Post # 1
My wedding isn’t until April 2017 and I have a bit of a problem… I can’t have my mum attend my wedding Long story short, my mum suffers with a terrible bipolar disorder which has basically rocked her whole life and our whole family… Too much has happened in the past with my mum and my family where there were lots of times where she would go crazy and disrupt people’s lives and hurt them. My dad and siblings have suffered the most and basically want nothing to do with her at all… I stopped talking to my mum when I was 16 years old and have recently started seeing her again after 10 years! I stopped talking to my mum only because I felt I was hurting my family by seeing her and having a relationship with her. The truth is my mum never really hurt me, I am her baby child and I have an older brother and sister.
My siblings have told me a lot of stories about her how she was abusive towards them when they were little and my dad keeps telling me how bad she is and how afraid he is that she will hurt me. But I’m not afraid of her because my mum loves me. I feel terrible for wanting to see her because she has never done anything wrong to me but be my mother. My family have told me many times that it is my choice to see her and that they don’t judge me at all for wanting to see her (which I am relieved to hear) however when I told them that she may attend my wedding next year, all their faces dropped… None of them want to see her… My sister is my Maid/Matron of Honor and she said “If I see her I will probably want to walk out of your wedding” this broke my heart she also said “if you really want her there then have her sitting right in the back row at the ceremony where I can’t see her” my brother surprisingly wasn’t too affected by it, he was just more concerned about what the family would think. And my dad just does not want to see her, he couldn’t have made it any clearer. I told my mum this and she was devastated, and I am devastated for her! She asked me if she could atleast attend the ceremony to witness my marriage and ofcourse I said yes because I don’t want to hurt her… I want my mum there, I want her to see me up there getting married to the man of my dreams but I don’t know how to make my family understand this
I don’t understand half the things that they’ve all been through with her because I basically wasn’t there when it happened, but I feel like I am punishing my mum for something that she never did to ‘me’. I’m trying to think of me and what’s best for me and my wedding but I can’t stop feeling guilty for having her there and forgetting about what she did to my family… I don’t know what to do!
Post # 2
Thats really tough. Maybe ask a friend to sit with her during the ceremony so she doesn’t feel entirely unwanted there and have her sit in the back row like your sister suggested?
Post # 3
It’s always a hard situation when mental illness is involved. I’m sorry that you’re family is going through this, it’s not fun for anyone involved and, even with time, it doesn’t really get better.
My mum has schizophrenia – I was 13 when she had her first episode; I had a little sister who was barely 11 and another little sister who was only 6 months old. Unfortunately, my mum’s illness decided to target my dad and then me – we suddenly became these horrible people in her eyes and nothing we said or did would change it. She was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital; she was in and out of hospital for about 18 months before they finally got her on a medication that worked. Shortly after that, her and my dad split up – even though she was thinking clearly, too much damage had been done to their relationship (there were other issues too, but this was the final straw). I am now 26. My mum has had another 3 episodes since that first one, and each of them have ended up with a stay in hospital. With my dad mostly out of the picture, 2 of those episodes targeted me as the “bad guy” (we caught the 3rd pretty early, so it didn’t get to that point). The way my mum treats me when she’s having an episode really hurts me – I know it’s not her, but it doesn’t make it any better. She doesn’t treat my sisters like this, but I know it hurts them to watch me go through it and I know that they’re scared it could be them targeted next time. I have a relationship with my mum, as do my sisters, but I do have reservations and I think I always will. I worry for my youngest sister, who is only 13 now and lives with my mum a few weekends a month (my dad has full custody). I worry for my own children (when I have them), as I doubt I will ever feel comfortable enough to leave her alone with them for more than an hour or two. But it is what it is.
I’m not trying to excuse your family’s behaviour, I’m just trying to say that I get it. Mental illness doesn’t just affect that person’s life – it affects the lives of everyone around them. It seems that your dad and siblings have really taken the whole experience hard, and I don’t think you can really blame them for that – the woman they loved became another person right before their eyes. There is nothing wrong with wanting your mum at your wedding, but I do think you need to be sensitive to the emotions of your family – is there any way that you can ask her to sit towards the back so that she won’t be easily spotted? If you want her to stay for the reception, can you seat her away from your family with people who will be supportive of her? I’m sorry I can’t offer more advice, I’m sure this is an incredibly hard thing for you to come to terms with.
Post # 4
I really appreciate you sharing your story and advice. I’m sorry to hear about what you and your family went through
these illnesses are so cruel and so unfair.. People just don’t deserve them! I think I will just have to accept the fact that I can’t have her there because what matter’s most is my families happiness on the day. I think it would just stress me out more having her there and thinking about everyone else’s feelings when I should be focusing on our day. After all, it’s only one day…
Post # 5
You’re right, it is unfair. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that to my dad or my Fiance, but it’s completely true.
And it is only one day, but it’s a day that is incredibly important to you – and to her, as your mother. If you think you could have her attend just for the ceremony, I think that would mean a lot to the both of you – her because she gets to see one of her children get married and you because you get to have your mother witness your vows. I’m sure she understands the situation and would be willing to keep her distance from the rest of the family to avoid any problems…
Post # 6
big question: is she on medication for it? i’m bipolar and do stupid things when not on my medicine. luckily, i have never hurt anyone during an episode except with words. people who aren’t medicated though and who don’t constantly work on controlling the disease are very unpredictable. i’m on medicine and if i feel an episode, i tell someone and fix it before it happens. if your mother isn’t in that place, it might not be wise to have her there. in a manic phase, impulse control goes out the window and you can cause a scene very easily. just be very weary if she isn’t on medication.
as someone who has been in her shoes, yes, it hurts when people don’t forgive you for things you’ve done, but ultimately you should understand. you fucked up and while you couldn’t necessarily control it, you still did it and have to live with the consequences. maybe that’s not fair, but life isn’t fair.
i know plenty of people who don’t have living birth parents as part of their wedding and it’s normal. one friend’s stepdad walked her down the aisle while her biological dad sat in the pew. of course it hurt his feelings, but he isn’t the one who raised her. he didn’t earn that honor. birthing someone doesn’t give you any claim over them. it sounds to me like she wasn’t there to raise you, so why does she merit more consideration than your father who was there and your sister, who i assume was the substitute mother that you needed because yours deserted you? i don’t want to sound harsh, so sorry if i do. if you’re having a big wedding and she could sneak in the back, sure, have her. if you’re having a smaller wedding where she’d be noticed immediately as your father and sister walk down the aisle, i would consider their feelings over hers. i know it sucks.
ultimately it’s your wedding. that means you determine the guest list and you alone. it is about you and who you want there. if your sister walked out of your wedding just because she hated someone who was there, that’s pretty inexcusable. she is trying to control/blackmail you into choosing her over your mother and that is not okay. weddings are supposed to be happy occasions though and if your father and sister will make it anything less, i’d suggest just watching the video with her. or if it’s in a church, have her sit in the balcony.
this situation sucks and it’s not what weddings should be about. that shouldn’t be what you’re dealing with. i’m so sorry. hope my rambling was a little coherent, i’m a bit too long-winded, sorry.
Post # 7
To answer your question, yes she is on medication ‘now’ she’s only just started 6 years ago. There is no way I would even consider having her there if she wasn’t. You have a few valid points there thank you for your input! I think my families feelings are more important than my mothers at this point, as much as I don’t want to hurt her I don’t want to hurt my whole family. I’ll have to have a real big think about this before I make my decision.