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Don't like family gatherings

(130 Posts)
Chickenbrain2009 Sat 27-Dec-14 12:12:36

I find that I increasingly dont like being together as a family. I get on well with my children as individuals, but when they are all together somehow I often find myself feeling hurt or upset. The end result is that I am increasingly avoiding being anywhere where they are all together.

I dont like crowds and I increasingly hate Christmas.

Its small things, which, if I had any common sense I would ignore. For example, I coloured my hair. My elder daughter invited us all to meet for lunch, but when we were together my younger daughter told me she didnt like my hair. The others agreed with her. My younger daughter had a party at her house, when I arrived my family were all together as a group ie my children - two other sons and a daughter plus one partner. The first thing they did when I joined them was to all spend a couple of minutes joking about how aweful my hair was. I felt that I was under a barrage of criticism. Of course after a couple of minutes I went to sit down on my own..

On Christmas day as a present for under the tree I had made my daughter a cushion. When she opened it she made no secret of the fact she didn't like it. I was left on the staircase. Sometime during the day it disappeared completely. I noticed it was nowhere in her house. I suspect she had just thrown it out with all the other rubbish.

Later on I went to the loo, all my children agreed that I had made a horrible smell. I didn't notice any smell myself, I may have done, but I left the toilet clean.

A few weeks ago it got back to me that at a meal I wasn't at they had been joking about my toilet in my house being covered with crap, even on the seat. I won't go into how it got back to me, but I did ask my younger daughter if it was true, who denied it strongly.

Am I being over sensitive? Somehow I end up really not wanting to be with them when they are all together, as it seems to give people permission to say or do these things.

I have tried asserting myself back, and I have tried telling them it upsets me, both to no avail The result is that I increasingly just don't want to be around, however that just cuts me off. I just end up feeling hurt. I just wonder how they would feel if I said the same things to them.

ninathenana Sat 27-Dec-14 12:31:27

Sorry if this is harsh. They are not a nice bunch of people, I'd stay away from them !

kittylester Sat 27-Dec-14 12:34:21

I'm with Nina

annsixty Sat 27-Dec-14 13:00:53

If not another hoax just find a kinder family and adopt them.

alex57currie Sat 27-Dec-14 13:09:04

I agree with all the above. When my family get together the 2DD love to mimic me when I get into a tizzy (sp?). We all fall about laughing. This Chickenbrain2009 seems cruel. Please don't take offense at my ?, but is your username indicitive of your own opinion of yourself? flowers because you need some kindness.

Chickenbrain2009 Sat 27-Dec-14 13:22:01

The problem is I will be all on my own without them.

Anya Sat 27-Dec-14 13:23:31

My thoughts exactly Ann60 tchhmm

Chickenbrain2009 Sat 27-Dec-14 13:25:01

How can I tell them how I feel? I dont have any family of origin. I am not even sure if they are aware that their behaviour is unkind. I didnt want to cut myself off completely.

shysal Sat 27-Dec-14 13:30:19

Your family members sound very disrespectful, you deserve better! I have a friend who suffers in the same way. She wants to see them, but always arrives home upset.
Re. the toilet jibes, I have learnt to wear my reading glasses when cleaning the bathroom, as otherwise I think it is spotless when far from it! tchblush

Chickenbrain2009 Sat 27-Dec-14 13:41:00

No, I had my contact lenses in and I cleaned it especially before I left. They said the smell came downstairs with me. I am not incontinent. I am only in my sixties. What I want to do is set boundaries......nice to see you, nice to see the grandchildren, but I want people to be less hurtful in the things they say to me. I don't want a confrontation or an argument. Just want them to think a bit about how they treat me at times. I am not quite sure how to achieve that.

alex57currie Sat 27-Dec-14 13:46:43

The best defence is attack. No not fighting your family. You taking some action:

1. Agree with Shysal on glasses
2. Read the article on this site on hair style tips for the over 50's.
3. I always take a bottle of my favourite perfume discreetly into any loo I visit if the need
arises. A few squirts does the trick.

mrsmopp Sat 27-Dec-14 14:57:51

Is there not one member of this family who takes your side in all this? Really, not one who can see how unkind they all are??

Somebody needs to give them a good talking to, and you cant do it.
Get yourself to a good salon and have your hair professionally styled and coloured. It will make you feel better and more confident. If they tell you it looks nice, tell them you had it done because their comments had really upset you. Tell them how hurt you felt. And that its not nice to hurt people's feelings, because you don't hurt their feelings do you? Tell them it would be nice if they gave you a bit of advice instead of upsetting you.

If that doesn't shake them up, then they are not worth bothering with. What are they like if you see them individually? Do they only behave badly when they are all together, and can gang up on you? In that case i would avoid the big gatherings and just see them in small groups or individually. They need to learn to show a bit of kindness.
Good luck. Let us know how you get on. We are rooting for you. Xx

glammanana Sat 27-Dec-14 15:47:38

The comments from your family are very disrespectful to say the least and I myself would not put up with it,have you tried to respond to the comments ?you could ask the member who they would suggest you go to have your hair done and they could treat you to a restyle for Birthday/Easter etc get them on your side.
Get yourself out and about and join some new groups etc and do your own thing then you will maybe not be available for their next gathering and not have to put up with such hurtful comments.[tchflowers]

glammanana Sat 27-Dec-14 15:48:45

^^ forgot no xmas flowers flowers

Chickenbrain2009 Sat 27-Dec-14 16:01:41

Thanks for all your kind suggestions.

They are much better individually. Somehow when they are together they feel able to pile in. As for the professionally styled advice etc, I am not sure that would work. I fail to see why I should go to a professional stylist just to please my children. After all, its MY hair and I have every right to have it as I want. And to be honest, even if it WERE true about the toilet, and it is not, why on earth should I be reduced to trying to please them in this way? The truth is, its not true. It would lower my self esteem considerably if I were to try to please them by complying with their opinions.

This is about being able to make put down comments without thinking about what it is like to be on the receiving end. I think its more about feeling able to make put downs in a jokey sort of a way, without thinking about how they would feel if the tables were turned. Lets look at it this way. My children, over the years have had LOADS of hairstyles I havent liked. Now, if they ASKED me then I would say, 'well, I dont like it, but its up to you'. I wouldn't join in a group of all of us saying how we dont like it. In fact, I would stand up for their right to do as they want. I want the same level of consideration. Similarly, I wouldn't dream of showing I didn't like a present I was given, or making comments about someone visiting the toilet. I dont feel I should be reduced to complying with their views on how I should be. I am me. I have a right to be me. Just because I am a mother doesnt mean that in some way I should put up with comments, which, if they were reversed, would cause outrage. Its something about how some children feel its ok to make comments to their mother which they would never make to anyone else. Its about respect and encouraging them to think about the repercussions of unkind comments on me as a person. That is what I would like to do, while retaining the dignity of being myself and that right to be myself being respected.

alex57currie Sat 27-Dec-14 16:15:08

If they discuss you when you're not there, and they behave disrespectfully to your face en masse. Short of shocking them regarding their rudeness, I can't see what options are open to you.

Elegran Sat 27-Dec-14 16:18:24

Don't bother telling them that you are hurt, that just gives them a chance to say how thin-skinned and whingy you are, with no sense of humour.

Next time one of them comments on your hair, laugh and say "Well, it is nowhere as bad as XXXX's was that time - do you remember? I didn't comment at the time because it was up to her what she did with her hair, just as it is up to me what I do with mine now"

Does their bathroom have a window that opens? Next time you are in there, open it really wide, and if the next person in comments on how they are frozen stiff, say that at least it is smelling very fresh now, and that whoever was in there before you could have opened it earlier.

Don't waste your time and skill making special hand-made presents for people who can't appreciate the effort that has gone into them. Stick to boring bought ones as she won't know the difference.

Keep away from big gatherings, it doesn't sound as though you enjoy them. Have a "previous engagement" when you are invited to the next one. No point turning up to suffer again.

alex57currie Sat 27-Dec-14 16:20:14

Well said Elegran

thatbags Sat 27-Dec-14 16:21:16

I agree with alex57. Try yelling at them to "stop being so damn rude!" and if that doesn't work just leave. They ought to feel embarassed enough to apologise. If I were in your position I doubt if I would want to be in the company of such people, gamily or no. Good luck flowers

thatbags Sat 27-Dec-14 16:24:09

I also agree with elegran. Open the bathroom window wide and leave it for someone else to close. Perhaps a retort such as "oh well, never mind, I don't like your hairstyle either so we're quits".

thatbags Sat 27-Dec-14 16:24:49

gamily? That's a new one!


alex57currie Sat 27-Dec-14 16:36:26

Thatbags humour to defuse, I like it. I can't think on my feet quickly under duress. But I find it fascinating reading/hearing how others deal it out.

Agus Sat 27-Dec-14 16:51:13

Absolutely do not change your hairstyle if you are happy with it!

Whenever I get an unwanted opinion my retort is, "when I want your opinion, I'll give it to you"!

Any other toilet jibes, point to one of you DC and say, there's the culprit, wasted my time toilet training him/her!

Your DC don't sound like happy people which is not your fault.

MiniMouse Sat 27-Dec-14 17:01:45

I agree annsixty and Anya

Humbertbear Sat 27-Dec-14 21:04:06

I really feel for you but I think you need to make it clear that their behaviour and comments are hurtful and unacceptable. It maybe that they think they are joking but they have over stepped the line.
I remember my mother telling my sister very clearly that 'she would never have spoken to her like that if she wasn't on her own'.
I do hope things were better over Xmas this year"