Author Topic: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?  (Read 15191 times)

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auntmeegs

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2012, 03:56:00 PM »
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 disagree with the bolded.  I think its perfectly reasonable for the OP to not want to be around BIL and not want her children to be around him either.  But I don't think that means her DH has to write his brother off completely and forever.  Despite BIL's many issues, the OP's DH probably still loves his brother and feels sad that he is the way he is.  As long as he is not pressuring the OP to have a relationship with him I don't think its so unreasonable that he go on his own once in a while to keep some line of communication open.  Deep down inside me may hold out some hope that some day his brother will get his life together. 

rose red

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2012, 03:56:55 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.

Once again, I used the wrong phase.  I mean it's easier to turn away and leave the situation when you are on neutral ground.

Yes, you can close the door, but in a real life situation, it's hard to do that with your own mother even if she behaves like the OP's MIL.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 03:59:06 PM by rose red »

gramma dishes

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2012, 04:29:16 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.

Not only that (and that's certainly true) but DH's birthday was held at a restaurant and she brought him anyway even though they had specifically said they didn't want him there.  That's why only DH went and not the rest of the family.

Mikayla

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2012, 04:52:41 PM »
Amylouky, you mentioned that you appear weak, and I don't think you do at all.  In fact, I think it took courage for you to boycott your DH's birthday.  I agree with PPs that he messed up on that, but it's getting kind of glossed over that you did not.  Your kids didn't get to attend their dad's birthday dinner, and your DH didn't even have his own wife.  So props to you for that!

What your DH needs to be very clear on is that, when dealing with addicts and their enablers, words are meaningless unless they are accompanied by actions.  It's obvious that your MIL is still stuck in the word game, and this means it's very likely she'll try to bring BIL on Saturday.  Your DH needs to find the words to make it clear this can't happen (even if he has to put it in an email to be direct enough) and then - most importantly - he needs to promise you that he will turn them both away if they show up.  I really hope for all your sakes she gets it this time.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2012, 04:57:45 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.

Once again, I used the wrong phase.  I mean it's easier to turn away and leave the situation when you are on neutral ground.

Yes, you can close the door, but in a real life situation, it's hard to do that with your own mother even if she behaves like the OP's MIL.

The birthday dinner was at a restaurant.

I don't think amylouky or her husband would have any trouble refusing to let his mother in if his brother is with her. I know I wouldn't.

Drawberry

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2012, 05:23:56 PM »
My family is about as dysfunctional and a duck living with wolves and a lot of it develops from my grandmothers toxic relationship with my uncle, who is a long time alcoholic with no end in sight. So I understand a lot of where you and others are coming from.

That said, in what I have experienced the only way to get your boundaries respected is to treat the enabler like a child in that when they disrespect what you've laid out you must put forth a consequence. MIL disrespected your boundaries and included BIL at the birthday dinner, therefore she is not invited to Thanksgiving this year.

The enabler see's any form of 'give' as a sign that all has been forgiven and it won't be an issue anymore. When you invite her over she's going to assume that you wouldn't possibly think of kicking her and BIL out of your home and will take advantage of that. Unless you are willing to do so, which I firmly believe you will if you invite her to dinner, it may be best to simply state you will not be coming to dinner and not invite her to your home.

I think it will be wise for your husband to speak personally with BIL and tell him for himself that BIL is not to come over to your home and is not welcome at occasions you or your husband personally organize. He needs to be told personally that his presence is unwelcome because he will continue to cling to his mothers coattails wherever she goes. If he's told personally that he is unwelcome then he has no excuse. He can't say "Mom said it was okay" when you and your husband explicitly tell him that he is not to come to your home.

I think for the sake of peace during your celebrations it would be best to not involve MIL at all.




A few others have mentioned having unfortunate encounters with addicted family members in their youth and I have to agree with their statements that you may want to talk to your children about what to do if BIL comes over or try's to engage with them. Teach them that they should not talk to Uncle X alone, that they shouldn't let him in the house (even if Grandma is with him), and that if their Uncle tries to take them somewhere to not go with him.

It might sound serious and even awful, but having grown up in the toxic and sometimes scary environment with an addict literally across the street it would do well that your children know that they have boundaries with BIL and let them know it's okay not to listen to him.

I am not trying to make any accusations, assumptions or implications about BIL in my following statement, please do not take it that way. I just want to share my own account;

My uncle, the alcoholic, has on numerous occasions in my youth from the ages of about 17-22 (22 being the last time I saw him, as well as my enabling grandmother) inquired to me personally the status of my virginity. He would look me up and down then crudely ask "So have you popped your cherry yet?"

My reason for including this scenario is to show how an addicted family member can come to view their own family not as people anymore but as someone they can drag down as low as themselves. For my uncle it was sexual and crass as I got older and therefore 'attractive' (he had previously had a sexual relationship with his cousin, and tried to do so with my mother-his sister). When I told my grandmother, whom he lived with, she would brush me off and tell everyone else in the family I was a liar. She completely refused to believe he was saying these things , even if he said it in front of her. She was enabling him for so many years that she could not face reality even if it was slapping her in the face.

Again I am not trying to imply anything about BIL specifically, but just to put my own experience out there. Teaching your kids not to talk to BIL or let him in the house might sound mean and extreme but I can't stress enough how much good it will do for your children to know their boundaries with him.Especially as kids who may be at an age where they believe they must listen to all adults and do what all adults tell them to do.

rose red

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2012, 05:36:26 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.

Once again, I used the wrong phase.  I mean it's easier to turn away and leave the situation when you are on neutral ground.

Yes, you can close the door, but in a real life situation, it's hard to do that with your own mother even if she behaves like the OP's MIL.

The birthday dinner was at a restaurant.

I don't think amylouky or her husband would have any trouble refusing to let his mother in if his brother is with her. I know I wouldn't.

Yes, I know the birthday was at a restaurant.  That's in the past and they need to plan as a team for future dinners.  My advice was for the OP not to invite MIL to Saturday dinner at their home.  Take small steps.  Invite her the next time they are going to a restaurant and walk away if BIL is there.  Why do you think the OP's husband will have no trouble turning his mother away at his door?  He loves his mother.  He went to the restaurant on his birthday.  The next step is being strong enought not to go in the first place or leave a restaurant.  Then become strong enough to turn them away from his home.  If they can do that now, great.  If not, neutral ground first.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 05:39:44 PM by rose red »

joraemi

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2012, 05:46:08 PM »
I'm wondering what the plan will be if she shows up with BIL at your place on Saturday?  I'm sorry she's making this difficult.




Courage is the price life  exacts for granting peace.  ~Amelia Earhart~

JenJay

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2012, 06:11:44 PM »
The BIL is a grown man, right? So ultimately it's up to him whether or not he shows up uninvited (she doesn't knock him out & drag him to the car). I'm assuming he knows he's not welcome in your home or around your family. If it hasn't been explicitly spelled out for him your DH needs to do that ASAP.

I'd remove MIL from the equation and hold BIL responsible. Call and invite her to dinner. If she says "We'll be there." correct and remind her that BIL is not welcome. If he's with her when she arrives don't let them in. Look right at him and say "You know you are not welcome, and why." then turn to her and say "Mom, are you staying?" If one or both of them starts whining or arguing you say "You both know how we feel. It hurts that you choose to continue to disregard our wishes. Goodbye."


BarensMom

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2012, 08:22:13 PM »
OP, as a SIL to an addict, I reiterate what some of the other PPs have said:  Do not invite your MIL to your home.  She will bring your BIL, because she will not respect your boundaries.  Enablers are all about appeasing the addict, and expecting others to "be the bigger person."

When DH & I moved into our first house, SiL would pitch fits every time we invited FIL and MIL, as DH made it very clear to all three that SIL was not welcome.  To placate SIL, MIL would stay home, leaving FIL to come by himself.  MIL died two years after we married, without ever seeing, much less setting foot in, our home.  MIL was such an expert enabler that it wasn't until after MIL died that he even realized that SIL was an addict and had been forging checks on their joint account to pay for her habit.  Poor man died five months later with an empty bank account.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2012, 09:35:45 PM »
OP, as a SIL to an addict, I reiterate what some of the other PPs have said:  Do not invite your MIL to your home.  She will bring your BIL, because she will not respect your boundaries.  Enablers are all about appeasing the addict, and expecting others to "be the bigger person."

When DH & I moved into our first house, SiL would pitch fits every time we invited FIL and MIL, as DH made it very clear to all three that SIL was not welcome.  To placate SIL, MIL would stay home, leaving FIL to come by himself.  MIL died two years after we married, without ever seeing, much less setting foot in, our home.  MIL was such an expert enabler that it wasn't until after MIL died that he even realized that SIL was an addict and had been forging checks on their joint account to pay for her habit.  Poor man died five months later with an empty bank account.

That is really sad.

Having had a sister who was an alcoholic in denial until the day she died, I had a period of not seeing my sister for 7 years.  Sure, I heard about her, but she stayed away from me.  She knew I would not enable her.  My kids never met her until the oldest was almost 5.  My take on it was that I would not want her around my kids if she was any random person off the street, and because she was family, it didn't automatically negate that viewpoint.  In fact, because she was family, I expected her to set a better example for my kids than any random person off the street.  She couldn't do that, so I had no desire to be around that behavior (disease), or let my kids be around it, until such a time as she could show me that she was done blaming others for everything and was ready to take responsibility for herself.   Unfortunately, that never happened.

But we were never close to begin with, so perhaps it was easier for me to take this stand, because it was actually a relief to not have to worry about her.  OP, Kudos to your DH for being able to (mostly) stand strong about keeping his brother away from your kids.  I'm sure he had some sort of a more brotherly relationship once, so this must be hard for him.  I can even kind of see why he went to the birthday dinner; his brother has probably ruined a lot of times/memories/events, and your DH didn't want him to fully ruin his birthday, so he went anyway. 

But I do now kind of agree with a PP who said that MIL needs a consequence for foisting BIL on you during your DH's birthday dinner.  And she should know about it (otherwise it's not a consequence).  (said by your DH) "Mom, we were going to invite you to our house on Saturday for our big dinner, but we decided against it because of what you did for my birthday dinner.  When it came right down to it, we knew we couldn't trust you not to bring BIL on Saturday, so we had to make the tough decsion to leave you out of our celebration.  We know you don't feel the same way about him as we do, and that's your right.  But we also have the right to our feelings on the subject, and if you can't respect our feelings, then we can't spend time with you."

That's perhaps a bit blunt, but I'm sure you get the gist of it.  OP, good luck, and next week, give thanks for holding your ground and maintaining your peace and safety by keeping BIL away.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2012, 11:58:06 PM »
I do not think you should ask her at ask for sat. She has already shown that, to her, bil of course should go where she goes. Don't ask her over at all for a while.
She had to learn that her actions have consequences

LeveeWoman

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2012, 12:43:21 AM »
Amylouky, is it possible for you to suggest that  your MIL get in touch with Al Anon?

doodlemor

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2012, 11:54:03 AM »
Amylouky, is it possible for you to suggest that  your MIL get in touch with Al Anon?

This is a wise idea.  Amylouky and DH would probably benefit from this organization also. 

MyFamily

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2012, 12:08:48 PM »
I absolutely understand why you want a relationship with your MIL.  But until she shows that she will respect your boundries, you should not have her in your house.  Meet her only at a neutral place until you know she won't bring your BIL to your house.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol