My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents

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Wecanalwaysdream

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My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« on: April 01, 2016, 10:25:47 AM »
This is my very first post here and I am so happy I found this community.  I've recently come to terms with the fact that my family is dysfunctional, especially as I'm planning my wedding to my fiance.  My wedding is just 7 weeks away and I don't know how much more I can handle. My fiancé and I, who are both in our late 20s, are paying for this wedding entirely on our own without the help of our parents. But my family has seriously given me hell over it. I don't think my relationship with them will be the same after this. I'm starting to realize that our relationship is not based on respect for each others' wishes or autonomy, but is based on their need for control and their need to bolster their self-image. If I do anything counter to their wishes, they turn on me and emotionally manipulate me. I can't see how I can have the same (or perhaps any) relationship with them after this. I just want to get through the next 7 weeks and through my wedding without constant worry that they'll sabotage my wedding. I'm sincerely regretting not eloping now. I wish I could know this would happen. I wish I didn't put blind faith that they'd actually be happy for me and put aside their own desires for my wedding.

Anyway, the story:

My younger sister (my only sibling) and I have never been close and she has been very emotionally abusive toward me in the past (my fiance has seen some of the things she's said and he's completely shocked), but I put a lot of faith in her and asked her to be my maid of honor for my wedding.  She didn't once show any support or excitement for my wedding or offer to help.  About 3 months before the wedding, she hadn't even bought the bridesmaid dress (it was reasonably priced at under $150) when my other 7 bridesmaids had already bought theirs. I followed up with my sister and said it was important for her to buy her bridesmaid dress soon, as it could take a while to ship.  She then refused and said she was broke (she's in her late 20s and still living with my parents and is unemployed) but then she took a week-long international vacation after that.  We got into an argument about that and she refused to get the dress and also unfriended me on facebook, but told me that she wasn't going to step down as a maid of honor; she put the onus on me to kick her out.  After a back and forth, and some seriously nasty things that she said, I told her I no longer wanted her as a bridesmaid or maid of honor.  I feel that I made the best decision for myself. I can't have someone so destructive and abusive standing next to me on my wedding day; at best, our sisterhood is a farce.  I think she has some serious issues. She's undiagnosed, but I'm fairly certain that she has BPD. 

My parents are very controlling and basically flipped out when they found out my sister wouldn't be a bridesmaid in my wedding anymore. Instead of confronting her about her abusive behavior and refusal to be supportive, they turned on me. They are now threatening to not participate in my wedding at all if my sister isn't a maid of honor. I'm fairly certain my mom has BPD as well.  She's very hot and cold. One day she'll be nice (though she never says "I love you"; I don't remember her saying that since my childhood, when she would try and guilt me to say it to her more) and the next, she'll be cold as ice and if I say something she doesn't like or if I don't listen to her advice while wedding planning, she'll ignore me for days.  She guilts me for just about everything  and has tried to manipulate me over the guest list, over the food being served, and even over what I'm choosing to put on my gift registry. Again, my fiance and I are paying for our wedding entirely on our own. My mom opened up a joint account with me years ago, which I've never used and almost forgot about. I'm taking my fiance's last name when we get married and I remembered the account after I started wondering why my mom was pestering me so much about having a registry instead of getting cash gifts. I asked her to please either close that account or let me take my name off of it.  Her first reaction was anger and she told me that if I touched that account or took my name off of it, she wouldn't attend my wedding and would tell all our family not to attend. She then changed her tune a day later and said she would close it, but she's taking her sweet time, as she hasn't closed it a month later. My plan is to tell her that I've given her ample notice and I'm going to take my name off the account this month if she doesn't want to close it. She also has a history of lying.  When I first got engaged, she told me that she wouldn't come and no one would come if I didn't have the wedding in my hometown.  I decided to have the wedding in my hometown and then months later she denied she'd ever said what she said.  She also manipulated me into inviting 30 more guests than I would have wanted, but she later denied that and said she's disappointed we are spending so much money on this wedding... she's also made countless comments on how ugly my nose is and how I need to get plastic surgery...  Anyway, I digress. My mom has a history of treating me very cruelly. My dad has a history of anger issues. I can't even count how many times he would completely physically destroy my room and the items in it when he got angry with me when I was a child. 

In essence, my parents thrive on having complete control and I grew up in a very chaotic environment where rules and boundaries constantly shifted to suit my parents' needs. It's turned me into an anxious and paranoid person.  I can't trust anyone. But I escaped. I went to college and then grad school and moved to the other side of the country. I met my fiance here and am starting a new life. I have a good job and great friends. My sister went the opposite direction - unemployed, living with my parents, chaotic personal relationships, and a history of drug abuse.  I do feel sorry for her, but it doesn't excuse her awful behavior toward me. My parents completely enable her. Even now, they don't call her out on her behavior - instead, they turn it all on me. No matter what she was, I have to accept it and still have her in my wedding and in my life.

My parents are now threatening to not participate in my wedding if my sister is not a bridesmaid.  I might have to walk down the aisle by myself and we may not have a father-daughter dance.  My mom refuses to even walk down the aisle as part of the processional, has delayed getting a dress for the wedding, and has threatened to not come to the rehearsal dinner.  They constantly barrage me with emails and texts saying how selfish I am and how disappointed they are that my sister won't be a bridesmaid. I constantly tell them how my sister has treated me and remind them that this is my wedding and tell them it's really sad they can't be supportive of me on my big day. I tell them that if my sister was getting married and I wasn't a bridesmaid, I wouldn't be offended.  It would be her wedding and her choice. But now this is my wedding and I am choosing to protect myself and to have only my closest friends and family standing with me - the ladies who have supported me throughout my life and have treated me with respect and kindness.  It's heartbreaking that my parents can't respect that or be happy for me and supportive, even if my sister doesn't wear a dress and stand next to me. I even tried to reach out and make peace with her (at my parents' insistence), but was met with the same vitriol - she said we aren't good and to stay away from her. She then blocked me on facebook. And yet, my parents are still claiming that she wants to be a bridesmaid??? She wants me to stay away from her but she still wants to be my bridesmaid? Honestly, how does that even work? I think she's just telling my parents that to stir the pot and to have them ruin my wedding.

My parents are so controlling. If I do anything they don't like, it's all out emotional warfare. It's so abusive. My heart is hurting even as I write this. I feel like they expect me to be my sister's keeper. And I'm so mortified of what could happen at my wedding - if my sister wears something inappropriate, if my parents do something embarrassing.  I've told my bridesmaids and closest friends and even some of my future in laws about this situation and everyone has been nothing but supportive.

The one thing to my advantage here is that my parents care about appearances, to a fault.  I'm hopeful that when the wedding day actually arrives, they won't want to look bad in front of everyone and will actually get in line. But they'll make the next 7 weeks hell for me until then.  I've even started going to therapy this past month because it's a lot of pressure.  My therapist has been kind and told me it definitely sounds like my mom and sister have undiagnosed BPD, especially with how much my mom pushes me away. 

I just don't know how my relationship with my parents can stay intact after this. I know my sister and I won't have a relationship after this. It won't be much of a change from before, as we would go months without talking. Our sisterhood was a farce from the beginning.

I'm feeling heartbroken that during what should be the happiest time of my life, my family has been so manipulative, selfish, and controlling. And they don't see it - they're telling ME I'm the selfish one for not wanting someone abusive standing near me on MY wedding day.  What's ironic is that my parents don't even talk to some of their own siblings.  I'm at my wit's end.  Wedding planning a long distance wedding, while holding a full-time job, is challenging enough. 

When I have kids in the future, I want to severely limit their interaction with my family.  I escaped relatively unscathed, which is a veritable miracle.  But I don't want to subject other innocent people to this.  I still feel a twinge of sadness and question myself. Maybe I'm the one in the wrong? Maybe I should just listen to them?  As my mom always points out, at the end of the day, all I have is them. But my friends and fiance are telling me to stay strong and not give in.  If I give in now, they say, my parents will continue to step all over me for my entire life.

Any advice is much appreciated.

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daughter

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 10:58:22 AM »
I had this same exact experience.  Lots of posters here have described their own wedding-related issues with pd-disordered parents and siblings; please try to read those posts to understand that you're 1) certainly not alone in experiencing these problems; 2) that same problems persist past wedding date; 3) pd-disordered parents become meddling badly-behaved pd-disordered grandparents.  Your milestone event, your wedding, gives you an opportunity to reassess your long-term relationships with your parents and sister, and the opportunity to detach emotionally, to increase and enforce amount of physical and mental distance (boundaries) between yourself and your FOO Family.  Their bad behavior patterns expressed here, in situation of your pending wedding, reveal their true dysfunctional personalities, which will not improve with time and age.  If they chose to "boycott wedding", so be it.  My NBM and NF also threatened to "boycott" my wedding, unless I capitulated to their self-centered narcissistic demands, including (also) GC nsis as reluctant and petulant maid-of-honor (I bought her dress, my dress, flowers, etc - and nsis totally ignored me through entire wedding planning, shower, wedding ceremony and dinner too).  I wish I'd "gone NC" at that "boycott" threat moment, and saved myself two more decades of my npd-enmeshment (as FOO's blatantly disfavored SG "dutiful daughter"), their constant meddling in my marriage and child-rearing, their general malice, and constant malevolent machinations of NBM, NF, and "princess" nsis.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 11:05:14 AM by daughter »

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SunnyandBright

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 12:23:11 PM »
You are wise to start thinking now of breaking all ties after the wedding -- it is most likely the best choice.   They will never change.   I don't see any positives in staying in a relationship with them at all, do you?   When people tell you stuff like "at the end of the day, all you have is them" and 'family is everything' and 'blood is thicker than water' and all that other rubbish -- that's exactly what it is, rubbish.   Boy - if all we have and all we're ever going to have is "family" -- we are in big trouble, aren't we? 
Your husband-to-be, his parents, your friends and everyone else that cares about you in your life has proven your mother wrong.   Your mother has proven herself wrong.   Your sister has proven it.   

Your best bet for a happy life is to stay living far away from them all, and have very little to do with them.   You don't even have to tell them you're going NC --- just fade away, and don't tell them anything.   If you try to keep them in your life, they are going to fight you every step of the way.   Anytime anything good happens to you - they will go out of their way to ruin it for you.   Anytime anything bad happens to you, they will make you feel like you deserve it.   I think you are very smart to realize that you don't want your future children near these people. 

Our families are supposed to want the best for us, not be jealous and envious of our life and our success, and not resentful of our independence.   When they are jealous and resentful --- that is just something that doesn't change.   There is something missing in them, something that can never be cured or fixed.   All you can do is protect yourself.   The things your sister and mother have said and done to you --- your worst enemy wouldn't do or say.   

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closure_with_clarity

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 12:38:57 PM »

When I have kids in the future, I want to severely limit their interaction with my family.  I escaped relatively unscathed, which is a veritable miracle.  But I don't want to subject other innocent people to this.  I still feel a twinge of sadness and question myself. Maybe I'm the one in the wrong? Maybe I should just listen to them?  As my mom always points out, at the end of the day, all I have is them. But my friends and fiance are telling me to stay strong and not give in.  If I give in now, they say, my parents will continue to step all over me for my entire life.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Unfortunately, big life events like weddings, births, and funerals bring out the mega toxic in dysfunctional people. It becomes huge chaos and drama making supply for them....a means to garner sympathy and attention for themselves, and to sabotage the family scapegoat.

I can relate and empathize, for my dysfunctional family made the lead up to my wedding 1000 times more stressing than it should have been. Originally, my DH and I were going to have a modest, but very nice traditional wedding and were going to pay for everything ourselves. My ubpdNM and eNF were adamant that they'd help pay for their only daughter's wedding, so we fell for it and relented. They were going to pay for the meal and the rest was on the DH and I.  Once I opened the door and accepted their offer, my ubpdNm stuck her nose in every aspect of our wedding....I unwittingly allowed her to hijack my special day.

Since her and my eNF were paying for the meal, they felt entitled to invite whom ever they wanted, including 30 of their friends and distant family. And, the costs absorbed by DH and I rapidly soared out of control. They wanted their own limo to take them and my siblings to the church, and said "they'd pay for it". When it came time to pay for the limo, of course my ubpdNM gaslit me and said she never offered to pay. The same thing occurred for other aspects of our wedding too, including ubpdNM insisting she'd pay for corsages and bouts for my aunts and uncles. I bought them, but my parents never paid me back.  She insisted that I purchase a huge expensive cake and of course offered to help pay for it, but never did. The list goes on and on. I should have just stuck to our orginal plan of paying for everything ourselves. It would have spared my DH and I a great deal of stress, and $$$$.

I had a lovely wedding, but even 30 years later I still have a bad taste in my mouth when I reflect back on all the bs and manipulation of my time, money, and resources .

My advice would be to drop the rope and just walk away from your families chaos making. If they call, text, or email criticizing or coercing, just ignore them by not responding. Look at it in terms that what ever they choose to wear or do on that day is a reflection of them and not you. You can not control their toxic behavior. All you can control is you...how you will protect yourself from their drama and chaos making. And, you can control what you'll do in case they don't show by having a well thought out back up plan, which omits them from the picture.

Thankfully today, wedding traditions are extremely flexible. Many couples are opting out of things like head tables where the bride and groom are forced to sit with their toxic family. I think the sweetheart table concept must have been the brainchild of a couple that had a dysfunctional family.  :yeahthat: And, there are many variations to walking up the aisle without a parent(s).

IMHO, I think we place too much emphasis on antiquated romantic notions like the father daughter dance too. Instead perhaps focus on an extended version of the bride groom dance.....one that is unique and reflects you and your Dh's personalities....there are so many creative ideas out there like star wars light sabers, etc. Guests won't even notice you didn't have a father/daughter dance.

All they'll be talking about is the adorable and awesome bride/groom dance and what a clever idea it was  :bigwink:

Don't let your toxic family hijack and deflate this ultra special day for you. Focus on you and your future DH as it should be. And, raspberries to your dysfunctional selfish FOO. Start navigating around them and omitting them from the planning, structure, and flow of the day. If they show or not, just stick to the plan and carry on. Perhaps ask a few close friends to babysit and monitor your parents if they do show....people that will keep an eye out and reel them in if need be.

Let go of the people that dull your shine. Poison your spirit. And bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.  :)

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movingforward2

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 02:35:43 PM »
You poor thing.  I've read many horror stories on here about pd's wrecking weddings.  My H and I actually got married and didn't invite anyone but a couple of friends as witnesses.  We did it to save $$$ but also because my NMIL was being so outlandish.  My parents had recently gotten divorced and there was just too much drama.  Part of me regrets not having a wedding, but another part of me knows that it would have been awful.  NMIL would have ruined it. 

In all honesty, it might not be a bad thing if they don't show up to your wedding.  However, my guess is that they will, but a you stated, will harass you for the next 7 weeks.  I'm not sure it would be wise to tell them not to go, as it wouldn't surprise me if they showed up anyhow, against your wishes.  Thankfully, you live far away, so once the wedding is over, it sounds like you won't have to deal with them much. 

I think it's great you are going to a therapist and that you are thinking of the future and how to handle your r/s with them.  My NMIL really destroyed so many happy times in our lives, that I wish this site had been available back when we were first together, 13 years ago. 

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MaggieMayCat

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 04:08:44 PM »
First off - CONGRATULATIONS on the upcoming joyous event!   :heythere:

Oh jeeze... family antics and weddings... Sweetie, there are probably several things going on here - first - I'd be willing to bet there is a good bit of jealousy going on - you are moving on, getting married, starting a new life - one that doesn't revolve around them - they are pissed... especially sister.  Parents are probably not liking losing control of you and are decidedly behaving like toddlers (seems to me)... all these "manipulations" are their desperate measures to bring you back in line. 

When DH and I were married we paid for everything too and had lots of "ideas and suggestions" thrown our way.  Fortunately we were older and had little problem standing up to their intrusions.... BUT... here's the kicker - they will show up - they will not miss the show because they can make the day all about them.  Trust me - it can and will happen.  For PDs this is the perfect stage for them to show their theatrical skills - misbehaving and attracting attention on ya'lls special day.   uNPDBro proceeded to get sloshed, behaved badly/inappropriately, monopolized extended family with his hobby lectures/self aggrandizement.    He had to be escorted home by his mother and his wife and put to bed.... He was "hurt" because he didn't get to walk me down the aisle (EnMom's suggestion)... there is no way he was going to participate in my wedding after the crap he's pulled in the past.

Your wedding day is just that - Yours.  It is supposed to be a celebration of love between two people who were lucky enough to have found each other.  Anything that detracts from that (NPD Drama tactics) are not welcome.

Don't know what you'll do, but if it were me, I'd just look at them when they started this, re-state my boundaries, tell them if they can't accept that then they have to do what they have to do - those are the consequences.  This is a very important time to take the "stick" they have been whacking you with all these years away from them.  It is critically important that you and your fiance formally declare your independence - otherwise the intrusions, hateful behavior, threats, manipulations will only increase over time.  The toll this behavior takes on any marriage can be devastating and makes the first couple of years way more difficult than they have to be.

Sending lots of hugs and support your way.  Stand your ground, pick your battles, and stay strong.   :bighug:
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear. 

Leonard- "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."
Sheldon-  "You can catch even MORE flies with manure.  What's your point?"        ......from The Big Bang Theory

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SunnyandBright

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 06:09:16 PM »
I LOVE that MaggieMayCat --- that's such good advice for us all!  " take the "stick" they have been whacking you with all these years away from them" 

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BettyGray

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 06:37:41 PM »
Wecanalwaysdream,

What a nightmare for you and your fiancé!! It shouldn't have to be this way but at least you are gaining an awareness that will help you protect yourself in the future.

I work in the wedding industry and with a lot of mother/daughters and the dynamics are seldom what they should be - all in support of the couple. It amazes me how ugly some people will be in front of complete strangers. If they are this bad in front of vendors its probably even worse behind closed doors. PD people are notorious for turning on the charm to keep up the front with the public.

I eloped to avoid what you are going through. My brothers' weddings were stages for intense drama for my uBPD/NPD parents. I sincerely hope that this works out for you in the best possible way - sounds like you would be better off with none of them there. I hope they don't act like assholes if they are there.

Weddings can bring out the worst in people. Unspoken and unresolved family issues simmer under the surface and inevitably explode. Petty jealousies over all kinds of things show the repugnant natures of some folks. Aging mothers jealous of their daughters' happiness and youth, having to confront their own mortality as their children grow up and get on with their lives. Maybe their marriages/lives were a disappointment and your happiness reminds them of their failures. And of course the money and control issues. Since you are paying for it yourselves, you get the final say. Don't let them bully you into anything.

Sounds like your sister is a lot like mine except I am younger. She hated that I got married first, and was a real ass when I returned home and told her the news. I love how you described the "sham" relationship with your sister. Mine was like that too. She is uBPD and very hot and cold, very bitchy and superior. Last time I saw her, even though I am 44 and have no wrinkles, she pointed out a tiny frown line and told me I needed Botox. Oh, and my teeth needed whitening.

She would always buy me sappy cards like "to my best friend" and I just didn't feel that way about her. She bullied me my entire life and was jealous of any attention I got. Like you I met a great guy (been married 18 years -she has never had a successful relationship - how could she since she is married to mom?), moved far away, and have had everything she hasn't: a successful relationship, career, a home. She is jealous of all of it. I am now NC with her and my entire FOO. I wish I had had the courage to get out 20 years ago. You are young enough to still have a chance and cut the cord. Do it. Save yourself. Best of luck to you.

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Wecanalwaysdream

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2016, 05:03:48 PM »
Thank you so much for everyone's responses.  I am planning to go as little contact as I possibly can with my parents after my wedding. I know I have a large advantage in living thousands of miles away. Even in a good year, I'll only see my family twice a year (for a whole weekend each time) at most. I barely even speak with my dad or sister outside of wishing happy birthday and happy holidays, since there really isn't anything to say and we all know it. My mom guilts me into calling her more often but I know after the wedding I can dictate the terms of our relationship. Now that I see through her and realize she's not the amazing mom she always claims she's been (the facade she's projected to everyone else), I know I don't have to trust her anymore and I don't have to let her guilt me. I will protect myself emotionally. Therapy has been helping me see this. I'm realizing that it took a lot of courage to get up and move thousands of miles away, but that it's the best choice I could have made for myself. I finally have personal autonomy.  I know my personality would have died had I stayed in my hometown, under my parents' microscope.

I've learned a lot from this process.  I've realized my parents won't support me or have my back at the end of the day.  They might claim to always support me financially should I ever find myself being homeless in the future, but they can't even give me emotional safety and they never have done that. I'm so glad I've met my fiance and the friends I have met out here in my new city. I'm so glad I've started my own life.  I've realized that my parents only care about themselves and they mainly only care about the appearances they keep up in front of their friends and family. It doesn't matter that my sister hurt me or did something to warrant her not being a bridesmaid; if it doesn't fit their idea of what my wedding should look like, they'll manipulate me.  Even if my FI and I are paying for this wedding entirely on our own.

My mom sent me a ton of nasty texts and emails threatening me if I don't have my sister be a bridesmaid again. She threatened to not give me any gifts or family heirlooms, threatened to not dance at my wedding or smile or walk down the aisle.  What kind of mother does this merely 6 weeks before her daughter's wedding? I'm feeling so sad and empty inside.  I have to protect myself now. It's hurtful to realize that I've really only been their puppet my whole life. And they push me because they can.

Even now, they care so much about appearances. They tell me that I better not tell my fiance anything they're saying to me.  They still care what my fiance thinks of them, since he's still the outsider.  They know he'll protect me and think poorly of them.  They seriously expect to be able to treat me with so much rudeness and abuse and that I'm not going to tell my fiance about it...

I have another advantage in that my parents are hosting a separate cultural ceremony for me later that weekend  (separate from my wedding and no doubt a way for them to show off to their friends; we are literally going to just be their show ponies for that separate ceremony). My fiancé and I can use that as leverage to let them know that if they don't act supportive at our wedding, we will just skip their separate event for us. It'll look really bad for them, since invitations have already been sent for their separate event and they care A LOT (more than about their own daughter's happiness) about what their friends and family think of them.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 05:09:33 PM by Wecanalwaysdream »

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Wecanalwaysdream

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2016, 05:20:24 PM »
OP again. I'm seriously so terrified of what my family might do on my wedding day. I mentioned that we would threaten to not go to the separate cultural ceremony later that weekend if my parents act out of line.

But I'm scared of what my parents might do to ruin our wedding, which FI and I are spending thousands of dollars on.  I'm afraid my sister will show up wearing something super inappropriate or insist on standing up with my bridesmaids anyway, despite being kicked out of my wedding party. I'm afraid of what my parents might do and say.

I'm so afraid and paranoid. Growing up in an environment where my emotional needs were never met and were always swept under the rug has turned me into an always-anxious, paranoid, and hypervigilant person who is unable to trust. It's taken me years to even finally trust my FI. 

My mom can be so nasty. FI's mom was going through breast cancer last year and my mom seriously guilt tripped us into coming to visit her for Mothers Day and said something along the lines of "Oh so she has cancer and everyone cares more about her? I bet I'll die before she does anyway."  And at other times she'd insist on me calling her when we were visiting FI's mom so she could talk to her. I would tell my mom FI's mom needed to rest, as she was going through chemo, but my mom would still insist on talking to her anyway.

There are numerous instances from my childhood that are now flooding back to me - the time I was really homesick when we were visiting family abroad and instead of comforting me, my mom kept brushing her hair and stuck her tongue out at me. Or the time I cried when I was 8 at a family party and my mom just told me to stop embarrassing her. I ran away and sat upstairs for the rest of the party and no one even checked up on me. Or all the times my dad would completely destroy every item in my room when he went into a huge fit of rage (I've had so many of my belongings completely destroyed by him when he had his anger outbursts) and instead of protecting me, she would say I provoked him. What can a 5 year old possibly say or do to provoke a grown man to destroy her belongings? What could ever justify that? Of course my mom stayed with my dad, because it would make her look better in front of her friends and family to do so. Who cares that their marriage would emotionally scar their daughter?

I feel really emotionally damaged and have PTSD for sure. I'm glad therapy is finally helping me see how dysfunctional my family is and how I'm finally, in my late 20s, able to walk away from it.

I sincerely regret not eloping. The uncertainty of whether they'll completely ruin my wedding day for their selfish reasons is seriously debilitating me right now.  6 more weeks...

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defoggerDIL

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2016, 05:44:22 PM »
First off, I'm so sorry you're getting bombarded with threats and ultimatums. Your wedding and the lead-up to it should be YOUR time and it's a shame that your FOO is  taking over.

Now, I have a wedding coming up myself at the end of the year, and a uNMIL and uNGMIL to contend with, and I'm going to share what's helped me at least keep myself calm when the what-ifs start.

So what?

That's it. Just "So what?" It sounds easier than it is, but it does a lot to calm the panic waves. If your sister shows up wearing something ridiculous - so what? If your mom resting-b*tch-faces her way through the reception - so what? They can have a tantrum in three part harmony and it doesn't change the fact that you're marrying someone you love and will be surrounded by people who genuinely care about you. They are the ones who will look ridiculous.

Maybe enlist a bridesmaid or two (or five) to just...keep you away from it. Human buffers are really useful at events like this. Something weird starts happening? Oh well, you're needed on the other side of the room for cake cutting. Tantrum brewing? Too bad you're dancing in a circle of friends and don't notice.

The saga of The Wedding has stressed me out more than once and made me forget The Marriage. I've found it helps to focus on that when I get too worked up and just spend some time with OH. They can be all the spectacle they want to be, you're getting married and starting your new life.

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Iguanagos

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2016, 06:32:07 PM »
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!  Great advice here.  I’ll add a few thoughts in case they’re helpful:

I can hear the stress coming through both of your messages from today.  Keep in mind you can always change things, yes, even at the last minute!  This is your wedding, you are paying for it, you get to call all the shots.  I know you are worried about everyone involved, but you can always make changes to better suit your needs.  For example, you are worried about your sister trying to insert herself into the bridesmaids.  One idea is to keep those bridesmaids sequestered until the last minute, when they pull up in a limo.  Also, you can have men set up to escort the women guests (especially your mom and sister) to their seats.  These are just examples, and they may not fit your situation, but maybe there’s a creative idea out there that would help.  As one poster said, she’s in the business and sees lots of this, so the professionals may have some good ideas. Lots of people on this board recommend a ‘mom-wrangler’, whose main role is to fuss over the mom, give her lots of attention, keep her distracted, and keep her from causing trouble.

‘You can’t control what others do, only what you do’.  This board has been so helpful for me in learning that fact.  So when your mom issues these threats, remember you can’t completely stop her from doing what she wants to do.  I would suggest you hold to your desired plan and just tell her that’s the way it is.  Leave the ball in her court as to what she’s going to do.  When she issues her threat, I would tell her, “you do what you need to do” and end the call.  All easier said than done, I know!  However, that leads to this cultural ceremony…….

Re your parents’ separate cultural ceremony, rather than issuing your own outright ‘threat’ (which kind of puts you down at their level), maybe do it a little softer:  just float the idea that, “You know, things don’t seem to be going well here.  You’re not respecting fiancé and my decisions, so we’re okay with you not dancing at my wedding or giving me the heirlooms, and perhaps we should also cancel the cultural event now so you have time to let everyone know of the change in plans.  We wouldn't want you to be embarrassed if we pull out at the last minute...." :ninja:

Enjoy her shocked face.   :aaauuugh:

Okay, that is a little hardball, but, it gives her the choice as to how it's going to go.  When she backtracks, you can then tell her that for you to participate in her cultural event, your wedding has to go as you want.  This means you actually have the ability to pull out of her cultural event even at the last minute (since it is after your wedding).  And that means that she and sister need to behave at your wedding for you to participate.

I know it feels like you are a victim, but you really do have the power here.

Oh, and the next time she tells you not to tell your fiancé something?  Here’s your chance to say, “My future husband and I don’t keep secrets from each other.  Don’t tell me anything you don’t want him to know”.  It would be good for her to learn right now that you are a team and she can’t split you apart.

I know it is so easy to give advice to a stranger, and the logistics and emotions you are dealing with are so much more difficult.  But I’m so glad that you are coming OOTF so young!  I didn’t begin to see the light until I was nearly 50.  That’s decades of wasted effort and unnecessary stress on my part.  Good for you for addressing this so early in your life, and at the beginning of your marriage.  Setting boundaries that protect you will get easier going forward.  In the meantime, best wishes for arranging the ceremony YOU want, one that celebrates the love you and your future DH have.    :hug:

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closure_with_clarity

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2016, 12:25:31 AM »
Re your parents’ separate cultural ceremony, rather than issuing your own outright ‘threat’ (which kind of puts you down at their level), maybe do it a little softer:  just float the idea that, “You know, things don’t seem to be going well here.  You’re not respecting fiancé and my decisions, so we’re okay with you not dancing at my wedding or giving me the heirlooms, and perhaps we should also cancel the cultural event now so you have time to let everyone know of the change in plans.  We wouldn't want you to be embarrassed if we pull out at the last minute...." :ninja:

Enjoy her shocked face.   :aaauuugh:

Okay, that is a little hardball, but, it gives her the choice as to how it's going to go.  When she backtracks, you can then tell her that for you to participate in her cultural event, your wedding has to go as you want.  This means you actually have the ability to pull out of her cultural event even at the last minute (since it is after your wedding).  And that means that she and sister need to behave at your wedding for you to participate. 

 :yeahthat: Iguanago's advice is spot on. I know what it feels like to be nothing more than a "show pony" to toxic dysfunctional parents and it sucks. But, if they truly are superficial and all about keeping up the illusion of the perfect lil family. Letting it be known you will opt out of their separate dog and pony show just may be the fix you need to force them to start behaving themselves.

I have to ask if you feel coerced and strong armed into doing traditional father/daughter dance etc, despite being extremely uncomfortable with it? If the idea really makes you nauseous, then perhaps opt out of these antiquated things and do what you'd like.



« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 12:29:06 AM by closure_with_clarity »
Let go of the people that dull your shine. Poison your spirit. And bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.  :)

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Joan

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2016, 08:53:01 PM »
In my country most weddings have a sort of "personal manager", usually a lady that "directs" the show. So, Id say, if you have that kind of help, she can deal with your parents and sister (and problems) on your behalf. If your sister comes up dressing anything innappropriate, she can forbid her from getting into church (assuming its a church wedding).

I find this kind of "buffer" very helpful when dealing with uPD relatives. Its like having a lawyer that will make things easier for you and make it all look profissional and not passional at all. I think its money well spent.

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all4peace

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 12:37:08 AM »
This is an outrageous amount of craziness for you to cope with at this already stressful (yet joyful!) time in your life! I love the idea of adult babysitters for your family at the wedding. It popped into my head that you might even tell them they cannot come if they cannot control themselves in the next 6 weeks. They are setting a precedent of outrageous behavior, and how could you trust them on that day?! How incredible that they feel they can behave this way, and you say nothing to your fiance. They seem incredibly controlling and concerned with appearances.

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bopper

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2016, 04:19:10 PM »
You are in a tug of war with your family....just drop your end of the rope.



We won't come
We won't come down the aisle
We won't dance with you.

Here is a helpful phrase:  "Sorry to hear that." or  "Sorry to hear that, hope you can make it."

Or  "No problem, I will find someone else."
Of "if that is what you want to wear, I won't stop you, but everyone will think it odd."

Another thought: You are not responsible for their actions.    Talk to your DF and his parents and say what you expect will happen.  But that you are not going to worry about it.   Talk to the officiant about what might happen and that they should ignore any nonsense. Have the ushers know that your sister is not a bridesmaid.  if you have a DJ or MC tell them you don't want a father/daugther dance.

Definitely try to get someone on your side that will help run interference.  Also at the reception place talk to the manager about what to do if things get out of hand.   If your mom has a screaming fit on the dance floor, they can call security.

Assume your mother/sister will wear something strange.  Pretend they aren't there.  If you have a photographer, alert them there may be issues.  If they are in group photos, say nothing, but dont' purchase these.

Perhaps hire security or a wedding planner if necessary.

But once the wedding day starts, ignore them.  If they act foolish, just look somewhat bewildered but take no action.

Lessen the communications with them now...it is normal to share things...but unfortunately your family isnot normal. 
Let all calls go to voice mail.  If ther is a real question, send email back.  Take more time in answering.


Open a new account at another bank, even if you need to close it soon.

Contact the bank yourself and ask to be taken off the account.

YOU ARE NOT WRONG, YOU ARE RIGHT in keeping away and keeping any future children away.

Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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Wecanalwaysdream

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2016, 12:45:24 PM »
Thank you to everyone for your wonderful and thoughtful responses and suggestions. In all of this I've realized that even if my FOO is treating me terribly, there are a lot of people who love and support me. There are other relationships I can cultivate that aren't based on control and manipulation, but are truly based on love and support.  I thought my parents' overbearing personalities were just a cultural thing but I see that that's not the case. I see plenty of other families from the same ethnicity that don't treat each other like this.

I'm essentially realizing I don't have to be alone or lonely in order to put my foot down and stand up for myself. I have a wonderful fiance and we will be married in less than 6 weeks.  I have wonderful in laws. My FMIL and I had a heart to heart this past weekend and she had a similar situation growing up with her siblings and some of her family members. She gave me a hug and supported me and told me to see her as a mother now. She also opened up and revealed the similar types of pain she's experienced from some of her family members. I feel truly blessed that at least my in laws are supportive and see me as family now and that my kids will have a supportive network of aunts/uncles/grandparents on at least one side of their family. My FMIL is even understanding about not wanting to make me feel uncomfortable and just cutting out all formal parent dances altogether if I decide that.

It's still hurtful and it's hard to plan the details of the wedding without my parents' cooperation but after all of this is said and done I'm sure I'll be appreciative that this happened because it finally gave me some clarity on how my parents really are. I really do think they'll be the ones who will lose in the end - they'll lose the love and attention and visits of their daughter, their new son (my FI), and their grandchildren.  They'll be stuck with my sister, who doesn't have any motivation to fix her life or be a good person.

I'm probably going to cut out out the parental dances and I'm probably going to plan to walk down the aisle alone so I don't set myself up for disappointment. We already cut out all speeches. I'm planning to ignore my mother and sister on the wedding day and to have my FI or one or more of my bridesmaids near me at all times. My mom cares way too much about appearances and won't say something cruel in front of others. She still even cares about my fiance's opinion of her. 

After this she's only going to be my mother in name only.  She's given me hell over this wedding even apart from my sister.  She's guilted me over inviting more of her friends (even though she's not paying a cent for the wedding), constantly barraged me with messages about how I'm so stupid to have so many registry items when I should be getting cash instead (I wondered why she was so pushy and started thinking she wanted to pocket that money for herself), made my bridal shower all about her (she even stood right in front of me in the group picture....), guilted me at first to have it in our hometown then denying she ever said that, and now telling me I'm really stupid for spending so much on this wedding. She's so manipulative and I'm convinced she has uBPD or undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  She has guilted me throughout my childhood, telling me that one day I'll abandon her and leave her to be homeless in the street. She instilled in me a sense that I need to let her live with me when I'm older.  Even as I write this I feel more guilt than anger.

I'm working through all this in therapy. I know I have PTSD from my childhood and I'm so glad that I'm finally starting to take care of myself and come Out of the FOG. My friends and in laws give me so much hope and know they'll love me no matter what. I'm worried more about the rudeness of my family, having extended family hate me or judge me, and also about the residual guilt I still have that's been instilled in me from a young age.

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Wecanalwaysdream

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2016, 01:10:55 PM »
OP again.  Things have gotten worse with my family.  I tried to explain to my dad how heartbreaking it is that he and my mom care more about my sister being a maid of honor than they care about my happiness on MY wedding day.  He said "even if that were the case, you are being so selfish..."  I reiterated that it is my wedding day and good family would support me regardless. I also once again reiterated what my sister has said and done and he absolutely did not care or address it.  My sister texted me her meal preference with a smiley face next to it last week. The witch.  She has some major mental issues if she thinks she can speak to me the way she has and tell me to stay away from her and then still be a welcome guest at my wedding or to hold any place of honor.  Nope. She'll be a guest because we had to invite her but she won't have any honor in my wedding or in my life. After this wedding I refuse to speak to her anymore.  She has some major mental problems.

Anyway, long story short - my dad once again threatened to not participate in anything and said that he would be upset the whole time at my wedding. I told him that the cultural ceremony they are having the same weekend will be pointless then and to just cancel it if they can't be happy or supportive on my wedding day.  At that point, my dad said he and my mom wouldn't come to my wedding at all and hung up the phone.

It's a month away from my wedding. It's apparent that they don't care at all about me. To them, my wedding is THEIR event (despite them not paying for any of it) and THEIR opportunity to show off. They have probably viewed my accomplishments throughout my whole life (going to a top college, becoming a lawyer) that way as well. I'm just an object to them. I'm not my own person; my feelings don't matter. My mom has taken to calling me nasty names, saying how disappointed she is in me. Simply because I'm not giving in to them anymore. With my wedding, I finally took a stand. They make me so sad. The three of them are living a huge lie.

I'm willing to cut off ties with them now. I don't even care about them coming to my wedding. I don't even care if they tell all their family and friends to not come. Their friends and family are 48 of out 127 guests, but that still leaves nearly 80 people who will be there regardless and will love and support us. I'm going to refuse to give in. I don't want these monsters to be involved with my wedding in any way. My dad has still refused to get a tux. I don't want my mom getting ready with me. I don't want my dad walking me down the aisle, even if they do show up to the wedding. 

It sucks. I'm worried people will judge me for my dysfunctional family. I thought they would come around by now, a month before my wedding!  They have turned my wedding into a nightmare. I escaped when I moved across the country 5 years ago but once again, with this wedding, I gave them the power. I have to stay strong. I can't give them power. I have to do what I can to have a wonderful wedding day regardless. 

They are the ones who will lose in the end. They will lose their accomplished daughter and son-in-law and their future grandchildren.  They will be stuck with my sister, who has mental problems, drug issues, and is leeching off of them still in her late 20s.  She disgusts me. They all do.

My FI and I will move on and cut the toxicity from our lives and be happy. I'll continue therapy and address my PTSD and anxiety and be happy for once. I'll join a new family, build a new family, and be just fine in the end. I'm already starting to feel well since I see all the manipulation now - I now see that my mom is WRONG when she tells me that anything bad that happens in my life is my fault and that karma has stricken me because I didn't listen to her.

I resolve to be happy.  Any good thoughts would be much appreciated. I am so lucky to have a FI and friends who love me, listen to me, and support me. And I'm so glad that I found this community and am finally coming Out of the FOG. It is so liberating.

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Iguanagos

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2016, 12:58:27 PM »
Congratulations on being so bold and standing up for you and your future husband in the face of such pressure!    :cheer:

This must be pretty intense for you, and it’s such a shame that they are sabotaging themselves in their selfish tantrums re your wedding.

I would expect that they are now panicking re the cultural ceremony and how cancelling it would embarrass them. Don’t be surprised if they try a new tactic.  Since their outright bullying of you backfired on them, they may try something that 'sounds' like a compromise in order to get what they want at the ceremony.  It is unlikely that they will have an epiphany and realize how wrong they have been all this time, so just look at any overtures they have at this point with clear eyes.  Decide what is best for you and fiancé and go from there.  You and your fiancé are in the driver’s seat here, despite your FOO's attempts to get you back in your compliant box where they think you belong.

Best wishes as you finalize your wedding preparations!  Good for you for recognizing the wisdom in surrounding you and fiancé with people who truly love and support you.   

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hhaw

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Re: My wedding and dealing with PD sister and parents
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2016, 02:40:50 PM »
WCAD:

If you ever walk back into the FOG please come back and read this thread.

You're blessed to find a supportive chosen family, and you're certainly worthy.

Congrats,

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

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