• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Christmas at the in-laws... again

K

Keyboard Worrier

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Messages
36
Location
Planet Earth
My wife and I have been married for 15 years. In those 15 years we have spent most of every Christmas Day at her Grandmother's or Parent's house for dinner. We have never had Christmas dinner with my parents and never in our own house. Her Grandmother insists that all her immediate family and their families have dinner she cooks every year.

Christmas at the in-laws is massively intimidating for me, as there are routinely over 20 people there. Some cousins I only see once/twice a year and I'm really uncomfortable in this environment. My wife is well aware of my social anxiety and is generally supportive about it, but Dinner at her Grandmother's is non-negotiable. It really annoys me. I will dread this day every year, from a month in advance.

My wife and I have had several arguments about it in years past, but I try not to create any confrontation about it as I don't want to upset the Christmas spirit. It just is not an option to at least have our Christmas dinner at our own home – she tells me that her Granny won't live forever! I understand that, but I also have a family of origin. We do get to visit my family on Christmas Day for an hour or two in the evening, but the kids are tired and they have made their best memories at the in-laws.

If I mention that we have never had Christmas in our own home or with my family, my wife is immediately on the defensive about it. I have grown to really dislike Christmas, apart of course from the parts with my wife and kids in our own home.
 
Z

Zoe1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
22,470
Location
Nowhere
you've made your wife aware of your social anxiety
but maybe not your actual specific feelings about the Christmas scenario


I have grown to really dislike Christmas

if you were to tell her more about how it makes you feel
that you are not consulted about the plans she might listen
rather than in terms of your diagnosis

if you do end up at the in laws try to think of some survival strategies
like removing yourself for a walk after dinner to clear your head
taking a small book or your phone with you for some ' me time '
or excusing yourself to a bathroom or spare bedroom
where you could call a friend
because your feelings at Christmas matter !


:grouphug:
 
K

Keyboard Worrier

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Messages
36
Location
Planet Earth
Thanks for your reply. I have definitely made it clear to my wife that I would like to try and make our own Christmas Day tradition and still call and see her family after dinner. Our kids know nothing else now. My wife and kids love the Christmas Day festivities and all the relatives on Christmas Day. It makes me feel almost physically sick, I hate it. I genuinely look forward to New Years, when all the fuss is over and the possibility of idle smalltalk with relatives is over.

Last year I did ask my wife if we could go out for a walk to escape the chaos, but what happened? We met some of the relatives out walking as well and spend 15 minutes making small talk with them. Christmas just feels like prison to me. There is no escaping the onslaught of in-laws, I have no interest in. Roll on January for me.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
6,678
Location
sillyville, USA
I had this same problem for many years. One Christmas I got so upset about going to the insulting in laws I refused to go. I did that for 3 years straight. It ruined my christmas every year and I decided I mattered too.
 
K

Keyboard Worrier

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Messages
36
Location
Planet Earth
I had this same problem for many years. One Christmas I got so upset about going to the insulting in laws I refused to go. I did that for 3 years straight. It ruined my christmas every year and I decided I mattered too.

I admire you for making the stand. I wish I had that courage.

I'm not afraid of my wife, I love her and my kids (not my in-laws) and I don't want to make my wife unhappy. Also, I don't want to argue in front of the kids, or within their ear shot.
 
B

BlueWater

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
915
Location
Earth
In our 20 years of marriage, no parent has been at our house on Christmas day. Only once has family come to us for Thanksgiving. I've given up caring and honestly don't want to be bothered with others. I just want to be at home those days eating a simple meal and doing whatever I want. This year I'm doing just that.
 
B

BlueWater

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
915
Location
Earth
Of course, it's different when you have kids at home and you need to be present at functions as a tribe. My husband and I don't plus he works an odd schedule this month so this year we told everyone we will not be driving seventeen hours to visit them. They took it ok.
 
B

BlueWater

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
915
Location
Earth
When I was growing up my maternal family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition that no family member could break. Fast forward to adulthood and me moving far away and it took my mother many years to accept that I would not always be able to be at her house on Dec 24. I think that by the time you have your own family it's good to have your own traditions and for you to live for yourselves. Hope this helps.
 
I

IDontCare99

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
1,699
Location
NoWhere
My wife and I have been married for 15 years. In those 15 years we have spent most of every Christmas Day at her Grandmother's or Parent's house for dinner. We have never had Christmas dinner with my parents and never in our own house. Her Grandmother insists that all her immediate family and their families have dinner she cooks every year.

Christmas at the in-laws is massively intimidating for me, as there are routinely over 20 people there. Some cousins I only see once/twice a year and I'm really uncomfortable in this environment. My wife is well aware of my social anxiety and is generally supportive about it, but Dinner at her Grandmother's is non-negotiable. It really annoys me. I will dread this day every year, from a month in advance.

My wife and I have had several arguments about it in years past, but I try not to create any confrontation about it as I don't want to upset the Christmas spirit. It just is not an option to at least have our Christmas dinner at our own home – she tells me that her Granny won't live forever! I understand that, but I also have a family of origin. We do get to visit my family on Christmas Day for an hour or two in the evening, but the kids are tired and they have made their best memories at the in-laws.

If I mention that we have never had Christmas in our own home or with my family, my wife is immediately on the defensive about it. I have grown to really dislike Christmas, apart of course from the parts with my wife and kids in our own home.
I've always wanted to do my own dinner in my home as well. I always feel out of place playing on other people's territory. Sometimes I feel like I can truly open up and be myself if it's on my own territory, so I know what you mean, but I'm trying harder to be present for gatherings even though I don't like them. I usually skip the loud, crowded Christmas party because I get overstimulated with all the games and stuff.

I always found it easier to keep my own home in order when other people would visit me, as opposed to me always having to visit them. When nobody comes to see me, I get lazy about household chores and stuff. I do know how you feel though, it does get tiresome, but I'm trying harder to be present, because maybe they just don't know. Honestly, I'm a little intimidated about cooking for so many people in my house. I would like to cook, but I get anxiety about it. I just wish people in general would quit expecting me to always come to their house, and act like they'd want to visit my house. Everyone gets too comfortable in their own space tho.
 
B

BlueWater

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
915
Location
Earth
I've always wanted to do my own dinner in my home as well. I always feel out of place playing on other people's territory. Sometimes I feel like I can truly open up and be myself if it's on my own territory, so I know what you mean, but I'm trying harder to be present for gatherings even though I don't like them. I usually skip the loud, crowded Christmas party because I get overstimulated with all the games and stuff.

I always found it easier to keep my own home in order when other people would visit me, as opposed to me always having to visit them. When nobody comes to see me, I get lazy about household chores and stuff. I do know how you feel though, it does get tiresome, but I'm trying harder to be present, because maybe they just don't know. Honestly, I'm a little intimidated about cooking for so many people in my house. I would like to cook, but I get anxiety about it. I just wish people in general would quit expecting me to always come to their house, and act like they'd want to visit my house. Everyone gets too comfortable in their own space tho.
I do my best cleaning in the days before a visitor! I like one to two people coming but not a group. I really prefer that my holidays are quiet and simple.
 
K

Keesha

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,747
Location
N/A
I just wouldn’t go.
 
M

Mary26

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2018
Messages
350
Location
USA
For what it's worth, as much as I can understand how important this tradition is for your wife, she's in a marriage, a partnership, and to be insensitive to your needs is really not okay. I would think if you unilaterally decided Christmas was going to be with your family regardless of her feelings, she would find that unacceptable. I don't think it's manipulative of you to ask for the same respect. It's not just about celebrating with your family either, it's about protecting your mental health. Marriage is a "we" and she's thinking like a "me".
 
Top