Help! Estranged parents!

Online Users: 1,339 guest(s), 0 user(s). Replies: 14

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 4:31 PM

My fiancee and I have been together for 2 years and got engaged in October. Since we have been together, my parents have disapproved because of how much money he makes (he is by all means in a very respectible profession: he is in the emergency services profession). They wanted me to marry a doctor or a lawyer, etc. They have barely spoken to him (so I know its not HIM that they dislike - its his job), but have discouraged me from him from the begining.

Do I invite my parents??? My fiancee's family is large and he has a lot of friends, so it looks like this wedding will be around 200. I'm inviting my family and friends too... but my parents haven't supported us as a couple at ALL.

My fiancee says to send them an invitation and put the ball in their court. He says if I don't invite them, I'll never hear the end of it and I should let them say no. On the other hand, if they come, do they come as a regular guest or should I offer to include them in the wedding? My parents are very concerned about reputation and how it will look if my other relatives are there and they aren't. But my dad probably won't walk me down the aisle anyway (and I dont think I'd want him to). Truthfully, I don't even really like my parents anymore becuase of this and I'd be able to enjoy the day more if they weren't there, but that may be the end for any hope of reconciliation in the future.

What should I do: invite? Not invite? Special guest or regular guest? Should I walk myself down the aisle? What do I put on the invitations??

Reply


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 6:39 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

Dear 808

With your parents, it's not just a matter of sending them or not sending them an invitation. I cannot imagine very many scenarios where I would agree with inviting 200 "nearest and dearest" but not the bride's parents.

Here is my suggestion. You, alone, go to see your parents. Tell them the date of the wedding and hand-deliver their invitation. Then, ask if they want to be a part of the wedding, in the "traditional" MOB and FOB roles.

You need not have anyone walk you down the aisle. Many brides walk down the aisle alone, to signify they are entering into the marriage by their own decision, as opposed to begin "given away" by some male.

See how they feel about it and to what extent they want to participate.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 12:40 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

Thank you both for your input. But does the following change your opinion?

On 12/30/10, I went to my parents house to see if I could mend things. Their normal routine was to either both go upstairs when they see my car, or both get in their cars and leave me there. This time they both came out and drove away. I sat in the driveway for 90 minutes waiting for them to return. When they did, my father walked right past me. When I asked if we could talk about this, he asked me "what the hell" I was doing there, and told me he would never come to my wedding, and he would never visit me or my future children, and he wanted nothing to do with me. My mother tried to tell him to calm down, but she also told me I was screwing up my life by choosing this guy and that I would "struggle forever." I told them "this is it" and "this is my last attempt to fix this". I also told themm I bought a house because I thought they would kick me out of the apartment I was living in (they owned it), and they basically told me to leave.

I took an hour of more verbal abuse and got in my car and (tried) to drive away. I was an absolute mess. I had a breakdown and my fiancee had to come and pick me up because I couldn't drive anymore. I told myself I would never ever voluntarily put myself through that again. It was the worst day of my life.

Thereafter, I sent them a nice email trying (one last time) to mend things. My mother sent me a very mean email in response. 3 months later, she boxed up all of my childhood possessions and left them in 4 boxes in the driveway for me to pick up (birth certificate, yearbooks, child clothes and toys, baptism records, etc.). My mother sent me an email asking for her house keys back and asking when I would move out and to stop emailing her or contacting her.

5 months later, my new house was finally built and I took MY dog (who was living with them, but he was MY dog) to my new house and left them a note. My mother emailed me a hate email telling me how selfish I was and how I only think about myself. Two days later she sent a very nice email telling me I would always be her daughter. This was the first nice email I have ever received from her. My dad does not email.

This pattern of cruelty has been going on for 16 months. I simply cannot take it anymore. They have done everything in their power to break my fiancee and I up and have completely cut me out of their lives and now it appears she wants to forget all of that??? I just can't do it.

I just don't think of my parents in the same way anymore. They are not the people I thought they were... They have a very very cruel side to them and I don't really care to be affiliated with them anymore... Does that change any of your thoughts??

Reply


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 1:20 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

Dear 808,

Wow, boxing up your childhood possessions, walking right past you without speaking, just wow.

It's high time, past time, for you to set your sights forward to a wonderful new life with your future husband, your house and your dog.

I am 57 years old and have seen a lot of Life in my life. I have learned something about people like them. They are very quick to take offense at the least provocation, and consider everything they do to be appropriate retaliation.

Thus, if you were to not invite them to the wedding, that would start World War III.

Here is my suggestion. Send them an invitation with a personal note. Say something like "I hope you are able to attend. If I don't hear back from you by xx/xx/2012, then I will have to assume you will not coming."

Next: No matter if they respond or not, find someone that you can trust to be their "minder".

They could...

Accept, show up and behave themselves.
Accept, show up and create a scene.
Accept, don't show up.
Decline, but still show up and behave themselves.
Decline, but still show up and create a scene.
Decline and not show up.

Whether or not they accept or decline "officially", you still have to be prepared for them to show up and, perhaps, create a scene. That is where your "minders" come in. Ideally, a "minder" will be a 6'5" linebacker type guy named "Tiny". If you don't personally know a Tiny, then consider hiring a security service or off-duty cop for the job.

Tell Tiny exactly what is going on and give Tiny instructions to drag them outside and call the police if Mom and Dad show up and create a scene.

Finally, you need to discuss the situation, in detail, with your officiant. Wedding officiants have seen it all, and can offer you very good advice on how to handle disruptive guests.

Forget all you have ever seen on TV or the movies where someone (jilted girlfriend?) causes a scene during the "Does anyone know of just cause..." part of the ceremony. Usually these scripted TV or movies show the officiant standing by, looking uncomfortable while the comedy bit goes on.

That is not real life. In real life, officiants TAKE CHARGE of the situation. In real life, an officiant would take that person aside and listen to their objection.

If the objection is real ("He is married to my sister and here is their marriage license to prove it."), the officiant would stop the ceremony.

If the objection is not real ("He loves me and not her."), the officiant would calm the person down, then continue the ceremony.

Your officiant needs to be prepared for Toxic Mom and Dad causing a ruckus.

Let's hope nothing happens, and let's hope they fulfill their vow to stay away from the wedding. It would not hurt to get some friendly neighbor or relative to keep an eye on them on W-Day and alert you by cell phone if it looks like they are on their way.



Added later: I'm thinking the off-duty cop might be the better choice. That person would have powers to arrest someone out of line and would know how to handle the situation so as to not be later charged with battery or something similar.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 3:14 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Dear Aunt,

Thank you for all your advice. Sorry to make my problems your problems, but your input is very helpful!

I honestly don't think my parents would make any type of scene if they came... they are very very concerned about reputation and they want all personal matters to stay personal. But I should definitely take heed to your suggestion to have security there anyway... just in case! They might decide to come just because it would be embarrassing for them not to be there when my other uncles, counsins, aunts, friends, etc. show up. I have no desire to include them in my wedding, but rather if they come, they can come as a regular guest like everybody else. That will be embarrassing for them too.

I think I am at the point where I should just let them go already. I really think I tried and at least I have no regrets. Part of me doesn't even want them at the wedding because it will just make me uncomfortable on my "day", but at the same time, you are right: it would start WWIII.

I'm really torn on how to handle this situation. Its been really tough! He's a great guy in all respects and we're happy together, but they seem intent on ruining everything for us!

Reply


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 13, 2011 8:08 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

Dear 808

I really feel for you. I have seen similar toxic family situations in my life, and it's no fun for anyone.

There are lots of good reasons, besides idiot parents, to hire a security guard. One great reason is to have someone keep an eye on the gift table so none of the gifts "walk away" on their own two little wrapping paper legs. A hired security guard would be obliged to watch out for gift thiefs, drunken guests as well as berzerk parents, but not participate in the festivities as a guest.

Once you are married, you can re-assess the situation in light of what your parents did on W-Day. Did they show up and behave themselves? That might be a mini-peace-offering. Did they boycott the whole thing? Well, not so bad if Mom would have sobbed hysterically and theatrically the entire time.

Based on what you wrote, I will offer you some final words of wisdom. Discuss the situation in detail with your fiancÚ and make sure he is in 100% agreement with you. Decide, between the two of you, what you will do in certain scenarios. Then, stand together and face the world.

If you have to move apart from your parents and continue your life without them, then so be it. It's sad, but your only option is to get re-conceived and born to different people. That can't be done, so you're pretty much stuck with the parents you have. Do your best to maintain your own sanity and move forward with your life.

My best friend from Kindergarten (now 58 years old) is in a similar situation. She has been coping with Idiot Mom and Toxic Dad for over 40 years. (They got divorced, and Toxic Dad remarried so there's also Numbskull Stepmother in the mix!) It has not been easy for my friend, but please believe me when I tell you, you will never regret taking the high road. I tell you this based on a life of experience.

Reply

ArcheryGirl Posts : 22 Registered: 4/15/10
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 21, 2011 4:14 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

I totally understand. I have a, shall we say, "complicated" relationship with my parents. When we announced we were getting married their reaction was "oh". My FH is estranged from his father. This is the second Christmas that we haven't participated in anything with his family.

My advice - send your parents an invitation. Treat them like any other guest. If they don't show up then it's their loss. You don't need to hand deliver it or send any other special note with it. Unless you get a real apology out of both of them I wouldn't plan to include them in the ceremony in any way.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Dec 22, 2011 3:48 PM Go to message in response to: ArcheryGirl

ArcheryGirl,

Thanks for your input. I think I will send them an invite, just like everybody else. Then they can decide if they want to attend... just like everybody else. And unless I receive a meaningful apology and they make an effort to fix this, then I will plan my wedding party without them. Its a sad situation, but you're right. I don't see any other way around this. I'm not comfortable including them in the wedding with things as they are between us.

I hope your situation works out too... nevertheless, Aunt is also right: I have to start living my life without them. They have chosen not to be a part of my life, so I'll plan it without them.

Thanks for the input everyone! Happy holidays!

Reply

324 Posts : 1 Registered: 1/18/12
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Jan 18, 2012 12:54 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

808- Your situation is almost like mine...Let me give you some background...My husband and I got married in 2009 without the blessing of my parents. I had moved out and in with him in 2008 after years of verbal abuse. They, like your parents, left my items boxed up on their driveway and wouldn't let my husband (then boyfriend) near their property to help me load everything up. They (my mom) have sent awful emails, very hurtful in nature. She wants nothing to do with me or my husband...but then she sends a message saying she came across more of my items and would like to send them to me. I am feeling she is a bit two-faced. We did not have a ceremony with family in 2009 so we are doing a full ceremony and reception in 2013. My father is wrapped around my moms finger so I do not expect that he will walk me down the aisle.
Please let me know how all of this has turned out for you because I am really at odds at what to do with my family. I have a younger brother who will no longer speak to me involved in this too...I feel it is right to invite them despite all that has happened so as not to embarrass and hurt them and 100% cut them out of my life. My husband on the other hand does not want them there. He has seen how much they have hurt me and says I am opening myself up to be hurt on a very important day. I am very conflicted...

Reply

Syringa Posts : 115 Registered: 1/18/12
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Jan 18, 2012 3:39 PM Go to message in response to: 324

324 - What you are having is actually a vow renewal ceremony and, as such, is different than a wedding. You don't need anyone to walk you down the aisle. You can enter alone or you and the groom can walk in together. You might want to do some reading on vow renewals.

Like you, I would invite the parents then let them decide whether to attend or not. Both you and 808 may want to hire a wedding coordinator for the day of the wedding. Having a neutral third party present who has been alerted to the situation can often save embarrassment for everyone. She will have expertise (or should have) in dealing with difficult people and can deflect issues before they become heated.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Jan 29, 2012 8:04 PM Go to message in response to: 324

324, Wow sounds very similar. I suppose if I were in your shoes, I'd ask my fiancee to remember that they are my parents and I'd like to give them one last try to make it right (i.e. invite them to your vow renewal ceremony). I understand why he is concerned, especially since they have separated themselves from your life because of him. He must feel like he is not worthy for them to dislike him so much. He's in a hard spot... like my fiancee.

The difference between your situation and mine is: I don't really care if they come to my wedding or not. Either way, I'm OK with it. But after thinking about it, I think I will give them one last chance to be a part of my life by inviting them. Even if they dont show up, then at least I know I tried.

I am not planning to include them in the wedding at all though. If they come, they come like everybody else... as a regular guest. I can't justify including them in my wedding when they have done everything in their power to break us up. They won't sit at the head table, they will sit in the middle with other family members. It will undoubtedly be embarrassing for them when everyone asks why they're not in the wedding, but I don't think that is my problem. They'll have to face those questions if they decide to come.

I'll have to figure out how to word the invitations (because invitations usually say "Mr. and Mrs. XXXX are pleased to request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter...."), but in the grand scheme of things, the invitations are minor. I guess I'll also ask someone else to walk me down the aisle... I haven't figured out who that will be yet!

This situation definitely sucks, but who said life was perfect, right?? Well, i wish you the best of luck with all of this. Let's hope our parents wise up, swallow their pride, apologize, and make it right!

Reply


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Jan 30, 2012 12:25 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

Dear 808

"I'll have to figure out how to word the invitations (because invitations usually say "Mr. and Mrs. XXXX are pleased to request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their daughter...."),"

Not a problem.

If the invitation is formal and the couple are hosting their own event, the wording is like this.

The honor of your presence is requested at the wedding of

Ms Lisa Simpson
to
Mr Nelson Muntz
date, time, place, etc.

If the invitation is informal, then use similar informal wording.

Lisa and Nelson invite you to witness their wedding vows
Lisa and Nelson are getting hitched! Come and help celebrate!
date, time, place, etc.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Jan 31, 2012 2:44 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Aunt, thanks for the tips! I'll probably go with the first one you suggested. Thank you!

Reply

JasmineO2 Posts : 17 Registered: 1/6/12
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Feb 6, 2012 11:31 PM Go to message in response to: 808bride1

You are not obligated to invite your parents simply because they are your parents. If they bring nothing positive into your life at all, then maybe it would be better to cut them off. I know this is radical and a big step, but it sounds like they aren't interested in being a part of your life unless you live it on their terms, in which case you are only helping to keep up happy family pretenses by acting to appease them rather than doing what is best for yourself and your future husband (your soon-to-be nuclear family.). Just a thought.

Reply

808bride1 Posts : 7 Registered: 12/12/11
Re: Help! Estranged parents!
Posted: Mar 24, 2012 7:24 PM Go to message in response to: JasmineO2

Jasmine02,

sorry I haven't checked this thread in awhile. Nothing has changed with my parents. I've picked my wedding dress, made all the arrangements, and this summer, I'll go ahead and send them an invitation... just like everyone else.

After much MUCH consideration, I am moving on with my life... without them in it. There's not much else I can do at this point. I tried to reach out to them- they spit in my face. I'm done.

Very sad situation, but that's how it is. Some people say they will come around as the wedding gets closer... probably for the wrong reasons, but we'll see what happens..

Thanks everyone for your advice~!

Reply
RSS

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from brides.com

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift
Subscribe to Brides magazine