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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1768
Experience:  PHD LPC
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Dear Dr Keane, I took your advice and tried to arrange more

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Dear Dr Keane,

I took your advice and tried to arrange more time with the sister-in-law, who is the planner. When I visited the States with my daughter last Easter, this sister-in-law very kindly arranged to get us tickets to the White House. My daughter had agreed to go on this trip, but then changed her mind when my sister and my mother told her that she didn't have to go. As she is now 15, I could not physically make her go, and I am angry with her behaviour as she broke her word to me

I told my family how I felt and they once again did not seem to understand my side. I am supposed to see my mother this Christmas and have mixed feelings about it. She is elderly and this may be one of the last times that I get to see her. I've gotten to the point where I feel that I must spell out my terms to them before I even purchase an airline ticket. Moreover, I simply do not want to see the sister-in-law who surprises me
with her plans. As we are incompatible on so many levels, would it be so wrong of me to suggest to her that we simply visit my mother at different times?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi, I am sorry to you are experiencing more angst in regards XXXXX XXXXX sister in law. It sounds as though she is always going to do what she does and have no concern for your feelings, even after you spoke to her about it. If you accept that this is who she is and isn't going to change you can insist (might cause an argument) that she not over rule your decisions concerning your daughter and you can inform your daughter that you expect her to participate in things you plan while you are on holiday. Then, hope for the best, XXXXX XXXXX can postpone the trip until you are sure to just see you mother.
If you don't want the confrontation postpone or rearrange the trip.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The problem is my sister-in-law has a daughter the same age as mine and she insists on coming up when I do, so that they can visit with one another and you know what happens then.


As she lives in the States and can see my family more often on other major holidays, is it so awful of me to ask to have Christmas without them. My daughter will practically be grown in two years' time and can then see them on her own if she likes. In the meantime, I wouldn't mind having something my way for once.


My mother is elderly and Christmas is important to her as well as to my daughter, so even though it is not my favorite holiday, I am very hesitant to postpone it.

Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi, That is a difficult request and could cause a lot of problems and stress that you don't need. I would suggest you talk to your sister in law and tell her you are hesitant about coming for Christmas because you would like your daughter to participate in activities with you and with other family members. Tell her that you would like to be in on what the plans will be and to have a say. I would tell her the girls don't have to do everything with you but you feel you have been so over ruled on previous visits that are hesitant to come and have to comply with everyone else's wishes. At 15 you have to also understand they do not want to have anything to do with adults! That is normal. If you feel you get dismissed after this conversation. I don't know why they behave this way but this may be one you won't win. I wouldn't postpone the trip, I would let it unfold with no expectations. Difficult? Yes, however, is it worth all the angst? Teens can disappoint and so can family. Think about visiting your mother and enjoying your time with her. Let the other "stuff" go. Your daughter is old enough to choose to stay with her cousins, and truthfully, as she gets older and past these years you will find she will want to travel with you and enjoy doing things with you (especially if you are paying). You can insist and get it in writing from your daughter that she will do certain things (fill in the blank) while with you in the states and let the rest go. Focus on having a good visit and great Christmas. I wish I had a better solution and I do hear what you are saying but it's difficult when you have your sister in law being the "planner" and likes to be in control. Remember this is about seeing your mother and that should be your focus.
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Edited by Dr. Keane on 8/7/2010 at 1:49 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

You have not directly answered my question. My feelings have been dismissed by my sister-in-law and my other family members so many times over the years that I do not want to negotiate with them further.


My sister-in-law has a different budget, a different set of interests, and no respect for anyone else's time. If she is two hours late for an appointment she considers herself early! We are incompatible on all levels.


Unlike me, she is able to celebrate the other major holidays with my mother, and I would like to ask her not to come up for Christmas. Do you think this is an unreasonable request?

Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 7 years ago.
Hi, sorry you did not get the inference from my last response that it isn't unreasonable but it may cause even more problems. So, a yes or no answer would be yes, in light of the situation and the reason you are coming to the states. I understand your frustration, your concerns and your inability to appeal to her logically. You ask, and you may find yourself in a worse situation, you both need to think about your mother, if she is that self centered and controlling she won't. If you don't want to negotiate or take the high road, as well as do what is "the right thing" and best for your mother, then you should ask her not to come. Be ready for the consequences.
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