Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: LadyL on April 21, 2013, 05:30:32 PM

Title: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyL on April 21, 2013, 05:30:32 PM
BG here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124518.0

Basically my MIL wanted to turn the annual family reunion into our wedding shower, which we said no to for a variety of reasons. She agreed to do a  toast at the reunion but not do a whole shower.

This week MIL called LordL and asked for our bridal party's addresses so she could invite them to the "reunion." She also wants to invite my mother, father and stepmother.

In past years there were no mailed invitations, only verbal ones, and those did not include friends. My family has been told that they're always welcome to come to the reunion but it is 4 hours away on a holiday weekend so they never have.

I am pretty sure MIL is trying to make this a shower in everything but name. Main question: does that fear seem reasonable? LordL thinks some of my suspicion isn't warranted. I think he is tired of having to stand up to his mother all the time and would rather let her have her way than fight it, even though he knows that's bad in the long run.

 I am worried that if my parents come and I show up and there are gifts and it's a shower I'm going to get stuck grinning and bearing it for their sake.

What should we say to MIL, and what should we say to my parents? MIL tries to manipulate pretty much everyone she has any relationship with, but I don't know how to break it to them that they are being involved in one of her schemes without it seeming like trash talking.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: BarensMom on April 21, 2013, 05:37:22 PM
I would change my acceptance to the reunion to a decline.  Tell the bridal party and your parents what she's up to and tell them to decline as well.

She can't have a wedding shower without the bride.  If you're not there, MIL will be the one with egg on her face.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: StarFaerie on April 21, 2013, 05:40:07 PM
I would change my acceptance to the reunion to a decline.  Tell the bridal party and your parents what she's up to and tell them to decline as well.

She can't have a wedding shower without the bride.  If you're not there, MIL will be the one with egg on her face.

This is so perfect, I can't even express it. And as she is changing the event after you accepted the invitation, changing your RSVP is not rude.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: jedikaiti on April 21, 2013, 05:44:10 PM
Tell her your parents know about the reunion AS ALWAYS and will be there or not as they see fit, and since there's no good reason to invite friends to a FAMILY reunion, you will not be providing addresses. Act totally baffled as to why she would even consider inviting them, there's no reason to be interested. Also, you might want to brief the bridal party on the situation, that way if she gets hold of them anyway, they can a) be prepared to decline, and b) alert you so that you can take appropriate action.

Can you recruit ANYONE in the family to do some recon and find out if this is what she's up to? I agree with you, this REEKS of a shower-but-we're-calling-it-a-reunion (why would you need addresses to invite people for a TOAST?), and if you can confirm that through a 3rd party, DH might take it a bit more seriously.

And yes, I third BarensMom - send your regrets to the reunion NOW. "I'm afraid I have a prior commitment that I shall arrange as soon as possible."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: PastryGoddess on April 21, 2013, 05:53:26 PM
Tell her your parents know about the reunion AS ALWAYS and will be there or not as they see fit, and since there's no good reason to invite friends to a FAMILY reunion, you will not be providing addresses. Act totally baffled as to why she would even consider inviting them, there's no reason to be interested. Also, you might want to brief the bridal party on the situation, that way if she gets hold of them anyway, they can a) be prepared to decline, and b) alert you so that you can take appropriate action.

Can you recruit ANYONE in the family to do some recon and find out if this is what she's up to? I agree with you, this REEKS of a shower-but-we're-calling-it-a-reunion (why would you need addresses to invite people for a TOAST?), and if you can confirm that through a 3rd party, DH might take it a bit more seriously.

And yes, I third BarensMom - send your regrets to the reunion NOW. "I'm afraid I have a prior commitment that I shall arrange as soon as possible."

This sentence is made of win  ;D 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: VorFemme on April 21, 2013, 06:02:45 PM
Or the always plausible "something came up at work" or "something came up medically and we won't be able to come" (her behavior is making me feel queasy for some reason, so I think that it is perfectly plausible!).

Just don't let her get the idea that you're pregnant or she'll try to turn it into a combination engagement party, wedding shower, and baby shower!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: JenJay on April 21, 2013, 06:16:59 PM
I agree with PPs. You keep asking her not to hijack the reunion and turn it into a shower. She keeps trying to find a way around you. Stop playing the game.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: doodlemor on April 21, 2013, 06:34:23 PM
BG here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124518.0


I am pretty sure MIL is trying to make this a shower in everything but name. Main question: does that fear seem reasonable? LordL thinks some of my suspicion isn't warranted. I think he is tired of having to stand up to his mother all the time and would rather let her have her way than fight it, even though he knows that's bad in the long run.

 I am worried that if my parents come and I show up and there are gifts and it's a shower I'm going to get stuck grinning and bearing it for their sake.

Your fear is quite reasonable, and a very logical conclusion. 

I remember your original thread, and thought at that time that MIL was still plotting, and would likely win if you and DF attend the reunion at all.

I know that you really want to attend the reunion.  If you go, however, be prepared to smile and thank everyone for the lovely gifts.  MIL is going to do exactly what she @#$%^ well pleases.

I don't think that it would be trash talking to alert your friends and relatives to her scheming.  You can do this in a matter of fact way, and tell them that you are not going to be at the reunion, anyway.

Actually, if your DF is willing, you could tell MIL and everyone that you are not going to the reunion.  Then you could get a hotel room nearby and show up for a half day or so and see everyone.  [Between meal times, so as not to impose on the food providers.]

The problem with your going to the reunion at all, though, in addition to the shower thing, is the issue of MIL inviting people to the wedding.  I think it would be very uncomfortable for you to be in a group of DF's relatives and have MIL chat about the wedding in front of people that you are not planning to invite.  From what you've written, it seems like she is planning to put pressure on you at the reunion to invite people that she wants to be there.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: gramma dishes on April 21, 2013, 06:38:38 PM
I agree with everyone else, but I think we're forgetting that LordL is part of this too.  It's HIS mother!

How would HE feel about canceling?  I'm thinking he wouldn't be in favor of it because even though he doesn't want a shower, he also doesn't want to make his mother mad.  Maybe I'm wrong.

And I agree with Doodlemor, whose post came in as I was typing this.   :D
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: blarg314 on April 21, 2013, 07:25:51 PM

Who is hosting the reunion? 

If it's your MIL, I think it's probably worth it to decline outright, at least for yourself. I agree with others, she *will* host a bridal shower at the reunion. You can warn your bridal party and still have her invite her own friends without you knowing about it.

If someone else is hosting and you trust them, decline outright, and undecline immediately before.

Whatever you do, I think it's worth warning your bridal party and family that this will not be a shower, and not to accept. Doubly so if you're not going to be there.
 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 21, 2013, 07:56:02 PM
Tell her your parents know about the reunion AS ALWAYS and will be there or not as they see fit, and since there's no good reason to invite friends to a FAMILY reunion, you will not be providing addresses. Act totally baffled as to why she would even consider inviting them, there's no reason to be interested. Also, you might want to brief the bridal party on the situation, that way if she gets hold of them anyway, they can a) be prepared to decline, and b) alert you so that you can take appropriate action.

Can you recruit ANYONE in the family to do some recon and find out if this is what she's up to? I agree with you, this REEKS of a shower-but-we're-calling-it-a-reunion (why would you need addresses to invite people for a TOAST?), and if you can confirm that through a 3rd party, DH might take it a bit more seriously.


I have done something roughly similar to my MIL, in terms of refusing to give her addresses so she can invite someone who really shouldn't be invited to the family event. I was just mild and said, "No, I'm pretty sure they're not interested, and I don't want you to invite them."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: Judah on April 21, 2013, 08:54:24 PM
I would change my acceptance to the reunion to a decline.  Tell the bridal party and your parents what she's up to and tell them to decline as well.

She can't have a wedding shower without the bride.  If you're not there, MIL will be the one with egg on her face.

This is what I would do. I think your suspicion is warranted and spot on, so just don't play.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: gramma dishes on April 21, 2013, 08:59:25 PM
Unless your bridal party consists entirely of relatives, why would they ever be invited to a "family" reunion? 

You're obviously going to have to come to a meeting of the minds with your soon to be DH about whether the two of you are going to show up at this shindig, but I would certainly worn your own family and your friends not to accept the invitation.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 21, 2013, 09:10:15 PM
I am PODing  Toots and just tell her that it is not worth it to invite these people as they would not be able to make it.  And it may make LordL unhappy to have to stand up to his mom, but unless you two do it and establish boundaries now, she will hijack the wedding and everything else that comes up in your lives.  Who is hosting the reunion?  Can you call them and say that you heard that there is talk of having your bridal shower and that you do not want that during the reunion?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: kudeebee on April 21, 2013, 10:31:01 PM
I am PODing  Toots and just tell her that it is not worth it to invite these people as they would not be able to make it.  And it may make LordL unhappy to have to stand up to his mom, but unless you two do it and establish boundaries now, she will hijack the wedding and everything else that comes up in your lives.  Who is hosting the reunion?  Can you call them and say that you heard that there is talk of having your bridal shower and that you do not want that during the reunion?

Totally agree.  Concensus on your other post was that she wouldn't let this go and that looks like what she has done, otherwise why would she invite bridal party members to the FAMILY reunion?  You two need to put a stop to this right now or this will be the way your life will play out.  You will say no, she will agree and then will go ahead and do what she wants as she knows your dh won't say anything so he won't make her upset.

You and future dh need to sit down and talk this out again.  i agree with others that you need to not go to the reunion this year.  FDH calls his mom and tells her you are cancelling.  If she asks why, he should be honest with her--that you two suspect that she is planning a shower even though you told her you don't want one and she agreed.  If she protests, bring up why she would invite bridal party.  Tell her that you don't want to hurt the others who are there by walking out on the shower, so it is best that you stay home.  Then do so.

You will see the people you want to see at the wedding and at the next reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: LadyL on April 21, 2013, 10:53:49 PM
Frustrating update  :-\.

LordL talked to them and got blindsided by some bad news about the health of several of his elderly relatives (they are in the hospital). When they got to the subject of the reunion, his mother said they are sending out invites that read something like "join us as we toast to the marriage of Lord and LadyL, time and place, your presence is present enough."

He said ok to this  :o.

I told him that it reads exactly like a shower invite. He somehow doesn't see it. I told him the event is not about the family reunion per that invite, it's about us, and that's not what we wanted. He claimed to believe that this is a "compromise" and that we wanted a compromise. I told him that i thought our goal was to say a firm NO. I told him this was like forcing a birthday party on someone who doesn't celebrate their birthday - why would the GOH's feelings matter less than that of the hosts? He seemed to get that, and called and asked them not to send the invites yet.

I'm honestly concerned about what this means for our relationship, our ability to set boundaries, etc. I mentioned that it might be something to talk to a couple's counselor about. I'm just afraid of what another several decades of this type of nonsense will do to our relationship.

Also, he really wants to go to the reunion because some relatives he hasn't seen in a long time will be there. It is hard for me to convince him not to go. I even offered that we could take multiple trips to see those relatives another time but he feels his best shot of seeing them all is at the reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: jedikaiti on April 21, 2013, 11:12:11 PM
And I bet MIL is counting on that. Heck, have you verified the health issues as reported? Would she lie?

I agree, you guys need a couples counselor STAT - you say no, he says maybe. He is so used to MIL's manipulation that he doesn't even see it anymore. At the very least, he needs to learn to see her manipulations for what they are.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: kudeebee on April 21, 2013, 11:54:02 PM
And I bet MIL is counting on that. Heck, have you verified the health issues as reported? Would she lie?

I agree, you guys need a couples counselor STAT - you say no, he says maybe. He is so used to MIL's manipulation that he doesn't even see it anymore. At the very least, he needs to learn to see her manipulations for what they are.

Agree.  Or it will go on for decades as you said in your update.  You will say no, you two will agree and then fdh will tell mil maybe or okay if you do xyz.  But mil will do what she wants anyway.  I am sure that is not how you want to live your married life!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Judah on April 21, 2013, 11:54:45 PM
Can't he go without you?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: blarg314 on April 22, 2013, 12:14:44 AM

This might be a point where you need to take a stand. It's obvious that your idea of what "No" means is wildly different than what your husband's idea is. (You meant "NO", he meant "Okay, as long as you change the parameters by a minute amount").

And if you give in, you've taught your MIL that she can hijack a family reunion, and force you to attend a shower you firmly stated you didn't want, if she's persistent enough.

As others have said, this isn't unusual behaviour for someone who has grown up with a manipulator - he's been well trained to go along with what his mother wants - and breaking free is hard.

One option - he can go to the reunion, but you stay home. Make this clear with your MIL, and if someone else asks, be honest about why you're not their - you didn't want to risk a surprise shower. If your MIL persists, she will look like  a fool for organizing a shower that the GOH refused to show up for.

But yeah, I think couple's counselling is a seriously good idea, for the health of your relationship as you go on. The earlier you establish good boundaries, the better and easier it will be. If you plan to have kids, this is doubly important, because  my observation has been that manipulative/boundary pushing family members become much, much, much more of a problem after kids are on the scene.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Pen^2 on April 22, 2013, 12:43:25 AM
Everyone has posted great ideas here.

MIL is clearly now, without even pretending otherwise, planning on hosting a bridal shower against your will. The only way to avoid it seems to not go, because it's clear that she will stop at nothing to have the darn shower. This is not a woman who is thinking about you at all here.

You need to see a couples counselor. Your marriage probably won't withstand years of this: MIL being manipulative and disrespectful, and LordL being easily duped into thinking that MIL's result is somehow a compromise of what everyone wanted. You need to sort this out before you get married. LordL is either not listening to you, or is being too easily swayed by his mother (it sounds like she has years of practice doing this) and he needs to be made aware of this so he can put the effort into countering it. Until this happens, things will continue as they have been and grow worse, as MIL gets bolder and bolder.

Don't go to the reunion. LordL can go on his own. He needs to also be clear that "don't send the invitations yet" is different to "don't under any circumstances send the invitations we absolutely in no way want or will ever agree on". And I would worry that he might accidentally (and with all the best intentions) make things worse if he's alone with his scheming mother for several hours. God knows what she'll have him agree to. All the guests you don't want invited, for a start. You're going to have to be incredibly firm, and not do things via LordL (i.e. only talk to MIL directly) until he's on the same page as you, and try to get some counselling done before the reunion if he is going to go. Your relationship does not deserve this strife.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: weeblewobble on April 22, 2013, 12:44:26 AM
This sounds really frustrating.  I think if I were you, I would withdraw from attending the reunion.  You're right to be concerned about what this "forecasts" for the future of your relationship, boundaries, etc.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Slartibartfast on April 22, 2013, 01:46:17 AM
Is there a relative who might be able to tell you what MIL's story has been to the rest of the family?  I'm betting MIL has presented it to everyone as "She doesn't want a shower because she's being bashful but let's throw her one anyway!"

How far away is the reunion from you?  If it's not too far, rescind your RSVP and let LordL put it out that he'll be by sometime over the course of the day/weekend but he's not sure what - scheduling issues, you know!  Then he - or you and he both, depending on how it goes - can choose to only attend at a time which would be inconvenient to suddenly host a shower (e.g. the morning when half the people have left already, or in the middle of lunch but so sorry we can't stay long).

As for the couples therapy thing - sit down with LordL first and try for an honest conversation with the two of you: "LordL, when you finish what you're doing, could you please come in here?  I want a talk?" (then) "I'm really concerned at how manipulative your mother is being about this reunion-shower-thing.  We were very clear that we didn't want a shower, but now she's trying to invite the wedding party and she's sending out invitations inviting people to a 'toast' but without mentioning it's a reunion at all!  I asked Aunt Helen and she said your mother told everyone else it's a shower but not to tell us that  :-\  What are your thoughts on it? . . ."

His willingness to actually talk with you about it (or to sit down and have a "relationship talk" at all) will be a pretty good indicator of whether you need outside help or not.  If he's willing to talk about it, that means he trusts you - even though he (so far) believes his mother is making sense and it's just easiest to do it her way, he's willing to let you try to change his mind.  If he's not willing to actually listen to you, though, you've got a lot of years of not listening ahead of you  :-\
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Iris on April 22, 2013, 02:02:15 AM
There is something LordL needs to understand here: Why would you want a compromise? This is YOUR wedding, not your and MIL's wedding. A compromise is an agreement reached between two parties involved in a matter surely, not someone totally unrelated making demands that they have no right to. A compromise would be appropriate if LordL wanted the shower, but his mother has nothing to do with this.

Look, DH and I went through something similar with his parents, bless their well-meaning-but-simultaneously-astoundingly-self-centred hearts, so I can reassure you that it is not the end of the world if you don't get it all sorted out Right Now. LordL has been manipulated by this woman all his life so it may be an unrealistic goal for that to go away very quickly. What you do need to do is firstly, help him to realise that he HAS been manipulated because he probably doesn't see that. Also, recognise that it's hard for someone to come to terms with the fact that their loving mother has actually played them like a fiddle all their lives so it will probably take him a while. Secondly, you need to come up with a compromise with HIM over how you will deal with her demands short term. While you need to respect his needs as above, HE needs to respect that when you say no, you mean NO and it is not okay for him to change that simply because he has learnt that that is the easiest way to deal with his mum.

I won't lie, it was a rocky road for DH and I to navigate in the early years of our marriage, but it was easier to travel it together (Oh my goodness that sounds sickeningly twee, but hopefully you know what I mean). Or you could just be like my Grandmother was - she simply refused to associate with her MIL at all. My grandfather visited her by himself for their whole marriage  :-\
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Gondwanaland on April 22, 2013, 02:10:15 AM
From your posts it sounds as if you are the one who does not want the "shower" and that you have convinced LordL to agree with you. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it also sounds like MIL has convinced LordL that its still a family reunion with a bit of a celebration of your marriage thrown in.

Doesn't sound like you are both on the same page about the whole thing.  He still wants to go and see his relatives regardless.

So, you have two choices here.  Either you both go along with the whole thing or you don't and LordL doesn't get to see relatives he wants to see.  Could this cause a bit of resentment on his part?

The MIL is going to use her perceived power over LordL in the future if you don't get this sorted out before your marriage.

 

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation?
Post by: cicero on April 22, 2013, 05:55:04 AM
Please consider counseling. i think it's great that you are somewhat getting through to LordL but you have to understand taht he has been conditioned to jump when his mother says jump.
I told him that it reads exactly like a shower invite. He somehow doesn't see it. I told him the event is not about the family reunion per that invite, it's about us, and that's not what we wanted. He claimed to believe that this is a "compromise" and that we wanted a compromise. I told him that i thought our goal was to say a firm NO. I told him this was like forcing a birthday party on someone who doesn't celebrate their birthday - why would the GOH's feelings matter less than that of the hosts? He seemed to get that, and called and asked them not to send the invites yet.

see, he *does* see it. because then he goes on to say that he believed this is a compromise. why would you need a compromise if there is no problem.

the issue is that he probably *does* see things, but he is walking the line between "not wanting to annoy his mother/FOO" and "not wanting to hurt LadyL".

The good news is that he sounds like his heart is in the right place which means that with counseling and talking this out with a neutral third party, you will probably be able to "re-program" him (and before anyone jumps on my case, I am not seriously talking about re-programming but I think that LordL needs to learn to put his wife first and then his FOO and not the other way around).

for now - if *you* are willing to be blunt and be the "bad guy" why not tell him to say "I think LadyL had some ideas/problems/reservations about that. Give her a call". or if not - tell him to *always* say "I have to check with LadyL and we'll get back to you". don't embellish, don't say "I think it's ok but i have to check". it's perfectly normal for a couple to check with each other before comitting to an outside request
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Roe on April 22, 2013, 07:02:29 AM
He can go but I don't understand why you are being forced to attend?  YOU can say 'no' and let him attend alone.  It still has the same effect of throwing a wrench in MIL's plans, after all, a bridal shower with no bride isn't quite what she is expecting.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 22, 2013, 08:14:32 AM
Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback. This is definitely a difficult case because I agree with all of you that LordL is habituated to his mother's behavior. He said to me, "Well the rest of the family just lies down and takes it when she does this stuff to them. I at least pushed back on her a lot." To him, this is progress, and I agree to an extent. But if you push back and *still* get steamrolled it teaches you that you need to change tactics.

What is really hard is that because he sees this behavior as more normal than I do, he has trouble understanding my reaction and strong feelings about it. He said it felt like he was being put in the middle between me and his mother. I told him we're supposed to be on the same team, so there is not a "middle," and that he is my primary family now. I put priority on our relationship above that with my parents, siblings, etc. - his happiness is more important to me, and I expect my happiness to be more important than pleasing his mother. I don't think he quite sees that when he chooses his mother's way over what we agreed upon, he is not following that contract.

At this point I am perfectly willing to call MIL myself and lay it all out on the line - NO SHOWER. Politely but firmly. In the past I have insisted all communication go through LordL but I am willing to make an exception - thoughts on whether this is a good or  bad idea?

Also, it is possible he could go alone, but it is 4 hours away so I would have to either stay home or make alternate plans with friends in that area (both are doable). If the situation continues to stall out that is what I plan on doing. I know it will hurt LordL a bit (he'd like me there because reacquainting with his relatives is a bit emotionally fraught for him), but honestly this situation hurts me too and if he can't admit that there is no way to please everyone, someone's going to get hurt - me, him, or MIL - and I have personally completely had it with being mistreated by MIL, so it's not going to be me.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Zizi-K on April 22, 2013, 08:21:06 AM
Sorry to be a voice of dissent, but the invitation your MIL sent out does not sound like a shower invitation to me. It clearly asks for no presents and says that it will simply be a 'toast' rather than a whole event in your honor. I can see that your MIL is going to be a tough cookie and that you and your fiance have some things to work out. I too have a difficult MIL, and I have to tell you: this is a long game. Nobody and nothing is going to change immediately, and you have to pick your battles wisely. This does not strike me as the right hill to die on, so to speak. You will have plenty of chances to take stands, draw lines (and all manner of other battle metaphors), and while I do agree that couples counseling can't hurt (at any time, ever) - I would not skip the party or make up some last minute business trip. Go and show your MIL that you and your husband to be are a strong unit.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Specky on April 22, 2013, 08:44:28 AM
I would skip the reunion since it is clear that MIL is a steamroller.  I ditto couples counseling.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: audrey1962 on April 22, 2013, 08:47:57 AM
I re-read your older post. Are your friends also throwing you a shower? If so, tell her that and then decline to give her the addresses because those people are already invited to a shower.

As for everything else, I agree with the others about couples counseling.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: JenJay on April 22, 2013, 09:03:24 AM
I'm confused. Did she send the would-be reunion invitations labeled as toasting invitations instead, or did she issue separate invitations in addition to the reunion? I recall at one time you were okay with allowing her to initiate a brief toast during the reunion, and I think this is the compromise your DF thinks he's agreed to. I could understand where he's coming from BUT if she issued the main invitation as being to a "toast" and not a "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

I would ask DF to call her on speakerphone. I'd ask him to say something like -

"Mom, LL and I have had a chance to discuss the reunion and we are not comfortable with your plans. I know I agreed to them earlier but I only did so because when you asked if you could toast us I pictured everyone gathered around casually, you saying a few nice words, and the family wishing us well. The fact that you'd like to change the invitation from "family reunion" to "wedding toast" is too much. As we told you before, we do not want the focus of the get together to be about us! In fact, after further discussion, we aren't comfortable with the toast at all. We do not want you to bring up the wedding in any way. It will be awkward and uncomfortable for us and the relatives we couldn't invite and put a damper on our enjoyment of the reunion. I need you to respect our wishes on this. If you try to organize any kind of wedding-related event during the reunion we will be forced to decline attending and that will upset us very much."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: TootsNYC on April 22, 2013, 09:08:57 AM
Sorry to be a voice of dissent, but the invitation your MIL sent out does not sound like a shower invitation to me. It clearly asks for no presents and says that it will simply be a 'toast' rather than a whole event in your honor. I can see that your MIL is going to be a tough cookie and that you and your fiance have some things to work out. I too have a difficult MIL, and I have to tell you: this is a long game. Nobody and nothing is going to change immediately, and you have to pick your battles wisely. This does not strike me as the right hill to die on, so to speak. You will have plenty of chances to take stands, draw lines (and all manner of other battle metaphors), and while I do agree that couples counseling can't hurt (at any time, ever) - I would not skip the party or make up some last minute business trip. Go and show your MIL that you and your husband to be are a strong unit.

I'm going to agree w/ Zizi here. I would absolutely not think this was any sort of shower.


I just don't see this as all that big a deal. I think you're being inflexible and that this is particularly hard on your future husband. *HE* doesn't mind. When do his preferences come into play? It's not all about you.  This is his family, and his family's dynamics. Having a moment for them to say, before the wedding, "Ooh, we're so pleased and excited" is a really nice thing.

You really can't just set this aside in order to make this family connection easier for him?

Mind you, I would still absolutely refuse to give her the wedding-party's addresses, and I'd even tell her to not invite my parents (and tell my parents to not attend the family reunion--unless she normally would). That would make the event be too big, for me.

And remember also that you are playing on a bigger stage w/ this--the entire family on his side is the audience now. And this is a tremendous PR opportunity, which is here whether you want it or not. Would you like to win it? If you refuse to attend now, you will lose.
They'll hear about it, definitely. And they'll see it as "you rejecting *THEM*," not "you rejecting your meddling MIL."


You're going to be connected to this family for a long, long time.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 22, 2013, 09:14:35 AM
if she issued the main invitation as being to the "toast" and not the "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\


This is the case. There is one main invitation and it refers only to the toast.

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

This is one of my big concerns. I know that if the reunion was changed to a baby shower or birthday party or anniversary party or ANYTHING with a GOH, it would kind of bother me, because usually the focus isn't on one person/couple.

Toots - I told LordL  that if he had changed his mind and was ok with a wedding centric event then we should talk about that and figure out a compromise between us. I would be willing to compromise for him. The problem is that he didn't indicate that, I thought we were both on the same page of saying no. Then he talks to MIL and then suddenly he's ok with an invite that explicitly and only mentions the event being in our honor. I feel like she kind of bullied him into accepting her version of reality.

She has pulled similar stunts at large family get togethers before and at some point it's kind of impossible to not have this sort of conflict play on "on the larger stage" as you put it. In the past we've bit our lips about her antics, and it left us feeling extremely resentful (the turkey incident comes to mind in which we were literally tricked into cooking thanksgiving dinner for the entire family).
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Eden on April 22, 2013, 09:16:29 AM
And remember also that you are playing on a bigger stage w/ this--the entire family on his side is the audience now. And this is a tremendous PR opportunity, which is here whether you want it or not. Would you like to win it? If you refuse to attend now, you will lose.
They'll hear about it, definitely. And they'll see it as "you rejecting *THEM*," not "you rejecting your meddling MIL."


You're going to be connected to this family for a long, long time.

This is exactly what MIL is counting on. The OP cannot control, nor is she responsible for whatever perception of her MIL deals out to extended family. If MIL were communcative. If MIL was asking and negotiating, this would be a different story. MIL is doing what she wants without involving the couple. OP's fiance is unwittingly perpetuating it. I feel for him. It's a tough position to be in and difficult when it's what you grew up with and the normal you know. But I think the OP is absolutely in the right to dig her heels in on this.

I think the easiest and best solution for this particular event is for OP to bow out and her fiance to go if he wishes to. But without OP there it cannot really be an event to toast the happy couple. Or at least it will deflate that portion of it.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: weeblewobble on April 22, 2013, 09:20:12 AM

Also, it is possible he could go alone, but it is 4 hours away so I would have to either stay home or make alternate plans with friends in that area (both are doable). If the situation continues to stall out that is what I plan on doing. I know it will hurt LordL a bit (he'd like me there because reacquainting with his relatives is a bit emotionally fraught for him), but honestly this situation hurts me too and if he can't admit that there is no way to please everyone, someone's going to get hurt - me, him, or MIL - and I have personally completely had it with being mistreated by MIL, so it's not going to be me.


As hard as it is to put LordL in a difficult emotional position, he can't have it both ways.  He can't ignore your needs/boundaries to placate his mother and then expect you to be there to support him while he visits relatives who make him nervous and protect him from the stress MIL causes.

There is no compromise.  You said no.  Your MIL is trying to weasel around you.  So you remove yourself from the situation.  "Playing nice" with a personality like this only emboldens them to act out bigger next time because they got away with it last time. 

By the way, isn't this the same woman who expects to you to sleep on the floor (she magnanimously "put down a carpet, IIRC) in her not-quite finished basement?  And DH really doesn't see how unreasonable this woman is?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: TootsNYC on April 22, 2013, 09:36:49 AM
if she issued the main invitation as being to the "toast" and not the "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\


This is the case. There is one main invitation and it refers only to the toast.

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

This is one of my big concerns. I know that if the reunion was changed to a baby shower or birthday party or anniversary party or ANYTHING with a GOH, it would kind of bother me, because usually the focus isn't on one person/couple.

I agree with the two fo you that this is the problem. But I think my solution would be to insist that she send invites to the reunion itself, and "redirect" her w/ the shower thing to having a line at the bottom of the reunion invite that says, "We'll also toast LordL and LadyL, who will marry in a small ceremony in October."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Miss Tickle on April 22, 2013, 10:12:34 AM
What's the saying? Begin as you would go on.

Do you wish to spend the rest of your marriage negotiating your life decisions with your MIL instead of your DH? If you let her win this time she will make every single thing a fight from now on. The sooner you (two) get her straighted out the easier your life will be.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: zinzin on April 22, 2013, 11:06:15 AM
What about what LordL wants? You talk about his mother putting him in the middle - but it sounds like he actually wants to attend and doesn't have an issue. It's his wedding too - and if he's ok with this, why not concede to him on this one?

I think even conceptualizing this as you or his mother "winning" is really disrespectful to him as a person and your supposed partner. Maybe sometimes he should get the final call.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: citadelle on April 22, 2013, 11:11:48 AM
I respect all of the advice given here, and acknowledge that I may not have an understanding of what it feels like to have boundaries disrespected.

Having said that, in your shoes I would go along with the shower/reunion combination. You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime. It seems likely that she wants to celebrate her son's marriage, and I honestly can't fault her for that. It also seems as though her son is at least ambivalent about the event. Likely, he wants to please both of you. I feel for him.

I would try to see my mother in law in a positive light, because that will make your future years happier, for all of you. I know that boundaries are important and so are your feelings, but as the younger generation we sometimes have to be a little more giving, with the expectation that our daughters in law will be so for us.

I know this is an unpopular view, but it is my view nonetheless.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 22, 2013, 11:21:14 AM
You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime.

I really, really wish that there weren't a novel's worth of incidents behind my feelings. I would love to have a good relationship with her. In my relationship with my stepmother, we had a rocky start for very similar reasons, but we were able to talk it out and are now close. I would like nothing more than the same thing to happen here but unfortunately it's not that simple. To give an example of what I mean by "antics," MIL once lived in a rural community where neighbors and relatives would let themselves in to other people's homes. Although this was 20+ years ago, she used that precedent to justify breaking into our apartment when we were not home. To us, this was an extreme violation of our trust, but she dismissed our feelings completely.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: gramma dishes on April 22, 2013, 11:21:54 AM
...   

I agree with the two fo you that this is the problem. But I think my solution would be to insist that she send invites to the reunion itself, and "redirect" her w/ the shower thing to having a line at the bottom of the reunion invite that says, "We'll also toast LordL and LadyL, who will marry in a small ceremony in October."

I like Toots' suggestion for several reasons.  It really does allow LordL a bit of wiggle room and I think that's important.  He seems to want to see his relatives and is concerned that some of them are (apparently) having some serious health issues.

Two, it is much closer to what you both agreed to in the first place.

Three, it emphasizes that the ceremony in October is SMALL.  Meaning, you won't be inviting a lot of the people who might possibly be at the 'reunion' and gives them a heads up on that fact so they won't be expecting an invitation to the wedding.

I would still absolutely insist that invitations NOT be sent to the 'not in family' people in your bridal party though. 

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Zilla on April 22, 2013, 12:07:47 PM
I respect all of the advice given here, and acknowledge that I may not have an understanding of what it feels like to have boundaries disrespected.

Having said that, in your shoes I would go along with the shower/reunion combination. You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime. It seems likely that she wants to celebrate her son's marriage, and I honestly can't fault her for that. It also seems as though her son is at least ambivalent about the event. Likely, he wants to please both of you. I feel for him.

I would try to see my mother in law in a positive light, because that will make your future years happier, for all of you. I know that boundaries are important and so are your feelings, but as the younger generation we sometimes have to be a little more giving, with the expectation that our daughters in law will be so for us.

I know this is an unpopular view, but it is my view nonetheless.


I agree with this to a point.  What you have described so far isn't so out there in the realm of holy batman that lady is a nutter.  I also think it heavily colors/biased your views against her and that must be frustrating your fiancee as well.  You both need to come to a compromise regarding his mother that you both can live with.  It isn't fair to keep coaching him on how to cut out with his mom when he clearly doesn't want to but trying to make it work with you at the same time.  It's a very tough place for him and counseling is an excellent for both of you to deal with this effectively.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: MyFamily on April 22, 2013, 12:11:22 PM
Maybe I missed this but I'm confused so I'm just going to ask a few questions here, with my comments included.

How long does the reunion last?  A couple of hours or over a weekend?  If it is a couple of hours, than it sounds like the toast/shower is the reunion and the actual reunion itself is pushed back.  This is rude to those attending the reunion - Great Uncle Joe wants to go and see his nieces and nephews he rarely gets to see, not go to a toast/shower for just one great-nephew.  Doesn't his feelings on this count for something?  If this is over a weekend, and all it is a toast - is your MIL inviting people to come to a 5 minute event?  Because that is about how long a toast should last, so I'm confused on this part. 

If all that will be at the event is a toast (that should last 5 minutes), and you are able to make sure your friends and family aren't invited, then you should go.  If it starts to turn into something longer, I think you should excuse yourself and leave.  Who wants to sit through a toast that lasts more than 5 minutes (and even that seems like a really long time for a toast, imo)?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: *inviteseller on April 22, 2013, 12:15:49 PM
I had the steamroller MIL also.  And the ex dh would say to me while we were dating, please, just go along for the sake of peace and I would bite my tongue and just acquiesce to whatever flaming hoop we were to jump through.  And then she tried to absolutely take over my wedding.  I started putting my foot down (for very good reasons) and the war that started in 1992 continues today, even after we broke up and he passed away because she now takes it out on DD.  You do NOT want a bridal shower thrown at a family reunion filled with people you either do not know or will not be invited to the wedding.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Your future DH doesn't seem to care or leans towards not wanting it, but because he doesn't have it in him to fight with her, he will do whatever she wants to keep the peace.  I don't see it as, well the future DH wants it and LadyL is being mean and stopping everyone.  So, when LadyL lets her have her way and spends the reunion being uncomfortable, she then starts planning her wedding and guess what?  MIL wants to add some more people because they just have to come...and then some more...and well, she has some ideas about how the reception should be.  LadyL says no, and Lord says no, but I can't tell mom no and the wedding becomes the MIL show.  Then they decide to buy a house and MIL is in every detail, including having a key and coming in when they aren't home.  LadyL hates it, Lord hates it but well, can't upset mom.  See where this goes?  LadyL agreed to marry LordL, not his mom.  If she is so hell bent on throwing a shower it should be a separate event at another time with just the people who will be invited to the wedding.  LadyL, I would call her and tell her that if she is going to turn this into a shower even though you both have said no, then you will not be in attendance, and stick to it.  If Lord wants to go, he goes by himself.  He wants you there to be his buffer, but he doesn't want to be yours.   
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 22, 2013, 12:33:12 PM
Start as you mean to go on.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: zyrs on April 22, 2013, 01:38:20 PM
My take on this is that  LordL needs to stand up to his mother for the both of your sakes.  Notify your family and the wedding party not to accept the invite to the reunion.  Make plans with friends and let LordL go to the reunion by himself.

Marriage is stressful enough to navigate without extended family making it even more stressful.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Kaypeep on April 22, 2013, 02:15:13 PM
I think the MIL is out of line.  It's a family reunion, and not about OP and her FDH.  For her MIL to send out any invites/announcements revolving around them offends me on behalf of the whole family.  What about the seriously ill family members who may not be around next year?  What about the new babies/graduates/anniversary couples, etc???  There are many milestones that can be shared and celebrated at this event but MIL is making it about OP and her son, which really (based on other stories from OP) is about making it about MIL.  If I were OP, I'd tell DH I'm not comfortable going to an event that is possibly going to be hijacked on your behalf.  MIL is taking away from the nature of the event, plus has a history of steamrolling people to get her own way.  You won't participate in that, no matter how much of a compromise she may seem to have made.  I think you were perfectly fine accepting a toast in your honor at the event, but why does a toast require an invitation?  Something is fishy and I don't trust MIL at all.  Plus, I don't like the idea of stealing the spotlight at a family event by declaring such on the invite.  It's just not right.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: bopper on April 22, 2013, 02:51:57 PM
More thoughts:

Yes, bridal showers are traditional (in the USA).
However, I suspect their origin is to help young couples establish a brand new household.
I suspect that is not the case for you...you do not need that financial help.

It is also traditional to have a wedding where people can celebrate your wedding. You are planning to have one.

I suspect where MIL is having issues is that you may not be inviting everyone she would want to the wedding.  By having a shower at the reunion, then she gets to have "her side" involved SOMEHOW in your wedding. But by saying NO SHOWER, she has turned to a TOAST.  She still wants to make it known that HER SON is getting married and gosh darn it she will make sure her people know it, and know it when she gets a chance to be in the spotlight.

LordL is probably looking at this "as is"..."A toast would be okay!"  and you are looking at it as "Give an inch, take a mile/Set boundaries".
A normal person might have been disappointed about the shower, but then at the reunion raised a glass to you, and to whoever had anniversaries, and whomever had a birthday.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: lowspark on April 22, 2013, 03:20:30 PM
Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback. This is definitely a difficult case because I agree with all of you that LordL is habituated to his mother's behavior. He said to me, "Well the rest of the family just lies down and takes it when she does this stuff to them. I at least pushed back on her a lot." To him, this is progress, and I agree to an extent. But if you push back and *still* get steamrolled it teaches you that you need to change tactics.

What is really hard is that because he sees this behavior as more normal than I do, he has trouble understanding my reaction and strong feelings about it. He said it felt like he was being put in the middle between me and his mother. I told him we're supposed to be on the same team, so there is not a "middle," and that he is my primary family now. I put priority on our relationship above that with my parents, siblings, etc. - his happiness is more important to me, and I expect my happiness to be more important than pleasing his mother. I don't think he quite sees that when he chooses his mother's way over what we agreed upon, he is not following that contract.

At this point I am perfectly willing to call MIL myself and lay it all out on the line - NO SHOWER. Politely but firmly. In the past I have insisted all communication go through LordL but I am willing to make an exception - thoughts on whether this is a good or  bad idea?

Also, it is possible he could go alone, but it is 4 hours away so I would have to either stay home or make alternate plans with friends in that area (both are doable). If the situation continues to stall out that is what I plan on doing. I know it will hurt LordL a bit (he'd like me there because reacquainting with his relatives is a bit emotionally fraught for him), but honestly this situation hurts me too and if he can't admit that there is no way to please everyone, someone's going to get hurt - me, him, or MIL - and I have personally completely had it with being mistreated by MIL, so it's not going to be me.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that it's his mother so he should be the one to tell her whenever something is bothering you (his wife/fiancee) or you (both). But as a mother-in-law myself I would much rather have the offended person speak directly to me. So if my DIL has a problem with something I've said or done, I don't want her to go tell my son who in turn will tell me. It feels like I'm being handled IYKWIM. Sure, I'm his mother so he has that rapport with me. But if DIL and I want to grow the bond between us, we need to be able to communicate directly instead of using my son/her husband as a go-between.

Of course, it helps that my goal is to have as great a rel@tionship with both of them as possible and though admittedly, I do have my own agenda (don't we all?) I am trying not to step on toes or create any animosity.

But really, I just don't see it as a bad thing for you to just speak directly to her. This will take the feeling of being in the middle off of LordL and it will also give you and FMIL a chance to nurture your own association. I can understand LordL's distress at being the one to always have to tell his mother that you (both) aren't happy with something she's done. It does sort of put him in the (perceived) position of always being the "bad guy".

If I were the mom in this case, I'd really appreciate it if you approached me directly with your conerns and we worked things out together. Of course, I can't speak for your actual MIL so I don't know if this will work or backfire in your case, but at this point, it might be a good idea to at least give it a shot.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Sophia on April 22, 2013, 04:06:24 PM
One thing that would bug me is that I suspect this isn't really about you, LordL or the wedding.  It is about your MIL wanting to be in the spotlight. 

This would be my plan.  Do like whats-her-face did on Green Acres.  Remember when the slimy salesguy would raise the price on her?  She would lower it.  When he complained.  She lowered it more.  Every time she tries to add something in, you subtract something. 

In this case, even though you were OK with a toast at the reunion (that a compromise you were willing to live with)  She insisted on pushing it a little bit more and wants to send out invitations.  Really?  Invitations to a toast at a Reunion?  That does not pass the smell test.  You don't need to prepare for a toast.  You just do it during the toasting time with whomever is there already.  So, now I would say to FMIL, "You know, I was OK with the toast.  But, now with these invitations... it is looking more and more like a shower.  I no longer comfortable with even a toast"

She will soon learn to not push your boundaries.  If she says she'll do a toast anyway, then visit friends in town.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: TootsNYC on April 22, 2013, 04:22:43 PM
I think especially because this is "bridal shower" territory, which is traditionally a female territory, that you can directly speak to his mom on this issue.

And make it be not about her and the boundaries, but about you and how her plan would put you in such an uncomfortable spot. Make it personal--make it something she is doing out of consideration for you.

It'll be more powerful.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: blarg314 on April 22, 2013, 07:39:41 PM

At this point I am perfectly willing to call MIL myself and lay it all out on the line - NO SHOWER. Politely but firmly. In the past I have insisted all communication go through LordL but I am willing to make an exception - thoughts on whether this is a good or  bad idea?


I'm not sure it will be an effective idea, unfortunately. My bet will be that if you show up to the reunion, there will be a shower, or a shower equivalent dressed up in slightly different wording.


As hard as it is to put LordL in a difficult emotional position, he can't have it both ways.  He can't ignore your needs/boundaries to placate his mother and then expect you to be there to support him while he visits relatives who make him nervous and protect him from the stress MIL causes.


This is a very good point. You can't put your wife through the ringer with your family and not back her up properly, and then expect her to happily act as a shield to make interactions with your family less painful. There's likely a very good reason his relationships with his family are tense - having his wife there to soothe/protect him isn't going to make those reasons disappear.

On another note - I see the new working as definitely being a shower, because these are invitations to a family reunion, that are being sent to non-family members, solely to invite them to celebrate a forthcoming wedding.  You can call it a shower, or an engagement party, but it's not a family reunion at that point.

If your MIL were a normally reasonable person who really, really wanted to have a family shower, then I'd say going along with it would be okay for family happiness. By the sounds of it, this is one in a long string of incidents where your MIL tries to do something unreasonable, you object, she does it anyways, and your fiance is  puzzled about why you're so upset, because after all, you did stand up to her by saying no. That's not just an etiquette nightmare, it's marriage dysfunction in the making.

And quite frankly - it's better to make a stink over an unwanted bridal shower than to have to make a stink actually at your wedding when she pulls something else (unwanted guests, maybe?).

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 22, 2013, 08:18:50 PM
So LordL and I talked things over again and I think we're much closer to being on the same page. He is going to call them and explain that we do not want the event to be about us, we don't want to be the guests of honor. They can send out invites to "the annual family reunion" and mention "at x o'clock there will be a toast in honor of Lady and Lord L's upcoming wedding." He will lay out that there will be no wedding themed decor, games, cakes, etc. He also agreed to stay in touch with them and reinforce these boundaries so they don't try to secretly make it a shower. If we suspect they are we will remind them that we will not attend a shower. If we show up and it is one, we will tell the other guests we are ill and leave. Because at that point I would actually be ill >:D.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: NyaChan on April 22, 2013, 09:36:10 PM
Good plan!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Pen^2 on April 22, 2013, 10:14:10 PM
Great update! Just keep on reminding yourselves (maybe LordL a little more than yourself) that you are not interested in compromises. You want to do nothing, MIL wants to do something. By doing a little bit of something, MIL still gets her way and you get nothing. Good luck!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 22, 2013, 10:30:39 PM
So LordL and I talked things over again and I think we're much closer to being on the same page. He is going to call them and explain that we do not want the event to be about us, we don't want to be the guests of honor. They can send out invites to "the annual family reunion" and mention "at x o'clock there will be a toast in honor of Lady and Lord L's upcoming wedding." He will lay out that there will be no wedding themed decor, games, cakes, etc. He also agreed to stay in touch with them and reinforce these boundaries so they don't try to secretly make it a shower. If we suspect they are we will remind them that we will not attend a shower. If we show up and it is one, we will tell the other guests we are ill and leave. Because at that point I would actually be ill >:D.

Great plan! Hope it all goes well. I assume that your MIL won't be inviting the Bridal Party and your family? (because I don't think they need to be there if it's truly just going to be a family reunion).
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Eden on April 23, 2013, 08:52:12 AM
That sounds like a decent plan, LadyL. Best of luck and let us know how it goes. I know this stuff is really difficult and I feel for both you and LordL. You're doing well by keeping the communication open between the two of you.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: Snooks on April 23, 2013, 09:07:16 AM
Unfortunately I would put money on Lord L not backing you up if you get there and find it's a shower. I think the best thing for you is to not go, Lord L can go alone if he wants to.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 23, 2013, 09:10:09 AM
Well, THAT did not go according to plan.

I will give LordL credit for completely coming around on this one. Unfortunately he didn't have much of a choice.  :'(

On Sunday he spoke with his mother and asked her to not sent the invitations yet (the ones that say "let's celebrate Lord and Lady L" instead of calling it a family reunion). She agreed to hold off. Yesterday he spoke to her about our proposed changes to the invite and to clarify the nature of the event. She played along for a while but then finally let it slip that she already mailed the invitations. :o

Yep, she just blatantly ignored our request and sent a bunch of them out to his relatives (not to the bridal party or my family, thankfully). LordL got really angry with her. He held it together and was polite but you could hear the anger in his voice. He eventually cut off the conversation entirely.

All of this was just a bridge too far for him. He felt lied to and manipulated, and was very upset. I think that all the suspicion and anger I was feeling in increments crashed down on him all at once. He agreed there is no way we can attend the event now - it's too likely that MIL will just do what she wants and make it a shower. She irrevocably "poisoned the well" as he put it.

I can see now why avoidance and denial are his tactics of choice usually - facing the facts on this one brought up a lot of emotional baggage. There was a lot of fighting in his family growing up and I think he thought he could control it as an adult by giving in on pretty much anything that wasn't life or death. Realizing that his family is what it is, and that we will probably always have to keep them at arms length, is a hard thing to stomach.

I am trying to reassure him that we can visit his relatives another time - he is really sad he will have to miss out on that because of his mother's nonsense. I am sad about the whole situation. For a while I just wanted us to both not go to the event but now that we feel like we have no choice it's a totally empty victory. Not a victory at all.

Hugs for LordL please? This dredged up a LOT of stuff and it's going to take him a while to work through. And believe it or not today is his birthday.



Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 23, 2013, 09:17:38 AM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: julianna on April 23, 2013, 09:21:37 AM
Oh, poor LordL.  I'm sorry (though not surprised) that things turned out like that.  If you can encourage him to see a counselor, that might really help him learn to deal with his family.  It's so hard to recognize dysfunction when you've been raised to consider it "normal."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: LadyL on April 23, 2013, 09:21:50 AM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.

I am advocating we do exactly that. We also have plenty of friends we can stay with in that area. We could still take the trip and see people separate from the reunion, though it will kick up some drama because MIL thinks everyone should do everything together as a faaaammmily for the entire week surrounding the reunion. My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: JenJay on April 23, 2013, 09:22:14 AM
Big, big hugs!!

I have a feeling his mom is going to count on being able to guilt you both with "But I already told everyone you'd be there! You HAVE to come or they'll be sooo disappointed!" I'd make a few calls and make sure everyone knows that you are unable to attend the REUNION and it is NOT a wedding shower/toast.

Then, I'd leave on the table the possibility of sneaking to the reunion without his mother's knowledge so that she cannot ambush you with a shower. I'm not saying I'd plan to do that, because the possibility is very real that she'll count on that and have a trunk full of decorations and whatnot just in case, but I'd leave the option open and agree to decide later. Could you both get some time off and plan a long weekend visit to the area where these relatives live? Having that to look forward to might help your DF cope with this mess.  :-\

Edited because I didn't see your reply to OG when I posted - That sounds like an awesome plan! Just take care that MIL doesn't find out where you're staying and show up.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: Eden on April 23, 2013, 09:51:15 AM
My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.

They aren't. You can't control how other people feel. You can only control whether or not you operate in a reasonable, appropriate manner. I feel bad for you and LordL, but I also feel a little bit glad this came to a head so that you two can be more unified and go into your marriage on the same page knowing how that family dynamic needs to be handled. Best of luck!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: NyaChan on April 23, 2013, 10:03:05 AM
(((HUGS))) for LordL - I'm sorry that he is missing the opportunity to attend, but at the same time, an Aha Moment can be a useful thing for someone who has difficult parents.  I hope he finds a way to see people separately. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: weeblewobble on April 23, 2013, 10:32:51 AM
Yes, the Aha moment, as Nyachan wisely put it, is really hard.  But better that he has it now, before the wedding, and has you there to support him through it. Big hugs to him.  And happy birthday cupcakes,
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 23, 2013, 10:42:22 AM
{{{{LordL}}}}

This has to be difficult for him, but good to see that he stood his ground.  If you decide not to go, the only one who will look bad is MIL.  I like the idea of the two of you going to a B&B and meeting relatives for brunch.  Good luck.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: EMuir on April 23, 2013, 10:53:20 AM
I'm also sad for all the relatives who thought a reunion was coming up and then got a notice that it was really a shower.  Definitely get together with your relatives on your own. HUGS that you had to go through that.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: wheeitsme on April 23, 2013, 11:23:15 AM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.

I am advocating we do exactly that. We also have plenty of friends we can stay with in that area. We could still take the trip and see people separate from the reunion, though it will kick up some drama because MIL thinks everyone should do everything together as a faaaammmily for the entire week surrounding the reunion. My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.

Hugs and Happy Birthday!!!

This sounds like a workable solution.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: nuit93 on April 23, 2013, 11:33:55 AM
Big birthday hugs to LordL!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: gramma dishes on April 23, 2013, 11:36:17 AM
Birthday hugs for LordL.  So sad that his "gift" came in the form of a revelation about his mother.  I'm sure you can think of things that will make this a happier and more celebratory day for him.   ;)

Hugs for you too.  This has been a challenge and I'm glad to hear that you're now on the same page.  That will serve you well for the rest of your lives.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: Chickadee on April 23, 2013, 11:39:16 AM
How do you think it would go over if you and LordL told MIL that she would have to call every guest that she sent invitations to and tell them that it is not a shower after all? Tell her if she won't do that, then you and LordL will not attend the reunion at all.

Oh, and big hugs to LordL as well as Happy Birthday wishes.

And hugs to you too, even though you didn't ask for them.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: MrTango on April 23, 2013, 11:45:08 AM
How do you think it would go over if you and LordL told MIL that she would have to call every guest that she sent invitations to and tell them that it is not a shower after all? Tell her if she won't do that, then you and LordL will not attend the reunion at all.

Oh, and big hugs to LordL as well as Happy Birthday wishes.

And hugs to you too, even though you didn't ask for them.

I don't know if that would be effective.  Even if the OP did this, her MIL could *say* that she called everyone and the feign surprise when they showed up.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: NyaChan on April 23, 2013, 11:46:29 AM
How do you think it would go over if you and LordL told MIL that she would have to call every guest that she sent invitations to and tell them that it is not a shower after all? Tell her if she won't do that, then you and LordL will not attend the reunion at all.

Oh, and big hugs to LordL as well as Happy Birthday wishes.

And hugs to you too, even though you didn't ask for them.

I don't know if that would be effective.  Even if the OP did this, her MIL could *say* that she called everyone and the feign surprise when they showed up.

That and also, it seems LordL left that conversation in a position of power rather than concession to MIL's wants.  I don't think he should backtrack to a position of compromise after his previous attempt was essentially thrown in his face when she mailed out those invites despite agreeing not to.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 12:04:38 PM
((((HUGS)))))))))))  It is so aggravating dealing with people like your MIL, but there can be no compromise with them.  I wish you didn't have to miss the reunion, but think of it this way...it was not going to be a reunion, it was going to be the Lord & LadyL day and that is not fair to you, nor the people who are coming from far and wide, who also may have things in their life to celebrate with the family.  Your MIL has proved herself to be sneaky and underhanded and has no problem lying to her son.  If anyone asks why you won't be there, be honest and say you wanted to celebrate the family but your MIL wanted to celebrate you and you weren't comfortable with that.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: Auntie Mame on April 23, 2013, 12:32:24 PM
Big hugs to LordL and tell him I said, I promise it gets better.

He is in the middle of the hardest part of this process.  Laying the boundaries and following through on the consequences when said boundaries get stomped on.  It will be hard for him to hold is ground, and your MIL is going to go nuclear and use every trick in the book to get him to capitulate.

But it gets better.  Once he demonstrates there are solid consequences that he will not back down from, others will fall in line because they know he means what he says and says what he means.

Hang in there LordL!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 23, 2013, 12:44:49 PM
A birthday cupcake and hug to LordL.

I know exactly what you are going through, LadyL. After ending the railroading, now we get blacklisted when family comes to visit. I stopped fighting MIL and we live separate lives.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: jedikaiti on April 23, 2013, 12:53:25 PM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.

I am advocating we do exactly that. We also have plenty of friends we can stay with in that area. We could still take the trip and see people separate from the reunion, though it will kick up some drama because MIL thinks everyone should do everything together as a faaaammmily for the entire week surrounding the reunion. My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.

I am not sure I'd recommend that unless you can be really certain MIL won't find out and try to hijack even that. I'd visit the relatives at a different time entirely.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: Specky on April 23, 2013, 02:19:08 PM
Hugs all around and I'm sorry that you two are having to deal with a mess.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: lowspark on April 23, 2013, 03:29:24 PM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.

I am advocating we do exactly that. We also have plenty of friends we can stay with in that area. We could still take the trip and see people separate from the reunion, though it will kick up some drama because MIL thinks everyone should do everything together as a faaaammmily for the entire week surrounding the reunion. My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.

I am not sure I'd recommend that unless you can be really certain MIL won't find out and try to hijack even that. I'd visit the relatives at a different time entirely.

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. You have a sort of a situation here. Your MIL has sent out invitations to a toast for the two of you and the two of you won't be there. Of course, MIL gets egg on her face for inviting people and the two of you not showing up. But by the same token, how is it going to reflect on you two, particularly to people who may not know any background about MIL's behavior?

I think you're better off staying as far away as possible so that if anyone questions why you weren't there, you can cite "prior commitment" and explain that the invitations were sent out by MIL without your knowledge or consent.

However, if you are actually there but choose not to attend, it almost makes you look vindictive. Like you're thumbing your nose at MIL. Like, hey, we're here! but we're purposely boycotting the event.

Now, you know that's what you're doing, and under the circumstances, it's perfectly reasonable to do. But in the long run, you want to be the ones who look as if you've done nothing wrong and that the entire situation is due to MIL's actions as opposed to your indignation with her actions.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: MindsEye on April 23, 2013, 03:37:45 PM

I think you're better off staying as far away as possible so that if anyone questions why you weren't there, you can cite "prior commitment" and explain that the invitations were sent out by MIL without your knowledge or consent.

However, if you are actually there but choose not to attend, it almost makes you look vindictive. Like you're thumbing your nose at MIL. Like, hey, we're here! but we're purposely boycotting the event.


This.  Just don't go.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: VorFemme on April 23, 2013, 03:56:07 PM
Don't be in the area.  MIL must be seen to have set things up when you two "couldn't be there" or it looks like you two are either in cahoots with her or KNEW that it was being changed from reunion to shower.

Is there any way MOST, if not all, of the family will be available for a mini-reunion around July 4th (USA), Thanksgiving (Canada or USA), or another major holiday in the next few months?  Which could become a mini-reunion, without the side tracking by MIL to shower or wedding reception (if it is after the wedding)?  Because I wouldn't put it past her to set up something along the lines of an extra reception or adding guests to the one you two are planning......

It just seems like it would be in character for her.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 04:24:02 PM
What a mess.

Is the reunion in another city?  If so, maybe you and LordL could book yourselves a nice little bed and breakfast in the area for the same time frame and then quietly invite the relatives you'd like to see to join you for brunch or something the morning after the reunion.  And tell them to say absolutely nothing to MIL.

I am advocating we do exactly that. We also have plenty of friends we can stay with in that area. We could still take the trip and see people separate from the reunion, though it will kick up some drama because MIL thinks everyone should do everything together as a faaaammmily for the entire week surrounding the reunion. My cynical take at this point is that her feelings are not our problem.

I am not sure I'd recommend that unless you can be really certain MIL won't find out and try to hijack even that. I'd visit the relatives at a different time entirely.

Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. You have a sort of a situation here. Your MIL has sent out invitations to a toast for the two of you and the two of you won't be there. Of course, MIL gets egg on her face for inviting people and the two of you not showing up. But by the same token, how is it going to reflect on you two, particularly to people who may not know any background about MIL's behavior?

I think you're better off staying as far away as possible so that if anyone questions why you weren't there, you can cite "prior commitment" and explain that the invitations were sent out by MIL without your knowledge or consent.

However, if you are actually there but choose not to attend, it almost makes you look vindictive. Like you're thumbing your nose at MIL. Like, hey, we're here! but we're purposely boycotting the event.

Now, you know that's what you're doing, and under the circumstances, it's perfectly reasonable to do. But in the long run, you want to be the ones who look as if you've done nothing wrong and that the entire situation is due to MIL's actions as opposed to your indignation with her actions.

Well the middle ground is, if everyone will be in the area for a week or so, just show up a day or two after the official reunion, citing you were unable to make it to the reunion due to a previous conflict. That way you aren't obviously snubbing your MIL, you are simply doing your best to get to see family during what is a busy time for you.

So long as you make it clear well in advance that you aren't attending the reunion due to this prior commitment, you showing up as a surprise a few days later to squeeze in a lunch with Aunt Mildred makes you look gracious, like you made every effort to visit family, while still effectively boycotting MIL's party-jack.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: artk2002 on April 23, 2013, 04:28:17 PM
Hugs all around.

The one thing that makes me nervous now, about you not going, is this: Will MIL pull a martyr pose? "Oh woe is me! I invited LordL and LadyL and they snubbed me! They said they wanted a shower and now they've backed out!" If this is at all possible, then I suggest recruiting some relatives who might be sympathetic to your position and tell them the real story. Has MIL steamrollered anyone else in the family?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: NyaChan on April 23, 2013, 04:33:58 PM
You know what, at some point you just have accept that MIL might say bad things about you.  The thing is, the people who genuinely know and care for you will either dismiss what they know you wouldn't have done or give you an opportunity to defend yourself.  The rest who believe her story wholesale are essentially showing that they thought badly enough of you in the first place that her story would seem plausible to them.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: oogyda on April 23, 2013, 04:39:34 PM
I'd call one of those relatives to find out EXACTLY what the invitation says.  Is it it "Let's celebrate with a toast."  or " It's a shower. Bring gifts."?
Then I'd let relative know you won't be there and they can spread the word.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: AvidReader on April 23, 2013, 05:00:23 PM
F-MIL made her bed; let her lie in it.  Temporary cut direct.  No phone calls, emails, social media, or anything.  Don't take her calls or respond to her communications.  Total news blackout.  Just.do.not.show.up.  The embarrassment will be all hers.  Guests to F-MIL, "Well, where are they?"  F-MIL, "I don't know."   Guests to F-MIL, "So what's going on?"  JMHO, but you can't have it both ways on this one.  The half-measure of slipping into town to visit with selected relatives and not attend the main reunion will make for an even greater problem in this dynamic.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: blarg314 on April 23, 2013, 07:23:20 PM

I can see now why avoidance and denial are his tactics of choice usually - facing the facts on this one brought up a lot of emotional baggage. There was a lot of fighting in his family growing up and I think he thought he could control it as an adult by giving in on pretty much anything that wasn't life or death. Realizing that his family is what it is, and that we will probably always have to keep them at arms length, is a hard thing to stomach.


Good luck!

If it help, think of it being like a wound gone bad. It's festering away in there, and might no hurt that much if you don't pick at it, but it has to be drained and treated properly before it can heal. And it hurts. 

I personally would avoid the whole event - showing up in the area but not attending is likely to escalate things, and you'll have an infuriated/weepy MIL showing up at your hotel to berate you, with a Greek chorus of agitated relatives behind her.

For the general issue - counselling with a specialist in family issues (rather than a straight up marriage counsellor)  could be really, really helpful. The therapist will have seen hundreds of cases just like this, and can help both of you figure out a good way of handling his family that will, hopefully, eventually result in a healthier situation all round. It may also help LordL to come to terms with things if he has a better grasp of how and why these things go. 


Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59.
Post by: kudeebee on April 24, 2013, 12:32:31 AM
I agree with the posters who say stay away from the reunion and that you can't have it both ways.  i would not go before or after either--stay away from the area.  Either you suck it up and go to the reunion and let mil have her shower/toast (which is not what you two want and will only show mil that if she harps long enough, you two will give in and she can do what she wants) or you tell her you will not be there. 

If you do go and try to have a get together without mil finding out, it will probably backfire on you.  If relatives find out you are in the area and not at the reunion, they will surely ask questions.  Trying to plan a brunch with them during or even after the reunion will cause them to ask why you aren't at the reunion or for them to call mil and ask what is going on.  Then you will really have a mess on your hands.  If you are not in the area, then there can be no guessing as to what is going on, why you are snubbing the family, etc.

Better to tell mil "We will not be at the reunion.  we asked you to not have a shower and lordl asked you to wait on sending the invitations, but you did anyway.  We do not want the reunion to be about us, especially since not everyone who is attending is invited to the wedding.  So, we will not be attending."

While it is sad that LordL won't be able to see some relatives at the reunion, the two of you should make plans to see them another time or if they are invited to the wedding, you will get to see them then.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: LadyL on April 29, 2013, 09:51:51 AM
On Sunday he spoke with his mother and asked her to not sent the invitations yet (the ones that say "let's celebrate Lord and Lady L" instead of calling it a family reunion). She agreed to hold off. Yesterday he spoke to her about our proposed changes to the invite and to clarify the nature of the event. She played along for a while but then finally let it slip that she already mailed the invitations. :o

Yep, she just blatantly ignored our request and sent a bunch of them out to his relatives (not to the bridal party or my family, thankfully). LordL got really angry with her. He held it together and was polite but you could hear the anger in his voice. He eventually cut off the conversation entirely.

Ok, so another update. LordL took a few days to cool down after the last conversation where the above happened. It turned out that MIL either lied about not mailing invites to my family, or did so after their conversation, because both my parents mentioned getting them. I had to have the fun impromptu conversation about how there was a "misunderstanding" and the event wasn't happening so they shouldn't make travel arrangements. All of these experiences really drove home to us that we couldn't continue having our boundaries trampled.

LordL and I went over the main points he needed to convey and wrote them out. He called and told his mother that her actions violated our trust and since the nature of the event was not what we agreed upon we would not be attending. She almost immediately handed the phone over to his father. LordL had a similar but more detailed conversation with him. His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed. We talked after and still intend to decline the event, but are kicking around ideas about having our *own* event (no involvement from MIL) on a different day when everyone will still be in town. Thoughts on this are appreciated.

Apparently this is the first time LordL can EVER remember getting an apology from either of them (and far, far worse stuff has gone down in the past), and feeling like he was able to talk to his father like an adult. So that is a victory there. He used a ton of "I feel" statements and that is a big difference from prior conversations. Also, in our 8 years together I've never seen this dynamic of MIL as bad cop and FIL as mediator - apparently FIL only steps in when both ILs know MIL has gone way over the line. I am not sure how I feel about them playing off each other this way but LordL feels the apology from FIL was on behalf of both of them as a social unit and if he's happy, I'm happy.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: gramma dishes on April 29, 2013, 10:01:34 AM
It sounds like real progress is being made here!   :)
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 29, 2013, 10:04:39 AM
From the update, I am shocked MIL went there. I am so proud of you and LordL, I hope you can make your independent event happen and not let MIL railroad you any further.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: AvidReader on April 29, 2013, 10:23:21 AM
The result of this phone call, as you reported it, is a *huge* first step in establishing a very important boundary.  IMHO, the best follow-through will be for you and LordL not to show up any where near the reunion.  Not showing up at all will silently, but seriously, reinforce this boundary.   The lesson for F-MIL is, "cross a boundary and you are on your own because we don't show up."  It may give her pause. 

I realize this will be very hard for you and particularly for LordL, but I think that planning your own event while everyone is still in town for the reunion will be darned near impossible without word about it getting out to F-MIL who might take it as rubbing her nose in it and the unintended consequence could be messy indeed. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Sophia on April 29, 2013, 10:33:06 AM
There is something about the idea of an FMIL-not-invited mini-reunion that says "look at me".  I know your heart is in the right place. 

If LordL really wants to see the relatives, I would show up after the official reunion, and join whatever the family was doing already. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on April 29, 2013, 10:38:06 AM
There is something about the idea of an FMIL-not-invited mini-reunion that says "look at me".  I know your heart is in the right place. 

If LordL really wants to see the relatives, I would show up after the official reunion, and join whatever the family was doing already.

Yes, I really don't understand why you would be considering throwing yourselves a party after making such a big deal about MIL NOT throwing you one.  I am not certain what you would be accomplishing by throwing your own event aside from making yourselves look petty and vindictive and really hurting MIL, who while she clearly has boundary issues still seems, to me, to have her heart in the right place. If you don't want to be celebrated for your engagement, don't throw yourselves a party. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LadyL on April 29, 2013, 10:41:25 AM
There is something about the idea of an FMIL-not-invited mini-reunion that says "look at me".  I know your heart is in the right place. 

If LordL really wants to see the relatives, I would show up after the official reunion, and join whatever the family was doing already.

Yes, I really don't understand why you would be considering throwing yourselves a party after making such a big deal about MIL NOT throwing you one.  I am not certain what you would be accomplishing by throwing your own event aside from making yourselves look petty and vindictive and really hurting MIL, who while she clearly has boundary issues still seems, to me, to have her heart in the right place. If you don't want to be celebrated for your engagement, don't throw yourselves a party.


We definitely do not want it to be an engagement/bridal anything. We are ok with hosting something informal ("family reunion brunch" or some such), or maybe having LordL's brother host, but not with being the guests of honor (since as you point out that was the whole point of contention in the first place). He is just trying to figure out a way to still see his relatives without MIL "brokering" the whole thing. Like I said, I'm not sure if this is realistic, but I figured I'd get feedback and ideas.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: o_gal on April 29, 2013, 10:44:05 AM
We talked after and still intend to decline the event, but are kicking around ideas about having our *own* event (no involvement from MIL) on a different day when everyone will still be in town. Thoughts on this are appreciated.

While it would a very nice thing to have your own "event", I strongly suggest that you don't. You have a MIL who tramples every boundary, who lies, who goes behind your back, etc. If she gets even one whiff that you are going to have something, she will ferret out the info and take it that she has another chance to force this shower on you. I think it's too great a risk and you will need to treat this year's reunion as one that you just cannot attend at all, at any time. It sucks, and so here are some {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} to get you through this.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Bethalize on April 29, 2013, 10:45:21 AM
We definitely do not want it to be an engagement/bridal anything. We are ok with hosting something informal ("family reunion brunch" or some such), or maybe having LordL's brother host, but not with being the guests of honor (since as you point out that was the whole point of contention in the first place). He is just trying to figure out a way to still see his relatives without MIL "brokering" the whole thing. Like I said, I'm not sure if this is realistic, but I figured I'd get feedback and ideas.

Given all that has gone before, I suggest ninety minute to two hour slots for brunch, coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, drinks and dinner where you arrange to meet people in ones and twos. That way there's no problem and you get quality time not quantity.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 29, 2013, 10:48:03 AM
Would eHell give a pass on crashing the reunion?  RSVP No, let MIL wear her egg, then drop in at a non-food time just to say 'Hi', without telling anyone you were doing it.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: JoyinVirginia on April 29, 2013, 10:53:07 AM
The way your mil acts, if you do go anywhere near the reunion, only go at very last minute with no advance word to anyone. St least, no advance word to anyone mil could pump for info
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: gramma dishes on April 29, 2013, 10:53:19 AM
I'd avoid the reunion -- all of it -- at all costs.

You can get together later (or beforehand) with a few of them here and there at other times.  But not during MIL's shindig at all.

I would also contact any other people you know of who were invited by MIL and give them the same information you gave your own parents.  Basically, "Sorry for the misunderstanding, but we won't be there."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: doodlemor on April 29, 2013, 10:53:52 AM
I POD those who say to just skip the whole thing.  If you try to have any sort of event at all it will just look like you hijacked MIL's party.  There is also the consideration of those relatives who aren't going to be invited to the wedding.

I presume that you have put down all kinds of deposits for your upcoming wedding.  If not, you might want to rethink how you are going to do it, in case MIL has plans of her own there, too.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: lowspark on April 29, 2013, 11:00:19 AM
I said this before and still think it. Don't go to the reunion at all. No part of it. Don't organize anything outside the normal stuff and especially something that excludes MIL (which you would have to do if you don't want her to wrangle her way after all).

It's only going to make you look bad. It's going to make you look vindictive and petty. "We shunned the event MIL planned and now we're rubbing it in her face." Plus, as others noted, there's the possibility of her finding out anyway and taking it as her cue to follow through with her original plan. Don't do it.

You have to teach MIL how to not cross your boundaries, right? Teaching this kind of lesson is hard and it takes sacrifice on your end in order to make her understand you mean what you say. In this case, the sacrifice is to completely forgo the reunion. I just don't think there's any other way.

When my kids were little, I left grocery stores, restaurants, libraries, etc. because I had to teach them that if they misbehaved we'd leave and that when I said that I meant it. It only took a few times but they learned. Believe me, neither they nor I wanted to leave these places. I really hated doing it. But it was a sacrifice today for behavior in the future.

And when I look back at all the subsequent pleasant experiences, it makes those sacrfices seem fairly insignificant. Of course, at the time, it's a huge hassle! But so worth it when you never have to deal with that particular behavior again, and when the child (or in this case MIL) learns that you mean what you say, in the future when you say "don't" she won't.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: whiskeytangofoxtrot on April 29, 2013, 11:02:46 AM
We talked after and still intend to decline the event, but are kicking around ideas about having our *own* event (no involvement from MIL) on a different day when everyone will still be in town. Thoughts on this are appreciated.

While it would a very nice thing to have your own "event", I strongly suggest that you don't. You have a MIL who tramples every boundary, who lies, who goes behind your back, etc. If she gets even one whiff that you are going to have something, she will ferret out the info and take it that she has another chance to force this shower on you. I think it's too great a risk and you will need to treat this year's reunion as one that you just cannot attend at all, at any time. It sucks, and so here are some {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} to get you through this.

POD, but for a slightly different reason. JMO, I agree that it would be best to avoid the reunion, but it seems to me that to organize something else excluding MIL could stir up hurt feelings/drama you don't need, were she to find out (and chances are very good that she would), and put innocent people in the middle. Might be best just to wait to see everyone at the next family shindig.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: buvezdevin on April 29, 2013, 11:11:35 AM
Congrats on the break through.

Regarding making any arrangements of any kind to see visiting relatives around or at the time of the reunion, I have a hard time seeing how this could be done without involving others in the boundary setting, and need for same which is happening between you, LordL and his parents.  That might make sense if you and LordL had decided to sever ties with his parents, but wished to remain in contact with other relatives.  Since the case sounds more like "we are engaged in boundary setting with LordL's parents, and still want them in our lives but are working on dynamics." - that seems like something which would be awkward and uncomfortable for others to be made aware of, and effectively asked to follow along with by scheduling separate visiting time with you and LordL. 

If I were asked to meet with a couple separate from a large family gathering with these circumstances, I might well feel supportive, though of who and why would depend on what I knew of the situation, and the individuals - I *know* I would feel uncomfortable with being made a party to the "discipline of setting boundaries" between other family members by agreeing to socialize separately.

I would suggest that if you and LordL continue to decline to attend the reunion, take it for what it is - MIL has put you in the position of either allowing her to do as she wishes, in total disregard of your feelings on matters relating to you two (shower/toast/whatever) or missing out on a group family reunion and chance to see relatives.  You did not create the issue, and it is possible for you to "fix" the issue this time, but standing firm will provide MIL consequences for her actions.  While you and LordL will miss seeing relatives, I would still not try to arrange separate get togethers as being too likely to spread and grow drama/discomfort, and risk sending MIL a message of spiteful retaliation rather than her own actions having consequences she could avoid.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: thedudeabides on April 29, 2013, 11:29:32 AM
Having your own mini-reunion is just going to lead to lots of awkward questions about why you didn't attend the other reunion and drag relatives into your issues with your MIL unwillingly. That's unfair to them. I'm glad you got the results you wanted, but don't erase them with an event of your own.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: weeblewobble on April 29, 2013, 11:30:09 AM
There is something about the idea of an FMIL-not-invited mini-reunion that says "look at me".  I know your heart is in the right place. 

If LordL really wants to see the relatives, I would show up after the official reunion, and join whatever the family was doing already.

POD.  I think all of the involved parties' feelings are too raw to do a showertype event on your own.   It would very clearly communicate the sentiment, "We didn't mind the idea of a shower after all, we just didn't want MIL plan it."  And while that may be true, it's a little hostile to do that as a family event.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Deetee on April 29, 2013, 12:06:43 PM
I think that is a great update. I also agree with people that go with not being involved in any reunion or largish event. However remember that is only temporary. Your wedding will be a family event (I assume unless you choose to elope) and you will have a lifetime together to forge your own independent relationships with the family. I think that is the best plan. Make sure you never need MIL as the gatekeeper. Send your own Christmas cards or birthday cards, friend on Facebook and call or visit our chat online. This will mean that people will not need MIL as a gatekeeper either.

Later, you may end up with her organising events. (Bossy organised people are often great for getting things done) but you want to avoid needing her. She will abuse that power so just don't let her have that.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: cheyne on April 29, 2013, 12:43:29 PM
One thing about "setting boundries" for others is that we have to set our own boundries too.  It's like lowspark said, sometimes you have to miss out on things to get your message across loud and clear.

I don't think it's a good idea to have anything to do with the reunion.  Do not go, do not have an event separately.  I know that if I were invited to a separate event and you and LordL weren't at the reunion I would feel uncomfortable and wonder what the heck was going on.

LordL will have to resign himself to the fact that he will miss this year's reunion.  His close relatives will be at the wedding this autumn, and he can see the rest next year.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: GSNW on April 29, 2013, 01:10:46 PM
Regarding the idea of another party, DH and I had an afternoon BBQ/lunch the day after our wedding.  A considerable amount of family on both sides traveled 5+ hours to my hometown for the wedding, and at a reception of 250ish, it's hard to spend quality time with each person outside coming to all the tables.  For us, this was a nice way to spend more time with the family in a much less formal setting (my parents' backyard).  It wasn't "look at us," it was "thanks for coming and I'd like to spend more time with you."

No involvement from MIL doesn't have to mean she's not invited... it's just that she's a guest like everyone else, and Lord L can still spend time with family members that are important to him.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Roe on April 29, 2013, 01:38:08 PM
Skip the reunion.  Don't plan your own party. 

Continually trying to "make this right" doesn't seem to be working so my advice is to skip everything and "reset" the relationship going forward.  Sad that he will miss the reunion but what else can he do without undoing everything he's worked hard to create? 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 29, 2013, 01:47:26 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: rose red on April 29, 2013, 01:53:06 PM
Regarding the idea of another party, DH and I had an afternoon BBQ/lunch the day after our wedding.  A considerable amount of family on both sides traveled 5+ hours to my hometown for the wedding, and at a reception of 250ish, it's hard to spend quality time with each person outside coming to all the tables.  For us, this was a nice way to spend more time with the family in a much less formal setting (my parents' backyard).  It wasn't "look at us," it was "thanks for coming and I'd like to spend more time with you."

No involvement from MIL doesn't have to mean she's not invited... it's just that she's a guest like everyone else, and Lord L can still spend time with family members that are important to him.

I feel your situation is different because you were at both events.  It wasn't like you skipped the 250 people reception only to throw a smaller party for a selected few.

If I got an invitation for a separate party, I would think the OP was the rude and petty one.  I agree with those who said to either go or don't go, but don't throw your own event.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Roe on April 29, 2013, 02:02:20 PM
If I got an invitation for a separate party, I would think the OP was the rude and petty one. 

I would think the same thing!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: EmmaJ. on April 29, 2013, 02:28:50 PM
I would be afraid MIL would think "They've come!  I win!  They didn't mean anything about boundaries!"

And then she will never ever ever change her tactics.

Do not go within a million miles of the reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: CharlieBraun on April 29, 2013, 02:30:15 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.

And this is why I plan to propose to LeveeWoman next time we find ourselves between relationships.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 29, 2013, 02:35:08 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.

And this is why I plan to propose to LeveeWoman next time we find ourselves between relationships.

LOL!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Snooks on April 29, 2013, 03:05:29 PM
You run the risk of dragging the rest of the family into the drama if you have an event the same weekend as the reunion.  It becomes a them and us situation.  By not going the rest of the family need not know about MIL's antics they just need to know that you two couldn't make it.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: WillyNilly on April 29, 2013, 03:30:58 PM
I understand why you want to do the separate party. And pretty much it boils down to because you (both) don't want to have lost what your FMIL took from you (the reunion, catching up, seeing people, etc). But that's the thing, the catch 22, she did it already. She already poisoned that well and there is no fixing it. You need to start over fresh. A whole 'nother way to see those folks, a whole 'nother time. And you are trying to salvage because you don't want to be the ones who got hurt, the ones who suffer for her actions. But its too late. You will suffer (by not getting to see your DF's extended family at that time). The only way around you missing the people is to suffer in the different way (give in and go).

It sucks, but you both need to just accept this issue is what it is, and the reunion and all the events and days surrounding it are poisoned.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: gollymolly2 on April 29, 2013, 03:53:34 PM
The thing about boundaries is - it's much easier to stop people from pushing your boundaries when your boundaries are real. In other words - if you and your fiance really truly don't want the attention of an engagement party or toast at the reunion, then you can create that firm boundary and insist that other people respect that boundary. 

But if you guys do end up hosting your one event, then it looks like it wasn't really a boundary, it was just an excuse to show your MIL that you're in charge now. And it just encourages your MIL to ignore your boundaries in the future, because she will think based on this experience that they're not real boundaries, it's just a power struggle.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: jedikaiti on April 29, 2013, 04:00:38 PM
I don't recall where all these relatives live - if they're not too far away, or if visiting is a huge undertaking - but if at all possible, you should plan on the visits & catching up to happen any time BUT that weekend. Don't go anywhere near there at that time for any reason short of a medical emergency. Arrange get-togethers with relatives at any other time possible. As a PP said, FMIL has already poisoned the reunion well, if you show up in the area that weekend, she'll take that as a win for her. You can't afford that, unless you want her boundary trampling to continue.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Kaypeep on April 29, 2013, 04:06:23 PM
POD to NOT having your own party or gathering during the reunion.  I think you should skip it altogether, or if there are some relatives your DH wants to see specifically let him make a solo trip to pop in and visit with them on his own.  I might be cynical but if this is an annual thing, I think missing one year shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Also, if there are some elderly relatives who are ill, then DH should make a point of seeing them himself anyway and not wait for the reunion to do so.  But no matter what, if you guys try to organize anything yourselves that is even semi-related to the reunion you're going to be opening yourselves up to more drama.  Stop the madness, stick to your guns and just take a pass this year otherwise your threat to MIL was empty and meaningless.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Iris on April 29, 2013, 04:09:09 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.

I'm not planning to propose, but I think this is wise. I don't believe this is over, myself.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Maude on April 29, 2013, 04:10:09 PM
How often does your H really NEED to see these distant relatives? He has seen them at the annual reunion for X number of years. He saw them last year? They will survive if he is unable to make it to this year's reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on April 29, 2013, 04:16:56 PM
I've struggled to understand this thread all along, but since it seems both the OP and her DF want to see the relatives, and it seems MIL grasps that she overstepped and the shower aspects won't be happening, I really don't see why the OP and her DF can't go to the reunion.  It seems they want to see the relatives, and I simply do not understand why and how this has developed into such a big deal.  Unless I missed it, it seems everyone is aware that this is NOT a shower, despite what MIL did.  The OP's parents and bridal party will not be in attendance.  Everyone is aware there is some sort of snafu relating to MIL.  I doubt anyone is really thinking about this so much, but I do think that it seems strange for the OP and her DH to not go to the reunion basically just to spite MIL.

Bottom line: If the DF wants to see his relatives, I don't see why he wouldn't attend the reunion.  Frankly, I think it looks really odd that the OP would risk offending her soon to be relatives by not attending.  OP, have you attended the reunion in past years?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: gollymolly2 on April 29, 2013, 04:17:50 PM
How often does your H really NEED to see these distant relatives? He has seen them at the annual reunion for X number of years. He saw them last year? They will survive if he is unable to make it to this year's reunion.

This doesn't seem fair. If her husband WANTS to see his relatives twenty times a year, that's his prerogative, and it's something that should be factored into their decision making. Lady L doesn't NEED to not have an engagement toast, it's just something she doesn't want. Why does her husband's preference have to be a need?

And your last sentence seems totally wrong since I believe she said some of them are quite elderly. So indeed he may not see them if he doesn't see them this year.

Lady L and her fiancÚ seem to have worked this out amongst themselves, but I don't think your formulation of it is fair at all.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: NyaChan on April 29, 2013, 05:50:47 PM
I've struggled to understand this thread all along, but since it seems both the OP and her DF want to see the relatives, and it seems MIL grasps that she overstepped and the shower aspects won't be happening, I really don't see why the OP and her DF can't go to the reunion.  It seems they want to see the relatives, and I simply do not understand why and how this has developed into such a big deal.  Unless I missed it, it seems everyone is aware that this is NOT a shower, despite what MIL did.  The OP's parents and bridal party will not be in attendance.  Everyone is aware there is some sort of snafu relating to MIL.  I doubt anyone is really thinking about this so much, but I do think that it seems strange for the OP and her DH to not go to the reunion basically just to spite MIL.

Bottom line: If the DF wants to see his relatives, I don't see why he wouldn't attend the reunion.  Frankly, I think it looks really odd that the OP would risk offending her soon to be relatives by not attending.  OP, have you attended the reunion in past years?

This is a good point - is there a serious worry that MIL may do the whole bridal toast/shower/extravaganza anyways if you do show up?  Or is it meant to be a consequence for her? As in, You disregarded our request that you not do this thing, therefore we will deny you our presence at the reunion?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: doodlemor on April 29, 2013, 06:05:31 PM
I've struggled to understand this thread all along, but since it seems both the OP and her DF want to see the relatives, and it seems MIL grasps that she overstepped and the shower aspects won't be happening, I really don't see why the OP and her DF can't go to the reunion.  It seems they want to see the relatives, and I simply do not understand why and how this has developed into such a big deal.  Unless I missed it, it seems everyone is aware that this is NOT a shower, despite what MIL did.  The OP's parents and bridal party will not be in attendance.  Everyone is aware there is some sort of snafu relating to MIL.  I doubt anyone is really thinking about this so much, but I do think that it seems strange for the OP and her DH to not go to the reunion basically just to spite MIL.

Bottom line: If the DF wants to see his relatives, I don't see why he wouldn't attend the reunion.  Frankly, I think it looks really odd that the OP would risk offending her soon to be relatives by not attending.  OP, have you attended the reunion in past years?

I think that most, if not all, of the PP don't believe that MIL has learned the boundary lesson yet.  If OP and DF show up at all she is likely to do exactly as she pleases, and the reunion will be turned into a shower.  This is evidenced by her scheming and lying to LadyL and DF about the plans that she had already made for the party.  The truth has only come out in driblets.

When LordL spoke with his dad his father asked him to basically consider the whole thing again, even though he did give an apology.  I concur with wise Leveewoman that the flying monkeys are probably on the way.  IMHO it is likely easier for FIL to go along with MIL's plans than to oppose them.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TootsNYC on April 29, 2013, 06:14:18 PM
There is something about the idea of an FMIL-not-invited mini-reunion that says "look at me".  I know your heart is in the right place. 

If LordL really wants to see the relatives, I would show up after the official reunion, and join whatever the family was doing already.

Yes, I really don't understand why you would be considering throwing yourselves a party after making such a big deal about MIL NOT throwing you one.  I am not certain what you would be accomplishing by throwing your own event aside from making yourselves look petty and vindictive and really hurting MIL, who while she clearly has boundary issues still seems, to me, to have her heart in the right place. If you don't want to be celebrated for your engagement, don't throw yourselves a party.

I agree--I think if you want to enforce the boundary, then you just don't have any event even remotely like what MIL wanted.

If you miss seeing everyone, then try to arrange some post-wedding get-together of your own--going to see them or something.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: GSNW on April 29, 2013, 06:23:49 PM
Regarding the idea of another party, DH and I had an afternoon BBQ/lunch the day after our wedding.  A considerable amount of family on both sides traveled 5+ hours to my hometown for the wedding, and at a reception of 250ish, it's hard to spend quality time with each person outside coming to all the tables.  For us, this was a nice way to spend more time with the family in a much less formal setting (my parents' backyard).  It wasn't "look at us," it was "thanks for coming and I'd like to spend more time with you."

No involvement from MIL doesn't have to mean she's not invited... it's just that she's a guest like everyone else, and Lord L can still spend time with family members that are important to him.

I feel your situation is different because you were at both events.  It wasn't like you skipped the 250 people reception only to throw a smaller party for a selected few.

If I got an invitation for a separate party, I would think the OP was the rude and petty one.  I agree with those who said to either go or don't go, but don't throw your own event.

You're right, and I think I totally misunderstood -- I thought she was thinking of having another gathering at the same time as the wedding.  I think I was just trying to cram lunch in and some reading at the same time :)
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: blarg314 on April 29, 2013, 06:59:41 PM
I've struggled to understand this thread all along, but since it seems both the OP and her DF want to see the relatives, and it seems MIL grasps that she overstepped and the shower aspects won't be happening, I really don't see why the OP and her DF can't go to the reunion.

Because we have no proof the MIL has actually grasped this. She *says* she has, but she's also lied about it before, including saying she hadn't sent invitations yet (when she had) and that she had sent invitations only to LordL's side of the family (when she had send them to LadyL's family too). So far the only consistent thing is that MIL will verbally back off when confronted, but still do whatever the eHell she wants anyways, lie about it until she's caught, and not be at all sorry about any of it.

So if they back down and go, I would bet money on a shower happening anyways.

As with PP's, I think going and trying to have a stealth reunion after the main event without MIL invited is an extraordinarily bad idea - even worse than giving up and letting MIL host the shower.  What I can easily see happening....

 - MIL hijacks it, and shows with the rest of the guests and a shower prepared (or a set of hysterical grievances). She has the whole reunion to get everyone else involved, after all, and you won't be there without your side of the story.

 - The rest of the family gets actively dragged into the fight.

- You end up with a screaming fight at your stealth reunion, and shunned by most of the family, who then boycott your wedding.

 From previous posts, it sounds like the family in general has issues, so I wouldn't depend on people seeing your point of view, or taking your side over your MIL's, or even not bringing MIL with them to your party. And if you throw an after party for a reunion you've boycotted, you will lose the moral high ground.

Setting boundaries often has a cost. The cost of this boundary is staying away from the reunion completely. It sucks in the short term, but will be worth it in the long term.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: rain on April 29, 2013, 07:26:05 PM
I've struggled to understand this thread all along, but since it seems both the OP and her DF want to see the relatives, and it seems MIL grasps that she overstepped and the shower aspects won't be happening, I really don't see why the OP and her DF can't go to the reunion.  It seems they want to see the relatives, and I simply do not understand why and how this has developed into such a big deal.  Unless I missed it, it seems everyone is aware that this is NOT a shower, despite what MIL did.  The OP's parents and bridal party will not be in attendance.  Everyone is aware there is some sort of snafu relating to MIL.  I doubt anyone is really thinking about this so much, but I do think that it seems strange for the OP and her DH to not go to the reunion basically just to spite MIL.

Bottom line: If the DF wants to see his relatives, I don't see why he wouldn't attend the reunion.  Frankly, I think it looks really odd that the OP would risk offending her soon to be relatives by not attending.  OP, have you attended the reunion in past years?


Turtledove - Lady L's future MIL has a habit of ignoring boundaries - and as many of us who have ILs who don't respect boundaries have learned you need to set boundaries, stick to them, AND there need to be consequences

(FYI - my ex-ILs understood boundaries, and we will still do things together with my kid/their grandchild; current ILs had no boundaries, pulled stunts that caused me, my kid, my DM, and once even my ex hurt/pain - I avoid them like the plague now - I really wish I'd set boundaries starting with the wedding .... because then we might not be at this point)
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on April 29, 2013, 08:41:17 PM
Turtledove - Lady L's future MIL has a habit of ignoring boundaries - and as many of us who have ILs who don't respect boundaries have learned you need to set boundaries, stick to them, AND there need to be consequences

I agree with this, but presumably the inlaws know MIL.  Presumably, if this is the way she is, she is not going to be pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. To me, if MIL is a toxic person, the inlaws know this.  To me, skipping the reunion is not going to be a good move to ingratiate the OP and her DF with the inlaws.  Let MIL make a fool of herself.  If the inlaws don't see it that way, that's another story.  But assuming they get that MIL is the "bad actor" here, I don't think the OP and her DF "win" by skipping the reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: saffron on April 29, 2013, 08:55:45 PM
Honestly - at this point - I would go out of town the weekend of the reunion.

That way you won't be tempted to backslide. The boundaries will be enforced and you won't be faced with any flying monkeys the weekend of. Plus it will give your DF something to look forward too since he's bummed about missing the reunion.

Also: If she already sent invites to your parents - you might want to make sure that no one else from 'your side' is planning to attend.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Twik on April 29, 2013, 09:07:05 PM
Turtledove - Lady L's future MIL has a habit of ignoring boundaries - and as many of us who have ILs who don't respect boundaries have learned you need to set boundaries, stick to them, AND there need to be consequences

I agree with this, but presumably the inlaws know MIL.  Presumably, if this is the way she is, she is not going to be pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. To me, if MIL is a toxic person, the inlaws know this.  To me, skipping the reunion is not going to be a good move to ingratiate the OP and her DF with the inlaws.  Let MIL make a fool of herself.  If the inlaws don't see it that way, that's another story.  But assuming they get that MIL is the "bad actor" here, I don't think the OP and her DF "win" by skipping the reunion.

Why do we assume that the inlaws all sort of roll their eyes at MIL as the "bad actor" and ignore her? People like this usually steamroll swathes of relatives who are unable to stand up to the boundary pushing.

Plus, if the inlaws are so petty that skipping the reunion fails to "ingratiate" me with them, I wouldn't necessary want to know them well anyway.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: kudeebee on April 29, 2013, 09:30:30 PM
Do not plan another activity around the time of the reunion and definitely do not go to any part of the reunion or meet up with the relatives when they are in town for the reunion.  It will end up backfiring on you in some way.

You and dh have made a choice, to set a boundary with mil.  In this case it means not attending the reunion due to her not respecting your wishes, even when she said she would.  You have made a great gain and do not want to lose it.  If you go to any part of the reunion, mil will not see that as you doing what you want, but as you really didn't mean what you said and you will have the same type of situation happen again in the future.

Any time you make a choice there are consequences.  The good consequence in this case is that mil, and by extension fil, will know you are serious and will follow through with your boundaries.  (Thus you cannot show up for any part of it, meet up later, plan your own activity.)

The bad consequence is that LordL will not get to see his relatives at this year's reunion.  It sucks and it doesn't seem fair, but that is part of the decision that you are making.  If you want to make the point with mil, you have to also accept this consequence and not go, see them any other time or plan an event.  It will be tough, but you will get through it and the benefits in the long run will be sooooo worth it.

You will see a lot of them at your wedding. maybe you can also make plans to visit them separately at a different time than the reunion if time, money and distance permits.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on April 29, 2013, 09:38:25 PM
Why do we assume that the inlaws all sort of roll their eyes at MIL as the "bad actor" and ignore her? People like this usually steamroll swathes of relatives who are unable to stand up to the boundary pushing.

Plus, if the inlaws are so petty that skipping the reunion fails to "ingratiate" me with them, I wouldn't necessary want to know them well anyway.

We don't assume this.  We just know that the DF wants to go to the reunion. I think it sends a strong statement to skip the reunion.  If the OP and her DF are okay with this, great! I have not gotten the sense that the DF is okay with this.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: weeblewobble on April 29, 2013, 09:41:42 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.

That part bothers me a little too.  You've made your decision.  There is no window for re-negotiation.  It's as if no decision is final as long as it conflicts with what they want.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: buvezdevin on April 29, 2013, 09:55:55 PM
  His father actually acknowledged that MIL was out of line, apologized on behalf of both of them, said he would respect whatever decision we made, and asked us to take a few days to make sure we were sure. LordL agreed.

How many times has he already told them ya'll wouldn't be coming?! If his family has any flying monkeys, look out for them to descend upon ya'll soon.

That part bothers me a little too.  You've made your decision.  There is no window for re-negotiation.  It's as if no decision is final as long as it conflicts with what they want.

Yes, that is not good.  It implies that the two of you will see this isn't enough of an issue (MIL's actions disregarding your wishes, and *her* commitment to not trample them) to skip the reunion.  When LordL speaks with FIL or MIL next, it might be worth saying "we have thought about this, we are in a situation we expressly tried to avoid by stating our views and feelings which MIL ignored and acted against - we won't agree to pretend that is okay with us, so - We did not create the issue, we cannot and would not care to restate an invitation MIL sent, and won't attend as things stand."

What it would be good to ensure you and LordL agree on is whether or not there is any action the ILs could take that would change your willingness to attend the reunion.  Not saying there is or should be, but good to make sure you are both aligned should IL's offer - or more likely *ask* what will it take for you to attend the reunion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 29, 2013, 10:06:05 PM
The danger with attending the reunion, is that the MIL will probably continue steam-rolling over LadyL and LordL's wishes, and proceed with turning it into a shower.

That said, if LordL badly wants to attend this reunion, that should be taken into account. Is there anyway that you guys can just attend for the last couple of hours? Don't tell MIL beforehand you're coming, just rock up unexpectedly. That way, she won't have any time to do any "advance planning".



 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: lowspark on April 30, 2013, 08:16:41 AM
Turtledove - Lady L's future MIL has a habit of ignoring boundaries - and as many of us who have ILs who don't respect boundaries have learned you need to set boundaries, stick to them, AND there need to be consequences

I agree with this, but presumably the inlaws know MIL.  Presumably, if this is the way she is, she is not going to be pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. To me, if MIL is a toxic person, the inlaws know this.  To me, skipping the reunion is not going to be a good move to ingratiate the OP and her DF with the inlaws.  Let MIL make a fool of herself.  If the inlaws don't see it that way, that's another story.  But assuming they get that MIL is the "bad actor" here, I don't think the OP and her DF "win" by skipping the reunion.

Regarding the bolded above, not necessarily. I've seen situations where the one who is doing the trampling and manipulating has everyone else convinced that s/he is the one being wronged. Especially if the pattern has been to let her do this in the past for the sake of peace and avoiding conflict, now that someone is actually standing up to her, she will perceive it as being against her and will color it that way as she tells "her side" to anyone and everyone who will listen.

I agree that OP and DF will not win, but they've already not won. If they go to the reunion now, the potential is to lose even more. Either MIL will take it as tacit approval for her plan and follow through with the shower/toast somehow, or the relatives will see OP & DH's appearance as a tug-of-war for the relatives' attention, putting them in a bad light and reinforcing the perception that MIL is the innocent who is being wronged.

If this was a one time thing, you could chalk it up to being a misunderstanding or over-enthusiasm over her son's engagement. But a lifetime pattern of this behavior is not going to end over one teary phone call (where MIL didn't even apologize for herself!). There are going to be more inciddents and Lord & Lady L are going to have to go through more anquish and loss if they are really going to drive home their intent to stop the steam rolling.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: VorFemme on April 30, 2013, 09:32:48 AM
If the HC show up at the reunion together - MIL/MOG gets the impression that "they didn't mean it" and continues moving her boundaries farther out (and they are already so far out that you need a telescope to see them) and even her husband gets the idea that the HC aren't that upset.......

If LordL shows up by himself, he risks his mother getting the message that it's just LadyL that is silly about those boundary things - and she continues to move her boundaries out and keeps LordL "under her control" (which might be the real issues - her DH and her son are HERS and will do what she says or else - and going all Jane Goodall and observing the silverback female's attempts to control her mate, her son, and establish an alpha position over her son's mate doesn't make it any less annoying when you're the son's potential mate and want to control your own life, thank you very much).

The way to start setting boundaries at a reasonable level is to make sure that MOG does not get away with moving the boundaries wherever she wants them....so they have to let her know that having a shower at the LordL's family reunion is NOT going to happen because the HC will not be there.  Period.  Full stop.  Not happening.  No way.

See you all NEXT year or possibly at the wedding and or the reception - but we are NOT available for the reunion. 

And LordL's family may have learned that his mother is going to be large & in charge - so they kind of sit back and let her run things, because it is easier, because it isn't worth the hassle it takes to rein her in, or because they want to go to the reunion & see their relatives, even if she is trying to run things again.   
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
Post by: blarg314 on April 30, 2013, 09:05:59 PM

It's my experience that dysfunctional, boundary pushing family members tend not to come in isolation.

He said to me, "Well the rest of the family just lies down and takes it when she does this stuff to them. I at least pushed back on her a lot." T

Quote
I know it will hurt LordL a bit (he'd like me there because reacquainting with his relatives is a bit emotionally fraught for him),

I found this in an earlier post. That tells me that the rest of the family is unlikely to admit that MIL's behaviour is unreasonable, or to side with Lord and LadyL if it comes to an open confrontation.  So the forced shower at the private after party, with MIL in attendance (or the free for all fight, also with MIL in attendance) are distinct possibilities.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LadyL on May 01, 2013, 10:17:51 AM
I just got a facebook message from MIL that just says "I'm sorry." I guess that's a start but it isn't going to sway our plans not to go. I am thinking of suggesting to LordL that we make an entirely separate visit weeks before or after the reunion so we can still see his relatives without it weirdly interacting with the reunion (or looking spiteful as some have mentioned).
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: artk2002 on May 01, 2013, 10:22:49 AM
I just got a facebook message from MIL that just says "I'm sorry." I guess that's a start but it isn't going to sway our plans not to go. I am thinking of suggesting to LordL that we make an entirely separate visit weeks before or after the reunion so we can still see his relatives without it weirdly interacting with the reunion (or looking spiteful as some have mentioned).

Sounds like a good plan.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: gramma dishes on May 01, 2013, 10:27:19 AM
...   I am thinking of suggesting to LordL that we make an entirely separate visit weeks before or after the reunion so we can still see his relatives without it weirdly interacting with the reunion (or looking spiteful as some have mentioned).

That sounds like a good idea.  It doesn't require the two of you to back down on your position, but it gives LordL an opportunity to see his relatives, which is the only reason he wanted to go to the reunion in the first place.

Especially if you see the relatives in smaller groups, it also gives you an opportunity to get to know them better and for them to get to know you better.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Calypso on May 02, 2013, 07:37:13 PM
I just got a facebook message from MIL that just says "I'm sorry." I guess that's a start but it isn't going to sway our plans not to go. I am thinking of suggesting to LordL that we make an entirely separate visit weeks before or after the reunion so we can still see his relatives without it weirdly interacting with the reunion (or looking spiteful as some have mentioned).

POD to this sounding like a good plan.
Have you responded graciously to her apology? Because I think (as you would with a toddler you're trying to civilize) that her effort to apologize should be encouraged, a lot. It's a big deal for a boundary-trampler to admit they're wrong, please don't send her back into her stubborn mindset by ignoring her effort there.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: BarensMom on May 03, 2013, 09:51:58 AM
I just got a facebook message from MIL that just says "I'm sorry." I guess that's a start but it isn't going to sway our plans not to go. I am thinking of suggesting to LordL that we make an entirely separate visit weeks before or after the reunion so we can still see his relatives without it weirdly interacting with the reunion (or looking spiteful as some have mentioned).

POD to this sounding like a good plan.
Have you responded graciously to her apology? Because I think (as you would with a toddler you're trying to civilize) that her effort to apologize should be encouraged, a lot. It's a big deal for a boundary-trampler to admit they're wrong, please don't send her back into her stubborn mindset by ignoring her effort there.

I agree to gracefully accept her apology.  However, if you do plan a separate visit, don't let her know that/when you're coming or she may still try to pull off a shower.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: mharbourgirl on May 03, 2013, 10:36:23 AM
I hate to be the voice of dissent here, but that is a pretty weak apology. 

'I'm sorry'... sorry for WHAT?  Sorry that it's raining today? 

Sorry that the BOGO sale at the shoe store is over? 

Sorry that she was a heinous butt who tried to trample all over everyone in her desperation to get her own way no matter what?

That wouldn't be enough to get me to respond, I'm afraid.  She needs to be a lot more honest and specific about what she's apologizing for before I could take it seriously or accept it as sincere. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 10:51:46 AM
Since this is the OP's future MIL, she should consider what she actually wants.  If she wants to be "right" and justified in her opinion that her MIL is a selfish overstepping jerk, she certainly would be entitled to be harsh in her dealings with the MIL.  But if she wants to make life easier for her DH and for herself and foster a relationship with MIL that will hopefully move on productively from the rocky start, she would be better served to be kind and forgiving.  The MIL is not going to go away, and if the OP takes a harsh stance, this could drive a wedge not only between herself and MIL, and her DH and MIL, but between her DH and the OP.  If it were me, I would be less focused on how MIL has wronged me and more focused on how I can foster a positive relationship with MIL.  Unless the DH is willing to completely cut MIL out of his life, the OP is not likely going to reap anything positive from taking a harsh stance and demanding a grovelling apology or anything like that.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: LadyL on May 03, 2013, 11:35:34 AM
So I am confused and a little frustrated.

The apologies from MIL and FIL seem to have mollified LordL. He now thinks the event is salvageable if he cuts his mother out of the planning and works directly with his dad. I told him I don't get how that works - the invitations are out, they are not what we wanted, so how do we suddenly change the event without it looking odd? Issue new invitations? We shouldn't be hosting it if it's in recognition of us, even just a toast I think, and if his dad is hosting but not his mom that is also odd. He suggested that his brother could host, but host what exactly? We wanted the usual family reunion with 5-10 minutes dedicated to toasting us. That is not what the invites stated. I don't get how we can "reframe" the event at this point as he put it.

I think he is just really disappointed about missing out on a large gathering of his relatives especially the ones he hasn't seen in 10+ years. He's grasping at straws for how to make it work. I have said over and over that we can make plans to visit his family on our own on a separate date.,  but he is very resistant to that idea and I don't know why.

I told him to think more about it and we can talk again. But now I'm back in the position of feeling like the bad guy for wanting to maintain boundaries. He's sort of implying that I'm coming in between him and his family. I am not sure what is left if we continue to disagree expect tell him that he is free to go to the event on his own but that I am not personally comfortable attending. I know that would hurt him a lot, but again, there is no avoiding hurt in this situation and I feel his loyalty should be to our social unit.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 12:01:50 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Specky on May 03, 2013, 12:04:27 PM
I'd say that the inlaws have a lot of practice in manipulating him right where they want him.  His allegiance should be to you and a separate visit can be planned at another time.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: amylouky on May 03, 2013, 12:10:35 PM
Is it possible for MIL (since she sent the original invitation) to send out a clarification note to the invitees?
Something along the lines of,
"Hello! We are so excited about the upcoming reunion, and looking forward to seeing everyone. I just wanted to clarify something, there has been some confusion about the event. While we are planning a brief toast during the reunion to celebrate LordL and LadyL's upcoming marriage, the main focus will be our family reunion, as in previous years. This is not a wedding event or bridal shower. Sorry for any confusion, and hope to see you there!"

I know that sounds a bit awkward, can't think of a better way to word it. Honestly though that's the only way that I would consider attending, if it was made clear that it is NOT centered around your wedding, and you are not "guests of honor".
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: gollymolly2 on May 03, 2013, 12:16:01 PM
I understand where your fiancÚ is coming from.

Given the choice between going to visit a bunch of family members at an organized event, vs visiting them individually, I'd much prefer the former, and it sounds like he does as well.

It has sounded to me throughout this thread that your mil wanted one thing (big party at the reunion), you wanted a totally opposite thing (no party, and now, no reunion). And your future husband has wanted a third thing (toast at the reunion) that is much closer to what his mom wants than what you want.

So it seems like you have drawn boundaries and are arguing with MIL over what the two of you want, but it doesn't seem like you're taking into account what he wants.  Given the relative positions, I can see why he feels like youre coming between him and his family - I see it that way too.

My advice would be to let him handle his family interactions. If he wants to go to the reunion and try to have a toast hosted by his brother, let him try. When it comes to things involving your family or friends, then sure, be more assertive about what it is you want. But if its just his family, let him take the lead and do what he likes.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Lorelei_Evil on May 03, 2013, 12:17:26 PM
I'd say that the inlaws have a lot of practice in manipulating him right where they want him.  His allegiance should be to you and a separate visit can be planned at another time.

POD.  His parents push his every button because they installed them.  You've lost this particular battle, but if you don't want your MIL running your entire life, you can't lose the war.


POD also to JenJay and GollyMolly2.  His mother, his problem.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Eden on May 03, 2013, 12:38:46 PM
I am not sure what is left if we continue to disagree expect tell him that he is free to go to the event on his own but that I am not personally comfortable attending. I know that would hurt him a lot, but again, there is no avoiding hurt in this situation and I feel his loyalty should be to our social unit.

Poor LordL. I do feel bad for him. This is a difficult cycle to break and he's really feeling it now. But I do think if he can't handle it, you control what you can, which is yourself. If you are not in attendance it can't really be a celebration about you as a couple and DH still gets to see the relatives he wishes to see. I'd reiterate even though I know you already have, that you are willing to visit his family, just not on that day, as you both had agreed upon. He is putting you in the position of being the bad guy by waffling on the agreement the two of you had. Let him know you understand the entire situation is messy and unfair, but that you need to be able to rely on him sticking with the agreements the two of you make.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: CaffeineKatie on May 03, 2013, 12:42:54 PM
After 30+ years of marriage to a kind man  who cannot say NO to his family and friends, and always puts our social unit (to borrow OP's phrase) at the bottom of his obligations list, I would suggest, OP, that you think long and hard about the next decades of your life.  I have yet to find a polite way to convince him that we should be allowed to draw boundaries in our life. For example, I have yet to find a polite way to convince his family that they do not have the right to schedule our vacations, because everytime they do he agrees with me to say no, and then gives in to them.  It will not help if you have grown a shiny spine, and he only agrees with you until they have his ear again.  It's very hard to be polite when you know every effort you make will be undermined.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: azleaneo on May 03, 2013, 12:43:29 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

This is beautiful.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 12:52:03 PM
The MIL is not going to go away, and if the OP takes a harsh stance, this could drive a wedge not only between herself and MIL, and her DH and MIL, but between her DH and the OP.  If it were me, I would be less focused on how MIL has wronged me and more focused on how I can foster a positive relationship with MIL.  Unless the DH is willing to completely cut MIL out of his life, the OP is not likely going to reap anything positive from taking a harsh stance and demanding a grovelling apology or anything like that.

Given the update I wanted to reitierate my last post - OP, I think you need to really think about your future here.  If you cannot make nice with MIL (and I am not faulting you for not being able to, just saying that if you cannot) I see a huge wedge driven between you and your DH.  It is very unlikely that he will react well to constantly having to "take sides" between his mother and his wife, and I suspect he will see your attitude as forcing him to do so. 

Again, I am not saying you are wrong for your position, I am just saying that your DH may not be a good fit for you given his inability to put his relationship with you before his relationship with his mother.  And you may not be a good for him given the fact he sees you as forcing him to choose between his mother and you.  It's just not a good or solveable situation because the only person you can control is you and if you don't want to make nice with his mother, there will be constant discontent among all of you. 

I am so sorry this is happening.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Dorrie78 on May 03, 2013, 12:54:05 PM
I understand where your fiancÚ is coming from.

Given the choice between going to visit a bunch of family members at an organized event, vs visiting them individually, I'd much prefer the former, and it sounds like he does as well.

It has sounded to me throughout this thread that your mil wanted one thing (big party at the reunion), you wanted a totally opposite thing (no party, and now, no reunion). And your future husband has wanted a third thing (toast at the reunion) that is much closer to what his mom wants than what you want.

So it seems like you have drawn boundaries and are arguing with MIL over what the two of you want, but it doesn't seem like you're taking into account what he wants.  Given the relative positions, I can see why he feels like youre coming between him and his family - I see it that way too.

My advice would be to let him handle his family interactions. If he wants to go to the reunion and try to have a toast hosted by his brother, let him try. When it comes to things involving your family or friends, then sure, be more assertive about what it is you want. But if its just his family, let him take the lead and do what he likes.
I've been lurking on this thread and been finding myself trying to figure out exactly how to express what I think and I think this post captures it perfectly. I just get this feeling that LordL was told what he thinks about this by LadyL and then he was expected to stand strong against his mother. I do get that a couple need to be united, but with LordL being so wishy-washy about this every time he was confronted by his mother, I can't help but to think that he actually is not opposed to having some sort of an event at the reunion in honor of the upcoming nuptials. If my family were planning a huge reunion that included relatives I hadn't seen in 10 years and I was being told that I can't go because someone is planning a toast to my marriage, I would definitely be taken aback. It is a huge struggle to be in the middle between what appears to me (IMHO) to be a reasonable compromise from the MIL and my DF who is adamant that there will be no recognition of the engagement. I don't envy anybody in this situation and I wholeheartedly endorse JenJay's solution.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: MrTango on May 03, 2013, 12:55:12 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all.  Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 01:01:38 PM
Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all.  Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

I would say that if LadyL sticks to her guns and does not go to the reunion she will be entering into a marriage with a strong "I don't want to be a part of this family" vibe.  I don't see that being a positive way to start a married life.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 03, 2013, 01:02:09 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all. Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

Spot on. And, this is teaching her fiancÚ that his future wife's feelings are less important than his mother's.

Begin as you mean to go on.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: ladyknight1 on May 03, 2013, 01:11:20 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

This is beautiful.

I park my POD here also.

It took my DH over 10 years to enforce boundaries with his family.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Deetee on May 03, 2013, 01:15:23 PM
If it was me I would focus on controlling what I could. In this case it would be my actions. After the acts the mother in law has pulled there woul be no chance I would attend the reunion. I would try to be warm and friendly and nice and I would thank mil for her apology but I would never ever ever go to the reunion. I would give my fh my blessing to attend without me.

And I would spend that weekend doing something awoke, do when people asked he can say " oh she's skydiving with sharks this weekend but sends her love."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 01:18:04 PM
Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all.  Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

I understand what you're saying, and I was absolutely in the "don't go!" camp when I thought LordL was firmly with LadyL, but it looks as if he actually isn't. I'm not suggesting LadyL compromise with her future mother-in-law but rather with LordL. He wants to go. If that also happens to look like a compromise with the MIL it's unfortunate but unavoidable.

For the record I think the MIL has been completely out of line with the way she's trampled every boundary/compromise Lord and Lady have tried to set. I do think you can issue a "one last time" ultimatum as long as 1) you haven't already made that stand, and 2) you're prepared to back it up when (not if -when!) it's tested.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: gollymolly2 on May 03, 2013, 01:24:36 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all. Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

Spot on. And, this is teaching her fiancÚ that his future wife's feelings are less important than his mother's.

Begin as you mean to go on.

This is the formulation I keep seeing in this thread that is bothering me: LadyL's feelings vs MIL's feelings. As though LordL's feelings are totally unimportant, and the only thing that should matter is LadyL's opinion.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 03, 2013, 01:26:29 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all. Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

Spot on. And, this is teaching her fiancÚ that his future wife's feelings are less important than his mother's.

Begin as you mean to go on.

This is the formulation I keep seeing in this thread that is bothering me: LadyL's feelings vs MIL's feelings. As though LordL's feelings are totally unimportant, and the only thing that should matter is LadyL's opinion.

He could go, but there is no way in hell I'd go.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Kiara on May 03, 2013, 01:30:24 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

Unfortunately, there can be no "One Last Time" with boundary tramplers.  If LadyL is serious about enforcing these boundaries, she needs to stick to her guns and *not* go to the reunion at all. Otherwise, she's teaching her FMIL that her new tactic of making a non-specific apology will work for FMIL to get her way.

Spot on. And, this is teaching her fiancÚ that his future wife's feelings are less important than his mother's.

Begin as you mean to go on.

This is the formulation I keep seeing in this thread that is bothering me: LadyL's feelings vs MIL's feelings. As though LordL's feelings are totally unimportant, and the only thing that should matter is LadyL's opinion.

I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: wolfie on May 03, 2013, 01:36:38 PM
The MIL is not going to go away, and if the OP takes a harsh stance, this could drive a wedge not only between herself and MIL, and her DH and MIL, but between her DH and the OP.  If it were me, I would be less focused on how MIL has wronged me and more focused on how I can foster a positive relationship with MIL.  Unless the DH is willing to completely cut MIL out of his life, the OP is not likely going to reap anything positive from taking a harsh stance and demanding a grovelling apology or anything like that.

Given the update I wanted to reitierate my last post - OP, I think you need to really think about your future here.  If you cannot make nice with MIL (and I am not faulting you for not being able to, just saying that if you cannot) I see a huge wedge driven between you and your DH.  It is very unlikely that he will react well to constantly having to "take sides" between his mother and his wife, and I suspect he will see your attitude as forcing him to do so. 

Again, I am not saying you are wrong for your position, I am just saying that your DH may not be a good fit for you given his inability to put his relationship with you before his relationship with his mother.  And you may not be a good for him given the fact he sees you as forcing him to choose between his mother and you.  It's just not a good or solveable situation because the only person you can control is you and if you don't want to make nice with his mother, there will be constant discontent among all of you. 

I am so sorry this is happening.

You make it sound like the only reason that there isn't a sunny, wonderful relationship is because LadyL isn't digging in her heels and refuses to play nice. There are some serious issues here and LadyL playing nice isn't going to make them go away - it will just teach her MIL that LadyL's feelings and opinions don't matter. Sometimes standing up for yourself is the only way to prevent a lifetime of hurt and pain.

LadyL - if I were you I would take a step back and take a good long look at your relationship and see if you are happy if this is how it will be the rest of your life. If you don't have a counselor I would get one - it can't hurt to have a neutral third party to talk to.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Grape on May 03, 2013, 01:37:48 PM
In the current situation, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't as far as whether to attend the reunion.

At this point I would focus on the more important relationship: you and your future hubby. That needs to be strong before you can ever address the MIL issue. I would base your decision on whether to go to the reunion on how your hubby really feels about it and how that will affect you as a couple. It sounds like the reunion may be more important to your future hubby than any "party" aspect of the reunion.

THEN, and more importantly, I would focus on some couples counseling to find ways to discuss things between the two of you and how you can stand together as a couple in the future. You need to each feel that you can express your honest feelings, come to an agreement together, and trust that the other will honor that agreement. A counselor can help give you the tools to do this.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyL on May 03, 2013, 01:38:30 PM
I understand where your fiancÚ is coming from.

Given the choice between going to visit a bunch of family members at an organized event, vs visiting them individually, I'd much prefer the former, and it sounds like he does as well.

It has sounded to me throughout this thread that your mil wanted one thing (big party at the reunion), you wanted a totally opposite thing (no party, and now, no reunion). And your future husband has wanted a third thing (toast at the reunion) that is much closer to what his mom wants than what you want.

This is the formulation I keep seeing in this thread that is bothering me: LadyL's feelings vs MIL's feelings. As though LordL's feelings are totally unimportant, and the only thing that should matter is LadyL's opinion.

 If my family were planning a huge reunion that included relatives I hadn't seen in 10 years and I was being told that I can't go because someone is planning a toast to my marriage, I would definitely be taken aback. It is a huge struggle to be in the middle between what appears to me (IMHO) to be a reasonable compromise from the MIL and my DF who is adamant that there will be no recognition of the engagement. I don't envy anybody in this situation and I wholeheartedly endorse JenJay's solution.

I'm not sure where the idea that I am against recognizing our engagement at the event at all came from. To clarify, LordL and I agreed initially that we were ok with a toast to us at the reunion. I was never opposed to us being recognized at the event. We simply agreed that we did not want to be the guests of honor. He has changed his mind about this a few times while I have not. I have tried to understand his perspective and honestly I think a lot of it is him giving in to the pressure from his family. If anyone is disregarding his feelings, it's his parents, not me.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: scansons on May 03, 2013, 01:40:16 PM
So I am confused and a little frustrated.

The apologies from MIL and FIL seem to have mollified LordL. He now thinks the event is salvageable if he cuts his mother out of the planning and works directly with his dad. I told him I don't get how that works - the invitations are out, they are not what we wanted, so how do we suddenly change the event without it looking odd? Issue new invitations? We shouldn't be hosting it if it's in recognition of us, even just a toast I think, and if his dad is hosting but not his mom that is also odd. He suggested that his brother could host, but host what exactly? We wanted the usual family reunion with 5-10 minutes dedicated to toasting us. That is not what the invites stated. I don't get how we can "reframe" the event at this point as he put it.

I think he is just really disappointed about missing out on a large gathering of his relatives especially the ones he hasn't seen in 10+ years. He's grasping at straws for how to make it work. I have said over and over that we can make plans to visit his family on our own on a separate date.,  but he is very resistant to that idea and I don't know why.

I told him to think more about it and we can talk again. But now I'm back in the position of feeling like the bad guy for wanting to maintain boundaries. He's sort of implying that I'm coming in between him and his family. I am not sure what is left if we continue to disagree expect tell him that he is free to go to the event on his own but that I am not personally comfortable attending. I know that would hurt him a lot, but again, there is no avoiding hurt in this situation and I feel his loyalty should be to our social unit.

I think this is kind of laugh worthy.  Does he really think that Dad is going to be planning the event, just because he's talking to Dad on the phone?  It seems a lot more likely to me that MIL will still be planning the event, with Dad maybe riding herd on her.  Once she's got you two coming all she has to do is pick up the phone and start calling people to let them know it's not a shower (wink wink, nudge nudge).  In which case you end up right back where you started. 

Also, I'm a little sad that he's trying to emotionally blackmail you back into this. 

I think if I did agree to let Dad plan it, and I did agree to go, it would only be under the condition that if one thing, one single thing happened that we didn't agree to, I was out the door.  Because I don't believe for a second his Dad would be running that show. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 01:44:29 PM
You make it sound like the only reason that there isn't a sunny, wonderful relationship is because LadyL isn't digging in her heels and refuses to play nice.

No, if you read my posts that is not at all what I said.  What I said is that LadyL can only control her own behavior and refusing to play nice could result in driving a wedge between not only LadyL and MIL but also LadyL and her DF.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, another update #90
Post by: Eeep! on May 03, 2013, 01:51:38 PM
You make it sound like the only reason that there isn't a sunny, wonderful relationship is because LadyL isn't digging in her heels and refuses to play nice.

No, if you read my posts that is not at all what I said.  What I said is that LadyL can only control her own behavior and refusing to play nice could result in driving a wedge between not only LadyL and MIL but also LadyL and her DF.

But the problem with that is that it appears this isn't a one-time issue. It is an ongoing way that MIL behaves. So if it isn't THIS instance that LadyL stands up for herself (which by necessity will result in not "playing nice" with MIL) there will be another time.  If that fact will drive a wedge in between them, then it will. It's just a matter of time.  Better to deal with it before they are actually married, I think.
Now, if LadyL really believes that her DF really does WANT to do this event. I think the Jen-Jay's suggestion might work. As long as it really is an agreement between the two of them, based on the reality of the situation. And he really agrees to the arrangement.  I generally do agree with the Start as you plan to continue way of thinking, but life is full of gray areas.  Perhaps LadyL might decide that postponing this particular fight by one occurrence is worth it.  Only she can make that decision though. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 01:52:46 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

**edited because I realized that LadyL actually said that she feels that LordL is feeling this way but he did not say that. I hope she's mistaken and they can work out a solution they're both happy with!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 03, 2013, 01:54:29 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

He's putting himself in the middle.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 02:01:40 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

He's putting himself in the middle.

Absolutely!

LadyL, you need to point that out. This was never about trying to make him choose between you and the extended family. You wanted him to help establish a few boundaries with his mom, regarding your wedding. His mom is the one who is bucking and he is the one who is waffling. You've remained firm but willing to compromise to a reasonable extent the entire time. She's created this "my way or no way" scenario.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Roe on May 03, 2013, 02:03:11 PM
Since this means the world to him, what I would do is encourage him to go to the reunion alone

This way, he gets to see his relatives but you don't give in to MIL's schemes and there's no way there can be a bridal shower without the bride. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: scansons on May 03, 2013, 02:04:26 PM
I would not allow this woman to divide and conquer your relationship. It sounds like your DF is planning to attend with or without you so you can either take a step back from this relationship, or, what I would do? I would say to him...

"Okay babe, you win. We'll go to the reunion/toast/shower/whatever because I can appreciate how important this is to you. I'm done fighting about it. I can see how hurt you are at the prospect of missing this event so I'll go to the whatever-it-is with you, okay? And I'll be smiling and gracious and nobody will ever know there was an issue. I'll do this for YOU.

Here is what I get in return - I'm done. I'm done arguing with your mom. I'm done trying to compromise. I'm done being the bigger person. I'm done feeling like I'm the one putting you in the middle. From now on she is YOUR problem. You will handle it. If we decide something is going to go this or that way and she doesn't like it I do not want to hear about it. I do not care. I'll do this one last thing for you and then you're on your own with her. If you aren't willing to stand next to me when your mom pulls this stuff then you're going to have to learn to stand alone because I WILL be standing up for myself, with or without you, starting the day after the reunion. I have no intention of spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not she's happy with a decision we've made. If you have a problem with that you should reconsider whether or not you want to marry me."

I agree with JenJay on this, but only if you actually got an apology from MIL.  Which is to say, it doesn't count FIL apologizing for them both.  If you've actually got an apology from her, that is something you could maybe build on.  But the way I read it FIL did the apologizing.  Which doesn't fly for me.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: NyaChan on May 03, 2013, 02:06:30 PM
I'd encourage him to attend and stay home myself.  I'd also word it very carefully, as in - I know how important this is to you and I would hate for you to miss out on seeing your family.  I am not comfortable with the party arrangements myself as I've said from the start, but that doesn't mean that you can't go on your own. 

I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 02:11:52 PM
I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.

POD.  It would be great if LadyL could control her DF or her MIL, but she cannot.  Whether LadyL is right or justified in her position (I happen to think she is justified, FWIW) is not important when it comes down to it if her main goal is a happy marriage.  It seems that her DF is very uncomfortable standing up to his mother, and the more LadyL stands up for herself (whether justified or not), the more uncomfortable DF becomes and the more the relationships toxify (including the one between LadyL and DF).  I don't see this relationship going smoothly at all unless LadyL changes her approach to a softer one trying to work with, rather than against, MIL.  Again, this is not because LadyL is wrong in how she has approached it thus far but rather because the ONLY person LadyL can control is herself.  LadyL's efforts so far have done nothing but harm her relationship with her MIL and with her DF, not because her efforts are wrong or not justified but because she CANNOT control her DF or her MIL.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 02:12:45 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

I was trying to put my finger on what was bothering me about this whole thing, and the bolded is it exactly. To me, that is LordL exhibiting the exact same manipulative behavior as his mother. To me, that's almost more troubling than the original situation.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: QueenfaninCA on May 03, 2013, 02:15:25 PM
I'm wondering if you can enlist the help of the rest of the family. I wouldn't be too thrilled if my annual family reunion suddenly has been turned into a wedding shower for someone if we have never done that before. LadyL, I would insist on MIL calling all other families while either LordL or you are present and informing them that the invite was in error and that it will actually be the usual reunion with just a toast to the happy couple. I would then follow up with a phone call by LordL a few days later to the same people to get everyone to understand that if MIL tries to turn this into a shower LordL and LadyL will immediately leave the event as they want to attend a reunion and not a shower. That way some other family members might assist in reigning in MIL.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: NyaChan on May 03, 2013, 02:15:50 PM
I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.

POD.  It would be great if LadyL could control her DF or her MIL, but she cannot.  Whether LadyL is right or justified in her position (I happen to think she is justified, FWIW) is not important when it comes down to it if her main goal is a happy marriage.  It seems that her DF is very uncomfortable standing up to his mother, and the more LadyL stands up for herself (whether justified or not), the more uncomfortable DF becomes and the more the relationships toxify (including the one between LadyL and DF).  I don't see this relationship going smoothly at all unless LadyL changes her approach to a softer one trying to work with, rather than against, MIL.  Again, this is not because LadyL is wrong in how she has approached it thus far but rather because the ONLY person LadyL can control is herself.  LadyL's efforts so far have done nothing but harm her relationship with her MIL and with her DF, not because her efforts are wrong or not justified but because she CANNOT control her DF or her MIL.

I think this raises a good point.  Life doesn't always work out to a level of fairness or right that we would want.  And sometimes, it is worth it to give more than is required for certain people.  I can set boundaries if I want to, but for some people, I choose not to because for me, they are a net gain even if in certain areas they are making things more difficult for me.  I'd imagine since LadyL is engaged and through other posts seems to have a loving relationship with LordL that he might be a net gain for her in spite of this if she (and he) learn ways to cope.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: QueenfaninCA on May 03, 2013, 02:18:41 PM
I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.

POD.  It would be great if LadyL could control her DF or her MIL, but she cannot.  Whether LadyL is right or justified in her position (I happen to think she is justified, FWIW) is not important when it comes down to it if her main goal is a happy marriage.  It seems that her DF is very uncomfortable standing up to his mother, and the more LadyL stands up for herself (whether justified or not), the more uncomfortable DF becomes and the more the relationships toxify (including the one between LadyL and DF).  I don't see this relationship going smoothly at all unless LadyL changes her approach to a softer one trying to work with, rather than against, MIL.  Again, this is not because LadyL is wrong in how she has approached it thus far but rather because the ONLY person LadyL can control is herself.  LadyL's efforts so far have done nothing but harm her relationship with her MIL and with her DF, not because her efforts are wrong or not justified but because she CANNOT control her DF or her MIL.

That way the relationship might go smoothly, but they would always do what MIL wants and never what LadyL wants. What type of relationship is that? Definitely not an equal marriage in my eyes.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 02:23:37 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

I was trying to put my finger on what was bothering me about this whole thing, and the bolded is it exactly. To me, that is LordL exhibiting the exact same manipulative behavior as his mother. To me, that's almost more troubling than the original situation.

To be fair I've re-read the update since posting and LadyL said she feels like he's insinuating that, but he didn't actually say it. Hopefully she's mistaken! I'll edit my post so I don't create any accidental uproar on her behalf.  ;)
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 02:30:16 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

I was trying to put my finger on what was bothering me about this whole thing, and the bolded is it exactly. To me, that is LordL exhibiting the exact same manipulative behavior as his mother. To me, that's almost more troubling than the original situation.

To be fair I've re-read the update since posting and LadyL said she feels like he's insinuating that, but he didn't actually say it. Hopefully she's mistaken! I'll edit my post so I don't create any accidental uproar on her behalf.  ;)

Actually, in some ways, I think insinuating it is almost worse than just saying it. Because then, not only does LordL get to indignantly deny that it's what he meant if called on it, he also gets to pull the "how could you possibly think that". And if LadyL doesn't engage on the topic, LordL gets to play the martyr because LadyL is the one who "made him choose." Either way, he wins.

Kind of like when he didn't want to stand up for her with his family, but expected her to happily be a shield between him and his family.

But I freely admit that this sort of thing is on the list of behaviors that gets me from calm to livid in .0001 seconds. LadyL may or may not feel the same way.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Eeep! on May 03, 2013, 02:30:39 PM
I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.

POD.  It would be great if LadyL could control her DF or her MIL, but she cannot.  Whether LadyL is right or justified in her position (I happen to think she is justified, FWIW) is not important when it comes down to it if her main goal is a happy marriage.  It seems that her DF is very uncomfortable standing up to his mother, and the more LadyL stands up for herself (whether justified or not), the more uncomfortable DF becomes and the more the relationships toxify (including the one between LadyL and DF).  I don't see this relationship going smoothly at all unless LadyL changes her approach to a softer one trying to work with, rather than against, MIL.  Again, this is not because LadyL is wrong in how she has approached it thus far but rather because the ONLY person LadyL can control is herself.  LadyL's efforts so far have done nothing but harm her relationship with her MIL and with her DF, not because her efforts are wrong or not justified but because she CANNOT control her DF or her MIL.

That way the relationship might go smoothly, but they would always do what MIL wants and never what LadyL wants. What type of relationship is that? Definitely not an equal marriage in my eyes.

I agree with this. There is little to no way that the bolded above is actually going to end up in a happy marriage (because MIL is a boundary-stomper).  It will most likely end up as one where LadyL is resentful for the fact that she has put her desires beneath MIL's.  Now, there are times where one might decide not to press an issue - the old "hill to die on" routine - but unless LadyL can feel confidently that when push comes to shove, DF will have HER back then it's not a balanced marriage.  I understand the point that one can only change one's own behavior.  But this is a relationship, which involves TWO people.  If the other person is not willing to change THEIRS then decisions need to be made based on that fact.  Not on the actions of a third party.

Edited to further clarify what I was saying. Sorry!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 02:32:36 PM
I'd also look into counseling to do a reassessment or a temperature check on how things will work from now on, because it would suck to have this repeat over and over again for a lifetime.

POD.  It would be great if LadyL could control her DF or her MIL, but she cannot.  Whether LadyL is right or justified in her position (I happen to think she is justified, FWIW) is not important when it comes down to it if her main goal is a happy marriage.  It seems that her DF is very uncomfortable standing up to his mother, and the more LadyL stands up for herself (whether justified or not), the more uncomfortable DF becomes and the more the relationships toxify (including the one between LadyL and DF).  I don't see this relationship going smoothly at all unless LadyL changes her approach to a softer one trying to work with, rather than against, MIL.  Again, this is not because LadyL is wrong in how she has approached it thus far but rather because the ONLY person LadyL can control is herself.  LadyL's efforts so far have done nothing but harm her relationship with her MIL and with her DF, not because her efforts are wrong or not justified but because she CANNOT control her DF or her MIL.

That way the relationship might go smoothly, but they would always do what MIL wants and never what LadyL wants. What type of relationship is that? Definitely not an equal marriage in my eyes.

More like one involving three people - LadyL, LordL, and LordL's mother...nothing wrong with a marriage involving more than two people, so long as everyone involved wants it that way...but the third person being LordL's mother is what makes it weird and unhealthy to me.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: TurtleDove on May 03, 2013, 02:41:06 PM
That way the relationship might go smoothly, but they would always do what MIL wants and never what LadyL wants. What type of relationship is that? Definitely not an equal marriage in my eyes.

I wrote a reply but it didn't post for some reason so I will try to write it out again.

I agree it would not be an equal marriage.  It would not be a marriage I would be happy in at all, but I also would be very unhappy in a marriage where I am constantly battling both my MIL and my DF.  If it were me, I know what I would do (not marry DF because of the way his relationship with his mother negatively impacts his relationship with me) but I am not LadyL, and I suspect she truly does want to marry her DF. 

If LadyL intends to go forward with the marriage, she can choose the hard way (standing her ground, constant battling with MIL and with DF) or the easier way (swallowing her pride and appeasing MIL so that her life with DF goes more smoothly).  Neither choice sounds appealing to me at all, which is why, if it were me, I would call off the marriage. 

But since LadyL DOES want to marry her DF (and I am not at all faulting her for that, I just know I would not be able to handle these particular dynamics) she has a choice to make: 1) stand up for herself knowing that she is unlikely to ever see positive change from either MIL or her DF and will be constantly battling them, or 2) appease MIL and DF and silently seethe, or 3) just let it all go and recognize that she cannot control her DF or her MIL so it is best to comport herself to rock the boat the least.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JenJay on May 03, 2013, 02:44:23 PM
I didn't take TurtleDove's post as saying that LadyL should compromise with her MIl, only that it might be the only way she and LordL will be able to have a smooth marriage. Not that this would necessarily be a good thing, but something LadyL should be aware of.  :-\

And as I was posting she clarified, so yeah. That.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Lexophile on May 03, 2013, 02:53:12 PM
I think LordL's feelings are important, but they need to be weighed against LadyL's feelings.  MIL's feelings are, in all honesty, unimportant.  She's not part of the immediate social unit.  LordL needs to weigh his feelings of wanting to see relatives against LadyL's feelings of being hurt repeatedly by MIL.  And for how long that situation is going on.   I'm not saying going or not going is the right answer, but a significant step would be LordL sitting down and saying that he hears LadyL, and he understands she's hurt, BUT he really wants to see his relatives all together....how can we accomplish this.

I agree. I do feel badly for LordL because he did try to reign his mother in. He told her no shower, agreed to a modest toast, refused to send the requested addresses and did not agree to the "toast" invitations. He did everything he could to create a situation where he and LadyL could go to the reunion and be comfortable. Unfortunately his Mom steamrolled him and sent the invitations anyway, now he's backed into a corner.

I don't appreciate his statement that LadyL is forcing him to choose between her and the family. I feel very strongly that his mother did that and that's who he should be upset with. His comment needs to be addressed and resolved.

I was trying to put my finger on what was bothering me about this whole thing, and the bolded is it exactly. To me, that is LordL exhibiting the exact same manipulative behavior as his mother. To me, that's almost more troubling than the original situation.

To be fair I've re-read the update since posting and LadyL said she feels like he's insinuating that, but he didn't actually say it. Hopefully she's mistaken! I'll edit my post so I don't create any accidental uproar on her behalf.  ;)

Actually, in some ways, I think insinuating it is almost worse than just saying it. Because then, not only does LordL get to indignantly deny that it's what he meant if called on it, he also gets to pull the "how could you possibly think that". And if LadyL doesn't engage on the topic, LordL gets to play the martyr because LadyL is the one who "made him choose." Either way, he wins.

Kind of like when he didn't want to stand up for her with his family, but expected her to happily be a shield between him and his family.

But I freely admit that this sort of thing is on the list of behaviors that gets me from calm to livid in .0001 seconds. LadyL may or may not feel the same way.

I think FireCat hit the nail on the head here. I'm reading through these posts and everyone seems to be interpreting what LordL really wants, but I can't find anywhere where he actually makes any kind of statement about how he wants this to go down.

Good googly-moogly. If he wants to go to the reunion, whether they do a shower or not, he needs to speak up and say so. LadyL is the one left not knowing what the heck is going on when he's vacillating between going to the reunion and seeing his relatives and drawing a line in the sand with his mother and enforcing the boundary. There are two different issues here.

His actions demonstrate that he doesn't care whether his mother does a shower for them or not. Unfortunately, LadyL DOES care. They need to work that out first. If it turns out they both want different things, they need to work together to figure out what's best for the two of them. MIL's drama shouldn't factor into it at all.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Miss Unleaded on May 03, 2013, 03:32:04 PM
LadyL I really sympathise.  Before I married I faced a similar situation, and it was so stressful that I actually issued the first and only ultimatum I ever gave my now husband, which was: if you're not on my side, I'm leaving now.

I really get the feeling that you have a long slog ahead of you if you want to retain your boundaries and independence with your in laws and that's going to be a hundred times harder if you're fighting against your husband as well as your MIL. :(  Personally, I would (and was) be prepared to have to walk away from the relationship because this interference would guarantee a life time of misery for me at least. 

I sincerely hope it works out for you.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: wonderfullyanonymous on May 03, 2013, 03:45:15 PM
LadyL I really sympathise.  Before I married I faced a similar situation, and it was so stressful that I actually issued the first and only ultimatum I ever gave my now husband, which was: if you're not on my side, I'm leaving now.

I really get the feeling that you have a long slog ahead of you if you want to retain your boundaries and independence with your in laws and that's going to be a hundred times harder if you're fighting against your husband as well as your MIL. :(  Personally, I would (and was) be prepared to have to walk away from the relationship because this interference would guarantee a life time of misery for me at least. 

I sincerely hope it works out for you.

I tend to agree with Miss Unleaded on this. You and DF are going to be a family unit, and if he is not going to stand up to his DM you will be LadyL married to LordL and LordL's mother.

I know that if she gets and inch on this, she will take the mile for the rest of her life as she can get it. What will come next, her wanting to vacation with you, be in the delivery room while you have babies?

I think you should have LordL sit down and read all the replies and experiences of the others in this thread. It may be the only way it really sinks into his head how his mother is trying to make it about her, rather than considering the feelings of the two of you. It won't be easy, but he really needs to realize how damaging to your relationship her actions really are.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Need to Change on May 03, 2013, 03:49:55 PM
I suspect LordL never knew what he wanted, still doesn't and, at least -- in regard to this event -- never will.  That would be a natural response to lifelong manipulation. 

If that is true, he will tend -- in total honesty -- to "want" whatever the last person he talked to wants.  Sadly, instead of pleasing everyone, he'll tend to disappoint everyone.  Until he can make a change -- and even with his own best efforts, that will take some time -- his loyalties will always be weak, and his reliability questionable.

Perhaps the best Next Talk with LordL (before or after the event) would be about his wishes alone ... to help him identify his own wishes, if nothing else.  Actually, I suspect it would be a series of talks, over a goodly span of time, as new events and issues occur. 

As for this event ... in your place, I would tend to encourage him to go alone.  To avoid roping bystanders into the fray, I might also concoct some social fiction about a workplace emergency or somesuch.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: PastryGoddess on May 03, 2013, 04:43:17 PM
It seems interesting that after 10+ years, these people that LordL wants to see are going to be at the reunion.  Was it a coincidence that you were planning to get married and they decided to come?  Or were they invited and prodded to come specifically because you and LordL were getting married?

Also how many people is it that he wants to see?  A whole side of the family? or just a few people.  Is the family going to be gathering in a central location each day or are there going to be various places everyone is hanging out and meeting.

LordL and LadyL can absolutely make plans to see these very special people on their own and without being part of the main family reunion.  It will just take more planning to find out where they are staying and to surprise them with a visit.

It seems that for LordL this may be less about "seeing the family" and more about how uncomfortable it is to stand up against pressure from family for the first time.  I think the family reunion is a red herring and an excuse for LordL to justify WHY he is upset.  The family reunion is a built in reason for why he's giving in.  But I wonder if he's feeling conflicted over standing up to his mother/parents and wasn't prepared for how difficult it is.  Remember LordL has been dealing with his mothers behavior for most of his life.  Now his fiance has come in like a cold dash of water and said "Hey, this isn't right".  He may agree with her in theory, but until he learns that it's ok to have an opinion of his own and stick to it, he'll be conflicted.  Hopefully LadyL will continue to support him and reinforce that he's allowed to disagree with his mother/FOO and that the world won't end (I think she is, but its an ongoing process)
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 05:20:10 PM
It seems interesting that after 10+ years, these people that LordL wants to see are going to be at the reunion.  Was it a coincidence that you were planning to get married and they decided to come?  Or were they invited and prodded to come specifically because you and LordL were getting married?

Also how many people is it that he wants to see?  A whole side of the family? or just a few people.  Is the family going to be gathering in a central location each day or are there going to be various places everyone is hanging out and meeting.

LordL and LadyL can absolutely make plans to see these very special people on their own and without being part of the main family reunion.  It will just take more planning to find out where they are staying and to surprise them with a visit.

It seems that for LordL this may be less about "seeing the family" and more about how uncomfortable it is to stand up against pressure from family for the first time.  I think the family reunion is a red herring and an excuse for LordL to justify WHY he is upset.  The family reunion is a built in reason for why he's giving in.  But I wonder if he's feeling conflicted over standing up to his mother/parents and wasn't prepared for how difficult it is.  Remember LordL has been dealing with his mothers behavior for most of his life.  Now his fiance has come in like a cold dash of water and said "Hey, this isn't right".  He may agree with her in theory, but until he learns that it's ok to have an opinion of his own and stick to it, he'll be conflicted.  Hopefully LadyL will continue to support him and reinforce that he's allowed to disagree with his mother/FOO and that the world won't end (I think she is, but its an ongoing process)

I think this is an excellent point. For LordL, dealing with his mother's manipulations, or not, as the case may be, has been "normal" for quite a long time. And even when you know it's not right, or how things should be, it's still really uncomfortable to change "normal" for "something else." Even when "something else" is way better, and the person trying to change KNOWS it's better and wants the change. That's part of why breaking toxic patterns is so difficult.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: wheeitsme on May 03, 2013, 05:29:58 PM
I agree with the posters that if there must be a compromise, then LordL can go and see the people he wants to and LadyL stays home.

And I don't see this as spite. 

MIL is being manipulative.  They can't recall the invites.  That's why MIL lied and sent them out in the first place.  If only LordL goes, then he gets to see the folks he wants to, but it will still be clear that MIL overstepped her boundaries and did something very wrong.  And that MIL doesn't get what she wants over what she promised her child.    A "plus" to this is that LordL will be at the party so that when the question of the invites comes up, and the missing LadyL, he can be honest and make it clear exactly what happened.  This will only work, however, as long as LordL is willing to stand up for LadyL at the event.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Dr. F. on May 03, 2013, 05:49:30 PM
Personally, I suspect that the posters thinking that Lord L doesn't know what he wants and is trying to keep both women in his life happy are probably right. I have yet to see any indication throughout this saga that he has expressed an independent opinion.

I think this has moved beyond etiquette and is well into relationship issues. I don't think another talk with Lord L will help Lady L, at least without some professional help. I would strongly recommend couples counseling and, quite possibly, therapy for Lord L individually to help him figure out what it is HE wants.*

*N.B. Not meant to be a diagnosis in any form, merely a suggestion that an informed outside opinion might be useful.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Figgie on May 03, 2013, 06:12:26 PM
A very wise person told me once that people show you all the time who they are and that you should believe them. 

I know that if my spouse had not set limits with his parents,  I would not still be married to him.  Fortunately, his parents weren't toxic...just over-involved and once he enforced boundaries a few times, they realized he was serious and we didn't have any other problems with them.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Iris on May 03, 2013, 07:28:36 PM
Let me see if I've got this straight;

1. MIL proposes that she hold a shower for you at the reunion. You discuss it and *as a couple* decide for many reasons (not the least of which is that it is rude, rude, rude) you don't want that. However an informal toast is fine.

2. You inform MIL of your decision but then realise that she is going ahead and planning it anyway.

3. You re-inform MIL of your decision and she lies to your face about not having sent invitations. When called on this she gets her husband to apologise for her and then sends a two word non-apology to you on facebook. Except even while sending that 'apology' she is still working on LordL to get exactly what she wants.

4. Now LordL wants you to give her exactly what she wants because she has made the 'compromise' of letting FIL have the nominal credit of organising the exact party that you *as a couple* said no to in the first place. Since apparently LordL has the awareness of a new born kitten when it comes to his parents, he thinks that this is a genuine sacrifice rather than naked selfishness dressed in a bow, and so you're now the bad guy for not accepting MIL's noble compromise.

Please, as one former MIL-victim to another, do NOT go to this shower. I agree with earlier posters that a wedge is being driven between you and LordL over this. However, I think that playing nice and going to the reunion will just change it from being a visible wedge as it is now, to being an invisible wedge, as you sit, fake smile plastered on, seething inside as MIL gets to play Queen for a Day. Sure, LordL will be happy and you will no longer be arguing but personally that would make me lose a lot of respect for my future partner if that was his preference.

Honestly, I agree that this is a relationship issue now and etiquette is irrelevant. How you deal with it completely depends on your type of relationship and how you communicate. Personally, - and the disclaimer is that this is not relationship advice, it's just how MY relationship works - I would be spelling it all out in one last "Come to Deity" talk consisting of outlining very clearly as above EXACTLY how things have gone down, refusing to accept ANY responsibility for LordL's discomfort and so on. Because honestly if he is going to agree to something with you, say he wants help enforcing boundaries with his mom, and then stab you in the back the instant mom is even a little bit unhappy, then ... well then you have to decide if you can deal with a lifetime of that. At the moment LordL doesn't have your back, and that's not okay imo.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: WillyNilly on May 03, 2013, 07:51:51 PM
In the last 10 years these people have not cared enough about DF to make any effort to see him, and he had not made the effort to see them.

No matter whats going on with FMIL, trust and believe these people are not going to bring a gift (or if they do it will the smallest of token gifts). Chances are, much like for the last 10 years, they will just not attend.

So really unless you have absolute evidence of their attendance, basing your attendance on these relatives LordL hasn't seen in 10 years and now suddenly desperately wants to see, is just ridiculous.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyR on May 03, 2013, 08:31:57 PM
In the last 10 years these people have not cared enough about DF to make any effort to see him, and he had not made the effort to see them.

No matter whats going on with FMIL, trust and believe these people are not going to bring a gift (or if they do it will the smallest of token gifts). Chances are, much like for the last 10 years, they will just not attend.

So really unless you have absolute evidence of their attendance, basing your attendance on these relatives LordL hasn't seen in 10 years and now suddenly desperately wants to see, is just ridiculous.

That seems unfair. I have relatives I care deeply about, but haven't seen in years. We have family sprad out all across North America and travel between coasts is expensive and doesn't happen often. When I got married though, some of these relatives made the effort and came to my province for the first time in years.

I have a gf who's family is all on the East coast, so she rarely sees them, some of them it is only every 5 years at the big family reunion, but man of them will be making the trip for her wedding this summer. So I think its unfair to say LordL's family doesn't want to celebrate with him.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyL on May 03, 2013, 08:39:26 PM
Man, this has been exhausting.

So apparently after more thought LordL is fine with enforcing the original boundaries. I'm glad. I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Iris on May 03, 2013, 08:42:29 PM
Man, this has been exhausting.

So apparently after more thought LordL is fine with enforcing the original boundaries. I'm glad. I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.

You poor thing. Sending you a virtual beverage of your choice, some yummy chocolates, and a shiny gold star for having the patience to help LordL work it out the long way.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Dr. F. on May 03, 2013, 08:42:49 PM
Excellent update! I am relieved. It sounds like he's listening to you. This is very hopeful.

I wish you both the very best. There will be awkward situations to come, but so long as you can communicate, you should be able to deal.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Surianne on May 03, 2013, 08:43:40 PM
I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.

Yes, I think learning to talk to him about this is a better idea for having a code word you yell when you're displeased.  It's his life too, and he clearly loves his family, even though you think they're dysfunctional.  If his "spine" is only to enforce what you, personally, want, it's not truly standing up for himself, and it's not going to work well in the long run. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Slartibartfast on May 03, 2013, 08:46:58 PM
Good for him!  I do think the two of you would benefit from another conversation - this time about what HE wants/feels.  Does he feel like you and/or MIL set him up to be stuck in the middle?  Is he upset at his mother, or is he just resigned that "that's how she is"?  What are his priorities here - does he see this as a major turning point in his relationship with his mother, or does he think you're over-reacting?

Your relationship will be healthier if he can learn to look at things from his own viewpoint first, then from yours, and only then from his mother's.  It's going to be an adjustment, because he's so used to just looking at his mother's view first and foremost and only taking his own comfort into account if there's a serious reason to say no to his mother.  You also would be better off if he learned to say "Let me talk to LadyL about it and call you back!" instead of agreeing to anything on the spot.  Even for things he's pretty sure you won't care about.  It will be a good exercise in helping him discover his own point of view, and will be essential in helping the two of you decide what things are worth taking a stand over.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: NyaChan on May 03, 2013, 08:47:37 PM
((HUGS))  Hang in there LadyL!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 09:05:17 PM
I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.

Yes, I think learning to talk to him about this is a better idea for having a code word you yell when you're displeased.  It's his life too, and he clearly loves his family, even though you think they're dysfunctional.  If his "spine" is only to enforce what you, personally, want, it's not truly standing up for himself, and it's not going to work well in the long run.

This is about more than LadyL being "displeased." I think this response is very snide and dismissive.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 03, 2013, 09:08:13 PM
Good for him!  I do think the two of you would benefit from another conversation - this time about what HE wants/feels.  Does he feel like you and/or MIL set him up to be stuck in the middle?  Is he upset at his mother, or is he just resigned that "that's how she is"?  What are his priorities here - does he see this as a major turning point in his relationship with his mother, or does he think you're over-reacting?

Your relationship will be healthier if he can learn to look at things from his own viewpoint first, then from yours, and only then from his mother's.  It's going to be an adjustment, because he's so used to just looking at his mother's view first and foremost and only taking his own comfort into account if there's a serious reason to say no to his mother.  You also would be better off if he learned to say "Let me talk to LadyL about it and call you back!" instead of agreeing to anything on the spot.  Even for things he's pretty sure you won't care about.  It will be a good exercise in helping him discover his own point of view, and will be essential in helping the two of you decide what things are worth taking a stand over.

If nothing else, LordL saying, every time, that he needs to talk with you first will emphasize that you and LordL are your own social unit, without having to actually say that in so many words.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: *inviteseller on May 04, 2013, 12:35:42 AM
I have been in those trenches.  My ex MIL was such a boundary trampler that bulldozers bowed to her.  Let me tell you how married life will be if this woman is not reined in.  You and LordL will make a decision about your life, she will decide that is not how it should be, so she starts whispering in his ear that he should really think about it, that isn't a good decision, mom has never steered him wrong and BAM she has him dancing like a marionette.  You two argue, he comes back around to the original decision, she starts all over, but with a little more force..he pushes back because he does love you, so she backs off.  But only to regroup and decide her next step.  She won't stop, she will just change tactics, be it PA behavior, tears and threats, fake illnesses, and outright lies about you.  She has been that voice in his head for so long and she will.not.give.that.up.  It isn't you, it is her losing power over her son.  But this will cause constant issues for you two and he will feel pulled in both directions instead of standing up to her, because that is just how it is done.  We all do it mommy's way or we all suffer, but while she is happy LordL is miserable because he loves you both but can't figure out who he should be siding with, and you are miserable because instead of being a family unto yourselves, you have an interloper running things.    I cannot stand my ex MIL, and now that her precious boy, who I finally gave back to her because I couldn't be the other woman in that threesome any more , has passed away and our DD is almost 18, I no longer will deal with her at all.  Please look into couples counseling, but phrase it to him as "We need a way to work together as a team in our life" instead of "We need to deprogram you from whatever hold that woman has on you".  It is wonderful when the man you want to spend the rest of your life with loves his family, but when you play second fiddle to them and let them have a say in your marriage, it is an unbearable life.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 04, 2013, 01:07:28 AM
So LadyL, are you and your DF going to the reunion (and just agreeing to a toast), or not going at all? (I wasn't sure from your update).

If you do attend the reunion, I think you need an escape plan, just in case your MIL forges ahead with the shower. If she starts trying to turn it into a shower, I think you (and your DF) need to leave, right away. Or at least go for a long walk, until she realises the shower isn't going to happen. If your DF won't leave with you, you should leave the venue by yourself.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Gondwanaland on May 04, 2013, 01:47:21 AM
Winning one battle doesn't mean a war has been won.

LordL now knows that LadyL is going to be as difficult to deal with as his mother is.   He has been taught all his life to give in to his Mother and that's how he deals with her.  I also believe that LordL doesn't hold as firm views over the "toast" as LadyL does, he just wants to go to the reunion, see the relatives and have a good time.     

I think counselling would be a wonderful start to your life together if you want to avoid future pitfalls.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: AvidReader on May 04, 2013, 07:16:14 AM
There is only one way this can end with a boundary lesson for F-MIL.  You and DF not going to the reunion.  As PPs have said, if you go, she will  up the ante the next time around...vacation scheduling, being in the delivery room, etc.   If DF goes without you, F-MIL will have successfully wedged herself between you and DF irrespective of the embarrassment to her of throwing a bridal shower without the bride present. 

Can you just imagine DF driving home with a carload of gifts?  Ack!  I'd want to toss them all.   In the end, whether the two of you go or not, you will end up with all that stuff. 

Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.

You will ultimately have to decide if you want to marry LordL and his mother or LordL.  The suggestion for couples counseling to explore the question of boundary-setting and deciding things as a couple is a good one.  If this horror show keeps hanging fire or gives birth to spinoffs, then I'd go so far as to postpone the wedding for 6 months while you and DF engage in counseling.  The loss of wedding-events deposits will seem like small potatoes in the rear view window against years of separate h*lls for you and DF and the cost of a divorce. 

This has left me wondering if DF is an only child or the only son?  There are certainly lessons here for all of us.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: suzieQ on May 04, 2013, 07:36:33 AM
After 30+ years of marriage to a kind man  who cannot say NO to his family and friends, and always puts our social unit (to borrow OP's phrase) at the bottom of his obligations list, I would suggest, OP, that you think long and hard about the next decades of your life.  I have yet to find a polite way to convince him that we should be allowed to draw boundaries in our life. For example, I have yet to find a polite way to convince his family that they do not have the right to schedule our vacations, because everytime they do he agrees with me to say no, and then gives in to them.  It will not help if you have grown a shiny spine, and he only agrees with you until they have his ear again.  It's very hard to be polite when you know every effort you make will be undermined.

POD. If my MIL hadn't died when she did, DH and I would probably not be together right now. The only way I "won" this situations was by outliving her.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyL on May 04, 2013, 07:59:35 AM

Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.


We are not planning on going. We are considering showing up unannounced several days earlier so he can see his grandparents, and/or making a separate visit entirely, not sure yet. He agreed to take a trip to visit the relatives he hasn't seen in a long time separate from the reunion.

I also think this above is part of why I come across as having stronger feelings that LordL. He must have said to me 15 times, "I don't even know what a shower is!" So I explained it to him and had him read Martha Stewart's guide to a polite shower where it mentions hosting, gifts, games, etc.  His response was "Yeah, I definitely want no part of  that." But I don't think it has the same degree of symbolism to him. He eventually realized that his parents were using his lack of knowledge  to their advantage to "play word games" as he put it (i.e. change it from "shower" to "a toasting" but still list us as the GOH).

Also, I should mention that in the past LordL did set boundaries in a sense, just not in the most effective way. After any incident like this with his mother he would cut off contact from her for anywhere from 3-6 months. But he wouldn't tell her why, he would just do a temporary cut direct with no explanation, so whatever she learned from it never stuck. I pointed out that while the current form of boundary setting is more direct and emotional, hopefully it will prevent the need for periods of estrangement (because I do want him to have a relationship with his family and I don't think the behavior is cut direct worthy).
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Sophia on May 04, 2013, 08:04:24 AM
Boundary setting has to be effective, otherwise it is worse than none.  Ineffective just teaches the other person that after enough pressure you will eventually cave.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: rose red on May 04, 2013, 08:28:22 AM
A PP said LordL seems to agree with whoever he spoke with last.  I have to agree.  Now he's agreeing with the OP, but what will happen when his mother call in the next few days?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: weeblewobble on May 04, 2013, 08:39:06 AM
I said it before here but as bad as I feel for Lordl he can't have it both ways. He can't expect Ladyl to accept MILs interference - even in its watered down state - and then be hurt that she won't just "play nice" and go to the reunion and play happy fDIL for the relatives. If he wants to attend the reunion that's fine. She has other plans. Anything else rewards MILs manipulation
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 04, 2013, 08:57:54 AM
A PP said LordL seems to agree with whoever he spoke with last.  I have to agree.  Now he's agreeing with the OP, but what will happen when his mother call in the next few days?

I agree.

And I also wonder if LordL is wishing they were having a larger wedding with more family in attendance. It sounds like he would enjoy some type of family celebration for his marriage. It a shame his mother has ruined that opportunity for him.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: julianna on May 04, 2013, 09:24:29 AM
Hugs to both LadyL and LordL.  I can tell you from experience that while it will help LordL to have you as a voice of reason, it probably will not be enough.  If there's any way you can encourage him to see a therapist, it would really help him -- it's simply too hard for him to recognize all the dysfunction, since he grew up considering it "normal."  Also, I spent a long time biting my tongue when MIL treated DH poorly, because I thought it would make him feel worse to have me point out how crappy his mother was being.  I only realized in the last couple of years that he was so used to her behavior, he didn't even notice it (not consciously, anyway.  Subconsciously I think it took a real toll on him.).  So now I make an effort not to react emotionally, but I do try to calmly point out when she's being irrational, controlling, or hurtful (or all three!).  Best of luck to you both.

Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: AvidReader on May 04, 2013, 11:18:12 AM



Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.


I also think this above is part of why I come across as having stronger feelings that LordL. He must have said to me 15 times, "I don't even know what a shower is!" So I explained it to him and had him read Martha Stewart's guide to a polite shower where it mentions hosting, gifts, games, etc.  His response was "Yeah, I definitely want no part of  that." But I don't think it has the same degree of symbolism to him. He eventually realized that his parents were using his lack of knowledge  to their advantage to "play word games" as he put it (i.e. change it from "shower" to "a toasting" but still list us as the GOH).

I had another thought on this aspect of it.  Were you two to go to the reunion and the bridal shower took place, don't you just know that DF would be pulled off by the other men who would make their escape to the bar (or the sports-du-jour on the wide-screen) from all the shower silliness?  And where would this leave you....right where you don't want to be, in the middle of the shower, silently pleading with DF to rescue you.  All the more reason not to go.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: TurtleDove on May 04, 2013, 01:26:27 PM
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Surianne on May 04, 2013, 01:32:34 PM
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Yeah, I'm confused by the ambush shower thing too. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Octavia on May 04, 2013, 01:47:27 PM
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Yeah, I'm confused by the ambush shower thing too.
I got the impression further up-thread that the other family members tend to follow MIL's lead, so if she tells them to bring presents, they would likely do so.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Firecat on May 04, 2013, 01:48:36 PM
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

I think it wouldn't be that complicated for MIL to do, actually. All she'd have to do would be to get LordL and LadyL to show up, having agreed to the toast. Then she'd contact the relatives separately and tell them something like, "I told LordL and LadyL that we're just going to have a toast to celebrate their wedding. But we're really going to surprise them with a shower - they'll be so thrilled!"

And the relatives, likely not knowing that the happy couple explicitly doesn't want a shower at this event, would be fairly likely to think MIL knows what she's talking about (or maybe not want to rock the boat with her), and go along. Voila, surprise (or ambush, really) shower.

In her mind, MIL isn't being "evil," of course. She probably either wants to celebrate the wedding how she wants to celebrate it, or thinks she knows what the couple "really" wants (which happens to coincide with what she wants, conveniently for MIL). She's not likely saying to herself "I see a boundary here, therefore I must trample over it like a bull elephant."
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Sophia on May 04, 2013, 03:27:32 PM
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play. 
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 04, 2013, 03:29:24 PM
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

DITTO!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: VorFemme on May 04, 2013, 05:15:05 PM
Man, this has been exhausting.

So apparently after more thought LordL is fine with enforcing the original boundaries. I'm glad. I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.



Gryphon?  Phoenix?  Minotaur?  As in, did you see the article about the poor kid whose parents named him Gryphon Alexander Graham Belle ________?  Have you ever thought about a Christmas vacation in Phoenix, they're cheaper in July, but I might be too darned hot for us?  Who was the name of that special effects guy who animated the Minotaur in that old movie we were watching the other day?

Or any question out of the blue that involves a question about mythology (i.e. no one is talking about the latest Jason & the Argonauts movie, Thor & the Avengers, or even vampires & werewolves....).  It has to be "out of the blue" - dropped into a conversation about whatever else LordL and his family are talking about....

It might work if you watch the right kind of movies......and are convincing about wanting to share a good, funny, or hilariously bad movie with people to watch (al la Mystery Science Theater or Elvira).

Alternatively - if you plan to have kids - ask him what he thinks about naming them after second cousin once removed on his father's side ________(real name, one that might actually work, but is unusual enough that he'd have to say "that's interesting, I'll think about it"!).

Bonus points if his mother comes to a screeching turn in the conversation and insists that any future offspring should be named after her maternal great uncle on her father's side's youngest - totally different name and really "unusual", nobody in school will have that name, he'll be unique!
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: kudeebee on May 04, 2013, 06:22:11 PM
You and LordL made a decision that you were not going to go to the reunion and that you would arrange to see these people at another time that worked for you (and them, of course).  Stick with that plan.  Any change and mil will see that if she says "sorry" you will change your mind and do as she wants.  Is that how you want to live out the rest of your life, always doing what mil wants without her getting any input from the two of you?

Question that I don't think you have answered.  Where do the people who are coming to the reunion live?  Are they in the area? Far away? How long do they come for the reunion?  Where do they stay?  Who are they--aunts, uncles?  How often is this reunion held?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: sammycat on May 04, 2013, 06:41:34 PM
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

BINGO!

Also, I'm confused as to why invitations need to be sent for a 'toast'. Any toast I've been part of has just happened organically at the time.  I'd consider anyone who sent out invitations for something relatively minor as a toast to be a very special snowflake indeed.

I also want to agree with pp who have expressed the sentiment that other family members have celebrated milestones over the years (weddings, babies etc) yet it doesn't appear that their events have been celebrated (for want of a better word) at the reunions.  In their shoes I'd be wondering why Lord and LadyL consider their event/themselves so special that they need to hijack a family event to celebrate it. 

Now,  I know that we know that Lord and LadyL are not planning it (and in LadyL's case doesn't even want it), but their relatives likely won't see it that way.

From their POV, just taking part in a shower or toast is going to give the (wrong) impression that Lord and LadyL think they're special enough that they warrant this extra fuss for their event.  All the more reason to not attend the reunion IMO.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: gena264 on May 04, 2013, 09:29:33 PM
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

Agree 100%. Sadly, I had a MIL like this. I say" had" because after 17 years (off and on) of her manipulations she finally overplayed her hand with DH and he cut her off for good (it's been almost 4 years of no contact). I had been to counseling with DH for many of the early years of our marriage because of her . I agree with the others up thread that said that the dynamics LordL grew up with are VERY hard to overcome. My DH could NOT see what she was doing , I became the bad guy in so many situations similar to yours. DH and I were very young when we got married and we did not have the support system or the means to defend ourselves or even know how. Counseling helped a great deal, but it really didn't solve the problem. MIL had to be the center of attention at all costs and since we had her first grandchild (and a girl, which she always wanted herself, but had 3 boys) , my daughter became her pawn and she used her for attention at any opportunity.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: blarg314 on May 05, 2013, 12:41:29 AM

It's good you've got some progress.

But it's going to be a long, long slog. I'd expect a repeat of this dynamic (you and LordL make a decision, MIL tries to plow over it, you freak out, MIL lies, you freak out more, FIL intervenes,  MIL gives a half-donkeyed apology on facebook, LordL tries to give in to MIL because she's said sorry, you freak out more, LordL backs down again, rinse and repeat) to go on for several *years* before you come to a place where LordL isn't so much under his mother's thumb. If it goes well.

I'd very, very strongly recommend family counselling - not necessarily just couple's counselling, but meeting with someone with expertise in family dynamics and dysfunctional families. They will have seen this exact same situation hundreds of times, and can provide useful strategies for coping that will hopefully strengthen your relationship, rather than stressing it.

If you plan to have kids, I would multiply the above by a factor of 100. A MIL who doesn't recognize healthy boundaries (and will lie to your face while she tramples them) and a husband who reflexively gives in to his mother is much, much worse when kids are involved.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LadyL on May 05, 2013, 07:57:09 AM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: GratefulMaria on May 05, 2013, 09:33:33 AM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.

http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Parents-Overcoming-Hurtful-Reclaiming/dp/0553381407

I just love this book.  It has helped me define problems, detect implications, make decisions, and navigate interactions with both my mother and MIL.  I find the author very compassionate without being touchy-feely, and she has a great sense of precision.



Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 05, 2013, 09:52:19 AM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.


Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Bethalize on May 05, 2013, 10:00:22 AM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.

"The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists" was recommended here. I'm enjoying it. Has a good section on similar problems to those you've been describing.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: JoyinVirginia on May 05, 2013, 01:06:38 PM
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Yeah, I'm confused by the ambush shower thing too.

Lord L and Lady L really have no idea what mil sent out in those invitations. She led about mailing invitations, she could lie about what she was asking people to attend. The fact she boldly lured to both of them about mailing invites is something I would consider the most serious beach of trust. Never ever would I trusty this woman to do anything again, and certainly would never give her much information about what you are doing for the rest of your lives.
I have experiences similar that I base my opinions on.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: CuriousParty on May 05, 2013, 06:20:38 PM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.


Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

And her other book, Toxic In Laws.
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: LeveeWoman on May 05, 2013, 06:21:43 PM
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.


Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

And her other book, Toxic In Laws.

How did I foget that one?
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: breny on May 06, 2013, 06:52:30 PM
Add my POD for Susan Forward's books. Toxic Parents was one of the first books my therapist recommended I read. It was extremely helpful.

That said, for me it has been necessity to have a therapist to review my specific situations/issues and help me develop plans/scripts/boundaries/strategies to deal with toxic parents (and other toxic people).
Title: Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
Post by: Lynda_34 on May 08, 2013, 04:08:36 PM
Mainly posting so I can follow the thread. BUT you do have my sympathy.  Early marriage is difficult for many reasons and in forming a new family unit there are a lot of things that need to be worked out.  Good luck and stand strong or you will both be miserable.