Playing Chicken With The Wedding Train

by Bill Brenner on February 6, 2012

It’s a common pain in the ass when a couple is planning their wedding: Someone threatens to boycott the event unless so-and-so is uninvited.

Mood music:

In the run-up to my wedding in 1998, a close cousin pulled this when he got into a fight with my aunt — his mom. She went to the wedding and he skipped it. I haven’t seen or heard from him since then. Erin and I were paying for most of the wedding ourselves and were determined to keep the guest list small. That led to all kinds of hurt feelings about this one or that one being invited while someone else was excluded.

At my sister‘s wedding in 1996, a whole section of the family — led by my mother — boycotted the event because they were not fans of the groom. That they were ultimately right about the guy is beside the point. They could have given her love and support anyway, but chose not to. I don’t really fault them in the end. We’re all human and our emotions often get the better of us.

But to the couple getting married, this sort of bullshit is the stuff of terrible anxiety and lost sleep. They’re trying to make their loved ones part of their special day, then someone decides to make it about them and start dictating the terms of their attendance.

A bright exception was my cousin’s wedding last summer. A lot of family members who aren’t on speaking terms stuffed their attitudes in their pockets and behaved on what turned out to be a wonderful occasion. At the time I gave my mother a lot of credit for being cordial on that day.

After the wedding my mother called¬†and asked if we could try to heal the rift between us. Since then I’ve invested a lot of effort and emotion into doing so. Along the way, I unblocked her from Facebook. Trust me: It took a lot for me to do that.

She found this blog, as I intended. I knew it would be hard for her to read, but I was hoping she could get past some of the more unpleasant childhood memories I shared and see the bigger picture — that I had forgiven her and taken responsibility for my own mistakes; and that my head was in a much healthier place then it was the year our relationship crumbled. That’s the whole point of this blog, really, that a person can overcome a lot of ugly emotion and turmoil and discover real joy.

Unfortunately, she missed all that stuff and zeroed straight in on what she saw as my distorted picture of her. Over several conversations and blog posts directed right at her, I tried to steer her toward the right perspective.

But like she has done so many times before, she emerged with a picture of herself as the victim of someone else’s torment. First she unfriended me on Facebook. Then she called me and suggested that I was a deeply disturbed mental case in need of emergency treatment.

And now we’ve come full circle:

My sister is getting married again and my mother has threatened to skip the wedding unless me, my wife and kids are excluded.

Like so many times before, she is making it about her grudge instead of someone else’s happiness.

It’s sad. I feel for her, because I want her to be in a better mental place. But I guess that’s not going to happen.

I’m going to have to put this relationship back on ice. I don’t regret trying, though. It’s better to try and fail then to do nothing.

Still, the whole thing is sad.

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