Big family events like weddings can create conflict and hurt feelings

Feeling left out of your daughter's wedding planning? Talking with your daughter will lead to a deeper understanding for both of you and will likely lead to a way of being together in planning for her wedding that feels good to you.

Question: My only daughter is getting married and what should be a happy time isn’t turning out that way for me. For starters, she told her friends about her plans before she talked to me. She is getting other people to help her with things that I wanted to help with, like dress shopping. I feel like I am being left out of what should be a very close time between a mother and a daughter. Maybe I am missing something, but this whole thing is starting to feel like a real disappointment. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Answer: Big family events like weddings and graduations have a way of creating the opportunity for conflict and hurt feelings.

Partly this has to do with the intensity of emotions and the level of stress involved. It also has to do, however, with expectations and the deals, or contracts, that we have in families.

These expectations and contracts are sometimes discussed openly, but often they are below the surface and we may not even realize that they are there.

In your case it is clear that you had some expectations regarding your role in hearing about and planning your daughter’s wedding. It also seems clear that your daughter was not aware of your expectations and that she has some ideas of her own about how wedding planning is done in your family.

From your letter it sounds as if both of you have assumed that there is agreement on how the wedding planning will go, and as you have painfully discovered, there is not.

This situation is a common one. There are so many things to be done in a day, and so many decisions to be made, that we cannot help but make assumptions. Some of these assumptions are based on knowledge of the other people in our family, and some are based on our culture and our family histories.

Some of our assumptions are about patterns of behaviour, or contracts, that we never think about until we find ourselves in a new situation, such as becoming the mother of a bride. Even then we likely won’t realize we are operating on unspoken expectations and patterns until something doesn’t happen the way we assumed it would.

I think that it is still very possible for you and your daughter to enjoy planning her wedding in a way that creates a sense of closeness between you. You will need to talk with her about how you would like to be involved, and you will need to listen to her ideas about your involvement.

Before you do this, though, it will be important for you to take a good look at your own expectations and ask yourself where they came from and what they mean to you. It is quite possible that some of your ideas have not been examined in many years and may need a little updating!

It is also possible that there are some aspects of being with your daughter through the preparations for her wedding that are very dear to your heart and that you have never shared with her.

Talking with your daughter will lead to a deeper understanding for both of you and will likely lead to a way of being together in planning for her wedding that feels good to you.

If you would like to ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail them at askpacific@shaw.ca. Consult a Counsellor is provided by the registered clinical counsellors at Pacific Therapy & Consulting: Nancy Bock, Diane Davies, Leslie Wells, Andrew Lochhead and Karen Turner. It appears every second Friday.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CSWM is being asked to reconsider statutory holiday closures for solid waste delivery to the regional landfill. Record file photo
Cumberland also asks for landfill stat closure reconsideration

Council follows Comox’s lead in asking waste board to rethink decision

A youth has been arrested in response to yesterday’s threat directed at Lake Trail Middle School. File photo
Youth arrested in connection with threat directed at Courtenay school

A youth has been arrested after the Comox Valley RCMP and School… Continue reading

These boards were delivered to Brooklyn Elementary before being stolen this fall. Facebook photo
Vandalism damage at Comox Valley schools way up this year

The amount in 2020/21 is already 50 per cent higher than the previous year

Josie Osborne was sworn into the Legislature virtually on Nov. 24. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne named minister of municipal affairs

The position was previously held by Selina Robinson, who is the province’s new finance minister

Breanna Brosko, 18, initiated the Adopt-a-Grandparent program five years ago. Scott Stanfield photo
Program continues to brighten Christmas for Comox Valley seniors

The annual Adopt-a-Grandparent program will continue to brighten the Christmas season for… Continue reading

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Russ and Winifred McKinnon are the owners of Phantom Screens Vancouver Island. Photo supplied
Comox Valley company sees surge in sales

Despite the challenges of dealing with a pandemic, a family-owned business based… Continue reading

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read