my parents are coming to visit - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-21-2011, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Background -- I was neglected and abused as a child and left home as a teen. I spent several years not speaking to my parents at all. I eventually found it sort of draining, so I now have a distant relationship with them. They live half way across the country so seeing them doesn't come up much. I haven't seen my father for 2 years; my mother came for a visit last year.

 

They are coming to see us. God knows why. They are combining it with a vacation, so it isn't just about seeing us, but still. We just aren't close -- I don't see the point of the visit at all.

 

I'm setting boundaries -- first, they aren't allowed to sleep in my home. I can't sleep under the same roof as my father -- literally.  I would not be able to get any sleep with him in the house. I got them numbers for a couple of near by hotels. Second, I'm limiting the length of the visit. They wanted to see us for 5 days, and I explained that we are busy with work and school, but that a weekend would be fine. We have compromised on a 3 day visit. (My DH is taking the 3rd off)

 

My parents are judgmental and even without meaning to, make little comments that put down my home and how our family operates. We aren't the same religion. They are fundy christians and I follow yoga as a spiritual path. One of my DD's is pagan, and my DH and other DD are atheist. They don't just see us "different' but as "wrong" and as "going to hell."

 

My kids attend an alternative school (which is cool and that we love) but I know I'm going to have to answer all sorts of questions about it, about getting ready for college, etc.

 

My father loves to argue (he thinks it's a sport) and he drones on and on about subjects he is interested in without noticing that no one else is interested.

 

My goal is to find my center and stay there during their visit. To be able to observe what is happening without jumping in with all sorts of emotions.  My most hopeful thought is we can spend some nice time in nature together (I live near mountains) and have a couple of meals at the house and they will play board games with the kids.

 

I hope that's not too much to ask.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 09-21-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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I'd be riddled with anxiety as I'm sure you are. I really hope it goes well. I think the hardest part with me and my parents is our differences and their full belief that I'm wrong. I've halted most of their griping by using a few phrases that require me to not have to argue with them.

When they constantly question I'll stop them by saying I need to think about their questions some more and they've given me enough to think about for now. Sometimes they think they've got me and I'm really listening. Silently I'm playing games with them. Since they refuse to see any other side and think their way is the best way, I let them have it. I know it's not the best way and I realize they will never be awake. I feel bad for them.

I'll have to think about that some more,
Interesting perspective thanks for your insight
Definitely something to consider

Or if I'm feeling especially spunky, I'll answer all their questions with a question. So annoying of me!

When it comes to politics I just tell them I'm still educating myself, thanks for their side. Sometimes just to be a turd I ask where they got all their information... Usually comes with an eye roll from DH. I have to keep DH quiet otherwise he'll Soul Fuq both of my parents. They won't know what hit them.
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#3 of 6 Old 09-21-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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If you are feeling this stressed just thinking about them visiting maybe you need to rethink seeing them.Their being in your life is a priviledge not a right.You can't tell them what part of the country they can be in but you can refuse to see them or allow your kids to be exposed to them.They couldnt/wouldnt nurture you as a child and unless something has drastically changed they are still the same people.Its ok to put yourself first in this situation,you are not their parent.

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#4 of 6 Old 09-22-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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Second useful "pass the bean dip" phrases such as those lmakcerka cited.  Second even the occasional Soul Fuq to pass the time.

 

Also second minnowmomma's suggestion to seriously consider whether any time with them at all is right for you.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

My kids attend an alternative school (which is cool and that we love) but I know I'm going to have to answer all sorts of questions about it, about getting ready for college, etc.

 



Actually, you aren't.  You do not owe them answers.  Nor do you owe your father participation in his favorite recreational activity (arguing).

 

The hardest thing for me with my often sweet yet basically judgmental mother was letting go of my need to change her mind, or even to change her need to change my mind.

 

Please keep holding the thought:  You do not owe them answers.

 

 


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), and an overachieving mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
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#5 of 6 Old 09-22-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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Would it help to have Plan A and Plan B?  Plan A sounds like what you've got in place already-not sleeping at your home, length of visit, outdoor activities, connection with your children.  Plan B could come into play if the visit is too stressful, or starts not to work, ie meals at a restaurant together instead of your home, kids not involved if the situation becomes bad for them, visit reduced to the day your DH can be around so that you have support.  I guess Plan C could be ending the visit completely if you are beyond your comfort level.

 

It doesn't seem like a visit that HAS to happen, so if you are allowing it, perhaps having a very clear goal and endpoint for what will work for you might help, such as baseline, I'd like them to see my children, have at least one positive visit together, and after that I have the freedom to tell myself that my goals were met, I am in control of the situation, and I am choosing to end the visit.

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#6 of 6 Old 09-22-2011, 08:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input and support!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

I'll have to think about that some more,
Interesting perspective thanks for your insight
Definitely something to consider
 


I like these, thank you.

 

I think I need a nice clear phase for when I just need a change of subject.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by minnowmomma View Post

If you are feeling this stressed just thinking about them visiting maybe you need to rethink seeing them.Their being in your life is a priviledge not a right.You can't tell them what part of the country they can be in but you can refuse to see them or allow your kids to be exposed to them.They couldnt/wouldnt nurture you as a child and unless something has drastically changed they are still the same people.Its ok to put yourself first in this situation,you are not their parent.

 

I totally agree with you and seriously considered saying "no" to the visit. But there isn't a *better* time for the visit. Saying "no" wouldn't be putting it off, it would be kicking them out of my life (again) and that's a lot of drama. When weighing the pros and cons of the visit *for me,* I felt that it would be easier and better *for me* to just have the visit and get it over with. I do feel like it is a chance for me grow -- for me to let go a little bit more of the desire for their approval and to stay OK with myself even when they are around.
 

But typing that up helped remind me why I am doing this and that I'm doing it of my own free will.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaMadly View Post

You do not owe them answers.  Nor do you owe your father participation in his favorite recreational activity (arguing).

 

The hardest thing for me with my often sweet yet basically judgmental mother was letting go of my need to change her mind, or even to change her need to change my mind.

 

Please keep holding the thought:  You do not owe them answers.

 

 


I like that.

 

It just is what it is. For years, my phrase with my parents was "I can see how you could feel that way, but none the less, this is what I've decided to do."

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

Would it help to have Plan A and Plan B?  Plan A sounds like what you've got in place already-not sleeping at your home, length of visit, outdoor activities, connection with your children.  Plan B could come into play if the visit is too stressful, or starts not to work, ie meals at a restaurant together instead of your home, kids not involved if the situation becomes bad for them, visit reduced to the day your DH can be around so that you have support.  I guess Plan C could be ending the visit completely if you are beyond your comfort level.

 

It doesn't seem like a visit that HAS to happen, so if you are allowing it, perhaps having a very clear goal and endpoint for what will work for you might help, such as baseline, I'd like them to see my children, have at least one positive visit together, and after that I have the freedom to tell myself that my goals were met, I am in control of the situation, and I am choosing to end the visit.


 

Actually, that pretty much IS the plan! One of the odd things is that my parents are decent grandparents. They really try with the kids. I'm sure a lot of it is guilt for having completely screwed up with my sister and I. Also, my kids are teens who would speak up for themselves if there were a problem -- I think this is easier than when the kids were little.

 

My DH will be around for the whole visit -- two of the days he already had off because it's the weekend, and the 3rd day he's taking as a personal day.  We did have a visit with them about a decade ago that went so badly that we ended it early. I'm a lot better at setting boundaries than I was, I'm much better able to say what needs to change before the situation spins completely out of control. 

 

I think planning an end time would be good. I'm going to talk to my DH and kids about it first, and then tell my parents. I have to be VERY clear with them -- they don't get subtle.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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