Author Topic: was this wrong?  (Read 2987 times)

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Offline isitme?

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was this wrong?
« on: January 28, 2010, 09:49:31 AM »
Hi everyone, I've got a question for all my "surrogate MILs" here...

Last night my uncle called me and gave me a “guilt trip” about not being able to make it to my cousin’s wedding in February.  It wasn’t a bad conversation at all. – my uncle just saying “Sweetheart I wish you could come” and me saying “I know, I wish I could too because I love you all but I can’t etc. etc.”

Just some background:  the wedding (and most of my family) is halfway around the world.  The wedding is also on a Wednesday and even if I could get myself over there in a month, there’s no way I could take that time off from work right now.  I have hardly ever been able to attend any cousins’ weddings in the past because it was just too hard/expensive to get myself over there for the event.  Everyone always asks me to come, I always wish I could but in the end, we all understand that it’s not possible and I have always done my best to get to know my new in-laws when I finally am able to make it over for the family visit.  And see pictures of course!

After I got off the phone, my boyfriend asked me what was wrong so I just said “oh, it was my uncle calling to give me a guilt trip about not being able to make it to my cousin’s wedding”.  He seemed really concerned and sad and kept asking me if I was alright over and over again. Finally I said “look, it was just a guilt trip –  they want me to come, and I wish I could but I can’t, so everyone understands.” 

He still seemed worried about the effect of this “guilt trip” so I finally told him that guilt trips from my family weren’t really that bad….  But THEN, (and here’s where some of you ladies might get mad at me) I made a somewhat snarky comment that was in reference to his family.  I said “that’s the way we do guilt trips…with reasonable conversation.  There’s no screaming or crying or tantrums.”   The minute the words were out of my mouth I felt guilty.  I thought he would get angry or deny that’s what his family was like but he just said “wow, that’s nice!” (which made me realize, hey that IS kind of nice, I love my family!)

Maybe it’s not such a big deal but I’ve been thinking about you ladies here and how many of you feel your DILs start a campaign to turn your sons against you (I agree with many of you and sympathize).  But that makes me feel REALLY guilty for making that negative comment to my boyfriend about his own family.  I actually wasn’t expecting him to agree.. like I said, I regretted saying something negative the minute I did.  Then again, many of you ladies have heard my stories about FMIL and know I’m not trying to start some kind of smear campaign…  but sometimes I feel like I got to tell it like I see it.  You know what I mean?  And that’s how I see it. Was it so wrong?  I actually didn’t start feeling bad about that comment until I started thinking of all of you…

2chickiebaby

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 10:04:28 AM »
Isitme....I didn't understand guilt trips at all.  I was raised on them!!! ;D  I never dreamed I was doing them at all until one day when CDIL and son were dating,  he said he was not going to one of his best friend's bachelor parties.

I said, "You're not going to the party for *****??"

She said, very harshly, to me, the mother of her boyfriend, "you're trying to make me feel guilty and you're not going to get away with it!!"

I was stunned and of course, sad to the core.  Son said, "CDIL!!!, what are you doing??"

I tried to just leave and she just stood there looking at me. 

I am coming to be aware now that anything like that is a guilt trip.  About 5 years ago, son came over here for something.  I said to him:  "please return your brother's calls, son.  He gets so hurt when you don't!!"

Son goes home and tells CDIL and she calls me and said, "how dare you make DH feel guilty!!!"

I was devastated!!!  So devastated.  I didn't know then that you can no longer talk to your own son ever again.  I learned the hard way about what is perceived as guilt trips.  Boy, is it ever an eye opener.  Really, I swear, it was not my intention to guilt trip him! 

This is all so confusing to us who were brought up on all kinds of what is now called, "guilt trips!!"

I wonder to this day how she got the courage to talk to his mother that way.  Her Mother has a temper that will blow the roof off and uses it on her all the time.  I don't have a temper but apparently, I'm a guilt tripper...or I used to be.  LORD!!

Offline Pen

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 10:19:47 AM »
Isitme, thank you for thinking of us MILs! What you said was pretty mild, but if it made you stop and think it's probably worth exploring.

I did a similar thing a couple of weeks ago against DIL and had to 'fess up here. I'm still ashamed of my words, but at least I realized what I'd done and have vowed to improve. Our words have power, affecting the speaker as well as those spoken about. I hope my DIL & DS never ever know what I said, and I truly believe that if I stop with the snarkiness behind their backs it will help me be a better, more accepting person. Plus, I won't have that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach :)

You know how bad you feel about your comment - you don't want to feel that way again, so you'll start paying attention. Yup, you may backslide - I have, too. But improvement in babysteps is still improvement. I'm proud of your FDH for not jumping on the hurt wagon! He's a good guy. Best wishes to you, and all of us, on this journey!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline isitme?

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 10:29:37 AM »
Phew!  Thanks Penstamen!!!  I was glad FDH didn't get upset either - in fact, at first I was happy that he was able to see such good things about my family.  But then I realized, it was at the expense of HIS family and it probably wasnt' the right kind of comment to make.   You're right, I probably will backslide...but I dont' want to be malicious and I certainly DON'T want to be like your DILs ever...

One thing I did think about also was how many of you said your DILs who were initially nice seemed to change and turn against you right after the wedding.  Do you think this is because they felt "safer" once they were married to speak their minds about you?   In truth, I don't know if I will change that much, but I do know that now that I feel more secure in my relationship, my FMIL doens't "scare" me as much as she used to...

Chickie:  I know all about guilt trips too!  But there are different kinds.  Some of really bad but some are just what they are.  It soudns like your CDIL was just being a little oversensitive to your "guilt trip".  If she had said it as a joke then maybe it would have been okay but it sounds to me like she overreacted.  Sometimes we make requests or ask questions that the other person cant' do/answer.  It's not always a guilt trip.  And just because YOU feel guilty doesn't necessarily mean the other person was actively trying to make you feel guilty.  Like I said, there are also different kinds of guilt trips.  My uncle calling me up and saying "we love you so we all wish you could come to the wedding" was okay with me even though it made me feel guilty because it was a reasonable conversation.

Now if that had been FMIL....woah!  There would have been tears, insults, accusations, multiple phone calls, text messages.. the works.  Now THAT'S a guilt trip.  I feel bad about having pointed that out to my FDH but actually, he gets it too!  thanks for the best wishes - same to everyone here!

2chickiebaby

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 10:32:39 AM »
really, though, don't you think CDIL was mean to me for saying that, Isitme?  I am coming to think both of my DILs are mean!  Both of them!

Offline isitme?

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 10:35:18 AM »
I don't think reminding one son to call the other is a guilt trip.  I tell both my sons to do this.  They just laugh & say, yeeeessss Mom.  I don't know if my dil thinks I am guilt tripping her hubby or not, probably not or I would've heard about it.

That doesn't sound like a guilt trip at all to me.  Don't even worry about what your DIL thinks Anna. 

cremebrulee

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 10:35:50 AM »
What you did, I think was normal...what is going on right now with your future inlaws, is formost on your mind, and actually, I think it was a great way to get the point across that your inlaws do not practice normal behavior.....so, no, don't feel guilty...your reminding him, that not only isn't it normal behavior, but unacceptable..that's ok, as long as you don't rag on him about it all the time....

Also, the part about your uncle, is very understandable...what I would do, and I'm assuming your going to send your cousin a very special gift from you...write her a very special wedding poem and tell her or him, that your so so sorry you couldn't get away and explain why....I would get them something really special...something very family oriented and personal, like a monogramed afghan, or something that would fit into they're decor which has their names on it, along with the wedding date....or, you could also have they're wedding invitation professionally framed...
and if you hate these ideas....that's fine...I'm old, your a spring chicken.... ;D
Hugs and please don't feel bad...
Creme

Offline isitme?

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 10:35:53 AM »
really, though, don't you think CDIL was mean to me for saying that, Isitme?  I am coming to think both of my DILs are mean!  Both of them!

yes - I think so too!

Offline isitme?

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 10:38:57 AM »
What you did, I think was normal...what is going on right now with your future inlaws, is formost on your mind, and actually, I think it was a great way to get the point across that your inlaws do not practice normal behavior.....so, no, don't feel guilty...your reminding him, that not only isn't it normal behavior, but unacceptable..that's ok, as long as you don't rag on him about it all the time....

Also, the part about your uncle, is very understandable...what I would do, and I'm assuming your going to send your cousin a very special gift from you...write her a very special wedding poem and tell her or him, that your so so sorry you couldn't get away and explain why....I would get them something really special...something very family oriented and personal, like a monogramed afghan, or something that would fit into they're decor which has their names on it, along with the wedding date....or, you could also have they're wedding invitation professionally framed...
and if you hate these ideas....that's fine...I'm old, your a spring chicken.... ;D
Hugs and please don't feel bad...
Creme

thanks creme... those are all great ideas and I am definitely going to do somethign nice.  The thing is, in our family we dont' have to prove to each other that we love each other because we all know it.  Thanks to everyone for making me feel better about this.  I think my FDH is going to love being in my family once he gets to know them.  After the guilt trip comment he started asking me a lot of questions about my uncle and if I thought they would get along.  I think they will!

cocobars

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 10:40:46 AM »
He still seemed worried about the effect of this “guilt trip” so I finally told him that guilt trips from my family weren’t really that bad….  But THEN, (and here’s where some of you ladies might get mad at me) I made a somewhat snarky comment that was in reference to his family.  I said “that’s the way we do guilt trips…with reasonable conversation.  There’s no screaming or crying or tantrums.”   The minute the words were out of my mouth I felt guilty.  I thought he would get angry or deny that’s what his family was like but he just said “wow, that’s nice!” (which made me realize, hey that IS kind of nice, I love my family!)

Maybe it’s not such a big deal but I’ve been thinking about you ladies here and how many of you feel your DILs start a campaign to turn your sons against you (I agree with many of you and sympathize).  But that makes me feel REALLY guilty for making that negative comment to my boyfriend about his own family.  I actually wasn’t expecting him to agree.. like I said, I regretted saying something negative the minute I did.  Then again, many of you ladies have heard my stories about FMIL and know I’m not trying to start some kind of smear campaign…  but sometimes I feel like I got to tell it like I see it.  You know what I mean?  And that’s how I see it. Was it so wrong?  I actually didn’t start feeling bad about that comment until I started thinking of all of you…
isitme, I don't think you are the kind of person that creates a "smear campaign" like that.  You are keeping yourself in check too much to do that and obviously have a very good conscience.  You won't let yourself smear your DS's family because you obviously love him, and know that means his family is your family now too.  Too many women are marrying men without realizing the DH's family are part and parcel of that package.

I think it's normal for women to examine their MIL's remarks at first.  Then you have to close your eyes and pretend it's your own mother talking.  Before you know it you get it!  This is your mother and your family now!  None of us thinks or says "right" things all of the time.  We all slip!  How you view your "slip" and handle it is important and can paint the outcome for you and your DH.  Not always, but most of the time!

I do not see you having the problem you are worried about.  You are very unique and your FIL is lucky to have someone like you in their (what is it?) herd?  LOL!

Hang in!  Be good to yourself and just offer your heart, like you have been doing!

2chickiebaby

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2010, 10:43:53 AM »
I guess I'm just a punching bag.   I am so hurt....don't know who to trust. 

Offline isitme?

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2010, 10:53:57 AM »
I guess I'm just a punching bag.   I am so hurt....don't know who to trust.

You shouldn't be a punching bag.  That's not right.  I think you just have to find a way to not let your DILs hurt you anymore.

Someone the other day suggested to me that the only way to deal with the people in your life who act crazy is to laugh it off.  Not laugh AT them but instead of getting hurt or angry, just laugh off how difficult they are.  I think that might be what I'm trying to do with my FMIL.  When she behaves badly, I will say to myself "isnt' it funny that some people can act that way"..  Do you think you could try that chickie?  say to youself "oh, isn't it funny how my DIL gets so hypersensitive...."

cocobars

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 10:54:09 AM »
Chickie, I understand that!  Try to trust yourself and don't worry so much about the DIL's.  Hurt is easy to put out, but hard to erase...  Unless you are a MIL who loves her children and GK's!

Time is so good to us (well, except for the wrinkles).  I don't think you are lost.  Misunderstood, maybe...  But time has that way of forcing everyone to see all sides.  I firmly believe she will see it, even if not yet.

We love you Chickie!

Orly

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2010, 10:55:33 AM »
Isitme--You may have made that comment, but if you had stepped up and said to your BF "Gee, that was snarky, I'm sorry it was uncalled for." you would have covered your momentary lapse.  Plus you would have called yourself on it at the time, not letting it fester.  We are all entitled to lapses on occasion.  I don't think your Uncle was really trying to make you feel guilty either....he was stating in his way they all MISS YOU.

Chickie--Asking your son to return his brother's phone calls and reminding him of his brother's feelings ...isn't a guilt trip.  The only one wielding the "guilt trip" bat was  your DIL.   It sounds to me like she wields it very often to get her way in things.

Don't get me wrong ladies, guilt trips are useful when they are applied for the right reasons....in example, when you catch your young son/daughter taking something from a store....not only do you make them feel guilty for stealing something not theirs ...you march them back in to the store to fess up and return it.  I'm sure y'all know exactly what I'm talking about...that preventative guilt trip, used as a teaching point.

cocobars

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Re: was this wrong?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2010, 10:59:37 AM »
Hehehehe!  I still remember doing that to my son.  Marched him back in and asked for the manager!  He looked like a dear in the headlights!!!

All he lacked was the bushy tail!@!

But he never did it again...