Parents want to come for a visit - I don't want them to come - what to do?
Friday, November 16, 2012
My mom called and dropped a bomb. This sounds terrible to say, but they want to come for a visit in the spring. I don't want them to come.
I especially don't want them to come in April or before or after April (well or almost ever)
I'm selfish when it comes to April. April is my birthday and our wedding anniv. Every year we do a vacation for our anniv. EVERY YEAR! It may be only a camping trip, or it may be a road trip or whatever. The point is that it is our time and I look forward to that time. I like knowing that time is there for us.
My parents drain everything out of me. Even my hubby, who gets along with everyone, finds my dad exhausting. My dad is a passive agressive-jerk-immature-a$$.
I hate saying that. I hate thinking it. I hate myself for having these feelings.
So here's where it gets complicated.
My mom was recently diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis (not even attempting to look up how to spell it at this point) and she will need a lung transplant. I suspect that they want to come out before her lungs get a lot worse. I get that.
My mom has always wanted to be here in the spring to see the fields of tulips. They bloom sometime between mid-March to late April depending on temps, rain, etc.
So tonight my mom calls and says they want to come in the spring to see the tulips. She doesn't ask if we can take the time off, if they can stay with us, etc. She asks if my husband will be working (What?! Why wouldn't he be working? He's always had a job. He's worked for two different companies in 15-16 year. I'm the one who took off about a year from work over 10 years ago.)
I want to tell them no, not April...make that no, not Apr., Mar., or May or ever.
But my mom's condition. And I don't want to be a jerk. I am worried about her and about what she is facing.
But I also know how exhausting and frustrating and DEPRESSING and DEPLETING their visits are. There is NOTHING to look forward to about their visits. My dad is emotionally abusive and it's too much to take for more than a couple days.
How can I feel and say this about my parents?
And what am I doing to do about this?
Take care of me? Or be the dutiful daughter?
I don't want to hurt their feelings but I don't want to spend an awful week with them that will require a few months of therapy to undo? Just kidding about the therapy, but only sort of.
I know many of you have wonderful relationships with your family and can't begin to understand. But I hope someone out there has faced similar and may be able to offer advice.
This is very embarrassing.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
You have lots of good advice here. I understand toxic relationships, more than I wish I did that's for sure! :)
I agree with taking care of you - protecting yourself from any kind of emotional abuse is super important. But I also hear (maybe it's only in my head) that you feel like it might be important to see your mom - given her condition? If that is the case, and it's not just an obligation, then I'd say find a time to see them that works best for you. Because it would be difficult if you said no visit, and then spent time feeling badly about it. Feeling badly can be just as unpleasant as a bad visit. Hope that makes sense.
I had my mom and stepdad over for the holidays (they dont' live too far, so they can just drive and not stay), but my stepdad is super unpleasant to be around. We joke he was raised by wolves (just to get through it). But that said, I was happy we did it because my mom really enjoyed it. And I would put up with my stepdad to make my mom feel good, if only for a few hours. And honestly I felt better too for having done it.
So sometimes it's about YOUR feelings, and you CHOOSING to do things because it'll make you feel better, not for anyone else. Meaning if you feel you have a choice, and YOU make it, then maybe you retain some control over the situation. I hope that makes sense (so hard to write these things sometimes).
1789 days ago
I am so sorry that I am just now seeing this...
I think if it were me, I'd say something along the lines of "April does not work for us at all. We're both working all kinds of crazy hours, so that if you do decide to come, really at any time, we would recommend that you stay at XX Hotel. Perhaps we could have dinner with you one night, but no guarantees."
I think there are more of us with these types of family relationships than you'd think. And I completely understand about looking out for your mental health first; I've avoided relationships with parents and siblings for the same reasons you've outlined. Why would I willingly allow myself to go down in despair?
I hope you don't think I'm cold-hearted or anything. It's just that I've been in your shoes. I know how uncomfortable it is, and I know that I am SO glad that I handled things as I did.
We're here for you!
1796 days ago
1797 days ago
Unfortunately, I cannot give good advice. I've lost both of my parents. It's been 12 years now since my Mom passed away, and she was sick for many years before. We were *very* close. I miss her immensely and think of her all the time. I wish there could have been more time. But she was a lovely woman, and we had a healthy, non-toxic relationship.
As a general rule, I try to avoid toxic/negative people as much as I can!
I agree with the advice given below: claim April as yours! You know that is what you truly want. You should do what FEELS right for you....not what you think someone else (others/family/society) thinks you should do. And I agree, you shouldn't be embarrassed, after all: it's THEM, not YOU!!!
It's also so hard to know this far in advance how your life will be looking in April with work etc... Go with your heart.
1798 days ago
Gotta put your foot down about April. I'd say that's non-negotiable. Unless you want them to come before, then use your "couple-time" for regeneration. lol If your relationship with your parents is so toxic...then you may already have your answer. I'm still going to give you a rambling response though. :)
While my parents and I get along, I do understand (I begin to resent them because I have put my life on hold as they are the ONLY reason I stay in AZ with my dad's health the way it is). That being said, I'm leading up to saying...well, I don't really know. I just have a firm belief (perhaps dysfunction) of trying to connect with family--even the ones I'm not terribly fond of simply because they are my family. HOWEVER, I have a cousin who can rot in hell for all I care (and I wouldn't even give him an ice cube for relief). So, if that's how you feel about your parents, then say "Hell no, Washington does NOT welcome you." Or perhaps something more diplomatic.
Alas, they are the only parents you have (you know the situation with my dad--so feel free to interpret this as me projecting on you). I'm much more aware of this lately. I guess for me it means if they're alive there's still a chance something might change--it worked for the Grinch and old Ebeneezer after all.
If nothing else, I hope you've gained an understanding from all your friends' posts that you are absolutely entitled to time with your husband. You have NOTHING to be embarassed about, and ultimately, you have to make a decision you can live with and not have regrets (regrets suck--I have three major regrets over the course of my life--at this time anyhow LOL--and I swear they haunt me).
Know that I am always willing listen...share a piece of toast with a pat of unmelted butter...whatever. ...
1800 days ago
Let me say this: YOU ARE NOT A JERK FOR WANTING TO HAVE YOUR SPECIAL TIME
I get that you want to find a balance - but as you stated - they are manipulative. You won't get a balance even if you let them come for April.
So why ruin April?
April is YOUR month, gal. (side note - and MY month, fyi. My birthday month. And the month I met my guy. Important stuff).
Sending you a more detailed email... hang tough gal.
Bottom line - take a page from my current book - BE SELFISH and put yourself first.
1800 days ago
Can you offer to book them a hotel? Can you go visit them another time? If you don't want them there, then that's that as far as I'm concerned. April is a special month for you.
1800 days ago
Ah honey. Do not be embarrassed. We cannot pick our family members.
I agree with the others - be firm and direct. April will not work after all. Perhaps a visit later in the year when things aren't so busy would be better. Or yes, offer a hotel nearby if you can't completely say 'no' and then make sure they're aware they are responsible for their own time and activities.
I'll reiterate 'be firm'. Part of our natures is often to not rock the boat and to try to make everyone else happy. You've made big strides in standing up for yourself and making you and your family a priority. Let that strength carry you through.
1800 days ago
You do not have to be embarrassed. Every family is not a 'Leave It To Beaver' sitcom family.
You are also allowed to have the feelings that you have. The fact that these two people are your parents does NOT make you obligated to feel a certain way towards them.
Be direct with very little details.
Mom, we'd enjoy a visit but we have a lot going on and I will have to get back with you on a date that is convenient for MY family.
Boom...that's all you need.
You take away the options and leave it at that. You have no obligation to answer questions in regards to your busy schedule, etc.
I wish you the best.
Just take control of the situation and do not allow yourself to be controlled by guilt.
You've got this!
1800 days ago
Do your mom and dad use a computer? I think an email might be an easier way for you to handle this situation initially. If not, then you are going to have to "bite the bullet" and phone and say:
You know a lovely, comfortable hotel (name it, send them the link) for them if they want to come.
I think you should tell them that April is not going to work for you and your husband.
It's very difficult for you. I do understand that. My father's visits during his last few years were exhausting to me. I dreaded him coming and I felt physically, mentally and emotionally drained when he left. Part of me felt sorry for him - he was a very, lonely old man. Part of me felt obligated to be a "good" person. Part of me was stuck ... I had small children, I couldn't just disappear or pretend I wasn't home when he showed up at the door.
Keep up the positive self-talk and stand up for yourself. I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this!
1800 days ago
I can so relate! You know not as many people have that wonderful relationships with their parents as you think.... Your parents sound like mine and I had a mom that was really abusive and I have to say she passed away in July and you'd think I wouldn't of cried for her cause I was always treated so harshly but with the holidays it's really hitting hard...
But I have to say take that time in April for you and hubby, don't be the dutiful daughter , Don't! It doesn't get you anywhere and since all this dealing with family after my mom's death I've actually had to go to therapy!
My parents were always for my brother's who crapped all over them and the one that did everything always got screamed at and never a thank you...
You take the me time and say I'm sorry mom , but we already have plans set in stone for the spring!!!! Stand up for yourself!
Don't even think how can I say this about my parents or think your mean by saying it....
I'm actually questioning myself how can I be crying for a woman who never respected me , loved me or cared about me???
You do what is gonna make you happy, it's your birthday and anniversary and you enjoy it the way you want and don't let anyone make you feel guilty! God Bless!
1801 days ago
I have the same kind of parents, I keep my time with them minimal! My parents have come to my house once in a year and 4 months, thank god! I would tell them straight out that you cannot have them in April.
1801 days ago
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