Title says it all really... I really could do with some advice regarding Christmas and my (adult) children hating my partner.
Every year my children and grandchildren all come to me for Christmas all though this is becoming difficult as I live with a chronic pain condition and it is getting physically hard. My daughter is also disabled and has lots of health issues and has also recently been diagnosed with MS. She has three children one of whom is autistic and has adhd. All of that alone is difficult enough but my partner also has a disabled mother and he insists she come along and stays at my house over Christmas too (I must add my partner and I do not live together).
All of this is a nightmare anyway because it is getting physically too hard for me but I do it so my grandchildren have a lovely christmas because my daughter is so ill.
However, my partner and my daughter really dislike each other and over this past year the 'relationship' has deteriorated even further to the point that they hate each other (it is in inverted commas because there is no relationship at all, they avoid each other like the plague).
My daughter now says she will not come to my house for Christmas if he is there. My partner says it will be very awkward if she is there and hasn't outright said he doesn't want her there but as good as.
Me? If I have to make a choice I would chose my children and grandkids everytime... but where does that leave my relationship with my partner? It would finish it I suspect...
My partner is controlling and can be very unreasonable (another reason why my daughter doesn't like him and the way he treats me).
This is all really stressing me out, the whole situation is a complete nightmare.
Any advice please?
Thanking you in advance
I'm very sorry to hear of all your troubles and understand when there is conflict within the family. Seems to me like you've enough on your plate and all the extra stress isn't helping.
You've touched upon why your daughter dislikes your partner and mentioned he is controlling and unreasonable, are you sure he is the right guy for you?
If you love him and have a good relationship then your daughter will have to accept it. Could you not come to some agreement...say maybe you spend Christmas Day with your daughter and grandkids and spend Boxing Day with your partner and his mother, then alternate it each year, so next year spend Christmas Day with your partner and Boxing Day with your daughter.
I'm just trying to think of ways to help because I don't think Christmas will be remotely enjoyable for any of you if there's such an atmosphere.
I hope you manage to resolve it and sorry I haven't been more helpful.
Thank you for your reply Jackdor, alternating days would be ideal if it wasn't for the fact that my partner would not entertain the idea.
You are right when you question if he is the right person for me. I am currently questioning it myself... no scrap that, I KNOW he isn't the right person for me but I am finding it very, very hard to end the relationship to the point I am angry with myself for continuing with it... my guess is emotional abuse resulting in a lack of faith in myself and a crazy inability to completely cut him out of my life. This is why my daughter dislikes him so much. I am seeking counselling to try and workout exactly why I stay with him and find ways to cut those ties.
However, I realise this will not be a quick process so I am stuck with the Christmas dilemma.
It really should be a no brainer, dump the partner and enjoy Christmas with my family. But then I have to face the nastiness of a break up with an unstable man right before it. I will be riddled with guilt that he may do something terrible to himself (he has threatened suicide and attempted it before when I tried to end it). I will worry about his mother and how difficult it will be for her.
I just can't see a way that I can make Christmas work...
That seems so unfair and difficult for you, but the fact you're getting counselling will be a great sorse of relief.
I understand it difficult to walk away, i stayed in a relationship with an abusive guy for several years but once I finally plucked up the courage and walked away it was the best decision I ever made.
If you are unhappy in your relationship and nothing seems likely to change you're best walking away...it will only be hard at first but it will be a a freedom and relief that will all be worth it.
Worrying about his mother shows you are a good person with compassion for others. He has made suicide attempts, has he ever recieved any help for his mental health pr Issues? Sounds like he needs it.
Your daughter is really only looking out for you, if she were to be cool with him and how he's treating you then she wouldn't really care so she must love you very much.
There's no quick or easy fix really, maybe you just need to decide what's best for you, if thats Christmas with your family then so be it. And any of his suicide threats or attempts are not your fault....they are done to his issues and his issues alone, don't ever feel guilty or let him manipulate you by making threats.
Sorry - what do you MEAN your partner wouldn't entertain the idea? Who the hell does he think he is - the boss of you?! Even when it's your house and your hostessing?
Note, your *daughter* wasn't the one issued that implicit threat?
Listen, you don't have to actually END the relationship, all you have to do is keep sticking up for yourself and standing up to him, particularly when, on this occasion, what you need isn't unreasonable or asking too much of him - IT'S JUST ONE DAY, FFS! One day *potentially* of awkwardness...boo-hoo, big, strong man like him can handle that, can't he (or what's he saying?)! He can do it (be nice) for you - and so can she (back)! Tell him that's what you want as your Christmas present from him (him because he's the 'adult')! And then play them - tell her the exact same! Get them COMPETING over who can please you the most/who's the better, more mature person, since competing over you is a huge element in all this (oh, yeah, baby).
What he *can't* do is try to have it both ways. If he doesn't want to share the 25th with your daughter then he has to accept alternate days. If he can't abide alternate days then he has to accept sharing the 25th with her and just making the effort to bite his tongue. If his problem truly only *is* discomfort when and due to her being present (and vice-versa) then that, surely, is the perfect solution whereby YOU don't suffer for his issues and your daughter's issues with his issues.
The trick with types like this is to avoid the "boo-hoo, why are you being so meeean to me" attitude and instead adopt this one: You're being so incredibly unreasonable here. 'UGH. NOT attractive. Turns me off considerably, actually. UGH, UNCLEAN, no I DON'T want a cuddle, thanks (nasty little boy)!'...which you can do simply with your vibe and demeanour and a few subtle comments. You do NOT have to not be in A1 health or whatever to rear up in that fairly low-energy, passive way to block a man's attempts to take advantage of you and at the same time put him back in his box.
YOU don't feel like killing yourself at the thought of it being over, do you. That's him. HE needs YOU. Use it or lose it, that's both his carrot and stick. This isn't manipulation, it's COUNTER-manipulation (diff/all the diff).
Neither do you in order to be capable of telling everyone that your condition, this year, now that such a task is beyond you, if they don't want Christmas cancelled (oh YES YOU WILL - TRY ME!!!) is that they each are responsible for whatever allocated chores, be that food preparation, table dressing, moving furniture, wrapping presents...whatever. Keep 'em too busy and having to team-work to argue. If tu casa is their casa, or so they seem to think, then SO IS THE WORK ASSOCIATED WITH THE CASA.
"A: You on the 24th, her on the 25th - or vice versa;
B: Both of you on the 25th (and I've written little lists of things you both need to pitch in over).
C: Or Christmas this year is cancelled, try me, punks!....CHOOSE! And make it quick!"
But you do have to be prepared to go on strike for real. Or even be seen to do the motions of the run-up (- that should be enough with these types).
Now write a list of everything he's done and still does that p*sses you right off - and same for daughter - get your anger out of its drawer to fire you up. Anger is an energy source. Use it or lose it.
'Unstable man'. Pff. SPOILED, OVER-ENTITLED BABY DESPOT IDIOT, more like?!!! DOESN'T EVEN WORRY ABOUT HIS OWN MOTHER ENOUGH, WHEREBY IT GETS LEFT TO YOU! Selfish p*ick!
Say it! And don't stop there. You have my full permission to swear and cuss as much as you like (although please asterisk them like I've done) - total freedom to let rip - to the point where you even shock yourself! (Consider it my Xmas gift to you. ;-))
One, two, three - GO!
Oh no - wait - she did issue that threat, didn't she (sorry). Well, then, they're both as bad as each other so - that's just even more reason to slam your foot down loudly. But he's still the adult, no getting away from that bit.
Thank you for your understanding Jackdor.
Soulmate you are a much stronger person than I ha,ha,ha. I wish I could be that strong.
One golden rule, family always sticks together. There is no discrimination. Your partner, your daughter, your grand daughter, all of them. Every human on this planet has their own ways of doing things. And you wont find a single one of them who can perfectly get along. You are in a position where you can dictate things to your partner and your daughter. Time heals a lot of things my dear. It only takes patience. You need to explain to your partner and your daughter that you all mean a lot and you wouldn't like it if any one was missing.
Christmas dinners aren't too long. The idea is to give good memories to those small kids. They need to be shown the values of their families. And even this meant that your partner has to make sacrifices, it is worth it. Explain him that by just putting up a fake act for one day, will make life time memories for those little ones.
I do hope things work out for the best for you. And Merry Christmas to you, way in advance :)
Thank you Harry, you sound like a lovely person and I wish you a wonderful Christmas full of blessings.
I am hoping that they can put their differences aside for a few days for the children's and my sake.
Unfortunately it isn't just one day as my partner arrives at my home on Christmas Eve morning with his mother and doesn't leave until the evening on the 27th. My grandchildren enjoy spending Christmas day and boxing day with me, it makes sense for them to come to my home as my daughter is so ill. My son arrives Christmas day morning and leaves boxing day evening (he also dislikes my partner but is mature enough to realise that it is my choice and tries hard to get along with him for my sake).
I think I may have to explain to them all that for these days they have to try to get along because there simply is no other choice. That I am going to be rushed off my feet without sorting out arguments between them.
I do feel that Christmas is going to be dreadful for me but I will paint on a smile and try to negotiate the mine field as best I can and give those children some lovely memories.
No, I'm not, 'ha, ha, ha'. I just CHOOSE to be. The decision to do something is always the only real impediment where achieving anything is concerned ('wishing' and 'hoping' doesn't come into it, that's you eschewing your responsibility, handing it lock, stock and barrel over to Fate...which Fate doesn't like and will spank your bum for - warning-warning!).
Reason for that choice being, because zipping your lip leads to bottling your anger (and who wouldn't be angry at the two people they love whom insist love them back USING Xmas - YOUR Xmas and memories as much as anyone's - as their opportunistic battleground!), which 'goes off', becomes toxic and attacks your insides ...and, note, can cause physical debilitation (in which case, I wonder, therefore, just how much or what extent of your ailments needn't exist in the first place and are a psychosomatic add-on).
Been there, done that, ain't ever going back. People try to be unfair, unjust, give me their sh*t without even asking nicely for my input (proving they just want to offload it on some sucker rather than sort it)? I come down on them like a ton of bricks. I don't wait or hesitate. Because those are the things that GETCHA.
Why do I? Because I'm stronger than you? AU CONTRAIRE. Picture a lumberback standing on your foot: It's the stronger one that can stand there for longer, merely grimacing (until, Fate refusing to come to the rescue, they reach their limit and act), whereas it's the weaker one or the one without the 'room' for it, the one who *can't* take/accommodate that weight, that immediately pipes up, 'OW, GERROFF!' and/or pushes them off if they don't instantly respond. So you're in fact far stronger than I am, aren't you (nice try, though ;-)).
This isn't a one-off incident, is it. So this is just one example of an ongoing, ever-growing situation. So this is an actual issue of yours that you haven't ever taken to task, hence 'are here'. You're not proactive. So you waste your strength. *That's* your weakness. And now it's attacking *you*.
However, there's always a first time. And when I did it, all those moons ago? I was left feeling like a prize idiot for how instantly p*ss-easy it turned out to be, much EASIER than taking it or trying to deal with things in a pussyfooting or head-in-sand manner. Prevention *is* always easier than cure. But if you don't believe me, then - how's *not* letting out your anger in front of them been working out for you lately, huh? Answer: BADLY! CASE CLOSED on that score. Plus if you'd ever dared try rearing up before now, the stakes would not have grown so unacceptably high whereby two people were effectively holding yours (and your son and his family's) Christmas to ransom, as in, Choose me/please me over him/her or the puppy gets it! (...which is them increasing their weight on your foot).
Christmas is supposed to be World Amnesty Day. Just ask the WW1 Brits and Germans. If *they* could manage it I'm sure your daughter and partner can!
[Option 1]: Make like Kaiser Soze (The Usual Suspects) and either shoot or threaten to shoot the puppy yourself (albeit resuscitate it for son and family). They're only bluffing, anyway, you realise?...because they're expecting you to back down long before that point? So their instant reaction on hearing you load and cock your gun will highly likely be to rush to defend or outright rescue the puppy.
Whatever/whichever, the evidence speaks, and says, you can't keep doing the same ol' same ol' yet expect different results. Different results require you *doing* something different. Pure logic - just ask Einstein (ref. his famous quote about the sign of madness being...). So do something different, something you haven't ever tried before nor would (magic dust part - ) be expected ever to do. [Option 2] Rear up and shock the life out of them to where they become so stunned they're like sleepwalkers, suddenly very easily led to wherever they need to be. Make them suddenly, newly, very wary of pushing their luck (because you've obviously met the end of your tether..."End-Of-Tether Squirrel, pleased to meet you!").
Or [Option 3] rightfully slap their consciences by falling into a sobbing heap right in front of them/either one separately, to where they feel so utterly sh*tty they regain their senses. They're not just 'saying something' so YOU can't just 'say something'. You have to get whatever big guns out in accordance with the size of sh*t.
Try one first - pretend you're an actress playing a stage role if it helps (they won't know because they've never KNOCKED on EoT Squirrel's door before, have they ;-)) - BEFORE you tell me something won't work or 'just isn't you'. It *will* work - I and anyone I've advised are living proof. But until you've tried it, you're not qualified to say either way, are you. Your 'fact' is just an imagining, as is your fear of repercussions. They *can't* 'repercuss' because they're the ones in the wrong and to such an extent already that upping their antes would expose them TOO much.
I reiterate: The reason why it'll work so easily and simply that you'll end up kicking yourself for never having tried it before, is precisely BECAUSE either option is not like you. It's not something they'd *ever* expect - admit it. So it'll stop them in their tracks *and* make them have to think twice about who you are, what you're made of, how O.T.T they must be behaving on this occasion to have finally made a (seeming) 'mouse' roar or 'statue' crumble, and to approach you far more respectfully and cautiously in future (hurrah!). After all, the whole problem here is their thinking that this is *their* Xmas, ergo, must be done in a way *they* like, and s*d you. Because you exist only to please them. And that's your fault, partly, because you've never insisted on their remembering that YOU COUNT TOO, thanks very much! You've always behaved like they're the stars and you just the lackey and 'roll over and take it' person.
People treat you only as well or as badly as you LET them. That is an indisputable rule. As is, any action is positive action (every physical manifestation having a psychological equivalent - lack of action leads to mental-muscular atrophy then paralysis).
I mean, all this assumes you *have* tried 'explaining' to them before? If so, it's slam your foot down time. You didn't prune the buds when first they appeared so now you're forced to get the chainsaw out...that's how it works.
You're a grown woman, are you not. You should be perfectly capable by now at your age of asserting your authority (your venue, your food, undoubtedly your expense - you iz da boss) when a situation, such as this one, calls for it. Well - SHOULDN'T YOU? So if you're saying you aren't, THEN THAT'S WHY YOU'RE IN THIS MESS. Get it now?
If lifting the lid on your aggression pot isn't something you'd dare do because you know too much anger would escape en masse, like a riot-style prison break-out, via the sudden opportunity to escape, and neither can you bring yourself to let them see you cry, then [Option 4] write them both a firm letter telling them how it's going to be or No Dice for *either* of them. Or [Option 5] appeal for intervention and/or a double-pincer job from son (two against two).
Why should you - *or* son - be trying to keep sweet a couple of people who seemingly aren't concerned with keeping *you* sweet, anyway, even on Keep Each Other Sweet day? It's a two-way street. Like a tennis match. They each serve you a spoiled-baby ball? You return it. Harder. But covered in Own Medicine or Consequence. If they don't like that then they can abstain from serving such rotten balls in the first place OR get off what is *your* court and conduct their battle on some other poor sucker's.
But you do realise that deeper down this is their way of trying to 'cry for help'-style force you to intervene in their 'relationship' because they can't resolve things themselves and would feel *embarrassed* at keeping their mutual attitudes towards one another against such a cosy, fluffy backdrop as Xmas Day wherein the inordinate contrast would make it stick out like a sore thumb too clearly (whereas, they're clearly under-the-table-in-the-dark merchants)? It would show them right royally up for once, in other words, where *everybody* - even the littlest kids - could see what they were like/allowing themselves to be like. Humiliation + 'Nobody, not even the kids, will ever take me seriously again' City.
Say your piece, and - DO get on with all the cooking, etc. But [Option 5] the minute they try to start up (if), just (e.g. on your way from kitchen to dining table with a dish) shove your face into their faces and go (loudly so everyone else can hear) "BOOOOO-RINNNNNG!"...and then continue walking to wherever you were going, saying under your breath (but still audibly), 'What a pair of self-centred, self-obsessed retards, pff'. Or stand there and actually lay into them with criticisms (a ruddy great lecture) over their childish attitudes and manners and how pathetic it all is. (THEY WANT "MUMMY"? THEY GOT IT!) Either variation, here, is another tack, one you might find shorter-sharper and easier. It's basically about self-sacrificially (not much) making yourself the common enemy as always makes even staunch enemies feel they have to suddenly band together and ally up (to defend themselves against what is now a bigger enemy), akin to what would happen if aliens suddenly landed on this planet tomorrow....all the mutual 'haters' suddenly becoming the best of friends and allies, cooperating like they'd been doing it their whole lives. BECAUSE THEY'D HAVE NO CHOICE *BUT* TO.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of options and variations on your menu, is my point. But doing nothing whatsoever will only create an occasion-based precedent for next year...and the next....
They're not toddlers or retards, they don't NEED what they're doing wrong explained to them. They know already. But they think they can get away with it, and that and only that is the crux issue on their parts (their attitude towards you). And you shouldn't have to paint a false smile and dread Christmases.
Whilst I was at it, I would  ask daughter to explain to me what she thinks the difference is between someone who implies he doesn't want to attend if she's there and someone who OVER-the-table (but only to you = still more under-the-table than not) that she doesn't want to attend if he's there. What's she saying - I'm as bad as or worse than him? Yet is trying to cast the first stone??? Error, Does Not Compute. You have to be QUALIFIED before you can play judge and jury. ONE of them is going to have to be the adult. Which one of them is superior (including adult self-control) to the other, does she think? Push those shame buttons of hers (and his), see how they like it.
I *could* go on and on (and onzzzzzzz...) - because that's what *I* do when what I've tried clearly hasn't cut the mustard - but - that, now, ought to do it (ha, ha, ha) (;-)). If it doesn't then, frankly, Modom Squirrel, at your age, you need to ask your therapist to give you some tips and practise sessions (role-playing) on self-assertion so that you can finally put that incredible mental strength of yours to actual use. I mean, what a waste of incredible power!
Wow! I have nothing...
That's perfectly okay. Wait until you do. Or not. But you're not exactly qualified to nurture and protect other people if you haven't ever learned how to extend those courtesies to yourself first and foremost, are you. Or as the airlines put it, Place your *own* oxygen mask on *first*, before trying to help others on with theirs.
The reply from JACKDOR is right on. Conflict within a family is very difficult. Solutions are often “messy” and always hard. I will not repeat his good advice but rather expand on two aspects of your dilemma. First, like JACKDOR, I wondered if your partner is the right one for you. From your response, I see that you are considering parting ways with him, but not before Christmas.
Am I correct in assuming that one of your concerns about parting ways is based on his threat to committing suicide if you leave him? Does he also use it to control you at other times? His suicidal thoughts and his use of it to control another person existed before you came into his life and will continue whether you stay or leave. Contact a suicide prevention group in your area for advice on how to deal with his suicidal threats. (Hotline: (800) 273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionl
When or if you leave him, tell him you have contacted this group and are following their advice. Whether you leave or stay with him, he needs to know that you will no longer be controlled by his threats of suicide. Remember, his suicidal threats are not because of you but a technique to control you. Threatening suicide works, so he uses it! While this is just one aspect of your problem, a trained suicide prevention therapist can help set you free from this type of control. One less thing on your plate!
Second, as a senior I empathize with you. I want my family here for holidays but getting ready is so tiring that I end up sick or at least exhausted! I make a list of what needs to be done and spread the tasks over a week (things I use to get done in 2 days). I also buy things I use to make. Involving Grandkids is becoming part of the celebration. I know your daughter is ill, but she will feel better about herself if you find a small thing she can do to contribute to the celebration. What can you ask your son to do? It’s hard giving up what we once did. As the saying goes, “getting old isn’t for sissies!”
You know your situation better than any of us responders, therefore I pray that God will guide and help you to make wise decisions. May God, who comforts and sustain me, also comfort and sustain you. God loves you and wants what is best for you!