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Am I wrong not allowing my family to stay at my house during the holidays?

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (21 November 2023) 5 Answers - (Newest, 22 November 2023)
A male United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

About 20 years ago, I went low contact with my parents and my older brother.

My dad favored my brother and expected me to look up to my brother like you would expect to see on TV. My brother ended up thinking it was OK to go into my bedroom and take things without permission, especially money (I ended up keeping all my money in a bank or on me at all times). My mom either ignored me when I complained or took my brother and dad's side. So when I was 19 years old, I contacted one of my uncles who lived on the other side of the country, bought a train ticket and moved into his guest house (I paid him rent). I used UPS to ship him my belongings that did not fit into my suitcase (being 19 years old, I did not have a lot of belongings).

So in the past 20 years, I only talked to my parents once a month. I see them once every few years (when I go home to visit, I rent a hotel room near their house).

I still live on the other side of the country. I bought a house on the same street that my uncle and cousins live on. I am single with a three bedroom house, but I have only one bed (I used the other bedrooms for as a hobby room and the other extra room as an office room for my job).

Well, my dad and mom both retired. They called me the other day and said that they wanted to fly out to where I live in and visit for Christmas. And they were bringing my brother and his family (a wife and two kids who I never met before). I pretty much told them that if they wanted to visit, they would have to get a hotel room and gave them suggestions of hotels near my house. I even volunteered to pay for my parents hotel room. They got angry at me and said they wanted to stay at my house and spend time with me. Than they started pressuring me by saying stuff like "You haven't even met your sister-in-law, niece and nephew" and "You never get to spend time with us since you moved out there". I just got fed up with their drama and said "Why don't you make other arrangements for Christmas that does not include me?" and hung up the phone.

My uncle (my dad's brother) that helped me move out here said that he understands how I feel, but I did break my parents heart that I never accepted their attempts to make our relationship better.

Am I doing anything wrong by not allowing them stay at my house? I do love them and I know that the love me. But there is bad blood between us.

View related questions: christmas, cousin, money, moved in, moved out

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (22 November 2023):

My family were far worse than you, forever making big demands, criticising and abusing me - I had a nervous breakdown when about twenty because of it all. If social services had known what my parents were really like I doubt they would have been allowed to keep me, and they never cared a jot about me, when I was very ill in hospital they never visited or anything and were just around the corner and free all day.

I had a similar situation to you. I left home young and made my own way in the world, I did a lot better than all of them put together. Then they wanted to come to me for money, somewhere to live and all the rest. Despite the fact they had always neglected me, taken from me, abused me or been nasty to me.

I don't think you should forget. Your home is organised to suit you. Like me you have a lot of bedrooms you use for other things. You don't need to reorganise your home or your life to suit people you don't want to. Offering to pay for them to go to a hotel was more than enough. They want to control you and ask for more and more so that they can feel important and superior to you. They want to turn you into the child they could manipulate and expect too much of. Don't let them.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (22 November 2023):

Honeypie agony auntNo, you did the right thing (FOR YOU)

Sounds like you parents are still as entitled to your stuff and time.

Offering to pay for a hotel is totally fine. You didn't tell them to stay in the hotel room all day. It was just WHERE they needed to go to sleep.

Honestly? You might just be better off with no seeing them or visiting THEM on your terms.

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A male reader, Fatherly Advice United States + , writes (22 November 2023):

Fatherly Advice agony aunt "I did break my parents heart that I never accepted their attempts to make our relationship better."

What this means is that your father called his brother and complained. You need to stop reading anything else into this.

"Am I doing anything wrong by not allowing them stay at my house?"

Right and wrong have nothing to do with it. You have a moral obligation to give houseroom to your dependents, not to your relatives. By the theory of Karma, you were given housing when you were homeless, so you need to pay that back. That is the right and wrong of it.

BUT! lets look at this specific situation. Your Birth family is not homeless and are only making a feeble attempt to heal the relationship. A proper attempt would start with communication, it would respect your needs and it would allow for measured steps towards reconciliation. It would not include pressure or threats, not even the threat that some day you will live with this regret.

An accurate view of this recent interaction would be that Your parents offered to start towards reconciliation by visiting you. You proposed reasonable boundaries to protect yourself. Your boundaries were rejected and it was assumed that the reconciliation was accomplished simply by the offer to visit. You restated that the reconciliation was failed.

Now for some advice: The invasion and theft you suffered as a child was a Trauma that you have not yet recovered from. It's been a very long time, and it appears that you would benefit from counseling. Find a therapist with experience in Trauma and childhood abandonment. You really don't need an apology from your parents or a repayment from your brother, What you need is to accept and live with your loss. When you do achieve that you may be able to relax your boundaries. At this point your boundaries are reasonable to you. Even if Dad can't understand them.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (22 November 2023):

As someone who went through the same thing as you, left home at 23 due to my mum and dad being horrible to me and favouring my brother and ignoring me when I spoke up. At 50 years old and still the other side of the country! I visit very little now as they don't even seem to want me there at they're house. But if I had to get a hotel to see them I don't think I would ever visit as I feel it's unkind!

Anyway about a year ago my dad died and I never got to see him because of all this drama. Now I have to live with the regret everyday. So my advice to you is forgive because I wish I did and let your family come to stay. At least you can try and move forward with them. And in your heart you will feel better for trying. Don't be stubborn like me as it ends up coming back to haunt you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 November 2023):

Am I doing anything wrong by not allowing them stay at my house?


As simple as that.

Sometimes people want to manipulate us by calling our honesty rude or pressuring us using emotional blackmail or social conventions.

You don't owe them anything.

There are families like that.

Good for you for understanding what they expected from you and making your own way.

Sometimes good people do bad things. You don't have to hate them in order not to be bound to them.

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