Author Topic: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?  (Read 16237 times)

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amylouky

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I've posted before about issues with BIL, and MIL's enabling of him. Well.. things have gotten worse. BIL did a stint in rehab, which only served to connect him with "friends" with better drugs. He's now graduated from pain pills/pot to meth and IV something or other.

MIL has decided (yet again) to let him move back in with her, after his last living situation fell apart. DH and I have made the decision that we will not be taking our children to her house while he is living there, and we will not be attending family events at which he is present. This decision was made much easier after he stole money from my purse at the last family event.

MIL is either really in denial about the extent of BIL's problems, or determined not to abandon him no matter how bad things get. I sort of understand this, and can respect that it's her choice to make. However, she is not respecting our decision to not be around him. And yes, we have spelled it out for her.. we will not be present if he is, and we won't be coming to her house while he is living there.

This didn't stop her from inviting BIL to my DH's birthday dinner (and yes, we had made it clear that the invitation was ONLY for her, not BIL). DH went to the dinner, just because he didn't want to have that fight on his birthday, but the boys and I stayed home. He had the fight a couple days later, and told her again in not as nice terms that we will NOT be around BIL. Period.
So.. she left a message on our voice mail about Thanksgiving. "Just wanted to see what your plans were for Thursday.. I'll be making a turkey, stop by around 4 if you can!"

I'm leaning toward ignoring the message completely, and just not showing up. We are going to decorate our Christmas tree and have dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I'd like to just call her (when I know she's at work) and leave a message inviting her to that, and not mention Thursday at all.

Is it horribly rude to just ignore her voice mail? My view is, she knows where we stand, so it's not a valid invitation since it completely ignores the boundaries we've set. If I do need to respond to it, should I tell her (again!) the reasons why we won't be there.. or just "That won't be possible"?

Also, how can I make it clear that BIL is not included in the invitation for Saturday?

25wishes

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 10:01:00 AM »
I think your DH should deliver the message and it should be --

"thanks for the invite but we won't be coming to your house as long as BIL is there. Also, we do not want him in our house when you come on Saturday. After he stole from my wife's purse, we do not want to be around him at all."


Ciarrai

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 10:07:19 AM »
I agree with Barb. Your husband needs to call her up and decline the invitation, and tell her why (again, apparently). Then he can invite her to Saturday dinner but reiterate that she is not to bring your BIL, and if she does, she will not be allowed into your home.

amylouky

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 10:35:12 AM »
*Sigh* I was afraid that we'd have to respond. I guess it would be rude to completely ignore, since it will affect how much food she'll need to plan for (DH has a very small family, not having us there will be about 1/3 of the guest list).

I just don't want to have to rehash the fight.. she got pretty angry when we didn't come to DH's birthday dinner. I suppose I'm looking for a way to keep things pleasant while sticking to our boundaries, but I don't think that is going to be possible.

I'll just have DH put on his flame-proof underoos and give her a call back, then. I like the suggestions on what to say, I'm just afraid they'll probably fall on deaf ears. Apparently he got a job about a week ago so she's convinced he's back on the right track. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

doodlemor

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 10:38:13 AM »
Your DH is giving MIL mixed signals,and should never have gone to the birthday dinner.  MIL does not believe that you and DH will really exclude BIL, because DH has not drawn the boundaries sufficiently.  DH should have called off the dinner and stayed home with you and your family.

DH needs to call MIL and tell her that your family will not be coming as long as BIL is there.  It sounds like MIL has been manipulative and a boundary pusher in the past, since your DH expects a big "fight" when she doesn't get her way.  Best take a stand and get the unpleasantness over with sooner, rather than later.


 

Deetee

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 11:04:52 AM »
It is better to have the few unpleasant "fights" where you are clear about why you are not coming then to feed MIL perpetual wishful denial. She really, really wants to pretend BIL is fine and you won't enable it.

It will get easier once she realises you are immovable on this subject.

edit: Sorry I never actually answered your question. You (or prefereably DH) should call immediately and clear things up (Well actually correct her wishful thinking).
Something like "Hi Mom, I just wanted to let you know know we won't be coming over for Turkey on Thursday. As we said, we won't be coming over to your place while BIL is there. You have a nice time. Also, we are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday. You know BIL is not invited, right? Good, because if he comes, he will not be allowed in the house and that would be embarrassing for everyone. I want to avoid that (you can add that you will call the cops if you are comfortable foing that)"
Other useful phrases "No, this isn't about any specific incident. Our family and me do not feel safe around him right now. Gotta go, Bye"

I would suggest saying something like "We will not be having ANY contact with BIL for the next year. When a year is up, we will reconsider the situation. Until then, I don't want to hear anything about it."

I think a year time frame gives you a chance to get across that you are evaluating his behaviour and you will give him another chance, but not for a while. It gives MIL something to pin her hopes on and gives you a good deflection. (most likely scenario is that he still an addict in a year, but if he is sober for 6 months at that time and has a job, maybe you can meet him a restaurants for a year, then at MIL's house. It would be a while before he would be allowed in my house.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 11:19:58 AM by Deetee »

HermioneGranger

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 11:10:45 AM »
It is better to have the few unpleasant "fights" where you are clear about why you are not coming then to feed MIL perpetual wishful denial. She really, really wants to pretend BIL is fine and you won't enable it.

It will get easier once she realises you are immovable on this subject.

Agreed.  And I'm in a similar situation, so good luck.  I hope that you have a peaceful, drama-free Thanksgiving weekend. 

SPuck

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 11:23:47 AM »
I just don't want to have to rehash the fight.. she got pretty angry when we didn't come to DH's birthday dinner. I suppose I'm looking for a way to keep things pleasant while sticking to our boundaries, but I don't think that is going to be possible.

There is no way your going to be able to get out of this without any mud throwing for no other reason that your MIL won't accept your boundaries. If she wants to be angry about the boundaries then let her be angry. You might even want to tell her you can only have a relationship without BIL and if BIL is all she wants then BIL is all she gets.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 11:24:44 AM »
I think you should stop enabling her.  You've stated your wishes, you've stated your viewpoint, and your boundaries.  The more you keep arguing about it and restating it, it just gives her an idea that you're open to arguing about it.  So treat it like it's a done deal....of course she knows that you won't be around BIL. 

So can you call her and just gloss over the T-day invite, and then invite her over on Saturday?  Act like the invitation from her was just lip service, because of course she already knows that you won't be coming to her house.

"Hi, MIL.  Yeah, can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving?  It seems like it was just summer!  But anyway, yeah, we got your message about Thursday, and it won't work for us.  But we're making a turkey on Saturday, so you're welcome to come over to our house then if you want.  Just let us know so we know if we should set an extra place at the table for you or not."

And if she dares bring up BIL, don't get mad, but act confused.  "You know how we feel about that.  I'm not sure why you're even bringing it up."

NyaChan

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 11:27:35 AM »
Your DH is giving MIL mixed signals,and should never have gone to the birthday dinner.  MIL does not believe that you and DH will really exclude BIL, because DH has not drawn the boundaries sufficiently.  DH should have called off the dinner and stayed home with you and your family.

DH needs to call MIL and tell her that your family will not be coming as long as BIL is there.  It sounds like MIL has been manipulative and a boundary pusher in the past, since your DH expects a big "fight" when she doesn't get her way.  Best take a stand and get the unpleasantness over with sooner, rather than later.

I agree, you've already shown her that your rule is not going to be enforced so she is continuing to test to see if you will give way.  I would call her directly and let her know that you will not be coming.  If she asks why, tell her that she already knows.  Don't get drawn into an argument, just state that you've made your boundaries clear and will not be attending.  If she shows up with BIL, do not allow him in, even if it means that your MIL leaves also.

cicero

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 11:28:06 AM »
Your DH is giving MIL mixed signals,and should never have gone to the birthday dinner.  MIL does not believe that you and DH will really exclude BIL, because DH has not drawn the boundaries sufficiently.  DH should have called off the dinner and stayed home with you and your family.

DH needs to call MIL and tell her that your family will not be coming as long as BIL is there.  It sounds like MIL has been manipulative and a boundary pusher in the past, since your DH expects a big "fight" when she doesn't get her way.  Best take a stand and get the unpleasantness over with sooner, rather than later.
this, exactly.


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LadyL

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 11:29:21 AM »
On some level, you are dealing with two people entangled in addiction here - the user and the enabler. Just because MIL isn't using drugs herself doesn't mean she's not engaging in behavior nearly as toxic as BIL. Think about it - in what world would you encourage a person who has stolen from someone to maintain contact with them (and vice versa)? That is not rational thinking and does not deserve polite, gentle boundaries - it demands strong, fortress like ones. For the sake of you and your DH but most of all for your kids who don't deserve to be placed anywhere NEAR this situation.

So yes, have your DH call and lay out explicitly that you will not *endanger your family* by risking any level of contact with BIL. And remind her that she is free to make her own choices but so are you. And you may want to state that this is the last time you will have the conversation (since his waffling about the bday dinner may have given her false hope) and in the future use a Toot's Cut 'n Paste of something like "You know how we feel about that, it's not up for discussion."

O'Dell

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 11:33:25 AM »
Your DH is giving MIL mixed signals,and should never have gone to the birthday dinner.  MIL does not believe that you and DH will really exclude BIL, because DH has not drawn the boundaries sufficiently.  DH should have called off the dinner and stayed home with you and your family.

DH needs to call MIL and tell her that your family will not be coming as long as BIL is there.  It sounds like MIL has been manipulative and a boundary pusher in the past, since your DH expects a big "fight" when she doesn't get her way.  Best take a stand and get the unpleasantness over with sooner, rather than later.

I agree, you've already shown her that your rule is not going to be enforced so she is continuing to test to see if you will give way.  I would call her directly and let her know that you will not be coming.  If she asks why, tell her that she already knows.  Don't get drawn into an argument, just state that you've made your boundaries clear and will not be attending.  If she shows up with BIL, do not allow him in, even if it means that your MIL leaves also.

I agree with all of the quoted, but want to emphasize the bolded. Do *not* justify, argue, defend, or explain your decisions in regards to BIL. You (and your husband) have already done this. When she starts to argue, end the conversation. "I'm afraid that won't be possible. I'm hanging up (asking you to leave) now. Goodbye." And shut the door or hang up the phone or ignore voicemails or emails, etc. where she argues. You are not rude to do this.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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gramma dishes

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 12:12:12 PM »
As often happens in life, it sounds like you'd taken two steps forward.  But when your husband went to the birthday party after stating he would have no further contact with BIL, it was definitely a step or two back. 

But it's definitely not too late to start over.  Sometimes we actually DO get "do overs" in life.

Your husband and you need to be sure you're both on the same page with this and then one of you should call your MIL and tell her in no uncertain terms that you will NOT be attending Thanksgiving there.  Do not give any excuses.  If she asks, as others before me have said, tell her that's already been discussed and she knows the answer.

If you invite her for Saturday, you need to make excruciatingly clear that the invitation does NOT include BIL and that if she even thinks about showing up with him, they will both be immediately turned away at the door.  And then be prepared to really follow through.  (Some people have a way of thinking that if they show up, you won't really have the nerve to turn them away.  They're counting on you to be "nice".)

She'll be mad.  Maybe even hurt.  But you and your children will be safe and can enjoy your holidays in peace --  and with your wallets untouched.

She can see you without BIL present or not see you and see only the BIL.   You've made your choice clear.  When it really comes down to it, it's now her choice and it's a choice SHE'S going to have to make.  BIL's choices had consequences; so will hers.

weeblewobble

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2012, 12:13:25 PM »
I would let your MIL that you will not be coming by for Thanksgiving.  Deep down, she knows that you don't want to come and why, but she thinks if she can just brazens her way through it, you'll feel so uncomfortable, you'll just comply. Trust me, I am familiar with the technique.

Re: the Saturday invitation.  You're going to have to spell it out for her, "MIL, please do not arrive with BIL.  No matter what other circumstances or 'emergencies' or transportation issues come up, we do not want BIL to come to our home. He is not welcome."

« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 12:15:31 PM by weeblewobble »