Originally Posted by booklady78
So how do I maintain a relationship with my Dad now? My husband and I are invited to Easter dinner with my Dad, Step-Mom, brother and family, and I honestly can't decide if we should accept the invitation. My husband is greatly offended by much of what my Dad said and he isn't sure if he can remain civil. I'm still incredibly hurt by alot of what my Dad said but the middle of a family dinner is not an appropriate place to talk about it further.
How to set aside what he said and try to have a nice, family get together? Does anyone have experience of a disapproving family member that they maintained a relationship with? Can this work?
Oh god yes I have experience with disapproving family members, AND with being "forced" to "endure" family dinners at least 3 times a year, combined with multi-week-long stays out in the middle of butt-fuck-nowhere, Saskatchewan, stuck on a farm alone with my mother-in-law while her son was out seeding.
She hated me from the moment she first saw my blue mohawk, and never did learn to look past it, even after I let my hair grow out all brown and normal (for work). She was also a controlling, mentally/emotionally abusive parent, and hated that I was "stealing her son away from her" and encouraging him to stand up for his own rights and happiness.
But she loved her Easter and Christmas family get-togethers, and as much as she disliked me, she knew better than to tell her son I wasn't welcome. So I would sit there, surrounded by rednecks whose idea of good dinner conversation was the uselessness of indians on reserves, gossip about the neighbours, and put-downs behind the backs of the rest of the family... FUN!
So you expect your father to accept you the way you are. But what about accepting your father the way he is, with all his prejudices and Christian fundamentalism? Is he not entitled to his opinions and beliefs, whether or not you agree with them? If he's willing to look past your lifestyle, why are you not willing to extend him the same respect? It's only a few hours... I had to put on the act for days at a time...
Why doesn't your husband think he can remain civil? He graduated kindergarden, right? Be nice to your classmates, don't throw your toys, no name-calling... If you choose to behave like bratty teenagers by being too wrapped up in your own lives and righteousness to act maturely, then I can see how being polite would be a problem. But you're grown-ups.
We used to make it into a game. Smile and nod, challenge the occasional opinion just enough to get them riled up and then let it go... and later we would joke about all the idiotic redneck things they said, making ourselves feel all totty and superior. In hindsight, that was immature, but it did make the experience a bit more amusing, and certainly more tolerable...