Post # 1
So, I’l get right down to it. My father is not in the picture. My mother is an alcoholic who lives with her abusive boyfriend and doesn’t work. My sister is addicted to pain killers and doesn’t work. My one "normal" sister lives 1200 miles away and has a full schedule with grad school and work. I am 31 years old and fully aware that I would not be receiving any financial assistance from my family, which is fine. But I can’t get my sister (the painkiller addict that appointed herself my maid of honor) or my mother to show even the slightest interest in any aspect of my wedding. My fiance comes from a very traditional family and his mother cannot understand how my mother can show so concern. I put the engagement announcement in the paper, I did our registry by myself (neither one will help manage it), which I really wanted some guidance on, I called all of my relatives for addresses, etc… I can’t even get my Mom on the phone to set up a date to go look at dresses with me. I’m fed up with my pushy, self absorbed sister who is making ridiculous demands (I emailed her a BM dress that she didn’t like and said she wanted to wear something different than the other girls to distinguish herself, but since I’m paying for it, she can live with what I choose) and not offering a second of her "precious" time. Seriously, I am understating their awfulness. I am the most easy going person, I am kind and patient, and I have my life pretty much together (no serious charecter flaws to speak of). So I am perplexed that my own flesh and blood feels so little for me. I was engaged last October an my Mom hasn’t even seen my ring! WTF? I can’t take it too personally, I guess. They don’t care about anything really. I think I just needed to vent. Grrr.
Post # 3
I am really sorry about the way your family is treating you. You sound like you have a firm grip on the reality of the situation and are fully capable of dealing with them and keeping them at arm’s length.
It is so disappointing that they have chosen their addictions over your wedding. I think the best thing you can do is continue to offer them opportunities to share in your planning (to whatever extent you want) but expect that they will likely put themselves first.
Can you go to your future mother in law more frequently with wedding "stuff"? She sounds like she would be a great resource and a good shoulder to lean on.
Post # 4
I know it’s hard when you see cheerful mother daughter pairs at bridal stores and hear stories of families planning together. My mom and sisters weren’t there either (in our case because of distance). Though it is hard, you can see your glass as half full in this case as well. This means that you can decide what you want with regard to wedding planning. You don’t have to change the colors you want based on what someone else thinks, and your vision can be implemented.
I don’t hear you talking about your fiance’s family, but they can be another great source of support. In our case, my fiance’s mother is becoming a mother to me as well. I just love his family, and the distance from mine has given a great opportunity to make these new bonds.
Also, don’t forget that in cases of dysfunctional families, we always have the opportunity to develop family-like relationships outside of our family of origin. Most of the time, that means your good friends. This can also be a time to bond even more closely with friends who have seen you through the tough times.
I know it will still be hard, but rather than thinking about what you are missing out on and comparing yourself to other brides, think about your strengths and what you are gaining (a husband and stronger relationships!)
Post # 5
Thank you so much for the kind words. I usually don’t let these things bring me down. It was just an off day.
I am fortunate in the fact that my future mother in law would be a great resource; she has excellent taste and well versed in all of the formal traditions. I can tell she doesn’t want to overstep her bounds and refrains from giving her opinion/advice, but I think I will ask her to help me. I just know she would be thrilled (four sons and no daughters).
Thank you again for helping me look at things from another perspective.
Post # 6
Cindylou – I am so sorry to hear how stressful this is! I am so impressed at your perspective on things and how you have managed to become a such a together person given such an intense family situation. I am so happy that you found such a great mother-in-law. I agree that you should assume you will get NO support from either your mom or sister, and instead look to your friends and family – and new-to-be family- for their support, guidance and love. Don’t allow them to bring you down!
I have a good friend who got married last year in a somewhat similar situation. Never met her dad, mom was an addict. Her mother didn’t even make her wedding – nor was she even sure where she was living, or if she had a home at all. Her uncle refused her request to walk her down the aisle. Yet her wedding was beautiful and I am constantly impressed and humbled by her strength and character. I can only guess your wedding will be just as wonderful.
Post # 7
I think you have to remember that both your mom and your sister are not really acting rationally – I’m sure because of their own life situations. If they ever get their lives straightened out, I’m sure they will feel pretty bad about their lack of involvementin this huge event in your life. But it’s not uncommon for addicts to be self-absorbed beyond belief, and to have very little concept of how their actions affect the other people in their life. It’s not a reflection on you – it sounds like you’ve done amazing things with your life, especially considering where you came from.
I would totally take advantage of your FMIL’s willingness to help out. I’m sure she is trying not to overstep – but if you just let her know that you’re pretty much on your own here, and you’d love to have her help, it sounds like she’d really be there for you.
My husband’s family is not quite where yours is – but his sister is mostly unemployed and I suspect from the number of painkillers and mood-altering drugs that she takes that she has a problem in that area. His mom and brother are unemployed, sucked into some serious codependency with his sister, and his dad is deceased. We honestly just try to stay away from his family most of the time, because it’s really seldom that any time spent with them is pleasant in any way. And, frankly, because they’re also a bunch of deadbeats who use any contact as an opportunity to try to get us to pay for things they want but can’t afford. They also showed very little interest in the wedding – except to complain about things they didn’t like. Although there was an interesting cycle of madness in which they kept "offering" to pay for the RD (which we knew they couldn’t afford) – and then expected us to pay for their hotel rooms (which, of course, they complained about).
All I can say is, be really happy that you have good in-laws, a great fiance, and a circle of friends that you can count on. Like doctorgirl says, you can build a family of your own, and thank heavens that is true. My husband spends a ton of time with my father, and I’m pretty sure I know why.
Post # 8
i can’t offer much advice, but i will say you should be proud of yourself for handling the situation as well as you have. wedding planning is stressful even if you have a supportive family. i concur with the idea of involving your fmil. she will likely be touched that you would want her input and she might be more understanding of your family situation. good luck!
Post # 9
i’m so sorry you’re having such a horrible wedding planning experience b/c of your family. but, if there’s one thing i’ve learned in my short stint here at weddingbee… it’s that the women in the weddingbee community are sincerely the most kind, open-minded and thoughtful people around the www. i’ve seen posts and posts about Bee Meet-ups all the time. perhaps you could see if anyone around your area is hosting or planning one. and by meeting up with those wonderful bees in your area, you’ll get all the support you’ve ever desired. i’m in DC but if i were closer to you, i swear i’d try to meet up with you just to at least give you a big ‘o hug and tell you that things will be okay.
and if that’s not your cup of tea, i definitely agree with everyone here that your future MIL would be the best person to go to for this type of thing. she sounds terrific and quite concerned for your well-being. you are truly lucky to have her in your life.
Post # 10
Everyone here is wonderful! I can’t tell you how many times I have been on the verge of teers (and I never cry) and I come here, and I feel so much better. Miss Texas, I can feel the love, thank you for your kind words! Reading this just made my day perk up!
Post # 11
cindylouwho — so glad the bees could help! Congrats on your engagement, and keep us all in mind as you plan. You’ll find a wealth of experience here!
Post # 12
How unfortunate your mom and sister think their addictions are more important. I thnk this is a fantastic opportunity to spend some time with your MIL and give her the daughter she never had, and let her help you plan in every way she would like. Don’t involve your mom and sister, and maybe they’ll come around. I may be synical, but I they obviously don’t carea bout your wedding, so don’t make them a part of it. They can be like any other family member invited to the wedding. If in the mean time they come around, great. But if not you won’t have to go thru all this drama and BS for the rest of the planning, and you’ll form a terrific relationship with your MIL.
Post # 13
Please don’t get sucked into your mother and MOH sister’s drama. You have to set very firm boundaries and keep your expectations low. Have you ever been to Al-Anon– it’s a support group for family members of people with addictions? You might find it helpful to talk to other people who have been in the same situation.
Post # 14
My advice: Stress over what you can control… your family, you can’t control. DO NOT let them ruin your moment. With or without them, you’ve done perfectly well and have found someone you want to spend ur life with … it’s important that you don’t let them ruin this…
PS. Sometimes venting helps… 🙂 GOod luck!
Post # 15
I am dealing with similra family issues myself. The fact of the matter is that while you deserve a family who cares about you and your wedding, the family you got is not capeable of providing that kind of love and support. Are there other women in your life who you can ask to fill in for your family? Maybe your best friend and her mom, or a cousin or aunt?
Post # 16
I have similar issues with my family. I have four sisters, and I’m not on speaking terms with three of them. I don’t speak with the other sister too often either, usually only if we bump into each other. I moved out of my house a year and a half ago because of a troublesome relationship with my parents. When I told my parents about the engagement they shook it off and kept suggesting me to wait. They pretty much treated the announcement as if I told they I just entered a relationship. I’m getting no financial support from my parents, and I’ll be lucky if they’re willing to participate in the wedding.
Even though my family might not be there for me, I have a great fiance to support me through all the ups and downs. His family has welcomed me into theirs, and for the first time I feel accepted.
We all come from various backgrounds and different families. Some have it great and others not so much. I focus on my future with my fiance to get me through those tough times. Issues about my family frequently arise, but I try to keep calm with my fiance by my side.