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Daughter ponders not inviting mother to her wedding

Amy Dickinson
Amy Dickinson Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy: My mother and I have a difficult relationship. She has some serious mental issues. She has seen a few psychologists throughout her life, but once the therapy starts to bring up things my mother does not like or agree with, she calls them crazy and quits.

She has done a lot of things to hurt me and my siblings, and as hard as we work to build some sort of relationship, she works just as hard to tear it down.

I will be getting married next year. I do not want to invite her.

My sister got married last year and our mother’s behavior was unreasonable. A week before the wedding she cussed her out and told her that marriage is horrible and that all men cheat.

The morning of the wedding she kept calling my sister and the wedding planner. She tried to make it all about her. When the bride and groom visited tables during the reception, our mother turned her head away and ignored my sister. She left a couple of hours later without telling anyone.

She pushes people away with her erratic behavior.

I feel guilty that I don’t have a relationship with her, but I have been hurt in the past, so I no longer trust her.

My fiancé suggested that we explain to her why we don’t feel comfortable inviting her, and then create a time where we can visit her a couple weeks after the wedding.

I don’t know what to do. Should I invite her and suck it up, even though she will probably make me angry/sad on my wedding day?

At a Loss

Dear At a Loss: If you want to sever whatever remaining shred of a relationship you might have with your mother, then don’t invite her to your wedding.

However, I think you should consider inviting her, but then not let her make you angry/sad.

Expect her to say or do hurtful, thoughtless or unkind things. Understand that her punishing tendency is to try to create drama. Don’t engage. This form of loving detachment might get her angry enough in advance of your wedding that she will refuse to attend. That’s on her.

Your mantra should be, “I wish things could be magical and perfect, but that’s not the family I landed in. My family is flawed, my mother has problems, and yet – it is what it is.” Try to serenely anchor to your own joy, hold hands with your beloved and start your life together with your eyes open and facing your challenges together.

Ask your sister to help you run interference on the day.

Dear Amy: “Upset” was worried because her husband’s brother and his wife were going through a nasty divorce, and the brother didn’t want his ex-wife (the child’s godmother) to attend Upset’s child’s first communion. I was surprised that you suggested they speak with clergy about this. What does that have to do with their issue?


Dear Concerned: A child’s first communion is a religious event. The child’s godmother has an important role in this event. Clergy should influence all of the adults to behave.

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