Author Topic: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?  (Read 15467 times)

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cicero

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2012, 04:24:22 AM »
So small update, my DH and I spoke last night and we decided that best case scenario, if we go to xmas eve WITH bil1 we will just be on edge the entire afternoon, and worrying if he approves of how my sons are playing with nephew. We don't feel this will be at all enjoyable and I really can't get past the fact what he's done before (btw, he did at one point apologize half-heartedly to DH for his blow up and shaking of my son, but he's yelled at my sons before and apologized and DH told him he could not accept his apologies anymore until they could sit down and talk about changes that need to be made and have boundaries set, which obviously has not happened). 
I just think that if we go we're "playing with fire" and asking for another incident if we go.
DH emailed BIL2 to explain this and has not gotten a reply yet.  MIL is still insisting that there is a mass for FIL on the 24th (which I don't understand) so if she wants us to go to mass we'll go to mass.  DH has not yet told her that we cannot be there at her house at the same time as BIL1. I've explained that he needs to do this soon, so she has time to plan and get used to the idea. She tears up everytime he talks to her about BIL1 so he's finding it difficult.  It may sound terrible, but I'm starting to wonder about her tearing up every time my DH tries to talk about the issue with her.  Seems like just a way to shut DH down.
ya think?

the thing is that your DH has been dealing with this his whole life - first between his mother and his father and now between his mother and his brother. your MIL has made her choice and it's hard and sad to see her struggling with it but she did make a choice.

as for the relationship between him and his brother - i've said it up thread and i'll say it again: your DH needs to stop. just stop. he needs to stop trying to "fix this" (he can't), stop trying to smooth things over (he can't), stop taking responsibility when he shouldn't. (It may be a good idea for him to address this in therapy)

I'm glad you and DH were able to talk this thru. It might help your DH if, when he talks to her, he has little not cards with ready sentences on them, e.g., "Do not apologize more than once". or "Sorry mom, but we will not be there" (repeat as needed).

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JoyinVirginia

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2012, 04:29:36 AM »
Your dh does NOT need to tell mil anything in advance in my opinion. Talking had not done any good so far. And from my limited knowledge of catholic mass via my friend who volunteers  for lots of organizational things at the cathedral she attends.. Christmas eve masses are for Christmas eve, the special masses for deceased will be held at other times. And your dh called and spoke to the church and mil is still trying to convince him that something will be happening that just is NOT happening.
Spend time enjoying yourself.
My mother shared with me, many years ago, that before I was born she and my dad went about three years not speaking to dads sister and her husband, because her husband was just so obnoxious. Eventually he got a bit less obnoxious and they started speaking again.
I agree with others. As long as your dh chases after his brother, nothing will change. Your bil needs to just be ignored, and that includes no acknowledge ment from y'all and as little contact as possible. If he brings a gift to mil house, leave it there or throw it our without opening out, and make sure mil sees that. If you want to be nice let your kids give their cousin a gift.
Help your dh practice broken record technique. mom, we are not coming over Christmas eve. only say that, no discussion, no justification, no apologies, no excuses, don't get defensive. mom,.we are not coming over and you know why. I am not discussing anything with you, it won't change anything. We will see you another day.
Edited to add: Cicero has very good advice. Practice that conversation with your dh.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 04:32:38 AM by JoyinVirginia »

weeblewobble

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2012, 09:54:03 AM »
Yes, MIL tearing up every time DH brings up BIL's behavior is a strategy to get DH to drop the subject.  DH needs to understand this and carry on with whatever he is saying. 

When a family member's bad behavior is enabled, the ultimate goal for the enablers  is a holding pattern.  They fear change because change is painful, it will involve hurt feelings, and it will mean admitting that there is a problem.  That is why dysfunctional families tend to "close ranks" when someone points out that someone's behavior is a problem.  Because, in their minds, you're not just criticizing the behavior, you're criticizing the way the family responds to that behavior. You're saying something is wrong with the family system, when they have devoted a lot of energy to assure themselves and every one else that they are normal.

weeblewobble

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2012, 09:59:27 AM »
Also I find it very suspicious that MIL is trying to get you to attend a mass for FIL when it's clear the church held it in November.  But it sounds like you want to go either way. 

BarensMom

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2012, 11:01:59 AM »
This is what I, an outsider, see as the facts:

- BIL1 abused your child. 
- Apparently, MIL and the rest of the family was okay with that. 
- Your DH is running around like a puppy dog saying, "Let's talk, let's talk."
- BIL1 is getting a huge ego-boost and enjoying DH falling over himself to "talk."
- BIL1 says he buying gifts for you all.  You don't want to reciprocate.
- MIL says there's a Mass for your FIL on Xmas Eve.
- The calendar says it already happened in November.
- Every time DH tries to bring up the subject, your MIL turns on the waterworks.
- You want to take your children to the same church as BIL1 on Xmas Eve.
- BIL1 has abused your children before.

What does this tell you?






Tea Drinker

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2012, 11:34:04 AM »
One thought on crying and communications: some of us tear up easily. It's inconvenient. When I can, I tell people "it's just a physical thing, sorry, let's keep talking" and reach for a tissue to wipe my eyes. So maybe it's worth ignoring the tears and keeping going.

If MIL is like me in this, you/your husband can have that conversation you want. Maybe offer MIL a tissue or handkerchief and say something like "I know this is difficult, but I need to talk to you" and see what she says. If the tears are a tactic to avoid talking, at least you'll find out for sure, and can go from there. There's a huge difference between "sure, give me a moment" or "I'm listening, sorry" and someone demanding to know how you can push them when they're crying.

I realize not everyone can ignore tears. But if you can, in a situation where you don't believe the person is really distressed, it might be worth trying here.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

doodlemor

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2012, 03:45:00 PM »
Bethalize posted this on the Happy Christmas? thread.  It is really excellent advice.

It seems a good time to post the Toxic People Survival Checklist: https://sites.google.com/site/toxicpeoplesurvival/

The last line: "Remember: Stay polite and stay sane and if you can't manage that, then stay away."



Danika

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #67 on: December 08, 2012, 04:28:56 PM »
My mother's tactic is not crying. It's screaming and talking over you, so you can't finish your statement. I learned long ago that the only way to be even somewhat heard was to write what I had to say. Your DH might have better luck just mailing his mother a letter telling her that you won't be seeing them when BIL1 is there.

Pandora

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #68 on: December 08, 2012, 04:36:51 PM »
 Do not attend. Why ruin your whole holiday to attend an event you are already dreading?

despedina

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #69 on: December 09, 2012, 10:13:10 PM »
Small update, we went to MIL's for dinner tonight and after making her a nice dinner we explained that we will not be there pretending to have a happy Christmas Eve with BIL1 and be on edge all night waiting for BIL1 to flip out about something.  She took it well and agreed that it was probably for the best.  She understands DH has done what he could and as long as BIL1 does not want to talk about all the issues we cannot be around him with our kids.  DH explained that he would keep the door open in case BIL1 comes to his senses and wants to work through the issues but DH said he cannot chase after him any longer.
I reinforced my DH by assuring MIL that DH has done pretty much everything except fall at BIL1's feet and beg him to talk about things, and that he would not be doing that any more. I also explained that for myself, I could not sit in a room with BIL1 and SIL and take his BS act while I know what he did to my youngest and that he believes both of my sons are bullies. I told her that if he really does have mental issues, he needs to get real help and stop using it as an excuse to act like an bacon-fed knave.
There was no water works on MIL's part so I really believe she understands.
DH will be reaching out to BIL2 this week to let him know what's going to happen, and DH will send one last text to BIL1 simply stating that he will not be in attendance with him on Christmas Eve. He is sending this simply so BIL1 is not surprised when we are not there when he is, so that MIL has as good a Christmas Eve as possible and so that DH is not getting angry phone calls or texts from BIL1 while we try to enjoy our Christmas Eve elsewhere. 

cicero

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #70 on: December 10, 2012, 02:42:07 AM »
hugs - this can't have been easy for you both but good for you for standing up for yourselves.

two things that i have to say:
1. i *hope* beyond hope that your MIL really *did* get it. but I doubt it. she might continue to guilt /pressure you into making this one happy family, giving BIL one last chance, etc. just be prepared with stock phrases.
2. please tell your husband to not send anything else to BIL. whatever his reasoning is, for BIL it will just be another song and dance to try and get him to play nice. It's not a good idea at all. BIL will see that you aren't there (or MIL will update him). DH should turn his phone off or turn it off for BIL's number or do what he has to do with today's technology to make this work. but he should not contact his Brother.


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weeblewobble

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #71 on: December 10, 2012, 07:03:40 AM »
hugs - this can't have been easy for you both but good for you for standing up for yourselves.

two things that i have to say:
1. i *hope* beyond hope that your MIL really *did* get it. but I doubt it. she might continue to guilt /pressure you into making this one happy family, giving BIL one last chance, etc. just be prepared with stock phrases.
2. please tell your husband to not send anything else to BIL. whatever his reasoning is, for BIL it will just be another song and dance to try and get him to play nice. It's not a good idea at all. BIL will see that you aren't there (or MIL will update him). DH should turn his phone off or turn it off for BIL's number or do what he has to do with today's technology to make this work. but he should not contact his Brother.

POD to this.  It will just give BIL more time before the holiday to play the victim and cause trouble.  Why give him time to go to the other family members and "rally support" with, "Oh, woe is me, Mr. Despedina is being so meeeeeeean to me and destroying our big happy family."  Or give him time to contact DH and demand answers.  DH should just avoid calling or speaking to BIL before the holiday.  And then he should give you his phone on Christmas Eve/Day.

Also, you should be prepared for BIL to show up at your house on the holiday to "demand answers."  Especially if MIL decides to come over to see you.  BIL will not like being "thwarted" and not getting the confrontation/attention he wants.  He will act out. 

I really hope that MIL does understand. It will make things easier for you.

despedina

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #72 on: December 10, 2012, 08:34:37 AM »
Luckily, I seriously doubt BIL1 will show up here as we live 45min to the north of the town the rest of the family lives in.  We are planning on either visiting MIL early that morning or the day before. We haven't really decided yet. Since we're going out of town on Xmas morning (and will be driving 13 hours) I'd prefer to just spend Xmas Eve at home at this point.

I really think MIL gets it.  I doubt she will push further. She's usually the kind that will not voice her feelings on things unless prodded. Sometimes its really like pulling teeth to get things out of her. So in this instance it will be in our benefit.

kckgirl

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #73 on: December 10, 2012, 08:49:02 AM »
If you can afford it, why not split that 13-hour drive up over the two days and leave Christmas Eve around 10 a.m.-noon. You could stop at 6 p.m. or so and have a nice dinner somewhere, then finish your drive on Christmas morning.That way, if BIL wants drama, you aren't even accessible for him to try to start some. Turn off the cell phones when you're on the road and have a nice, stress-free trip.
Maryland

despedina

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Re: To avoid or not to avoid Xmas Eve get together?
« Reply #74 on: December 10, 2012, 09:50:25 AM »
Unfortunately, leaving early is not an option. My oldest is from a previous relationship and Christmas Eve is her dad's time. Normally we would pick her up at 10am on Christmas, but my ex has been kind enough to let us pick her up between 9 and 10 pm Christmas Eve so that we can leave earlier on Christmas.