Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Woes

My family is...difficult to say the least.  I love them, don't get me wrong.  I really do.  But, I was ecstatic to find out that they were coming out for the week.  That is until they left early.  Let me back up and explain.

My mom and I have had a strained relationship for years.  Over the years, she has become quite mean spirited.  Pretty much since I turned 18, she has criticized every aspect of my life.  My step-dad says it is her offering advice, but she is down right rude in what she says.  When I graduated from college, instead of saying congrats, she says if I would have made different choices I would have graduated sooner.  Maybe, but I wouldn't trade in my European adventure in the world.  When I got married and told her how happy I was, she said something along the lines of "let's see how long that lasts."  When I told her we were renting, she said that we were throwing money away, when I picked my Master's program she said I wouldn't be any good at my new job...the list goes on and on.  This is probably why I moved 4,000 miles away from her at a very young age.  It makes me very sad, as I see a lot of my friends and how close they are to heir parents, but that just isn't me.  But, now that we moved a state away, I wanted to make an effort.

Now brings us to this weekend.  My mom complained about everything!  She didn't like that snack food we ate, she criticized the kind of coffee maker that I have, we went out to eat and she was awful to the poor waitress because they were out of the steak she wanted, she said the color I picked for my dining room was, and I quote, atrocious, she said I was a horrible doggy mother because I didn't feed my dog table food, and once again the list goes on and on.  It hurt, but I just countered with things like "this is my life" and "this is the way I do things."  I wasn't rude, I don't think, but after a while I became very matter of fact.  Saturday night, she mentioned me coming home for Christmas.  We had already talked about her coming to my house.  I have never hosted Christmas before, but looked forward to getting both mine and Joel's families together for the first time since the wedding.  She said I had to come home, because she wasn't coming here.  Apparently, after flying home from Germany for seven consecutive years without even one reciprocated visit wasn't enough.  That did it.  I became distant after that.

My parents were supposed to leave on Thursday.  All of a sudden, without word, my parents packed up and left, because my mother said I didn't make her feel welcome.  My sister was upset, because she just didn't understand, and my poor dad didn't know what to do.  I was shocked, told my mom that the whole family was more than welcome any time, and then she stormed off and sat out in the car until my dad loaded it up.  I was in shock.  What just happened?  Could I have begged her to stay?  Of course.  Should I have, after everything that went on?  I don't think so.  Joel has always been pretty honest with me, so of course I asked him what he thought.  He said that you could tell I was more distant, but that he thinks mom just did it for attention, as she is known to do.  He said that I was still kind and welcoming, but that I didn't just take the criticism like she wanted.  I don't know.  I love my mom, but she has stressed me out for years.  I guess I just need to reflect on this and figure out what to do next.


Uncork and Unwined said...

I think you did the right thing. No one should be expected to take that much negativity, especially in their own home. It sounds like your mom was doing that just for the drama effect, the attention. Im sorry she was so horrible to you. I hope you get to host Christmas at your house, even if it's just you two and Joel's family. Have you heard from her since?

So she never came over to visit while you lived here???

Nina said...

You did the right thing. She was asking for it with her behavior. And sometimes it is better just let things go.

Even though she is your mom, and wants to give advice, she also needs to understand that you are old enough to live your life in your way, and paint your house in a way you like it.

Hopefully things turn out to be better, and you can have the family Christmas. Since I have been in a situation like that, I would recommend you to continue living your life, and allowing her a chance to be part of it but not changing because of her...

smiley_netta said...

I definitely agree with the previous comments. You did nothing wrong and continued to be as pleasant as could be expected in that situation. And this is coming from someone that totally gets it. I'm the same way with my dad as you are with your mom. I do hope that it works itself out, though!

bejellyfish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bejellyfish said...

Again, you did nothing wrong. Something I have struggled with in my relationship with my father is that just because they are parents doesn't mean they are right, or even always deserve to be treated with respect. Respect is a two way street in relationships, even with parents. Someday she will realize that she is pushing you away, and if not then that is her loss. You are lucky to have a husband that loves you and a life that is as perfect as life can be, built on the building blocks that you have set down. Never burn the bridge in case she comes around, but always stand strong and defend yourself and your life.