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Discussion Starter #1
What do you do when you have some family that always wants you to travel there and lives a few hours away and you cant afford the gas money to go, not that they are kind to you when you do go anyways. We dont want to share our financial situation with them as we aren't close and all they would do is judge anyways. We have tried to invite them here, but its always them wanting us to go there. We only go a couple times a year but even that is hard on our budget as there is no wiggle room. Also what do you do you for celebrations that involve gifts like christmas and birthdays. Again they arent nice to us,we cant afford much, yet feel obligated.They would never appreciate homemade stuff and would probably make fun of us afterwards for it. We always do the picture thing (with good used frames as you cant tell once you open the packaging to put the picture in anyways) and we are never sure what else to do, but we often spend about $50 or so on something else. Often my husband and I don't buy gifts for eachother due to lack of money and I guess I feel bothered that we buy gifts for family that arent nice to us and we go without. Not trying to sound selfish,but just frustrated. I guess it probably goes much deeper than the money itself with these people, but the money is a huge stress too. I guess I just need to vent and need some ideas of what to do/say/get them with Christmas coming. Our children get very little for Christmas too from us - we just cant afford it. However our children understand and are thankful for anything they do get. That is one big thing I admire about or kids. Anyways I hope this doesnt sound horrible, just really down about it.
 

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I'm sorry, we can't make it this time. Perhaps you could visit us? No? Too bad.

As for holidays, send a card. Include a gift card if you must.

Get over the guilt. As you say, these people aren't nice to you. If they weren't family would you continue to associate with them?
 

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CH - perfect points.

Is this DH's family? Is it correct that he feels the same way?

If they are going to talk about you anyway and they are not at least kind when you do visit, why do you go? Could it me that they issue the invitations to visit out of habit/tradition?

Personally, I would start declining the invitations. So sorry, we just cannot make it. Have a great time anyway!! If you put no energy into their invitation, you can also decline it with no guilt or energy also. It takes practice, but it can be done and will enhance your life tremendously.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the ideas and support. It's such a crazy situation with them. We felt it was best to go a couple times a year; however, we are starting to doubt that is even working. They only appear nice if they want something, otherwise we are treated poorly. Just makes us sick - you've given us some good ideas to try out - we'll put those ideas to the test.
 

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Forget about it!
-can't afford it
-not nice to you
-won't come to you
-only call /nice when they want something

Why would I ever go and be treated badly. I wouldn't. Haven't seen my MIL and her 3rd DH is 5 years. She complained about me to my DH as my DH lay 1/2 dead in a hospital bed in a lot of pain. I asked her for help. She replied there was nothing she could do as she didn't drive!! My Dmother would have done ANYTHING for us. Some people are a waste of space and unreemable IMHO. Run while you can.
 

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Forget about it!
-can't afford it
-not nice to you
-won't come to you
-only call /nice when they want something

Why would I ever go and be treated badly. I wouldn't. Some people are a waste of space and unreemable IMHO. Run while you can.[/QUOTE

I have been in the same situation and I totally agree!!
 

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If you stop going there, it will be easier to stop sending (expensive) presents.
 

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Is there a positive relationship between them and your children?

Personally, even though my (and the wife's) family can afford gifts for each other, I've been trying to get away from the gift giving act. It's not that I don't like getting or giving, it just seems to become the focal point for some gatherings. I've been telling the families for years now, I just want to hang out and eat some good food, play a few games. It's made the holidays more fun doing this.

If your family can't enjoy having everyone around without the gifts, then it becomes difficult to spend time visiting. The financial aspect aside, it doesn't seem like they are good people to be around. Couple this with the financial strain on your close family, and it makes it an easy choice. Simply state you can't make it.

It sounds like they will judge you either way, so they might as well judge you for making the best choice for your family.
 

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I suggest to just stop going. Send a card with a hm voucher inside stating that you 'donated time and volunteered' somewhere in lieu of a gift. Not sure if you're able to really do this but many people can benefit from it w/o it costing anything. :)
 

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Don't let you and yours be held hostage out of a misguided sense of obligation. People have to treat you and your family with respect or they have no place in your life. Aren't you, your kids & hubby worth only the best? Put yourselves first.:tay:

No need to tell them much of anything. Merry Christmas & you are spending Christmas at home with your children. Enjoy that quiet, relaxing time with those you love caring for one another and those energy/joy zapping people can carry on as they will without you.

Edited to add: You are going to have one of your best Christmas's yet by giving yourselves this gift.
 

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Does your husband put the pressure on you to visit his family?

If it is your family, he will probably have no complaints about avoiding visits with unpleasant people who drain you emotionally and financially.

"I have to work that weekend/day" works beautifully. Send an xmas card with your family photo. Do have an open invite to the people to visit you when they are traveling through your town but specify that they call ahead as your work schedule is variable.
 

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Thanks for the ideas and support. It's such a crazy situation with them. We felt it was best to go a couple times a year; however, we are starting to doubt that is even working. They only appear nice if they want something, otherwise we are treated poorly. Just makes us sick - you've given us some good ideas to try out - we'll put those ideas to the test.
Give me a logical reason why you, given the history they've demonstrated, should continue to accommodate their wishes?
 

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My Dh and I had the same problems with several family members. Turns out, if you don't go to the holiday get-togethers (cause that's WAY out of our $$ range!...they're all about SPENDING)...they stop even trying to contact you! Hmmm...just wanted presents, huh?

Our lives are much less stressful now...but it WAS hard to make that break. I'm so glad we did, though.

Good luck!!
 

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My ex husband's brothers family was this way sort of. They weren't mean to us but they always expected stuff from us.

After I got divorced I was still invited (still am) to family birthdays and holidays. (I'm Godmother to their three kids). Right out of the gate I told my SIL that my financial status has changed and I just can't afford to drop $25 on each kid at their birthdays or Christmas. I give a $10 giftcard to either McDonalds or KMart.

I don't feel guilty about it, I feel relieved!
 

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Everyone has given you great advise! Just politely decline, and continue to invite them to your home (if you want to or feel obligated) saying it is your turn to come here... Don't worry what they say about you, even if they make fun of you, Who cares! Some people never grow up. And as far as gifts go, the pictures are a great idea, and have your kids help you make kitchen gifts (cookies or candy etc) to give them from all of you. Let them dare be so small to make fun of your children's generosity!
 
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Discussion Starter #18
I guess each time we do visit we hope that things will be different and they'll come around and be nice (in a genuine way) and talk to us. We kept it from the children, until they figured it out for themselves, now we no longer hide it. The children wonder why their grandparents dont talk to us etc when we are together (they do talk to the children). One year I got the kids to decorate something for them for Christmas one for their grandma & one for their grandpa - thinking it was something super special and their grandpa didnt even open it, he kind of shoved it in the seat beside his leg. The past 2 years he didnt even talk to us at - not even a Merry Christmas or goodbye. It's hard to deal with - yet they ALWAYS want us to travel up for it???? It stresses us out long before the season arrives (as you can tell). Then the money on top of that :( I like the idea of saying its their turn to come here - its cheaper for us to serve dinner (than the gas to get there) and we'd be more comfortable in our home - they couldn't possibly be guests and treat us like that ?? DH has indicated that the invitation wouldnt be open for Christmas Day - he wants an enjoyable Christmas.
 

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This is a bit of a rant, sorry...

I think no one deserves to be abused, period.

It has taken me 50 years to say that my family was toxic to me and I should disassociate myself from them. Best year I've ever had is this one!

So, my advice is to walk away. Sharing DNA doesn't mean that you're obliged to them forever. I have a sister who's a millionaire. She only calls me when it's free, but will go on and on about family if given a chance. (Hello?)

I have other family who've kicked me in the teeth several times emotionally. They just moved 1 hour instead of 1 day away. Am I going to see them this holiday season? I hope NOT!

It took me a long, long time to close that door, but I'm worth it, and so are you. Whether you can afford it financially or not, you can't afford to associate with people who treat you badly, you NEVER owe that to ANYONE.

Walk, hold your head up, and smile. You can take control of your life, the lives of those in your household, and make them better by simply not seeing those folks.

You NEVER owe ANYONE the chance to be abused. And btw, do a little research, emotional abuse? The stuff family's do to each other when they aren't "nice" is the HARDEST to overcome. And an abusive or scapegoating family will play the guilt card over and over again, and then victimize you.

You do NOT owe anyone a chance to make you a victim, ever!

Sorry for the soapbox...but it took me 50 years to get here, and I really, sincerely hope that you can walk away sooner than that.

((hugs)) to you --

Judi
 

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It sounds like your immediate family is all on the same page, it's just not the television nuclear family that everyone hopes and wants. If you feel comfortable, and your children are looking for an explanation, give the excuse that as people get older, their bodies and minds go amuck, and they act differently than they think they are.

Enjoy your stress-free Christmas. It sounds like it will be the first one in a long time.
 
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