Author Topic: Christmas host from E-hell  (Read 21764 times)

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Venus193

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2012, 06:49:12 AM »
Your brother may have been nasty to you because he somehow couldn't tell off the relatives who allowed their children to truly mess up his basement.  That does not excuse his behavior.

Limiting your contact with him is the best way to deal with a consistent lack of respect.

VltGrantham

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012, 10:39:07 AM »
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Background: My brother met his girlfriend (now, unfortunately, his wife) in early 2010.  She moved in with him that summer.  Both she and my brother are perfectionist, OCD type people although she is 10 times worse than my brother.  For the first 9 months, she appeared to not want to get to know my family at all.  She avoided our family events, limited the amount that my brother had previously entertained at his house and was in general rude at the events she did attend or *allowed* to happen.  I chalked it up as a social disorder and tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.    /bg

Honestly, at first I thought you might be talking about my SIL, my husband's brother's wife.  BIL had a large home and allowed most of the entertaining to go on there.  Once my SIL married him though, she put a stop to a lot of it.  Many people in the family were incensed because it was "tradition" that he hosted these events, but the problem was that the hosting caused damage to the home, required a lot of clean-up which of course very few offered to help with, often ended with drunk individuals being put up for the night (and then having to clean up their resulting sick), and even had thefts occur from some friends who were guests of his family.

Allow me to offer you a slightly different perspective here.  You say that some members of the family regularly show up to potluck style events with little, if any, food but expect their large families to be served.  And when they show, they don't adequately supervise their children.  While your intentions were good, without pointing out that there wasn't a lot of food to go around, you simply circumvented the issue and started using their kitchen as your own.

It's possible that some, not all, members of your family have been taking advantage of your brother's generosity and he, until he was validated by his girlfriend, put up with the behavior because after all, it's family, and that's what families do.  I'd be willing to bet he's been holding back years worth of resentments but putting up with them because he thought he had to.  Now that GF is in the picture, she is telling him that no, showing up to a potluck style party with your spouse, five children, and no food, is not acceptable.  Allowing family to destroy your home because they refuse to adequately supervise their off spring is not acceptable either.  He probably feels empowered for the first time, in a long time, in setting acceptable limits.

To be fair, I really don't think what you did was that bad and you may have gotten the brunt of some of the residual ill-feelings he has for others who have long taken advantage of him.  However, I do think that you need to re-evaluate how you feel about his GF.  She has upset the normal "status quo" but that does not mean she is evil or controlling.  Since the two of them have effectively formed a partnership, it's understandable that the game would change.  Everyone needs to accept this and move on from there.  Not insist that everything proceed as usual.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012, 12:21:11 PM »
VltGrantham, that's exactly what is happening in my family now.  Dark Boyfriend is empowering me to stand up for myself.  Now, I'm sure not to take out my residual ill feelings on anyone, but I completely get what you're saying.  However, if she was "in general rude at the events she did attend", this may be a little of what you described and a little of the GF is just not a nice person to be around sometimes.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

VltGrantham

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2012, 01:39:32 PM »
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However, if she was "in general rude at the events she did attend", this may be a little of what you described and a little of the GF is just not a nice person to be around sometimes.

Maybe.  I'm certainly not saying GF is a saint.  After all, I don't know the woman.  However, DH's family think of both myself and my SIL as lesser beings.  We don't attend many family events either and when we're there, we're not usually happy about it either since a lot of commentary comes our way about "well, we USED to be able to go over to Brother's house but nobody's allowed over there anymore without a royal invitation."  I find it tedious to listen to my FIL congratulate himself over and over or watch him try to steal the spotlight from whomever's special event it is.  Everybody should be allowed their moment to shine, but all eyes need to be on him and his accomplishments.  My SIL doesn't hide it very well at all.  I'm only a little better because I've had years more of practice.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2012, 02:08:09 PM »
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However, if she was "in general rude at the events she did attend", this may be a little of what you described and a little of the GF is just not a nice person to be around sometimes.

Maybe.  I'm certainly not saying GF is a saint.  After all, I don't know the woman.  However, DH's family think of both myself and my SIL as lesser beings.  We don't attend many family events either and when we're there, we're not usually happy about it either since a lot of commentary comes our way about "well, we USED to be able to go over to Brother's house but nobody's allowed over there anymore without a royal invitation."  I find it tedious to listen to my FIL congratulate himself over and over or watch him try to steal the spotlight from whomever's special event it is.  Everybody should be allowed their moment to shine, but all eyes need to be on him and his accomplishments.  My SIL doesn't hide it very well at all.  I'm only a little better because I've had years more of practice.

I may very well be you in a few years.  Right now, I can't stand being around my family because it always becomes a contest and the "adults" (ie aunts, uncles, and parents) still treat the rest of us like we're in high school.  The youngest is now 22, far from being a teenager.  I have fun sometimes, but it's getting old.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

VltGrantham

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2012, 02:43:39 PM »
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I have fun sometimes, but it's getting old.

As I've gotten older, I find I get more results on the being treated like a kid thing if I pointedly remind someone that I've been self-supporting for longer than they had to take care of me as a child and that only when, and if, I can no longer handle that responsibility by myself do they get to treat me like a kid ever again.

bopper

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2012, 03:32:33 PM »
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Background: My brother met his girlfriend (now, unfortunately, his wife) in early 2010.  She moved in with him that summer.  Both she and my brother are perfectionist, OCD type people although she is 10 times worse than my brother.  For the first 9 months, she appeared to not want to get to know my family at all.  She avoided our family events, limited the amount that my brother had previously entertained at his house and was in general rude at the events she did attend or *allowed* to happen.  I chalked it up as a social disorder and tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.


This is the problem.  People like this can have control issues...and all the stress of the day makes them take out their frustrations on you.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2012, 01:01:27 AM »
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I have fun sometimes, but it's getting old.

As I've gotten older, I find I get more results on the being treated like a kid thing if I pointedly remind someone that I've been self-supporting for longer than they had to take care of me as a child and that only when, and if, I can no longer handle that responsibility by myself do they get to treat me like a kid ever again.

I tried something like that.  You know what Dark Mother told me?  "I would never have talked like that to my mother."  I turned right around and said, "And you hated it, didn't you?"  She was quiet, then I said, "I am an adult and deserved to be treated and respected like one.  That means my opinion matters and that you can't make decisions for me."  She's trying, but when she gets around her family resorts to, "Do as you're told!"
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

shutterbug

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 11:21:29 PM »
I know this is a little old now, but I lost track of the thread and thought I should clarify.  This was a potluck, so bringing dishes to share wasn't usurping any planned menus .  My brother isn't a great cook and my mother, sister and various relatives are long used to bringing items to prepare at his house and it's never been an issue before.  In fact, it's become part of the tradition, as we all gather around and chat while we're preparing food for the larger family gathering, which is a big part of why I was so gobsmacked over the entire ordeal.   

I don't think the problem was in me bringing extra food as it was Bertha is over-the-top OCD and she orders my brother around like the Gestapo (it's gotten much worse since this incident to the point where he even has to clear his food choices with her because she has him on a diet).  She drove my brother crazy in making sure there were no messes and he displaced his anger at the relatives who were making the big messes with me, who wasn't even aware I had made a teeny tiny mess. 

None of my family really feels welcome at his home anymore, thanks largely to Bertha's barely guised hostility at having to have anything to do with our family.  Needless to say, we don't do family events at his house anymore.


Emmy

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2012, 08:10:53 PM »
It sounds like the OP's second cousins were a pack of wolves.  They bring a large family to a potluck party and no food and they let their kids run wild in the house.  If I was Bertha I would already feel stressed and very put out if guests couldn't treat my house with respect so I don't think she was at all unreasonable for feeling that way.  It might have been the straw that broke the camel's back that the OP took it upon herself to cook something in Bertha's kitchen without consulting her.  I know the OP had good intentions, she needed food for herself, DH, and the rest of the relatives, but the way she went about it was not correct.  I do think the OP's brother and Bertha are way over reacting towards the OP and is probably misplaced anger about how other relatives acted.  It is always easier to go off on somebody with whom you are more comfortable and have a close relationship than somebody you don't know that well.

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2012, 02:33:06 PM »
It all goes back to the tone used at the time. If a "guest"'s (family or no) tone is presumptuous, condescending, self- righteous or anything less than genuinely & sincerely helpful, I will have a problem with them going ahead & using my kitchen instead of asking what my personal preference is first, then using my kitchen as agreed upon. If a person's tone is sincere then any help is truly welcome. It always goes back to the tone used at that moment. IMO a person with grace & class will keep a helpful & unselfish tone when they see a need that needs to bet met & not make assumptions. Of course there exceptions like a 911 type emergency but that was not the type of scenario the OP described.

Drawberry

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2012, 04:13:28 PM »
While I can understand your desire to be helpful, I would be upset too if I was hosting a party and someone else took over without even consulting me.

You hijacked the hosting duties by buying food and preparing it in their kitchen without so much as a by-your-leave. They had every right to be upset over what you did.

I do think that they reacted badly to everything going on, but they were not unjustified in their feelings.

I have to agree with River and some others, just because you feel like you can brush off the children's rowdy behavior doesn't mean everyone should. I'd be furious if someone's child was smearing food around my home and would be far more assertive than your sister-in-law about voicing my displeasure. It feels as if you are more apt to set aside the children's actions because you approve of them more then your sister-in-law.

Again I also have to agree that without first checking it was not really appropriate for you to take over their kitchen for your own use. I am on good terms with all of my siblings but I wouldn't dream of making myself at home in their kitchen without asking or otherwise being invited to prior.

You said it's a potluck and that bringing dishes is the point, that does not mean taking over the hosts kitchen to throw together a meal specifically for your own dietary specialties is the same thing. Your brother and his wife seem to have assumed that because it was a potluck that you and your husband would bring your own meal suitable for your specific diet and not expect others to cater to this at an event specifically about bringing food you enjoy.

I am sure your brother did not appreciate your haphazard helping to his kitchen anymore than your sister-in-law did. You need to give him more credit then you seem to be, which is blaming his words and actions on the influence of his wife.
 

Then Bertha should have gone out for more food - and food that everyone could eat - herself. Since she was busy shirking her hostess duties and going bonkers over a few shreds of parmesian, OP was just fine in my book. It also sounds like hosting duties are pretty loosely defined in the OP's family, and Bertha is just uptight. I wouldn't go over there again while she's in the picture, and instead invite the family over instead, if that's an option. And if Bertha wants to avoid the gatherings, call it a bonus.

I disagree strongly with this. Especially since the party was to be a potluck, where one is meant to bring their favorite preferred foods. I have friends who don't eat certain meat and they repeatedly have told me to bring anything I like to potluck parties (Yes, as them as the host), even if it's not something they themselves eat. I am told that I am free to bring whatever I feel like bringing and I don't need to do anything to suit their diet. If I make a dish I feel I can make equally well to suit their diet I will do so, but it's never expected of me to cater to their specific diet. I have a sister who does not eat meat and does not make her meals to cater to me eating meat, if I want it I bring it or make it myself (I once lived in her home for a brief period of time, so yes I was welcome to use her kitchen at any time). 

If the brother and sister-in-law's party was not a potluck, then yes I feel that it would be courteous to provide a dish suitable for the OP and husbands vegetarian diet. However, this was not such a dinner and the intent was for the OP and husband to bring their vegetarian dish to begin with.




For the record, my brother was previous married to a woman no one in my family liked who ultimately ended up cheating on him. I am no stranger to nasty, unwelcoming, and overall unpleasant extended family members. I am not naive or unaware of the type of person you've portrayed.

VltGrantham

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2012, 10:22:07 AM »
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I am sure your brother did not appreciate your haphazard helping to his kitchen anymore than your sister-in-law did. You need to give him more credit then you seem to be, which is blaming his words and actions on the influence of his wife.

ITA--I have no idea why the OP is blaming Bertha for all of this.  Even if her brother is under her control, he is allowing himself to be controlled.  Or maybe, just maybe, he's sick and tired of being walked on by his family who take his hospitality for granted, use his home as a play place for their kids, and don't bother to bring enough food to share, but expect him and Bertha to pick up the tab.  It's possible that this is the first time in his life he's been encouraged to think about what's best for him first and worry about everyone else second.

Honestly I can see both sides of this issue, but I think blaming the girlfriend is the wrong way to go here.  If the OP wants to pick a fight, she should talk to her brother first.

Rusty

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2012, 11:52:55 PM »
I can relate to how you feel, my Christmas is usually ruined by my sister, ei, we take turns having it and when I do it I provide all the food, drinks, nibbles, everything, for around 25 people. I don't expect help but it would be nice if someone offered.  My sister usually brings her "special christmas cake she always makes", which is a horrible dry disaster but I wouldn't dream of offending her by telling her not to bring it and thats all she brings.  I might add that they are very well off and want for nothing.  When it is her turn to do Christmas I am told to bring all the hot meats, a few salads and plenty of drink. She never thanks me for anything and last year complained that I didn't bring enough chicken to go around (I brought 4).  When she comes to my house she always finds something wrong with the food (but manages to tuck heartily in I might add).   Well I have had enough and this year my daughter offered to do Christmas at her house for just us, our son and family and her partners family - no sister and her brood of hanger ons.  Well has the proverbial hit the fan.  I've been told that its my turn and that either I should do it or they should come to my daughters.  I said that would not be possible as they cannot afford to cater to all her family, and I was told that I have always been mean and obviously my daughter's the same.   My elderly mother is now blaming me for upsetting everyone. I just can't win.

Twik

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Re: Christmas host from E-hell
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2012, 10:22:45 AM »
Rusty, you say she "tells" you to bring the meats, etc. Perhaps she expects to be "told" what to bring to your functions, and assumes if you don't ask for anything, you don't want it? At the very least, you may tell her, since she's established that as a standard for her own entertaining. If she objects, then feel free not to bring the stuff she orders from you next time.
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