I Am Being Smothered by My Father!!!

Updated on November 05, 2009
B.C. asks from Centerville, UT
12 answers

HELP!!!!!I am being smothered by my father and my grandmother. So here is the problem... They think that the lives of me, my husband and my son should revolve around them for every single holiday! I understand the importance of family, especially around the holidays,however its EVERY single holiday and occasion! We dont even have the opportunity to have our own little family traditions etc. This problem has seriously become a burden on me and my marriage! My husband doesnt want to be with my family every holiday(understandable) and I am starting to feel the same! We are planning a trip to see my mother in law for Christmas, which we have never celebrated with her, so I think it is a great excuse to get away and spend time with my husbands side! Now this may sound a bit ridiculous but I am worried about telling my dad! He is going to FLIP! I know this because he freaked out that we were "trick or treating" in our OWN neighborhood this year! Now, we moved 20mins away to get away from this controlling and annoying behavior and its just not going away! How do I tell him and my gma that they are smothering me and that I CAN and WILL have my own life?????? Otherwise I am probably going to snap =) Any advice is appreciated!!! Thanks ladies

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So What Happened?

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your input and wonderful responces! I am going to tell him (kindly) how I feel and if/when he "flips" out, I will remain calm, only because I know this is best for my own family! You all were so great! I now feel I have the courage to tell my father how it is and I hope he excepts it =) I AM a big girl now! lol Thanks again! ~B.

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answers from Denver on

My dad and his mom are the same way! A few years back, I made the difficult decision to stand up to them. Basically, I do what I need/want to do and don't give them a choice. They hate it. But since I've learned to do that and not feel guilty (it took a couple years to not feel guilty), I feel so much more free. Boundaries are in place and my family is free to be a healthy family. The book "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud helped a lot.

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answers from Pueblo on

First you are a adult and do not have to run anything by him. Second TELL him MY family and I are going to spend this xmas with the mil. If he flips hang up on him. Let him know up front he can not and will not treat you that way. You are a big girl now and he has no control over you. Dont let him dont be afraid of him or his reaction to do as you want with your family.

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answers from Denver on

What you might try doing first is ask both your dad & Gma what did they do durning the holidays for their family & spouses family? How did they divide the time equally for both sides. Then, if they answer shows that they struggled with it as much as you are now. Then you could say, see we need to be able to spend time with the other side also.

Also ask them did they not want to have their own holiday traditions at their own home. If you are lucky they did, and you will be able to let them know that is what you would like to do.

Then if all works out, you can plan celebrating the holidays early with one side or the other.

With my X his family celebrated Christmas eve, however I would go to a church service with my family every Christmas eve. So, what we would do, is go to a service, then go to my in laws for Christmas eve. My parents would come to our house & stay the nite so they could see the kids faces on Christmas morning, then we would go to either my brothers or sisters house for my family get together. That way we were able to celebrate with both familys & still have our own tradition.

Good luck



answers from Billings on

I know how you feel, but for me, its my husband's family. Down fall is, it don't bother him. The best thing you can do is sit down and tell them the truth. Also tell them how important it is for your little guy to get to know the other side of the family, and try to come up with a compermise, sorry about the spelling. Like this year you are doing christmas with your inlaws, so next christmas spend with your family type thing. Thats what my husband and I did when I had family living near us. But now they live to far away. I wish you luck with this. Take care and happy holidays.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Make your decisions based on what you and your husband think is best. Then, inform your dad, very calmly and matter-of-factly what your plans are (plenty in advance so he can get used to the idea).
If he starts to give you a guilt trip, stay calm. Tell him "we made the decision. I'm not asking your permission. We spent last year with you and we will be with you again [when you plan on being with him]." If he starts getting out of hand, you can always end the conversation. Just say, "Dad, I'm sorry you are upset by our decision, and I can tell you're not ready to talk about it. We're not going to change our mind, but we can talk again when you're ready to be calm. Love ya, Dad, Bye"



answers from Salt Lake City on

It can be difficult at frst when he flips out but you will be SO happy!!! Do it for yourselves!!! We did it 6 years ago (told them we were doing what is best for our little family and we love to be wth them but it will be when we can make it happen) and it is great to be in charge of our own little fmaily. Your husband now comes first, make him happy and stand up like a woman!



answers from Provo on

Just say "no." Their response is their choice and their problem, not yours.



answers from Pocatello on

Tell him to grow up... you have... ok, so maybe that won't be the best approach but I know what you are saying, just like everyone else that has posted. I agree with the other posts, set your boundaries and stick with them, he will get over it. Be kind and give him time for it to sink in. You have a family of your own now and its not fair for your husband to have to live in your past for the rest of your married lives. Marriage is supposed to give you the opprotunity to create a future together for each other with your own traditions the way you want to, thus being an adult and making your own decisions. He should be understanding of that because I'm sure that He and your Mom did the same thing with their family. Present it to him that way, maybe he doesn't even realize he's doing it. If he is worried about not being able to see his grandson dressed up for halloween then arrange a time to take him before you go out trick or treating. Good luck, you will get past this, right now he just thinks that you will do what they want and until you start standing up for yourself it will continue to be that way and then it will just be common-place like thats the way it had always been. You will be soo much happier.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Start your own traditions. Tell your father what you are doing for the holiday with your own family then invite him to share some part of it on or before or after the actual holiday. You and hubby have to decide what you want not what daddy wants.

He may flip just as he did for Halloween, but stick to your guns. Family is important but so are your own traditions. Try to find a compromise that will work.

Maybe choose a day to celebrate with your father and grandma before or after Christmas this year, then go and enjoy the visit with your mother in law, if you give him an option or alternate time to celebrate maybe things won't be so bad.

Good Luck



answers from Denver on

It's difficult being pressured for the holidays. We have found it easiest to alternate years for holidays, or do certain holidays with one side of the family, or split up the days. Of course, if loved ones aren't all in town, it's difficult. I'd recommend having a conversation with those you'd like to celebrate with and explain that you'd like to alternate celebrations. Then you don't have to feel pressured when the holidays come around - it's already established what you'll be doing (or not doing). The holidays are supposed to be fun! :0)



answers from Cheyenne on

You don't mention your mother....is she not in the picture? Perhaps dad is clinging to you because he's scared of losing you when he has no one else. And do you have siblings? If you do, does he exhibit this behavior with them, too? I would wait and see if he brings it up...don't make a big deal out of it. When he says "What's the plan for Christmas?" or whatever, you just calmly say "Oh, we're spending it with (insert husband's name here)'s family this year" and if he sulks or throws a fit, remind him calmly that "Bob's family wants to spend time with the children, too. We've never spent an occasion there." If he continues to get upset, ask him to think how he would feel if he were "bob's" parents and the kids were always with the other side of the family and HE never got to see them...and tell him you are sorry he is upset but you have obligations to "Bob's" family,too. and then refuse to discuss it further. If you can't stand the confrontation, the best thing to do is to invite BOTH sides, yours AND your hubby's, for next year's soiree. Bottom line is it sounds like your dad has gotten used to you always catering to him and he's clinging for dear life now because you are getting tired of it and trying to pull away...he's going to cling harder. Remind him that it's his turn again next year.



answers from Colorado Springs on

When my children grew up and established homes of their own I let them know that they were welcome to spend holidays with us, but if they had other plans, that was fine, too. When I was little, we had few relatives living close enough to visit for holidays, so we had to establish our own traditions.

Now, my best friend went through an experience more like yours. Her father-in-law had traditions set in stone, and it made holidays very difficult for them. Not until he became ill did things improve; then my friend's sweet and timid mother-in-law changed the routine, told her husband, "Now, dear, THIS is the way it will be instead" - and he actually liked the new way better.

All this is just to illustrate how we can really get locked into "the way things ought to be" when it comes to holidays and family times. You have dreams about what a wonderful family is like and you start to feel as if the world might literally come crashing down if YOUR family is any other way. (As your own children grow up, you'll experience that, too - they won't match your "dream children"! Real kids never do.)

Controlling behavior frequently has fear at the back of it. But your relatives are able to use it because you let them! You may feel you're in a "if you don't do it my way you don't love me" situation with them. (Wait 'til your children tell you that if you loved them you'd let them stay out all night!) But you know that's not true. You love them dearly! You're in a different place, now, though - you are a grown-up woman, a wife, and a mother. You're still your father's child, but his independent, adult child.

So you may have to take adult-like courage and say, "As a family, we are going to Chicago [or wherever] for this holiday. We love you dearly and we want to see you, too. Why don't you come to our house on [this date]? Yes, I know it's different, but that's the way it will be this year." Don't stick around long enough for argument - you don't have to explain yourself - and DON'T CHANGE YOUR PLANS. If the guilt business is tried, just be friendly and firm in front of them (you're getting practice doing this with your son) and say, "I love you, and we'll see you soon!" You may feel as if you're putting on an act, but go ahead and act right now if you need to.

Also, try inviting your relatives to your house to visit you instead of going to their home ALL the time. I don't mean an open invitation; I mean, "Please come for dinner and a party on the 12th - we're celebrating the last leaves falling off the trees outside and we want you to be with us." Or something like that. If they don't want to fit in with your plans, say again, "I'm sorry you can't make it - we love you and we'll see you real soon!" The idea is for you to assume the upper hand.

They won't like this, but let that be their problem. If you are loving and kind, while maintaining your own ground and not letting yourself be controlled, they will either get out of your life or come to accept the way you do things. I imagine that after a lot of fussing they will go with your plans. It might even be a relief for them to find they don't have to hold on to the reins so tightly. Don't count on that happening for a while, though. That probably comes in a later chapter.

(FYI, when our kids are living close enough to our home, we often do see them at holidays! But if the time comes when none of them wants to show up, I've already made plans about what to do with myself so I won't feel lonely or abandoned!)

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