Etiquette

I have a weird etiquette issue that popped up a few days before my wedding!!

Some basic info on the wedding. This Saturday May 20th. We are keeping it small. Immediate family only.  My fiance and I are paying for everything-no help from either family.
The fiance's family is spread out throughout the state, and the venue we are having the wedding/reception at is about the same distance for his mom and his dad (they are divorced).  They are both coming about 4 hours away and are staying for a few days. For my family, it is about 1.5 hours away.  My parents RSVP'd several months ago saying they were coming.  I offered to let them use my car since their vehicle has been having some issues lately. I was even going to pay for gas. No issues there so far. 
Fast forward to tonight.  My mom informs me that my dad will be staying for the ceremony to "do his duty" of giving me away, and then he is leaving before the reception.  Not only is he leaving early, he is taking their vehicle back by himself, leaving my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend to have to fend for themselves for a ride back home.  
I have been a stressed out wreck lately because of wedding planning stuff, and hearing this I started bawling.  I am very, very upset.  I am grateful that my dad is coming at all, don't get me wrong.  But I am still very saddened about his decision to leave early.  They already drove up there for the ceremony, why not stay for the food?  And to drive off leaving your wife, one of your sons, and his girlfriend without a ride home?  
My mom thinks I am over reacting and that I should be grateful he is even going at all (which honestly the fact that he is going still surprises me).  I however do not feel like I am over reacting.  It feels like he is only showing up to "do his duty" as he calls it.  Not out of love and wanting to share this important moment with his oldest daughter.  
Has anyone else had something like this happen at their wedding?  How did you deal with it?  Were you emotional at your wedding because of it?  Does it sound like I am over reacting by being upset?

Re: I have a weird etiquette issue that popped up a few days before my wedding!!

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Agree with PPs - let your mom figure out a way home for herself and the rest in their party. 

    I think what your dad is doing is extremely rude and hurtful. Call him up and ask him directly why he's doing this. Honestly, if he's acting this way, I wouldn't even want him walking me down the aisle. 
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    charlotte989875OurWildKingdomPrettyGirlLostKnottie862739c99ab535ac
  • banana468banana468 member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I want to know what else is going on here with the father/daughter relationship.

    This would have happened in my family.   My father was so excited to walk me down the aisle I think the two of us made record time as we power walked.    

    And leaving someone stranded with no transportation sounds like someone is in full-on jerk territory.  What has lead to this? 
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    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Is this typical of your Dad's behavior? I agree you should talk to him about it. 

    My husband's aunt was married to a man who refused to attend family events or go anywhere with his wife and daughters. Aunt and Uncle didn't like each other much, forcing the daughters to take sides in each battle throughout their 60+ year marriage. Everyone wondered if he'd show up at the oldest daughter's wedding. He didn't. The first and last time I laid eyes on the man was at his funeral. 
                
  • auriannaaurianna member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    banana468 said:

    I want to know what else is going on here with the father/daughter relationship.

    This would have happened in my family.   My father was so excited to walk me down the aisle I think the two of us made record time as we power walked.    

    And leaving someone stranded with no transportation sounds like someone is in full-on jerk territory.  What has lead to this? 



    OP, I would just reach out to your mother one more time and say "are you sure you don't want my car?" If she says yes, great, let her have the car so she isn't stranded. If she says no, trust her to take care of herself.

    As to the rest, I agree there's something else going on here.

    OP, does your father disapprove of your marriage?
    Did something happen during the wedding planning process that caused a fight of some sort?
    Does your father have strong anxiety in social situations?

    OurWildKingdom


  • For my family, it is about 1.5 hours away.  My parents RSVP'd several months ago saying they were coming.  I offered to let them use my car since their vehicle has been having some issues lately. I was even going to pay for gas. No issues there so far. 
    Fast forward to tonight.  My mom informs me that my dad will be staying for the ceremony to "do his duty" of giving me away, and then he is leaving before the reception.  Not only is he leaving early, he is taking their vehicle back by himself, leaving my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend to have to fend for themselves for a ride back home.

    Does it sound like I am over reacting by being upset?


    Based on the fact that you're surprised he's even attending, it sounds like you already had a rocky relationship with your father. I do not think being upset that he's leaving early is an overreaction. He's not valuing your wedding as much as you hoped he would and that's disappointing. I agree with pps that you should express this disappointment to him (maybe in an email if you worry about getting emotional again). Might not change anything but at least he'll know he's being a jerk.


    I wouldn't worry about the transportation element though. Unless by "their vehicle" you mean the vehicle you're letting them borrow? I'm not really clear on this point since you said there were no issues. Do you mean no issues with their car or no issues with them accepting your offer?

    If he's taking their car, remind your mother & brother that your car is available to borrow. If he's taking your car I think you'd be in the right to express that that wasn't your intended use of it, but since your mom doesn't seem worried maybe just let her figure out other arrangements.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I would tell your mom that she and your brother can either take your car or make their own arrangements, but this is causing you additional stress at a time when you least need it.

    But I do think that a father who would abandon his daughter's wedding after the ceremony and leave his wife and son to find their own way home is much, much lower than a jerk. I'd tell him, "Father, I realize it's entirely up to you whether you go home immediately after the ceremony, but I need you to realize how hurtful it is to me, your daughter, that you would not only abandon me and not attend the reception, which is my thank you to everyone for attending, but that you would also strand your wife and son there really comes off like a collective smack across this family's face. That you would do that is making me reconsider whether you should walk me down the aisle at all, which will affect our post-wedding relationship."
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • My wonderful father.  I could write a novel about my dysfunctional family honestly.  To keep a very long story shortish, my father has narcissistic personality disorder, and if I remember correctly he was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well when we were young.  I come from a family of 5 kids, I'm the oldest.  
    As a kid, I didn't understand why he treated us the way he did, I would just be upset about how he would respond to things and didn't understand why.  He is textbook narcissistic, so that actually explains quite a lot.  
    I'm the only kid to go to college, I joined the Navy and traveled to some wonderful countries, I'm the only kid to own a house.  I've held a job longer than any of my siblings and in-laws.  I'm also the only kid to not live in my hometown.  
    Anyway, by going to college, and then the Navy, and now that I am out on my own, I began to really truly see how messed up my family is.  I think being away for so long, it really opened my eyes to many things that I had not noticed before, or noticed and didn't understand.  
    When I came home from the Navy, I lived at home for quite a while longer than expected, but I didn't fall for any of his narcissistic tricks.  
    That is when our relationship started falling apart.  When I was no longer under his manipulative control.  After this awakening, at one point in time he told me to my face that he doesn't love any of his kids anymore.  And a different time that he didn't want any of his kids to inherit anything-he would have rather thrown it away.  He said these things to my face and then would act like he had said nothing wrong.
    So I've kept my distance of the the past few years because I don't want to hear his b.s. anymore.  I don't argue with him when I know he is wrong or trying to manipulate me or the situation.  I just turn the other cheek. I still keep in touch with him and I still love him.  And on occasion he will be a really great father and provide the emotional support I need (although I think it is only to make my mother look bad honestly-she has never provided ANY emotional support at all but I could write another novel about that).  
    He likes my fiance quite a bit, and he has said that he likes my fiance more than his other children-in-laws (is that a word/thing?).  But before I moved in with my fiance he told me, again to my face, that when I move out he is done with me.  He has nothing in common with me, and isn't friends with me-so he is done with me.  
    Honestly, I should have known better than to get excited about the possibility of him coming and being drama-free.  Nothing with him is drama-free.  I had a small glimmer of hope for this going well, but my experience with my father has taught me that it never would have gone well.  The only time he goes out without an issue is with his grandkids.  Then he is such a wonderful, caring person.  But only with his grandkids in public.
    Someone said I should change my expectations, and that is what I am emotionally working on right now.  I'm not sure if I even want him to be there at all (but I don't have much time left to figure out how I feel about this).  I want him to be there if he truly wants to be there to celebrate this day with me out of love, not a feeling of obligation. If this drama would have popped up a few weeks ago I would have had more time to process all this. But in my dad's fashion-that would have been too easy and drama-free.  
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 18
    PS.  "Someone said I should change my expectations, and that is what I am emotionally working on right now.  I'm not sure if I even want him to be there at all (but I don't have much time left to figure out how I feel about this).  I want him to be there if he truly wants to be there to celebrate this day with me out of love, not a feeling of obligation. If this drama would have popped up a few weeks ago I would have had more time to process all this. But in my dad's fashion-that would have been too easy and drama-free.  "

    This is not possible because a person with NPD is not capable of mature love as we understand it.  It isn't that he chooses to not love his family, but he is simply not capable of it.  This is not his fault.  Doctors don't know what causes people to have NPD.  Psychologists cannot effectively treat NPD people because they are incapable of accepting responsibility for anything.

    You do need to revise your expectations.  Accept what he can offer.  It has nothing to do with you that he is this way.  It happened years ago when he was developing as a person. 

    My NPD mother died at the age of 89.  I cannot remember her EVER saying that she loved me.  She never touched me.  When I showed her her first grandchild, her response was "Ugh!  I hate babies!  They cry."  Not normal behavior, but, then, she was not a normal person.  All this was a family secret.  In public, she played the role of the loving, proud mother.  In private, she was emotionally abusive.

    PM me if you want to talk about your Dad.  I think those of us who have survived having an NPD parent do have a special understanding.




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  • mollybarker11mollybarker11 member
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited May 18
    I feel for you, OP. I still don't think you're overreacting, because he is being awful, but your mother seems to be ignoring it and I think you should try your best to do the same. You've shed enough tears over this man!

    I understand having the traditional vision of your father escorting you down the aisle/"giving you away", but I agree that you may be more relaxed on the day if you choose an escort you trust. Perhaps your brother, other close relative or friend. You and your FI could also walk down the aisle together, which I personally think has a lovely modern symbolism.

    SP29CMGragainLadyCatherineDBcowgirl8238
  • SP29SP29 member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sorry to hear you are going through this OP.

    I agree that I wouldn't talk to your Dad about this, and I would reconsider having him walk you down the aisle (a brother, uncle, friend, grandparent, or your FI could walk you down the aisle, or you could walk by yourself). He is till invited, and if he shows up great, if he doesn't, that's his choice. Do you think he's trying to get an emotional rise out of you by saying, "I'll just leave after the ceremony?". Perhaps if you don't feed into it, once he's already there, he'll stay.

    As for your Mom and brother, you can let them know the offer of your car still stands, but at the end of the day, their transportation is their responsibility. Don't take that stress on for yourself.

    I hope you have a lovely wedding day with your husband to be!
    CMGragainshort+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Yep - Do not "Feed the beast" that is the NPD!  Take a deep breath, remind yourself to serve yourself that extra slice of wedding cake on Saturday "His loss!".  This is not about you!  You have done nothing wrong.  Do not take this personally!  Transportation is their issue, not yours, do not make it yours.  If they're still there at the end of the night, offer to take them to a nearby cheap hotel for the evening but you have other things to do than be their chauffeur.   
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  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    Your family sounds like a real piece of work. I'm so sorry.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Congratulations on your marriage. I am glad you had a wonderful day despite it's challenges. :)
    CMGragain
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 22
    Congratulations on your marriage.  I am glad you resolved some of the issues.

    Narcissists do not exist in a vacuum.  They have a support structure, usually within the family.  Mom is usually an enabler, and often the children will also get onboard the narcissist train ride.
    About the cost of therapy - you can't afford NOT to do this!  Believe me, you cannot simply walk away from a family like this and not take the baggage with you.  Talk to your doctor about this.  He/she can recommend a service that can help.  If you plan to have children anytime in the future, you owe it to them.  My adult children have thanked me many times.  Please do this after you get settled.  Thoughts and prayers.
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    SP29OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueens
  • Congratulations!  I'm glad you were able to set aside some of the hurtful things your family did.  Sounds like you had an amazing and wonderful day.
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  • SP29SP29 member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm glad you had a lovely wedding day!


    CMGragain
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Congratulations and best wishes! I'm glad you had a wonderful day despite your family's behavior toward you and that your husband and his family have been supportive of you. It sounds like you're handling it extremely well.
    CMGragain
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited May 22
    Congratulation on your beautiful wedding day. I'm happy for you that you are able to join a supportive and loving family. 
                
    CMGragain
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    You just haven't found the right therapist, send the energy out to the Universe and something will work out.  Most don't work with insurance because it's cost prohibitively expensive for both parties.  There is one out there who will fit your budget and willing to work with you, you just have to seek them out.  

    Congratulations on everything!  It may have not been as planned, but does a wedding ever?  Focus on all of the beauty in the day. 
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