Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: tinkytinky on July 26, 2013, 03:30:06 PM

Title: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: tinkytinky on July 26, 2013, 03:30:06 PM
I apologize in advance, as this will probably be quite long.

B/G: MIL is not the loving, caring mother/grandmother type of person. She has favorite children and grandchildren. This is a fact, that has been brought to my attention by several people, by close friends and passing aquaintances alike. I am under no illusion on her feelings for me (or other daughter/son - in laws), and try to have limited contact with her (although for the last 23 years she has lived next door). In February, FIL and another family member went on a vacation, leaving on a Thursday, returned on the following Tuesday. MIL calls DH and asks to talk with him. He goes to her house and returns a while later. He and I had plans that afternoon, and upon driving past her house, I see a strange car. When I asked, he said that MIL was leaving FIL and somebody was there helping her move out. He asked MIL what FIL said about it, as this was a shock to us because we were unaware things had escalated to this point. She replied "Oh, I haven't told him. I don't want to ruin his vacation. YOU can tell him when he gets back to the airport, or even coming up the drive. I don't really care. He will be served with divorce papers the day after he gets back. Oh, and tell TinkyTinky,  NO FACEBOOK". She left and wouldn't give out her address. After we dealt with having to let FIL know (a whole other story in itself) we then let our children know. (they are teens/preteens, so we could be somewhat matter-of-fact). The only contact she has had with any of them was her usual generic birthday cards in the mail (she has always mailed them, even though she lived right next door) My children have made the decision to give MIL the cut-direct, and focus on keeping FIL upbeat. End b/g.

issue #1: I have made sure to not bring it up on facebook. Not necessarily because she demanded that I didn't, but because it was nobody elses business. Most of my friends already knew what took place, as we live in a small town. The first court date was the day after Mother's day, and it coincided with one of my DD birthday. I asked for prayers for FIL and DD. This was the only mention of it, and BIL demanded that I no longer make any mention of any of it because his wife was getting questions. I basically stood there shocked. He doesn't have a facebook account, and doesn't know how it works. I wanted to give him a sharp retort, but I didn't. He continues to rant about facebook, how it is how people get your identity, you put things on there that you shouldn't, etc. I need e-hell approved ways to tell him that my facebook has nothing to do with him, or this situation

Issue #2: The birthday cards. My kids don't want them. two of my children refuse to accept them when I try to hand them to them. The other 3 just take the envelope, look at it, don't open it, and put in a pile with other cards. We didn't have an address for MIL, but we have already returned Easter cards to her church (in a manilla envelope with her name). The kids say that the cards don't mean anything other than their name was on her calendar, and they don't want her to try to buy them with the $10.00 she gives them. We recently found a PO box for her and are planning on writing the return on and return to sender with cards we receive from now on, and the others we are going to put in a manilla envelope to return to her. I am torn between just sending the cards back, or sending them with a letter to her to not bother, she made her decision and to just stay away. 


There is so much more to the background but to keep this from getting too long, I only put in the most pertinant details. However, if there are questions I will go into deeper detail if needed. Thank you for any helpful advice that may be given.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: delabela on July 26, 2013, 03:50:33 PM
I guess I'm not entirely sure what parts you want advice on - let me know if I miss the mark.

The cards first - why not just recycle them? Why make a production out of sending them back? If you truly don't want any contact, the best course of action is no response. Sending the cards back is a response, and it can come off like you're just trying to needle her.

As for the facebook issue - well, BIL is correct in that lots of people do put stuff on facebook that shouldn't be there. Not saying that's what you did, but I get his annoyance if indeed his family is being asked questions.  When you do something like ask for prayers for someone without giving context ("so and so is sick, please pray for them"), people have a natural instinct to ask why, and check if everything is ok. So it can raise undue interest and look a little attention-seeking.

I think your BIL was a bit out of line to rant at you. However, it seems to me that posting about other people's private stuff like court dates (however indirectly) is not a great idea. On the other hand, if you wanted to support FIL with a call or text, that would be appropriate.

Good luck to the whole family.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: EllenS on July 26, 2013, 04:37:47 PM
If people are asking your BIL about messages on your Facebook, then the most tactful thing for him to do would be to refer those folks to you. I think the right thing for you to do would be to tell him, "If it happens again, please send the person to me."  Then when you find out who is going to BIL about your posts, block them.

However, I think it is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are not stirring the pot on Facebook. If most of your friends already know what happened, and you post asking for prayers for your FIL, then yes, you are signaling something about the divorce. While it was rude for BIL to speak to you in a demanding, ranting way, there is a very fine line here.  If you live in a small town and friends are asking your BIL about family business in reaction to your coded messages on Facebook, he is not completely off-the-wall in asking you to respect the family's privacy.  If you really want your Facebook to be "nothing to do with him," I think it is your responsibility to not be dropping hints that will get him dragged into the middle, or else use your privacy settings so that nobody who will go to him sees your posts.

As for the cards, I agree with delabela - if you really want no contact, then just throw them away.  Going out of your way to return them is taking extra effort just to insult your MIL.  If you believe there is money in them, just open them for your kids and put it in their college account or donate it to the church.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: TootsNYC on July 26, 2013, 05:05:32 PM
I'm in agreement. i think you were wrong to mention your FIL in that vague way, and you'd be even more wrong to mention the court date. It's not your life

If you know people IRL that you could ask to pray for FIL without violating his privacy, feel free to do so. But even that is not really kosher.

As for the cards--they have no return address, yes? And that's how you know it's MIL? I vote for "give them to the kids and let them toss or not, as they care." Or write "return to sender" and put it in the mailbox, even if there is no return address. They'll end up in the dead letter file.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 26, 2013, 05:08:21 PM
If people are asking your BIL about messages on your Facebook, then the most tactful thing for him to do would be to refer those folks to you. I think the right thing for you to do would be to tell him, "If it happens again, please send the person to me."  Then when you find out who is going to BIL about your posts, block them.

However, I think it is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are not stirring the pot on Facebook. If most of your friends already know what happened, and you post asking for prayers for your FIL, then yes, you are signaling something about the divorce. While it was rude for BIL to speak to you in a demanding, ranting way, there is a very fine line here.  If you live in a small town and friends are asking your BIL about family business in reaction to your coded messages on Facebook, he is not completely off-the-wall in asking you to respect the family's privacy.  If you really want your Facebook to be "nothing to do with him," I think it is your responsibility to not be dropping hints that will get him dragged into the middle, or else use your privacy settings so that nobody who will go to him sees your posts.

As for the cards, I agree with delabela - if you really want no contact, then just throw them away.  Going out of your way to return them is taking extra effort just to insult your MIL.  If you believe there is money in them, just open them for your kids and put it in their college account or donate it to the church.

I disagree.  I don't think OP is stirring the pot at all.  Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Daffydilly on July 26, 2013, 05:20:32 PM
Write "return to sender" on the cards and toss them back in the mailbox. It doesn't matter if she gets them or not. The only thing that matters is your children know you respect their wishes and see the example you set. Since your mil has already dropped all other forms of contact, I wouldn't want to encourage one way communication that is set in her terms only. Your children deserve to be treated with love and respect in their family relationships.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: EllenS on July 26, 2013, 05:29:56 PM
Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things.

But it WAS about the court date.  OP did in fact intend to post about the court date, and people read her message absolutely correctly.  To pretend that "oh, it could have been about anything" would be childish and untrue. BIL is being asked about things he does not want to discuss, because of OP's public hinting that something is going on.  Part of that is BIL's responsibility to shine up his own spine and refuse to talk about it, and part of it is, in my opinion, OP's responsibility to be more careful in who she shares with.

Don't get me wrong, I think BIL was out of line in the way he approached it, but he's not imagining things. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: GSNW on July 26, 2013, 05:49:17 PM
MIL issued the mandante, "No facebook."  BIL obviously agrees.  However, I don't see where FIL made any such request.  OP putting a vague "Please pray for my FIL and DD today as they are having a tough time" (or anything along those lines) isn't exactly pot-stirring.  If she put, "Pray for FIL since he has court today," I would have a different opinion.

I'm not sure why OP is under obligation here to treat her FB page as though MIL and BIL are in charge of what she posts.  I will agree that it's tacky to post gossipy details of a private family matter on FB, but I don't see how that's what happened.  If other people knew that day was the court date, then they are obviously also in the know.

As far as the cards, I agree that you should just ignore them.  Returning them seems to send the message of, "I don't want to talk to you and I really want you to know that I'm mad," which is not really the same thing as a direct cut.  If she's issuing checks (for the $10) it's a little more problematic, but if it's cash, just put it in the church collection plate.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Softly Spoken on July 26, 2013, 05:51:04 PM
Write "return to sender" on the cards and toss them back in the mailbox. It doesn't matter if she gets them or not. The only thing that matters is your children know you respect their wishes and see the example you set. Since your mil has already dropped all other forms of contact, I wouldn't want to encourage one way communication that is set in her terms only. Your children deserve to be treated with love and respect in their family relationships.

This or as a PP said, recycle the cards and donate the birthday money to charity.

You can't force a relationship, and you can't force someone like your MIL to see her flaws and mistakes.

Sending the cards back seems PA. I am not 100% clear on how the "cut direct" works, but it seems counterintuitive to draw attention to your cutting someone off, i.e. "I'm contacting you to let you know...that I'm not going to contact you." ??? So while rejecting the cards may give you and your children a certain sense of self satisfaction, I doubt it will get your point across to your MIL and will just give her a wound to nurse about her horrible DIL and ungrateful grandchildren.  ::)
**POD to what GSNW just posted, she said it better than me!**
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 26, 2013, 06:09:35 PM
Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things.

But it WAS about the court date.  OP did in fact intend to post about the court date, and people read her message absolutely correctly.  To pretend that "oh, it could have been about anything" would be childish and untrue. BIL is being asked about things he does not want to discuss, because of OP's public hinting that something is going on.  Part of that is BIL's responsibility to shine up his own spine and refuse to talk about it, and part of it is, in my opinion, OP's responsibility to be more careful in who she shares with.

Don't get me wrong, I think BIL was out of line in the way he approached it, but he's not imagining things.

I'm neither childish nor lying, thank you.  If she didn't actually post the court date, they have no evidence that's what she meant.  If they go asking, they're being nosy when it is none of their business.  What the OP did is not stirring the pot, that's asking for prayers for someone who is having a hard time.  Stirring the pot is saying, "Prayers for FIL for his court date today!"

Also, what GSNW said.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: NyaChan on July 26, 2013, 06:12:12 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: EllenS on July 26, 2013, 06:44:52 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

POD.

And I don't think OP's inlaws should dictate what she is "allowed" to post on FB, but by the same token, if she doesn't want them to be involved, then she needs to be careful who she includes in her circle. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: bloo on July 26, 2013, 06:52:34 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

I agree with this. Something like this would be better for face-to-face conversation and even then depending on who Tinkytinky spoke with and the extent it was talked about, it could be unnecessary gossip. If I was Tinkytinky I would never speak about it to anyone except DH. I might acknowledge what the OP knows to be factual to someone else if they bring it up. And not everybody needs to have their curiosity sated and acknowledged.

OP, you might not like your MIL (and from what you've shared, I doubt I would either) she still deserves her privacy that she has requested from you. Respecting your MIL's privacy is also a benefit to your FIL.

As far as the cards, open them to ensure there are no checks/cash. Donate the cash and return the checks and shred the cards.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 26, 2013, 07:13:19 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

So for people who believe in God and the power of prayer, they shouldn't ask for prayer for those they love?  I see that was all that the OP was doing so I don't understand how it is gossiping.  The purpose of posting is to use the power of prayer to help the OP's FIL.

FTR, I am an atheist.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: YummyMummy66 on July 26, 2013, 07:13:37 PM
As far as MIL saying no posts on Facebook, from what I am reading, she meant as far as "now", being that she was leaving while FIL was on vacation and did not want anyone to know or FIl to know until he was back from vacation.

Personally, that is a crappy thing to do, not only to your FIL, but to your husband, to bring him into the middle of everything. 

As far as FB, I am not sure why you were asking for prayers for your dd.  Because this was happening around her birthday?  How old is she?   Yes, people may be down about the situation, but couldn't she still have a "Happy" birthday celebration or enjoy her birthday?

As far as FB for your FIL.   If you do post for prayers for him, people are going to question why he needs prayers.  Personally, as far as MIL's request, I would tell her to go pound sand.   But, as far as FIL is concerned, are you sure he wants people talking/discussing about his situation?   I would not post anything out of respect for him.

Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: kckgirl on July 26, 2013, 07:21:15 PM
As far as the cards, open them to ensure there are no checks/cash. Donate the cash and return the checks and shred the cards.

One thing I would do is stop trying to give the children their birthday cards. I, too, would open the card and donate any cash (or put it in a fund of some sort), but I would not return a check. Just shred it and forget it. She'll figure it out when it never gets cashed.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: NyaChan on July 26, 2013, 07:28:24 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

So for people who believe in God and the power of prayer, they shouldn't ask for prayer for those they love?  I see that was all that the OP was doing so I don't understand how it is gossiping.  The purpose of posting is to use the power of prayer to help the OP's FIL.

FTR, I am an atheist.

Not if asking reveals something that is private.  Make prayers for them yourself, sure, but to go around soliciting them from others when it isn't something the recipient would necessarily want attention drawn to is not appropriate.  If I heard a friend had a miscarriage, I would pray for her myself, but I would not post on FB "Please make prayers for Friend" as it is not my place to draw attention to her loss.

For example, my dad had to go to the hospital last week and called his friend who is a doctor to ask if it was really an emergency.  That friend then proceeded to announce at our masjid to please make prayers for Brother [Dad's Name]'s health.  Now this hospital trip wasn't some big secret, but that doesn't mean that he wanted a community's worth of people talking about him, speculating, and then ultimately calling us for details. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Tabby Uprising on July 26, 2013, 07:28:51 PM
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

So for people who believe in God and the power of prayer, they shouldn't ask for prayer for those they love?  I see that was all that the OP was doing so I don't understand how it is gossiping.  The purpose of posting is to use the power of prayer to help the OP's FIL.

FTR, I am an atheist.

I think it's natural though when you post "so and so needs prayers" that people are going to want to know the reason. They get concerned.  Is FIL sick?  Is he okay?  What's going on?  What happened?  And it puts people who know FIL in the awkward position of having to deflect those well-intentioned questions if they don't want to divulge sensitive information. 

A divorce is something many people would consider private information and if you post that FIL needs prayers it invites questions into why.  Certainly it's okay for people to pray for ones they love, but when you publicly post about it you are inviting inquiry into the issue. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on July 26, 2013, 07:33:49 PM
Perhaps if you want to ask for prayers, a fbook post could be worded so that no one knows who they're praying for.

Ie "In the interests of privacy, I cannot specify who, but would like prayers for a family member going through a rough time." Course it might still invite questions but as long as you stand firm on not giving up the info it could not count as gossiping.

ETA I'm part of a group at my church that has a prayer list but it's kept completely confidential, only women in the order know why the people need prayers and it's just for praying, not a subject of gossip amongst the members.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: tinkytinky on July 26, 2013, 08:33:43 PM
OP here. Thank you all for your views on these situations.

I honestly didn't post on FB to stir the pot. most of my FB friends as well as myself request prayers for various situations, and there is hardly ever a reason given. If someone in our group needs prayers we just pray. My post didn't mention the court date, just asked for prayers for DD and FIL. I didn't have anyone question why, and I would have given a vague reason if they did (rough time, struggling, etc). To the poster that asked, DD turned 15. the reason that she had a rough time was the court date actually being on her birthday. It really doesn't matter why she had a rough time, emotions were running really high with all of them. The people questioning SIL only knew about the divorce because BIL (her husband) told them what was going on.  They then put two and two together, had that lightbulb moment and said "oh, so that's why she asked for prayers".

The cards always have cash. I will probably have the kids donate the money. They work in a food kitchen in our community, so that seems like a good cause for it. That was a really good idea and I thank all of you for that. Sending them back was my kids idea, they wanted to send a note saying don't waste your money. I will talk with them and explain why this would be a better idea.

Now we wait for her to show up at our house (99% sure she will) to act like nothing has ever happened........
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: AnnaJ on July 26, 2013, 08:57:34 PM
The problem with Vaugebooking is that people will try to guess what you mean and obviously in this case they figured it out fairly easily, not surprising in a small town.  I think I would simply distance myself from the whole affair as much as possible, at least publicly - no posting about it on Facebook, for example. 

As for the cards, I agree - donate the cash, don't cash the checks, and toss the cards.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: GSNW on July 26, 2013, 09:06:30 PM
I think it's easy to forget that the OP is also in a difficult situation here.  She might not be particularly upset about MIL leaving (she doesn't sound so wonderful), but I think it might be especially hard to watch one's children grapple with this and feel pain on their grandfather's behalf.  I know LOTS of people that solicit prayers for lots of things, and frankly, I don't spend a lot of time wondering about the reasons.  I don't pray, but I send them my positive thoughts because I'd want them to do the same for me.

It seems like OP was reaching out to her circle because her family is going through a rough time.  BIL has no business dictating how she does that.  She didn't post personal information and he was rude to say anything at all about it.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: aussie_chick on July 26, 2013, 09:18:44 PM
I would avoid posting anything about anyone else's lives on facebook full stop. Even if it is to kindly ask for prayers and to be vague about it. I agree with other posters that requests for prayers without detail will make people curious.
I'm not religious so I don't know how common requesting prayers from other people is.
You may not have intended to stir the pot Op however posting about something you had been asked specifically not to (even if that request was some time ago) could be perceived that way by those closest to the situation - the divorcing couple and their children.

Was the request to not post anything on facebook made to anyone else or just you?

I personally don't like the idea of anyone posting anything about me on facebook. My facebook is for my life, their facebook is for theirs.

As for the birthday cards, if the children don't want them, don't bother giving them or sending them back. Take the cash, donate to charity and recycle the cards.

I hope I don't sounds harsh Op. It sounds like a particularly trying time for the whole family and I wish your family all the best for the future.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: tinkytinky on July 26, 2013, 09:38:26 PM
In my community, it is very common to ask for prayers. Most of my friends are from my church. I can have anything from 20-50 requests for prayers in my feed in any given week. so my asking for prayers didn't raise red flags per se. again, we see a request, we pray.

And it wasn't a REQEUST to not put on facebook, it was a DEMAND. MIL has control issues. She has never had anything come back to her from facebook that I have put on there, because I don't post that stuff on there. The demand was made to me, because I have a facebook, others don't. She made different demands on them, suited to their past times.

The only reason she told my husband she was leaving on the day she did was because we saw her in our bank and she had guilty feelings because she was cleaning out the accounts. We had no way of knowing that was what she was doing. when someone is in a bank, it's to do their banking business. I was doing my own so I wasn't paying attention, but she told DH that she was afraid that we would know something was up with the traffic going by our house, and seeing her in the bank. She was going to have DH pick FIL and other family member and take him back to empty house. DH wouldn't even know she was gone until dropping them off.

No, you aren't harsh, and I appreciate the well wishes. It is just really hard trying to explain everything that has happened, there was so much. Trying to post enough info but not making a novel out of it is really difficult.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: TootsNYC on July 26, 2013, 09:40:49 PM

However, I think it is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are not stirring the pot on Facebook. If most of your friends already know what happened, and you post asking for prayers for your FIL, then yes, you are signaling something about the divorce. While it was rude for BIL to speak to you in a demanding, ranting way, there is a very fine line here.  If you live in a small town and friends are asking your BIL about family business in reaction to your coded messages on Facebook, he is not completely off-the-wall in asking you to respect the family's privacy.  If you really want your Facebook to be "nothing to do with him," I think it is your responsibility to not be dropping hints that will get him dragged into the middle, or else use your privacy settings so that nobody who will go to him sees your posts.


I disagree.  I don't think OP is stirring the pot at all.  Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things.

It certainly creates a situation in which people are going to be saying, "why are we praying for FIL? What's going on? What's wrong with him?" And asking all the family members.

It creates gossip. Don't do it.


Or, this:
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

Honestly, I don't think it's appropriate to so publicly ask for prayers for another person unless they are OK with it.

That sort of public request is a form of announcement. It's very common in my church to ask for prayers for other people or for yourself, but it is a form of revelation or announcement. It just is.

I don't think that Facebook is an appropriate place to make that sort of request unless the other person specifically agrees or is OK with that aspect of their business being bandied about.

My DD went to Italy for the summer--she's telling everyone, it's not a secret, and so for me to say, "please pray for her to be safe on her summer trip" is OK. She had a surgery--she was closer-mouthed about that, so it would not have been OK to bring it up even obliquely.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: NyaChan on July 26, 2013, 09:42:20 PM
In my community, it is very common to ask for prayers. Most of my friends are from my church. I can have anything from 20-50 requests for prayers in my feed in any given week. so my asking for prayers didn't raise red flags per se. again, we see a request, we pray.

And it wasn't a REQEUST to not put on facebook, it was a DEMAND. MIL has control issues. She has never had anything come back to her from facebook that I have put on there, because I don't post that stuff on there. The demand was made to me, because I have a facebook, others don't. She made different demands on them, suited to their past times.

The only reason she told my husband she was leaving on the day she did was because we saw her in our bank and she had guilty feelings because she was cleaning out the accounts. We had no way of knowing that was what she was doing. when someone is in a bank, it's to do their banking business. I was doing my own so I wasn't paying attention, but she told DH that she was afraid that we would know something was up with the traffic going by our house, and seeing her in the bank. She was going to have DH pick FIL and other family member and take him back to empty house. DH wouldn't even know she was gone until dropping them off.

No, you aren't harsh, and I appreciate the well wishes. It is just really hard trying to explain everything that has happened, there was so much. Trying to post enough info but not making a novel out of it is really difficult.

I guess my point was more about considering FIL's privacy, not so much your MIL.  The reason not to do it isn't because MIL demanded it of you so that she could make a clean getaway (and man is that messed up! I feel very badly for your FIL), but because this is a private aspect of FIL's life.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: TootsNYC on July 26, 2013, 09:46:05 PM

The cards always have cash. I will probably have the kids donate the money. They work in a food kitchen in our community, so that seems like a good cause for it. That was a really good idea and I thank all of you for that. Sending them back was my kids idea, they wanted to send a note saying don't waste your money. I will talk with them and explain why this would be a better idea.

Now we wait for her to show up at our house (99% sure she will) to act like nothing has ever happened........

You could just put all the cards in a box and then when she gets there, hand them back and say, "we're not comfortable accepting this money." It would be less hurtful if you removed the cards and only handed back the cash.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: *inviteseller on July 26, 2013, 09:49:52 PM
BIL approached you incorrectly, but I agree it was a vague reference that leads people to ask questions.  Remember, this is his parents and he is probably so very hurt by his mothers actions so I would respect his request, even if it was done rudely.  As far as the cards, let the kids decide what they want to do, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get them back to her.  I wouldn't want them either, but I also wouldn't try to make a point about it.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: EllenS on July 26, 2013, 10:05:57 PM
Almost nobody in this crazy life is ever 100% right, or 100% wrong.  OP, your inlaws may be rude, and demanding, and a circus of dysfunction, but asking that you not post about them on Facebook is a reasonable request.

Whether or not you intend to respect that reasonable boundary is up to you, and if you choose not to, then the consequences (i.e., your inlaws being upset because people are coming to them with gossip) is also your responsibility to deal with.

I encourage you once more, to investigate your privacy settings and exclude people who will go back to BIL about your posts.  Obviously someone does.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: weeblewobble on July 26, 2013, 10:08:01 PM
Honestly, I think it boils down to BIL being very angry with his mother and embarrassed about the situation, but being unable to express it to his mother either because he isn't in contact with her or is incapable of being honest about his feelings.  So instead, he takes his anger out on an available, convenient target.  No matter how angry he is, it's not OK for him to yell at OP like that.

Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: shhh its me on July 26, 2013, 10:41:08 PM
OP here. Thank you all for your views on these situations.

I honestly didn't post on FB to stir the pot. most of my FB friends as well as myself request prayers for various situations, and there is hardly ever a reason given. If someone in our group needs prayers we just pray

Op you may have thought this when you posted it but you now know that a request for prayers may be met with questions to the benefactor of those prayers or their family.  You may never think about why but people in your group do and they are willing to ask around to satiate their curiosity.

Unless FIL asks for your prayers I don't think you should mention him again.

Just the etiquette issues , your MIL were rude for asking her son to tell his father she was leaving and rude to impolitely demand you not Facebook about it.  I don't actually think a polite demand would have been rude , meaning I think "do not post about my divorcee in a public place which my children and friends have access to" is something a person can actually ask and you would be rude to disregard it.

BIL spoke to you horrible but that doesn't mean he wasn't right.  "Please pray for my FIL" a reasonable outcome is that people would ask FIL or the family. 

OP you were the least rude but you're the person here asking a question. Just because people behave very badly doesn't mean they dont have feelings or deserve basic human respect.  Your SIL may have been hurt by this , she was the one who was questioned.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: tinkytinky on July 26, 2013, 10:54:03 PM
BIL was the one that was telling people about the divorce, not me. I said little to anyone except DH and FIL. I asked for prayers, BIL's friends that I know put two and two together. His getting mad at me about facebook has more to do with me not deleting my account than his being embarrassed about his parents. He has been estranged from his mother for years before this, so it not his respect for her either. He told FIL to just suck it up, and by the way put your property in his name so his kids would have an inheritance. He tries to tell DH how to raise our kids and gets mad when we don't follow his demands. Neither MIL or BIL requested or asked. they demanded. The reason that MIL told DH when I wasn't around was because she knew that I wouldn't post anything anyway and she didn't want to listen to my reasonable explanation. it really is a control issue.  (just trying to give a better understanding on the people I am dealing with here.) FWIW, FIL has no problem with asking for prayers. He recognizes that prayers can't hurt. He knows what I posted and was fine with it. other family members know and have no issues with the requests. because it done so often, it's kind of a given. I know I asked but the question was for helpful words, not to tell me that I was the wrong one and how insensitive I was. I get it. I wasn't 100% correct.   I was given great advice on the cards so I'm grateful for that.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: MrTango on July 27, 2013, 08:57:26 AM
So BIL wants your FB account to disappear?

I can see two simple options:

1) Placate him: You can adjust your security settings so that no one except your friends can find your account.  Once that's done, how many people would you have to block to give him the impression that you've "deleted" your account?

2) The next time he gripes at you about your FB account, let him know in no uncertain terms that this is your account and he does not have any say over what you do with the account, who you friend on your account, what information you choose to post on the account, and if he doesn't like it that's his problem, not yours.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Girlie on July 27, 2013, 10:43:32 AM
For the record, I am part of a community where it is not uncommon to ask for prayers.

I don't think OP was trying to cause any commotion or problems - especially if the people for whom the prayers were actually requested do not mind it. Indeed, it is possible that FIL and DD actually appreciate the prayer requests.

My only advice to the OP and other posters is that if you ever are unsure about asking for a prayer request for someone, we often let others know that we have "An unspoken request." In my area, it's what you say when you have a prayer request that you either are not ready or not willing to go into detail about. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: nolechica on July 27, 2013, 11:41:58 AM
If MIL or BIL had asked rather than demanded, I'd say you should alter your FB.  As is, they don't deserve their demands be granted and you should only address FIL.  Saving face for MIL when she's not deserving, to put it lightly, is not your job.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: shhh its me on July 27, 2013, 12:00:58 PM
If MIL or BIL had asked rather than demanded, I'd say you should alter your FB.  As is, they don't deserve their demands be granted and you should only address FIL.  Saving face for MIL when she's not deserving, to put it lightly, is not your job.

I don't think it matters that they demand. using a more black and white example  if you accidentally park in another person spot they are rude to yell at you but it doesn't mean you don't have to respect "this is my paid for private parking spot".  I should but I don't have to ask you nicely to not smoke in my home. I'd be rude to yell "Get OUT OF MY HOUSE WITH THAT CIGARETTE " but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be rude to keep smoking.

 Don't gossip about me is something people have a right to. Noting , OP may not have intended  to gossip but its what happened. At least one person brought this up with a 3rd party and"my wife is getting questioned " implies multiple people brought it up to her. People didn't talk to OP or FIL they questioned SIL, remember SIL has apparently done nothing to deserve being involved in the drama.   Someone/s in op FB group apparently like to gossip ,op should be aware of that now and from this point on its her responsibility not to provide fodder for gossip.

It's not etiquette if the rules only apply to nice people we like. 
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Iris on July 27, 2013, 07:02:24 PM
Honestly, I think it boils down to BIL being very angry with his mother and embarrassed about the situation, but being unable to express it to his mother either because he isn't in contact with her or is incapable of being honest about his feelings.  So instead, he takes his anger out on an available, convenient target.  No matter how angry he is, it's not OK for him to yell at OP like that.

This. I'm not a fan of vaguebooking myself, but I know people whose online communities work that way and it's really not okay to dictate to them how they post. The only person with any right to object to that post is FIL himself.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: TootsNYC on July 27, 2013, 11:08:43 PM
I think it's telling that your MIL immediately said to your DH, "tell your wife, NO FACEBOOK."

That indicates to me that you have a reputation (at the very least with her, but I notice your BIL reacted strongly as well) of spreading information too broadly on Facebook.

It might be worth really looking at your pattern of sharing info about the family, etc.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: zyrs on July 27, 2013, 11:45:47 PM
I think it's telling that your MIL immediately said to your DH, "tell your wife, NO FACEBOOK."

That indicates to me that you have a reputation (at the very least with her, but I notice your BIL reacted strongly as well) of spreading information too broadly on Facebook.

It might be worth really looking at your pattern of sharing info about the family, etc.

I don't know.  My wife's sister is constantly telling my wife and I not to mention anything about her on facebook.  My wife doesn't have a facebook account, and none of my friends know my wife has a sister.  But according to my wife's sister, I'm probably blabbing enough to make it so everyone's bank accounts are at risk.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: tinkytinky on July 28, 2013, 12:17:02 AM
OP here. new development. I ran into the person (singular) that "questioned" SIL (SIL had previously told me who had talked to her and it was just one). She asked about FIL and DD. I  basically said as well as can be expected. she went on to say they were sure shocked when BIL told them about the divorce AND that the date for the hearing was on his nieces birthday. (I have the only girls, the rest have all boys).  She said that BIL had made a big deal about it. Interesting. I now suspect that I was his scapegoat so SIL wouldn't find out he was the one giving info out.

MIL has a habit of giving orders and demanding things from people so it isn't "telling" that she said that. it's really kind of normal for her. She told me once that I couldn't have a flower garden in my yard because the people who owned our house before us wouldn't approve. the people in question were her MIL and FIL, and they had both passed away several years before. She professed her hatred (her word) for them on several occasions. FIL however had no problem with us putting in a garden at a house we were paying for, regardless of who previously owned it.  She told another family member who was separating from her spouse that she (family member) would NOT get a divorce because there was no divorce on her side of the family, and it wouldn't start with her. ( I only give these examples to illustrate her normal thought processes)
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: Twik on July 28, 2013, 11:36:18 AM
OP here. new development. I ran into the person (singular) that "questioned" SIL (SIL had previously told me who had talked to her and it was just one). She asked about FIL and DD. I  basically said as well as can be expected. she went on to say they were sure shocked when BIL told them about the divorce AND that the date for the hearing was on his nieces birthday. (I have the only girls, the rest have all boys).  She said that BIL had made a big deal about it. Interesting. I now suspect that I was his scapegoat so SIL wouldn't find out he was the one giving info out.

Ah. Then you've done a good deed and made him happy.  ;)
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: EllenS on July 28, 2013, 02:39:48 PM
Tinky, I have had enough crazy relatives to know how exhausting it is to deal with them, and I sympathize.

The only way I know to stay sane, is to focus on what you can control, taking responsibility for yourself and your own actions, and bringing the most mature and kind choices you can into the situation.  That usually includes some honest self-examination of how you may be contributing to problems - even if you had no bad intent.

If you want hugs and sympathy only, that is what the hugs board is for.  Advice boards are where people will ask you questions and challenge your take on the situation.  Several folks here, myself included, think that there are things you could do - or stop doing- to improve the situation and make it (slightly) easier to deal with your inlaws.  It's your choice whether you want to take that advice or not, but just re-iterating that your inlaws are horrible, selfish, controlling people really doesn't leave YOU anywhere to go, does it?

You can choose to treat selfish, controlling people in a kind way.  You can choose not to make things worse.  You can choose to give respect even if you aren't getting it back.

Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
Post by: ccnumber4 on July 29, 2013, 11:14:49 PM
I think it's telling that your MIL immediately said to your DH, "tell your wife, NO FACEBOOK."

That indicates to me that you have a reputation (at the very least with her, but I notice your BIL reacted strongly as well) of spreading information too broadly on Facebook.

It might be worth really looking at your pattern of sharing info about the family, etc.

I agree with this completely.