Author Topic: Maybe they are just oblivious?  (Read 6896 times)

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Offline Lillycache

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Maybe they are just oblivious?
« on: May 12, 2014, 07:29:29 AM »
I just had a conversation with a coworker, and of course the obligatory... "How was your Mothers Day" came up.   This woman has a son and a daughter... both married.  Both her ACs and their spouses spent the entire day with her and her DH having a nice barbeque.   I asked.. Don't your kids go th their MILs house on Mother's day?   She replied that her DILs mom is deceased so that is not an issue.   Her daughter prefers to be with her because she likes her food better and usually drops in at her MILs for a few minutes on Mothers Day.   This year, however,  her MIL fixed a dinner and had them over a week ago.   I asked her if she didn't think that the MIL would like more time with her son on Mothers Day and is settling for having a day with him a week earlier and not on Mothers Day?  Stopping in for a few minutes is hardly the same.   She told me she never even thought of that.    So I have to wonder if some of the one sided unfairness is just a matter of not even considering the feelings of others..  Just total oblivion to how it may hurt the other side, and NOT malicious selfishness.   It is of course selfish not to think of that, but I guess oblivion is better than maliciousness and deliberate exclusion.  Is it better to be mean or simply thoughtless?  lol! 

Offline jdtm

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 07:44:52 AM »
I believe empathy is a genetic trait as is numeracy and/or literary skills.  Some of us have a lot of number and/or writing/reading skills; others not so much.  I believe that empathy is the same; some of us have a lot of empathy (compassion, understanding, selflessness, etc.); while others have less.  Of course, this would hold true for many other intellectual or artistic or spiritual or athletic, etc. gifts (or not gifts).  Just one opinion ....

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 09:08:43 AM »
My take is, yup, 'it takes all kinds.' And...that other saying...ah...er...oh yes, 'it's never too late to learn!'  8)  Useful platitudes!
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Pooh

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 10:03:26 AM »
I guess in my world, I think being simply thoughtless is being mean?  :)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pen

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 10:30:08 AM »
My thought too, Pooh. It's kind of a "PA-mean."

JDTM, I've read studies that do back up your point. I think that if one isn't gifted in a certain area one needs to work a little harder to become at least moderately proficient (me & math, for example.) However, unless it's pointed out to the person and they are open to improvement, they're not going to change and it may actually backfire on the person making the observation in the first place (first hand experience here.)

IMO, until the offending thoughtless/mean people suffer from the same circumstances, they aren't likely to become more compassionate. All we can do in the meantime is change our reactions to their behavior.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 10:35:14 AM »
What comes up for me is interpretation. It's so incredibly personal. I had a dear friend with a much stronger self-image than mine and when someone said something unkind...that would have taken me down in a nano-second...she would look at me, totally untouched, and ask me what was wrong with them. I'm serious!
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 07:41:26 AM »
It may not be pure obliviousness; it could be just a different set of standards.  I grew up with one set of grandparents in the same town (less than 5 min walk away) and the other set just over an hour away, but we never spend Mothers Day or Fathers Day with my grandparents.  My frame of reference is that those holidays are for the people currently raising minor children.  If AC send a card or call on those days, I figure they are going above and beyond.  Obviously not everyone has that view.  My DH's family does those holidays as multi-generational big to-dos.  I can appreciate that they have a different pattern, but I don't feel I'm under any obligation to adapt to their tradition.  I get to spend my mother's day how I want.  My DH is free to dictate the terms of Father's Day, but whenever I have asked him since we've had kids (and we have AC) he's never indicated he wanted to spend the day or even part of it with his family.  Am I the DIL from H for not joining in his FOO's mothers day party and insisting we spend fathers day with them too? 

My ILs were mad at me for not asking them to babysit a lot (my FOO is all out-of-state so it's not like I was favoring them).  I didn't ask them all that often, not to snub them, but because I didn't need a babysitter all that often (I'm pretty much a homebody and don't want to go out on the town on Sat night) and most of the time I did need a babysitter, it was during working hours and they were at work.  Once they voiced their disappointment about not babysitting more (note: more, they did babysit some), was I under an obligation to manufacture reasons to ask them to babysit? 

My ILs desires weren't unreasonable, but that doesn't make me a witch for not obliging them.  And of course there's the whole question of why I was to blame when their own DS wasn't trying to abide by their preferences. 

We're really good at knowing what people do (or not do), but we're not especially gifted in knowing the why behind the action or lack thereof.  It's good to remember that our DIL/MIL/AC/mailmen/etc. may not be doing something wrong just because we feel hurt or slighted.  I've felt slighted by my siblings most of our adult lives, but in my more rational moments I have to accept that they aren't deliberately excluding me or being rude.

Offline Pooh

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 08:42:15 AM »
I don't think what you are doing makes you a witch or unreasonable. I think it is when one party is always unwilling to compromise that makes them unreasonable.  I have certain things I don't want to budge on, but I also make concessions for other people. 

I agree with you that two married people can grow up with totally different sets of standards, which makes it hard to please everyone, but let me ask you this. Do you ever budge from your upbringing and try to participate in his family's traditions on occasions?  Not because you want to, but simply to do something for them?  And I'm asking that sincerely.  Not a visit every once in awhile simply because they are the other parents, but a flat out give up something you want a certain way to do it for them?

This is not a religious statement, it's what happens to me.  My DH's family are a totally different religion than my family.  Now DH, he has left many of the traditions behind but his Mother has not.  They do a couple of celebrations every year that are exclusively based on their religion.  It is nothing that I have ever done in my family and frankly, it doesn't rock my world at all.  Not only that, but they are all vegetarians and I'm a carnivore.  But those two things are really important to his family, so I go, vegetarian dish in hand and I participate to the best of my ability.  The parts I don't agree with, I remain silent and respectful while they complete them.  Would I rather not go?  You bet.  It's not the most comfortable thing for me but I do it for his family because they want us there and it's important to my MIL.  It doesn't hurt me, it's a few hours out of my time and she really appreciates it.  DH would prefer not to go to, but he does it for his family as well.

That is something I do totally for my MIL and DH.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Lillycache

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 08:26:03 AM »
I understand that there are differences in families.. and that the customs and practices of the DHs family seem different and odd to the DIL.   However, does a DIL ever consider that the customs and practices of HER family are equally odd to her DH?  Yet somehow, that is not taken into account as the husband is simply expected to participate in his wife's FOOs celebration.  So I agree... it's the old "what's sauce for th Goose" thing.  IF a man is expected to go to his  ILs home and participate in whatever is planned... AND to do so with a smile and grace..  So should the wife.   Perhaps I'm not looking at it properly, but it just seems appropriate.    I know that no family was more different than MY ex husband's family.  They were from the deep south and my family from the north.   However, once I learned to relax and enjoy the company, I actually found that I had a nice time., and I learned a lot about the customs and food of a different culture.  I'm happy I did.   My life is richer for it.   

Offline Lillycache

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 08:41:46 AM »
oopps  hit post before I was done..   :-[

I wanted to add...   People are VERY sensitive about their customs and traditions... especially if they were handed down from generation to generation and bring back lots of loving memories.

The MOST hurtful thing my DIL said to me... and one that I cannot forget... Was that she thought my customs on Christmas Eve were STUPID and that she hated having her children be "forced" to participate..   German custom has Santa visit on Christmas Eve when the kids are still up.   Usually a relative will dress up as Santa and come in to pass out presents.  When each person goes up to get their present, they say a short German Childs prayer. " abba lieber vater amen"  That's it.. No long catachism.  It was a custom passed down in my family for generations and meant so much to me to see my own young children say int and then  my grandkids trying to remember the words and how they looked saying it to Santa.  Precious..  YET apparently SHE thought it was silly and made the mistake of telling me so... rather than being open and accepting to her husbands family and bending a little even if she DID think it ridiculous.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2014, 09:30:35 AM »
The subject of 'why' touches my heart. I am in search of a word other than expectations...but I can't find one. Reasonable assumptions on our part, maybe? Kindness, consideration, acceptance, willingness...tolerance...seem like a given to me. Not so. How about open and perhaps reasonable? Could we try conscious? None are a given.

Those characteristics are some of the stuff of maturity. As we stumble over our own fallibility, it dawns on many of us that it must also be something others are facing or trying to deny. If denial is successful, then we are up against it with the person dishing that out. We can't change it and living with it can be a bear. I feel it in down to my toes when I read this thread.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline kate123

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 06:18:58 AM »
" My frame of reference is that those holidays are for the people currently raising minor children. "

Herbalescapes, I know this was posted awhile ago, but since Mothers Day is around the corner I thought I might bring this up. I am not sure what you meant by your frame of reference, I am guessing you mean that is how it has always been in your family. In my family we always visited the GM/GF on these special days and I do not know of any family who didn't back then. However I have never had a Mothers Day visit from my children whether or not things were good between us because they have the same idea that you have, that the holiday is for the current parents. I can't express how broken hearted this made me through the years, and continues to.
Pooh has it so right, and you can tell she has such a good heart for saying it, that you do it for THEM. I also believe that the children enjoy being with extended family on these occasions and makes them feel the bonds they have with everyone beyond Mom & Dad. Why can't the holiday (and love) be shared with the generations that have given life to the family. Each family member had/has something to contribute and pass on and that should be recognized in all holidays (IMO of course) :-*

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2015, 10:49:39 AM »
One of the best things about WWU is that we get to take what we want and leave the rest without debate. There's a huge difference between sharing another view and disagreeing. There are as many perceptions here as there are members.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 11:19:35 AM »
Katie, I understand you're being hurt by your kids not spending part of mothers day with you, however, I do not think they owe it to you to do so.  It would be really nice if they tried to accommodate your expectations, but it's not a requirement.  I think we tend to get defensive when our feelings are hurt and try to paint the hurter as mean/bad/inconsiderate.  I will never feel guilty or feel I have to apologize for not adapting my Mothers Day plans to fit in with my ILs method of doing it.  I didn't even realize for several years that they were disappointed that we didn't come to the large family party.  My DH never approached me about fitting his FOO into the day.  I know I'm not the only DIL who gets sooo frustrated when DH is give a pass at not making an effort, but DIL is DILFH for not doing more. 

I don't have to maintain my house like the ILs do; I don't have to practice my religion like they do; I don't have to handle my finances like they do; I don't have to practice politics like they do.  As an independent adult I get to decide how I live and that include how I spend holidays.  The only person I have to compromise with is my DH.  Now, I can't do things my way and expect everyone else to accommodate me.  If my ILs retaliated to my not spending mothers day with them by turning down my invitation to 4th of July, I would have to accept that and not complain.  If I turn around and expect my AC to take me out to lunch for mothers day, then everyone can call my a hypocrite. 

Offline herbalescapes

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Re: Maybe they are just oblivious?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2015, 10:51:51 AM »
I was thinking about this topic some more last night and something struck me.  Why do we feel we should be able to influence how another adult spends their time and sit in judgment when said adult doesn't spend time the way we think is correct, but when it comes to how an adult spends money, we tend to say each adult gets to make their own financial decisions?  A lot of people would call me selfish for not including my ILs in my mothers day plans.  I'm supposed to make some effort because it would make them so happy and wouldn't take much from me.  But if I pouted that my ILs (or FOO) didn't pay for my kids' summer camp, music lessons, vacation, college, etc.  I would be considered out of line.  If an adult doesn't include family in Christmas or TG plans, that adult (AC, DIL, SIL, parent, etc.) is criticized.  But if the complaint is that the adult doesn't spend enough on presents, then the complainer is criticized.  Is it that adults have financial freedom but not time freedom?  Do family members have the right to judge how an adult spends his/her time but not his/her money? 

Where do we draw the line in getting to dictate how much another adult should do to make us happy?  If a DM or MIL wants the bride to wear DM/MIL's wedding gown, but the bride doesn't want to, should the bride do it just to make the older woman happy?  If parents don't want to raise their kids in a religion, should they go through the motions of a christening to make the GPs happy?  If you don't like to ski/golf/gamble, should you spend your vacation time on such activities because that's what The Family is doing and you should go along to make The Family happy?  If a relative is running for office, should you make a donation to the campaign or put a yard sign in your yard even if you do not think the relative is the best candidate for the job? As a parent do I get to pick who my kid's godparents are, or should I pick a relative that really wants the position just to make them happy?