Issues with my mother and wedding dress shopping

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 46
2439 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

kmmq72 :  Yeah I thought so.  That sucks.  My partner was married to a narcissist previously and it really sucks your soul, since you have to constantly tiptoe around their delusions.

Even if your mom won’t go to therapy (of course not, because nothing is wrong with her and she’s probably smarter than the therapist anyway – lol), it’d probably be a good idea for you.  I think finding someone with experience with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) could really help you navigate how to disengage from her as you transition into this married, independent, adult life.  Or, just reading articles online could also help.

Post # 47
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

kmmq72 :  ” I’ve really thought about this, I do want the other ladies to come dress shopping with me intitially. However, I think that maybe a good alternative is to go back with JUST my mom and that would be the time to make the final decision and have her pay? I feel like that is a good alternative, and it would still be a really special moment with just me and my mom to let her have that memory.”

I think this could be a good compromise if you think you will be able to stand up to her and not just end up in something she loves but you hate.  It’s also worth keeping in mind, at least with my mom, that sometimes if I give her an inch she takes a mile.  In other words, if I give in on something it almost seems to encourage her to push on something else.  Vs. when I am firm and matter of fact on something it sets a tone that I am not to be pushed around and certain things are not up for discussion.

Post # 49
5594 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

kmmq72 :  

no no no no, don’t go to therapy with a narcissist, that is not a good idea AT ALL. Go on your own! A therapist will help you realize which experiences are normal and which ones are unhealthy and they will help you discover ways to disengage with your mom.

Not only that, but they will give you the strength to actually build and stick to your boundaries.

Post # 50
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

jannigirl :  I think parents can set appropriate boundaries for children and have a say on what take care of financially, while still allowing their child an age-appropriate amount of autonomy and respecting that the child understands who they are. Not speaking for the OP, but in my particular case I think my biggest issues were with my mom not respecting my sense of self, particularly in cases where I might have a personality or interests different than hers, and assuming she knows me better than myself.  I know parents are often disappointed when a child doesn’t follow in their footsteps but parents with a healthy parenting style seem to ultimately process that disappointment and get over it.  And in my case, unhealthy boundaries came into play in other things beyond just choices – i.e. my mother expecting me to be a form of emotional support (especially in relation to issues with my father) in a way that I’ve come to realize is not appropriate, especially for a child, parents not really having a sense of identity outside of being parents which has create real issues as I’ve grown up into my own person — they’re still parenting my sister in a way that I think is much more appropriate for a minor and I do think it’s created issues in her resiliency and ability to make decisions on her own.

For me it was always about more than just money, but money did become a tool of control.

Post # 51
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

kmmq72 :  I don’t know if this helps, but for me it was important to understand and process that issues with my mother were rather inevitable.  I think making some peace with that has made it easier to carve out places where I can find joy and to think strategically about how to best involve her.  The one thing that makes me feel better about this is the fact that no one’s wedding planning process is perfect.  If I’ve learned anything from these boards it’s that everyone encounters some kind of issue, drama, setback, hiccup, etc. and the most important thing is having the attitude to not let any one thing spoil the whole experience.  A times when I’m feeling sad that my mom has been a downer about the whole thing I instead talk about wedding planning to people who I know are excited to talk about it and will fuel my own excitement.

But I guess in my case it was probably easier because from your earlier post it sounded like you hoped it would bring you closer together whereas I knew it would be stressful, dredge up old wounds, and cause friction.  Therapy (just me on my own) has also been invaluable.  My therapist has given me space to talk it out, realize how this relationship has affected other aspects of my life, and ultimately strategies for my own mental health.

Post # 52
1638 posts
Bumble bee

I know this forum is always emphasizing to just reject money, but in some dynamics it’s not that simple. I know with my parents saying no to their money is seen as a huge affront and seen as a rejection of them. That’s the trap. If I turn down the money (that they are trying to control me with), then I’m an uncaring monster who doesn’t love them and it’s super dramatic and stressful. If I take the money, then I should submit to being controlled. You can’t win.

Your suggested alternative is probably the best bit. Good luck.

Post # 53
394 posts
Helper bee

Life is about compromise. Life is about making decisions that will affect lives whether we believe it or not. Life is about people with different opinions, objectives and interests. I joke and say that is how we got Donald Trump as President – you just never know what people are thinking. I can tell you love your mother and your mother loves you. More than money and yes, money does complicate things as to “right” arguably to influence how you do things for your wedding. My mom taught me it is great if y ou have your “hell” money – then you can do whatever you want. She said if she had all the money in the world she would have helped pay back all those victims her evil brother in law hurt and then take him to court which is hard to win but tie him up and his money.

I think you need to try to think in your mom’s shoes. She may have some self esteem issues and some view of mother and daughter relationships. Heck I have visions of the perfect life but my vision is different undoubtedly than others. She views weddings and mother and daughter highly.

I suggest the reverse of one bee – maybe casuall go out with the other girls to get ideas. Then for the real dress shopping go only with mom.

Just as your mom as visions she has l earned of mom and daughter shopping for the dress; you have some picture that it should be a group of women. Maybe you can work out a compromise mom does does dress, Future Mother-In-Law does flowers, fsil does invites and friend does music.

Of I hope you have your hell money to say no to parent’s helping out. But in my opinion that does not really deal with your relationship with mom. Money does not solve problems of the heart necessarily.

I am sad you spent a weekend with great grief; i can understand. Why can’t the world think just like you LOL. Life would be simpler and better for you.

Post # 54
402 posts
Helper bee

I think that although your mom is paying for some of the wedding and therefore your dress, she is not paying for the experience of finding your dress. It doesnt sound like you can convince her of that though. I get the feeling you would have a hard time making a choice with just your mom there so I wish you weren’t in this situation! Maybe you can go and try on dresses with your mom, sleep on it and go back with the others to show them, then go back again to actually purchase the dress. Then you’d be finding it with your mom but just “showing” the final contenders to you other group and maybe have the fun experience you’re hoping for. Good luck! 

Post # 55
394 posts
Helper bee

I would clarify that much, and it is hard to read everything lol, of the comments here is about money and control and obligations that come with accepting money. But there is something bigger here than money. I don’t think the answer is paying for the dress or wedding yourself. I think that still causes friction or issues with your mom/parents – yes it gives you freedom of choice moreso but it does affect the relationship. Giving your mom the benefit of the doubt she as hinted or said by others obviously feels challenged by others – friends, future in laws. And to her the dress shopping is a mom and daughter special thing. The marketing world has made it much bigger with it becoming a spectacle ie tv show, served snacks and wine or champagne – heck that’s how we got into multiple dresses to rival a Kardashian. I think you need to maybe talk to your mom even though she is narcissic and everythning else versus what you may be doing to the relationship. The fact that people drag along an entourage, often in my opinion with bad fashon sense because they are not trained really in aesthetics, venue consideration, mobilty, lighting, photos, theme etc and often body types is kind of a joke. I am sorry, if I sound like a broken record there is a reason why people are trained as stylists and such. It is sad in some ways how much focus is on the dang dress for a wedding instead of the relationship (ooh and this is from a wedding planner) and this is why so many marriages fail probably (not focussing on the dress so much but lack of focus on marriage and each other). I will sound like a hypocrite – I like pretty and nice things but people are so much more important. When I was in university I always said I could live in a crap hole and did as long as it was with good people Iiked. Yes, your mom has issues but maybe we (society) have put too much emphasis on the dang dress. What happened to the self assured woman/person going out and picking a dress on her own. It is worn for what 12 hours? Unless you are Melania Trump or that Sophie yoga lady in Canada does anyone really care??? While people are right about your mom being unreasonable and all; and all agree to some point about money and some influence coming with that the bigger issue is your relationship with mom and m aybe too much emphasis on this dress (I am thinking of that former bride who said she paid for the wedding herself to keep control of it and bought a cheap David’s Bridal polyester dress – because an 800 dress is cheap lol. People will pay so much for a dress and many wouldn’t know the difference from a bugle bead to a sequin or an austrian crystal to swarovzki (sorry I am not trying to be insulting). Besides anyone who was crast enough to say you are wearing a David bridal versus a vera wang – which they carry a line lol isn’t worth being a friend.

Good luck with mommy dearest. You are right about you should have more say ad a ll but being right doesn’t mean it will be the r ight decision for you in this case especially with your relation with mom. The answer is not simply pay for the dress yourself because your mom thinks this is one of those bonding moments – at least she cares.

Post # 57
969 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018 - Tizer Gardens/Carroll College

Is there any way you can go with your friends first, and then with your mom and pretend you’ve never seen anything/tried on anthing yet? I went to so many dress stores (some even twice) to make sure that I tried on the gammut and I got the perfect dress. Your friends will not want to be along for all of those trips, so it’s kind ofnice to be able to spread it out?

Post # 58
693 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

kmmq72 :  I agree with KittiYogi about a personality disorder, but look at Histrionic personality as opposed to Narcissism. Narcissism is more about ego, histrionics are about being the center of attention, having everything their way, etc. My mom is histrionic and I had some sessions with a therapist and it was so helpful. It’s all about setting boundaries and always keeping the upper hand. They will try to manipulate you and guilt trip you and you can’t engage or they will take control. It is especially important as you get older and start a family, as histrionics are used to controlling you in childhood and once you find someone to share your life with and make decisions with, there is a power struggle because your mom is used to being your person and will have a hard time adjusting to your Fiance now being your person and won’t understand why you and your Fiance will make decisions without her input or make decisions she doesn’t agree with. I may be way off base for you and your mom, but it sounds very similar to my mother and what I experienced. Here are some good references if you want to read more:



Post # 59
8555 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

nelliemade :  

Yes…but can OP be sure that her mother  won’t find  this out ? Is she going to have to swear all the others to secrecy , even to the the point  of lying  if her mum asks about it? I think this is  potentially  fraught with disaster , tempting though it sounds.  

Poor OP , this sounds  an intractable problem if she is

a.  adamant she wants her mother there,  but also

b.  adamant she wants the others too,   and

c    wants  her mother to pay for the dress as promised ,  and

d.  her mother is adamant (not to mention  madly histrionic) she goes alone with OP  

Hard to know what to do, I can  see that . If she managed to force  her mum to accept the others , I imagine it would be the dress-choosing from hell, for all concerned.

If she goes without  her mum , mum may even gate crash making it the dress -choosing from hell as above.   

If she goes without  her mum  but with the others and finds a dress,  when mum finds out there will be another sort of hell, one which may include no dress money. 

If she accedes to mum’s demands, then it will not be the occasion OP really wanted and she will be disappointed and feel she has given in yet again , though  she may get the dress money out of the sacrifice.

I think I know which  one I’d do . I think.  

Post # 60
3966 posts
Honey bee

Yes, you are right. The woman is a narcisst. Good luck. She will make your wedding all about her. Nothing you do will be right unless you pay homage to her. Stay strong. Plan a lovely honeymoon because you will need that time with your new husband to recover from what your mother will put you thru.

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