Post # 1
I have a strained relationship with my parents. My father was verbally/emotionally abusive to me forever, up until when I moved out in my early 20’s (I’m 30 now). My mom enabled the behavior. I cut my father out for several years and spent lots of time in therapy. Last year, he was in the hospital briefly and we resumed (minimal) contact, although I still keep my distance. I don’t trust him and believe that if I let him back in my life, he would churn out more abuse. I am way past that and will not go back there. Last week, I had dinner with them (for the first time in YEARS) and it went ok, nothing bad happened.. but I still feel like it’s only a matter of time before they resume the same pattern that I have long since escaped.
Now… I always told myself that my father would not be given the honor of walking me down the aisle (nor did/does he deserve it). Imagining my parents at my wedding gives me a lot of anxiety. FI and I are paying for everything ourselves and will probably be having a small wedding. I don’t want my parents representing me, I don’t want them saying anything that will embarrass me, or cause any kind of scene. If that happens, I will be angry at myself for inviting them. They won’t disappear into the crowd so easily at a small wedding either. I also feel like I’ll be anxious the whole time just wondering about what they are doing/saying etc.
On the other hand, I have a lot of guilt. I feel that I will break my mom’s heart by not inviting her to my wedding. Makes me tear up just writing that. I cannot invite her and not my father, they are a package deal. She hasn’t asked about any wedding details, she’s not the typical mom in that sense… so for now I’ve avoided the subject.
I’m not really expecting a straight answer from any of you, I know that I have to decide this on my own.. just wanted some support and thoughts from anyone who has been through or is going through a similar situation. I can’t talk to most people about it because most people want their parents at their wedding and it isn’t an issue… It’s a difficult time for me.
Post # 2
Vivi30: That is difficult and I hope everything works out. I honestly think that if it gives you anxiety having them there but you would also feel guilt for not inviting them then you should talk to them. Maybe start with you mother first. Maybe discuss it with your therapist to see how to approach it, or even get some guidance from your FI or have him there as moral support. I think by avoiding it all together will only make you stress more.
Post # 3
Can you have more dinners with them in order to decide? Either the old patterns will emerge, and therefore you know your answer. Or you will start to see that perhaps things have changed and be able to relax more. Bring your FI for back up if needed.
I’m very sorry that you have to go through this. It really sucks. It sucks big time, sucky suck suck. *hugs*
Post # 4
I think in a situation like this it would be totally appropriate to sit them down and tell them how you’ve been feeling – how you wish they could be invited and involved because they are the only parents you have, but that you will not tolerate anything less than pleasant and loving behavior and words from them. See how they react.
I also agree that you should keep having dinners with them and see what they do.
Post # 5
Vivi30: First of all, I’m sorry for what you went through with your father, it must have been really tough to break away from that environment.
You’re right in that this is a decision only you can decide. However, you asked for advice so here is mine:
I would feel very uncomfortable not inviting my parents to my wedding, but I am very close to them both. I am also of the train of though that regardless of what relation a person is to you, what matters (and essentially the deciding factor on whether or not to invite them) is the relantionship you have with them. Do they support your choices (not just with your FI but with your life, etc.), do you see them or talk with them on a regular basis, were they a positive influence on you growing up, these sorts of questions. I think this MAY help you work out if you should invite them.
I also think Everdeen had a good idea. Catch up with them both some more, go out to dinner, invite them over to dinner, etc. See how the relationship between you and your father goes, see how it makes you feel, how they act and treat you.
It must be a hard choice to make 🙁
Post # 6
Good luck with your decision.
IMHO, if you think you will regreat NOT inviting your parents a few years after the wedding, maybe you should? You don’t have to reconcile, but come to some sort of terms for them to be there.
I don’t have the greatest relationshop with my sister, and don’t plan on having my first dance with her (our mom died when we were very young) but I am inviting her because she is family.
In the end, they are still your parents.
Post # 7
It is you decision, and you have to make the one that makes you happy. Trust you instincts. <br /><br />
However, while I do agree with the fact you should meet up with both of your parents to help you decide I personally think that you need to speak to your dad. It’s clear that even though you’re past it, the hurt feelings is still there. It sounds like what really haunts you is the fact that you aren’t sure that they have changed, REALLY changed. Maybe you could talk to him and explain it. Tell him the truth, that at somepoint you DO actually want him there but that you don’t trust him. Explain that what he has done has hurt you. Why did it hurt and so on. If he regrets it then go ahead and invite him. If he dosen’t then you know that you can’t trust him with this important day.
Post # 8
Im in the same with my father. Although my parents are divorced and remarried. My moms my best friend she will 100% be invited but may not come(lives out or country). My father was emotionally abusive to me growing up and i still have anger towards him. I have always said the same as you. I will never let him walk me down the aisle that it would be my brother and he would not be invited. Over the past year i let him back in slowly because my kids love their grandpa and thats not my business to deny them that. So ive give him hesitated time and it seems to be okay now. There hasnt been an issue since i let him in so i am considering it all now that a wedding us possibly in my near future.
Of course as you know thisis your choice. But before you make that choice i think you should make an effort and be the bigger person and have more dinners and see if the pattern starts back up. Dont make a decision on your past make a decision on your present. At least make an effort to show ur parents u tried before denying them this, especially for your mothers sake.
Post # 9
Thank you everyone for your responses and insight.
I like the suggestion of doing more dinners with them to gage behavior. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that! I had this idea in my head that the 1 dinner a few weeks ago would be the decisive event. They have not met FI yet as we are long-distance (I will be moving in a few months). Introducing them to FI is also anxiety inducing for me for the same reasons mentioned… We did call them to announce our engagement in September, and they were respectful and seemed happy for us, so that helped too, I think. My mom has already mentioned taking us out to dinner when FI is next in town to celebrate.
I’ll keep you posted. 🙂
Post # 10
I always err on the side of acceptance and openness with these things. I think you are more likely, looking back, to regret not inviting them that to regret inviting them. So I’d invite them.
Certainly do NOT have your dad walk you down the aisle or any of that other traditional stuff. Just think of them as any other guests. But yes, I’d invite them.
Post # 11
stillme: I definitely don’t want them walking down the aisle with me (in my culture, both parents walk down the aisle with you, as there is no tradition of the father “giving away” the daughter… thank goodness lol). It would be awkward and would feel wrong to me. I have always been extremely independent and always envisioned myself walking down the aisle by myself, strong!