Author Topic: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?  (Read 15148 times)

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SPuck

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2012, 12:31:43 PM »
Meet her only at a neutral place until you know she won't bring your BIL to your house.

Or if your ready to turn her and BIL away at the door if the come.

miranova

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2012, 01:14:49 PM »
I guess I am in the minority on this one but I don't think it's necessary to specifically respond to that invitation.  I have a blatent boundary trampler in my life, someone who will quite literally ask the same question a dozen times in an attempt to get the answer he wants.  Answering the question over and over and over again DOES. NOT. HELP. as all he will do is ignore the answer if it's one he doesn't want.  He will just ask again a day later.  The only thing that works is answering ONE TIME and then ignoring all further requests.  I had to stop playing the game.  I HAD to "rudely" ignore the repeated requests.  I got accused of ignoring his request, I even got threatened with "well since you aren't responding I can only assume you are fine with me coming"....interesting tactic that one....but I didn't give in and call back with a response since I already responded and we both knew it.  And when he showed up at my door and wouldn't leave, the police were called.  I must say, he has stopped disbelieving me now.

OP and her DH have in effect already answered this invite by preemptively saying no to all invties at MIL's house.  They don't need to respond because they already did.  If she asks in person, I'd act confused and say "but we already told you we wouldn't be coming to your house while BIL is there." and then change the subject completely.  There is very little risk here, because the invitation is to her house...she will get the message when they don't show up.  I don't care how surprised she acts, she has already been told that they won't be coming.

I would be wary of inviting MIL to my home at this point.  I would not extend any invitations to my home until she proves that she can show up elsewhere without bringing BIL a few times.  If that means that MIL doesn't get to see them this Thanksgiving so be it.  But I would not invite her to my home until she had a track record of respecting my boundaries.

gramma dishes

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2012, 01:27:34 PM »

...   OP and her DH have in effect already answered this invite by preemptively saying no to all invties at MIL's house.  They don't need to respond because they already did.  If she asks in person, I'd act confused and say "but we already told you we wouldn't be coming to your house while BIL is there." and then change the subject completely.  There is very little risk here, because the invitation is to her house...she will get the message when they don't show up.  I don't care how surprised she acts, she has already been told that they won't be coming.

I would be wary of inviting MIL to my home at this point.  I would not extend any invitations to my home until she proves that she can show up elsewhere without bringing BIL a few times.  If that means that MIL doesn't get to see them this Thanksgiving so be it.  But I would not invite her to my home until she had a track record of respecting my boundaries.

Excellent post!!

buvezdevin

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2012, 01:57:09 PM »
I agree with miranova.  Having explained to MIL that OP and her family will not visit MIL's house with BIL present is a blanket response.  If questioned/invited further, OP or her DH can, of course, restate their position, but replying at all allows MIL to infer that continued invitations could possibly lead to a different answer.  Not replying would be - I think - clearer in conveying that the position of OP's family is not going to change simply through repeated invites.

I also agree with PP's noting that MIL's circumventing the position of OP's family is likely to continue unless there are consequences rather than even partial acquiescence to being around BIL. 

And I particularly agree with a PP who suggested making it expressly clear what, if anything, *would* change the position of OP's family, i.e. BIL holding a job and being clean for a defined length of time or other specifics.  While it may be difficult for MIL to accept OP's family's firm position to not socialize with BIL, if she knows that there is a chance for BIL to change that position through his own long term behavior it may help her "get" that the position is not a "punishment" of BIL, but protection against his choices/behavior negatively impacting OP's family *and* a desire to not enable BIL to continue behavior destructive to himself and others.

I have seen similar situations of addicts and family members who cannot bring themselves to let the addict be homeless, or hurting.  It is difficult for all.  Years ago, I cut off contact for some time with a family member with substance abuse problems, and for months I worried whether the choice to not offer continued support would contribute to their downward spiral.  In my case, the person eventually (after some years) turned their life around, and I don't believe my support or lack thereof was a significant factor in the matter. 

I can understand well how MIL may not be ready to leave BIL to his self-made fortunes, due to her own fears for where his path may lead, and wanting to do what she can not only in an attempt to "help" him, but to avoid feelings of guilt (not that she would be responsible for his actions, but she may *feel* responsibility).

OP, if your DH does speak to MIL about Al-Anon, maybe he could offer to go with her to some meetings? 
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

amylouky

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2012, 09:55:09 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.

I have suggested it many times, but no luck yet. My father was an alcoholic (got sober when I was around 10), and Ala-teen was very helpful for me and my sisters. Mom went to Al-Anon also, so I'm very familiar with the benefits it can bring. I've offered to go with her, but I think she thinks she's doing fine on her own. Which, I guess she is, since everyone else is just playing along with her enabling.

The more I think about it, the crazier it seems. She has family gatherings and tells everyone to lock their purses in their cars. Who does that??

I couldn't get on this weekend (sorry, internet problems) so I'm just catching up on all the replies, but I wanted to say thank you all! They are definitely helping me to strengthen my spine, and to give DH some pointers on what to say to MIL. We haven't called her back yet, I think DH is afraid to because he doesn't want to get in another fight with her.

Here's where Ehell has REALLY helped.. I explained JADE to him (love it!) I told him that she already knows our position, she knows why we have taken that position, so there is no reason to explain it again. If she brings up Thursday, just say, "Mom, you know our feelings on that, it won't be possible. Now, about Saturday.."  I also like the wording of, "Please don't invite or bring BIL. He will not be allowed in the house, and it will just be embarrassing and hurtful to everyone." We also talked about giving her a definite time limit, 9 months or a year, and we'll re-evaluate. Hopefully that way, this dilemma doesn't keep coming up every time there is an event.

Another thing I wanted to address.. I have told DH that he is free to maintain a relationship with BIL, if he wants to. I am not going to make him choose between me and BIL, or MIL for that matter. He is in agreement with not having the boys around BIL, or at MIL's house while BIL is living there. He agrees with not seeing BIL either, I think he's just having a hard time with doing things that will hurt his Mom, which I definitely understand.

Thanks everyone for your help, and I'm sorry if this subject has brought up painful memories.


Minmom3

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2012, 01:03:39 PM »
Does he see that his Mom is doing things that hurt him?  Because her refusal to recognize that you and your DH have a right to refuse to be around BIL is causing your DH pain, as I see it reported here.  It sounds like he thinks the causing of pain is one directional, from him to his mother.  He needs to see that it goes both ways...  IMO  :-\
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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 #51 on: November 19, 2012, 01:23:59 PM »
My sympathies to your DH!  That's really tough.

amylouky

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. **disappointing update p52**
« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2012, 11:53:16 PM »
Well, disappointing update. DH tried to call MIL several times this week, but had to leave a message every time. He just said, "Hi Mom, give me a call when you can".. didn't want to leave anything detailed on her vmail since  BIL has access to it.
She never called back. So, DH knew that she had to go in to work for a few hours today (yes, on Thanksgiving..) so he stopped up there to tell her Happy Thanksgiving, and invite her over for Saturday. She was nice enough to him, no big blowout (probably because it was at her work). But, when he asked if she wanted to come over Sat, and added, "And please remember, this invitation is only for you.", she said, "Well, that's probably why I won't be there, then".
So, I guess she's made her choice. Which I find very sad. Incidentally, we are not the only people in her life that this has happened with. She has a brother who she used to be close to, and now never speaks to, because he dared to say she was an enabler.
I'm kind of of the "fine, let her be alone with BIL then" mindset right now, but I know that this is hurting DH, even though he says it doesn't.
*Sigh* I'm hoping she'll think about it tomorrow, and decide to come over (alone) after all. I just can't believe she would choose not hurting BIL's feelings, after everything he has put the family through, over a relationship with her other son and her grandchildren. Oh well.

Iris

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. **disappointing update p52**
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2012, 01:10:46 AM »
Well, disappointing update. DH tried to call MIL several times this week, but had to leave a message every time. He just said, "Hi Mom, give me a call when you can".. didn't want to leave anything detailed on her vmail since  BIL has access to it.
She never called back. So, DH knew that she had to go in to work for a few hours today (yes, on Thanksgiving..) so he stopped up there to tell her Happy Thanksgiving, and invite her over for Saturday. She was nice enough to him, no big blowout (probably because it was at her work). But, when he asked if she wanted to come over Sat, and added, "And please remember, this invitation is only for you.", she said, "Well, that's probably why I won't be there, then".
So, I guess she's made her choice. Which I find very sad. Incidentally, we are not the only people in her life that this has happened with. She has a brother who she used to be close to, and now never speaks to, because he dared to say she was an enabler.
I'm kind of of the "fine, let her be alone with BIL then" mindset right now, but I know that this is hurting DH, even though he says it doesn't.
*Sigh* I'm hoping she'll think about it tomorrow, and decide to come over (alone) after all. I just can't believe she would choose not hurting BIL's feelings, after everything he has put the family through, over a relationship with her other son and her grandchildren. Oh well.

(((hugs)))

I have a theory; Sometimes people in this situation realise - at least subconsciously - that if it wasn't for them no-one at all in the whole world would like Junkie McJunkerton and they just can't bring themselves to be the one that leaves them with NO-ONE, no matter what the cost or how much they deserve it. I also think that that's why they pressure other people into including the enablee, so that they aren't the only one shouldering that load. I honestly don't believe that she has thought "Hmmmm, who do I like better, DH or BIL?" and decided on BIL. I think she is just trying to be that one link back to a normal life no matter what the cost.

Of course that's stupid and futile and actually makes things worse most of the time but you can't make her see that. All you can do is take care of you and yours. MIL will never ever see that her problems are of her own and BIL's making because that would force her to recognise what she just doesn't want to see.  :(
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Deetee

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2012, 01:39:37 AM »
I'm sorry to hear your update, but you do know that you made the only possible decision, right?

I hope your MIL relents and comes over alone, but if she doesn't I hope you and your DH continue to reach out to her and invite her for lunches or other small things that won't make her feel like she is abandoning BIL.

This enabling sounds somewhat similiar to an abusive relationship, so I think its important to keep the lines of communication open so caring for her addicted son doesn't become her entire life.


Lynda_34

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2012, 02:28:02 AM »
Sometimes pain in the short term must be endured.

This woman doesn't want to lose either child/son.  Give her a while, keep those boundaries.  Hopefully she will come around and be able to maintain separate relationships with both children/adult sons.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. **disappointing update p52**
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2012, 08:03:15 AM »
*Sigh* I'm hoping she'll think about it tomorrow, and decide to come over (alone) after all. I just can't believe she would choose not hurting BIL's feelings, after everything he has put the family through, over a relationship with her other son and her grandchildren. Oh well.

I agree with Iris in that your MIL is trying to keep your BIL linked to a normal life, probably in the hopes that he'll see the light and get himself clean.

I also wonder if it's not a case of choosing between her two sons but of your MIL thinking she can have both.  If she pushes hard enough or holds out long enough, then you and your DH will cave and then things can go back to how they were.  So (in her mind) she's not going to lose your DH...she's just trying to wait you out.  I doubt she realises how seriously you view this situation (and rightly so!) or how determined both of you are.

Either way, you did the right thing.  Your MIL can choose to enable your BIL, but she has to take the consequences that come with that decision.

Twik

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2012, 09:32:22 AM »
It's a common way of dealing with difficult people - you expect the "normal" (as in, rational and socially well-adjusted) person to make the sacrifices, because asking the difficult person to make compromises isn't going to work, or will lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. So, everyone tiptoes around the person who's making the problem, and the problem becomes assigned to the people who do not create it in the first place.

It's a version of "Sammy, give your toy to the baby, because otherwise the baby will scream, and that'll be your fault."
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weeblewobble

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2012, 09:47:05 AM »
Queen of clubs and Iris make some very good points. Its not necessarily who MiL loves more.  In the enablers head, its usually "who needs me more." She sees Dh with a family and spouse, while BIL is alone. She figures he needs her more and DH will be ok without her.

I am sorry she responded the way she did. It sounded both snarky and confrontational.

You just have to keep on as you are. She's either going to understand you aren't backing down from your stance or she won't. Either way you are doing the right thing.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 09:49:17 AM by weeblewobble »

weeblewobble

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Re: Have to have not-fun convo with MIL.. we're not coming for TDay.. help?
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2012, 09:48:13 AM »
It's a common way of dealing with difficult people - you expect the "normal" (as in, rational and socially well-adjusted) person to make the sacrifices, because asking the difficult person to make compromises isn't going to work, or will lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. So, everyone tiptoes around the person who's making the problem, and the problem becomes assigned to the people who do not create it in the first place.

It's a version of "Sammy, give your toy to the baby, because otherwise the baby will scream, and that'll be your fault."

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