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Christmas and family conflict

Community Member
Hello. I'm guessing there are a few people in the same boat as me. Usually i love the festive season but about 6 months ago my dad and i had a falling out. He hasn't spoken to me for 6 months, even though i've tired contacting him. I saw him tonight at an event at my brothers school, which was a bit awkard. But he did talk to me. At the end of the night he said see you monday (i usually have my parents and brother over for christmas eve dinner) but im not having a dinner this year. However i've got some family coming over for an early christmas lunch Saturday. I haven't told my dad about the lunch becuase im still not ready to forgive him for what he has done (emotionally abusive to my mum and sister and being down right unpleasent, plus ignoring me). Now i feel conflicted because if he finds out i had a christmas thing and didnt invite him he will be angry. My mum who is coming has not said anything to him and she is happy not to tell him about the lunch, but im worried and i dont know if i should just invite him to keep the peace. It feels like never ending drama and its upsetting me. I'm confused about how I feel. Like inviting him might be a step to fix the relationship, yet also on edge because he is manipulative and will pretend everything is OK in front of people and then going back to ignoring me. He shut me out so is it OK if I decide my life is better without him?
5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hi, little miss

It's healthy to have boundries, and reasonable as well. I'm in a kinda similar boat when it comes to my dad, but I think if you want to repair your relationship, it would be better to do it alone, because it would make it less stressful, and the lunch might not be as "on edge" for you and your dad. Plus, you get to do it on your own time as well, so that's a bonus.

I wouldn't nessceraly cut him out yet, but maybe don't say anything about the event. Or you could invite him. I lean towards the "Maybe don't tell him and fix the relationship on your own time" side, but maybe listen to other's opinion, and maybe compare.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Little Miss and welcome to Beyond Blue

Christmas time is not always as cheerful as people like to think is it?

Sorry to hear you've had a falling out with your father. Do you have anyone you can talk to about what's happened? For example closed trusted friend? There are services available if you're not already aware -

  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
  • Lifeline 13 11 14

Maybe you can talk through all the issues with them to see if you can resolve whether you invite or not invite your dad to the Saturday event. It's very difficult sometimes to know the best things to say to people, especially when I'm not sure of all the circumstances surrounding their relationship. That's why I've given you the contact details of organisations above. You can talk your situation through with them.

You've said something quite interesting though which I picked up on - if he finds out he'll get angry. Does that mean you are frightened of his anger? I'm not trying to say you should invite him so he doesn't get angry. I guess I'm just trying to help you understand your situation. To me, it does sound like he may not be a very pleasant person to have around, especially if he's emotionally abuse to you and your family.

You're not alone Little Miss. Feel free to reach out again, if and when you want to.

Kind regards


Thanks for the reply's. It helps to read what others say.

Pamela you are right, I'm afraid of my Dad's anger. I've seen him try to hurt my sister when he gets angry. And he is an unpleasant person to be around. I have to remember to stop trying to please others and look after myself. My 17 year old brother is telling me to be the adult and fix the relationship, but it's hard when my father is the one that ignored me for months then told other people it was me bot answering his calls. Lies! I want to make my brother happy, but i think he has to realised that some issues take a while to fix.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Little Miss

Sorry to hear you are frightened of your dad when he is angry. It is important for yourself that you stay safe and do what you need to for yourself. It sounds like your brother is trying to put pressure on you to be the peacemaker. However, sometimes this isn't feasible if the other party (e.g. your dad) is not one to want to keep the peace.

You'll need to find other strategies to work on. My memories of Xmas time was, once I left home and was living alone, my xmas was to do as I wanted. In hindsight that was selfish of me, however, my family was dysfunctional. There were no happy times, it was always fights and complaints. So I chose to do things that made me happy, and that was to spend time with people who made me feel okay about myself.

If that is selfish then I can live with that. Culturally you can probably get away with this as an Australian. However, I do understand taking this stance is difficult and perhaps not the best way forward in a family from a different culture. No sure if any of this helps you Little Miss.

I do worry though about your father's anger. Do you have a plan if things get nasty? For instance, a safe place for yourself and those close to you?

Kind regards


Hi and welcome

After several disastrous xmas's and other issues surrounding manipulation and poor behaviour, my sister and I cut all contact with our mother. It was simply not workable.

That was 8 years ago. Im 62yo. So we have gone all those years tolerating our demanding mother other until the bubble burst.

I'm suggesting that it is too early to break of contact with your dad just yet. Help from professionals to counsel both of you would be priceless.

Ignoring you is his way of holding anger in so that isnt so bad. The emotional abuse isnt acceptable. These issues are fixable if he responds to dialect of repair. If you offer him counseling the decision rests with him. If he refuses, you have tried as a mature adult and you can always refer his decision to him in any future conversations.

Boundaries has been mentioned. Inviting himself to events is breaching a boundary and placing you in a position of anxiety. He has to learn to respect you as an adult, a topic a counselor would fix on.

As an adult I'd phone him and inform him that you are not ready to brush over issues as if they are forgotten, that you need more time. Suggest that in the new year you'll contact him then to meet for a drink to discuss your concerns. Also, you are not willing to risk ruining your xmas when he could have been proactive earlier to repsir the damage.

If a meeting takes place ask questions. Eg why did you abuse mum, why have you ignored me and so on. It is preferable to just telling him of your disapproval.

Finally, if it doesnt work out at all consider a thin relationship whereby you meet at a cafe twice a year. In years to come you might find common ground, he might learn his errors and you might end up with a reasonable dad.

Events like these often result in reunification with parties learning of the limits people have.

Good luck with it