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Old 12-10-2018, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default strategies for successful Christmas visit with family who is essentially estranged

So I'm going to see my sister and brother-in-law and their 2 boys this Christmas, for the first time in several years after a big blow up between me and them (sis and bro-in-law). My other sister, who lives in the same part of the country as them, is having Christmas for the first time in quite a while. It has been the plan for some months that they may come to my sister's for a day, but it was communicated just a couple days ago that they are going to be there for 4 days, which is nearly the whole time my kids and I are going to be there (my hubby is having some health issues and had already decided not to attend).

When the blow up happened, my sis and bro-in-law essentially pulled away from the whole family, not just me. It seems pretty weird to me that rather than starting to reconnect over a short visit, they are going to just jump right in with a 4 day visit. I'm not sure what their expectations are. Do they think it's going to be like nothing happened? I'm going to try to make the best of it but there's certainly potential for awkwardness and worse.

I'm annoyed that they made such a dramatic change to the visit at the last minute. My kids and I took time off of work and spent money on airline tickets, etc, thinking it would be an awesome time with my sister and her family. Now it's going to be completely different and very uncertain. Maybe I'm being selfish to think that way. I was pleased when I heard that they were thinking of coming to my sister's for a day because I took it as they are interested in reconnecting with the family. Maybe I should try to focus on the positive, including that things could go well.

Any advice that people have about dealing with a situation like this would be appreciated.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G lady View Post
So I'm going to see my sister and brother-in-law and their 2 boys this Christmas, for the first time in several years after a big blow up between me and them (sis and bro-in-law). My other sister, who lives in the same part of the country as them, is having Christmas for the first time in quite a while. It has been the plan for some months that they may come to my sister's for a day, but it was communicated just a couple days ago that they are going to be there for 4 days, which is nearly the whole time my kids and I are going to be there (my hubby is having some health issues and had already decided not to attend).



When the blow up happened, my sis and bro-in-law essentially pulled away from the whole family, not just me. It seems pretty weird to me that rather than starting to reconnect over a short visit, they are going to just jump right in with a 4 day visit. I'm not sure what their expectations are. Do they think it's going to be like nothing happened? I'm going to try to make the best of it but there's certainly potential for awkwardness and worse.



I'm annoyed that they made such a dramatic change to the visit at the last minute. My kids and I took time off of work and spent money on airline tickets, etc, thinking it would be an awesome time with my sister and her family. Now it's going to be completely different and very uncertain. Maybe I'm being selfish to think that way. I was pleased when I heard that they were thinking of coming to my sister's for a day because I took it as they are interested in reconnecting with the family. Maybe I should try to focus on the positive, including that things could go well.



Any advice that people have about dealing with a situation like this would be appreciated.


So do I understand this right... you made plans to visit your sister and her family and now the other estranged sister is showing up for the whole four days youíll be there? I donít think youíre being selfish about having apprehensions about jumping right back into things after several years of estrangement. Itís just common sense that taking things slow would help maintain good boundaries. I think your options are to either shorten your trip, change your trip to another time frame, or hang in there the full four days of this trip and hope for the best as far as everybody being able to be kind and considerate of one another...
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
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So I'm going to see my sister and brother-in-law and their 2 boys this Christmas, for the first time in several years after a big blow up between me and them (sis and bro-in-law). My other sister, who lives in the same part of the country as them, is having Christmas for the first time in quite a while. It has been the plan for some months that they may come to my sister's for a day, but it was communicated just a couple days ago that they are going to be there for 4 days, which is nearly the whole time my kids and I are going to be there (my hubby is having some health issues and had already decided not to attend).



When the blow up happened, my sis and bro-in-law essentially pulled away from the whole family, not just me. It seems pretty weird to me that rather than starting to reconnect over a short visit, they are going to just jump right in with a 4 day visit. I'm not sure what their expectations are. Do they think it's going to be like nothing happened? I'm going to try to make the best of it but there's certainly potential for awkwardness and worse.



I'm annoyed that they made such a dramatic change to the visit at the last minute. My kids and I took time off of work and spent money on airline tickets, etc, thinking it would be an awesome time with my sister and her family. Now it's going to be completely different and very uncertain. Maybe I'm being selfish to think that way. I was pleased when I heard that they were thinking of coming to my sister's for a day because I took it as they are interested in reconnecting with the family. Maybe I should try to focus on the positive, including that things could go well.



Any advice that people have about dealing with a situation like this would be appreciated.


You have every right to your feelings. Iíd be angry too!
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Old 12-11-2018, 02:45 PM   #4
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Well... since I'm pretty-much a recluse with no extended family, the concerns you raise here are not ones with which I'm probably in a position to be of help. However here's a link to an article, from PC's archives, that discusses coping with the holidays. It also provides links to quite a few additional articles on the subject. Perhaps within these articles you may find some helpful suggestions:

2017 Coping with the Holidays Guide

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Old 12-11-2018, 03:11 PM   #5
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I'm so sorry you're struggling, G lady Yes, it does seem weird that they would spend foru whole days if they're just starting to reconnect. Can you try to get a couple of days more of vacation? That way you'll at least have some time alone like you planned. Or if it's spending that much time together that bothers you, you can try to shorten your vacation, although that would be unfair to yourself. I wish you luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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That's really too bad. I would be upset and would question the motives for changing to a four day visit. Are they asserting dominance or attempting to reconcile? What does your other sister think?

I would book a hotel room if you haven't already - that is my number one strategy for making family visits more enjoyable.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:29 AM   #7
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Also, what about giving the estranged family a call ahead of time to catch up before the trip? It might make things less awkward and at the very least would give you an idea of what to expect.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:23 PM   #8
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I'm so sorry you're struggling, G lady Yes, it does seem weird that they would spend foru whole days if they're just starting to reconnect. Can you try to get a couple of days more of vacation? That way you'll at least have some time alone like you planned. Or if it's spending that much time together that bothers you, you can try to shorten your vacation, although that would be unfair to yourself. I wish you luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this

Hi G Lady,


I agree with Mickey Cheeky about some of your options. It sounds like an awkward situation to me. I hope you are able to spend some time alone with your other sister over the holidays.
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Old 12-17-2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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That's really too bad. I would be upset and would question the motives for changing to a four day visit. Are they asserting dominance or attempting to reconcile? What does your other sister think?

I would book a hotel room if you haven't already - that is my number one strategy for making family visits more enjoyable.
I agree. Book a hotel. That's a great idea.

A healthy person would use the Holiday as an opportunity to reconnect/ reconcile. An unhealthy person would use it as an excuse for "hoovering" you back in.

I don't know what the dynamic is in your situation. Who knows, she may really be sincere. Just take it slow, one step at a time.
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Old 12-17-2018, 06:35 PM   #10
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This is tricky , as you don't want to disappoint your sister who has kindly invited you for the holidays. If it were me I would most likely book a nice room in a nearby hotel or Bed&Breakfast, thus limiting the time spent at her place....this way you have a soft place to land should things go pear shaped.
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