Wedding and controlling parents-- how to cope
June 18, 2013 12:45 PM Subscribe
I'm getting married in 10 days, and it's stressful for everybody involved, mostly because I have controlling parents who are intricately involved with every part of this. Any tips/advice for coping with this situation? Lots of culture-specific snowflake details inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We wanted a low-key affair; parents insisted on a very large wedding that they can't afford. It's something they felt they had to do for cultural reasons. They are paying for most of it, but it's a large financial burden on them. So it's a lot of financial stress, as well as the regular wedding planning stress. Compounded with some other issues-- parents aren't really good at organizing or communicating, for example. Dad is authoritarian; mom acts like she doesn't know what to do about anything.
I don't usually live at home, and being back is kind of frustrating. Weekend visits are great, but any longer, and it's hard for me to cope with their lifestyle. Seeing that they haven't changed and still treat me like a child, despite me living independently of them, is really annoying. I'm burnt out and exhausted, and feeling really negative about being forced to have this circus of a wedding that I didn't want. So I'm way more irritable and short-tempered as of late.
The small wedding details add up to a lot of work for my siblings, and my parents expect me to be grateful that they are putting in this work (doing things like DIY favours, etc) and they've more than once reminded me that I should be grateful that I have family who is helping out, and that I will have to help out equally at my siblings' weddings when they get married. I think my mother also is reminding me of this, because she feels I'm not pulling my weight for the wedding and she generally thinks I'm lazy, and is worried that this doesn't bode well for my future as a married woman. My parents hold really traditional values where women do all the housework. They come from a culture where the marriage of a daughter is a sad event for the family, because it's usually the first time the daughter is leaving her parents' home, and is going to live with her husband's family in his parents' home, where she will have to do all the domestic work.
I will not be living with my partner's family, and we both strongly believe in equal work both inside and outside the home. My parents know this, and I think they know that our marriage is not going to be exactly like theirs, but that does not stop from my mom from making comments like "You will see, it's not all roses" and "Stronger-willed women than you have been tamed by their husbands/mother-in-laws" or "You will see-- you will miss us, and you'll regret this" or "You will see-- there's no place like your mother's home" (And yes, I do regret losing my temper with her or fighting with her.) I really am excited to be marrying my fiance, and really looking forward to our life together, but comments like this do give me pause and make me think if she really thinks my fiance, and his mother are evil (even though I know she's lashing out when she's upset and her comments are more telling of her life experience and cultural motifs than they are of my future). It upsets me, because I expected her to be happier during this time period, especially if as they know, it is the last time I will be living with them in their house.
Mom is also on my case to lose wight, and yes, I should, but the event is in 10 days and I just don't care that much. This wedding has been in the works for a year now, and she's upset I haven't done anything to drop the weight. She's also stressed out and likely going through menopause, so is also irritable and short-fused.
Any advice/tips on coping with this situation? Calling it off is not an option. Going elsewhere for the next 10 days is also not an option. Just want some general advice on dealing with parents who treat grown children like children-- I'm worried that this doesn't bode well for the future, and the way they blatantly disregarded our preferences for our wedding may be setting a precedent for them always interfering in our lives. We are not planning to move cities and will be about 15 KM away from my family, and about 50 KM away from his.
I'm also wondering more generally how to establish an adult relationship with my parents (while recognizing that I have some people-pleasing tendencies, and am sometimes overly concerned with what my parents think of me/my lifestyle).
Also looking for more specific tips on how to make it through the next 10 days without losing my mind.