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Thread: Dealing with Family Resistance...

  1. #1
    Bermy Girl's Avatar
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    Red face Dealing with Family Resistance...

    Hi Everyone!

    I'm dealing with a lot of family resistance to my desire to move to NZ with my son. I am no longer sure how to deal with it. Has anyone else had to deal with this and had a peaceable outcome?

    My Mum is not open to the idea at all. The last time we discussed...last November...she burst into tears and hung up on me and wouldn't speak to me for two weeks. Needless to say I haven't mentioned it to her since. My brother has now joined the band wagon and won't support me moving either. They are insisting that I should think about my son and him not growing up with them and that that should be my priority. The thing is, my son is my priority and that's one of the major reasons why I am looking at moving to NZ. Bermuda has a current illiteracy rate of 19%, which is crazy for the second wealthiest country in the world, the only option here is private school if you don't want your kids to be complete bumbling idiots and that's over US$15K a year, which for a single mum is unaffordable. Also, I would like my son to have the opportunities of playing sports and going to university (there is no university in Bermuda).

    Anyway, can anyone help? I'm not sure how to bring this topic up again with my mum, but as the move gets closer...aiming for July 2008...and Shellbda and I have put an offer in on a house...I feel I need to talk to her about it again, but I dread the guilt trips! I understand that she doesn't want us to go because she will miss us, but I can't understand why my family can't also support me in my dreams at the same time.

    I have dreamt of living in NZ for years now and I am finally doing something about it, but I don't want the whole experience to be spoilt by the stress from my family.

  2. #2
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    Oh dear, how sad and this is a scenario that many must go through when they intend leaving close family behind.

    The one thing you need to bear in mind is that you're doing this for your little son and he is your future. Families or particular family members can be guilty of emotional blackmail where they try every trick in the book to make you feel bad about going and, ultimately get you to change your mind. I'm sure you know what's best for your son, so stick to your guns.

    I often wonder if it's the thinking about you going upsets family more than the actual going. It's the thought of total separation and 'never seeing you again'. At one time that would be true but in this day and age we have so many facilities to hand where we can keep in touch regularly at little or no cost. I'm talking about the Internet and chatting on Yahoo or MSN messenger complete with webcam and voice. If your mum isn't very computer savvy, perhaps your brother could help her there. Then there are ways of making cheap phonecalls if you choose the right provider. Would your mum be up to visiting you when you're in NZ? Perhaps your brother would be keen to visit (once he gets over his annoyance) and could bring her with him.

    It's never going to be easy leaving family and friends behind, but it's something we all have to go through if we want to get on with our own lives and not live someone else's. It has to be said that a lot of people have said they have much more communication with family now they are apart than they ever did when they lived just a few miles away. Somehow the distance can bring people together because of the need to cling to each other. When you live quite close, you don't have the same urgency and just put off visits or phone calls.

    I think it's best to talk to your mum quietly and fairly soon, so she can get used to the idea, rather than suddenly dump it on her when there's only a few weeks left before you leave. It's not like you're leaving her on her own, your brother is there and I'd have a calm chat with him to explain why you feel you need to leave Bermuda and that he shouldn't think of it as the end of the earth. After all, if he's inclined, it's somewhere new he can go for a holiday.

    I feel terribly sad for you having to go through this, but you must stay focused if this is really what you want. You're going with Shell, too, so you won't be alone in a strange country, which is one thing your mum might worry about. Don't be brow-beaten into staying, just follow your dream and do what YOU think is right. Just consider for a moment that there may be a tiny element of jealousy creeping in which might be colouring your family's feelings. You're escaping and doing something new and exciting and they're not.

    I don't know if you meant to post this in the Introductions, but would you mind if I moved it out into the main forum where it might get a bit more feedback. Not everyone bothers to visit the Introductions category so it might be good to move it out. If you'd rather it stayed here, that's fine too.

    Mother Bear

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    Bermy Girl's Avatar
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    Hi MB, thanks for your reply. I know you're right about sticking to my guns and I am certainly going to...I've always been stubborn! Guess I just wish they weren't making it so difficult. I know I must sit down with my mum again soon, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to face the music with her so to speak....

    I don't mind if you move the thread...

  4. #4
    MotherBear's Avatar
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    I was just remembering when I first went to live abroad and had to tell my mother. I chatted about this and that to do with the move, about how I would have to put my furniture into storage and all sorts of stuff. I thought she took it really well as there was none of the backlash I'd expected. That in itself should have been a warning.

    It was only a few weeks before I was leaving and I said something about renting my house out. My mum asked why I would need to rent the house out if I was only going for 2 weeks' holiday. Clang! The penny (or cent in your case) dropped and I realised why she'd been so calm about it. She thought I was only going for a holiday. She must have totally switched off when I was talking about all the other matters I was having to deal with before going to LIVE abroad.

    My mum wasn't in the best of health, suffering from breathing problems, and then came the 'But how will I manage on my own?' Up till then I'd only see her for about 15 mins. a week, if that, but she just wanted to know that I'd be there for her IF she needed me. It was hard, but I felt that I had a lot at stake (Shell, there was a man involved - my now husband ). If I hadn't gone through with my plans and had waited around in case my mother might need me, I would probably never have got married again and seen the exciting and interesting countries that I have. Doubt I'd have found such a good man again either.

    When I was a little girl I always promised myself that, one day, I'd get to live in a nice warm country with palm trees, sea and a bit of desert thrown in (always been very drawn to the desert) and this was the chance of a lifetime with a lovely guy thrown in to boot. I was lucky in that I had the support of my mother's close friends and, as I'm an only child, I didn't have any sibling pressure to worry about.

    I could easily have stayed home with my mum and been there 'just in case'. As it happened she plodded on for many years after I left and I've never regretted my decision to go. True, I left 2 grown-up sons behind, but one is now entrenched abroad himself, as you know, and the other one has visited us in 2 of the countries we've lived in and is about to visit again in this one in August (of all times ). They never made me feel bad about going so I was lucky there, too.

    I wish I could wave a magic wand to make things much easier for you, but I'm afraid it's one of those times when you need to be strong because there's a lot riding on it. If you can only put things in place where your family can still keep in close contact with you, perhaps they won't feel quite so bad. They probably feel that, once you're down in NZ, that'll be it and they won't see you or speak to you again. It may not be until you get to NZ and they see for themselves how easy it is to keep in touch, that they will feel more kindly towards you. Perhaps you need to write something down that you want to say to your mother and muck about with it until you're happy with it. It might help you to focus your thoughts and plan ahead what you want to say to her.

    Have you got any other brothers or sisters apart from this one brother? I'm wondering if he's worried he'll have to look after your mother when she can't take care of herself any more. Just a thought. It's also very probable that your family will miss your little son badly as well, so that needs careful handling. It's such a complex situation, yet you do need to do what you feel is best for you both, or you'll only live to regret it. You might not get a second chance.

    I hope some others will come on and tell you how they coped or are coping with a very common problem, which would be good as a problem shared is a problem halved. Well, that's what they say, anyway.
    Mother Bear

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  5. #5
    moggy's Avatar
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    It isn't going to be easy.
    I warned my family in advance what our intentions were. Mother stropped because
    a) I hadn't told her in the way she wanted to be told
    b) The inlaws knew before her (for practical reasons we had had to tell them before)
    c) I obviously wasn't thinking about her and the effect it would have on her

    Do you see the common thread here? She was just concerned about herself not about us in the slightest.

    After I told her, I tried to get her interested, tried to show her the sort of house we could afford, the beauty of the land, the wonderful life etc, but she wasn't interested. Eventually things turned to argments, nothing I could do was right, and in the end I left the UK without even visiting them and just before we left she sent a "sod off we never want to hear from you again" card.

    It all boiled down to her realising she couldn't control me.

    You probably have a better relationship with your family, but they are thinking about what is good for them, not what is good for you.

    I would say don't go out of your way to mention things to her, but don't hide them either, just clearly and calmly stick to your plans and keep moving forward with them.
    Perhaps prepare a folder of stuff you have printed from the web - photos, crime statistics, literacy statistics, possible houses you can afford etc etc ie all the reasons you are going and comparisons to the place you are leaving. Then nearer the time give it to her and ask her to read it and think about it.

  6. #6
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    Jeez, families don't make it easy sometimes do they, but then I guess they have their own reasons. Moggy is right, it is selfish of them but not necessarily in a vindictive way. Some people don't realise how easy it is to keep in touch, some people think they are never going to see you again, some people just downright don't want you to go.

    In my case, my father was fully supportive and actively encouraged me to go, saying I would never have this opportunity again. My mum, on the other hand, was not happy about me going and, whilst she tried to be supportive, I know she disagreed with my decision (especially given the fact that I was leaving 3 of my children behind). She's since been here for a holiday and now appreciates to some extent, just how much better our life is over here, but I don't think she'll ever 'forgive' me for leaving. I came out here with the attitude of 'I'll give it a try and if it works out, I'll stay' and it has worked out - much to the surprise (and possibly annoyance!) of people who thought I'd be heading back to the UK within a year or two. I must admit there was an element, in the beginning, of 'well, I'm here now and I'm going to stay whether I'm happy or not, just to prove people wrong' but now, this IS where I want to be. It's taken a lot of sacrifice and it broke my heart to leave my kids behind, but I would never be happy back in the UK on a permanent basis.

    Moggy's given you some good advice Bermy Girl - arm yourself with information and be prepared to defend your decision to come to NZ - perhaps write a letter to them, explaining things to them. Tell them how they will be able to see and speak to your son (webcam, email, phone, MSN, etc). I am sure they already know what a good mum you are and that you believe you are doing the best for his future, they just need to know WHY moving to New Zealand is the best for him.

    Good luck

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    I do feel for you.

    There is another way of approaching this problem.

    If you are getting nowhere explaining your reasons and providing some evidence of how lovely NZ is and how beneficial it would be for your son as well as yourself, step back a little and 'compromise'. Say you are going for a year or so for the adventure, and will be on the first plane back to Bermuda sooner if things don't work out. You are not really telling an untruth - there might be a teeny tiny possibility of that happening! It is the thought of you living permanently and finally in another country which is probably freaking your family. If you had decided, say, to tour Europe and Asia on a working holiday I bet they would not be so stressed at your decision.

    Admit you are scared of the move (even if you are not), scared of being without family support, but need to get out and 'travel' before settling down permanently for your son.

    This might not be the right frame of mind you want - I well remember myself the optimism, excitement and determination to make the move successful and final. But it will give hope to your family and, as the months go by, they will find that they are getting on quite well without you around and are looking forward to your letters, photos, or even better blog entries.

    I wish we had taken this line of action with my father-in-law who made our lives hell after we had told him of our emigration plans. He took the news so badly that he went on the offensive and did all he could to disrupt our plans. Today he speaks to the children on the phone and looks forward to their letters and photos, and can see they are healthier and happier than they were. My own parents had lived in NZ themselves many years ago, so they could not really make a fuss. I do now speak to, write and email my parents regularly - a lot more than I did in the UK!
    Glenda
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    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

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    Hello,

    I really feel for you and your dilema.

    I think what everyone has said is right, it does come down to our loved ones being selfish and scared of loosing us.

    I think parents especially think that you wont be in contact like you used to. I lived 20mins away from Mum when we were in Edinburgh and have a better relationship with her now and we speak everyday on MSN and email.

    We also webcam everyweekend even if it's just for 10mins and I use Skype to call home for a quick hello. More often than not by the time we come to webcam on the weekend Mum knows what we've been up to during the week so we have nothing to talk about! It's amazing how easy it is to stay in touch.

    Another thing you have to remember is when you go back for a holiday or family visit the quality time you spend with each other is amazing. I've lived away from home for 9yrs and Mum and Dad came to visit us for 2 weeks at the start of the year and it was great seeing them before I went to bed and again for brekkie. It was so nice wandering to the dairy with Dad to get the paper. These are things I dont think I've ever done since I was a kid.

    Do tread carefully tho about things. We initially came out on a WHV and I told my folks we wouldnt be back and Stu told his we would be back in 2yrs and now we're going back in July to break the news to his folks that we are in the process of applying for PR!! Stu's Mum has really held onto that 'we'll be back in 2yrs' sentence and we are dreading telling her. So do be careful when setting expectations to people.

    Just remember that most of us have been there with the family thing. Give them time and dont push the NZ subject too much to the point it irritates them.

    Good luck with it and we're all here for you.

    PS Sorry for the long rambling post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilAmy View Post

    Do tread carefully tho about things. We initially came out on a WHV and I told my folks we wouldnt be back and Stu told his we would be back in 2yrs and now we're going back in July to break the news to his folks that we are in the process of applying for PR!! Stu's Mum has really held onto that 'we'll be back in 2yrs' sentence and we are dreading telling her. So do be careful when setting expectations to people.
    Good point LilAmy. There's a fine line between saying things to those you are leaving behind to make them feel better, and giving them false hope. Best to be honest, but firm. You can tell them that you are 'going to give it a try' - that is, after all, what you will be doing as there are no guarantees it will work out - but also let them know that, if it does work out, you will be be staying permanently.

    (Ironically, whilst my father actively encouraged me to go, since we've been here I think I've only spoken to him about 4 times on the phone in 2 1/2 years (ya think he was trying to get rid of me? ). However, I speak to my mum regularly and surprisingly, given that she was against me going, we are probably closer than ever.)

    It'll be ok Bermy Girl - just keep it real, be honest and firm, whilst all the while respecting their feelings of 'loss' too.

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    another thing to inlcude is to find out the cheapest way that they can phone you as well so many people in the UK still think it costs you an arm and a leg to phone new zealand - someone told me they thought it was a pound a minute!!

    If your mum can use a computer, get her set up with a web cam now, so she has a chance to learn how to use it, she may then understand that NZ isn't as far away as it was 50 years ago.

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