Spending Christmas with the family is happily anticipated by a lot of people, especially those who live far from home. It’s exciting to see them again and plan activities to bond over during the holiday season. For this reason, when inviting loved ones for gatherings, it’s important to consider their personal schedules and whether the distance is a matter. It’s good to respect their schedules — most notably for someone who’d be taking a long trip and would be spending a lot of money to be able to return home. Invite them weeks or months before the event and do your best to ensure that there won’t be last-minute cancellations.
If there is a need to cancel the event, your guest should be informed about it before they can book a trip. It would be disrespectful if plans were canceled and they were forced to go on a different vacation because they could not get their money back. A Reddit user recently had this issue with his parents, which he shared on the platform. Apparently, the problem happened a year ago, but it was so infuriating that OP couldn’t help but reject another Christmas invitation from them. ActualProduct439 provided the root cause of the problem with his parents for a much better understanding of the story.
OP is a student from abroad, and his parents wanted him to visit for Christmas. Although the family had difficulties living together when OP was a kid, he was alright spending time with them. The family had some emotional downsides because of the father’s mental health problems, such as anger issues. This impacted OP’s childhood and gave him PTSD. Both he and his father have consulted a therapist since then. However, the recent Christmas incident reminded him of those days again.
“I bought myself a round-trip train ticket ($150) for the long ride home, as I don’t have a car and have really bad plane anxiety. Around December 15th, my mom called and asked me if I could bring back some of those cookies that she loves, and I tell her of course,” OP shared. Even when he had a tight budget, ActualProduct439 still made sure that he had something to give to his siblings once he came back home. “I’m a student, and, due to my chronic illness and heart condition, I can’t work a lot, so money is tight, and I had to take some money out of my savings for this to afford all of it, but I didn’t mind,” he wrote.
Everything was set the day before his trip when his father suddenly mentioned another plan during their call. The father told him that the cookies and other sweets OP bought aren’t necessary because they planned a trip to the Caribbean. “I ask him how long they’d been planning this, and he told me that they had decided two days prior. I asked him if they could cancel because I thought we’d already established that I would be coming over, and he says no.” ActualProduct439 explained.
It was indeed downright disrespectful, even though the father explained his side. He called his mother to talk about the sudden change of plans, which led to an argument. The mother was so hurt by OP’s outburst that she didn’t talk to him for a year. His father even brought up his therapist, invalidating OP’s feelings even more. “My dad then called me and said that he had a talk with his therapist and that his therapist told him to ignore my angry outburst and not give in to my demands because, quote, “people with PTSD can’t think rationally.”
With all that OP went through with his family, it’s only natural for him not to accept their invitation. They haven’t even apologized and paid back the money wasted that day. Even now, the father can’t accept his faults and asked OP to let the issue go because they are a family. People from the Reddit comment section supported ActualProduct439 with his decision. They even pointed out that the father’s explanation was fishy, especially the part when his therapist “advised” him to ignore his own child’s complaint.
“NTA. It sounds like your dad’s therapist isn’t a good one and gives him selfish advice (assuming he was completely honest with them about what happened). It’s pretty obvious that your parents are still bad for your mental health and you’d be better off being completely no-contact with them indefinitely,” ProfPlumDidIt commented. Other people also suggested that the father only used the therapy card to make it sound believable.
Others also think the therapist card could be valid if the father only told his side of the story during the therapy session. Whether the advice was true or not, it’s not good for your mental health to spend holidays with people who continue to disregard you. “You are under NO obligation to spend time with the family that caused your PTSD and are still giving you emotional whiplash to this day. I think it’s time to discuss with your therapist whether you should go no-contact with them for now and focus on your own health,” opinionswelcomehere wrote.
It’s hard to cut ties with your family, especially when it’s Christmas. However, rejecting invitations is alright and valid for a person who struggles with their mental health. No one should be forced to interact like nothing happened to end the issue. It’s better to spend the Yuletide season with peace of mind than be surrounded by inconsiderate people. Instead of feeling the Christmas spirit, your patience will be tested, which might ruin the celebratory mood even more.