Author Topic: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL  (Read 3161 times)

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miss_priss

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Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« on: August 18, 2010, 10:13:35 AM »
I'm feeling bombarded with issues the last few days.  Thankfully, I have a vacation scheduled for the end of this month...just a long weekend with the girls, but thank goodness...I need to get away from all this for a few days!

Yesterday evening when DH and I got home from work, UPS had left a rather large package.  You guessed it, it was from MIL.  The same woman who just 2 months ago DH told to leave and never come back to our home.  (Lots of background info here, but if you're new:  MIL verbally and emotionally abused DH his whole life, she enspoused him, controlled him, guilted him, manipulated him, made him pay for her lifestyle, she never accepted me, she's cursed both of us, she tried to break up our relationship and when that didn't work, she just started to pretend I wasn't there, told lies about us to victimize herself and gain sympathy from other people and to turn them against us.  She's toxic in every way and it goes on and on, until finally DH said "enough is enough" and he told her to leave our home and not to ever come back or contact us again.)  Their final contact was just about 2 months ago.

Back to the present:  This package came as no surprise really, as she's always bought her way into an apology after any argument she ever had with anyone.  The last big stink she caused at our house she started an argument, and perpetuated it, that made my blood pressure skyrocket and caused my baby to go into distress.  Within 3 weeks she sent us a 60-inch flatscreen television...then called a few days later to "make sure we got it."  No verbal apology.  No acknolwedgement that there was even an argument.  From that phone call forward, she acted as if nothing ever happened between her son and her.  She picked up with her son right where they'd left off, but continued to act like I don't even exist.  And that's just the way it was for months.  It hurt, that DH let her buy her way back into his life again (she's done this several times before, with money, large gifts, etc.).  He accepted her gifts as apologies to HIM just as he always did, yet she still refused to acknowledge me as his wife, even just a person.  She still would not even speak to me if I were standing right in front of her.  That's an issue DH and I handled in therapy.  We agreed that we would no longer accept her lavish gifts as apologies, and our counselor agreed that it enables her and gives her a false sense of entitlement because she equates money to forgiveness. 

Now, we have this package.  It's full of baby stuff.  Clothes, toys, very nice things.  There are also some very nice dress pants for DH.  There is no letter, no card, no hint of real remorse...just nice, expensive gifts for our child and for DH. 

The problem is....DH thinks we should keep it.  Eventhough we agreed, and our counselor agreed, that accepting her gifts in lieu of apologies was a bad idea and it was enabling her...he wants to keep her gifts "because they are mostly for DD."

I think it's the "same ol' MIL" trick, just as she's always done and she will use it as her ticket back in just as she's always done.  What would you wise women do???

     

Offline Pooh

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 10:29:59 AM »
I agree with you.  It sounds like another ploy to gain access again.  The first thing that hit me was that you said full of gifts for baby and DH.  Not that you want a gift from her, but something geared to you would be an indication she was including you in her thought and would indicate more sincerity.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 10:38:35 AM »
I would send a thank you note telling her that you have donated the articles to a shelter. And I would do just that. It's of no use to explain that money and gifts aren't apologies. I'd keep my distance and maintain my autonomy. If DH caves...the door is reopened for more abuse, which was the point of the package.

Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

cremebrulee

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 11:40:08 AM »
If another package comes, I would send it back without opening it.
and if you write her telling her anything, it should be husband who composes the note in his hand writing.....

Have you and hubby tried to tell her to get counseling?

Glad your getting away....good for you!!!!

barelythere

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 11:45:57 AM »
If another package comes, I would send it back without opening it.
and if you write her telling her anything, it should be husband who composes the note in his hand writing.....

Have you and hubby tried to tell her to get counseling?

Glad your getting away....good for you!!!!

I would think Postscript and her husband might have a hard time not keeping these nice gifts.  Counseling might be good for her.  She might learn that gifts don't buy love or caring. She has those mixed up, yanno? 

cremebrulee

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 12:01:27 PM »
yes, I know people who do that...it is the only way they know how to express love....

boy, this woman sounds like a real dozzie...I'd be pulling my hair out....

however, it is also very common and normal for a grand mama to want to buy for her grand child, and I have no problem with that, as long as it isn't over done....

problem....there is a generation gap, and what I like my DIL may absolutely hate.....so I send money....? 

barelythere

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 12:09:01 PM »
yes, I know people who do that...it is the only way they know how to express love....

boy, this woman sounds like a real dozzie...I'd be pulling my hair out....

however, it is also very common and normal for a grand mama to want to buy for her grand child, and I have no problem with that, as long as it isn't over done....

problem....there is a generation gap, and what I like my DIL may absolutely hate.....so I send money....?

I know whatcha mean about sending money.  My Parents raised me to think that sending money  was the path of least resistence, which was just about as bad as could be.  It meant you put no thought into the gift but nowadays it could be the wrong gift that a child might not even like or fit them or that they would play with.  It is a new generation for sure. Creme, dear? Money is the best policy these days!. ;D

miss_priss

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 12:34:35 PM »
Luise - your suggestion of donating the items to a shelter was my very first thought about this package.  When I suggested it to DH, he said the note would just make her more angry and wouldn't solve anything.  I tend to agree with him, that it will make her very angry.  I don't want to do that if I can help it, she can be very relentless when she's angry.  God only knows what she would do, because its like she lacks the ability to recognize consequences.  I have nightmares about her kidnapping our daughter.     

Barelythere and Creme - the thing is, the items she sent are great!  They are beautiful items, she really does have exquisite taste.  They are things I would love to put on DD, but they come with such a heavy price tag that I just don't want them.  I don't want to see them everyday, and know what they represent.  And even at this early age, DD's 7 months old now, I don't want DD to learn that she can "buy forgiveness."  I just feel like its a trend we need to stop now.  And keeping this gift means that we're condoning it, to me anyway.       

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 12:59:44 PM »
This price is too high if you keep the gifts and the price is too high if you don't. Look at the power you are giving her. It looks like since there is no peaceful action available to you, that you need to take the one where you can face the consequences. Why is is so unrealistic to make her angrier? You can't incorporate her into your life and your values. To keep the gift supports the continuation of the game you have professed you don't want to play. It's a no-go, right? If you can't donate them, then return them with a note that says it appears to you that the gifts are inappropriate under the current circumstances.

Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Sunny1

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 01:47:45 PM »
I agree with luise...donate every bit of it.

My MIL and SIL literally stole the joy out of and ruined everything there was to ruin about our wedding. Complained about the cost of the bridesmaids dress for SIL (that never got purchased anyway, but that's another story) Then, upon returning home from our honeymoon, we found extremely expensive furniture from the most expensive store in the area in our living room.. it also looked eerily similar to the furniture in MIL's home. She was actually trying to decorate my house to look like hers! Now, DH and I each owned our own homes at the time, so we already had two houses full of furniture, we didn't need more furniture. It was just another one of her control tactics, it continued for quite awhile after that too. We told her absolutely no gifts this past Christmas, so she gifted magazine subscriptions. Then kept making excuses about canceling them. She absolutely refuses to respect our wishes for anything, not even the small stuff, she has to control or manipulate everything and everyone around her.

We've resorted to returning, canceling, donating, or just plain smashing and returning to her, anything that appears in whatever way she manages to dream up.  :)

My MIL is a supposed lifelong Christian, but I've found that hell will freeze over before she will ever apologize for years of lies, hypocrisy and manipulation. A sincere apology is all I've ever asked for, but I know I won't get one.




Offline luise.volta

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2010, 01:56:26 PM »
What a story! I think there is so much to be learned regarding manipulation, if we aren't into it. We fear the person and don't step up to the plate. They keep it up because we are actually continuing to play the game by being fearful.

Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Sassy

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2010, 04:29:42 PM »
As you know, this is not about gifts.   Perhaps DH can discuss with the counselor why he wants to keep the gifts, so someone neutral can walk him through his thought process. If he doesn't want to play, then he won't play.  However, it sounds like DH very much wants to play, and that he wants to keep that door open to her.  Despite what he may have said he wanted, two months later she's ready and apparently so is he.  His actions are louder than words.  The problem is, from what you wrote about the threat of kidnapping, this is not a game you (or your DD) can afford for him to play.

I strongly suggest you and DH speak to a Domestic Violence counselor. Living your life with the threat that MIL will kidnap your child is living with domestic violence.  If the counselor you're seeing is not trained in abuse, which is what this threat is, then she is not fully prepared to handle this situation.   Ask your counselor: "are you trained to specifically handle abuse and domestic violence."  For you, I'd prepare yourself for how you will handle protecting yourself and your daughter from the next step it seems DH will want - to include her in his life.   Even if he says it's "just because" not doing so will make her angry enough that she would hurt your daughter. 

If you and he are honestly concerned a mere note could make her angry enough to kidnap your daughter, and he's not creating that threat as an excuse to twist doing something wrong into a good thing ("By accepting and keeping these gifts, we're actually protecting our daughter from harm!").. then you need other reinforcements in place NOW.  If a note can send her off, then so could one terminated phone call, and that can come at any time.

As parent, it's your responsibility to protect your child from forseeable harm.  If a civil exchange (such as the note) is expected to result in criminal action being done to her, this is NOT a game.  Reinforce, doors, locks, window guards.  Install alarm systems.  If MIL ever had a key to your home to water plants, even if she returned it, she could have made a copy so you must replace all locks that key would work on.

You need to alert the police in both areas (where you and she live) and provide pictures.   You need to register DD with child-identifcation resources.  If she's old enough for daycare or school you need to provide photographs of MIL with explicit instuctions police are to be called if she attempts to come on school property.  You must inform any care providers and provide pictures, including those of cars she drives, and instructions to call police immediately.   Consider notifying any neighbors in viewing distance of your house know about the threat.   Same things with any friends you think MIL could contact for information.  Take down any pictures or personal information about your plans and whereabouts from any social networking sites, no matter how "blocked" you think they are, they're not.  Look at personal protection and stalking websites to learn more. 

You need to talk to a lawyer to find out about stalking laws.  Find out what your state needs to  issue restraining orders, if they issue restraining orders. In some places, any contact from you towards the person providing unwanted contact, even in response, neutralizes the charge of stalking, and so by sending any note, you may be less protected.  Find out from a lawyer, and a policeman, what he personally would do.  Consider that all future communications should be from a laywer or the police, including a Cease and Desist.

Engaging someone dangerous just so they don't hurt you is a calculated risk (and in my opinion a fool's move) and if your DH insists on dragging your daughter into a dangerous place by engaging someone so dangerous they would kidnap her, you must be informed about the risks, rights, and obligations to protect your child.

Miss Priss it's hard for me to gauge your seriousness.  I know this is complex, and emotions run the range, but hearing you talk about MIL's exquisite taste in children's clothing, and basing how you'll react to them on the threat of  MIL kidnapping your daughter in the same thread is somewhat confusing for me.  However, I am responding as if you are serious, and if you are serious about the threat, then I suggest you react to this threat with all total seriousness.  Winging it without full legal knowledge isn't an option.

miss_priss

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2010, 07:29:25 PM »
Sassy - thanks so much for your post.  There's so much information there, I feel so informed.  I appreciate your taking the time to write it.

There have been no real "threats" communicated, I didn't say that.  I just have nightmares about it.  I've had these nightmares ever since DH and I found out she was sending her niece to the hospital "to take pictures" of our DD when we weren't there, she was in the NICU for several weeks when she was born.  DH had put niece on the list to be able to get in to see her whenever she wanted, even when we weren't there, because she was living with us at the time and we both thought we could trust her.  When we caught her lying about just how much time she was spending with the baby without us (I caught her at the hospital when she told us she was "at school"), I immediately removed her from that list and notified the hospital staff that she was no longer to be in the room with the baby without DH or I present.  When I found out that MIL had been  funneling money to her so she could drive back and forth to the hospital to send MIL private photos, and then telling niece not to tell us...I was LIVID.  But worse, I was terrified.  I realized just how easy it would be for her to take her. 

I have voiced my concerns with DH, he agrees that she can't be trusted alone with DD, but he also assures me that she's not crazy enough to take her.  I'm not so sure, but I'm not willing to take the chance.  We have already changed all the locks, installed a home alarm, and given MILs picture to her daycare with instructions to call the police, then call me if she ever shows up there.  I've seen her do some pretty crazy things out of desperation, and it makes me feel crazy myself that I have to worry about this.

Regarding her gifts...Sassy, you're absolutely right.  Its not about gifts, that's just her ticket in the door.  DH sees that, but he says that if we reject the gift, or send her a note telling her that we donated the gifts, that he will have to face the rest of his family who will rally to her defense...he says he just can't deal with that anymore.  To me, its only their business if he allows it to be.  I personally have no problem telling anyone "sorry, that's between ourselves and MIL.  It's not your business." but he can't seem to do that, he never could.  His family is very prying and feudal, that's just the way they are.             

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2010, 08:31:56 PM »
When DH says he can't deal with it anymore...he is setting both of you up to have to deal with it forever.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

barelythere

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Re: Unexpected "Gifts" from MIL
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2010, 09:45:34 PM »
I don't understand why your Mother in law can't get it through her thick head that she is not wanted in your life!  Even stooping to stealing pictures of her granddaughter, desperate tactics!Sending expensive gifts, clothes?  She's not wanted and it looks like she'd get a clue but she remains clueless and still does it.  Somebody's just going to have to say it clearly that she is not wanted, never wanted and to go away, which I'm sure you've done.  This can make a mother want to crawl in a hole and never come out but she's really bad. and is desperate.  My prayers are with this woman so she can overcome her desire to be apart of your lives.