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Problem Solving => Daughter in Laws and/or Son in Laws => Topic started by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 01:27:56 pm

Title: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 01:27:56 pm

For those who know my story about being accused of saying something outrageous that I did not say, some advise please.
My son has got engaged to his long standing girlfriend.
Her family came up with this accusation and I vowed I will never put my foot in their house again.
Since then I have been shown friendliness by her family but I dont trust her mother and have not regained my trust where she is concerned either

After reading many posts on this forum I have come to realize that these DIL's get worse when they get married to our sons.
As a result I am excercising extreme caution.

They live in the UK but when he was out here in July last year he indicated that the family would like to have us all together for a braai (Barbecue).
I put my foot down and refused.

I know this worries my son more than anyone else but quite frankly I do not want to get into socializing with the family--Full stop. This is to protect myself from any futher conflict.
I just cannot get rid of this "Red flag" feeling.

I know my son would want us to celebrate their engagement when they are out here in March.
So wisewomen what do I do?
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: overwhelmed123 on February 01, 2011, 01:41:40 pm
I'm new to the forum, so maybe I'll be in the minority here, but I think you just need to look at the big picture for a second.  You're going to be seen as the difficult one if you impede family relations.  You aren't devaluing yourself by attending a bbq to celebrate their engagement.  There's no reason you have to get intimate with these people, but I think if your son wants you there,  you should go and play the part.  Socialize for a few hours with a smile on your face and always keep in mind that you cannot trust these people.  This is, of course, if the parents want you there as well.  I would make sure that her parents are the ones welcoming you to their home so you know they are prepared to play nice.  I just think the big picture is that you want your son to know that you have done everything you can to encourage good family relations, and to me that means sucking it up and playing nice for a few hours.  Don't share personal info, just let them talk and sound interested, smile and nod and engage them.  I think your willingness to do this for your son will go a long way, but I will say I don't know your story so maybe I'm off base with this and maybe what they did was too awful to even consider going.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:04:33 pm

If one reads the posts on this forum it is normally the sons wife who "Impedes family relations"
This is what I want to avoid.
I want to be able to "drop them before they have the satisfaction of dropping me"

Sad isn't it.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: LaurieS on February 01, 2011, 02:10:03 pm
Quote from: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:04:33 pm

If one reads the posts on this forum it is normally the sons wife who "Impedes family relations"
This is what I want to avoid. "I will drop you before you have the satisfaction of dropping me"

Sad isn't it.


I don't think there is a "norm" standard on these boards.. I've seen MIL's and DIL's having issues with any single person in an extended family.  Like OW said put on your best face and go do it.  Or stand on principal and see how you feel at the end of the day.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: overwhelmed123 on February 01, 2011, 02:16:12 pm
Quote from: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:04:33 pm

If one reads the posts on this forum it is normally the sons wife who "Impedes family relations"
This is what I want to avoid.
I want to be able to "drop them before they have the satisfaction of dropping me"

Sad isn't it.


Yikes.  Well any focus on pointing fingers or maintaining a power struggle of who is going to look better and who will give in first is what is going to impede a relationship, no matter who they are.  Just my 2 lowly cents...
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:18:14 pm

The problem is this is a big extended family and our family consists of my husband and I so you can see what I am up against. Celebrations will always be centered round their family.

Both families are on the same social level so it is not as if I feel beneath them or anything but this unfortunate problem has left a cloud over us being on good social terms.

Why should I have to go somewhere and pretend everything is hunky dorry
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:20:42 pm
Quote from: overwhelmed123 on February 01, 2011, 02:16:12 pm
Quote from: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:04:33 pm

If one reads the posts on this forum it is normally the sons wife who "Impedes family relations"
This is what I want to avoid.
I want to be able to "drop them before they have the satisfaction of dropping me"

Sad isn't it.


Yikes.  Well any focus on pointing fingers or maintaining a power struggle of who is going to look better and who will give in first is what is going to impede a relationship, no matter who they are.  Just my 2 lowly cents...


I dont trust them.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: overwhelmed123 on February 01, 2011, 02:26:19 pm
You shouldn't "have" to, but if you want to maintain good family relations and you want your SON to know that you are not the problem, then you should consider going.  I promise you, you are going to look like the difficult one if you flat out refuse to do anything with them.  Right or wrong, I think it would be human nature that your son will be embarrassed that he has to tell his ILs you refuse to attend, or to make up an excuse of why you can't go.  You shouldn't look at it like that.  WHY do I have to give in?  Look at it like- what can I do to make things better for my son?  What can I do to make sure he knows I have done my part in trying to get family relations back in order?  Would my son want me to be there?  You seem to be very caught up in not giving an inch just to say you're not giving up any pride.  What will you feel better about when you lay your head down on your pillow at night?  The fact that you gave it your all for your son, or the fact that you were the one who didn't "give in?"

Consider this- my DH's family is way bigger than mine- I'm an only child and usually it's just my parents around.  Yet even before the cutoff, we chose to spend more time around my family because they didn't judge and they were just fun to be around.  We didn't have to worry about drama when we were with them.  It's not always about whose family is bigger, but who is more pleasant to be around.  Maybe not for your son and his girlfriend, but they might come to this realization sometime.

And you don't have to trust them.  I don't feel like it's about trust.  What are you going to be trusting them with if you go to an event to celebrate your son's relationship?  It shouldn't be an issue of trust because that can be easily solved by not telling them anything personal.  Like I said before, you can ask questions and sound interested without "trusting" them with any information.  I did that for a long time with my ILs.  They kept breaking my trust, but when my H wanted to go see them, I'd go and I'd play nice to show that I was trying.  I didn't tell them anything because I didn't trust them, but that doesn't mean I couldn't suck it up and smile like I meant it!
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: holliberri on February 01, 2011, 02:28:12 pm
CU

You don't have to trust them. Your invitation there sounds like a welcome, no matter what happened before. Plus, if I thought the extended family knew of what occurred before, I'd take this as the chance to prove her wrong.

Go, for your son and have fun! Maybe this is a good way to be on good terms with DS and DIL and avoid some of our horror stories.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 01, 2011, 02:44:49 pm

I must say I was always relaxed where this family were concerned.
I did not speak to the mother often but when I did she was always friendly.
Then when we were invited there one day I sensed a stiffness and ofcourse eventually my son sensed it too and all this came out.
Before all this happened I would have been the first to phone them re the engagement but her Dad phoned us.
He was very friendly and so was I but this mother of hers and the 2 of them together.Ugh!! Ugh!!
I dont drink but I will be drunk before I go
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: Pooh on February 01, 2011, 02:49:00 pm
I think everyone has already gave you excellent advice on this one.  You can't live your life with the "what ifs" but you can be there for your Son and to show you are giving the marriage a chance.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: pam1 on February 01, 2011, 03:03:44 pm
I'd go with my gut.  Don't worry about making a point to show you're not socializing with them.  DS asks, oh no...you've got lunch with so and so that day.  Or it just isn't possible.  In time, the invitations will stop and your boundaries will be clear.  Just a polite distancing is all that's needed.   IF that is what you really want. 

Have your own celebrations, can you take them out to dinner? 
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: luise.volta on February 01, 2011, 04:21:45 pm
IMHO: Where trust is concerned...it may never surface. Tolerance is what is needed. Just "be" and don't read more into it than surface socializing to keep the peace.
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 02, 2011, 02:27:55 am

"Oh!! how nice that will just be lovely" "Thanks for the invite" ;D

2 Days later "You will have to count me out,I have a stomach bug" ::)

I dont have to do anything I dont want to do. ;)


Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: Mariatobe on February 02, 2011, 03:26:49 am
I read your previous posts,
Sounds like you had  a horrible MIL.  You also don't say nice things about your future DIL (on one post I read you hope she gets the flu).
Now, this can go two ways:
1.  You don't HAVE to be friends with the other family.  My family HATES my DH's family as many things were said and done, and one incidence, I almost had to call the police on them.  BUT, because we have children, they suck it up, see them for one day, and then not for months.  And this is your son, so I would say, just suck it up for the day.
2.  You don't have to do anything you don't want.  If you don't go, fine.  But remember, this is what DIL is going to remember, that YOU are the high maintanence trouble maker MIL.  Is that what you are?  Maybe not, but that's how it will be SEEN.  Also, this is going to be a lifetime for them.  What about if they have grandkids?  I don't know what they accused you of, but you wrote, "I wont take advantage of any humility that comes from them but I will be weary until I can trust them again. "  Does that mean if they say they are sorry, or act cordial, you won't accept it?  I would be very careful of going down that path.  It will ONLY turn out badly FOR YOU.   I say honestly.  Speaking as a DIL.
You don't want to turn out like your MIL, and become the Sgt.  It's your way or the highway, or I can guarantee you won't be seeing your son much.  Or future grandkids. 
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: tryingmybest on February 02, 2011, 05:23:10 am
I find having "zero expectations" helps. I have a family member who I want to have a relationship with, who quite frankly I don't trust worth a hoot, and who is an almost pathological narcissist. When I see her I just surround myself, and her with positive light, and let her "stuff" bounce right off. If you don't expect something from people, you'll never be disappointed. But I have to agree, for the sake of your future relationship I would go and just dazzle everybody. If your future outlaws are sincerely eager to have a relationship it'll start you all on the path. If they are really creeps, believe me it'll drive them nuts.
Because lets face it, if their aim is to cut you off from "the circle" and you don't go, you are giving them exactly what they want.   :o
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: pam1 on February 02, 2011, 06:10:56 am
Guess I'm the odd one out on this but I agree, Catchingup.  You don't have to socialize with them.  From my experiences with my parents, their remarriages and general family life -- it is not that common.  Outside of the wedding festivities and babies, hardly anyone in my family combines their in laws or socializes with them.  And usually it's at the invitation of the kids, like say if they are inviting everyone to their house for some type of party. 

And, if they are going to get upset b/c you declined, well it doesn't seem too practical.  An invitation is not a summons, not everyone is friends. 
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: catchingup on February 02, 2011, 07:27:50 am

Amen!! 8)
;D
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: Pen on February 02, 2011, 07:48:59 am
Catching up, your situation is a bit different since you've already experienced hurt at the hands of these people. I understand why you don't want to go back into the lion's den.

However, I do agree with others that you may be setting yourself up for even more hurt and anguish by not participating. Think of it more as a pre-nuptial ritual and less of a social gathering. It's just something you need to get through intact and you'll never have to do it again. Smile, don't get sloppy drunk, do not let anyone engage you in potentially volatile discussion, and have an exit strategy so you can gracefully leave early (important phone call? migraine? tummy trouble?)

Buy yourself a lovely outfit, get hair/nails done, wear fabulous accessories so you can walk in head held high and project calm confidence. Practice non-inflammatory responses to questions. You can do this! You're a WWU warrior!
Title: Re: Should I stick to my guns??
Post by: lancaster lady on February 02, 2011, 09:41:18 am
Catching up :
If you don't go ,and they really didn't want you there ,then they have achieved what they set out to do .

Also why put a wedge between you and your future DIL even before they are married ,because believe me it's awfully difficult to move it once it;s there .She may think you are slighting her .
Don't let them beat you into submission .Go for your son I'm sure he'll want you there . show you can be
as tough as them ,any  bad comments towards you , do what our ladies do ,and change the subject .
Don't be baited .....hope you have  sun shiny BBQ .... :)