This topic contains 16 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Fyodor 2 weeks ago.
August 3, 2018 at 11:15 am #783649
I think I know what I need to do here, but I need some validation and opinions.
As some of you know, we lost an important member of our (my husband’s) family last year in a horrific random act of violence. It’s been devastating. In the next few weeks, the first anniversary of his death is coming up and we have a lot of events and things planned with family.
The issue I have is with my mother. We have a very fraught, strained relationship. She is manipulative and cruel. I have been in and out of estrangement and years of boundaries and have written in a few times about that.
She had proposed coming for a visit next week. Sure, I agreed it was fine.
Now all of a sudden, and instead of that trip, she has told me (it wasn’t brought to me with an ask) that she and my stepfather could come the day before the anniversary (about 4-5 weeks away) as they swing by PA to visit some of her family in AZ. They are driving to AZ and “fitting us in” on the way. A one night visit. They’d leave the morning of the anniversary.
Immediately, I said no. Because I have such a stressed and visceral reaction to her, and it affects my entire family.
I texted her no, it’s the anniversary and it’s not a good time for us. She started pushing back, a lot of manipulative comments, finally saying they could come a day earlier (still not great timing, IMO) and I just repeated, “I don’t want to talk about this right now, my husband is at work.” I asked her to stop texting. This continued on and on until I finally blocked notifications. I told her I’d get back to her some other time. Her last message was “We won’t see you this year then.”
I know what would be best for me, my mental health and my family. But my issue is always the enormous guilt alongside it. No matter what I do, I’m the bad guy. She’s also terrible with money and hasn’t budgeted/seen my kids in almost 2 years. She’s been proposing all sorts of trips and things, but nothing has panned out since we moved here. I am not going to VT, where she lives. We racked up a lot of debt with the move and I’m serious about sticking to my budget right now. I’m sort of annoyed that she’s going on a trip to AZ (my SF is driving there for other reasons and she’s flying back home) instead of proposing a trip that would work for us.
My husband has said he doesn’t want her to come, but he’ll defer to me. He’s been with me through a lot of her BS and knows that even if she is well behaved (which she most likely will be since my stepfather will be with her) I will still be stressed out.
I tried to compromise and propose any other time. Any other time, I would Suck it Up and Deal with her for a few days. But this time is different. I haven’t called her or spoken to her yet.August 3, 2018 at 11:24 am #783650
“I know what would be best for me, my mental health and my family.”
Under the circumstances, that’s what you should do. What she’s proposing doesn’t work for you. She pulled a bait and switch and it’s bullshit.August 3, 2018 at 11:26 am #783651
Thanks Kate.August 3, 2018 at 11:44 am #783655
I agree with Kate. (It seems like it might even be possible that she picked that date on purpose to antagonize you/insert herself into what is already an emotional time for your family…? I apologize if I’m way off base, but it did come to mind.) Do what you need to do for your family to get through a difficult time. There are literally hundreds of other days in the year when she could see you.
I’m so sorry for your loss – I remember when you posted about it, and I’m sure it’s been a hard and sorrowful year for your family. Take care of yourselves and don’t worry about other drama right now. <3August 3, 2018 at 11:49 am #783657
Yeah, that thought occurred to me as well. I want to think that’s not the impetus, that she’s just piggybacking on my SF’s plans, but she lives for drama and tragedy and always pretends to be VERY affected by these sort of things. She was incredibly difficult when that happened. Like, picking fights everytime I visited his family (even during the funeral) before we moved.
Thanks for the kind thoughts, Vathena.August 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm #783658
I’m not going to say she picked the date in order to antagonize you. She may have wanted to see you or she may feel guilty about not seeing you for a year. It sounds as if this date was picked knowing that it would keep the visit to the shortest time possible. Maybe her choice, more likely your step-father’s choice. In any case, she’s checked the ‘try to see my daughter’s family this year’ box off her to-do/guilt list. Don’t feel bad, you did the right thing and you likely met her need.August 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm #783659
Agree. She asked, you answered. It’s not a good time. End of story. Don’t explain any more or justify anything to her because you know you’ll never have a “good enough” excuse to placate her. And you don’t need one.
That said, I understand you are trying to stick to a budget, but I would consider if there is any wiggle room at all to fit in a quick trip to see her. Then you control the timing and the duration, and then she can’t throw out the “guess we won’t see you then” guilt trip.August 3, 2018 at 1:07 pm #783661
“We won’t see you this year then.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. It’s too bad next week won’t work for you. I wish we had discussed your September trip to AZ, earlier. We could have told you that it wasn’t a good option for us. Although I’m sad we won’t get to see you this year, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip with SF.
She’s the one who canceled the visit and assumed she could drive through whenever she felt like it. I liked Kate’s line:
“I know what would be best for me, my mental health and my family.”
This takes the onus off of you to dance around how difficult and stressful you find the experience around her. This isn’t your fault! It takes two to get along and your mother has trained you to respond with high stress by being manipulative and cruel towards you, in the past.
I’m sorry you feel disappointed. I wish you had a mom who made you feel like she missed you and really wanted to come visit instead of just stopping by overnight. Even if you don’t get along, it’s natural you would hope your mom would make the effort to come see you and her grandchildren if she missed you, so much. Or at least try to consider your feelings over her own during this sensitive time for you and your family.
I hope you take time to take extra care of yourself, especially over the next few weeks. You’ve really been through a lot, this year.August 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm #783663
How frustrating. She was good to come next week. Now shes not? Oh well. There was no harm in asking to change the date but your answer…your very valid answer…was no. That’s the end of it. I guess we won’t see you this year? I guess not is the only answer you need give. I’m sorry. It’s easy for me to say dont feel guilt about this but the reality is she said these things in order to make you feel guilt. That seems to be the end game. Not the visit. Not seeing her grandkids. There is no win here for you. You have to lay the choice back at her feet. She chose to change the date. That choice has nothing to do with you. Just tell her sorry that week simply will not work. Next time she is available let you know. And then change the topic.August 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm #783664
The reaction I have to anything related to her is really incredible. Sometimes I feel like she is my bogeyman. The ironic part is she is exactly like her own mother.
I could put a trip to see her on a CC, but I’m not going to. Her home is not child safe and we’d have to book a hotel.August 3, 2018 at 1:54 pm #783665
Stick to what works for you and your family. Just tell her ‘I’m sorry you couldn’t find another time to visit. The kids were looking forward to seeing you.’ Drop kick that guilt bullshit right back on her. You’re on the right track, just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m sorry for your loss.August 3, 2018 at 2:39 pm #783670
Thanks everyone. I knew I have to say a firm No to this, but your comments have helped alleviate the guilty feeling.