March 26, 2019, 12:15:48 pm


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Not sure what to do or say

Started by MegL, March 07, 2012, 07:56:19 pm

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I have been married for about 19 years now to a good Christian man with a good family.  His parents live across the street and other SILs live in town.  They have never invaded us or "gotten in our business".  Now, they are not perfect and neither am I.  Over the last few years things have happened (drama among family members, the FIL has altzheimer's, MIL is ill with different issues, etc).  The family has had several discussions about "what to do".  I try to chime in on things that I know about and give my thoughts.  I pass on ideas to one SIL or another (there's 3) but it seems that the family goes from putting one fire after another instead of being proactive and handling the situation at its root.  The latest development involves one SIL I am closest to, lives next door.  She has just taken MIL to the Emergency room with re-occuring pain.  She came over very frustrated and not sure what to do next.  She vented and shared and I gave my thoughts and tried to be empathetic/sympathetic.  Then she told DH and I that the other SIL was over there staying with MIL and FIL.  THIS SIL has already stolen from them and it was agreed that she not be over there alone with them.  I became very frustrated and said that DH or SIL needed to go over there and send her home.  Both declined to do it and my husband told me to be quiet when I tried to tell them again not to let her stay over there.  Later, DH told me to be careful, that I was trying to control a situation I should not be involved in and I might get my feelings hurt.  He apologized later for raising his voice to me in front of SIL but the words to me were clear.  Be quiet and let them handle things. 

My family is 6 hours away in another part of the state, 6 hours away in another state and 12 hours away in another state and across the country.  I don't see my relatives but once a year, don't feel able to share things with my parents (yet another story) and feel very close to his mom and dad.  I really care about them and just want to help.  I told him that I am making suggestions and have seen situations happen that did not have to happen if they were just more proactive about things.  He told me that he will not interfere with his mom's decisions until she cannot handle things for herself or asks for help out of honoring her.  In my mind sometimes you have to go and take control for the parent's protection.  I thought I was part of this family but now I feel like DH is telling me I'm not.


Welcome - My take is to observe with love and understanding and to not share the answers that come up for matter how obvious they are. Even if someone asks because they really don't want to know. They are asking for validation. Each person is in charge of their own choices and will learn what they are ready to learn when the time is right for them. It's their business, not yours.

When I was younger (I'm 85) I often did the same thing. I thought it was helpful. It took me a while to get that most people pretty much don't want that kind of help. They don't want to hear it. No matter how constructive it's still criticism. The way I broke myself of the habit, (once I became the one criticised, which is what happens), is the minute something like that came to my attention and I started focusing on it, I shifted to looking for flaws and inconsistencies in myself. There were plenty. I never ran out. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


QuoteEach person is in charge of their own choices and will learn what they are ready to learn when the time is right for them. It's their business, not yours.

So agree with the above statement.  We have a 91 year-old father and a 94 year-old mother-in-law who both live alone (each one still drives with a legal licence).  They are both lonely with little to fill their time.  Neither was involved with hobbies or community work or had many friends (or course, the few they did have are not with us now).  Family lives close and visits often; but it is never often "enough" (and never will be).  Their lives revolved around their work and immediate family.  Both are now gone. 

However, their decisions to stay in their own homes comes a price.  I always say "if one is of relatively strong body and relatively strong mind, then he/she is responsible for one's own life" (even if we think we know how it can be made "easier and better").  It's not our choice - simple as that.  But their choice is not our guilt or "payback time" for us - (this is the one thought that's difficult for me) - but I'm getting better and stressing less.  Both sides of the family have discussed "suppose mother or father falls and no one finds her/him for a couple of days" and we have decided my father and my husband's mother would be hurting no one if this happened.  We have decided that we could live with this. As Dr. Phil says "when you choose the behaviour, you also choose the consequence".  It's not easy ....


Aside to jdtm - You may want to read my post in Grab Bag "End of Life Issues and" and comment there as well. I hope you will decide to follow me over to my new site when I launch it...(soon.)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


MegL, welcome. I'm glad you're here, but sorry you are in the position of feeling like you're not part of your DH's family. I hope you can find a way to again feel part of it but let them make the decisions (even bad ones) that they need to make. It is heartbreaking for you, I understand. It's good to hear of a DIL who cares so deeply for her ILs.

Please take a moment to read the pink highlighted informational posts under the topic Open Me First on the home page. We ask this of all new members to make sure the site is a good fit. The posts explain the history and policies of the site.

Again, welcome!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Welcome Meg.  I'm sorry you are being made to feel like you're not part of the family.  I agree with the others.  I know you want to help, but sit back and let them do it.  They are making the decision to handle it and good or bad, it is their decision.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell