Author Topic: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?  (Read 10500 times)

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LeveeWoman

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2012, 12:52:01 PM »
And, gosh it would be awful if you forget to turn the ringer on again so she wouldn't get a chance to harangue you over not answering.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2012, 03:49:25 PM »
The only reason to repeatedly call is in event of an emergency and it seems very much like your MIL is crying wolf here.  What if there's a reason she *really* needs to get ahold of your DH, but because her constantly calling and calling and calling until someone answers is the norm for her, that's exactly how you and your DH would take it, and probably you'd continue to ignore the phone, even if there could be a legitimate emergency.

I'd bring that point up to her as well, and have a clear definition between you of what constitutes "emergency".
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Winterlight

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2012, 05:05:18 PM »
Well, you just taught her that if she rings often enough, to enough different phones, you WILL pick up.

And you taught her that you DO screen your calls.

So maybe a sit-down with DH in which HE says, "Mom, we don't like to take calls during dinner, and that's the only reason we didn't answer. We don't like the disruption to our family--it sends an awful message to our children. It's an important parenting strategy. We will never again answer the phone during dinner. We will call you back."

And then follow through.

Even if she's in mental-health crisis, I betcha she can wait 45 minutes.

You might also head her off by automatically calling her as soon as dinner is finished. Prop the phone on your shoulder and chat while you're clearing the table.

This.

And I would be suspicious of her crises at this point. It sounds like she's using them to make sure you and DH pay attention to her.
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O'Dell

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2012, 05:11:51 PM »
Then a moment later the phone rang for a fourth time so I decided to answer (because it was very disruptive and DH was getting really cross).

I think you're going to have to get comfortable with people being upset if you go the route of training your MIL. It's okay if she's upset that you all don't drop what you are doing when she calls. It's really her problem, don't make it yours. And it's okay if your husband gets mad at her antics. That will just motivate him to follow through on the plan (or you can help to channel his irritation that way if needed).
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SoCalVal

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2012, 06:18:02 PM »
Then a moment later the phone rang for a fourth time so I decided to answer (because it was very disruptive and DH was getting really cross).

I think you're going to have to get comfortable with people being upset if you go the route of training your MIL. It's okay if she's upset that you all don't drop what you are doing when she calls. It's really her problem, don't make it yours. And it's okay if your husband gets mad at her antics. That will just motivate him to follow through on the plan (or you can help to channel his irritation that way if needed).

I agree.  As with other things here when trying to either change the bad behavior or, at least, get people to understand you no longer are going to put up with it, things will get worse before they get better (but nothing will likely change unless you stop giving in).



miranova

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2012, 12:36:26 PM »
I had a person like this in my life, who truly thought that I had an actual obligation to answer my phone every time it rang.  No matter what else I was doing, no matter that I promised to call back when it was a better time....nothing worked.  He just kept calling and calling and calling and getting VERY angry when I wasn't immediately available.  The only thing that worked was literally blocking his number for 3 weeks.  He got insanely angry, but I had to NOT CARE and not give in.  After that I did unblock him (without getting into details he did need to contact me occassionally so I had to) but I told him I'd do it again if started getting crazy with the phone calls again.  He is allowed to leave ONE message and then WAIT.  It finally worked.  YEARS of harassment and it was the only thing that worked.

In your case since it is a family member that you presumably love and do want to talk to, I wouldn't go quite that extreme but I would unplug the phone during during.  Set yourself a timer if you are afraid you'll forget to plug it back in.  But you have every right to eat dinner uninterrupted. It won't take longer than a week or two before she gets it and is retrained.

Carpathia

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2012, 01:16:50 PM »
I've figured out how to turn off the ringer on the phone  >:D

Thanks for all your suggestions. Part of the reason we answer the phone when she repeatedly calls is because the disruption is just the same as having to tell her we're busy (but as pointed out by others, doesn't stop the behaviour). Silencing the phone will solve both the problems  :)

SoCalVal

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2012, 01:33:05 PM »
I've figured out how to turn off the ringer on the phone  >:D

Thanks for all your suggestions. Part of the reason we answer the phone when she repeatedly calls is because the disruption is just the same as having to tell her we're busy (but as pointed out by others, doesn't stop the behaviour). Silencing the phone will solve both the problems  :)

Good for you!  I'd like to offer a further solution that another poster used -- if she asks why you turned off the ringer, be honest with her and tell her that she won't stop calling during dinnertime and you will not have dinner interrupted (just in case she continues to refuse to get it into her head that she needs to stop).



gellchom

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2012, 01:49:34 PM »
I think you are doing fine.  I was very relieved to read the tone of your post and almost all of the replies -- all respectful, polite, and solution-oriented, not the sort of "Oh, goody, an excuse to really give it to someone -- I get to be screamingly mean, because they were rude!  Yay!" tone we sometimes hear. 

And I agree with the advice.  Make a policy of NO calls, to or from anyone, not just MIL, during dinner.  Let her know in the same polite way you've been doing.  Turn off the ringer during dinner if necessary. 

The only reason I am posting too is to add this: make sure you do return her calls as promptly as possible, and without letting her hear your exasperation.   Don't get sucked into any conversations about why you didn't answer, either to apologize, defend yourself, or to lecture her, just as quickly as possible get to, "Well, here we are now -- what's up?"

Some people who call insistently are controlling, but others are simply insecure or lonely.  If she feels like she gets enough of her family's attention, she will be more likely to back off.  I am not saying that you and your husband have been neglecting her or pushing her off (it doesn't sound a bit like you are), and I definitely recognize that some people are bottomless pits for attention.  I just mean that I have learned that as a general principle, what works best with people who seem so hungry for attention is not to pull away, but to make sure to give them plenty of it, on terms that suit me, and then they are much, much less likely to demand it in inappropriate ways and times.  I know that doesn't work in all situations, but when possible, try it.

SoCalVal

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2012, 02:09:14 PM »
I definitely recognize that some people are bottomless pits for attention.  I just mean that I have learned that as a general principle, what works best with people who seem so hungry for attention is not to pull away, but to make sure to give them plenty of it, on terms that suit me, and then they are much, much less likely to demand it in inappropriate ways and times.  I know that doesn't work in all situations, but when possible, try it.

Sadly, I haven't found that those who are hungry for attention who are then given it are less likely to demand it in inappropriate ways and times.  It has been the opposite with multiple individuals; they come to believe they should have more and more time so I've learned to just ignore it and not engage the crazy since nothing gets through.  To be fair, these are all people who think the world revolves around them, anyway, so I'm not surprised.



YummyMummy66

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2012, 08:35:38 AM »
I think that the next time you have MIL over for diinner, give us your phone number(s).  We will take turns calling all of your numbers,  and if we don't get one number, we will continue on until we either leave a message or you finally pick up.

Maybe your MIL will understand by hearing and seeing just how her calling you at dinnertime interrupts your family dinner.

I bet she say something when this happens and you can give her the speech, "Why, MIL, I am surprised this bothers you.  this is what you do to us all the time and why we have asked you to stop."   I bet you get tht deer in headlights look.

(Actually, have a friend do it for you or or your family members take turns without MIL noticing.

weeblewobble

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2012, 09:09:10 AM »

I would also caution you against being the "dumping ground" for her stress.  If she has mental health issues, she needs to discuss these stresses with her doctor/counselor.  Discussing them with you prevents her from getting the help she needs and learning to cope with these stresses on her own. I had a personality like this in my life and let me tell you that trying to be "nice" and "helpful" can lead to this person taking over all of your time with their needs and "crises." (Because there will always be a crisis.) 

In my case, this person used me as her dumping ground because it was easier than discussing her problems with her therapist.  She got to dump all of those problems in my lap, walk away feeling better (while I was emotionally exhausted) and then go to her appointments and act like she was OK.  The therapist thought she was making more progress than she was.

This person honestly didn't care what I had going.  I was to be at her beck and call at all times.  Because my life was "easy." she said, and I didn't have her problems, so I didn't have the right to say no to her.  And because she was a member of my husband's family, I didn't feel like I could alienate her totally, so I put up with it.   Then there was an incident that really illustrated how little she cared for my time or feelings, and I was able to put my foot down.

I really hope that it doesn't come down to a "put your foot down" moment with your MIL.  But I will say that your husband needs to be the one dealing with this.  He's going to be curt and hurtful with his Mom?  Big deal.  It's his mom.  He chooses how to interact with her.  Maybe she needs to suffer the consequences of her actions.

She doesn't get to be rude, and then act like the injured party when you don't react according to her expectations AND walk away scot-free while you worry about hurting her feelings.  She is creating this situation.  Not you.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2012, 09:23:20 AM »
I definitely recognize that some people are bottomless pits for attention.  I just mean that I have learned that as a general principle, what works best with people who seem so hungry for attention is not to pull away, but to make sure to give them plenty of it, on terms that suit me, and then they are much, much less likely to demand it in inappropriate ways and times.  I know that doesn't work in all situations, but when possible, try it.

Sadly, I haven't found that those who are hungry for attention who are then given it are less likely to demand it in inappropriate ways and times.  It has been the opposite with multiple individuals; they come to believe they should have more and more time so I've learned to just ignore it and not engage the crazy since nothing gets through.  To be fair, these are all people who think the world revolves around them, anyway, so I'm not surprised.

I'm extremely lucky and grateful that this did work with my mother; but it takes a person who wants to make the situation work and wants people to be happy about it, not just compliant.

*new*mommyagain36

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2012, 12:16:59 PM »
My MIL had a habit of calling my cell as I was driving home after work.  I wouldn't answer it (it's illegal here and I also just do not feel like talking while I drive.)  Once I told her that she was always calling while I was driving, she adjusted her time and my cell would ring the minute I got in my car at the end of the day.  It would literally be 5 minutes after my workday ended. I felt like she was timing me walking out of the building, across parking lot, getting in the car, etc. I still would not answer my cell.  Then she changed her time of calling to just as I was clocking out of work.  I just stopped answering my phone unless I was already at home for the night. Why? The reason she was calling me at those above mentioned times was because she wanted me to pick up something for her from the store and drop it off to her at her house on my way home.  I have numerous voicemails that say, oh, can you pick up such-and-such and drop it off on your way home?  Thanks!  Bye.  She drives and there is really nothing stopping her from running her own errands.  It was maybe 4 months of this several times a week and me never answering my phone before she caught a clue and stopped calling me.
I say all of this to say, perhaps you just do not answer the phone?  Or if you've answered the phone once and told her you would call her back, then do not answer the phone again?  Let it ring, turn off ringer, take phone off the hook. 
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JenJay

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Re: Think I've upset MIL - was I rude?
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2012, 05:25:49 PM »
My MIL had a habit of calling my cell as I was driving home after work.  I wouldn't answer it (it's illegal here and I also just do not feel like talking while I drive.)  Once I told her that she was always calling while I was driving, she adjusted her time and my cell would ring the minute I got in my car at the end of the day.  It would literally be 5 minutes after my workday ended. I felt like she was timing me walking out of the building, across parking lot, getting in the car, etc. I still would not answer my cell.  Then she changed her time of calling to just as I was clocking out of work.  I just stopped answering my phone unless I was already at home for the night. Why? The reason she was calling me at those above mentioned times was because she wanted me to pick up something for her from the store and drop it off to her at her house on my way home.  I have numerous voicemails that say, oh, can you pick up such-and-such and drop it off on your way home?  Thanks!  Bye.  She drives and there is really nothing stopping her from running her own errands.  It was maybe 4 months of this several times a week and me never answering my phone before she caught a clue and stopped calling me.
I say all of this to say, perhaps you just do not answer the phone?  Or if you've answered the phone once and told her you would call her back, then do not answer the phone again?  Let it ring, turn off ringer, take phone off the hook.

That's nuts! I would have enjoyed calling her back just after I got home and saying "Oh shoot, I never check my messages until after I get home. Hey, as long as you're going out, could you grab me some ice cream and drop it off? Thanks!"  >:D