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Thread: My Christmas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    My Christmas

    I choose to live apart from my family because they tend to drive me batty. However, I have not been home for the holidays in 5 years, babies have been born, marriages have happened and this was a good year for me to go as far as work. So I drove 12 hours the day before Christmas Eve. It was exhausting but nice to be home. Unfortunately, the minute I walked in the door, my mother started in on me. My hair is too long, I speak too low and too fast, I am overweight, I will have to sleep on the couch, don't let the dogs in, don't eat my food, why are you drinking soda, on and on.

    However, God forbid that I point out that my mother drives too fast and doesn't pay attention. That the reason she can't hear me is because she isn't listening. That Facebook is not the beginning and end of everything. That 69 isn't that old and please stop acting like a geriatric on one hand, but you also drink too much wine and roll around on the floor like a teenager. I really tried to keep my mouth shut. Christmas Eve night we were at my sister's house and all Mom did was mess around with their stereo, screwing up the nice Christmas music, at the little kids for making too much noise (they're 8, 3, 2 and 1), drink too much wine, not give me the keys, and almost kill us on the way home. I kept my mouth shut.

    Christmas morning we go over to my other sister's house and it starts again. She's on her phone, drinking mimosas, ing at the kids to keep quiet (even though she's the one who bought the loud toys), or go in their rooms so the adults can talk. It's effing Christmas morning! It's kid time! I was so mad. I told her to get off her phone and leave the kids alone.

    We go back to her house to get ready for the Christmas afternoon stuff at another family member's home. She's ing, ing, ing.

    I snapped and told her to stop playing with the radio while she's driving, to turn it down, to stop asking me "What?", and I said don't you dare go over the gathering today and at those kids. I reminded her that it will be a house full of all the kids, and that she better mind her manners, not drink too much and if you do, I'll be driving home.

    When we got back to her house she ordered me out. Told me to get out, she didn't care where I went, not her problem, get out. It's 12:00 on Christmas Day and I had no where to go. So, I drove halfway on the 12 hour trip, got a hotel, bought a turkey sandwich from a gas station, and watched tv. Got up the next day and drove home.

    I got a card with a lot of what I call not apologies (I'm sorry I'm old, I'm sorry your hair looks like crap, I'm sorry you talk too low, etc.).

    I took her off my social media and have had no contact. Am I in the wrong here? I really don't think I am. Should I be more upset?

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  3. #2
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Wow. . that was hard to read.

    Often times we feel obligated to have relationships with family members when honestly we have nothing in common with them other than our DNA.

    Based on what you've just shared, I'd personally give myself the permission to continue to distance myself from her.

    It doesn't mean you can't involve yourself with the rest of the family, but I might not stay at her home and limit your time with her so things
    don't go off the rails.

    There is no real right or wrong answer here. It's what ever works for you.

    I might suggest some very limited contact with her. Lead by example. Take the high road whenever possible, be very quick to cut it down whenever she crosses a boundary and be sure be clear to her on what they are. It's not open for dispute or debate. Be kind, be firm and always be in a place where you can quickly remove yourself when drama flares up.

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  5. #3
    Platinum Member gebaird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    An island of peace in an ocean of chaos
    Well, that sounds like the worst Christmas ever I can see why you stay away.

    It sounds like your mom has some pretty serious emotional issues, along with an alcohol problem. I'm guessing she's always been like this, and she probably isn't going to change. Up to you to decide how much or how little you want her in your life, but you've got to have good boundaries to maintain your sanity.

    For now, it sounds like no contact is your chosen boundary. Maybe that's permanent, and maybe it isn't. The key is to be at peace with your decision, whatever it is.

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  7. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    My Christmas was nowhere near as bad as yours was, but I can totally relate. I wanted to divorce my family by the end of the five days that I spent with them. And I know exactly what you mean about the "not-apologies." They've been flung at me like insults all my life.

    I think the solution depends on your personality. As somebody who dislikes the idea of giving up, I think I would personally come to regret cutting all contact.

    Another important consideration for me is nostalgia. It can bite you in the ass big time. After enough time passes, I find that memories become fonder. Even now, I'm trying to remember why I was so furious. I know I was justified then, but it seems so irrelevant now. I would hate to be 80 with all of these fond (though inaccurate) memories, wondering why I cut all contact with such nice people.

    So, from my perspective, I would caution you against drawing hard lines.

    A lady once told me that she made a mental checklist for each family member's particular brand of crazy. During holidays, she'd sit back and mentally check off the boxes as each person's crazy kicked in. I thought that was a good idea.

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  9. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Cloud Nine
    Sorry this happened, sounds like a nightmare.

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  11. #6
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Wilds of Texas
    If you want to go visit fam for holidays, other life events, then go and do it, but I suggest that you do it more on your own terms. Drive yourself, stay at a hotel, if things get on your nerves, you can leave quietly on your own time. Don't try to change or control what your mother does. If the kids' parents are tolerating her behavior, then consider that you do need to keep out of it and not cause additional fights and unpleasantness all around. At her age, she isn't changing. So all you can do is accept that this is who she is and then decide how you will handle that. It's ye olde you can't control what others do, but you totally control what you do and how you respond to it.

    Yes your mother's behavior is pretty toxic, but you are not helping that by jumping in with "let me tell you how it's going to be". Them's fighting words and inappropriate just as well.

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  13. #7
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Some parents are ageless and frozen, aren't they? Like they have zero introspection or life events that lead others to stop and think (like why is my child distant from me) have almost no effect on them. You can ignore them for a decade, go back and after the initial coldness, they will open their mouth and the distance will be closed immediately because they can start from where you left a decade ago.

    My mother is a bit like this, only, if she cuts you off, you cannot go back. I went NC wit her for five years but she didn't cut me off, so we started contact again. She used to have a façade like steel and now that she is elderly, it is more like borderline, more impulsive, lots of crying - and pretty rude rage attacks at semi-strangers sometimes (although not without reason, but still) - diabetes and emotions. She surely has the new push and pull now - like she can order me out and also beg me to stay. (Interestingly, in my mother's case, it stops when you treat her like a five year old and declare that you are not going anywhere, I was so surprised when I discovered it after taking her serioıusly for so long I don't know which is better, the old cold steel narcissism or the new borderline.

    You have every right to feel however you want. No shoulds. You may choose to let go something that others wonder how you can, or you may feel like you are about to explode because she looks at you in a particular way. It all has a deep history. Really, you are entitled to everything you feel.

    I think the first meeting after a long time is strange because having lived without toxicity for a while, you realize how unhealthy it is even more. Like, it strikes you in a new way - or me at least

    You are not in the wrong here - except having that hair too long of course But I should admit, in my case, that there are some moments when my emotionally abusive mother touches my heart. Now that she is older - and I'm an only child and she has noone but me- I have chosen to have some form of contact at a superficial level, for my purposes, for my emotions. At the same time, I can totally understand people who completely cut off their parents and don't even go to their funerals because it is emotionally damaging.

    I will be honest. I am in touch with my mother - I am her neighbour now actually, but I don't communicate with her with full honesty, the way I would like to with some adults. It is more like a relationship with a child, within some boundaries. If I need a break from her - despite our limited and civil contact because I do - I don't argue or JADE (justify/argue/defend/explain anymore) and I have zero expectations that she understands my point - that makes me eternally dependent on a person who would never get me in her lifetime. I take the responsibility all on me - how I'm a bit down or impatient nowadays or smt smt- and may not be around much etc which she accepts gladly - as long as the fault is on me, yeah She used to hang on to these descriptions about me and expand and expand but now that she sees that it doesn't get any reactions other than an agreeing nod, she has stopped doing that.

    I like this new method because it both allows me to have my peace and also the possibility to reconnect if I ever wish to do so.

    Ymmv I suppose.

    But good luck and you sure deserve a special day for yourself after this tiring interaction.

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  15. #8
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Ontario Canada
    If I was you I'd stay away too, so no, you are not in the wrong. Your mother has issues and you cant fix her.

    My mother was a first class PITA and I chose to stay away from her and pretty much everyone else because she drove me nuts. I totally get how you feel.

    I agree, if you feel a need to go see her and the relatives again, do it your way. Get a hotel, it's worth the money then you can leave when you feel like it. Dont be around her anymore than is necessary.

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  17. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    In all were dishing it right back at them. You told us that your mother gave you a laundry list of things that she didn't like, but yet you fired back with a laundry list of things against your mother - stop being geriatric and so on and so forth. You can only control you. if your mom started in that your hair was too long and instead of firing back at her, you gave your mom a big hug and told her that you are glad she cares - or even told a little joke about your hair - it would shock her. If you are a soft pillow instead of a brick wall about things that are not life or death, they just might change how they speak to you. Coming home for Christmas is a stressful time. I know my mom who is NOT like that at all can be on edge because of whipping up desserts and if she hadn't seen me in a long time she would be on edge, too.

    Instead, why not see your parents at a different time so you can all be more relaxed?

    I know its annoying, but it sounds like you all have a part in the family dynamic and it takes one person to change it just a little at least while they are there.

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  19. #10
    Platinum Member shellyf62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Sydney Australia
    My Mother has always used "non apologies" as well. I have never had a name for them before, so thank you for that.

    We have always had a bumpy relationship. She made some terrible decisions while we were growing up & they have impacted my Sisters & I to this day.

    One terrible comment broke the camels back late last year, and I couldnt take it anymore, & I let some home truths out. She then wrote me a letter full of non apologies. I replied with a 4 page one stating things that had happened & how it had all impacted our lives. I also told her it has gotten to the point where I dont want her in my life on a day to day basis. I will be cordial to her at family gatherings, but that is it.

    It has been about 6 months and it is such a huge relief. My Daughter's engagement party is this weekend & she will be there, but I know she will behave, no nasty comments & no guilt thrown at me.

    It is so much easier spending your life around people you love and who treat you with dignity & respect. Dont feel bad, your mother chose to treat you that way. She needs to learn you wont accept that behaviour.

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