Author Topic: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?  (Read 15260 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2012, 12:20:07 PM »
I always think ignorning an invitation from someone you are not trying to cut off is rude.  So since you want to maintain a relationship with MIL, I think she deserves a response. IMHO your DH should call her and state that you guys have your plans made for Tday.  I wouldn't mention BIL at all because she already knows the reason that your not coming and mentioning why your not coming just opens the discussion up for debate. 

He can in the same call invite her for Saturday or you can call her later with the invitation.

weeblewobble

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 12:22:59 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.

POD. Family members in dysfunctional situations tend to act like they're completely helpless and have no choice in what's going on, but honestly, they do.  They have the choice to accept bad behavior or not. Your MIL has the choice to spend time with you on your terms or not.

kherbert05

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 12:38:40 PM »
I'm so thankful that my parents minimized contact with members of our extended family that had addiction problems. Please be strong for your kids. Think about what his being sober is going to have to look like (how long, stopping other behaviors). Set those boundries and be firm.

 My parents taught us what to do and say if we saw them around the neighborhood. After I got in my Uncle's jeep not realizing he was drunk - they had a serious conversation with me about Drunk Driving and what to do if I got caught in that position again. Not a conversation you want to have with a 9/10 yo, but they had to do it. (I had gotten out of the jeep at a stop light and ran to my Nanna's with him following - Dad about tore his head off). Basically they gave us permission to be "rude" and disobey an adult -something all kids need to know how to do.
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Kaypeep

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2012, 12:50:40 PM »
This is definitely a conversation for your DH to have.  He should decline Thanksgiving and reiterate why.  In fact, I'd go a step further and gently say to her "I know you're sad we aren't coming but you know our position on this.  It's hard for me to say no to you, but I wish you'd respect our decision and stop trying to include us with BIL for events.  It's not going to work and everyone ends up disappointed.  We get upset that you won't take us at our word and keep trying to force us to be with BIL, and you get upset that we say no.  So please, stop asking.  We still love you and you are always welcome here and we want to see YOU.  So please, still join us on Saturday because we're looking forward to seeing you.  But please, come alone.  If BIL comes along, we will not let him in and there will be a scene, and we would rather not have the kids witness that scene.  I know it's hard for you to deal with this, but I need to you try and understand and respect my wishes.  Thanks."

weeblewobble

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 01:07:10 PM »
I don't want to dogpile, but I also agree your DH shouldn't have attended the birthday dinner. (Also, it was excessively awful that your MIL basically denied your husband a birthday celebration unless BIL was involved.)  She's employing the same technique I mentioned above. And by going, even without you and the kids, he's shown MIL that she can have what she wants as long as she makes it so uncomfortable for him to say no that he folds.

If I've learned anything, it's that you can't fold "just this once" because it's a special occasion and you don't want to fight on a special occasion.  You will lose all of the progress you've built up protecting the non-special occasions. Your MIL will use any excuse at her disposal to justify including:

"Oh, he needed a ride to XYZ, so I let him tag along!"

"Oh, he was having an allergic reaction to shellfish, so I had to bring him so I could keep an eye on him."

"Oh, I couldn't drive because my vision isn't good after dark, so I needed him to drive.""

"Oh, but it's (his birthday/Christmas/my birthday/Thanksgiving/your birthday/Easter/Arbor Day/National Back Hair Awareness Day!  You can't expect him to sit at home alone!"

You can't make exceptions.  Because the minute you do, they'll expect you to make another one, and another.  Until you're back at square one.

amylouky

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2012, 01:15:15 PM »
Thank you all for the replies. We are honestly trying to keep our spines firm on this, I know we haven't done the best in the past. It's easier to know in my mind what the right thing is, than to actually make myself enforce it. I do sympathize with MIL and understand why she won't cut BIL off.. she had a sibling with very similar issues who took his own life, so I think that she's afraid if she just cuts him off, the same thing will happen. Still doesn't change the fact that we need to protect our children (and ourselves) from the situation.

I agree that DH going to the birthday dinner was a step backward. What had happened was, DH had called her earlier in the week and asked her to meet us at X restaurant. He made it VERY clear that the invitation was for her, and for her alone. We thought that she got it, but then, 30 mins before we were supposed to be at the restaurant, she called us and said, "Hey, we are already here if you all wanted to head up a little earlier..". We, being her and BIL.

This was really the first time that we had explicitly stated that BIL was not welcome. I refused to go, and refused to bring the boys. It's hard to explain but DH did not want to get in a huge fight (and it would have been) on his birthday. We agreed that he would go alone, and call MIL in the next day or two to explain (again) our position. Shouldn't have been necessary, but apparently the first time didn't sink in.

I just talked to DH.. he is going to call her tonight, and just say "We're not going to be there on Thursday, but we'd love for you to come to our house on Saturday for dinner. Please remember that this is an invitation for YOU."

I know that we come off as weak here.. it's just hard to consider cutting MIL off if that is what this has to come to. DH's family is REALLY small.. as in, DH, BIL, MIL. I know DH doesn't want to leave MIL all alone. Despite her manipulations and intentional blinders where BIL is involved, she really is a good person and we very much want to maintain a relationship with her, for her sake, our sake, and for our boys' sake. Just have to get it across to her that for now anyway, that relationship can't and won't include BIL.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 01:16:47 PM by amylouky »

gramma dishes

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 01:21:43 PM »
Her reluctance, given her past experience with her own sibling, is understandable.  But you really do have to stick to your guns here anyway.

You are NOT demanding that she abandon BIL.  All you're asking is that he not be included in visits with you.  She can keep him and keep you too.  Just not together.

MrTango

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 01:32:31 PM »
Her reluctance, given her past experience with her own sibling, is understandable.  But you really do have to stick to your guns here anyway.

You are NOT demanding that she abandon BIL.  All you're asking is that he not be included in visits with you.  She can keep him and keep you too.  Just not together.

I completely agree with the bolded.  I would be ready for her to play the "don't make me choose between you and your brother" card.

Deetee

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 01:40:23 PM »
I want to note that while I think DH going was giving MIL hope, the fact that you stayed home was important.
This was the first time standing up to them, so the mere fact that you stayed home may have been enough to get the point across.
If this were the 4th times standing up and you had caved the same way, it would have been much worse.

From now on you can be a total immovable brick wall on this subject.

SamiHami

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2012, 01:44:44 PM »
Oh, Amylouky, you realize that she is going to bring BIL on Saturday, don't you? She was told to not bring him to the restaurant after being told not to. And she was rewarded by your DH showing up.

I know this will be difficult, but I think if (when) she shows up with him that you and your DH already have a plan in mind for how you are going to handle it. Unfortunately, I think you are going to have to go semi-nuclear on her to get her to understand that your boundaries will not be broken. When your DH talks with her again, I suggest he tell her that if she does bring BIL that all contact will be cut off for X period of time (a month, two months, whatever your decide). And stick to it-nevermind about birthdays Christmas, other events. She needs to know that if she insists on breaking your rules that there will be consequences that hurt.

I know it will be very difficult. But I really think it's the only way that you'll get through to her. And you are not being unreasonable; it's not like you are telling her to cut off contact with  BIL; you are just telling her that you refuse to spend time with him. She should be able to live with that, even though she won't like it. You must protect yourself and your kids first and foremost.

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TootsNYC

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2012, 02:41:52 PM »
(I had gotten out of the jeep at a stop light and ran to my Nanna's with him following - Dad about tore his head off).

I think your DH needs also to talk to his brother one last time.
Maybe in the presence of his mother.

And say, "No matter what Mom tells you, you are not welcome in our home. You are not welcome at parties we arrange. When you have been clean and sane for two years, we will consider seeing you in limited ways. I'm sorry if this hurts you, but I have a responsibility to keep this sort of insanity away from my family. And I *also* don't want to be around it in any way myself.
    "So don't show up at my house. I'll shut the door in your face.
    "Mom, don't bring him. Don't make this worse for him and harder for him than it needs to be. Don't rub his nose in it."

And later, to his mom he can say:
     "While I may seem like I'm being mean--this hurts me too. A lot. It's really painful to see my only brother, the only other member of my family, hurt himself in this way.
    "I don't enjoy being forced to choose between my wife and kids, and my brother. But *he* has created a situation in which I have to. He is the one forcing the choice It hurts me to have to repeatedly turn him away, to repeatedly reject him. Don't do that to ME. Don't make ME have to have this conversation over and over. Don't rub MY nose in it.
     "It's a bad situation--don't spend so much energy fighting it now--that will only make it harder on BIL. And harder on me. And therefore harder to heal. After all, what is it that they say? 'It won't get better if you pick at it'? "

And then, when she breaks the boundaries, cut off HER access to you as well. Go "radio silence."
The only way she'll take you seriously is if you never, ever budge, and if she suffers as well.


YummyMummy66

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2012, 02:43:02 PM »
I agree with others that your dh should never have gone to his birthday dinner.  When she called up and stated they were already there, MIL knew exactly what she was doing.  She knew how you would feel and thought it best to soften the blow before you got to the restaurant so you would not argue with her.  Your dh did not have to fight. He simply should have said, "Who is we? Bil?  You know how I and my family feel.  I hope you both have a nice dinner.  We will stay home and order pizza" and hang up.  Be done and don't answer the phone again.  No fights.

If MIL decides to show up on Sat. with BIL, then your dh needs to enforce your family's wishes.  To MIL, "Mom, you know how we feel.  You can either come in alone or turn around and go back home.  BIL, my family and I wish to have nothing to do with you as long as you are not seeking help for your addiciton and are clean and sober for such and such a time.  I truly hope you get the help you need to help you get better, but until that time comes, we will have nothing to do with you whatsoever.  We will not attend a function where you are at, we will not come to MIL's house, and you are never invited into our home."   Mom, are you coming in or not? 

If she says not without BIL, then your dh needs to stand up for himself and your family and "I am sorry then.  Have a safe ride back home", turn around and close the door.

AreaWoman

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2012, 02:58:04 PM »
This thread is giving me serious chills, as we had a family tragedy occur between a long-time substance abuser and his/her enabler at Thanksgiving.  While it has been a long time, I still cannot stand Thanksgiving and get seriously depressed at this time every year.  OP, please know that you are doing exactly the right thing, and please, please do everything you can to keep your children safe.

Also, I agree that MIL WILL show up with BIL on Saturday.  I would just not invite her until she really and truly understands your position (although I admit I have a bias on this -- see above).  I don't think it is rude to keep a known enabler, even a close family member, at arm's length.

rose red

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2012, 03:24:54 PM »
Well, she didn't really invite you to Thanksgiving dinner.  She asked you to stop by if you can.  Your DH can just phone her and say you can't. 

I'm wondering about Saturday dinner.  I bet you anything she will bring BIL.  Maybe you can invite her to dinner sometime when you are going to a restaurant.  If BIL shows up, your family can leave.  Leaving is harder to do if dinner is at your home.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2012, 03:48:46 PM »
Well, she didn't really invite you to Thanksgiving dinner.  She asked you to stop by if you can.  Your DH can just phone her and say you can't. 

I'm wondering about Saturday dinner.  I bet you anything she will bring BIL.  Maybe you can invite her to dinner sometime when you are going to a restaurant.  If BIL shows up, your family can leave.  Leaving is harder to do if dinner is at your home.

Why should they leave their own home? They don't have to let the woman and her son into their house.