General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Will you share your take on this situation with my extended family?

Asked by SuperMouse (30809points) April 18th, 2011

This Easter Sunday my family is visiting my grandfather at the assisted living facility where he lives to have brunch with him. My uncle, the local patriarch of the family, emailed invitations to the in town family including my brother and sister and their families, a cousin and a step-cousin and their families and a couple of other local relatives. Not long after the invites went out, my sister asked if I planned to attend – I had never received an invitation. She told my uncle I would like to join the family who told her in turn that he had already called in the reservation and if I wanted to join in I would have to get the info and set up a reservation on my own. I admit it, I was hurt that my uncle didn’t include my family and me.

Here is a little more background. First, I am not Christian and do not celebrate Easter. Second, it has been a pretty challenging year in my world and the one family member I have been consistently in contact with is my sister. I have seen my larger extended family on big occasions, but I have missed several smaller gatherings during the past couple of years. When I was married recently the only people invited to the wedding were my sister (who I am very close to) and my husband’s and my children – no extended family from either side was invited. Finally, although we aren’t a super close knit family, we have always enjoyed getting together and there is no estrangement (as far as I know!) between myself and the rest of the family.

All the same I feel hurt and slighted by this whole situation and I would be very interested to hear the Collective’s take on it and thoughts as to whether I should discuss it with my uncle.

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30 Answers

chyna's avatar

The uncle should have called and made the reservations, making everything right with you. Did he tell your sister why you weren’t invited in the first place?

JLeslie's avatar

Well, if your uncle is paying for everyone, I might be more understanding, but at first glance I think his response was awful. He should call and change the reservation. It would be different if he said that he wanted to keep just a small group of people, because he does not want it to be overwhelming for his father, and hopes there are not any hurt feelings. But, to say more people can come, but he is not going to lift a finger to accomodate them is just rude. I don’t see how they invite your sister and not you?

Weddings are completely different in my opinion. If they felt excluded from your wedding and this is pay back, they suck, but there are many people who are like that.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, and whether you are Christian or not should not matter in my opinion. But, people are ignorant about these things also. I have no idea what was in your uncle’s head.

SuperMouse's avatar

@chyna she didn’t ask why I wasn’t on the list. When we have talked about it, my sister has said that it was probably just an oversight but I am dubious. She has admitted that it might have something to do with my not being as social with the family as I was before my life turned upside down. When things did start going south, not a single one of these folks made any move to speak to me, they just talked amongst themselves about it and asked my sister all kinds of questions.

@JLeslie I could totally see the point of wanting to keep it small in the interest of not overwhelming my grandfather, but I don’t think that is the case since he invited my step-cousin – who isn’t even his granddaughter – and her family. He also invited his wife’s brother.

Until I typed this question it didn’t even occur to me that he should have said he would call and change the reservation!

Cruiser's avatar

You did something to lose favor with this Uncle….they say once a tree grows bent it is near impossible to straighten things out. Drop off a nice gift basket to your grandfather before Easter and enjoy the day with your family instead.

JLeslie's avatar

@SuperMouse Does he mean you change the reservation for two more, or you get your own table?

SuperMouse's avatar

@JLeslie I am honestly not sure what he meant because I didn’t bother to follow up with him. All I know for sure is that he told my sister that if I wanted to go I would be on my own.

@Cruiser I think my husband, my boys, and I will visit my grandfather on Saturday with a box of chocolate covered cherries. Lurve for a great suggestion!

chyna's avatar

I’m sorry, I know that kind of thing would bother me too. @Cruiser has a great idea.

JLeslie's avatar

I think if you decide not to push the Sunday meal, try to not dwell on the whole thing. Next family function/holiday you host, invite your uncle like everything is normal, and hope it is just one of those things. If you are always gracious and inclusive, the family will begin to wonder he excludes you, if that is what he is doing. Plus, if you visit on Saturday, I bet you your grandfather asks if you are going to be there for Easter also.

Coloma's avatar

Not that it is right, it is not, but maaaybe, because you have been absent form some recent get togethers your uncle assumed you would not be interested.

Really, the best way to handle this is to confront him directly and ASK him WHY he did not invite you.

If he says it is because you have opted out of other get togethers in recent months and he assumed you would not be interested, well….then you have the opportunity to TELL him that in the future you would appreciate an invitation regardless of whether you accept.

You have a choice, stew and take his actions personally, or, speak up and communicate clearly about your feelings. The rest is useless drama.

gailcalled's avatar

I was thinking, also (like Coloma) that your uncle may have a slightly different take on things. You have alluded to some challenges and your own personal family preferences.

Saying that he “should” have behaved differently will not change anything. You can alter your behavior, of course. If the situations is troubling you (and it clearly seems to), you have some work to do to clarify things. Your uncle has a right to his feelings.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I agree with @Coloma and @gailcalled. You’re going to have to talk to him about this, probably after Sunday. I see where you might be miffed in that during your challenges last year, no one seemed to reach out to you, but you can communicate how that bothered you as well, get to the root of it and get some clarity and understanding.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You’re not coming into town to kowtow to your uncle, but rather to see your grandfather. Think of your uncle as a middle-aged high school drama queen, and act accordingly. Make the reservation, get there early, grab the seats next to your grandfather, act bewildered if your uncle acts like a jerk.

Cupcake's avatar

@SuperMouse Maybe I missed it (it’s my bedtime), but how far away do you live from this in-town family? If you live a few hours or more away… I don’t think his behavior (lack of invitation) is very strange. It’s not friendly, welcoming, loving, etc., but not strange.

Coloma's avatar

My take is based on an ex friend that was one of those frantically ‘busy’ types. After several years of rejected invitations for various events, parties, get togethers, I just quit inviting her.

It’s a natural response to the repeated declines.

On the one hand assumptions are almost always wrong, on the other, one responds accordingly to experience, so, sometimes an assumption is really not an assumption but a predictable reaction to a longstanding pattern.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Cupcake I live in the same town, only a few miles from where my grandfather lives.

I honestly feel no need or desire to hash this out with my uncle. I know, I know saying that is opening myself up to all kinds scrutiny, but I have been a member of this family long enough to know it is a waste of time and energy. I brought it to the collective to hear the perspectives of folks a little more removed.@Coloma and @Gailcalled made me think about it from a different perspective and I appreciate that as much as I do the support for my position and hurt feelings. I am miffed and disappointed and learned something about my uncle, but I won’t stew about it, that wastes as much time and energy.

I will see my grandfather on Saturday (as @Cruiser suggested), join my sister and any other family that shows up for dessert (which she invited me to after the brunch) and enjoy the Ridvan celebration on Sunday afternoon!

Cupcake's avatar

Ewww… that’s yucky.

On the other hand, it’s easy to feel hurt by others… but better to assume their intentions were good (my motto: “when you can assume, assume good”). I agree with you, I wouldn’t say much to him.

I feel you on so many levels (different religion from family, divorce, new marriage, lack of warm and fuzzy and embracing family members…). I think your plan for the weekend is perfect. I’m sorry you have to face this right now, but it sounds like you’ll have a great weekend anyway.

Cupcake's avatar

P.S. I’m a big fan of boundaries and assertiveness. I would probably say something to my uncle like, “We don’t need to have a conversation about it and I’m assuming that your intentions were good, but I was hurt when I wasn’t included in the email about visiting grandpa on Easter. I hope that when you organize family events in the future that you’ll include me.” (perhaps followed by an “I love you” and/or a hug).

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t say anything if this is the first time something like this has happened. I would wait for a pattern.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think I’m a bit confused: Are you or aren’t you estranged from most of your family, including the uncle?

mazingerz88's avatar

You indicated as far as you know there is no estrangement between you and the rest of the family. I think now there is potential for one to develop if not squelched right away. I agree with @Coloma. I’ll give your uncle the benefit of a doubt and ask him why he excluded you. That will stop you from wondering. Based on that result, you can now move on to deciding your next move. Your uncle is not your whole extended family even if he is the patriarch but that’s my assumption. You are the one who knows them well.

SuperMouse's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs as I wrote in the original question, I am not estranged from my uncle or any of the family. For the record my grandfather and I get along very well and thoroughly enjoy one another’s company.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@SuperMouse Ah, I thought you had indicated that in the past year or so, that had changed.

Nullo's avatar

It sounds like an oversight on the part of the uncle. While there is certainly room for malice, I would hesitate to suppose that he deliberately excluded you.
My parents tell a story about their first camping trip together, years back. Short version: they split up the preparations, Mom the food and Dad the gear. All was going well until they found out (once they had arrived at the Pinnacles) that Dad, so accustomed to camping by himself, had completely forgotten to prepare a sleeping bag for Mom. It ended well, fortunately.
We are creatures of habit, and sometimes those old habits crop up in awkward times and places.

john65pennington's avatar

It appears your big mistake was not inviting all the family to your wedding. I am sure this hit some of your relatives the wrong way. I would have been p___ed off, too.

I think you are now receiving the cold shoulder for the no invites to your wedding.

Sooner or later, it will all work itself out.

I experienced a similar siuation with the death of my mother. The county line separated their family and my family. This went on for five years. When my mother passed away, I began to see all the family members again and i needed their company and support. They were there for me.

Invited or not invited, I would still go to the meeting with your grandfather.

This is why you should go: he may not live much longer and you would grieve yourself to death, if you missed this occasion to see and be with him.

Once they are gone, they are gone and there is no coming back.

Go and hug your grandfather like there is no tomorrow.

augustlan's avatar

Whether your exclusion was intentional or not, it strikes me as pretty snotty of him not to offer to change the reservation. Bleh. Anyway, I like your plan. Hope it all goes well!

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington She only invited her sister and her husband’s children to the wedding, no extended family. The uncle is inviting her sister to the Easter meal. I don’t see how the two are the same. If she invites other uncles and aunts, and excluded this particular one from being invited to the wedding, then maybe it would be understandable there is some sort of stupid resentment or hurt feelings. I don’t see how you can say @SuperMouse made a big mistake.

Bagardbilla's avatar

I would call and make any changes necessary to be included, I’d show up have a great time as if nothing happened. And if the occasion arose where I could have a word with the uncle/patriarch of the family, I’d air my grievance to him in a non-attacking manner.
If he’s going to play the role of a patriarch, he’s going to have to take into account EVERYONE’s wellbeing, not just those he likes! ...and I’d convey that much to him, in private ofcourse.

Coloma's avatar

Right @Bagardbilla

I have found the quickest way to determine anothers ability to communicate in a healthy way and show whether or not they can hear and respect anothers feelings, to be the 1st time you need to address an issue with that person about an inconsiderate behavior.

Those that are healthy enough to hear anothers feelings, concerns, in an open minded and responsible manner are the ones that stay in my stable.

Those that cannot, well, they are set free. lol

The bad news…. it can often take YEARS before the opportunity for the ‘test’ shows up. haha

jca's avatar

I agree with those that said it was pretty rude of your Uncle to not make the change in reservation on your behalf. “You’re on your own” sounds to me like you might be sitting at another table, which would be terribly rude.

Please post an update as to what the outcome is and how things turn out.

The Update Lady

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