Post # 1
My daughter is getting married 6/2011 and my neice 4/2011. All is well here but I see a problem brewing on the horizon. Niece Brit went through hell with her father. Verbally and physically abusive, made a bonfire with her and her sisters belongings when my SIL finally left him, behaves like a complete idiot at the girls school functions, etc. Brit, the oldest, has had nothing to do with him for almost 7 years, does not see him, speak to him, etc. Now Brit is getting married and her FI’s parents have a ton of pressure on her about inviting her father saying she’ll regret it in the future if she doesn’t. They have no idea what this guy put her through and she prefers it remain her private business (her fiance does know but didn’t back her up). We hear from the sister that does speak to him that Brit and her fiance have been stopping in to see him when they are in town and are planning to not only invite him but let him walk her down the aisle! To top it off she has completely excluded her mother from the planning process and won’t even tell her the date until “everything is in place”. Brit has a wonderful stepfather for the past 3 years who has loved her, supported her and been the only real Dad (SHE calls him Dad and her biological father by his first name) in her life.
The problem is that my husband dealt with his sisters 1st husband for a long time, encouraging her to get herself and the girls out, flying cross country to support them through the legal process of the divorce and standing up for her in 2007 when she married. Due to the disagreement on how to handle bio-dad there are bad feelings between the families. Now that we know bio-dad is going to be invited we no longer wish to attend Brit’s wedding. My husband feels nothing but anger about what bio-dad put his sister and her children through. We are fully expecting him to do something rude or upsetting to the family at Brit’s wedding and know that my hubby’s temper will get the better of him when it does. He just can’t stand to watch this guy ruin his niece’s wedding day. We live over 1000 miles away and are having a hard time handling all these strange changes taking place in Brit’s life.
We don’t want to upset Brit or her mother, sisters and grandparents but can’t see how we can support her in this instance knowing she is giving in to pressure from well-meaning but clueless people who manipulated her into something she really did not want. Any advice on how to handle all of this? Sorry for the looooong post, I was just trying to give all the info!
Post # 3
Even tho you and your husband don’t agree with what’s happening with your neice,are you sure you can’t attend and support her during this very important event in her life? Family grudges can be hard to overcome, and while your husband knows about all of it, can’t he put aside his anger for this one day and be there to wish his neice the best? He could also be her ‘protector’ from this idiot should anything go wrong, but only if he attends! Isn’t that what families do for each other?
I wish you the best in your decision, but I really think you should both rethink abandoning her on her wedding day. Showing up does not mean you approve…..it just means you love her enough to be there for her!
Post # 4
I agree. Also, even though she was being pressured to invite him, what’s with going to see him? Was she being pressured to do that too? Perhaps they’ve been developing more of a relationship on their own. Is it possible he’s changed?
I think I’d be more upset that she seem to be keeping her dad in the loop more than her own mother and stepfather, who HAVE been supportive of her.
If you are wanting to go to the wedding, I wouldn’t decline, just because the jerky father is going. Also, maybe it would be nice to go to give support to your SIL. She might need it.
Post # 5
Thank you so much for the replies!
Smyley-My husbands hands were tied for 15 years knowing his sister was being abused by this guy and tried so hard to get her to get out. That’s a lot to put aside. His real fear is that when bio-dad behaves like he always has in the past that he will have to physically escort him out…and not in a nice way. Half-jokingly he’s told me “I don’t want to have to make bail 1000 miles from home”.
Tanya123-No, it is not possible he has changed. As recently as a few months ago he showed up drunk to his youngest daughters play, this weeks girlfriend in tow, and proceeded to loudly criticize each student in the play (not their acting either–their looks, their weight, their teeth, etc) until he was asked to leave by the high school principal at which point he stood up and told the auditorium how much better his daughter was than theirs! Thank goodness she is graduating next week. Not a jerk, truly an abusive psychopath! And yes, we are all dismayed about how she is treating her mother.
It all seems to trace back to the fiance and his family. Brit had made peace with her feelings and choice not to interact with her father and was flourishing. We meet the finance in July and unfortunately have lots to overcome to hear him out. I can’t see how we can support her in good conscience knowing she has been manipulated and her intended husband was not there to back her up. Smiling and pretending everything is wonderful feels wrong.
Post # 6
As smyley and Tanya123 said, I think you still need to go to the wedding to support both your niece and SIL. Even if you don’t agree with all the choices your niece is making regarding the wedding (walking by her father, not keeping mother and step-father in the loop, etc), that doesn’t mean you should skip out on the event. Choices you disagree with shouldn’t lead you to not support the person as a whole.
If either you or your husband are close to your niece, maybe one of you could take her out to lunch and just politely and calmly express your concerns that her future-in-laws are putting pressure on her and that her mother and step-father are feeling excluded. Maybe you could throw out the idea of both her father and step-father escorting her down the aisle. And that would give her the chance to maybe talk with you about why she’s choosing some of the things she is which might settle things in your mind too.
Post # 7
I also got pressure from the IL’s, got called horrible names about not inviting my mom. However I didn’t give in and she wasn’t invited to the wedding but I can understand the pressure and trying to deal with IL’s. Could you possibly talk to her? See what is really happening?
This day isn’t about the dad, it’s about your neice. If it’s at all possible, I think you should go to show your support for your neice. With the wedding almost a year away a ton will likely change so I would wait until closer to the date before you decide you will absolutely not go.
Post # 8
My inclination would be to go to the wedding but have the local police dept number at hand should it be needed. There may also be someone at the reception venue that could intervene should the bride’s father get out of hand. Families are not easy, that’s for sure!