Moms and Maids

XP How to explain to Grandpa your Mother is not invited? (Long)

CN: My mother is mentally ill, unstable, violent, and dangerous. That doesn't cover it all, but it keeps this post as short as possible. I can’t invite her to the wedding. I think my grandpa (who denies that she is mentally ill) might pay to have her fly in as a surprise gift to me. How can I tell him without getting into gory details that she’s not invited? Is this possible?

Background:
Since I do not talk to her, I find no reason to tell her that she's not invited. Why would I? My SIL suggested a few months ago to cue her in and just let her know why, because it would be better to come from me rather than finding out after the fact or from someone else. She later rescinded this, after I explained that she's not rational, and its crazy to expect to have a rational conversation with someone who is not all there.

All my brothers and SILs respect my decision and think it’s the best one that I can make; Putting my safety first, before my mother's feelings.

She lives in Alaska, I’m in Wisconsin. Believe me, that distance has helped make things a little easier as far as keeping the wedding “hush hush.”

So, I’m at my grandparents’ house today, and grandpa asked if my mom was coming. (I don’t talk to them about my mom. My grandma has Alzheimer’s and stress related to my mom makes her condition worse. My aunt has tried talking to my grandpa about my mother’s illness, but my grandpa just doesn’t get it. He just thinks that if she moved back home, her financial woes would miraculously rid her of her mental illness.

Also, I haven’t told them everything that has happened between my mom and I nor what has happened between my brothers and my mom. I just have been really vague about not getting a long to the point that I cannot have her in my life actively.

So anyway, grandpa asked if my mom was coming to my wedding. I froze. I just wasn’t ready for that- but I knew in my gut it would happen eventually. I mean, she’s my mom. People like my grandparents will expect her to be there.

I just said, “I don’t know,” and quickly changed the subject.

I need to tell him that she’s not invited, like tomorrow. FI says grandpa will probably call mom and offer to pay her way if I don’t act soon. It’s just the kind of thing he would do, so I need to tell him. It just breaks my heart to have to do this. But I know- I need to face the music. There are consequences for my decision, and I’m ready to accept them.

I’m going to try to keep it light hearted as possible, saying, “I cannot invite my mother to the wedding, I will be happy to report to you when my relationship with her changes and we are on better terms.” Hopefully he will accept my wishes. If he demands to know more, I will offer some more information, if need be. My aunt has my back, so she might have to talk to him, too. But I know this is my responsibility.

Ha anyone ever been in this situation? Any insight on how you told others without giving gory details would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,
A huge stomach ulcer located in the belly of KatoNorway
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Re: XP How to explain to Grandpa your Mother is not invited? (Long)

  • kmmssgkmmssg mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I agree with you that you need to tell him asap, but I really think the "light-hearted" part won't work.  This is his daughter.  Us parents get exceedingly defensive over our children.  Light-hearted isn't going to cut it.  He will see your not inviting her as petty.

    In all honesty, he can't help his daughter if he has no clue about what is really going on here.  By not telling him, you could be removing someone who may have resources to help her.  It also strengthens his belief that if she would just move home everything would be fine.

    Whatever happened between you and your mom and siblings sounds very serious and personal.  Is there anyway you can share SOME of this with g'pa so he knows what is going on and why she will not be invited?  You also need to let him know that your siblings fully support your decision.

    He won't understand why if he doesn't understand the situation.  I can certainly see not letting your g'ma in on any of this, but I think g'pa needs to at least know the gist of what is going on.

    I wish you the best of luck.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    It's always sad to hear about these situations. I'm sorry you're going through this.

    You should take a direct approach with Grandpa. Don't sugar coat things. Tell him that your mother has been violent with you and you do not want her at your wedding. You don't have to give details, but Grandpa needs to know that this is what you have decided. You don't want him to think that your mother isn't coming because of financial concerns or some type of minor misunderstanding. Tell him that you do not want her to even know about the wedding.  I know this is going to hard for you and him, but it's time.

    I'm glad you have siblings and an aunt for moral support.

    Best wishes.
                       
  • 8daysaweek8daysaweek member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I have had the same problem with my paternal grandfather when I was not speaking to my father for a couple years. He just didn't understand and believed I should forgive no matter what. That wasn't going to happen.

    However my father isn't mentally ill, just an a**hole so it's a bit different. When my grandfather would bring it up, I would just politely tell him that it was between me and my father and it wasn't up for discussion.

    If you believe your mother is dangerous to you because of her mental illness, I think you should explain that to him. First, it might help him see the extent of her mental illness and second, it will keep him from springing her on you in a "surprise." My grandfather used to do this to me all the time: Invite me out to lunch or dinner or to come over for a visit and say it would be just us and then I'd get there and SURPRISE! Your dad is here. In my case, it was just emotionally painful so I just dealt but if you're worried for your physical safety, you definitely have a right not to be forced to spend time with her.

    But based on my personal experiences with a similar dynamic, I agree with kmmssg. This is not going to be a light-hearted and easy discussion. It would probably best be dealt with by having an open conversation with him about why you do not want to spend time with your mother (you don't have to get specific but can be general, ie: She threatens me, she has physically assaulted me in the past, whatever). After that if he tries to bring it up, you can say something like "I love you and I know that it hurts you to see things this way between us. But I've explained my reasons to you and it is not up for discussion. I appreciate that you respect my decision and my right to protect myself from her."

    Good luck. I'm sorry and I hope your grandfather can understand and respect your decision.
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  • edited December 2011
    8daysaweek (btw, I love the Beatles!)- Thank you so much for responding. I agree with everything you said. I know that I need to tell him.

    My Aunt and I have tried telling him over the past 15 years about my mother's behavior, but we always get a deadbolt. He's a real simple man. He just thinks like your grandpa that all should be forgiven & forgotten. I have already explained to him that I have forgiven my mother, but my safety concerns will not let me forget. In the past 5 years or so, I just don't talk to him anymore about my mom, because he gets frustrated and just doesn’t want to hear it. So he knows that there is "something" wrong, but to what extent, I do not know. It’s almost as if he tries to act as though nothing is wrong. I think it’s his way of dealing with it.

    Thank you again. Although our situations are not exactly the same, I feel a little better that I am not the only one that had to deal with this. It’s very difficult, but I guess that's just life.

    Thank you to everyone else, too! I will update you gals after I talk to him.
    Sincerely,
    Kato Norway

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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_xp-explain-grandpa-mother-not-invited-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:357Discussion:1d457f78-a345-45f7-aafc-d4b94f49a67bPost:15546f7b-79d5-4e87-a164-fb0f7b2f4def">Re: XP How to explain to Grandpa your Mother is not invited? (Long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's always sad to hear about these situations. I'm sorry you're going through this. You should take a direct approach with Grandpa. Don't sugar coat things. Tell him that your mother has been violent with you and you do not want her at your wedding. You don't have to give details, but Grandpa needs to know that this is what you have decided. You don't want him to think that your mother isn't coming because of financial concerns or some type of minor misunderstanding. Tell him that you do not want her to even know about the wedding.  I know this is going to hard for you and him, but it's time. I'm glad you have siblings and an aunt for moral support. Best wishes.
    Posted by MairePoppy[/QUOTE]

    This is the only way to go.  Be honest with him or you may get an unwelcome surprise.
    My baby girl is a married woman...and now my baby girl HAS a baby girl. Time unfolds in such an amazing way. I've been blessed!
  • edited December 2011
    CMGr –Yikes. Your Uncle sounds like he could be related to my family!

    To All- My aunt told my Grandpa. (She told me that since he’s my grandpa- it’s not my responsibility. If it were my father, then it would be. I TOTALLY disagree with her. It’s also a “respect” sort of thing for me.) I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him alone, but I still plan on telling him my way.

    I ended up calling my mother the other day and letting her know that I was getting married (this was asked of my little brother, who’s been getting a lot of her wrath lately.) It didn’t go as bad as I expected, so maybe she’s not heartbroken as I thought she would be. I don’t know and I TRY not to care (even though I do.) Honestly, there’s some relief that I know she knows now and I’m glad it came from me.  FI & I have a back up plan if she shows up, which I don’t think she will. I told my aunt that I do not want her confronting her (because I feel like it’s almost a “turn the knife” in her wound coming from my aunt- who has ulterior motives.) Ugh, family!

    Thanks everyone for the advice & support!
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  • edited December 2011
    I'm so sorry for your situation, and sorry that your grandparents weren't there to protect you during what sounds like horrible abuse. Good luck with your wedding!
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