OT -- Am I obliged?
I had a blowup with my mother a year ago. I realized then that the family dynamic I'd lived with all my life was bad for me and I wanted to change it after the blowup, but how do you change an entire miserable family?
My mother refused to clear the air with me -- she flat out told me she would not discuss it.
So I disengaged from my mother -- just for a little while at first, then it became a year because it just felt so damn good. Because my sister also played a silent role in the blowup, I also disengaged from her. No big loss -- I only heard from her when she felt like it and it usually sucked for me because...she's exactly like my mother.
Although this fight didn't involve other family members, everyone has avoided me for a year without explanation. Because I took a stand? Because I'm stirring the pot? Not sure why -- I never discussed any of it with anyone except my mother. (My mother is a classic narcissist and borderline personality -- I'm sure she poisoned the well and they fell into line against me like the good little soldiers a narcissist counts on to keep the power!)
So for a year, my husband and I have not been invited to any family gatherings, got no holiday cards, I have no idea where anyone spent the holidays or what they did for birthdays...it's as if my husband and I stopped existing.
Now my niece is pregnant with her first kid. They always know where to find me at gift time, so I received an invitation from my sister-in-law for the shower this summer...my sister-in-law who has not reached out to me once in a year...
Am I obliged to go to this shower? I am on good terms with my niece, but she doesnt' bother with me since her wedding. I don't want to sit with my mother and sister, but I won't know anyone else there. I haven't seen my sister and mother in a year. This would not be the best venue for a reunion that will be chilly at best.
If I don't go, I'm sure everyone in my family will treat it as me just being petty, and then extended family will probably hear what a shit I am too for not going. It will DEFINITELY offend my sister-in-law, who thinks everyone should be there to celebrate her kids whenever she sends out the call, but my sister-in-law has avoided me for a year, so why should I be uncomfortable for even a moment on her account?
I'll add this. The people who will be offended if I don't go could have reached out to me at any time over the past year to keep me part of the family. They might have even tried to mend this rift between my mother and me if celebrations like this are so important to them. They didn't.
And here's the other thing. Emotionally, I don't know if I could even make it through the shower. Since I've disengaged from my family, my head has been host to a lot of thoughts I never had before and it's all been overwhelming. I'm not ready to face those people, especially alone.
For a year, everyone in my family has quietly taken sides against me. Now they want to be one big happy family because they have something to celebrate and they want warm bodies there to cheer on the procreators. Would appreciate any thoughts on what my obligation is. Thanks!