Author Topic: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9, #234 p.16  (Read 39943 times)

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Piratelvr1121

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #195 on: April 03, 2013, 03:27:52 PM »
Course the other thing is that if DH were to eat it, the OP couldn't kiss him without having a reaction, so it seems evil to even give it to the OP meaning it to be for her son.   

I suggest throwing it out as well and if they gasp and say that's wasteful, say "So is giving chocolate to someone who cannot eat it."
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

EmmaJ.

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #196 on: April 03, 2013, 03:35:19 PM »
OP, you mentioned earlier that you love licorice.  Next time she hands you a wrapped package, get very excited and say, "Oh I hope it's a big bag of licorice! Everyone knows how much love licorice!  I haven't had licorice in ages!"

When you open it and see that it is chocolate, drop your joyful look.  Flatly say "Oh".  Set chocolate aside.  Don't hand it off to anyone.  Do not acknowledge it again. And no eye contact with MIL. 


Marguette

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #197 on: April 03, 2013, 03:39:06 PM »
If it happens again, your feelings will be very, very hurt. I suggest that you donít orchestrate a response planned ahead of time but just let your feelings take over and do what comes naturally. From the feelings you have described, it seems likely that your reaction might be to burst into tears. If that happens, donít stifle it. Let her view how she has made you feel.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 03:42:23 PM by Marguette »

TootsNYC

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #198 on: April 03, 2013, 04:18:15 PM »
OP, you mentioned earlier that you love licorice.  Next time she hands you a wrapped package, get very excited and say, "Oh I hope it's a big bag of licorice! Everyone knows how much love licorice!  I haven't had licorice in ages!"

When you open it and see that it is chocolate, drop your joyful look.  Flatly say "Oh".  Set chocolate aside.  Don't hand it off to anyone.  Do not acknowledge it again. And no eye contact with MIL.


Nice!

A great way of using the classic motivation of gift-giving to provide negative (and positive) reinforcement.

JenJay

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #199 on: April 03, 2013, 08:01:58 PM »
Given the update I'd open the chocolate, look very confused, and say "MIL you accidentally gave me DH's gift. Here honey, everyone knows I can't eat chocolate but you love it." Draw attention to the fact that she's given him two gifts and you none. Maybe it'll shame her into stopping. If not at least she'll know she isn't getting away with it.

Jelaza

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #200 on: April 03, 2013, 08:08:40 PM »
Yeah, I was going to also suggest that you start crying.  No anger, and not loud dramatic crying.  Just silent or quiet tears before setting the chocolate down on the nearest surface and then hiding in the bathroom for 10 minutes or so.  Then obviously don't look at MIL when you come back.

KB

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #201 on: April 03, 2013, 09:17:03 PM »
Given the update I'd open the chocolate, look very confused, and say "MIL you accidentally gave me DH's gift. Here honey, everyone knows I can't eat chocolate but you love it." Draw attention to the fact that she's given him two gifts and you none. Maybe it'll shame her into stopping. If not at least she'll know she isn't getting away with it.

Considering OP's comments above, I think this is exactly what MIL wants to happen. She wants DH to have this second present. She won't be ashamed. She will be pleased at getting what she wants. The most effective way of demonstrating the pointlessness of MIL's actions is to do as the OP was considering before - give the gifts she receives to FIL instead, and perhaps (somewhat passive-aggressively) give MIL gifts that only FIL would like.

artk2002

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #202 on: April 04, 2013, 12:44:00 AM »
On the topic of waste: MIL is the one wasting food by giving it to a person who cannot safely consume it. In fact, were she to complain that the food was "wasted" by being thrown away, my response would be: "Why did you waste it by giving it to me, when you know that I cannot eat it?"
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Iris

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #203 on: April 04, 2013, 12:56:58 AM »
On the topic of waste: MIL is the one wasting food by giving it to a person who cannot safely consume it. In fact, were she to complain that the food was "wasted" by being thrown away, my response would be: "Why did you waste it by giving it to me, when you know that I cannot eat it?"

Yes, I have to say this MIL has a pretty sweet deal going. Don't make a scene or YOU will have cut family ties; Don't throw it away or YOU will be wasting food; Don't respond in kind or YOU will be a bad person; Don't give it to anyone other than who she deems fit or YOU will have upset her and ruined the day. Why do you care if she thinks you're a bad person for wasting food? You think she's a bad person for giving it to you and I guarantee that she doesn't give a flying fig for your opinion on that matter.

Frankly I think that you and DH need to stop taking ownership of the consequences of her bad behaviour. Until both of you are ready to actually take a stand and refuse to feel guilty about the consequences then nothing is going to change. From your posts it sounds like you don't really want to take a stand, which is fine because it's your choice, but I really believe that your choices are to either take a stand (via walking out or whatever) or find a way to not get so upset about it. Easier said than done, I know, but it seems that those are your options.
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Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #204 on: April 04, 2013, 05:29:33 AM »

Yes, I have to say this MIL has a pretty sweet deal going. Don't make a scene or YOU will have cut family ties; Don't throw it away or YOU will be wasting food; Don't respond in kind or YOU will be a bad person; Don't give it to anyone other than who she deems fit or YOU will have upset her and ruined the day. Why do you care if she thinks you're a bad person for wasting food? You think she's a bad person for giving it to you and I guarantee that she doesn't give a flying fig for your opinion on that matter.


And a second vote for this. This is precisely why I suggested what I did in post 166. Don't do it yourself. You already know that she doesn't care what you think. It seems that she does care what your DH thinks. That's why I said:


I'm for the putting it in the bin, open, so that it can't be retrieved - but I don't think you should do that. I think your DH should do it. I think you should be careful never to accept a gift unless your DH is in the room, so that you aren't the villain when you don't accept it, or so that you can't be accused of tattling to your DH about 'your mother's being horrible to me!' I think your DH should go nuclear on her every single time and there should be no secondary reward for her in the form of DH/FIL/MIL getting the chocolate.


Frankly I think that you and DH need to stop taking ownership of the consequences of her bad behaviour. Until both of you are ready to actually take a stand and refuse to feel guilty about the consequences then nothing is going to change. From your posts it sounds like you don't really want to take a stand, which is fine because it's your choice, but I really believe that your choices are to either take a stand (via walking out or whatever) or find a way to not get so upset about it. Easier said than done, I know, but it seems that those are your options.

This is bang on the target. Looking back, you've got advice along a spectrum. I think your DH should go nuclear. o_gal in post 179 thinks you should drop the rope and teach yourself not to care. If we leave out some fairly obviously not-to-be-taken-seriously posts early on, we are probably either end of the arc of possibilities. I can see that what you want is a form of words that will convince your MIL that her behaviour is unacceptable, and cause her never to do it again.

I don't think it exists, not just in the form of words. You've tried words, repeatedly, and it hasn't worked. Probably everybody on this forum knows the line about insanity being the act of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. You already know that telling her not to give you chocolate, it's harmful to your health and hurtful to you emotionally, has no long term result.

If you aren't willing to take action - and to get your DH to take action so that it is plain to your MIL that when she hurts you she also hurts him - then you have to find a way not to care. If you can't bring yourself not to care, then you need to take action. Words won't cut it here. I also don't have a good feeling about giving her gifts obviously for your FIL - that says that this is a game, if a spiteful one, and that you're playing. You don't want to 'play'. It's too important for that.

Iris is precisely right about 'refusing to feel guilty about the consequences'. I do wonder if you might have made a mistake after the last row, when you gave her a hug and suggested moving forward. I absolutely understand why you did - but I think you probably weakened your position. You were the one who had been insulted and injured; it should have been for her to approach you for a reconciliation, not the other way around. There's being the Bigger Person and there's being the Bigger Doormat.

The only way that I think words might possibly work would be for your DH to take on the responsibility of calling his mother the day before every visit - every visit, without exception - and to talk to her in small words as if he thinks she's an idiot. 'I'm calling to remind you: christmascarol can't have chocolate. Not any chocolate. Not ever. Have you bought her chocolate? Are you planning to give her chocolate? Are you sure? Remember that it's not kind to give her chocolate. Promise me you won't try to give her chocolate. It's very dangerous to give her chocolate. You mustn't give her chocolate just because you think she can give it to me or to Dad or to anybody else. Now remember, because this is important - no chocolate for christmascarol. Not even a little bit.' That might work, particularly if he refused to engage in any other conversation. No chit-chat. This is a call expressly to ensure that there isn't any chocolate. But then he also has to be willing to follow through, and if chocolate appears with your name on it, he has to assert himself immediately, demand to know what she was thinking, point out that he had called her and told her all this again, etc, etc, cont page 94. Basically, go nuclear.

I'm curious: has your DH read this thread?

JenJay

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #205 on: April 04, 2013, 10:02:38 AM »
Given the update I'd open the chocolate, look very confused, and say "MIL you accidentally gave me DH's gift. Here honey, everyone knows I can't eat chocolate but you love it." Draw attention to the fact that she's given him two gifts and you none. Maybe it'll shame her into stopping. If not at least she'll know she isn't getting away with it.

Considering OP's comments above, I think this is exactly what MIL wants to happen. She wants DH to have this second present. She won't be ashamed. She will be pleased at getting what she wants. The most effective way of demonstrating the pointlessness of MIL's actions is to do as the OP was considering before - give the gifts she receives to FIL instead, and perhaps (somewhat passive-aggressively) give MIL gifts that only FIL would like.

I agree about handing the chocolate to FIL. That was actually my first bit of advice. It seems like OP's DH isn't on board with there being a "scene", though, which that would cause. The suggestion to act confused and pass the gift to DH was my plan B.  ;)

I get the impression that the MIL wants the chocolate to go to the husband indirectly, quietly and after the fact so that it still appears that she has given OP a gift. I'd hand it straight to DH in front if everyone and call attention to the fact that this is what the MIL has done. Then it'll be obvious when everyone is sitting around with a gift except for OP while her DH has two.

VorFemme

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #206 on: April 04, 2013, 10:27:39 AM »
There are four learning styles.

Your MIL has quite clearly demonstrated that she does not learn from being told what needs to be changed in the way that she is doing things in words.

This leaves three other learning styles.  Touch/Hands on (your husband hands her a gift for her to give you of something approved and the chocolate is confiscated before it can be "given") where she is guided through "how to do it the correct way" until she starts doing it that way on her own.  Visual (drop it on the floor, into DH's hands, FIL's hands, the trash, and leave it) without comment.  Is there any way to make her SMELL something nasty - perhaps you spray the chocolate with ammonia so it no longer smells "tempting" and she realizes that now nobody is going to get it?

You have to change the medium of the message you are trying to send her to get through to her using HER preferred learning style.  Starting to cry quietly and dropping the chocolate on the floor (stepping back quickly one step as if it was a spider works, but don't jump back so dramatically that SHE decides that you are being a drama queen and takes center stage with her comments about YOUR dramatics) might work.  Your DH could pick it up and hand it to his father, while asking his father to dispose of this, with a comment about chocolate being a medical issue for you.

Whether your FIL chooses to trash it or eat it, that is up to him. 

Then your husband reminds his mother that he really has to take you home (or to a doctor) just in case you came in contact with the chocolate (the meds are at home because you didn't think you'd need them with you or you have to see the doctor/pharmacist to get a refill - and you LEAVE. You don't come back that day.  Every time she hands you chocolate, your visit ENDS, within a minute or two.  Even if you "just got there" - it's time to leave since the area isn't safe for you and your husband doesn't want to expose you to potential hazards. 

On the phone or by letter, he can ask his mother to please stop distressing HIM by giving you chocolate, since he can't enjoy his chocolate or the visit once he sees that you're being placed at risk.......he can suggest something that you do like (jelly beans?  licorice sticks?  salt water taffy?  oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips? bag of pretty beads from the craft store?) to substitute, so that BOTH of you are able to stay and enjoy the next event that has been planned.

Or he can do the cut direct (etiquette nuclear option) and let her know that the next time she hands you chocolate - in any form or fashion - he is reporting it to the police as an attempted poisoning and it will be the LAST time he sees her in her life.  Seriously, this has been dragging on this long because she doesn't see any serious consequences.  But that can't just be threatened, he has to have her convinced that he means it and that it really will end her chances to see her son.  Her husband might be invited out to lunch with him and their SIL, but she is persona non grata for life.

The only other option that I can think of is to use animal training techniques like spraying her with cold water,cracking a whip, or blowing a loud whistle that hurts her ears when she does something like this and saying "Bad MIL, no chocolate" - then praising her to the skies when she does something "right" as soon as possible.

But that would make a scene to end all dramatic scenes......so - not possible.  Even if walking into her house with a chair and a whip like an old style lion tamer sounds like fun.......You can only play "Jane Goodall studying the primates" so long - when the silver-backed female tries to KILL you, even if it "looks" like it might be accidental, it's time to do something else.

Even Seigfried & Roy, the tiger tamers of Vegas, retired when one of them got mauled.......
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 10:40:07 AM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

MindsEye

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #207 on: April 04, 2013, 10:48:39 AM »
When I said I was fed up of being the adult, what I really meant is I just want to turn round and walk out.  Take that, MIL!  But that would punish my DH, FIL and SIL.  Her other DIL did that and we haven't seen BIL or nephews in over 10 years.  Another BIL is nasty to them, allowing a little contact now and again.  A bit bait and switch.  It hurts us all.

Wait, wait... let me step back a minute...

OP, would you mind explaining the bolded?  Because it reads to me like this sort of disrespectful and provocative behavior may be a pattern with your MIL.  Did her actions drive away her other DIL (an by extension her son and their children as well) and alienate another BIL?

If your MIL is really afraid of driving you away, what about holding that possibility over her head as a threat?

And, if you do end up "cutting" her, remember, it doesn't have to be forever, full stop.  You can always decide to give her the opportunity to earn her way back into your good graces.  And if you "cut" MIL, that doesn't mean you cut FIL and SIL as well, unless they refuse to see you without MIL.

NyaChan

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #208 on: April 04, 2013, 11:05:51 AM »
I have a feeling that if this were me, when MIL came towards me with a gift I'd ask (even if it is obvious) -

"Is there chocolate in this?"  and upon confirmation,  "I will not accept it."   And then I would not take it from her hands, repeating, "I do not accept gifts of chocolate."

Put your hands behind your back if you have to & let your husband know ahead of time that he is not to accept the gift on your behalf.  It shouldn't hit your hands because then she makes it your problem, your choice as to what you do with it, and then your consequences when she reacts badly to your choice.  This way, no one can argue with what you have done - everyone knows you don't accept gifts of chocolate because it can kill you. 

LeveeWoman

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Re: MIL and the chocolate presents - updated #134, p.9
« Reply #209 on: April 04, 2013, 11:06:53 AM »
When I said I was fed up of being the adult, what I really meant is I just want to turn round and walk out.  Take that, MIL!  But that would punish my DH, FIL and SIL.  Her other DIL did that and we haven't seen BIL or nephews in over 10 years.  Another BIL is nasty to them, allowing a little contact now and again.  A bit bait and switch.  It hurts us all.

Wait, wait... let me step back a minute...

OP, would you mind explaining the bolded?  Because it reads to me like this sort of disrespectful and provocative behavior may be a pattern with your MIL.  Did her actions drive away her other DIL (an by extension her son and their children as well) and alienate another BIL?

If your MIL is really afraid of driving you away, what about holding that possibility over her head as a threat?

And, if you do end up "cutting" her, remember, it doesn't have to be forever, full stop.  You can always decide to give her the opportunity to earn her way back into your good graces.  And if you "cut" MIL, that doesn't mean you cut FIL and SIL as well, unless they refuse to see you without MIL.

In post #175 yesterday, christmascarol said that everyone says "that's just how she is" about her mother-in-law, and that it is a multi-generational problem.