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TOPIC TITLE: Pesach family issues - how to handle??
Created On 4/28/08 9:35 AM
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Teva18
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4/28/08 9:35 AM
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Greetings,
Every year, my husband & I host the Pesach seders. Most of our family is not observant (and we are) so it was a logical progression to have us host it (it was formerly hosted by my mother's house, which was very chaotic: no good leader of the seders, people getting up from the table at various times for long periods of time, disruptions, etc). Without typing a megilah here, I can say that our seders are not really enjoyable. We put so much effort into preparing the house & cooking the food for Pesach, but the actual seder is not really that much fun - for many reasons. My husband wants to just get through it and he doesn't want anyone to ask any questions - especially my mother. My mom is a very self-centered person and I guess grew up with seders that are very loud and rambunctious and my husband is a bit of a control freak, so that's not a good combination. When we have the seder, my mother has many running comments about how she doesn't like the hagaddas we use (I personally don't like them either, but it's in a format that keeps things moving, I suppose), and she also has trouble keeping quiet. Every year, my husband & I have the same conversation about how he doesn't like her behavior. SHe is the kind of person that if you confront her about something, she will either deny it or perhaps acknowledge some part of it, but ultimately the behavior won't change. This year he has reached his boiling point. He either wants her behavior to stop or to not have her at the seders at all. He wants to talk to her very soon - he says he'll have a calm discussion (which I do believe - to a point) with her about it. I personally don't care at this point - I think we should also counterbalance her behavior with making the seders more interactive and enjoyable (using props and more fun learning things - like from Aish....something!!!). Does anyone else have any problems with family & pesach? How do you handle it? I can't believe we are the only ones. It's important to me to 'honor my mother' and to ALSO have Shalom Bayis - it's a slippery slope indeed!

Thanks for listening......


Edited: 4/28/08 at 9:36 AM by Teva18
 
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su7kids
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4/28/08 10:26 AM
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If your husband is not going to compromise at all, its going to be tough. Are you in "chutz la'aretz"? Do you have two Seders? Maybe you can help your husband to come up with a workable solution with her, like the first seder is his way (so you can get the afikomen done on time, as well) and the second seder can include more commentary, etc.

I think he/you should work together to come up with a list of what is compromisable and what is not negotiable, and then when you/he talks to her, "give give give give" before you "take away". In other words, acknowledge, this is how she would prefer it, this is the way we prefer it and this is what we can do for you....... (long as possible list) and this is how we want it done.

And maybe you can also help your mother to understand that this is your husband's home and he has the right to call the shots. And if she can't understand that, maybe she should consider doing her own Seders at her own home, and come and visit for the other days of Pesach.

Its very tricky when some are observant and others are not, because the truth is, its probably not just the Pesach Seder that your mother has a problem with.

Hatzlocha Rabba.


-------------------------
Proud Mom of 7, MIL to 3, Grandmom of 4!
 
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Teva18
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4/28/08 10:41 AM
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Dear Su7Kids,

Thanks for your reply - I do appreciate it very much! I am somewhat of a loss as what to do - it's exhausting just thinking about this - it causes me to get very angry and feel guilty at the same time. Lots of emotions here! Yes, we are in Chutz la'aretz. Not a bad idea to try to do one seder one way and the other a little more lengthy. Each night of the seders we usually have different people of various backgrounds - and I really wish we had a seder that was more 'kiruv' or at least showed how 'interesting' Orthodoxy can be - it might be too much for us to pull off since we sometimes lose our inspiration of Orthodoxy ourselves...maybe I wish some magical Chabadnik would just run it and inspire us all...but I digress!! I'll pass on your suggestions to my husband and see what he wants to do.....I wish everyone could get along and behave but it's not possible without some work.

You are also insightful about my mom - it's not just Pesach ....she loves chaos in general and loves to be 'bad' and a 'rebel'. I have a feeling that if I involved her more in the seder - doing something that involved her being the center of attention in some way, she'd behave better....but I don't want to get to the point where I'm enabling her either....but again I'll see what my husband wants to do....I thank you for your help
 
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Teva18
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5/4/08 12:09 AM
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I need to vent. I"m not sure if I should start a new thread on this topic - it still has to do with the incident at Pesach but there is so much more to say about my mom....I now know why the mitzvah of Honor thy Mother & Father is SO hard!!!!

This is basically a struggle of mine that I don't know how to conquer. My mother has always been a person who I believe needs everyone to need her. She gives everyone advice, she thinks most people who she doesn't agree with her are idiots or 'crazy' (including my husband & myself) and I have also come the realization that my mom doesn't relate to others as they are people but relates to them as 'things' or objects. It's a struggle to deal with her because she always wants to be the captain of everyone's life, and to tell her 'no' is very difficult for me, because she is good at pressing my buttons - and if I'm afraid that if we have the fight that we 'need' to have, we'll realize that we really dont' have a good relationship whatsoever and that we have nothing in common but genetics.

I have so many issues with her it could fill a book - I've gone to therapy in the past but cannot afford it now - besides, why should I have to go to therapy, spend my hard earned money on issues that she has? Why can't she go to therapy and fix her flaws and just be a normal mother?

I"m really starting to see my husband's point of view. Point blank, my mother wants to be the captain of my Pesach seder and as much as I wish it could happen, I don't think she's capable of changing her behavior. It just really scares me to have to tell her that she may wish to have her own seder (or to go to another one) because she's disrupting mine. I want to protect her yet I know I can't continuing having it this way and upset my husband.

My husband & I are even considering not even hosting the seders and just going out of town next year - we're tired of the struggle and not enjoying the seders we struggle to put together.....

Sorry this is such a rant but I need to tell someone!

thanks!!!



Edited: 5/4/08 at 12:10 AM by Teva18
 
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gad
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5/4/08 3:23 AM
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Quote

Originally posted by: Teva18

My husband & I are even considering not even hosting the seders and just going out of town next year

This sounds like a good solution. This way you can get away, say that it's becuase of your own tiredness, and not hurt her feelings.

 
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Teva18
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5/4/08 8:19 AM
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Originally posted by: gad


This sounds like a good solution. This way you can get away, say that it's becuase of your own tiredness, and not hurt her feelings.


Gad,
We spent a lot of money on the seders & Pesach (we aren't rich people) and we feel like a lot of it went to waste. We could spend a little more and go out of town. Maybe it's the break we all need. One of the reasons I like hosting is so that my non-frum relatives can come to an Orthodox seder, but if the host isn't enjoying it, it's defeating the purpose.
It bleeds into the attitude of the seder.

I don't know if my 'fight' with my mother will ever get resolved - and Mother's Day is coming up...oy vey...more drama!

take care.



Edited: 5/4/08 at 8:25 AM by Teva18
 
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mouse
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5/4/08 8:51 AM
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I agree that honoring parents mitzvah really hard, especially with a mom or dad who aren't dealing with a full deck. My mom is progressively deteriorating emotionally and does not see it. She will not or is not capable of beginning or maintaining a friendship. As a result, she goes to my siblings every shabbos unless she is angry at them. (This happens occasionally -- like this week.) Over Pesach, she told my sister-in-law that she shouldn't have friends over on Pesach because it is family time and that the friends she has "use" her. She also said taht although the friend that was over was single and had no place else to go (her family isn't frum,) it's the Rabbi's responsibility to have her and the likes over for meals, not the community's. She actuallly refused to come to a meal because the friend was there. And then people popped in just to be social and she came out of her room, gave everyone a dirty look, yelled at my brother and went back to her room. The guest response was, "We didn't know your mom had Alzheimer's." My mom also made some other very rude remarks while visiting my brother and sister-in-law. (We were also there.) Kibbud Em is becomng a real challenge. She also tells me outright that I'm fat. (This is after gastic bypass surgery and when she knows i have and eating disorder.) I feel a wee bit better now that i have vented. OF course my luck, my siblings will read this.


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All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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