minute and remember this. You’ve been planning this for ages, take it all in.

That was my mom’s first wedding…that marriage lasted about 5 years. My aunt is still going strong at FIFTY YEARS together!

possumgirl Jenn May 1, 2014, 11:57 am

Uh, Katie, are you posting for me as well?? Ditto 100% to your story, that’s how mine went down too.
However this LW’s long engagement kind of throws me; it doesn’t necessarily mean so, but does tend to lend itself to a restraint and maturity not usually found in the wedding plans of a 19 year old. At least it sure didn’t in mine.

MaterialsGirl MaterialsGirl May 1, 2014, 9:30 am

it could honestly be that her parents are incredibly religious and just NOTHING will make them happy until she’s married to a pastor and a virgin

ask me how i know

Kate Kate May 1, 2014, 9:36 am

Could be! Just interesting that she didn’t throw that into her letter if that’s the case.

lemongrass lemongrass May 1, 2014, 10:19 am

Or it could be that he’s a registered pedophile and she has 3 small children. It could go either way.

possumgirl jenn May 1, 2014, 11:58 am

Or perhaps a race issue?

KKZ KKZ May 1, 2014, 11:15 am

Ha, I feel like we’re the same person. My dad didn’t say anything walking down the aisle, but they did give me a little come-to-Jesus talk not long after we were engaged at 18 to try to sway me, and that ended in a stalemate. They were very wary of the idea but accepted it and helped out a lot with the wedding. Ironically, just before I made the decision to pursue divorce, my mom had been going on and on about how good a guy Bear was and how all her doubts had faded over time and she was no longer uneasy about us being on the forever train. Womp womp.

avatar Banana May 1, 2014, 10:00 am

My guesses are: there’s a big age difference and they disapprove; they’re from two different religions and his family’s okay with it (perhaps they’re less observant or their religion isn’t super insular) but hers isn’t; or she’s from a very conservative ethnic group that values marriage within that group. I have a ton of Indian friends who face a LOT of crap from their families if they even date a non-Indian, much less marry one. There are other groups like that, too — don’t mean to single Indians out, they’re just the people I’ve known in real life who’ve faced this.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana May 1, 2014, 10:12 am

yeah I think it is either the religious or ethnic angle. I have many friends (female) who can’t marry out of their religion.

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:21 am

I hope it’s something from this list and not “He’s a convicted sex offender, but that was a total misunderstanding. Also he used to be engaged to my aunt”.

katie katie May 1, 2014, 10:26 am

i mean those are all the top reasons i would think of too, but it could be *anything*!!

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 3:44 pm

I’m dying to know!

avatar joanna May 1, 2014, 9:17 am

Is this some kind of cultural thing? Like you’re marrying outside the ethnic group or whatever?

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 9:22 am

This was my question as well.

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 9:33 am

I’m going with she’s a repressed 23 year with super religious parents (I was going to actually name a religion, but didn’t want to get into a debate so I’m keeping it vague) and he’s a 34 year old illegal immigrant.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 9:35 am

This is fun. I’m going to guess she’s a 17 y/o recovering addict and he’s a 55 y/o sponsor with salt and pepper hair.

avatar Elin May 1, 2014, 9:40 am

Perhaps she’s a 35 year old sugar mama, he’s 25 still in school, with aging parents who are thrilled he’s met someone new to take care of him and help pay off his student loans.

avatar joanna May 1, 2014, 9:41 am

Maybe she’s from a family of white supremacists and he’s black or Jewish or something.

othy othy May 1, 2014, 10:06 am

How about black AND Jewish? And a Democrat.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 10:07 am

Holy crap. The groom is Drake!

avatar SpaceySteph May 1, 2014, 10:30 am

Deke from 2 broke girls?

othy othy May 1, 2014, 10:07 am

I’m guessing she’s a princess and he’s a commoner. Who isn’t appropriate for the ‘royal family’.

avatar SpaceySteph May 1, 2014, 10:30 am

Rival gangs, obviously. When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet for lyfe!

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 9:41 am

My guess is that her parents are international spies and were planning on marrying her off to a contact in Kiev to strengthen their intel and keep a hand in the whole Russia/Ukrain situation. The LW is ruining everything because her engagement has global implications.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 9:42 am

LW, if LP is correct, you’ve really fucked things up this time. Good job!

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 9:45 am

I love the Americans by the way.

I digress. Did I mention the LW’s dad is in the House and her mom is a socialite. Her fiance’s mom works dinners at the parties LW’s mom throws. He was there once helping her out and the LW fell madly in love with, eek, the help! They’ve run off together. Why couldn’t she meet a nice, handsome architect while she was studying at Princeton?

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 3:52 pm

Yes to all the above, with the addition that she’s Susan Patton’s daughter who is afraid the rumors of her daughter marrying the help instead of a Princeton lad will hurt her book sales over the next 18 months.

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 3:49 pm

Oooh ooh! And she can’t tell her extended family, because then it might ’cause rumors and get back to the contact in Kiev before they can receive impending, important intel! His family’s okay to tell, of course, because they are farmers in Iowa.

avatar bethany May 1, 2014, 9:49 am

Hmmm… My guess is he’s 35, she’s 19. They “met” online when she was 15, and just only recently met in person when she moved across the country to be with him. They obviously have a “special snowflake” love.

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:52 am

And was right not to mention it. It was clear to her from the beginning that you would mock her special love because you just don’t understand. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE UNDERSTAND? You’re all acting just like that judgemental bitch he can’t divorce because of the legal misunderstanding.

othy othy May 1, 2014, 10:09 am

Maybe she’s an ex-nun who left her convent to marry him.

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 10:17 am

She’s from Genovia, and even though they abolished the rule that the princess needs to be married to be queen, they did not abolish the rule that she has to marry another Genovian royal.

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 10:26 am

Anne Hathaway is writing into DW! Wow, Wendy has made it to the big leagues.

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 10:29 am

Do you mean Mia Thermopolis?

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 10:43 am

Obvi.

othy othy May 1, 2014, 11:46 am

Please tell me you knew this and didn’t have to google her name.

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 1:33 pm

I just watched the second one again Saturday.

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:25 am

Convicted sex offender but totally a misunderstanding, like I said before, or the real reason they decided to keep quiet about the engagement was that he was still married by that time. Or college friend or LW’s dad.

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 10:27 am

I hope you meant of LW’s dad. And I really hope that’s the case. HILARIOUS!

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:36 am

yes, that was a typo. But now that you mention it, what if he’s both! LW’s mom and dad were together, she cheated with his friend, he sort of deserved it for being a violent, drunk ass so he forgave her, LW’s biofather never knew, and now they met in Paris during her year abroad and they returned together. And now noone knows what to say!

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 10:43 am

Perfect.

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:45 am

Or maybe it’s not that terrible… Maybe he had a threesome with LW’s mom and dad the night she was conceived and even though the DNA test said LW’s dad is her biodad too they can’t shake the feeling that he was there, so he’s sort of… known her all her life.

avatar Lucy May 1, 2014, 2:44 pm

He’s a powerful Congressman, and she’s a cub reporter with a blog?

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 4:04 pm

She’s a volunteer who joined Peace Corp against her entrepreneurial parent’s wishes. She met and fell in love with a member of the remote Mashco-Piro indigenous tribe in Peru. She was supposed to take over the family business as her parents’ health is ailing, but now she’s going to be living in the remote regions of the Amazon with her love. She also left behind her 5 young children to pursue this dream.

avatar Amanda May 1, 2014, 9:17 am

LW, I’m very sorry that you have to deal with less than supportive parents at such an exciting time in your life. To protect yourself from unnecessary pain, I would not share any wedding details with your parents or anyone whom you think wouldn’t be supportive. You and your fiance can plan a beautiful, fun wedding without their input. I did it and you can too. Congratulations on you engagement!

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 9:17 am

WEES – I have so many questions! What kind of rumors would circulate during an 18-month engagement? Why do your parents disapprove when your fiancé’s family and your friends seem genuinely happy for you? Why do your parents want to slash your guest list?
.
The only advice I have would be to immediately make a budget to see if you can really afford a huge family wedding. Even tiny weddings cost more than you’d expect, so you’ll want to make sure you can even afford to have a big to-do.

avatar bethany May 1, 2014, 9:17 am

This is so bizarro to me. LW, is there a reason your family would act this way? Assuming you have a normal, healthy, loving relationship (and you’re over the age of 20), this kind of reaction from your family is 100% batshit crazy. You don’t really provide any details about your life or your relationship other than you just moved in together. I can’t help but wonder if you’re leaving any important details out…?

avatar MissyC May 1, 2014, 9:20 am

My thoughts exactly on basically everything you just said.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 9:23 am

I have to assume her parents are either extremely nutty or its not a normal, healthy, loving relationship. I’m leaning toward the latter.

avatar Elin May 1, 2014, 9:33 am

Aw crap I just said the same thing!

call-me-hobo call-me-hobo May 1, 2014, 9:24 am

Wow, LW, that sucks. I’m assuming the rumor your trying to avoid is that you’re only getting married because of an unplanned pregnancy? Way harsh, Tai.
You don’t have have to elope! I know that there is a lot of “bridezilla” talk on this site, but it is NOT selfish to want a public celebration of your love with the people you care about. Celebrate however you and your fiancé choose!

Also, congratulations! I hope you have a blast, and your family comes to their senses.

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 9:30 am

CMH, there are so many things I like about your comment! First, I feel like “Clueless” quotes just aren’t appreciated anymore in our predominantly “Mean Girls” society so I’m glad you took the time to work one in. Second, you’re super nice and I like that. Third, you’re so right about the “bridezilla” crap! LW, there’s a huge spectrum of opportunity between eloping and being a bridezilla, and you and your fiancé should celebrate in a way that’s meaningful for you.

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 10:10 am

I thought that too, at first, but when you tell people you aren’t getting married for 18 months that kind kicks that rumor in the ass.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 10:11 am

Not if LW is an elephant.

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 10:13 am

This isn’t an interspecies wedding because both parties wrote letters to their future in-laws. The LW is most definitely NOT an elephant.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 10:15 am

WRONG
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He7Ge7Sogrk

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 10:27 am

poor elephants!

http://www.earsasia.org/why_we_help/Pages/elephant_painting.html

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 4:09 pm

No wonder her parents are against it. This isn’t a marriage, it’s a binding contract of elephant slavery!

avatar bethany May 1, 2014, 10:24 am

I have a painting made by an elephant!

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:28 am

How DARE you tell us elephants what we can and cannot do. REACH FOR THE STARS, ELEPHANT HOMIES!

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 10:20 am

or they are having twins… because if you have two you just double the time duh

avatar joanna May 1, 2014, 10:24 am

Not everybody gets married before the baby is born though. My friend had her 4 month old at her wedding where she married the father.

avatar Vathena May 1, 2014, 11:27 am

True, but that still wouldn’t make much sense in the pregnancy-rumors theory. It’s not as if people would think, “They’re getting married in a year and a half? She is probably knocked up RIGHT NOW!”

Lyra Lyra May 1, 2014, 9:30 am

It makes me so incredibly sad that some parents are like this. :( I’m so sorry you’re going through this, LW. I think I need to call my parents tonight and thank them for being awesome and supportive.

avatar Elin May 1, 2014, 9:31 am

There has to be something going on here that we’re not being told. How and why did the LW know her parents wouldn’t be happy? So much so that she was expecting an even worse reaction than the awful one she got?! There has to be a reason why her parents aren’t supportive of the relationship. I mean maybe it’s just that her parents have never supported her in anything, but if it were that simple, she could have said so. It seems like the LW was being purposely vague and that intrigues me. Why?! I gots ta know!!

avatar NavyWife May 1, 2014, 9:52 am

I agree…the whole time I was reading, I was wondering, “What ISN’T she telling us?” I feel like in most cases, LW’s go into detail about the issues (my family doesn’t approve of interracial marriages, I have a PhD and he barely finished high school, etc.) We got nothin’ here…which makes me think the parents might have a legitimate concern, and LW doesn’t want to reveal it for the sake of having Wendy on her “side”, so to speak.

On the other hand, maybe her parents are just nuts and would be against any marriage. I just feel like there’s more to the story.

KKZ KKZ May 1, 2014, 11:23 am

While I love the insane explanations above, I know my parents’ reason for being skittish about my marriage was that I was so young and marrying my H.S. sweetheart. And I know my mom judged him for not going to college “like you’re supposed to” even if he did find professional success without it. So that could be a possibility here too.
.
My guess would be she’s very young and moving very fast with someone she’s just met, though. Note that she also left out the length of this relationship.

KKZ KKZ May 1, 2014, 11:24 am

And by insane explanations above, I mean way upthread, not NavyWife’s comment. Oops!

avatar Laura Hope May 1, 2014, 9:37 am

There’s a guilty undercurrent in this letter. I don’t know if it’s because you’re very young or because there’s something shady about your fiance.

Lyra Lyra May 1, 2014, 9:40 am

I disagree. I think she’s approaching this marriage in a very healthy way — she’s taken time to enjoy being with her finace, the spent time preparing to tell their families, and she had the foresight that her parents would react this way. If anyone is in the wrong here, it’s the parents. It sounds like she has a healthy relationship.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 9:44 am

I don’t know that you can determine whether an entire relationship is healthy just because they told their parents they are engaged.

Lyra Lyra May 1, 2014, 9:53 am

Oh I agree, it just sounds like she’s taking her time and she seems pretty self aware. We don’t have much information here, but it doesn’t sound like her fiance is shady, like Laura Hope suggested.

avatar bethany May 1, 2014, 9:51 am

I don’t think we know enough here to judge if any of the relationships are healthy (LW/Fiance and LW/family). There’s a whole lot left out here, and my guess is that it was left out on purpose.

Lyra Lyra May 1, 2014, 12:29 pm

That’s very true. We never know the whole story Just from the letter nothing really stands out to me and it seems pretty normal.

bagge72 bagge72 May 1, 2014, 9:40 am

I really can’t give you any advice without knowing why your parents dissaprove, well besides that it is your life, and your money you can do what you want, and you don’t have to go by your mothers wishes since she doesn’t want to be part of it anyways. I really wish I knew why they feel this way though! Are you under age, and ran away from home, and wont be old enough to marry until 18 months? Is he a fugative of the law? Is he 50 and you are 18? Had you only been dating for a couple of weeks, and only met online before you actually moved accross country with this fella? I feel like since you left this information out that it might actually be a valid reason.

avatar Painted_lady May 1, 2014, 9:44 am

So sorry this is happening. I wish you had a family who could be happy that your life is what you want, and that they would, at the very least, feign enthusiasm because they love you and want you to be happy. Unfortunately, your family sounds like a bunch of manipulative jerks who will make you feel like shit for not doing what they want. It doesn’t matter, exactly, but have they even told you why, precisely, that they don’t want you to marry your fiancé? Or why they’re angry? Because not talking to someone for a week as punishment is shitty enough when you know what you’ve done because you feel obligated to do a certain amount of dancing around the room hoping that something you do will please them enough to speak again. But if they’re just generally disappointed, don’t-bother-asking-why-if-you-don’t-know, that’s so beyond not okay. And while I think it’s a little normal that you start feeling like the problem might be you when someone starts acting that way, if that’s their standard MO and has been most of your life, then you’re absolutely going to be more susceptible because you’ve always gotten the message that when you screw up, it’s your job both to figure out why they’re mad and to guess how to fix it.

Enjoy your wedding. You absolutely should do whatever you want, ESPECIALLY if you’re paying yourself (that’s why you do it, right?), and I would tell your family that they will only be welcome if they can act like adults and be, if not enjoyable, at least civil and pleasant. If you can’t do that, or you can’t allow yourself to enjoy this exciting time (one of the more exciting of your life), I would consider speaking with a counselor, especially one who has experience with abuse (I don’t know for certain that this is emotional abuse, but the patterns are similar enough), to help you process a way to enjoy this time without or despite your family, and how to set appropriate boundaries for people who feel like your decisions and your life are still theirs to control.

call-me-hobo call-me-hobo May 1, 2014, 9:47 am

Maybe the fiance’s encouraging family is actually a passel of sister wives and their thirty children.

Cassie Cassie May 1, 2014, 4:13 pm

She’s marrying Kody Brown!

mylaray mylaray May 1, 2014, 9:52 am

We don’t know the whole story here, and it’s confusing to know what you’re asking for. But, have your wedding the way you want and don’t let unsupportive people stop you from doing that. You don’t to have to invite your parents if you don’t want to. It’s not for everyone, but depending what these mysterious reasons are with your family, that could be a good idea. I wasn’t planning on inviting mine because I knew they would be unsupportive and they’re not really a part of my life, so when I told them I was getting married a month before, I knew I made the right decision in not inviting them/letting them get to me.

avatar Vathena May 1, 2014, 9:54 am

Could LW be male? That might explain the parents’ disapproval and fear of “rumors”.

Dear Wendy Dear Wendy May 1, 2014, 10:00 am

A Google search told me a few things about the LW, and I don’t think I am compromising her anonymity by saying she is a woman and a college grad (i.e. not underaged).

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 10:01 am

I know her!!!

Addie Pray Addie Pray May 1, 2014, 11:52 am

lol

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 10:02 am

So my spy family theory stands.

avatar Vathena May 1, 2014, 10:13 am

Rats, and here I thought I’d solved the mystery. I’m throwing my vote to sister wife, then.

(OMG, Wendy responded directly to ME! Swoon! Don’t be jealous, you guys.)

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 10:23 am

Well, she couldn’t have responded directly to me because then everyone would know that I was right about her family, which would have created an international incident.

katie katie May 1, 2014, 10:25 am

haha, its a pretty awesome feeling, isnt it?

avatar AliceInDairyland May 1, 2014, 10:22 am

Guys, this letter could totally be from me… (except I’m not engaged, woo!) So perhaps I am projecting, but I find it pretty believable that there isn’t this secret-guilty-omg-drama reason for the parents being stand-offish. I am pretty sure that my mom will not be pleased if I am to ever announce an engagement to Benjamin, and my dad just kind of follows along with my mom. Maybe not refuse-to-speak-to-you-for-a-week, but pretty passive-aggressively expressing her displeasure without ever really just saying what she thinks. Because if she said what her reasoning was, “You aren’t doing life the way that I planned for you to do life” then it would sound absolutely crazy. So instead she’ll just huff and give examples of people who have failed at life who have any sort of similarity to me but at the same time be all, “Well, it’s your life to do what you want…….” with the implication that I’m doing the wrong thing. I just know it will happen.

Is there stuff wrong with Benjamin? Probably… I think you could take any person and point out some faults. He’s quiet and introverted, especially around my loud family. He broke up with me almost 2 years into our relationship, and then a month later we decided to get back together (boy was my mom unhappy about that and I don’t think she’s recovered even though it’s been almost 2 years since that happened). He’s had to live at home in his twenties in order to save up enough money to basically build a new house and purchase a farm. My life is not going to be the way that my mom had planned for me, and that’s upsetting to her.

Okay basically… LW you just have to do you, and you can decide how accommodating to your family you feel you need or want to be. I too would want to have a private engagement that I didn’t tell anyone about until I felt secure enough in my decision to stand up to any criticism. So I feel you, and it sucks, and good luck!

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 10:38 am

I can’t believe that break up was almost 2 years ago!

avatar AliceInDairyland May 1, 2014, 10:41 am

Bahahaha, I know! I think we broke up in… mid-July of 2012, so that would be almost 2 years ago. It’s so weird, especially because it seemed like SUCH A HUGE DEAL and then now I hardly ever think of it unless someone writes a letter that oddly resonates with me.

mylaray mylaray May 1, 2014, 10:58 am

I agree there doesn’t have to be a big secret reason and I think the fact she didn’t mention anything makes it more likely her family is simply unsupportive and stuck in their ways. Also, your mom sounds a lot like mine (and she disliked my husband living at home for a long time and that we broke up early on).

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 11:13 am

You know, come to think of it, GGuy’s mom wasn’t too keen on me/our relationship in the beginning. There wasn’t any big huge reason, she just wasn’t a huge fan. Had we gotten engaged at an earlier point, she most likely wouldn’t have supported it. (But over 6 years in we have a great relationship now.) So, while it COULD be something **big** that LW’s parent’s take issue with, it also could just be nothing basically.

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 11:19 am

Actually, she didn’t like me because I’m a Yankee. oh well!

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 11:20 am

Go Mets!

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 11:21 am

As in from the north. I don’t do baseball.

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 11:24 am

Haha, I know. Unless maybe you ARE on the Yankees and everything you’ve told us thus far has been a lie…

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 11:26 am

Nope. I really just don’t do baseball. It takes too long and moves too slow. I have been to a Phillies game, but it’s just so not my scene.

avatar Banana May 1, 2014, 11:57 am

I’m not a baseball person either, but I love going to minor league games. I think in the minor leagues, they know the actual game itself isn’t going to be as “gripping” as a major league game (for people who care about the actual game) so they’re more set up to be big family events with lots of between-innings entertainment and goofiness. I love those, but I also probably spend 90% of my time at one chatting with friends and goofing off, and 10% watching the game.

GatorGirl GatorGirl May 1, 2014, 12:25 pm

I like minor league too!! It’s more fun. We used to go a lot in college, but don’t have a team close to us know.

Addie Pray Addie Pray May 1, 2014, 12:31 pm

I love baseball! The only thing I love more is NOT watching baseball and instead just hanging out with friends, which reruns of 19 Kids and Counting, eating, popping pimples, etc.
*
I dunno.

Addie Pray Addie Pray May 1, 2014, 12:34 pm

Oh speaking off, who is the person who recommended the blackhead tool? Mine came, but I don’t know how to use it. Do I just push it on my face and scrape? Do I run it down my face all over or just like on my nose? I’m not sure I have a lot of blackheads and my freckles throw me off. I need guidance. Sorry, back to LW and baseball or whatever.

lemongrass lemongrass May 1, 2014, 10:25 am

I find it very telling that the LW left out the details of why her parent’s don’t approve. It makes me think that they have a good reason and she just wants us to agree with her and therefore can ignore her parent’s warning her. Yes, there are many crazy-pants reasons the parent’s could disapprove- but why leave them out? Wouldn’t that just help her case? There are also many good reasons that the parents could disapprove. Leaving out that info is, intentionally or not, trying to sway the advice you get.

rainbow rainbow May 1, 2014, 10:40 am

Yes, and now in two years when they’re married and miserable she will write to another advice columnist with the real facepalm reason and finish the letter with “BUT I WROTE TO DEAR WENDY AND SHE SAID GO FOR IT! I MEAN, WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN, RIGHT?”

Fabelle Fabelle May 1, 2014, 11:08 am

Yeah, I mean.. maybe her parents are just unsupportive people & always have been, & there’s some dynamic she didn’t feel like explaining BUT come on, LW. You can’t do that to us! Or else we’re gonna speculate that you’re a child bride marrying a convicted serial killer who also happens to be your brother, somehow. DETAILS.

Diablo Diablo May 1, 2014, 11:04 am

M’s parents were at first very disapproving of me. They are very old world European (came to Canada after WWII), and did not approve of me shacking up with and defiling their daughter out of wedlock. And I was a tactless 23 yo who did not try to play up to their views one bit. they would literally come into my (our) house and not make eye contact or speak to me for the duration. Eventually, they had to soften to me, and I grew up a bit. But there did not have to be any spy theory for how this happened. They also tried to dictate how the wedding would go, and were absolutely not expecting me to tell them that they could either help plan our wedding our way or we would cut them out of it (just the planning – they would still be invited). The idea that a mere child would flout their authority literally had not occurred to them. Now, of course, M is the only one of their four kids who has never been divorced. In grifter’s terms, it’s known as the “Long Con.” I’ve taken their daughter for everything: her youth, her body, her innocence (okay, maybe not that), her money, her friends, her cat, all mine now, hahahahahahaha!

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 11:07 am

“But there did not have to be any spy theory for how this happened.”

Suuuuuuuure.

Diablo Diablo May 1, 2014, 11:11 am

I told, you, i’m not a spy, just a con artist. when someone tells you they are NOT a spy. you have to believe them.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki May 1, 2014, 11:39 am

And if you ask a spy straight out if they’re a spy, they HAVE to admit to it.

avatar Banana May 1, 2014, 11:18 am

I KNEW Diablo was a spy!

lemongrass lemongrass May 1, 2014, 11:18 am

I so read that as “My parents” at first and not “M’s parents”. A double-take was needed!

Diablo Diablo May 1, 2014, 11:20 am

Oh, my own parents have ALWAYS disapproved of me, but they have only themselves to blame. They love M, though.

avatar Jubietta May 1, 2014, 11:07 am

LW, regardless of why your parents feel and express disapproval, this is your choice to make. My gut instinct is that they feel you’re about to make a mistake, and not a small one…and they don’t want to see you hurt. And possibly, more selfishly, they don’t want to have to pick up the pieces after a decision they don’t support.
-
To that, I say, so what? Your life, your choice, your mistake…if that’s what it turns out to be when all is said and done. Mistakes are part of life, a huge part of learning.
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And I say that as someone who has severe distance with my in-laws for similar reasons.
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But, these feelings of impending failure have nothing to do with reality. Neither your parents, nor I, have a crystal ball. We may have experience and fears and concerns…but nobody knows what the future holds. As long as you accept responsibility for your choice (like footing the bill for the wedding yourselves) and continue to, by recognizing that this is a sea change in your relationship with them (that you can’t drop any disastrous results on their doorsteps anymore) it sounds like a normal maturation and separation process to me.
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Congratulations, you’re becoming an independent adult.
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You used to be a part of your parents’ nuclear family as your main structure…now you are creating one of your own with your fiance. Sounds like normal growing pains to me. You need a new set of skills to deal with this…it’ll probably happen again. Learn how to kindly defend your boundaries with your family and that’s the best you can do. (Being unkind about it will not serve you or your family…but you’ve seen that rolemodeled by them already, so you know.)

genevathene LW May 1, 2014, 11:43 am

Hi all, LW here with an update.

Between the time I sent Wendy my letter and today, a bunch of Googling led me to realize that my mother is a textbook narcissist. (Think Betty Draper from Mad Men.) Both of my parents (who are immigrants) had really traumatic childhoods that stunted their emotional growth. My mother in particular would always react strangely to my big life milestones, like proms and graduations. In high school, for example, I won a really big deal national science award that got me some press in the local papers. To others, she would beam with pride, but to me, she would criticize my work and focus instead on how shameful it was that I didn’t get a full ride to college. Growing up, I felt a sort of shame about getting older, because it seemed like my parents liked me better when I was an easygoing, unopinionated child. And no matter what I achieved, I’d never measure up.

So, this is why I was hesitant to share the engagement news. I’ve since acquired a therapist and a reading list, but I can’t tell you how RELIEVED I am that this isn’t my fault. My mother is simply emotionally incapable of empathy (due to the injuries of her own mother being the same way), so OF COURSE me getting married will be the next milestone that has to be all about her or else. I had been in therapy throughout all of college for a lot of symptoms related to this (depression, critical thoughts, low self-esteem). But even just a week ago, if someone were to say my parents were just crazy, I assumed it was because I didn’t deserve better ones (insane thinking, right?!).

I wanted to share this with you because I wish someone had helped me figure this out sooner. If any DWers see similarities (maybe you, @AliceInDairyland?) and want a good book, I highly recommend Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride: http://www.amazon.com/Will-Ever-Good-Enough-Narcissistic-ebook/dp/B001AO0GD6

As far as my parents’ grounds for disapproval, they haven’t specifically shared any reasons. We’ve been together for almost seven years, and I’m not pregnant. But if anything, it’s either that they’d prefer we’d wait (we are “only” 24 and 25), that my fiancé isn’t Catholic or Eastern European (he goes to church with me on occasion, we’re getting married in the church, and he is learning the language because we both want to live in Europe and raise our kids bilingual), and/or that I’m currently between jobs. To fix that last one, I recently got accepted to a competitive software fellowship this summer that, while unpaid, will lead to a final day of face-to-face software engineering “speed dating” interviews with 30 companies. Seriously, I’ll be fine. And my fiancé will be, too. Sure wish we had a crazy Russian/Ukrainian spy story, though! ;)

Thanks a ton for your help, Wendy! And to all who commented. I seriously haven’t felt this confident about the future in ages. And I didn’t think it was possible, but despite my parents’ reactions, I’m now even more excited to be getting married!

avatar bethany May 1, 2014, 11:52 am

Thanks for chiming in here, LW!! With the extra info, everything makes a bit more sense! Keep doing what you’re doing, it sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and you’re making thoughtful, informed decisions.

othy othy May 1, 2014, 11:53 am

Yep, I still think you’re a princess spy. Only explanation.
.
But, seriously, it sounds like you are approaching this whole thing in a mature manner. Hopefully your parents will come around. Feel free to tell who in your family you want, regardless of your parents’ opinions. And congratulations!

avatar Banana May 1, 2014, 12:00 pm

Ditto this — it’s YOUR news to share. So you should share it with whomever you want, no matter what your parents say. Your parents don’t “own” your relationships with other family members — that’s between you and the other family member. Unless you’re not actually that close with many of them, in which case it could simply be a “choose your battles” kind of situation, if you think it’s a worthwhile concession to let your mom share the news with the family.

Diablo Diablo May 1, 2014, 11:54 am

LW, I’m changing my opinion. This update is clearly an elaborate screen, and you ARE some kind of super double-nought spy. I’m sure if Wendy tries to chase your IP, she’ll find totally some “normal” person. But who’s kidding who? “Software engineers” know all about that stuff, don’t they? BTW, unempathetic narcissist mother? I can relate. Good luck with your nuptials.

avatar ktfran May 1, 2014, 12:03 pm

I’m so glad you responded! So, you’re awesome, number 1. Number 2, I think the real advice I offered above is super valid. Just remember, if your parents, or mother, never warms up to this wedding, you still have family. It might not be the biological family you always envisioned, but there are people who love you and want to see you happy.

I’m lucky in that I have a great, supportive family. However, I decided to live away from them when I became an adult and no matter where I moved, I fostered relationships with people who I now also consider family. When you plan your wedding, you can have an amazing affair with people who support you! Whatever that may look like.

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:55 pm

You are so right! Though I was a bit disappointed when my mother slashed the guest list at first, I realized that I wasn’t really close to those extended family members anyway (we only see each other at weddings). So, now I have more room to invite my family-by-choice! I had a lot of amazing mentors growing up (probably the reason I didn’t go batshit insane), so there will be plenty of people on that list. Not that it’s all about the wedding itself – it’s just nice to symbolically think about the people I’m most grateful for. Thanks for the reminder! :)

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 12:04 pm

Aw, LW. Putting aside my disappointment that none of the above ideas were true, it sounds like you’re doing great and I’m glad you are getting excited and feeling more confident now. Best wishes on a great wedding and happy marriage!

Diablo Diablo May 1, 2014, 12:09 pm

Oh sure, you believe HER when she says she’s not a spy…

Addie Pray Addie Pray May 1, 2014, 12:11 pm

This is perfect – I’m late to the game this morning so I got to read the letter, wonder what the heck the parents’ beef is about, *and* get the update right away. Thanks for the full picture. It sounds like this is nothing new and just another case of the same old, same old with your mom (and dad too? or is he excited?). … And now that you understand your mom better, I hope when *this* happens again in the future it won’t get you down – you know, all the exciting things to happen in the future – new jobs, new homes, BABIES and BABIES and BABIES (YAY! I know, not appropriate of me to go there, blah… BABIES!), other milestones…. Life is fun!

Addie Pray Addie Pray May 1, 2014, 12:17 pm

Oops I don’t think I finished my thought. Anyway, I meant to say, now that you know your mom better, the next time she acts like she does when good things happen to you – BABIES! – I hope you don’t let her get you down and you are able to let it roll off your shoulder – whatever that saying is – because you know, that’s just Ma for ya. Something like that.
*
I LOVE BABIES!

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:31 pm

Thanks AP, you’re totally right. In a way, since I had already noticed the whole “Mom blows up at all life milestones” pattern, I figured that by bracing myself for it, I’d protect myself from disappointment/sadness/pain. But it wasn’t until I learned about narcissism that I could finally separate my self-worth from her behavior, since I was still blaming myself for it. The more you know!

And yeah, BABIES…!!! I can’t wait until we finally share the news with everybody, because then I can maybe sort of get all excited about having kids without it being too weird. ‘Cause I’m a Millenial, and all, and I’m not supposed to want those naked screaming things. Except that I actually would like four of them (if possible, of course)?

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 1, 2014, 12:19 pm

So of course it’s never fun to be wrong and I was really, really emotionally invested in my spy back story, but I’m so glad that the problem is with your parents and not your fiance. It sounds like you’re very intelligent and self-aware so don’t let your parents bring you down. Good luck with the internship and the wedding planning and your wedding day and your marriage!

avatar Vathena May 1, 2014, 12:32 pm

Wow…I have a 1-year-old daughter and it just blows my mind that someone could treat their own child that way. Well LW, you now have a lot of internet strangers wishing all the best for you and your nuptials! It sounds like you have your work cut out for you in terms of setting boundaries with your parents, and managing your own expectations of them (that they aren’t capable of being “normal” parents). Best of luck to you and your fiance!

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:34 pm

Thank you! I struggle to understand how it is possible, too, but my parents (and grandparents) had some serious struggles growing up, so I’m not angry with them about it. I’m super grateful for the support of internet strangers, though. :) And am looking forward to more therapy, since it’ll eventually be my turn to break this family cycle (because, as AP says, BABIES!).

avatar AliceInDairyland May 1, 2014, 12:37 pm

Muahaha, I totally guessed that this letter was you even without all the details because I am so creepy.. I seriously want an update as to how this all works out because I will be facing similar “battles” in the coming years (I am turning 24 in a month!). My mom is also very much a martyred narcissist so I will definitely be reading that book when I get some free time. It’s amazing how much you can feel like the crazy one even when you are making sane, rational choices. This pretty much hits the nail on the head, “My mother in particular would always react strangely to my big life milestones, like proms and graduations. In high school, for example, I won a really big deal national science award that got me some press in the local papers. To others, she would beam with pride, but to me, she would criticize my work and focus instead on how shameful it was that I didn’t get a full ride to college. Growing up, I felt a sort of shame about getting older, because it seemed like my parents liked me better when I was an easygoing, unopinionated child. And no matter what I achieved, I’d never measure up.” My mom is also extremely jealous of my relationship (which is not even a very close relationship…) with Benjamin’s mother to the point of having crying fits in front of my siblings… So look out for that and prepare yourself emotionally as I was really surprised by that and ended up really worrying over it for a long time when I shouldn’t have to.

I’m talking to someone now about a lot of these issues of perfection and being good enough and self esteem. The counselor even mentioned that I exhibited a lot of the signs of chronic post traumatic stress disorder (hyper vigilance in social settings, panic attacks at certain triggers, etc). If YOU want more to read, you should probably look at this website and take your time going through it all: http://www.pete-walker.com/fAQsComplexPTSD.html SOO much of it clicked with me and made me realize why I was reacting to people the way that I was.

And also I wanted to say congratulations on getting to a healthy enough place to have a great, loving, healthy relationship with your fiancé(!!!). The website says that although growing up in that type of environment is really difficult and harmful, if you can learn to manage your “flashbacks” you have the opportunity to create extremely deep bonds with people. So, light at the end of the tunnel! Good luck, enjoy the engagement.

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 12:43 pm

YES YES YES YES YES YES!

So yeah, I outed myself, but I realized that by plugging in my email address despite using LW as my name, my icon showed up…oops. :)

I definitely agree with you about the jealousy. That was something I didn’t expect at all – how could my own mother be jealous of me? Even my fiance would bring it up from time to time (he’s been with me through a LOT of crazy), and I would categorically deny it. But you’re totally right. Doesn’t help that his parents (particularly his mother) are amazing and I love them to death. It almost seems wrong to feel that way about somebody else’s parents, you know? (Enter: guilt guilt guilt guilt!)

Thanks so much for the link (I need all the reading I can get!)! And good luck to you, too! Let’s be life buddies or something?

avatar AliceInDairyland May 1, 2014, 1:01 pm

Okay I should not be reading the amazon preview right now when I have an exam tomorrow… but I am definitely buying this. The beginning alone totally hooked me, “I became more centered, taking up what I now call substantial space, no longer invisible (even to myself), no longer making myself up as I go along.” <– OMG, WTF, THIS IS IT. This is what I have tried to explain to Benjamin and a therapist and it's just so weird and confusing to learn that not everyone strives to be both perfect and invisible at the same time. That not everyone fears taking up space.. Ugh weird, weird.

Yes lets be life buddies!!

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:37 pm

Yes yes yes yes yes!

Ps, I just made a DW public email address, in case you ever want to move the discussion off the boards: genevathene@gmail.com :)

avatar MrsSmith2013 May 1, 2014, 6:34 pm

Hey LW!

I wanted to chime in, as when I got engaged Dec 2012, I went through a similar thing as you. My parents have never liked my husband, and despite the fact that I wasn’t asking them for anything (and hadn’t for a long time), my mom didn’t speak to me for almost 4 months other than required family events or to yell at me for something. (Keep in mind, I was 30 years old, lived 2 hours away, and was doing this on my own, as you are.)

She wasn’t involved in any wedding things, and it hurt like hell. I could have used her more than once, and hey, most girls want their moms to help with their wedding. I learned really quickly that it wasn’t gonna happen. For some reason she had it in her head that I didn’t deserve a wedding and that I should have just eloped because I “was too old” to have a wedding even though I’d never been married before.

I realized while planning that my mother was also very much like yours a textbook “narcissist”. I also came to the conclusion that while my mother loved me, but never “liked” me. I was always treated differently, which she won’t deny, because she didn’t know how to handle me as a kid. I wasn’t hard or hyperactive, but I was more intelligent than she was, even from a young age. My mother has always had a different relationship with my sisters, and it took me planning a wedding to realize that there was nothing I could do, and nothing I had done to make that happen. It was, and still is, her issue to fix.

Fast forward to my wedding day, my MIL had stepped in to fill the voids my mom opted out of, and took charge of the decorations, helped me with my dress, all of it. Our wedding was a success, and my mom had chosen not to be a part of that. By doing my best, and relying on those who did care, it actually taught my mom a few things. She saw and felt all the love from our friends and chosen family, and it was a bit of a wake up call. My dad called me the next day and let me know that she’d broken down crying on the car ride home, and had spent most of the day after crying off an on, because she realized that she’d chosen to miss out on being a full part of her oldest daughters wedding.

While I don’t think my mom and I will ever be as close as she is with my sisters (there is still so much wrong in the past that I keep her at a distance for my own sake) but she is trying harder now to like me as I am. I think she’s also realized I’m the only current hope for grandkids (my other sister has fertility issues) and doesn’t want to feel the way she felt at my wedding ever again.

My point after all that typing is keep doing what you need to do, and she will start to come around. If she doesn’t, well, then that’s her loss. Congratulations on your engagement, and i hope you have the wedding of your dreams!

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 7:43 pm

Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story! How heartbreaking for you, but also your mom, too. The more I’m reading about these stories of how narcissist moms treat their children, the more I feel like something really seriously wrong must have happened for them to act that way. Not that it excuses anything – just makes me wonder, why why why?

I’m so glad you had the wedding you wanted, and were able to rely on your family-of-choice to fill the gaps you couldn’t get from your mom. I still have high hopes (perhaps dangerous ones) that my mother will come around, but you’re right either way. I’ll keep your story in mind when the hard times inevitably pop up over the next 18 months. Thanks again! :)

avatar AKchic May 1, 2014, 12:08 pm

Why do I feel that there is some sort of age difference here and that the LW is on the younger side (23 or younger) that makes the parents fear that a wedding announcement will mean gossip of a pregnancy and/or cradle-robbing?

In any case, you are paying for the wedding, not her. She has no say in what you do with your wedding, who you invite, or hell, how you handle your life. If she doesn’t like what’s going on, that’s her right, but that means she doesn’t have to accept the invitation (if you so choose to invite the woman).

My current MIL was upset that she had no planning rights for our wedding. She went out of her way to rent a chalet for us for our wedding, after we told her we already had our venue. She invited everyone on her side of the family, after we had already set our guest list (and it included none of the people she invited). We refused to show up at her venue, refused to help her plan her version of our wedding, and generally refused to indulge her. She had to call everyone she invited and tell them that we didn’t invite them, because we didn’t even have contact information for any of the people she’d invited (since we didn’t talk to them, we didn’t invite them!). She blamed me, saying I was a bridezilla and rescinded the invites. Funny thing is, I asked the SO if he wanted to invite anyone on his side of the family and he gave me a 6 person list, 3 of which wouldn’t be able to fly from CO to AK.
She luckily got her money back on the chalet.
She hated our wedding. However, she has stopped trying to push us into doing what she wants. She ignores me, but doesn’t try to take over anymore.

avatar Sue Jones May 1, 2014, 1:21 pm

My mother was also a textbook narcissist. It caused a lot of issues for me when I was younger that I had to work through. My mother also wanted my wedding to be about her, to invite her friends, to have it in her east coast city, even though I was living on the west coast at the time ( I ended up not marrying that guy anyway, and when I really did finally get married, we had a very small wedding with 4 other people (no family)in our livingroom. Then 4 months later we had a big party.

avatar Sue Jones May 1, 2014, 1:26 pm

I should also add that my ancestors are also from Eastern Europe and I am only a 2nd generation American on both sides, that makes my parents 1st generation (Jewish, but similar kind of thing) and there was no end to my mother’s crazy narcissism. A traumatic childhood and messed up parents can really f you up. Glad LW , you are doing your work and getting therapy so that you do not repeat these negative generational patterns.

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:42 pm

So sorry to hear that! Though of course, it also feels validating that someone else knows what I’m talking about here.

While I’m sure any emotionally injured child could grow up to be a narcissist regardless of location, I do wonder if it’s more common among Eastern European immigrants simply due to the horrible history in that area. Makes you think that maybe those “Jewish mother-in-law” stereotypes (which I always felt were the same for immigrant Polish MILs) actually stem from real trauma and suffering that never heals and instead gets passed on. I don’t blame nor am I angry with my parents – their life truly was harder than mine – but it does make me nervous that if I’m not careful, I could pass down this “legacy” to my own kids someday.

Do you have any kids? How have you dealt with your own struggles with this?

avatar Sue Jones May 1, 2014, 2:28 pm

I have kids, a stepson and a biological son. I guess I just tried to be everything my own parents weren’t. I think I am doing a decent job of it so far. Also I did therapy, years of meditation and yoga which I think helped rewire my brain (and yes, I also had a few rounds with narcissistic gurus in ashrams because I think I was looking for my “true family”, though gurus will put any narcissistic mother to shame with their own sociopathic narcissism… but hopefully you do not need to go that route). I think he knows we love him unconditionally, though, even though we have high expectations for his schoolwork, etc. (I do not think we are over the top about it). I think we were overly permissive with my older stepson as a reaction to my own overbearing parents, and he has his own mental health issues (some of that is genetic, though so I can’t blame it all on our parenting)… so trying to instill a work ethic in my younger son as well as balanced mental health… it is a tricky balance. Ask me in 8 years when my son gets ready to go to college and we’ll see how I did!

avatar lets_be_honest May 1, 2014, 1:46 pm

WAIT! Geneva…Genova….Genovia!

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 1:57 pm

Yes, I am the Eastern European Swiss Spy Princess. You got me.

avatar Joresana May 1, 2014, 5:39 pm

When my husband and I announced our engagement 5 years ago, the only person happy for us was his mother. Between our engagement and our wedding 15 months later, both his parents and my father passed away. His grandmother tried to talk him out of marrying me up until the judge came into the room to perform the ceremony and wouldn’t sign the certificate after it was done and my own mother refused to come to the wedding. We had to cancel our small 2 day honeymoon because his grandfather had to have a pacemaker put in, and we’ve never gotten back around to taking it.
Almost four years later, we are struggling in some aspects of our lives, but we love each other more than ever. All we have been through has made us a stronger couple, and I know he is my forever.
Enjoy your wedding. If people want to be doubters, let them. Celebrate with those who are truly happy for you and let the rest go. If you truly love and care for each other, that’s all that matters.

genevathene genevathene May 1, 2014, 7:30 pm

Wow, thank you for the perspective. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, in addition to all the losses in your family at the same time. It’s so hard to keep other people’s opinions at bay sometimes – especially when they’re coming from the people who raised you! But it sounds like it’s worth it in the end.

fast eddie fast eddie May 1, 2014, 8:50 pm

My imagination is running ramped with possible basis for her family disdain. On the other had my wife never talked to my mother until we were engaged by my design. Mom was a passive aggressive shrew that terrified me beyond her grave. My father wouldn’t let my then GF in his house because we had sex and lived together. It takes all kinds…

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