Triangulated by the family!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dstc_99, May 30, 2013.

  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    A few days ago I posted about a family vacation that my parents and brother had planned. I initially had told my mother no when she asked and told my brother I would think about it. Two days later I get a call from the brother with the dates and location. I was irritated with it because they didn't confirm with us beforehand and because I am not really wanting to spend time with my parents and difficult child right now. On the other hand I am getting ready to move 35 hours away from my parents/difficult child and probably 50 hours away from my brother. So I rationalized going since they had already rented the place, I wasn't going to see them anytime soon, easy child and difficult child needed time together, and we probably needed to spend some time with difficult child. As usual I minimized the pain it would cause me, husband, and our pocketbook and started making plans to attend.

    Yesterday while sitting around during jury duty breaks I got downright mad! My family knows I am getting ready to move across the country and that even though the Army will move us and pay some moving dividends that it costs a lot of money to set up a new household. They know I have three dogs to fly across country. They know I don't have a buyer for my home or even a renter to cover the mortgage. They know I am basically going to lose my job. They know that all of us can barely get through a meal together without it being volatile or at least extremely stressful. They know all this yet they still booked this vacation without confirmation from me that I would attend.

    Last night I talked with husband and guess what he can't even get off work for all of the days. I scraped together enough leave to do it but there is no way I want to go and try to face all of it without him to support me.

    Anyway it hit me at some point yesterday that I had been triangulated! They effectively put me in a position to either be a but+ and not attend or be miserable and attend. They knew I would want to see my brother and difficult child before moving and did what they could to make it happen by maneuvering me into a bad position. So today I am sending them all an email and letting them know that because of costs and husband's innability to get off work we will not be coming for the whole week we will be coming for three days and spending that time away from the rental they already have. I am not going to feel bad about it because I can't afford any more than that and because husband can't get off for the time. This way I get to see my brother and spend a little time with difficult child and my parents on my own terms.

    This detachment stuff is hard! But I am determined to stand up for myself once and for all.
  2. dstc - I think you made a wise decision. Going and spending the entire vacation in such a stressful situation could just make things worse with your parents and difficult child. Compromising for a few days is very reasonable given the situation that you are in with the move, husband not having time off work and the family stress as well.

    Sigh - hugs to you. I know what it feels like to be manipulated by parents. You're handling it really well.
  3. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    So here is the email I am sending to everyone. What do you think? Any advice for changes?

    I want it to be honest but caring since I do care about these people I just can't stay with them for a week and survive.

    Unfortunately husband and I are unable to take leave for the entire vacation time. We will be arriving on Wednesday and departing on Saturday. We also plan to rent a room elsewhere. He and I both feel that due to the tension between us, mom and dad, and difficult child that this will be best. We are going to encourage easy child to come down early and spend the entire week with everyone since we feel it is important that she be able to spend time with difficult child, her grandparents, uncle, and Steph before we move. husband and I do not want to miss out on time with family either.

    Our main concern is that the current family dynamics not ruin the wonderful vacation that has been planned. In order to help make that a reality we are going to stay separately, plan some outings and invite everyone, and attend outings we are invited to when we can. Basically we are going to do as much as we can handle without things becoming an issue. If things do become an issue husband and I will return to our room in order to allow the vacation to continue without added stress.
  4. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    Given your situation, I think you're being more than accomodating to their expectations.

    I place their actions in the same category as when my mom calls me because someone's just come to visit she wants me to talk to, regardless of my time, feelings or having anything useful to communicate. This isn't simply a 94 year old thing, she has ALWAYS done this. Sometimes out of a desire to get people with issues to "kiss and make up."

    Opinion Spoiler below:

    I think you should have begged out. "Sorry, nobody consulted me on timing or whether our situation allows for this. Have fun, see you next year maybe." Put much more diplomatically or nicely, of course - my whole being is currently short-tempered due to a week of illness and Kiddo's increasingly verbal Obsessive behaviors. And that summer "vacation" is a week and a half away, with more icky details.

    But... sometimes we can't do what we want, in the name of longer term consequences. You know your situation better than I. So go, and have fun despite the Drama of Damocles hanging over your vacation. :)
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I liked the tone of the letter. The parts I left in seem a little harsh to me. Unless you need to establish firm boundaries, maybe you could say the same things more gently?

    #1 How about something like: husband and I both feel this would be best.

    #2 Maybe: We think this will be the best way to be sure we can all enjoy the wonderful vacation that's been planned.

    #3 How about: Though we have decided to stay on our own, we're planning some outings everyone will be invited to, and we'll be attending as many family outings as we can, too.

    #4 Given the upcoming move and all the additional stress husband and I have been under lately, we are really going to try to relax, on this vacation. While we're both looking forward to spending this time together, we've decided we will be heading back to our room if things get too stressful. That way, the rest of the family can enjoy their vacations.


    Let us know what you decide to do, okay?

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You did a great job. You stood up for yourself with people who do not have your back. The only time to negotiate terms with folks is when you are clear they have your back and these people in your family don't. You did the right thing. You set clear boundaries and protected yourself and your family. The anger spurred you on and I'm sure you are now feeling a real sense of personal power, not power over another, but your own power to stand up to bullies, manipulators, users, liars, or anyone who might abuse you. What they did is manipulative and devious. You stopped it. How you word it is up to you, Barbara's ideas of making it more gentle are fine if that works for you, I think more of the point is that you set the boundary and didn't allow it. Great job!
  7. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I'm a difficult child, so the tone of the letter sounds perfect to me1-