Author Topic: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?  (Read 15579 times)

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cheyne

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2012, 02:48:11 PM »
BIL1 assaulted your son.  Let's look at it from your son's POV.  You are making him be in the same room with a man that shook him and screamed in his face for no reason.  Does your son deserve this?

Your DH needs to "man up" and stop with the placating nonsense.  Call MIL and make a date to see her and BIL2 over the holidays.  Do not go for Xmas when BIL1 is there.  Send a present to Nephew in time for the holidays (after all he's just a little kid too), and wash your hands of that family.

This doesn't have to be "forever", but it should be the actions you take for now.  You can always see BIL1 again if and when the situation changes.

LeveeWoman

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2012, 03:06:25 PM »
BIL1 assaulted your son.   Let's look at it from your son's POV.  You are making him be in the same room with a man that shook him and screamed in his face for no reason.  Does your son deserve this?

Your DH needs to "man up" and stop with the placating nonsense.  Call MIL and make a date to see her and BIL2 over the holidays.  Do not go for Xmas when BIL1 is there.  Send a present to Nephew in time for the holidays (after all he's just a little kid too), and wash your hands of that family.

This doesn't have to be "forever", but it should be the actions you take for now.  You can always see BIL1 again if and when the situation changes.

I can't get past the bolded. There is no way in hell I'd take my child around someone who had done that to him.

doodlemor

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2012, 04:01:23 PM »
Nope,  sorry, he laid hands on your child and screamed in his face. He can't be trusted around your children. All social niceties are off.  Tell MIL you will see her at some other time around the holidays or she (and only she) can come to your house.

Speaking as someone whose family did avoid inlaw holiday gatherings for two years because of a problem relative, trust me when I say that making this sort of stand, and putting your own family/feelings first is liberating and totally worth it.  Your BIL is the elephant in the room.  You're all expected to tiptoe around the elephant and not mention the elephant's insane behavior, because that will make the elephant rampage.  You can't reason with him.  You can't expect rational behavior from an elephant.  And the pattern does not change because an elephant never forgets how to control the people around him.

First, DH needs to stop trying to "work things out" with BIL.  BIL wants DH to chase his approval and apologize and grovel because it puts BIL in a position of power.  DH needs to take that power back.  BIL doesn't have time in his schedule to meet?  Fine.  BIL doesn't want to talk about the real issues?  Fine, allow him to blame his bad behavior on the actions of small children.  That makes him look awesome.  He doesn't want to apologize?  Fine. 

Second, you need to stop going to family gatherings where BIL will be present.  Does it suck that you could temporarily lose contact with some family members while BIL gets to enjoy parties/events without consequence?  Yes. But it does two things.  1) It shows family members the consequences of denying/enabling BIL's bad behavior (the consequence being that you are not present and they are stuck dealing with BIL alone) and 2) It takes away BIL's argument that all problems are based on your sons' bullying his. (Really?  A 4 and 5 year old are bullying a 7 year old?  Really?)

Third, if you do go to a family gathering, don't wait/expect/hope BIL will acknowledge you.  This is what he wants, to hold some power of approval/validation over you.  Ignore him as he ignores you.   It's the worst thing you can do to someone like this.

Fourth, don't allow other family members to pressure you into "making nice" with BIL. This is the peril of being the "reasonable" sibling, you're expected to make all of the compromises. BIL had made it clear he doesn't want to see you or the boys anymore.  You're just giving him what he wants.

You would not believe how much easier and calm life if once you draw the line with these personalities. MIL may be upset that all of her family isn't getting together at once, but you've got to put your kids and family first.  Good luck.

Weeblewobble is very wise. 

BIL does not want to change the situation - he is having a great time being in control.  His behavior is incredibly rude.  It's no wonder that his son causes problems, think how hard life must be for that poor child. 

I fear that your DH has been so close to the situation for so long that he has lost sight of how irrational and bizarre the behavior of BIL is.  This business of playing into BIL's moods and tantrums needs to stop.  Perhaps both you and DH would benefit from some sort of counseling, to gain strategies to deal with both BIL and enabling MIL.

I get such a chill every time that I think of him shaking your son.  For this reason, I would stay away from him, and keep my children away.  Next time your son may not be so lucky, and he could incur permanent damage.  Frankly, I think that BIL is a very dangerous man, and I don't say this lightly.

I think that you and your family should go to the church service only, and then drive back home.  Keep your children nearby at all times, even at the church.


despedina

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2012, 05:04:24 PM »
Thanks for everything on this thread. After reading all the responses it has really cured some of my "tunnel vision" on this situation. 

I think everyone in the family has lost sight of why the relationship came to a head - due to the grabbing and screaming at my son.  I called my husband at lunch and told him I just can't be in the same room with his brother.  All I've been thinking about since it happened is what he did to my youngest and that he called my sons bullies, but I thought I was having issues letting go of these issues and I have been trying to encourage a healthy relationship between them.

Now I see that we should not put up with BIL.  I told DH that maybe we should just go in the morning before BIL gets there and do something else after. Maybe go visit both of his Grandmas. I just can't see how we will sit in the same room with BIL1 and SIL.  Besides them and us it will only be MIL and BIL2 so no crowd to hide in to avoid situations.

My husband has been saving the texts that he's been sending to his brother.  He sent an email to his mom this afternoon basically throwing his hands up, and attaching the texts he's sent to show he's done nothing but tried. Sometimes I really question who MIL blames here. She is really hard to read, and DH wants to make sure she knows he's trying hard to work issues out.

FoxPaws

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2012, 05:18:07 PM »
Something else to consider: sometimes, in the first year after a death, it helps to NOT keep the old traditions. Trying to keep everything as usual just emphasizes the loss. It might be better for your husband - and the rest of the family - to take a break this year for that reason alone.

I bring that up because you'd mentioned that this being your first Christmas after FIL's passing was one of the reasons you were considering going. On the flip side, your husband's paternal grandmother might really appreciate seeing her grandson and great-grandchildren on her first Christmas without her son.

Would you still attend Mass?
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despedina

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2012, 05:37:32 PM »
Would I still attend Mass?

That's another strange development. My DH emailed the church to find out exactly when the mass was, because we think there are multiple masses that day. They responded that the mass for FIL was Nov 15, and there are no more scheduled for him right now, but if we want to pay $5, we could schedule another.

So I'm not sure if MIL just wanted us all to go to mass under the guise if it being for FIL or if she is misunderstanding when the mass for FIL was.  So I'm not sure what we're doing there.

MamaMootz

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2012, 05:41:07 PM »
I still pod Margo... she is dead on.

If it were me, and DH really wants to go on Christmas, here are the rules I would lay out to him ahead of time.

1) Absolutely, positively, NO babysitting of BIL's children. He said he's going to watch his kids, let him. Don't get sucked in. Every time his kids come near you, take yours and move away.
2) Ignore him. Everyone who said this is a huge power play is dead on. It will be driving him nuts to be ignored - he will likely escalate to try and bring the attention back. Don't cave, no matter what.
3) DH needs to stop placating BIL and getting his mom involved at all.
4) If family asks, simply say that you don't know what the problem is with BIL but you've tried to work it out. Ball is in his court.

Trust me, his behavior will show everyone in the family his true colors. Stay calm and ignore. We need a t-shirt like that to send out to all of our posters with P/A families, I swear.

I personally would not want to spend Christmas with him and his kids, but I understand you also want to see BIL2 and MIL. And it would be really stinky to have to rearrange your day and go out of your way to avoid BIL.

On the gifts, I wouldn't buy him anything. I'd buy nephew(s) a token because they can't help who their father is and they are just kids. But nothing for BIl. He's goading your husband with the gifts he buys for him anyway. Seriously, a Darth Vader mask? :o

I agree with the posters who also say that if he laid his hands on my child, it would be a cold day in Hades before I ever saw him again. But that's me.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 07:20:18 PM by MamaMootz »
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kherbert05

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2012, 06:16:13 PM »
I'm going to be blunt DO NOT GO. Your husband needs to tell his mom that until brother gets real help he is not allowed contact with your children.

 From your description of your BIL's interaction with your 4 yo I as a mandatory reporter would have been required to call the cops and CPS if I had witnessed it.

This came up a few years ago. I was present when a relative's inlaw nearly did this - except I stepped between the "adult" and the child. I double checked with a mentor and was told since the adult did not touch the child I didn't have to report. If she had actually shaken the child - All  the mandatory reporters present (there were 7 - 8 of us between teachers, nurses, and Social Workers) would have had to report.
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Deetee

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2012, 06:33:53 PM »
From your latest update, it sounds like you do not plan to go. This makes perfect sense to me. However, if you change your mind (as it sounds like the discussion is ongoing) I have the following suggestions.

1) You and DH need to take back control of your actions and emotions. Right now BIL is controlling them both with his temper tantrums and you are reacting to his threats and his words and his ignoring or not ignoring. You and DH need a solid game plan heading into the event that is NOT dependent on your BIL. (With the exception that certain behaviours from him will cause you to carry out certain actions-but these are predetermined before he does them)

2) Gifts: Decide on gifts independent of BIL. My suggestion is a gift for the nephew and small food gift for the family. It is the type of gift that is not out of place whether or not they reciprocate. This is important because you don't need to think about BIL and his gift posturing. Your decision is made and his actions will not affect it.

3) "Will not tolerate" is not something that a grown man says to his mother about his brother. "Will not tolerate" is what you do with your actions. If  a kid is throwing a tantrum do you say "I won't tolerate this!" or do you say "I won't tolerate this!" and put the kid in his room or walk away. You are a parent. You know which is more effective.

4) If you will not tolerate being ignored, you need to be prepared to leave immediately. Personally I think you should totally tolerate being ignored. You can't control BIL so just ignore his ignoring.

5) If you will not tolerate being yelled at or your kids being yelled at decide beforehand if you will leave the house immediately or simply leave the room.

6) Sit down with DH and agree that if BIL does X, you will do Y. (Look up a nice restaurant nearby if you need to leave)

7) Also sit down and think about why you want to go and what you want to do (bake cookies with kids, look at pictures with SIL2, chat with BIL2, ask MIL about her knitting etc...) Don't make the trip about BIL because you have already figured out exactly what you need to do.

I know this sounds like a lot of planning, but I think once it is done, it will be less trouble to deal with BIL.

Danika

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2012, 06:41:47 PM »
...My DH emailed the church to find out exactly when the mass was, because we think there are multiple masses that day. They responded that the mass for FIL was Nov 15, and there are no more scheduled for him right now, but if we want to pay $5, we could schedule another.

So I'm not sure if MIL just wanted us all to go to mass under the guise if it being for FIL or if she is misunderstanding when the mass for FIL was...

Hmmmm.  ::) It makes me wonder where BIL1 might have learned his manipulative behaviors. I'm glad that your DH emailed the church for more info.

AmethystAnne

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2012, 11:14:24 PM »
I'm going to be blunt DO NOT GO. Your husband needs to tell his mom that until brother gets real help he is not allowed contact with your children.

 From your description of your BIL's interaction with your 4 yo I as a mandatory reporter would have been required to call the cops and CPS if I had witnessed it.

This came up a few years ago. I was present when a relative's inlaw nearly did this - except I stepped between the "adult" and the child. I double checked with a mentor and was told since the adult did not touch the child I didn't have to report. If she had actually shaken the child - All  the mandatory reporters present (there were 7 - 8 of us between teachers, nurses, and Social Workers) would have had to report.

Thank you for bringing this up. (And on a personal note: thanks for the reminder that anyone who is a school employee is a mandatory reporter.)

The BIL could have had serious consequences of his actions.


johelenc1

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2012, 12:21:54 AM »
I would like to add that any family doctor who gives someone bi-polar meds is incredibly shady.  Those are serious medications and require periodic blood work to check liver function.  Family doctors are in NO way qualified to diagnose or treat mental illnesses.  Being on the wrong medications can be just as dangerous as not being on any.

I would find it pretty impossible to be in the same room as BIL if it were me.  We do not spank our children and if anyone grabbed them the way your BIL did, I would go ballistic.  Absolutely ballistic. 

All the rest is just fluff - your husband chasing his brother, the "bullying" (aka deflecting), all of it.  All that matters is the way BIl treated your son.  Until that gets worked out (and it should be BIL coming to you, not the other way around), nothing else matters.  I would tell MIL that because of what BIL did, you can't be around him.  I'm fairly shocked grandma isn't more upset over it herself.  In any case, if you need to respond, ever, to BIL, a simple, "until to acknowledge the way you treated our son and apologize to him, we have nothing to say to you" should do. 


weeblewobble

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2012, 06:57:34 AM »
All the rest is just fluff - your husband chasing his brother, the "bullying" (aka deflecting), all of it.  All that matters is the way BIl treated your son.  Until that gets worked out (and it should be BIL coming to you, not the other way around), nothing else matters.  I would tell MIL that because of what BIL did, you can't be around him.  I'm fairly shocked grandma isn't more upset over it herself.  In any case, if you need to respond, ever, to BIL, a simple, "until to acknowledge the way you treated our son and apologize to him, we have nothing to say to you" should do.

This struck me as odd, too.  BIL did this in a room full of people and nobody said anything until Mom came in?

MIL should be more upset that her grandson was treated so roughly. 


Corvid

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2012, 09:19:05 AM »
Frankly, I agree with previous posters that the whole bullying issue is a big old red herring.  Even if your four-year-old was indeed bullying his seven-year-old, it would not justify your brother-in-law's grabbiing and shaking a four-year-old child and screaming in the child's face.  The kid was four.  FOUR.  Your brother-in-law is a grown man.  All this high-horsed self-righteous justifying of his egregious misbehavior as the fault of small children is silly and a self-serving smokescreen of bull-patties.  He owes your son an apology.

Has your son said anything about it?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 09:25:00 AM by Corvid »

ettiquit

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2012, 12:43:56 PM »
Thanks for everything on this thread. After reading all the responses it has really cured some of my "tunnel vision" on this situation. 

I think everyone in the family has lost sight of why the relationship came to a head - due to the grabbing and screaming at my son.  I called my husband at lunch and told him I just can't be in the same room with his brother.  All I've been thinking about since it happened is what he did to my youngest and that he called my sons bullies, but I thought I was having issues letting go of these issues and I have been trying to encourage a healthy relationship between them.

Now I see that we should not put up with BIL.  I told DH that maybe we should just go in the morning before BIL gets there and do something else after. Maybe go visit both of his Grandmas. I just can't see how we will sit in the same room with BIL1 and SIL.  Besides them and us it will only be MIL and BIL2 so no crowd to hide in to avoid situations.

My husband has been saving the texts that he's been sending to his brother.  He sent an email to his mom this afternoon basically throwing his hands up, and attaching the texts he's sent to show he's done nothing but tried. Sometimes I really question who MIL blames here. She is really hard to read, and DH wants to make sure she knows he's trying hard to work issues out.

Good.  I couldn't get past the physical abuse either - everything else is really irrelevant in my opinion.  Stay strong!