A question about holidays

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Triedntrue, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Some of us here have our troubled children and other children who are not, or have straightened up their lives. Some of those children and some husbands or if you are a dad, mothers, choose not to associate with our troubled children. My younger two will not attend any function where my troubled son attends. He was not even invited to his brothers wedding and has never met his wife. This makes for very awkward holidays. Sometimes I just want to avoid the holidays altogether rather than deal with the emotions. My question is how do you deal with this at the holidays? Do you exclude the troubled ones or celebrate separately or some other solution?
     
  2. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    I come from a dysfunctional family. So Norman Rockwell was never something I aspired to. There were always different dinners on different days with different families. As long as it was friendly and non-verbally abusive (loving was never an option) it was good.

    So my suggestion is adjust your expectation. Be happy you get to spend time with each of them. Forget their relationship with each other, you can't control that. Be happy with the relationship you have with each of them. Enjoy being with each in a happy setting, whatever, wherever, whenever.
     
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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This came up for us last Thanksgiving. We were invited to M's sister where there was an extended family gathering of M's family. My son came home. I told M I could not go unless my son was welcome to come with us. M decided that we not go and that we make a holiday at home (it was way better.)

    Later he let it slip that my son was not welcome at his sister's because she had seen him on the street have an argument with somebody. M said that she feared the effects of drugs, because they have a brother who is profoundly disabled as a consequence of glue and paint sniffing.

    This is how I feel: If it is a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I would not go anywhere that excluded my son. If he was in town I would not leave him alone. I would make the holiday with him, and I would feel very bad about going somewhere where he was excluded.

    M's sister has 5 daughters. Two of them had serious drug problems. Four of these daughters are/were married to men who were serious, violent gang members, and trafficked in drugs. One of these men left her daughter for dead, after he beat her and starved her. Even still, the mother urged her daughter to not press charges. But my son is excluded. Her right. But that does not mean that I will participate.

    Everybody has a right to decide who they want to be around and in their house. But I believe that as long as we are in relationship with our children, our loyalties are to them. I would not marginalize or exclude my son, no matter what invitation I received. I understand that this exclusion has to do with their conduct for which they are responsible. I also believe that there needs to be a way for them to find their way back home.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Bart is invited but never comes. Everyone even I am glad since it would be so awkward. He abused Princess in bad ways as a child and she will never forget and it wouldnt be fair to her although she would act polite. Her SO would be uncomfortable too. He knows.

    If Bart asked us, hub and me, to come seperately to St. Louis for the holudays we may. My hub has washed his hands of him but would go for me but again it would be awkward. Me, hub, grandson I have seen five times in my life and Bart. Would make me feel like I had to watch everything I said.

    Usually Bart has a girlfriend for the holidays and would rather be with her which works. Well!!

    It ends up that those of us in beautiful Wisconsin have a fun, peaceful day with giggles, good food and NO drama as everyone gets along great. And Princess, our pastry chef snd amazing regular chef too, loves to do the cooking. So we have that Hallmark holiday. We know we are lucky. It is warm and cozy just the way it is.

    And Bart is not alone either. Bart is where he wants to be, without his sisters and brother, hidden away. It is how he is. He is not lonesome.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  5. I've already started worrying about this too. My 21-year-old very troubled daughter uses all opportunities to cause chaos, so I must assume she'll beg to bring her 50-year-old boyfriend over to my home for Thanksgiving dinner. He recently threatened me by leaving a note written on a box inside my car, so he can never set foot on my property. I'm going to serve Thanksgiving Day lunch to the homeless (my church does this every year) and tell her that's all I'm doing for Thanksgiving. I'm trying to limiting my contact with her. Yesterday my daughter's ex-landlord who evicted her called and wanted to know where my daughter had moved and her boyfriend's last name. Someone recently shot out her front window and although she didn't see who did it, she, and likely the police, assumes it was my daughter. It was likely her. In this large, middle-class community, my daughter is the only gangster. I refuse to feel guilty about not celebrating holidays with her.
     
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well. This is kind of a pollyannish post.I kicked my son out because I could not bear him around me. Clearly when I wrote this I was not thinking about the reality. This is what keeps getting me into trouble: I can sometimes live in fantasy land.

    Now. I have to say that not too long ago this could have been a reasonable place to stand. But my son has chosen to walk way beyond this boundary into terrain that makes me feel uncomfortable around him, and for others to feel uncomfortable, too.
    Absolutely, I agree that if the child is obnoxious, dangerous, abusive, why in the world would we open up our lives and our homes, or have the expectation of others doing the same?
    Despairing Mom. This is horrible. I am so very sorry you are in this position. What the boyfriend did, threaten you, is a felony crime. I just feel terrible that you have to deal with this. Clearly. How can we be around a child who is a criminal or lives with criminals?

    We need to be safe. We need to feel safe. We need to respect that others feel safe. Of course my son's feelings do not trump the needs of others--OR MY NEEDS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  7. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Thanksgiving is weighing heavy on me. Our ds hasn't ever done anything threatening. He was (is?) a thief, he stole from us. he and his dad had a blow out and he left, moved out and wasn't given the option to move back in. That was in May. I still see and talk to him. We went to breakfast this week and it was pleasant. But he was always different with me. He never tried to be big and try to impress me. ANYhow I asked his dad the other day how he feels about asking him to Thanksgiving and he said he doesn't want him here. The yesterday he said..well if ds is going to be here for Thanksgiving..so I am getting mixed messages. Right now I don't know what is going to happen. When I asked ds at breakfast if he is going to his girlfriends for Thanksgiving he said he didn't know. The hardest part for me is that he and I always made Thanksgiving dinner together, all the prep the day before, brineing the turkey 2 days before. We did it all together. It makes me sad.
     
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am sorry Tired Out. Nobody seems to be taking responsibility to make a decision. I think the decision will have to be yours. What do you want?​

    Like you, I was close to my son. But that was then. I have to remember that. That there is a whole recent history. I love him. But will I like to be with him NOW? No.

    Will you feel relaxed and comfortable with your son with you and your husband? Or on eggshells?

    I think if you decide you can then talk to your husband and clarify with him. Only when you know what you want, can you make a solid decision. And only when husband and you are clear and have a shared decision is when you can INVITE your son. Asking him what he is doing on Thanksgiving is not an invitation. He may be waiting for an invitation but be afraid. He knows what happened. He knows why his Dad and he got into it.

    There is no right thing to do except what you want. And like me, what you want in your dreams, and what you want based upon reality, is two different things.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  9. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    Reality, I don't know what I want either. That is because I don't want ds to put a strain on the day with the rest of the family but I don't want him to be alone either. I would be happy if he said that he and his girlfriend (they live together) are going to her parents. I know he won't put me on the spot to be invited and I am not sure he would even want to come.
    this was the 1st time he and I really got together for more than a couple of minutes since he moved out. We have talked, texted but not sat down and talked. I am going to try to start a relationship with him, just me and him every other week for breakfast or lunch depending on his work schedule. He seemed really well , like his old self before pot.
     
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That's great Tired out.

    It sounds like he recognizes it is too soon, that there is not a place yet for him to return to the bosom of the family, that he has to remake that. He sounds like he is smart, sensitive kid, at heart. He's right. He kind of bombed the heart of the family and he has a lot of rebuilding to do. Is that not mature on his part?

    I think you need to give yourself a break. This has nothing to do with you. Or even the family. He sees that. He is taking responsibility. Good for him.
     
  11. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I never know what to expect for holidays. I always say there’s a 25% chance I’ll get both of my difficult ones, a 50% chance I’ll get one or the other, and a 25% chance I’ll have neither.

    I don’t have anyone who refuses to be around anyone else - unless C and S aren’t talking to each other- but finding them and getting them here is a logistical nightmare. Neither of them has a car or a drivers license due to DUIs and other fines they can’t pay. (Both of them have lost more than one car by getting them towed, not having money to reclaim them, and letting fines accumulate until the fines were more than the car is worth...sigh.) they are both in the city about a 30-40 minute drive from here, so more than an hour round trip for me. neither of them has a permanent address. And they are both so irresponsible I can’t count on being able to find them when I go down there. We’ll make plans, have it all arranged, and then they change their minds and don’t want to tell me outright so they ‘forget’ or turn their phones off. Then I end up waiting in vain where we said we would meet or knocking on doors in bad neighborhoods just to be told they aren’t there and no one has seen them. Or maybe I’ll get there and they’ll be stinking of booze and barely able to stand. Getting them to actually do what they say they will do - what they say they want to do! - is a nightmare.

    E used to try to round them up for me when she lived in the same city, since it was sort of on the way and she wasn’t out much time if they didn’t show. But now she lives an hour and a half in the other direction, and I’m not going to put that on her. R wants nothing to do with the whole mess and I can’t blame her. The rest of the extended family is either near me or coming from the opposite direction.

    So if I want them here I have to figure out how to get them here. We are hosting, and expecting somewhere around 30-35 people. It’s going to be extremely stressful just getting ready for all that without the added logistics. And I do want them here, but I get so angry that they make it so stressful. They can both be so inconsiderate. I’ve told them multiple times if you don’t really want to come just be honest and tell me - don’t put me through this. And if you change your mind or are not in condition to come when the day rolls around, at least tell me before I get in the car.

    I think I’ll see if Uber is an option, expense be damned, and only send the car once I have phone confirmation that they are where they said they will be and are ready to go. Then I’ll cross my fingers and hope that they’ll be reasonably sober and will have showered and put in clean clothes within a couple days time.
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is WRONG. I hate for you that this happens.
    I think this is a great idea. In my experience with Uber they charge only $5 if there is a no show.

    35 to 40 people...wow!
     
  13. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Now you know why I have to make so much stuffing...
     
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  14. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Tried, if I were in the situation of having sets of kids who could not be around each other, I guess I would just set up separate times with each and make the best of it. I know it’s sad and hard not to be able to get them all together. We all have that Norman Rockwell fantasy in our minds of everyone around the table together. The only time I’ve had all of mine together for the last decade was for E’s wedding, and that took superhuman levels of coordination to make it happen. I had C and S both stay with me a full 48 hours before the wedding so I knew they would both be sober enough to attend and I wouldn’t be running around last minute looking for them. (S was the maid of honor and I was so afraid she would be a no show.) I can’t go through all that every holiday, so I’ll just hope for the best and see what happens. I’ve learned to have zero expectations and be ok with empty seats at the table.
     
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Elsi, you are such loving Mom and a great Mom.
     
  16. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    Thank you all for your heartfelt replies. I still am not sure but will most likely either have a separate thanksgiving for him and his daughter so they can be together or take him out for dinner the day or week before. My husband may or may not choose to attend. He was in jail, son not husband
     
  17. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    I accidentally hit post before i was done and added a reply to each of you but the site said i took too long to edit. I have to get ready to leave now but will come back and retype later. In the meantime thank you.
     
  18. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I have dreaded holidays all my life.
    My mother was an alcoholic when I was young and I was raised as an only child since her other children (from first husband) were adults when I was born.
    I always wished there were more people around at holidays then because that is what I thought it should be and that was what I longed for. She was usually coming off a bender or something so I do not have good holiday memories. She did try but the addiction got the best of her and she died as a young woman.

    Since I've been married to my current husband we have made the most of the holidays. Mostly with his family and they were pretty good. However now he is only close to one sibling so we stopped celebrating with his family.

    This year our two older boys are in Chicago and we are on the Gulf Coast. They were supposed to come for Christmas but due to their jobs they won't be here then but sometime for a visit in the next few months. That is okay.

    Our former Difficult Child will be with us for the holidays this year. Just the three of us. I feel so blessed that he is in a good place now and will be praying that is where he chooses to stay. We have had so many bad holidays during his addiction that I felt like I had reverted back to my childhood.

    I am hoping that this holiday season will be the start of happy memories for us. I think we all have to be thankful for the good in our lives and for what we do have. We are still standing. Sometimes we don't see that.
     
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  19. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    This is a good question and and one I have thought a lot about. I have two children. My son who has been troubled and and addict for a long time and my daughter who is younger but is very together and always has been. My daughter, for very good reasons is very angry with my son for some past history of her own as well as how he has treated and behaved towards us. She basically wants nothing to do with him. My son has wirtten to her and apologized to her but she basically doesnt buy it and still wants nothing to do with him. For quite a while this just kind of broke my heart and I really hoped that at some point they would reconcile and I could have the pleasure of being with both of my kids. In the meantime we have celebrated holidays with them separately which is sometimes difficult for someone. I felt given the circumstances I needed to respect where my daughter was at and also I realized that really their relationship is theirs to resolve, not mine to resolve.

    Not too long ago my daughter told me that she loved me more than she hated him so that if I needed her to be with him she would for my sake. I was touched by this. However after he was living here, and moved out and I realized that he had stolen something from me that was a wedding present from my father that I could not recover, I realized that she cannot trust him in any way. That especially if he is using, but even if he is not, if he wants something he might very well screw her over to get it. So she has every right to protect herself by not seeing him. It was kind of a game changer for me. He is my son and I will always love him and I will continue to make the choice to be in relationship with him, but she does not have to do that. So at this point I have accepted that we do not see them together.

    It is a very sad thing to me..... and will always be one of the saddest things to me. I have a hope that someday if he really gets his life together and can prove himself that they can reconcile in some way and that I will have my family back together again...... but I am not counting on it at all.

    TL
     
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  20. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Yes I agree that is very sad but you have a healthy view of it. It is what it is - as they say.

    I wanted to fix the relationship my youngest had with his two older brothers too. We all lived under one roof for a short time after they got out of college and it could have been wonderful but J was in full addict mode and stole from both of them. He also stole one of his brothers cars and did damage and tried to take the other's car but did not know how to drive a stick shift. Even typing about this gives me anxiety to be honest.

    They are both coming to the graduation from his program next month and now they don't live near us so he will not be able to have the kind of close relationship that he wants but he will have to live with that. It is very sad. I agree.