Author Topic: Intro and request for advice  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline alohomora

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Intro and request for advice
« on: April 19, 2010, 12:11:30 PM »
Hello - I am a DIL with ongoing MIL problems. I've been reading your site for several days now and am hoping to get some opinions from some of the wise women here on how to maintain my currently improve relationship with my MIL.

My current situation is that my DH and I live several hours away from IL's by plane. The last time I saw MIL in person, she took me aside and said 'well now you can have DH this Christmas, but next Christmas he has to come home." What she meant was, that DH and I were spending the holidays with my family that year, but the next year she expected us to fly to their city and spend holidays with them (sidenote - we do not yet have children, though we plan on trying this year
).

This weekend a lot of things happened in regards to our summer vacations and Christmas. DH goes on an annual camping trip with his childhood best friends every summer for one week - he fly's to his parents hometown and fly's out of it to go on this trip, usually spending one night with his family before or after the trip. DH said to why don't I come with him this year, and we go for two weeks. I can go visit friends in another city while he's camping, and the week he isn't we can spend with his family. I think this is a fine idea. He also said it is just too expensive for us to fly there again for the christmas holidays, so this will be our trip there this year.

MIL also called this weekend and told me she is coming to visit for a few days with  several family members this summer
( a month before we go to their town) on their way to a vacation destination. That's fine too.

The problem is, and I know this from past experience, Christmas is very precious to MIL (As it is to my family). Sadly, DH is mothers clear 'favourite', something the family jokes about but we all know to be true, and she will NOT take the news of usnot coming for Christmas well. I'm worried this is not going to end well and although its DH job to have this discussion with her, I want to try and ensure the conversation goes amicably as best as possible. Any suggestions??

Offline isitme?

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 12:22:57 PM »
Hi Allohamora,
Well, I'm sure the ladies here will all give you a lot of advice.  IMO (as another DIL), I think you are right that it is DH's job to have that discussion with her.  It should be clear that this is HIS decision and that he has very specific reasons for this.  If she is anything like my MIL there will be a lot of arguing, harassing and tantrums about it.  And then in the end, YOU may get the blame....  I hope that is not the case but it often happens that the DIL gets blamed for EVERYTHING partly because it's easier for MIL to assume it was 'the outsider' and also because it's a lot easier on DH to just pass the blame over to you... 

If there is a special tradition or something in the family that MIL feels very strongly about, is it possible for you to try and do something similar when you do go to visit or when she comes to see you?  Kind of like a "christmas in july" kind of thing?  Will she know about the cancelled Xmas plans before you go out?

Offline alohomora

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 12:30:52 PM »
Thank you for your response - in the past I've had to deal with a lot of accusations (all false - stuff like 'my son would NEVER do that it must be HER' when she got a not so nice email  from him) that led to a three year no communication. I don't want to go back there. Especially with children on the way - I want them to have a close and special relationship with my IL's.

In all honesty here? I'm concerened she's going to freak out and 'cancel' christmas. It wouldn't be the first time she's done somethign like this. One year, MBIL was five hours late coming from SIL's house - we all sat around not opening a single gift or eating anything until BIL arrived. It was ridiculous - he was late and didn't bother calling. I love BIL, but not calling when seven people are sitting around waiting for you was rude. Granted, when he arrived the first thing he asked was why we hadn't eaten and insisted we shouldn't have waited for him. MIL just kept saying 'we weren't going to eat until all my boys were here.' So you can see...this might not be so easy..

Onlooker

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 12:37:47 PM »
Re:

"In all honesty here? I'm concerened she's going to freak out and 'cancel' christmas."

I'd say that if she cancels a Christmas that you're not attending, she only hurts herself - and, yes, anyone that she was hosting for Christmas. But it's not your job to keep her from hurting herself or to ensure that she fulfills the hosting obligations that she's taken on.

I do agree that your husband needs to explain his decision, and since it is his decision, he is not allowed to say or hint, to the tiniest tiniest degree, that you are responsible for this decision. By "to the tiniest degree" I mean, for example, that if he makes the mistake of JADEing about why it's a financial issue, he is _not allowed_ to use as an example any money that was spent for you. There's a fair chance that she'll want to blame someone other than her son, so he needs to avoid helping her find an excuse to do so.

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Offline alohomora

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 09:23:16 AM »
She, MIL, called again last night and is making plans to spend more time with us this summer. DH has been working a lot of overtime this last week so he hasn't been home to field these phone calls. We were trying to work out vacation time and Christmas came up and I said 'well we're not sure we'll be coming'. She went quiet but didn't comment. Maybe I'm nieve but I'm hoping that when DH tells her we can't make it she may understand.

I wish I could tell her this. I wish I could tell her that DH loves her very much and wants to spend time with her and the rest of his family. but in the past, when we've gotten to this point in the 'crossroads', she's blown up at him, tried to make him feel guilty, and basically made him not want to visit her again for a long time. In fact, I've been the one to make plans after he avoided it for so long I started to feel bad for her. DH can be stubborn too, and doesn't like being guilt tripped. The best case scenario for everyone here will be if she's understanding and back's off. Then DH will look at the calander and try and find more suitable times for a get together. If she blows up, she probably won't see us again for a long time. Its sad.

cremebrulee

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 09:39:02 AM »
What it sounds like here, is MIL has to have her way or else...and I'd like to add, how dare she say she's coming for a visit to your home, with several family members...I don't get the sense of entitlement that some people display, just b/c they think it's her son's home, and there is no other person involved? 

Hello and welcome

I'm sorry your dealing with this...

Why is it, some mothers don't understand boundaries...even with they're own children? Let alone extended family?

I think your husband talking to her is the wise thing to do, but he should make it perfectly clear to her, that this is his decission...and if she freaks out, well, you can't control that...and you can't feel obligated or to blame b/c of it.  You and your husband have your own lives...and that is that....if someone announced they were coming to my home like that, I would reply, "wull geeze, I'm sorry but it isn't a good time for me". 

The nerve of her...she needs to go to counseling and understand, there are other feelings involved here and not just her own....

what is she like to be around for a few days?  Do you work? 

Oh and by the way, regardless of her actions after she hears your son's reasons for not comeing, you should tell her that her son loves her....she can't always have her way, yanno?  Is she married, if she is, I feel sorry for her husband...

no matter what her reaction is, you are totally justified for your feelings, and again, you cannot control her immature reaction, and you are not responsible for it either.  Sometimes life isn't always fair, so, she should get over it...

« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 09:43:29 AM by cremebrulee »

Offline alohomora

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 10:25:41 AM »
Thanks Creme. She is married, and has two other sons that live close to her and her DH. She is very, very involved in the lives of one BIL and SIL and their baby. If they're all fine with the situation I don't see anything wrong with them being so close. All of them seem happy and she doesn't seem to expect the same type of relationship with us.

The first time she called about this visit she just informed me they were coming. Honestly, it may be a tad annoying that she didn't ask if it was ok, but I've always told her we have an open door. We live very far away and it costs a lot of money to fly here, so its not like she's going to be making round trips frequently - maybe once a year, if that. That being said, her mother is the mean version of Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond and her and I don't get along so well - and she is one of the people coming. She mentioned last night if her mother comes they would get a hotel room, and I said I could book that for her to make it easier (for everyone!).

I'm hoping this all goes well. I really am. I hate how I get nervous and get anxiety before one of their visits. I told myself I wouldn't talk poorly about my MIL to my husband anymore (I used to , years ago, when things were bad) so long as she isn't giving me reason to feel upset, and I know she is really trying hard so I want to try hard too. I hate that we have to go through all of this, its too bad it couldn't have been good from the start, but what happened happened and here we are. Hopefully when the grandkids come it'll be easier.

cremebrulee

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 11:02:52 AM »
Thanks Creme. She is married, and has two other sons that live close to her and her DH. She is very, very involved in the lives of one BIL and SIL and their baby. If they're all fine with the situation I don't see anything wrong with them being so close. All of them seem happy and she doesn't seem to expect the same type of relationship with us.

The first time she called about this visit she just informed me they were coming. Honestly, it may be a tad annoying that she didn't ask if it was ok, but I've always told her we have an open door. We live very far away and it costs a lot of money to fly here, so its not like she's going to be making round trips frequently - maybe once a year, if that. That being said, her mother is the mean version of Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond and her and I don't get along so well - and she is one of the people coming. She mentioned last night if her mother comes they would get a hotel room, and I said I could book that for her to make it easier (for everyone!).

I'm hoping this all goes well. I really am. I hate how I get nervous and get anxiety before one of their visits. I told myself I wouldn't talk poorly about my MIL to my husband anymore (I used to , years ago, when things were bad) so long as she isn't giving me reason to feel upset, and I know she is really trying hard so I want to try hard too. I hate that we have to go through all of this, its too bad it couldn't have been good from the start, but what happened happened and here we are. Hopefully when the grandkids come it'll be easier.

It sounds like your a very understanding and kind person...and it also sounds like she is respectful of your feelings for her mother....it really doesn't sound like your a nervous person....and, your willing to work things out and understand/more aware then most...so, I'm thinking you'll be fine...God bless you Girl!

Offline elsieshaye

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 01:15:03 PM »
I think letting DH handle it is the best way to avoid excess drama.  It may very well be that you get blamed no matter what - it may just be that difficult for your MIL to accept that her "favorite" is setting any limits with her at all, and much easier to blame you, even if your DH goes out of his way to point out that it's his decision.  As long as your DH can be firm and kind with his mother, all you really can do is be supportive of him, and avoid getting in the middle of it as much as possible.  If she goes ballistic and cancels her xmas get-together, then that's her decision.  You cannot control what she thinks and how she reacts to things.   (BTW, she can't cancel Xmas.  Only her celebration of it.  That doesn't impact anyone else's celebration.  She's really the only one that suffers, if she chooses to do that.)
This too shall pass.  All is well.

bettylou

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 01:26:08 PM »
If she cancels her christmas that you are not attending you would not be responsible for that and you should not be made to think that.  Christmas is a very long time away.  I know the hurt over not seeing my son at the holidays gets to everyone in my house, but we just do our own thing, it hurts more missing out on grandson at this time but we manage, I look forward to giving gifts to my daughter and husband but I know it deflates us that once our meal is over that day, we do not have a visit from them to make our day.  But if we canceled that is our problem not theirs. 

Offline Pen

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 01:59:03 PM »
Allohamora, it does sound like you're doing all you can. Good on you for being willing to try. I hope it all works out for you :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline alohomora

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 02:23:49 PM »
Thanks everyone. Our MIL/DIL relationship has come a LONG way from where it used to be. Like I said, we went three years once without speaking. It was the result of a holiday weekend spent ath their house - DH (BF at the time) didn't want to go, but I said lets go visit with your family, so we drove six hours and spent the weekend with them. Long story short, we had to leave earlier then MIL wanted us to and she threw a nasty, vile fit that led to us not speaking to her.

The summer before that, I was vegan for a year. That means no animal products in any of my food (until I had some health problems and started eating some meats again - now I love my chicken! Sigh. I tried!) MIL would cover every plate on the dinner table during a visit to the IL's with meat or meat juice, so I could not eat it. She'd laugh and say 'oops, guess you can't have the carrots either, I poured some meat sauce on them for flavour. hehe'. And that was just the fun part of her nastiness - I can actually laugh about those antics now, years later. I have many stories like that, but I try to just laugh about them now.

Someone asked I think if I worked - yes, DH and I both work full time in professional fields. The last nasty argument we had with IL's was a couple years ago - his grandmother gave us her furniture set before she passed away, and IL's said they'd hold onto a couple pieces for us because we had no room. We did have room but as we were getting ready for a move in a year, didn't bother to insist we get all the furniture. Well, GMIL passes away, we are getting ready for our move, and MIL sends an email saying she's not going to give us the furniture because she is using it. DH was very upset as this furniture was given to him, and he wanted to keep his grandma's set together. He sent a letter back, saying in so many words, that the set belonged to him but if they refused to give it back to him, then he wanted them to take the rest of the furniture as well so as to keep the set together. The reaction to his email was pretty ugly - they did give us back the furniture, but telilng us that 'while we may have won this battle, the war has only begun!!' and 'i know you didn't write that email, it was allohamora wasn't it? I've been telling people that OUR son would NEVER do that.' Lots of comments about our jobs and how much money (they think) we make, and hwo we can afford to buy new furniture while they're near retirement.. Yikes!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 02:26:19 PM by allohamora »

Offline Pen

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2010, 02:30:20 PM »
Now I'm even more impressed!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

bettylou

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Re: Intro and request for advice
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2010, 02:58:58 PM »
Oh my I certainly do not understand what kind of people would begrudge their adult child any inherited furniture that was explicity to be left to them.  Parents do not just get to use the card to guilt and get their way, there is the responsibility to adult children of helping them to get what they need and you all needed the furniture that was promised to you all.  They sound petty and nasty to say things about a war as well, that is not a normal way to act.  I think it is sad, and you should not have gotten the blame for it either.