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aconcannon

How to keep everybody happy??

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Please don't take this the wrong way, but you've asked for advice but put up barriers to taking the suggestions on board.  You are enabling your mums behaviour and it won't change whilst you keep giving in.  In order for your mum to have the potential for change - you have to set some boundaries - you might think you are, but you're giving in every time you go back.  My suggestions for what it's worth:
Speak to your brother about the camper van situation (he might not even be aware of it) - ask him to sleep in it, if he says no - as Toots suggests book a hotel
Tell your mother you can't afford to visit next year so instead will be visiting every 2nd year.  If your husband doesn't want to go with you - then reduce the time to a week or just over, so that you still have annual leave.
There are solutions to your dilemma, but some of them won't be comfortable and one of the options is always to keep things the same, which you're not obviously happy with. 


Thanks for the advice, and don’t worry I haven’t took offence - I really appreciate everybodies advice. I wouldn’t say I’m putting barriers up...somebody suggested writing a letter to them which I’ve already tried & it got ignored & I ended up being made to feel like a bad person for having feelings. Somebody suggested cutting my parents off but that isn’t something I want to do either. I’ve had numerous chats about how we can’t keep affording to go back & that’s when she gets me in a corner by saying she’ll pay for the flights. I did talk to my brother about the campervan issue & he said his wife wouldn’t want to sleep in it & he sided with my mum that by booking a hotel I was being OTT & i’d be isolating myself from the family. I honestly can’t win as they can’t see the situation for what it is. He suggested us all going over to Ireland to spend Xmas with him instead, but I don’t want to do that as my husband would like to see his family over Xmas, as would I with other family members & friends & again I got accused of being difficult. It’s just a no win situation. I just have to be strong, stick to my guns if not going home for a few years after this Xmas & put up with the abuse that I’ll get from doing it.
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Yet when it comes to your mum, you seem happy to let the bully win..


I guess that’s because she’s my mum & I love her. It’s stupid - I know!!

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1 minute ago, aconcannon said:

 


I guess that’s because she’s my mum & I love her. It’s stupid - I know!!

 

Battered wives say the say thing about their husbands....

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Battered wives say the say thing about their husbands....


That’s a good way to look at it actually. You’re right. I probably should have said earlier on in the post that my mum is also an alcoholic. It’s not an excuse, but it’s another reason why I guess I’m so tolerant of it all as I blame the alcohol & not her.

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Families are hard work!  The only thing I'd suggest that hasn't been mentioned already is to consider a few sessions with a counsellor or psychologist - sometimes having someone truly independent (but still on your side if you know what I mean) can really help you work through it and find the best way forward and also help you cope with any fallout from any actions you decide to take.

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1 minute ago, aconcannon said:

 


That’s a good way to look at it actually. You’re right. I probably should have said earlier on in the post that my mum is also an alcoholic. It’s not an excuse, but it’s another reason why I guess I’m so tolerant of it all as I blame the alcohol & not her.

 

In that case I can understand why you find dealing with her so difficult.  As I said before not easy for anyone in your family.

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Families are hard work!  The only thing I'd suggest that hasn't been mentioned already is to consider a few sessions with a counsellor or psychologist - sometimes having someone truly independent (but still on your side if you know what I mean) can really help you work through it and find the best way forward and also help you cope with any fallout from any actions you decide to take.


it’s definitely something I’ve thought about many times, but then in the back of my mind I have my mums voice telling to grow up / realise that I’m the problem (and not her) so I worry I’d be wasting the therapists time. Geez that In itself probably confirms even more so that I need to seek help! I’ve had 34 years of this sort of stuff going on. Thanks for your advice I appreciate it :)
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In that case I can understand why you find dealing with her so difficult.  As I said before not easy for anyone in your family.

 

It’s not no & sadly each time I go back the drinking & the problems are worse than the last time. I just need to stand up to her & to not go back for a few years after we’ve been this Xmas. And who knows, maybe it will make a difference / make her realise. Thanks Toots

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Oh dear. I really feel for you but wonder why you feel the need to have a good relationship with someone who makes your life so miserable. By allowing her to make you feel guilty about enjoying your life as you want to live it you're not doing yourself any favours. I always say that to be a successful migrant you need to be very selfish and it sounds to me like you need to start being that way in spades right now or for the rest of her life you are going to be manipulated. You could start by cancelling your Christmas trip and reducing contact between you - calling 5 times a week is a bit ott (IMHO!). Don't be home when she calls and let your husband take the flak for a while (he could try the "I won't have you upsetting my wife " line to change the dynamics that you are no longer their little girl). Be prepared that this may end your relationship and that may not be a bad thing if it's a relationship that's causing you grief.

On the other hand (and this actually sounds less likely given that its forever been a controlling relationship) they could be grieving for the loss  of their expected lives. They would have had visions of what they thought their old age was going to look like and you've screwed that up for them and grief does weird things to people and they don't always behave in the way you think/hope they will. If kids will be in your future then this is only going to get worse.

I never had your problem thank goodness - any guilt I felt was purely of my own making (only child, octogenarian increasingly frail parents) but I think if they had done the controlling thing I would have cut them off without a thought but maybe that's because they never tried to control me and I was never conditioned to be controlled.

Good luck, it's an unenviable situation you are in!

 

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Oh dear. I really feel for you but wonder why you feel the need to have a good relationship with someone who makes your life so miserable. By allowing her to make you feel guilty about enjoying your life as you want to live it you're not doing yourself any favours. I always say that to be a successful migrant you need to be very selfish and it sounds to me like you need to start being that way in spades right now or for the rest of her life you are going to be manipulated. You could start by cancelling your Christmas trip and reducing contact between you - calling 5 times a week is a bit ott (IMHO!). Don't be home when she calls and let your husband take the flak for a while (he could try the "I won't have you upsetting my wife " line to change the dynamics that you are no longer their little girl). Be prepared that this may end your relationship and that may not be a bad thing if it's a relationship that's causing you grief.
On the other hand (and this actually sounds less likely given that its forever been a controlling relationship) they could be grieving for the loss  of their expected lives. They would have had visions of what they thought their old age was going to look like and you've screwed that up for them and grief does weird things to people and they don't always behave in the way you think/hope they will. If kids will be in your future then this is only going to get worse.
I never had your problem thank goodness - any guilt I felt was purely of my own making (only child, octogenarian increasingly frail parents) but I think if they had done the controlling thing I would have cut them off without a thought but maybe that's because they never tried to control me and I was never conditioned to be controlled.
Good luck, it's an unenviable situation you are in!
 


Thanks for the advice. What you have said is right... I too think a lot of this is due to how she feels about what her future holds as it definitely isn’t what she ever expected! She was exceptionally close to her own mother & nursed her to the end & she probably thought it would be the same when she gets older. I know it breaks her heart that my brother lives in Ireland so she’s never had the chance to be the doting hands on grandparent she always wanted to be & I was her last hope of that! She undoubtably has depression but won’t accept it! Yes me calling her 5 times per week is crazy, and if it was my choice I wouldn’t call so often but as my mum is an alcoholic & my dad goes to bed early of an evening to avoid any potential situations with her, I hold a lot of guilt knowing how unhappy she is sat by herself, drinking more & getting more depressed & I know me calling her gives her something to look forward to. I know that’s not my responsibility but if I can help relieve the pain I know she feels (but refuses to talk about) then I will. Cutting my parents off is not something I’d ever do no matter what they did because i love them & I’ll always have that loyalty...but that’s what scares me now as since living in Oz & finally having my own life, not worrying about theirs quite as much & reflecting on how they behave towards me I do know deep down I probably would benefit long term from not having their stress in my life & it does cross my mind cutting them off, but I could never forgive myself. It’s a mess hey! Guess I need to learn to be more selfish!

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Whilst people enable her behaviour it will continue.

Your dad needs support and she needs treatment. 

Start with your dad. There are groups for relatives of addicts. He should get support then he needs to get her to do the same. Sometimes people need confronting with their problems and to realise they are hurting others before they will admit to needing help. 

You also would benefit from support and the experience of others in the same boat. 

On airplanes they say to always put your own oxygen mask on before helping others...........

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So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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Whilst people enable her behaviour it will continue.
Your dad needs support and she needs treatment. 
Start with your dad. There are groups for relatives of addicts. He should get support then he needs to get her to do the same. Sometimes people need confronting with their problems and to realise they are hurting others before they will admit to needing help. 
You also would benefit from support and the experience of others in the same boat. 
On airplanes they say to always put your own oxygen mask on before helping others...........


Wise words - thank you! I think we’ve all enabled her behaviour for so long it’s the norm. And it shouldn’t be! Dad has often talked over the years about seeking help for himself, but being s typical man it’s something that’s sadly never materialised & somehow he just lives with it. We’ve both begged her to seek help but she gets so defensive / aggressive it’s another battle we’ve almost given up on, particularly because this has been an issue for 30+ years & one she refuses to admit. You’re right though Re the aeroplane comment...
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Stick to your guns and stay in a hotel this year or tell them you aren't going. Its YOUR holiday, and a hotel would give you a bit more freedom to do stuff and see people outside of the family. 

Remember YOU are the ones flying across the world to see these people. YOU are the ones using all your leave and money on it. If they cannot see the sacrifice you are making, and even offer you a bedroom, then its tie to get tough and stand on your own two feet.

Family will always be there but when we eave home there is an expectation that we are now adults, and can stand on our own two feet and make our own decisions. You need to live your life for your own family unit now, and the extended family (yes that includes parents) are one step removed. You said your husband is already having doubts- thats where the cracks start. Who is more important, him or the family you have grown away from?

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1 hour ago, aconcannon said:

 


it’s definitely something I’ve thought about many times, but then in the back of my mind I have my mums voice telling to grow up / realise that I’m the problem (and not her) so I worry I’d be wasting the therapists time. Geez that In itself probably confirms even more so that I need to seek help! I’ve had 34 years of this sort of stuff going on. Thanks for your advice I appreciate it 🙂

 

You definitely need a counsellor I think

Your mother is manipulating you and you need professional help to deal with that.

Even her generosity can be part of the manipulation. It makes you feel indebted which gives her more control

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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You definitely need a counsellor I think


I agree! And I think talking about things today on here has definitely made me realise that.

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Stick to your guns and stay in a hotel this year or tell them you aren't going. Its YOUR holiday, and a hotel would give you a bit more freedom to do stuff and see people outside of the family. 

Remember YOU are the ones flying across the world to see these people. YOU are the ones using all your leave and money on it. If they cannot see the sacrifice you are making, and even offer you a bedroom, then its tie to get tough and stand on your own two feet.

Family will always be there but when we eave home there is an expectation that we are now adults, and can stand on our own two feet and make our own decisions. You need to live your life for your own family unit now, and the extended family (yes that includes parents) are one step removed. You said your husband is already having doubts- thats where the cracks start. Who is more important, him or the family you have grown away from?

 

Couldn’t agree with u more, and I think this is exactly why I do get so frustrated with the situation because it is a huge effort / amount of money to make that trip home every year just to keep them happy & the fact they don’t recognise that & just see it as some kind of duty that I must fulfil really grates on me! It’s crazy what you live with & almost think is normal, but then when chatting to outsiders you realise even more so that it’s not normal. Not sure why I needed confirmation of that, but it’s helped. I do need to get tough - 100%!!!! I just don’t want to hurt anybody in the process & it’s inevitable that I will.

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As the mother of 3 grown up children, I’m sorry and this sounds harsh,  but I am appalled and saddened by your mother’s behaviour. We Shouldn’t be controlling our children as adults.

We were expats and spent many years waving goodbye to our children at airports and had to accept we lived in different countries.Our three are independent, grown up and living the lives they have chosen. I am proud of them, we love each other dearly, keep in touch but We make no demands on them.

It is hard when you live away from your family, but that is modern life, might never like it, but have to learn to accept it.

we go to UK most years, but at the moment We haven’t seen our son and grandsons for 2 years, but that’s life. We didn’t see our daughter either for 2 years when she lived in Mexico, and then went to Africa.

I think you have decisions to make, lots of good suggestions on here, definitely don’t stay in the caravan, that’s just mean, I think you have to stand up for yourself, might create ructions, but you will be comfortable, and it’s quite nice to have a bit of space from family when you visit. We aren’t made welcome by our DIL, so we always rent our own place, this keeps the peace, and we can let off steam, 

Also agree with the suggestion of only going back every 2 years, and have a different holiday. Perhaps phone /face time each other a bit less, cut a little more loose. You might all appreciate each other more.

  I know I’m not always as nice as I should be when it gets near the time to say goodbye, it hurts, and I can’t relax enough to be my normal self. but if your mother has always been the same, then something has to change, she has a problem.

Do hope you find some of the advice given helpful,  think about what will make your Christmas trip easier for you, so you can enjoy it.

Wish you all all the best .

 

 

 

Edited by ramot
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Your mother is most likely very unhappy but in denial that she is the cause of her own demise. 

Your brother also needs to step up to the plate. Wtf!  We won’t sleep in the caravan but you are being unreasonable by not wanting to do the same!  Just read that back to him. He is just as responsible as you are here. Your dad needs you both to help him and your mum to move on. He is also in denial I fear.

something needs to shake up the status quo.

You are right in that it is hard to do and you will hurt peoples feelings but don’t forget your own feelings and your husbands too.

Boundaries are important and you need to set some. 

I know how hard it is, when you go home your independence starts to falter and you revert to mum/child again, recognise it and try to be more objective. Try to imagine you are an observer with no emotional skin in the game,  hard but possible. A good psychologist will be able to help with techniques. 

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So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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As the mother of 3 grown up children, I’m sorry and this sounds harsh,  but I am appalled and saddened by your mother’s behaviour. We Shouldn’t be controlling our children as adults.

We were expats and spent many years waving goodbye to our children at airports and had to accept we lived in different countries.Our three are independent, grown up and living the lives they have chosen. I am proud of them, we love each other dearly, keep in touch but We make no demands on them.

It is hard when you live away from your family, but that is modern life, might never like it, but have to learn to accept it.

we go to UK most years, but at the moment We haven’t seen our son and grandsons for 2 years, but that’s life. We didn’t see our daughter either for 2 years when she lived in Mexico, and then went to Africa.

I think you have decisions to make, lots of good suggestions on here, definitely don’t stay in the caravan, that’s just mean, I think you have to stand up for yourself, might create ructions, but you will be comfortable, and it’s quite nice to have a bit of space from family when you visit. We aren’t made welcome by our DIL, so we always rent our own place, this keeps the peace, and we can let off steam, 

Also agree with the suggestion of only going back every 2 years, and have a different holiday. Perhaps phone /face time each other a bit less, cut a little more loose. You might all appreciate each other more.

 If your mother has always been the same, then I doubt she will change. I hope she has a full life of her own? Plenty of friends, hobbies?  I know I’m not always as nice as I should be when it gets near the time to say goodbye, it hurts, and I can’t relax enough to be my normal self.

Do hope you find some of the advice given helpful,  think about what will make your Christmas trip easier for you, so you can enjoy it.

Wish you all all the best .

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the kind & wise words. It’s always good to hear it from the perspective of a parent. It’s a bit of a funny situation with my mum as she had never said the words ‘come home’ ‘don’t leave me’ etc, because she knows that’s wrong. She just finds other ways to let me know how she feels - she knows how to tug on my heart strings in such a way you couldn’t call her on it & if (or should I say ‘when’) I call her on it she gaslights me & says I’m being dramatic / making it up. It’s tough. I’ve gained so much today from speaking to people on here & although it’s a little sad I’m turning to strangers in an Internet forum, it’s definitely helped me to make sense of things. And in answer to your question, other than working (she’s self employed) all she has is her alcohol as that controls her life & has pretty much destroyed every friendship she’s had. I wish she’d learn from her mistakes but she doesn’t see them. It’s really sad. Thanks for your advice I really appreciate it :)

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I love the mask analogy! 

It definitely sounds like counselling all round would be a good thing for everyone - for you to develop the strength you need to live the life you want, for your dad to get support in dealing with someone who is probably making his life a misery with her addictions and your mum to get help with her addiction. Your brother needs a smack!  Any chance you could stay with your husband's family rather than the campervan (in December, in England, straight from an Australian summer - I think not!!!).

You're much of an age as my kids and reading your story just makes me want to give you a hug! Stay strong!!!

Just as an afterthought could you and your dad maybe find an AlAnon meeting locally while you are there and sneak off together - could be a start. https://al-anon.org

Edited by Quoll
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I think you just need to be straight with her and say we will be not be able to come back every year as we have other places we want to see whilst we are healthy and able. My dad was an alcoholic but he still backed my move here so i dont see that as an excuse for her behavior. Even the in-laws who weren't too happy about the move, but they came around after a few weeks and have visited us numerous times now.  You dont need to fall out, if she throws a hissy let her and dont give in ,holiday elsewhere, see if she comes round.

 Good luck,i do feel for you, it musnt be a nice feeling but honestly as devastated as i would be if one of my children moved to another country i wouldn't treat them like you have been treated, i would back them as much as i could, thats what mums should do.

 Cal x


If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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47 minutes ago, aconcannon said:

 

Thank you for the kind & wise words. It’s always good to hear it from the perspective of a parent. It’s a bit of a funny situation with my mum as she had never said the words ‘come home’ ‘don’t leave me’ etc, because she knows that’s wrong. She just finds other ways to let me know how she feels - she knows how to tug on my heart strings in such a way you couldn’t call her on it & if (or should I say ‘when’) I call her on it she gaslights me & says I’m being dramatic / making it up. It’s tough. I’ve gained so much today from speaking to people on here & although it’s a little sad I’m turning to strangers in an Internet forum, it’s definitely helped me to make sense of things. And in answer to your question, other than working (she’s self employed) all she has is her alcohol as that controls her life & has pretty much destroyed every friendship she’s had. I wish she’d learn from her mistakes but she doesn’t see them. It’s really sad. Thanks for your advice I really appreciate it 🙂

Sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers, we aren’t biased. I have been on PIO for many years, and have had help on the odd occasion as well. Several of us count ourselves as PIO friends, and have been there for each other, so you did the right thing.

From your latest post, I think the main cause of your poor mother’s problem is more apparent. She needs and must get help, and the sooner the better. Is there anyone apart from your father, who could persuade her to seek help.

sending a hug, sounds as though you need one.

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1 hour ago, aconcannon said:

 

Thank you for the kind & wise words. It’s always good to hear it from the perspective of a parent. It’s a bit of a funny situation with my mum as she had never said the words ‘come home’ ‘don’t leave me’ etc, because she knows that’s wrong. She just finds other ways to let me know how she feels - she knows how to tug on my heart strings in such a way you couldn’t call her on it & if (or should I say ‘when’) I call her on it she gaslights me & says I’m being dramatic / making it up. It’s tough. I’ve gained so much today from speaking to people on here & although it’s a little sad I’m turning to strangers in an Internet forum, it’s definitely helped me to make sense of things. And in answer to your question, other than working (she’s self employed) all she has is her alcohol as that controls her life & has pretty much destroyed every friendship she’s had. I wish she’d learn from her mistakes but she doesn’t see them. It’s really sad. Thanks for your advice I really appreciate it 🙂

Alcoholics are master manipulators and very good at refusing to accept responsibility for the hurt they cause. Her drinking may also be one of the reasons she refuses to visit you as she wouldn't have as much control over being able to access it.

Bye the way I never suggested cutting your parents off entirely just reducing the control she has over you. Good luck.

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My parents have always been supportive of us being in Australia but the last couple of times I’ve visited them in the U.K. I’ve seen a different side to my parents that I’d not noticed to the same extent before.
My dad has turned into an angry angry man and my mum does nothing to tell him that he is being unreasonable, she’d rather just apologise to people (me) afterwards when he’s not there. But she also enables him by actively feeding him information on some of the conversations that get him riled up in the first place instead of shutting them down.
I thought long and hard and made a decision that I no longer feel compelled to visit them when I go over for work, and that I am in no rush to visit for a holiday and my husband can go on his own next time.
After the initial sadness of realising that my relationship with my parents probably won’t ever be the same again, the relief I felt was enormous.......

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3 hours ago, aconcannon said:

 

Couldn’t agree with u more, and I think this is exactly why I do get so frustrated with the situation because it is a huge effort / amount of money to make that trip home every year just to keep them happy & the fact they don’t recognise that & just see it as some kind of duty that I must fulfil really grates on me! It’s crazy what you live with & almost think is normal, but then when chatting to outsiders you realise even more so that it’s not normal. Not sure why I needed confirmation of that, but it’s helped. I do need to get tough - 100%!!!! I just don’t want to hurt anybody in the process & it’s inevitable that I will.

I think sometimes it takes someone outside of the situation to confirm what you already know.  Yes, someone is going to get their feelings hurt and from what you've described your Mum will make a hell of a fuss, but it will die down, you just need to keep reiterating your boundaries that you love her (which is so evident from what you write), but she can't control what you do and from now on your not going to let her.  The psychology/counsellor is a good idea - remember you're not going to do things to be spiteful or hurtful, but in the long run, setting and keeping to some boundaries has a greater potential for keeping your relationship positive than what's happening now.  

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I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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