UPDATE: (kinda wordy, sorry!)
The straw finally broke the camel's back this weekend.
The (almost) breaking point happened earlier this month. DH's relative R was in from out of town, and my MIL planned a get-together at my BIL's house. Had plans in the works for a few weeks. Invited everyone. Forgot to invite us. We heard about it on the day from some other cousins who asked us if we were going. It was too late for us at that point, so we missed it and missed seeing R altogether on his visit, which DH was really disappointed about. When he asked about it afterwards, they all just assumed that he knew. Through his psychic powers, I guess. He didn't say much at the time, but it seems he's been nursing some resentment since.
Then this weekend happened. Friday after work, looks at the calendar, remarks it's his dad's bday and he should call to wish him a good one. I jokingly say "Is there a party tonight?" and he rolls his eyes and calls. Gets MIL, who asks him why he isn't there, the food's there already. That's right, family was there for his dad's bday. Voice goes from zero to angry in a split second as he asks what on earth she's talking about, and it gets worse from there as his mom proceeds to GET MAD A HIM FOR NOT BEING AT A PARTY HE WASN'T EVEN TOLD ABOUT. Questions like "How the heck was I supposed to know something was going on, let alone where and when?" were apparently met with logic like "You should have known!" and the fact that we already had plans were dismissed because "it's your family."
He eventually cut off the conversation and hung up. We didn't go.
In DH's almost-exactly-from-Ehell words:
- if they don't care enough about us to bother inviting us, we're not going to drop everything to go. That'll just tell them they can keep behaving like this.
- by forgetting to invite us in advance/at all, they're treating us like we're not important members of the family. So we're not going to be guilted by any of their cries of 'family.'
- regardless of what MIL may think, we don't have psychic powers. He was really hurt by the fact that he wasn't called - as he put it, if you have 3 kids how do you manage to invite 2 and not the 3rd?
This resolve was tested the next day already. We found out via casual mention from a cousin that there was a 'birthday party'/cemetery visit planned that day for his recently departed GM. Of course, first we'd heard of it, so when cousin asked DH just shrugged and said he didn't know anything about it. FIL called DH a little bit later and said that his mom would like him to be there. DH told him that sorry, we didn't know about it and we had plans. He figures that his mom is now not speaking to him, because FIL never makes calls like this. After he hung up, he asked what I thought about Christmas out of town this year.