Ok, I may need advice...(really long)
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  1. #1
    Registered User Momto2Boyz's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Ok, I may need advice...(really long)

    So, my parents (who are still married after almost 40 years) don't get along and argue about everything. Every special occassion that I can remember has been marred by them acting like children and arguing about nothing. Even at my wedding, they made a huge scene and acted like jerks to each other to the point that my mom ticked off my Dad and he left before we even sat down to dinner. I remember leaving Christmas dinners, becuase my mom would get mad and get up and leave and my Dad, brother and I would have to get up and follow or have no ride home. These are the memories of my youth. Far be it from me to say it, but they probably shouldn't be married, they make each other so miserable...but well, it's just not my place to say anything.

    Most of my life, I have sat by quietly at very ackward dinners while they argue. I learned at an early age, just to do my best to ignore them and try to be happy about whatever occassion we were celebrating.

    Yesterday, I totally snapped. Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. It is coming and going with no fanfare whatsoever. I am the one in my family that makes a big deal out of birthdays. I make the plans that make people feel special, I plan the parties, dinners, etc. No one else in my extended family (which includes my parents, DH, brother, etc.) ever makes much of an effort. So, I'm not totally surprised that my birthday means little to them. (ok, I keep telling myself that my birthday is no big deal...but maybe I'm a little bitter about turning 30 with no one planning much of anything )

    So, I was surprised when my parents called and invited us out to Sunday brunch to celebrate my b-day. I was actually really excited about it, since it was to be the only "celebration" I was going to have. Well, we drive an hour away to have breakfast with them (we had to go to them...they didn't want to drive up to us, which was fine). We get there, and no one wishes me a happy birthday, it was like we were just going out for fun and not to celebrate anything special, which again is fine, they at least made an effort to invite us out. I would have liked at least a birthday wish, but what can you do.

    We sit down to breakfast, and my Dad started to complain about not having any light at our table. (On his behalf, it was VERY dark, we could barely see each other across the table). So, he got up and went to the hostess to see if we could get a different table by the window. Really, no big deal. Something that I probably would have done if he hadn't.

    Well, my mom freaks out! Tells DH, the kids and I that she just can't deal with his nitpicking. Why can't he just be happy, why does he have to be a jerk about things etc. All the while, getting louder and more angry about it.

    Well, I snapped. Although, I have to say, while acting a bit juvenile, I did it in a nice, adult manner. I got up, told the kids to put their coats on (in a very nice tone), told DH to get out the keys and that we were leaving. I said, very nicely and quietly, that I was not going to do this...AGAIN. I'd had enough. If they were going to make the breakfast uncomfortable for everyone, then we would go have a nice breakfast by ourselves.

    So, we walked out and left them at the table. I honestly think I made the right decision. I've quietly put up with them doing this for 30 years and I"m just tired of it. But of course, I feel horribly guilty about it now. They ruin every special occassion for everyone around them.

    I thought maybe I would get a phone call of apology after we left and none came. Which tells me that they are probably mad at me, and don't think that they did anything wrong, and they are waiting for me to call and apologize for walking out.

    So, do I call and apologize? I realize that I acted like a immature jerk, but if I call to apologize, I'm just going to be more dissapointed, becuase they are going to tell me how wrong I am, and no apology will come from them, even though I think I deserve one too.

    I really don't want to be arguing with my parents over the holidays, but I am tired of always being the one to act like an adult and apologize and take the blame when I am not always the one totally at fault.

    So do I suck it up and just apologize or do I just wait it out and see what happens?

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    at age 30 i woke up too. congratulations.

    the cruise director quit. i quit planning parties, running interference, and limiting contact with them in any way. i had my life to live.

    remember the love boat, with the perky cruise director who planned everybody's fun? and got involved in everyone's business?

    well, the cruise director quit.

    edited to add: don't apologize. what do you have to apologize for?
    Last edited by ladykemma2; 12-15-2008 at 07:58 AM.
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    Registered User Momto2Boyz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladykemma2 View Post

    edited to add: don't apologize. what do you have to apologize for?
    Dh is on the same page as you. I forget to mention that during the original post...he's says not to call an apologize. It's just hard for me, because it's not in my nature. You're right...I'm totally the cruise director...the peacekeeper!

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    Registered User Rosebush3's Avatar
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    It sounds like your parents' behaviors are predictable and they lived up to expectations of misbehavior. I am sorry their actions over the years have left you with a lifetime worth of crappy memories. I can't imagine the level of self-centeredness they must possess to act like that, and the level of determination to carry it off without fail for all these years. I do know of people just like your parents, but still it boggles the minds of those of us who can stand back and watch the train wreck from our perspective. It seems this is how they are, and likely how they always will be. If they haven't worked to fix it yet, or done each other in by now, they're probably quite content in their situation. Even as unhappy as it comes off and however uncomfortable it makes everyone around them. I am sorry your parents are so selfish. From your letter I can see that you did not get that trait from them, with your going out of your way to make other people happy and celebrate special days.
    That is a wonderful thing and people are always very glad to have someone like you in their lives. However, not everyone does that and to be expecting someone else to take the time and do the same for you is probably setting yourself up for disappointment. It doesn't mean that they don't care about you. But expecting to have someone do something special for you on every birthday might be a little unrealistic, some are likely to come and go with no fanfare. They just happen. Maybe plan something special for yourself.
    You accepted the invitation by your parents knowing full well what the turnout would be, you can't really be angry at them for living up to their reputation of bickering and destroying special moments. I do wish for you that it had turned out differently though.
    As far as walking out on that dinner, I believe you did the right thing. There's no need to have your children sit through that and collect their own unhappy memories of watching these two act like spoiled brats.
    I am not surprised they didn't call, and you are probably right that they don't believe they did anything wrong. I don't think you need to call them and apologize for anything! You did nothing wrong at all. I would say call them, yeah. It would be sad to lose a relationship with your parents just because they don't get along well. I wouldn't be going out anywhere with them from now on if they are together though, one on one might be fine. You should NOT have to take the blame for their bad behavior.
    I am really sorry your birthday is turning out like this, and with the holidays right here. I am sure you will get lots of advice here from others who have been through it. I hope tomorrow brings you enough smiles to take away the hurt and anger they gifted you with for the dinner, I hope your birthday is wonderful. And HAPPY 30th.

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    Registered User PaulaMM's Avatar
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    It seems to me that you've already shown your parents much more consideration than they've shown you. What is it about some people, especially parents, who think it's all about them? They seem to be very selfish, self centered people. I'm glad you turned out the way you are, in spite of them instead of because of them. I did the same.

    If you feel terrible, go ahead and make the call, but not to apologize for your actions. Let them know why you walked out. I'm sure they know, but sometimes knowing and having someone point it out to you are two completely different things. You don't have to apologize for your behaviour but you could say how sorry you are that it turned out the way it did and that your children had to be a witness to their pettiness. Again.

    I'm sorry your parents felt the need to ruin your celebration. I hope your birthday turns out to be wonderful in spite of it all. Happy 30th birthday!
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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    :clapgirl: WTG! You just gave yourself a very nice birthday present.

    The first sentence that jumped out at me was where you said "who am I to say something" Sure you should let them know that their behavior won't be tolerated anymore. You have every right.
    When you were a child you were kind of held hostage, now as an adult you have a responsibility to let them know, to let your children see that this kind of behavior is rude and obnoxious & shouldn't be tolerated.
    Do not call and apologise. Stand tall & proud as a grown woman who just showed her children and her parents what should be a very important life lesson.
    Happy Birthday!

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    Registered User nvmommyx6's Avatar
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    I think you were right, I don't think you should call and apologize, I think that would be there place!
    I'm proud of you for handling it so calmly, I probably would have, well......not been so nice!

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    Registered User Dancing Lotus's Avatar
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    Dont' call. You were right.


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    nope, don't call, don't apologize.
    If you call what are the chances that you will actually be able to say everything that is on your mind? The hurt and frustration if so many years built up will lead to an argument with them and you will hang up feeling guilty.
    If it was me, I'd write them a long letter explaining your feelings and thoughts and at the very end tell then to call you if they would like to discuss it in an ADULT manner.

    Have you spoken to your brother about this?

    And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
    Last edited by Russ; 12-15-2008 at 08:52 AM.
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    Registered User phoeny_moonstar's Avatar
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    It seems to me that your parents thrive on the drama that they create at these special events. This I think gives them some sort of pleasure seeing their loved ones squirm and be uncomfortable when they are acting like children.
    Do I think you should call them and apologize? No, I don't think you have anything to apologize for. They were being inmature and childish and deserved to have been walked out on.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulaMM View Post
    It seems to me that you've already shown your parents much more consideration than they've shown you. What is it about some people, especially parents, who think it's all about them? They seem to be very selfish, self centered people. I'm glad you turned out the way you are, in spite of them instead of because of them.

    If you feel terrible, go ahead and make the call, but not to apologize for your actions. Let them know why you walked out. I'm sure they know, but sometimes knowing and having someone point it out to you are two completely different things.

    I'm sorry your parents felt the need to ruin your celebration. I hope your birthday turns out to be wonderful in spite of it all. Happy 30th birthday!
    I agree with what I quoted above. I don't think you were acting immature either. Maybe they'll think twice next time.

    I felt so sad reading your post about growing up with those situations. Some people, even family, are "toxic" and need to be either written off or kept at arm's length at the very least. I've dealt with several of those people over the years.

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    Rude and Vile Master Greebo's Avatar
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    If you have anything to apologize for at all, and I'm not sure you do, its only for not letting them know in advance that you were not going to tolerate their childish behavior any more.
    If you could kick in the pants the person responsible for your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit for a month.

    Did you know that a 4 year student paying $20,000/year who finances their education graduates with over $103,000 in debt to start? But a student who works and pays cash and takes 6 years to graduate ends with $6,300 in their pocket! So much for "getting a head start by financing!"


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    First, kudos for doing the right thing.
    If 2 people cannot act civilized for an hour for breakfast to quietly celebrate someone's bday, then eat alone! Your parents or not.

    I'd let a few days go by, let everyone blow off some steam.
    Don't expect an apology, cuz you'll probly never get one And you're probably right that they're angry at you for leaving them!
    Just call & say you didnt call to apologize - you don't NEED to do that, unless you feel like you should - AND to explain WHY you left.

    Simply state that you've put up with their juvenile behaviour ALL these years... and you want to put a stop to it.... and a 30th bday is a great day to start it.

    If you want, set guidelines... "if you two can't behave yourselves when we all want to go out, then we simply won't be going out with you two." Or whatever would work for you & your family.

    You don't need to tolerate this NOR expose your kids to it.
    If you want, use a heart string (or guilt) & talk about not wanting your kids to think their grandparents are argumentative.... or learn bad behaviour from them.

    And then leave it be for a while. Everyone's gonna be angry, confused & feel bad/guilty... it'll pass. You did what was right for YOUR family... and that's your priority.

    My opinion... I wouldn't call & apologize... but I would call a few days later & ask for an apology for your kids (not your or dh). And, I'd set some rules.

    Good luck & sorry you have to endure this... it just makes it more frustrating now that you have kids & they probly ask or will start asking questions.


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    Registered User Dutchie's Avatar
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    Firstly let me say - a HUGE happy birthday hug from me. (((HUGS))))
    Birthdays are a big deal!!!!

    I know from first hand experience exactly how you feel and I have been there for 50 years now.
    You should NOT apologize to your parents - you have nothing to apologize for.
    On saying that, I don't think that you should expect an apology from them because you will wait a long time.
    In their eyes they have done no wrong.
    Your parents will never change. The only thing that can change is how you react to them.

    Your parents behavior towards one another is something that also may never change. My parents are exactly the same. They argue ALL the time about everything - anytime. This too is how my childhood was. I even went into therapy about it - 15 years ago.
    My therapist said - each time you are setting yourself up to be disappointed but you will continue to do this because you still believe that your parents should act a certain way.
    Each time they reach out, you grab on and are disappointed each time again.

    Regarding the 'cruise director' syndrome. I have it too or at least I used to have it regarding my family-in law. If anything had to be organized for the whole family - call Avril and I did it.
    Even though it was also to be paid by the whole family, everyone was always out of money at that time so I also had to pay for it too and then almost beg to be paid back.
    A few years ago, I stopped.
    The last time that I organized something was 6 years ago for my parents in law's 50th wedding anniversary.
    When it was their 55th, everyone waited for me to 'do' something.
    Finally my sister in law called and asked when I was going to 'do' something. My answer - well the family is big enough and the grandkids are old enough, it's someone else's turn now. Nothing was done and hasn't been since.
    Again this last father's day. Everyone waited for me to host the entire family here for a father's day BBQ. They are still waiting.

    I am glad that you have 'woken up' when you are 29 - it took me a LOT longer.
    Look after yourself and your own family. Enjoy them and organize for them - make your own traditions.

    Please I hope that this hasn't come over to you as harsh because that has definitely not been my intention. I know how difficult this is for you.

    Be strong!!! And have a great birthday tomorrow!!!!
    BTW great new photo - you look even more like my friend's daughter in this one.
    (((HUGS)))
    Avril
    Avril



    Mom to Laurens (32), Timothy (29), Dimmen (26), Lloyd (25) and Fiori (23).
    Grandma to Charlie, born April 5th 2013 - so he's now 1 year old.

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    Registered User Grayce's Avatar
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    Don't call and apologize. You did the right things and hopefully your parents will take the hint and modify their behaviour in the future.

    I suspect they haven't called because they are embarrassed by their childish behaviour.

    Happy birthday!

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