About six months after my mom passed, and approximately eight months before my husband’s brother and girlfriend (I’ll call her Lisa) are to get married; Lisa, her sister Penny, and another friend of theirs came for a visit at my house, and turned a rather pleasant afternoon into something I’m still amazed over.
We all sat down to chat, and then Lisa started the next hour of conversation with:
“Why do you always talk to Mother-in-law about bargains you’ve found or garage sales, and why do you shop at Goodwill? You shouldn’t shop there, you have enough money to shop at (list of stores) and it looks bad when you talk about how much money you saved.” I was a little taken aback but responded that since my mom passed, I was conversing with mother-in-law about the things I used to talk about easily with Mom and was probably hoping to fill in the gap.
Nods all around.
And then the list of things I shouldn’t do went on: “I only call Penny when I need something” (not really true, I help Penny out with her son’s school projects occasionally, but I guess this is their perception). I apologized. And previously, when Lisa showed me the engagement ring, I exclaimed how big it was, which was off-putting. Yes, that was a gaffe on my part. I apologized. My parenting skills were addressed. My son is a happy, thriving child, full of smiles and he sleeps through the night. I’m very proud of him, albeit I’m a new mom and I’m sure I make mistakes. Lisa has no children yet. This continued while I looked for a way to escape my own home or change the subject to bean dip, but Lisa was on a mission. Finally, they left and I was utterly depressed for days. I wasn’t sure if Mother-in-law had mentioned her annoyance at my subject matter to Lisa, although it seemed unlikely. Mother-in-law never said anything bad about anyone.
The wedding is fast approaching and I’m still unsure how to approach or deal with Lisa. Since our conversation, I have “laid low” and have been civil, or as my mom would have suggested, I have smiled and been polite. I haven’t mentioned bargain shopping or saving money to Mother-in-law, and she hasn’t mentioned that she’s noticed any change in our conversations, which are always pleasant. Maybe one of these days, I’ll ask. I haven’t reached out to talk to Penny at all, nor has she called me.
I know it’s been a few months since this happened, but I still feel stung and astonished. I haven’t mentioned any of it to anyone else, except for right now at this writing. Has anyone ever been in a situation like this? Is it common? I’ve never had such an experience, and would rather avoid having it occur again. 1002-13
Lisa has ensconced herself as the family busybody before she’s even married. And that is exactly how you should view her….a meddling, divisive busybody. Almost every family has one and the way I deal with it is to refuse to discuss problems with people who are neither part of the problem nor the solution. If a relative has an offense against me, that person is free to come discuss it with me but I do not entertain secondhand reports of someone else’s alleged offense from people who thrive on this kind of family drama. Several years ago I was approached by a relative who claimed to speak for another relative about an offense this person had against yet another relative. Did you get that? Person A is allegedly offended at Person D so it goes through Person B to Person C (being me) and I am supposed to either be the mediator for Persons A and D or be the gossipy reporter to Person D. I promptly took Person B to task for being willing to listen to Person A’s gripes and then come gossiping to me about it. Person A can put on their big kid pants, grow some Spauldings and arrange to address the issues with Person D at any time but I will not be drawn into this drama. And until Person A does speak with Person D, I’m going to assume there is no current issues between the two. Person A never contacted Person D.
If your MIL has not mentioned any issues she has with you, I would continue living life as if nothing were amiss and dismiss Lisa’s lecture as the work of the family gossip. Meanwhile you should examine yourself to make sure there is no crumb of truth to what Lisa claims. Talking to MIL about issues that are of special interest to you only or using her to fill the motherless gap you have is somewhat selfish. Unless your child is a raging brat, I would ignore Lisa’s ignorant child training observations, too.
Where is your husband in all this? What does he think of the situation?
Comments on this entry are closed.
Kat, I know a lot of people are disagreeing with your comments on Goodwill and ‘bargain hunters’ but I found your point of view to be extremely eye-opening. Being privileged enough to be born into a middle class family, I’d never really thought about the potential negative impact that shopping there would have on the needy.
I have noticed the problems that spring up when society demands lower and lower prices for their goods (the demise of local business and decent paying jobs, shoddy products and exploited overseas labour). There’s an excellent book called ‘Over-dressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion’ that adresses these exact points and I highly recommend it.
Sorry for the double (triple) post. I was going to edit my first comment but it seemed to disappear so I was going to go with a shorter version.
@Kat: “I sincerely apologize if I offended anyone in this thread, that was not my intent. I won’t comment again since clearly my opinion on this matter is so unpopular.”
I think what people are objecting to is not your “unpopular” opinion but rather your incorrect “facts”. As other posters have noted (but it bears repeating to help set the record straight), Goodwill WANTS people of any income level to shop at their stores, not just needy people. The money they make from selling donated items in their stores goes to supporting their charitable efforts. More sales = more help for the needy.
As for the OP, whose story has been a little bit sidetracked by the Goodwill discussion (sorry!), I think you’ll feel better when you get better at shutting down Lisa as soon as she starts her impertinent remarks. She has no business using a social gathering for a scolding critique of your conversational practices, even if you ARE saying anything inappropriate (which it doesn’t sound like you are).
Nor, as Admin notes, is it her business to report back to you anything anybody else says (or anything she pretends anybody else says just for a drama opportunity, which I wouldn’t put past her). Don’t listen placatingly and apologize when she makes these rude criticisms. Just say pleasantly but firmly “Well Lisa, I’m happy to listen to (Penny, MIL, whoever) about anything they feel they need to address with me, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t feel right gossiping about it with you or any other third party.”
As others have stated, Lisa sounds very jealous, and frankly I would steer clear of her if I were you. She brought a possy (darn, is that how you spell it?) to your home to rake you over the coals for a list of character flaws they believe you have. That is ‘Mean Girls’ to a T.
I would point blank ask MIL if she’s uncomfortable with the bargain hunting talk. I can’t see how she would be, but it’s best to make sure the air is clear with her now rather than let it fester in your brain believing there something bigger going on when it’s not.
Avoid Lisa. She intentionally blindsided you. With a gang. I wouldn’t let her back into my home after that.
As to the Goodwill thread going – nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been said, but here in Canada they use the profits from the stores to fund programs to help the unemployed and poor. It’s not the food bank, it’s not a soup kitchen. We are not stealing from the disadvantaged. It’s not only ‘hipsters’ that need to find certain articles of clothing. I haven’t located a nice pair of bell bottoms since the 90’s. Not flares – like, the big bells. In high school those were the only jeans I wore. I miss those jeans! I wore them till they were absolutely threadbare! Since I can’t find them in retail then darn tootin’ I’m going to continue to rummage Goodwill/Value Village/Sally Ann until I find a suitable replacement!
Thank you, Alex. I don’t shop Goodwill or donate to Goodwill because the high up positions make more than the president, while the entry level positions are paid way, way sub minimum wage because the organization exploits a loophole that makes it legal to pay the handicapped/challenged people they claim to help less than $1.00/hour in some cases. I seek other ways to help and other organizations to donate my still-usable-but-unneeded things.
But anyone should be able to shop thrift stores. The charities need to turn over product to raise funds and all these stores seem to be bursting at the seems with goods, always possibly in violation of fire code. My friends who thrift do not leave with bags and bags of goods, they come out with a couple of unique finds, leaving the bulk of the good behind, and it really is better for the planet to reuse than refuse.
LW, I would have to take a deep breath each time I see Lisa to stay civil, but that’s what I’d do, resisting the impulse to silent treatment her. Do not take anything she passes on as fact. Maybe your MIL joked about your subject matter, maybe she made a comment about how you missed your mother and this topic is how you expressed it, maybe she did make some comment in what she thought was safe company that wouldn’t repeated it. Most probable, however, is that Lisa is saying what she thinks and is just attributing to your MIL to be bratty and make you feel self conscience. If she treats you this way, she will treat others in the family this way, and she will develop quite the reputation. Comissurate with your husband and let it go.
Oh my goodness. Do I agree with Kat? No, not really. But can we PLEASE stop beating her up about it? She deserves to post too and this entire thing being turned on her is ridiculous.
Kat, while I do not agree with you, I respect your right to voice your opinion and think you are showing grace in the face of attack.
And this is why I don’t post more. I hate being attacked.
And thank you, Lilac for sharing the news.
So, the MIL is telling her future DIL (Lisa) all the gritty details about what annoys about her current DIL (the OP)? Either Lisa is spreading something smelly or the husband’s family has some deeper issues than an etiquette board can handle.
I would put Lisa and her cohorts into the mean girl category. Lisa and her posse came to your home for a visit and turn it from a social call into a character assassination. It was all about listing your faults related to Lisa, Penny, your MIL, your conversation topic choices, your shopping decisions, and even your parenting skills. Lisa might have been off-put by your exclamation over her engagement ring, but that is not an offense that deserves this kind of an attack. (Yes I consider it an attack when someone comes to my home with people to back her up and starts listing my faults and picking apart my character.)
I would personally put Lisa into the cool, but polite category of extended family. I would not discuss anything beyond the weather with her (and only if it is sunny). As for sister Penny and the accompanying friend, they would go on the distant acquaintance who I do not speak with except when. (If Penny’s son needs help with a project, maybe Lisa or the friend can step in since you have apparently offended Penny so much as to only “call her when you need something.”)
And OP. Talk to your MIL directly. There is no reason to let Lisa’s actions cause a rift between you two. Even if MIL was not happy with your choices for conversation, she gave you no indication of that. Feel her out and see what she says. Don’t take Lisa’s word for ANYTHING at this point.
To “Hello!” who claims the OP may have offended someone with her actions and OP should be the one apologizing and mending relationships, I think you are off track. Lisa claimed to be offended by the OP’s exclamation of her ring size. Penny is offended by the fact that her sister Lisa’s future SIL (the OP) does not call or socialize often enough to suit her. Neither of those offenses are on the level to come into someone’s home on a social call and turn it into a character assassination on the hostess.
If something is so offensive as to need a direct discussion/confrontation, it is something to be discussed in private one-on-one. It is not a topic for discussion at a social call in the supposed offender’s home with two hangers-on sitting there nodding like bobble-head dolls. Lisa and Penny are the ones who should be apologizing for blind siding the OP with the attack.
Just speaking to the Goodwill shopping issue raised, have you seen the Goodwill ads on tv? They are specifically trying to bring in a larger cross-section of people, not just the needy. If they are marketing to a larger customer base, you cannot reasonably criticize people for responding to that.
In defense of Kat, depending on where she lives, thrift-store shopping may be the “in”, fashionable thing to do in her area. She does mention hipsters.
Personally, I’ve gone from new to the country, family of 4 living on 20K/year, buying all our clothes at thrift stores (ALL my work clothes for my first office job came from a local Goodwill; my kids didn’t have any new clothes till they were 4-5 years old), to borderline upper-middle-class, double-income, and then to divorced mom with one kid in college and the other applying to colleges (my children’s dad said he wouldn’t help pay for their education, and so far indeed hasn’t), shopping at thrift stores on occasion. And yes, when we were (relatively) well-to-do, I did not shop at thrift stores on principle – I felt like I had to leave those clothes for people who needed them more than I did at the time. That was however my personal choice, that I did not expect anyone else to follow. Today on the other hand, my expenses are so crazy high, and my discretionary income so low, that I feel I can allow myself to shop at thrift stores again, so I’ve shopped there on occasion over the last year. So my personal principles are pretty much in line with what Kat was saying here. I still, however, do not think it’s my place to force them on anyone. Unless we are talking about some crazy rich 20-somethings who shop at thrift stores because it is a cool thing to do and all the cool kids are doing it. And even then, if they donate generously to those same stores that they’re shopping at, then I’d say why not. Have at it.
With all that said… We do not know the OP’s financial situation. And, truth be told, neither does Lisa! Whether OP can afford to shop outside of Goodwill or not, is not our (or Lisa’s) business.
@Kat…..Goodwill uses the money they make from purchases to help the needy. No one should feel ashamed for going there, and anyone is welcome. So what if rich people, the “greedy” ones you called them, shop there?? Saving money is something we should all do. That may be why they have more money. Everyone should shop there, so more of the profits can go towards the people who need the help.
I’m sorry, but you are way off base. First of all, there is no such thing as a “Federally Mandated Charity”. And even if there were, Goodwill is faith based and therefore would be unlikely to be “federally mandated” anyway. Second, thrift stores are there to raise money for charity, not just to provide low cost clothing for the needy. As such, you want affluent people in your store. Affluent people tend to buy more, thereby raising more money for your non-profit. Also, well-off people who thrift shop also tend to donate goods to their favorite stores which also raises more money for your charity. In fact, the chairty I support will give bags of clothes to people who need them. The only reason they can afford to do this is because those less needy to those pretty well off shop there.
I shop at thrift stores for a myriad of reasons. 1) I like that the money I spend goes to help people in my community, not some faceless corporation that only exists to make a profit, 2) I am trying to have a smaller ecological footprint. Thrift shopping is pretty close to the definition of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose. 3) Most department store clothing is manufactured in sweatshops in 3rd world countries where people work in horrific conditions. Then the clothing is shipped all over the world using resources, and poluting both the air and oceans. The clothes I buy at my thrift shop may have started life that way, but at least I’m not adding to the problem by buying new. and 4) I can afford a better quality of clothes at thrift stores than I could otherwise and my clothing budget stretches further than it would if I only bought new.
I’m sorry your soon-to-be SIL is showing herself to be such a pain. I agree with previous posters, she sounds like a “mean girl”. I wish I had something better than “don’t engage” and “protect yourself”. The best I can come up with if she attacks you again is to cut her off, don’t wait for her to finish, with “That’s interesting, I think “other guest” was looking for me, or if she comes to your house “I was just leaving” and escape from her as quickly as possible. Hope it helps.
Wow. I had no idea people dislike anyone above the poverty line shopping at goodwill. I am a bit flabbergasted.. And who are you to decide what one can afford or not afford? Or where one should spend their money? I personaly enjoy the thrill of the hunt and love being able to put away more money in savings. Sorry I will continue to shop at charity shops because they donate the money made on my sale to a good cause. It is a win win.
@ Mae: “Borrowing a line from Julia Sugarbaker’s character on Designing Women, “Lisa, I’m terribly sorry. I’m going to have to ask you to move your car”. When says asks why, “Because you are leaving.”
@teapot: “Wow. So you aren’t interacting enough to a non-relative’s relative? I’m surprised that they didn’t jump on you for not calling the non-relative’s friend enough either!”
I’m glad I’m not the only one who was surprised by this! I’ve never called my SIL’s siblings or her parents EVER. I’m going to be scared next time I see her, maybe I’M going to get a intervention like OP! LOL.
Lisa seems to be a social Veruca Salt- “I WANT that information and I WANT you to explain and I WANT you to apologize and I WANT it NOW- or else I’ll SCREAM”. Don’t feed the gossip gimme pigs- they are just as bad as the present gimme pigs. “How kind of you to take an interest” said coldly. Repeat as needed.
First, “grow some Spauldings” – love it, Admin!
OP, option a. when someone criticizes me is to say “how nice.” As in you should/shouldn’t do this. How nice. You will screw your kid up for life if you do x/y/z. How nice.
Option b., in your most sarcastic voice possible say “Thank you for your input. I’ll take that under advisement.”
In other words, ignore, ignore, ignore. Don’t take the bait. You cannot assume MIL has said anything to Lisa about your conversations. If you think talking about your bargain hunting hobbies might be annoying to others, either tone it down or ask MIL directly whether she minds you discussing it. As for how you raise your son, that is between you and your partner.
My family grew up (1 brother, 2 other sisters) with not much and in a small town it was rummage sales; there were no thrift stores. How thankful we were for them.
I moved to a large city and was happy when friends introduced me to thrift stores and on a limited income, it became a way of life. Move ahead a decade and there’s a great little thrift store in my area…so I bought some quality clothing for my mother who at this time lived with my sister. ..used, but nicer than anything she had ever had. My sister had sworn she’d never wear used clothing again but became jealous of what I had gotten our mother…I offered to take her then sometime when she visited me but no go…
Fast forward to this sister having a daughter who is marrying for the second time…and they already have a houseful of things. I knew my niece and NIL collected ‘duck’ items…so when I went to a Treasures & Trivia sale (with the annual one coming up in two weeks!) I found a beautiful etching of a duck taking flight. It was well framed, a numbered print; small enough to go in a corner if it didn’t please them that much.
I’m sure my sister made a comment about Aunt L shopping for used things rather than new so I received no thank you note…but sometime between the receipt of the gift and my next visit (when seeing my sister in the town they lived in) someone must have noticed the print and told them the difference between what they thought it was (a cheap print) and what it really was ….a quality collectible worth more (I didn’t know that) than many things they proudly displayed.
I explained how this particular charity (to benefit a Children’s Hospital) received collectibles which people generously donated and told them about the city where the donations came from (known for its historic and beautiful homes) so that while I had bought it ‘used’, much good art was ‘recycled’…or there would be no paintings in museum.
My sister’s lingering feelings of shame at having had to wear 2nd hand clothing while in school kept her from discovering the advertures my niece and I ended up sharing.
I mention this not just to justify buying ‘used’ things but to point out that perhaps your potential SIL is afraid you might buy her a gift from a thrift store…if she brings the subject of thrift stores up again you can assure her that you would certainly buy a wedding present that is new but that means she’d never have the fun of discovering what she received was actually a very valuable antique…and laugh.
And I did find an original work by a California (but known worldwide in some circles) poet who wrote some of his poems out as art…
I had been aware of him as a poet so when I came across a poem signed with his name I thought it was someone who liked the poem and had done the lettering and painting himself…and the poem which had to do with growth helped me through some difficult times…then, in a used bookstore I came across of book of his poems and discovered how he had illustrated them…and that what I had on my wall was from that poet…an original. I respected it more but rather than making it more valuable to me, I felt that his work had a value greater than a price tag. I found out there was a collection of his work at US Santa Cruz and at a certain point I decided I needed to give it to them.
I made arrangements and drove up to SF (I had lived there, now live in LA) did some other things then drove to to Santa Cruz, met the people, donated the painting and was taken to see the exhibit in the Collections library. The poet had written at the top’ For Miriam’ (his wife) but mine was the only one with that dedication. His wife was still alive and had she been well she would have come also.
I felt that the painting had come home and I felt that in giving it I would have a closer tie to it than if it were on my wall. I was so happy it was where it would be part of something larger…
Most physical items start out with price tags but some things lose their value while others become more valuable whether in price or in memories. Me, I measure (and treasure) memories.
Think of your SIL to be as someone who is tone deaf to failing to understand there can be more than one kind of value…otherwise, since her MIL to be already has one DIL, she would value another one less!
If Lisa is telling you that your mother-in-law said XYZ, what is she telling your mother-in-law you’ve said? Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Lisa’s tricks won’t work if everyone in the family knows about them.
@Kat – I know this has already been said a million times, but I worked at a Goodwill corporate location up until recently and the purpose of Goodwill stores is not to provide merchandise to “poor people.” It’s to support the mission of Goodwill’s programs, which is to provide employment training and support to those who need it. Who buys the stuff is irrelevant. There are organizations that provide clothing and other household items to those in need, but Goodwill stores (along with many other non-profit owned thrift stores) aren’t meant for that purpose.
Have I experienced this before? YES. My boyfriend was staying at my place for a few days. We went out for a social evening with 3 other people. Everyone clearly had a great time; lots of laughter and good food. Lovely, lovely evening. At the end of the evening one of the women I’d never met asked me to please stay in contact; she clearly wanted to develop a friendship with me.
When BF and I got home, he started in on all my social faux pas, in a “nice” voice, under the guise of “helping me improve.” He said I had a tendency to talk over people and interrupt. Now, I’d be open to hearing about this except that in social situations I can rarely get a word in edgewise, and I am usually the one being talked over – especially by HIM. While I tried to respond, I counted four interruptions by him in less than 30 seconds. He then proceeded to tell me what other people at the gathering thought and felt, as if he had special knowledge of what other people think and feel. I got very upset, in a “here we go again” kind of way, as he always does this. I asked why I couldn’t just have ONE social engagement that wasn’t analysed and picked apart afterwards. He went back to prior social situations with close friends of mine that had gone extremely well, and told me people had felt uncomfortable due to things I’d said or done. (They hadn’t told him this, but he feels he can “read” people and my perceptions are all wrong).
As I tried to respond, he just kept talking over me and interrupting, and I broke down in tears of frustration. He then said, “Why are you getting upset? You have mental problems.” At that point I really did lose it; he said he could no longer deal with my “freakouts” (yes it’s happened before) and he left. We are done, and I haven’t seen him since.
OP, be glad you aren’t dating this woman, or worse, about to marry her!!
Who died and appointed Lisa as the family cop?
@huh: “I’ve never called my SIL’s siblings or her parents EVER”
I’ve only met my BIL / SILs siblings and parents at their weddings. I dont even know their names!
And yep, Lisa sounds like an epic mean girl. I second LJ – talk to your MIL urgently OP. Who knows what toxic mould she is trying to spread, perhaps to make herself appear to be the “good” DIL?
I’m really sorry that this happened to you. No one should be blindsided by an attack when offering hospitality. Admin has good advice, as have many in the comments. I agree with many that Lisa, Penny and her friend need to be on the coolly polite list. I wouldn’t want to hang around with them at all.
And talk to your MIL.
Cool politeness is the tone needed with Lisa. Also, it would be wise to distance yourself from her as much as possible, including any couples’ events that might be planned within the family circle.
Your DH, depending on his perceptiveness or density (yes, guys ARE dense), might need to be informed not to commit to any gatherings without enough people to “dilute” Lisa’s pernicious presence.
There’s a good chance that she’s “grooming herself” to be MIL’s best pal and confidante, with long-range plans to become the “matriarch” and queen bee once MIL is no longer around.
Beware of the snake! Best wishes.
I have to chime in mentioning that I used to volunteer for a church run charity store like Goodwill when I was in high school, and we also liked it when a wide range of people shopped there. As mentioned, the wealthy ladies from the church didn’t buy the same stuff that people who were homeless bought, AND they tended to bring in more stuff to donate. Also, if only poor people were “allowed” to shop there, it would create a stigma around it – people don’t want to be seen as obviously poor because of where they shop.
And again, to echo, we needed all the people we could to shop there. The true point of the store was to support the Coalition for the Homeless program we ran with other churches in the area. The job training, soup kitchen, and shelter did a lot more good than the possibility of buying second-hand clothes.
” I don’t shop Goodwill or donate to Goodwill because the high up positions make more than the president, while the entry level positions are paid way, way sub minimum wage because the organization exploits a loophole that makes it legal to pay the handicapped/challenged people they claim to help less than $1.00/hour in some cases” ~Filiagape
Well, there is some nuance to this. Handicapped and mentally challenged workers are, more often than not, relieving some form of payment for disability. If they make too much money then that can jeopardize their funding and care (while still not making enough to support themselves). At the most idealistic this gives people like my aunt who would otherwise be nearly unemployable something meaningful to do and some pocket money. At the same time it gives Goodwill (again, in an ideal world) the opportunity to be more flexible in hiring disabled and challenged workers without having to worry about whether they will lose an unacceptable amount of money on a worker.
As far as the CEO’s salary, yes he is making more than the president of the united states. The President only makes $200,000 a year. However, his salary of $430,000 is probably much lower than you would find almost anywhere else running an organization of that size. (The CEO of Susan G Komen foundation make $250,000 more than that).
This is not to say that corruption does not occur or that some people are not being taken advantage of. Human nature being what it is, I’m sure there are horror stories. But neither is it as black and white as “greedy CEO lines pockets with money that should go to disabled workers.”
Just chiming in with the ‘paying workers with disabilities below minimum wage isn’t black and white’ comments. My step brother is one of those workers. His disability covers his living costs and his job is just something he does to feel like a productive member of society. Without these loopholes, charities would never be able to provide people with disabilities this service.
OP I think Lisa is a manipulative person who is trying to create a position for herself by ostracizing you. She thrives by ‘telling you for your own good’ and sprinkling just enough truth into the conversation that you’ll accept that you are being told the entire truth. I had this happen to me recently and it destroyed a friendship that was important to me.
I had no idea that she had done these things to us until I walked away from the friendship to preserve my own spirit. She played both my friend and I off against each other. We are both very loyal people and we will protect what was told to us in confidence – a quality she relied on. I would disagree with much of what was said about my friend and would try to change topics regularly but she eventually had me believing her twisted version of the truth and I thought my friend was the issue, not her. We were being goaded into a confrontation that never happened so she changed angles. I can’t tell you how stressful I found this period. I had no idea who was telling me the truth. Several people warned me to be careful of her and I still didn’t see what she was doing. My friend still hasn’t seen the truth for what it is but I know the day will come when this girl will show herself to be what she is and I hope I can have my friendship back. And the issue that everyone can see in the girl? She has a very jealous heart and was very jealous of the life I have. It didn’t matter what I did try to make her feel that she wasn’t in competition with me, she couldn’t let go of her jealousy. And the biggest thing I noticed about her was that every time she had the opportunity to lift someone up and make them feel better about them self or their circumstance, she always had a dig at them or twisted the knife. I thought the digs were accidental but they were very calculated and deliberate.
How could it have been avoided? The very first time she said something off about my friend, I should have asked my friend if there was any truth to it and addressed the issue. These type of people lose all their power when their secrecy is taken away. Ring your MIL and tell her you had a conversation with Lisa that you haven’t been able to stop thinking about and ask her if it bothered her when you spoke of the things you did. Ring your friend and again tell her it has been brought to your attention that she feels like you only ring her when you want something. Deal with these issues head on and take the sting out of Lisa’s words. If there’s truth to them, you’ll be able to sort it. If there’s no truth to it, they’ll be a lot more careful about what they say around Lisa and won’t give her the ammunition to fire at you. And if she brings things up with you, stop her and say something along the lines of “Really? I’ll have to talk to xxx. I’d much rather they tell me if they have a grievance”. You’ll find her back peddle so fast it won’t be funny. If she sees you as weak mark, she’ll keep trying to put you down to make her feel better.
As for Admin’s comment that it is selfish of you to talk to your MIL about the things you use to talk to your mother about, I disagree. It’s not even been a year since her passing. It’s not surprising that you might look in the immediate interim to fill a gap that was left and I would think that many people would have the ability to extend that compassion to you as part of the family. I certainly would for anyone in my family or any of my friends. As you get stronger I’m sure that you’ll find others who share your interests and you’ll find it more enjoyable to talk about the things that interest you with them.
Marozia October 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm – “Who died and appointed Lisa as the family cop?”
Love this!!! 😀
GoodWill stores around here have a silent auction all week, with very nice items behind glass cases. Live auctions are held on the weekend, at a set and posted time per store.
If only the poor could shop there, then there would be no need for auctions, because no one could afford it.
An acquaintance once asked me if I had to prove lack of income to shop secondhand. She had no idea that anyone could go there.
Right now, there are Halloween costumes galore at GoodWill! A costume, esp. the sexy/naughty ones for adults, are not a necessity, and many are brand new in the package, so not even that cheap.
I frequent GoodWill often, and also donate. Some of my “best” clothes are secondhand. There is one store in town that all the stores send their “leftovers” to, and customers pay by weight. I have only been once, but still found two brand new unused items, and many fun items, also. No, I did not “need” the PJ jeggings, nor the Bible cover, nor the feather boa (figured that it weighed almost nothing!) that I got in that one trip, but, who did I “steal” them from?
GoodWill got my money, I got to try new products, no one had taken them from original donation site, to delivery to the leftover store, staff, and other customers.
I am a happy secondhand shopper, and will continue to be.
try that Sugarbaker line with the car. That was great!!
There is a bargain hunters thread on the community site.
I would definitely agree that it would be a good idea to have a discussion with your MIL. This Lisa character sounds like a real piece of work. Just a word of warning: if she is “competing” for the top daughter-in-law position now, do not be surprised if this is just the beginning. It can be for anything in the future, such as “I had the better wedding,” “I am wearing the better outfit,” or the dreaded “mom”petition once she has children with “I am a better parent” or “my kids are perfect and accomplishing so much.” My best advice is to just let it go in one ear and go right out the other.
By the way, I do enjoy the occasional bargain at Goodwill too. I can find some very interesting books and items for craft projects.
By the way, Gabrielle, I completely agree with you. Sometimes, a very meaningful item can come from the most random places, whether it is a thrift shop, an estate sale, or a swap meet. A few years ago, I received an old set of cards that had pictures of JFK with information about him as a Christmas gift from my parents. I have no idea what the value of them would be, but I think they are really neat. My parents knew that I have an interest in JFK and they found them in a box of cookbooks at an auction. My mom is crazy about cookbooks and they actually placed a much higher bid on that box than planned just to get me those cards. It makes it even more special. We have given my mom used cookbooks before, and my dad will be receiving a couple of books from me that came from Goodwill and an antique shop because I knew that he didn’t have them and he is seriously interested in the subject matter. Some of my favorite personal finds are an antique camera and the April 23, 1945 issue of Time magazine, which I actually bought on April 23, 2010. Those are the kinds of buys worth sharing!
Kat, it’s called “pathological altruism” and it has a dark dingy gulag hidden inside it.
Isn’t the point of the goodwill stores to make a profit that they THEN turn over to the needy? I’m pretty sure that’s the point. In Canada we have the Salvation Army shops, and I KNOW, that is their goal, having worked closely with them for years. And no one is gobbling up all Goodwill has to offer, surely. Look at the bigger picture.
@Rebecca – Your ex-BF sounds like… well, like words I can’t use in polite company. One word that I can use that immediately came to mind, if I may be so bold, is “abusive”. Refusing to let you defend yourself by (hypocritically!) talking over you, claiming that everyone was irritated by you when they gave the opposite indication, claiming you have “mental problems” when you quite rightly got upset? Sounds like he’s a well versed Gaslighter. If you do see him again, be careful.
@OP, Avoid Lisa at all costs. If you cannot, simply shut her doen if she tries to start that line of conversation again. Get up, turn around, leave, demand her to leave, do whatever. Just make it clear to her and to yourself that you simply will not tolerate being talked to like that ever again. It’s not rude to firmly shut down a rude person. It’s being assertive.
I like L. J.’s comment. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
By all means let your MIL know what Lisa did, but not in a tattling way. Something to the effect of “Lisa told me it really bothered you a lot when I mentioned that I sometimes buy things in thrift stores. I’m sorry if that upset you. I was just missing my Mom at the moment and it was something we used to do together sometimes” or something like that.
You’re cluing your MIL in to the fact that Lisa repeats everything (or maybe is even making stuff up) without whining about what Lisa did.
I’ve never had an experience like that, but I hope if someone tried coming to my home (with backup dancers) to criticize me that I’d be able to stand up, start walking toward the door and say “It’s too bad you have to leave so soon.”
They might say “Oh, we don’t have to go yet!”
“Yes, actually you do.”
Kat, I am sorry that you took a bashing here. You clearly have good intentions and did not deserve some righteous shoppers jumping down your throat. I see your side and I also see that spending in the store supports the mission of Goodwill.
The President of the United States makes the president earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. He spends no money on food, no money on trips, no rent, no utilities, no car, etc. I just wanted to set the record straight there.
Speak with your MIL–I have a great relationship with my MIL but only because I don’t let others define what that relationship should be. You MIL may not have mentioned any change in the conversations you have had with her, but it could be that she is not the type of person to do so (you said that she never said a bad word about anyone). Have an open conversation with her. Good luck!
Oh and as far as your parenting skills, I don’t take advice from people without children….unless it has something to do with the health of my child.
I know the flaws in Kat’s argument have been just about beaten to death, but I can’t help but add my two cents. If you say that only the poor should buy from Goodwill, you are actually saying that only the poor should donate to charity, because that’s exactly what buying from Goodwill does: you provide money to a charity which then uses that money to fund various programs. If Goodwill only received money from people who don’t have much money to spare, they most likely would not be able to afford to keep their programs running. Far from being “greedy,” the well-off people who shop at Goodwill are making sure that their money goes to help people, not line the pockets of corporations like it would if they spent it at a retail store.
Your troublemaking “friend” wasn’t named Sheila by any chance? They have a story in the old archives where the letter writer told about her college housemate from the fiery place Sheila, who spent all her free time stirring up trouble between letter writer and fellow housemate Amy (who was supposed to be Sheila’s best friend). Among Sheila’s little tricks was trying to convince letter writer that they should alert Amy’s boyfriends (yes plural) that Amy had a STD (she didn’t, total fabrication) because Amy wasn’t going to alert them herself. Letter writer thankfully declined.
Plus when letter writer and the other housemates got wise to Sheila’s tricks, Sheila went to the college dean and requested a room in the dorm. She claimed it was an emergency because Amy was on drugs (she was actually on anti-depressants and was in the midst of having her dosage properly adjusted) and Sheila was afraid for her life.
Sheila also barged back into the house one day (after they changed the locks) and when other housemate Jane threatened to call the police, Sheila called the police first to claim being held against her will. She retracts claim when three cop cars show up. Jane tells police officer that she thinks Sheila is just a female dog who likes to cause trouble. Police officers agrees with Jane.
I can’t speak for other stores, but I can promise you that if you don’t leave with nice clothes from my local Goodwill, it’s because you physically *could not* get them off the rack. They have so many clothes, most of them really nice, that I couldn’t get a quarter between the hangers.
Ahhh, thank you for the correction D.A. That’s what I get for not looking up that particular tidbit.
Kat, I wanted to apologize for my earlier comments. Although I do believe them, I feel badly that I was part of a massive pileup. When I posted, I had only seen a handful of other comments that addressed yours.
I should add, though, that I think it’s unseemly to go to secondhand sales and be a blatant, obvious reseller. I know that a lot of people supplement their income by picking up treasures on the cheap and selling them for more on eBay or Amazon, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that per se, but when you get overly aggressive to the point that all the other shoppers have taken note of why you’re there and what you’re doing, you need to tone yourself down.
The local library used to do a one-week book/media sale that was incredible. They amassed donations all year, and also sold off deaccessioned material (copies 2, 3, and 4 of last year’s bestseller that’s now out of favor, books that were a little damaged but not unreadable, etc). On the first night, most everything would be $1. The price would drop 20 cents a day. They did also have a rare/collectible section where things went for a bit more, but the prices were still good. (My father got a complete set of Beethoven’s symphonies on vinyl for $4 one year). They have since gone to a format where they have a book sale room that’s always open and everything always costs $3 for hardbacks and $1 for paperbacks. During one of the last years they had the week-long sale, my mom went and had to deal with a very hostile, aggressive family that was reselling the books on Amazon. The mom was yelling instructions across the room to her two teenage children. All of them were glaring at anyone who got too close to their stash. Disgusting behavior.
@Rebecca: How on earth did you manage to earn a girlfriend status with Mr. Clairvoyant Critic? 😉
Actually a few other terms come to mind, but congratulations on being rid of him, with the “bonus” that it was HE that did the walking away. That is VERY important.
@OP: Please keep in mind the following principle to guide you not only with Lisa & Co., but even the “sweet” MIL:
“They are not your family. They are not your friends. They are your in laws.”
There is no way that a MIL can/should even remotely be a surrogate Mother to you, especially given the complex/complicated her family “geography”. While I am not a joiner, I believe that a grief support group might be a better place for you.
I wish you all the strength, courage and serenity you need now.
@Elizabeth, sorry but no, Kat did not have “good intentions” when she called people “greedy” for shopping at Goodwill, and posted false “facts”.
I don’t know what you mean by “righteous shoppers” but if you will read my post and most of the others, no one “jumped down her throat”.
@Cherry91: I agree 100%, especially your assessment of him as “gaslighter.”
“@Rebecca: How on earth did you manage to earn a girlfriend status with Mr. Clairvoyant Critic? ;-)”
I didn’t; I only called him “boyfriend” on this thread for the sake of brevity here, and because there is no other convenient term in the English language to describe what he is/was to me. He always insisted that we weren’t “together” and only “best friends” and, given his behavioral traits, I didn’t actually want more (I did way back in the beginning, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Yet, since he behaved like a boyfriend, and seemed to feel he had boyfriend privileges, that is how I referred to him in this thread. I know, I know, how could I have accepted this stuff for so long? Sounds so awful on paper and I know what advice I’d have given myself if I were a third party. So difficult when you are actually in the thick of this.
@hakayama ““They are not your family. They are not your friends. They are your in laws.”
There is no way that a MIL can/should even remotely be a surrogate Mother to you, especially given the complex/complicated her family “geography”. While I am not a joiner, I believe that a grief support group might be a better place for you.”
What on earth? How can you say something like that without knowing the OP and her MIL? My MIL and I are very close, in fact she was in the room holding my hand when my youngest was born. My mother moved to another state a few months before he was born. She is also the one I call when there is an issue with the kiddos and I need parenting advice. I mourned very hard when my husband’s grandparents died, especially his grandfather….he always treated me like I was family and like I was his granddaughter. I loved that man as if he was indeed my family. Now not all people have that relationship with their in laws but I am very very lucky that I do with several of them. My mother in law is more involved with her grandchildren than my own mother who only talks to them on birthdays and Christmas….otherwise she is always too “busy” with her life down south. It seems to me like the OP and her MIL have a very loving relationship and I believe that her MIL has probably cushioned the loss of the OP’s own mother. We could only all be so lucky to have someone step up like that….
And I still bet that Lisa is incredibly jealous of the OP’s relationship with her MIL. OP contact your MIL and just have a heart to heart about this….see if the words are true. I’d hate to see you lose a loving relationship like that just because some gossip decided to spread her poison.
@Rebecca – forgive the cliches, but two of them spring to mind: “Hindsight is 20/20” and “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees”. It’s difficult to see something objectively when you’re slap bang in the middle of it. The most important thing is that you can see his true colours NOW, and what a piece of work he was. I hope you have better luck in the future.