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surprise party gone wrong


ksrtravel

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 2.5 years, and his 40th birthday is coming up. His daughter and I have been planning a surprise party for him since the beginning of the year, and we coordinated with his friends and family from all over to attend. This past weekend, he said he didn't want to be in town for his birthday weekend, that he wanted to drive up to his family's house. I had to tell him that we were planning to surprise him by having them come to him, and he said "well I'll go to them and save them the trip!" Soooo, I had to fill him in that the party was more than just his family, and he basically had a massive panic attack. He said that he wasn't going to be able to handle the party because he can't handle being the center of attention -- I told him that it wasn't worth getting upset and anxious about it, so I sent an email out to everyone telling them the truth, that he made other travel plans that conflict with the party, and that it was cancelled. A couple of people told him that they were bummed about not having the party. Now he's not speaking to me, ignoring my phone calls and emails. Honestly, we just wanted him to have one day where he could know how special he is to all of us. Is it true that no good deed goes unpunished? Is there anything I can do in this situation?

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Tell him you are sorry if you haven't already.

 

It's better that its canceled ahead of time if he is really that against the idea than to have had it happen and him been even more upset.

 

He might be freaked out about the big 40 and not happy about the birthday at all.

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Tell him you are sorry if you haven't already.

 

It's better that its canceled ahead of time if he is really that against the idea than to have had it happen and him been even more upset.

 

He might be freaked out about the big 40 and not happy about the birthday at all.

 

I think so too. I think he will get over it.

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Wow, what a terrible thing to get upset over!! To think somebody actually wanted to let you know how much you meant to them... If it was me, i wouldnt feel bad at all. Let him realize you were trying to do something nice for him and ignore him now!! Tell him you didnt appreciate the way he acted... Damn, i would be pissed!!

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I think it's ridiculous that SHE has to apologise when he is acting like child.

 

Yes, he might not like it, but not returning phone calls/emails and basically only thinking of himself? not all his friends and family who want to see him.

 

Time for him to put on his big boy pants and quit sulking.

 

She tries to do something nice and he treats her like crap.

 

ugh, situations like this make me sad because the OP is made to feel bad for something or made to feel like she should apologise... are you kidding?

 

she shouldn't have to apologise for anything!

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i think it's ridiculous that she has to apologise when he is acting like child.

 

Yes, he might not like it, but not returning phone calls/emails and basically only thinking of himself? Not all his friends and family who want to see him.

 

Time for him to put on his big boy pants and quit sulking.

 

She tries to do something nice and he treats her like crap.

 

Ugh, situations like this make me sad because the op is made to feel bad for something or made to feel like she should apologise... Are you kidding?

 

She shouldn't have to apologise for anything!

agreed completely!! Pretty much what i was saying!!

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I was given a surprise party when I was 16. I have yet to recover. What is fun for you can be torture for someone else. I have never thrown a surprise party for anyone and I never will. It can be traumatic! I know you were trying to be kind, but for some of us, it can be like getting tortured for our birthday and it's not nice. He will thaw, but it will take awhile. Never do this again to him, please.

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I was given a surprise party when I was 16. I have yet to recover. What is fun for you can be torture for someone else. I have never thrown a surprise party for anyone and I never will. It can be traumatic! I know you were trying to be kind, but for some of us, it can be like getting tortured for our birthday and it's not nice. He will thaw, but it will take awhile. Never do this again to him, please.

 

 

Well yes, but just because it's a bad experience for you, doesn't mean it's the same for him. And, he is behaving like a child.

 

There are some social activities I don't like either, but it's called being an adult, being mature about it, and thinking of other people, not just yourself.

 

She should NOT have to apologise, he should apologise for not returning phone calls and ignoring her. She said he was 40??? sounds like he's about 7 years old

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Did anyone accusing him of being a child actually see this part of the post:

I had to fill him in that the party was more than just his family, and he basically had a massive panic attack. He said that he wasn't going to be able to handle the party because he can't handle being the center of attention --
A little more understanding of people with the sort of phobia he seems to suffer from might be helpful - especially to the OP in realising why he felt the way he did.

 

If he does suffer from that sort of phobia or fear of people when the centre of attention then he should receive some sympathy not condemnation.

 

It would be akin to saying someone with a fear of heights shouldn't be childish in refusing to go sky-diving.

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I can sort of relate. I am like him....not really so much the surprise party thing but i have always had a problem wtih birthdays. Not because of getting older - i've been like this since i was a teen. For some reason i dread them (maybe the root cause is i don't like being the center of attention either ) and a couple of years ago my SO was going to plan something similar. His plans were thwarted early on tho because i said to him "i don't want to invite anyone over on my bday, i really want a quiet dinner with you and maybe my kids" and he said 'uh oh' and then went on to say he was inviting a bunch of our friends over for a celebration. I didn't have a panic attack - well yea i think i did - but i got angry and i quickly tried to draw it back in as he wasn't doing something bad or mean so worked on it and not lash out. But i did tell him how utterly uncomfortable i was with that and asked if he would call it off, which he did and he apologized. I told him no problem, i knew he didn't realize i would react that way.

 

Birthdays and parties for someone can really cause anxiety for certain personality types. I am sure he will calm down and realize your heart was in the right place. I think what he is doing is very childish. It's not like you forced him to have the party anyway. YOu didn't even embarrass him by saying he was not comfortable with it - you simply stated he had travel plans. No big deal.

 

I honestly couldn't imagine not talking to my SO over this. He didn't mean anything ugly so refusing to speak to him would have been very childish IMO.

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Did anyone accusing him of being a child actually see this part of the post: A little more understanding of people with the sort of phobia he seems to suffer from might be helpful - especially to the OP in realising why he felt the way he did.

 

If he does suffer from that sort of phobia or fear of people when the centre of attention then he should receive some sympathy not condemnation.

 

It would be akin to saying someone with a fear of heights shouldn't be childish in refusing to go sky-diving.

 

I had the SAME exact thing happen to me and I quickly changed my anger because even tho the entire thing caused me anxiety and even some panic, i was mature enough to realize my SO was not trying to do something evil to me, it wasn't a plot to cause me panic or anxiety.

 

To have the anxiety he should not be blamed but to refuse to talk to her over her doing something that was because she loved him? That is over the top. I understand this phobia as much or more than anyone but i also know that taking it out on the person who loved me enough to make my day special was wrong.

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I think much depends on whether the OP knew that he doesn't like being the centre of attention and went ahead anyway. They have been together for 2 1/2 years so it would usually be something that had been apparent before this.

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It would be akin to saying someone with a fear of heights shouldn't be childish in refusing to go sky-diving.

 

I don't think this is a fair or equal analogy at all. IF SHE FORCED the party on him anyway or wouldn't cancel it, THEN this would be a similar analogy. But she apologized and quickly called everyone to cancel.

 

A more similar analogy would be a person who had a fear of heights had an SO who planned a sky diving event for him as she was unaware of this fear, but once she foudn out she quickly canceled it. IF the person was angry enough to not speak to her even tho it was an innocent mistake, I'd say he was being childish and unreasonable. The phobia isn't childish, but to treat a person who didn't know any better and who canceled the plans like this, is childish.

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I think much depends on whether the OP knew that he doesn't like being the centre of attention and went ahead anyway. They have been together for 2 1/2 years so it would usually be something that had been apparent before this.

 

I was with my SO about the same amount of time and he was unaware that I felt that way about surprise parties, so it is more than likely she didn't know either.

 

If he didn't change the plans for me then i would have been angry with him for not biding by my wishes, but since he did cancel and apologized for it i couldnt' reasonably be mad at him.

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Well, let's not say more than likely until the OP answers.

 

Well it was assumed she already knew, I just wanted to relate an exact situation of mine where my SO didn't know even tho he knew me very well. It was totally innocent on his part. I am sure she will clarify.

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Did anyone accusing him of being a child actually see this part of the post: A little more understanding of people with the sort of phobia he seems to suffer from might be helpful - especially to the OP in realising why he felt the way he did.

 

If he does suffer from that sort of phobia or fear of people when the centre of attention then he should receive some sympathy not condemnation.

 

It would be akin to saying someone with a fear of heights shouldn't be childish in refusing to go sky-diving.

 

 

it's not about refusing the party, it's about him ignoring her and acting like a child in the way he is treating her right now.

 

Also, is it just a dislike? or an actual phobia?

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Thank you all for your helpful advice. Just some background - my boyfriend has never been diagnosed by a doctor with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. He is not taking any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. He goes to parties with his friends, sings karaoke at bars, rides a motorcycle, and yes, has gone sky-diving (twice). His reaction is not something I could have predicted, so I'm assuming that it's based on a prior event that doesn't have anything to do with our time together. I'm simply curious how to handle the situation now that it has occurred.

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Well it was assumed she already knew, I just wanted to relate an exact situation of mine where my SO didn't know even tho he knew me very well. It was totally innocent on his part. I am sure she will clarify.

well, you know what they say as to why it is unwise to assume anything.

 

When people have a panic attack, as described, it means they are not being rational. If he is so upset he may still be upset. I just find it less than useful to describe behaviour from phobias or that induce panic attacks as being childish - because that is like saying anyone who has one and has a hard time dealing with the aftermath of it is being childish.

 

Insults are easy to dish out. But they usually don't help much.

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Thank you all for your helpful advice. Just some background - my boyfriend has never been diagnosed by a doctor with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. He is not taking any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. He goes to parties with his friends, sings karaoke at bars, rides a motorcycle, and yes, has gone sky-diving (twice). His reaction is not something I could have predicted, so I'm assuming that it's based on a prior event that doesn't have anything to do with our time together. I'm simply curious how to handle the situation now that it has occurred.

 

Honestly it is hard to tell you how to handle it because he is handling it so irrationally. Having been in an almost exact situation myself i can tell you from the other end how i handled it - and that was by knowing that my SO didn't do anything bad and he was trying to do something loving. So even tho i had this strange phobia that even i don't entirely understand I was not about to not speak to him and act like a child.

 

I think you should let him know that you understand his anxiety and panic over this 100%, but you do NOT understand his ignoring you and that it is causing you a lot of unnecessary stress as well. For some people having an SO completely ignore them could also cause panic, so he should realize that he is not treating you with respect.

 

This isn't about name calling him - this is about he isn't treating you respectful since you apologized and canceled, and you even canceled with finesse as in no one had a clue that he had an anxiety attack over it. you simply said he had travel plans. Who on earth could think that something was fishy about that?

 

Other than that and what you have already done there is nothing else you can do. So either he can realize that he is treating you poorly or he can continue with his silent treatment that is not accomplishing anything. the choice is now his.

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Thank you all for your helpful advice. Just some background - my boyfriend has never been diagnosed by a doctor with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. He is not taking any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. He goes to parties with his friends, sings karaoke at bars, rides a motorcycle, and yes, has gone sky-diving (twice). His reaction is not something I could have predicted, so I'm assuming that it's based on a prior event that doesn't have anything to do with our time together. I'm simply curious how to handle the situation now that it has occurred.

 

if its not in his charachter then i would question if he was faking being anxious just to get out of the house on his b-day.. perhaps he has plans you dont know about... keep an eye out for other strange behavior.

 

him going 'missing' is classified as strange btw.

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  • 2 years later...
Thank you all for your helpful advice. Just some background - my boyfriend has never been diagnosed by a doctor with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. He is not taking any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. He goes to parties with his friends, sings karaoke at bars, rides a motorcycle, and yes, has gone sky-diving (twice). His reaction is not something I could have predicted, so I'm assuming that it's based on a prior event that doesn't have anything to do with our time together. I'm simply curious how to handle the situation now that it has occurred.

 

My first thought is that maybe something traumatic happened to him as a child that his mind blocked out that the surprise party sparked back up, if only the feelings at least. I would keep this as an option to look into.

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