Author Topic: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story) - Update #34  (Read 7887 times)

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BarensMom

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Sunday, DH and I were in our Daylight Savings Time comas, when his sister called my cell phone.  I wasn't available, so DH checked it and it was his sister telling me that she broke her dentures in half and wanted me to go with her to the dentist this week.  She then called DH and left DH a message that she wanted to talk to him "about something."  We discussed it and figured that SIL wants DH to pay for the repairs (he bought the dentures for her about a year ago).

I was going out to run errands, so DH told me to check my phone before answering it.  Unfortunately, I was driving and the phone rang.  I thought it was DH, so answered it.  It was SIL, who went into great detail about the denture problem (already covered in phone message). She wanted me accompany her to the dentist to pay for new dentures.  I told her that this was a busy week for me (sorta-true), my knee was giving me trouble (true) and she really needed to talk to DH about it, as he controls the finances (true).  She kept repeating herself, so I repeated that it was not possible.  I finally turned off my car engine to fill my gas tank (and to get off the phone).  I later saw that she left me another message repeating herself yet again (a total of 3 calls).

When I got home, I asked DH if she had tried to call him again and he said not (DH = 1, me = 3).  Obviously, she thinks that I can influence DH's financial decisions (nope).  I told DH to tell his sister that it's a waste of time to talk to me about financials and she needs to talk to him directly in the future.

My question is:  Is there any way that I can politely tell SIL once and for all that I am not the person she needs to talk to for a handout?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 11:11:22 PM by BarensMom »

Deetee

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 02:04:09 AM »
Yes

"Oh Hi SIL"
"Blah blah dentures"
"Oh that's too bad. Have you talked to DH about that?"
"blah, blah, no"
"Ok, well why don't you give him a call and he can talk to me later. Bye"


In other words, the best way to let her know you won't talk about it is to stop talking to her about it.

BarensMom

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 09:06:39 AM »
Yes

"Oh Hi SIL"
"Blah blah dentures"
"Oh that's too bad. Have you talked to DH about that?"
"blah, blah, no"
"Ok, well why don't you give him a call and he can talk to me later. Bye"


In other words, the best way to let her know you won't talk about it is to stop talking to her about it.

Unfortunately, Deetee, I told her that and tried to end the call, only to have her ignore my "Well, I've gotta go" and repeat herself, as if that would change anything.  That's why I shut my car off to end the call (isn't Bluetooth wonderful :P) to stop myself from saying, "I don't want to hear any more about your bleepity-bleeping dentures."

My phrasing was:  "I'm busy all this week," "You'll have to call DH," "This is between you and DH," "DH will return your call," "It's not possible for me,"  "I need to go buh-,"  "Well gotta go now bye," then I turned my ignition and my phone off.  That's when she called for the third time.

Oh, and she wants us to buy her a new queen-sized bed.  DH tells me it isn't happening, but he hasn't bothered to tell her, so I've been pestered about that as well.

What can I politely say that will stop her for once and for all from asking/pestering ME?  I know she does it because she sees me as a "soft touch," not realizing that what little input I have towards DH's financial decisions is not in her favor.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:14:33 AM by BarensMom »

bopper

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 09:12:16 AM »
You and your DH have to figure out what sorts of things you would and woudl not pay for his sister.  It would seem that he feels some responsibility and that you are okay with that.  It doesn't matter if you want to pay for all, some or none of her things as long as you two agree.   However, sister doesn't seem to know where the line is.  Perhaps he paid for dentures as that is a one time big ticket health related item.    But was she responsible with the dentures? Can they be repaired?  Is there a general length of time they are supposed to be good for? Is there a guarantee?  Y

Also consider having DH have a special ring tone so you know if you need to take a call.

BarensMom

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 09:26:24 AM »
You and your DH have to figure out what sorts of things you would and woudl not pay for his sister.  It would seem that he feels some responsibility and that you are okay with that.  It doesn't matter if you want to pay for all, some or none of her things as long as you two agree.   However, sister doesn't seem to know where the line is.  Perhaps he paid for dentures as that is a one time big ticket health related item.    But was she responsible with the dentures? Can they be repaired?  Is there a general length of time they are supposed to be good for? Is there a guarantee?  Y

Also consider having DH have a special ring tone so you know if you need to take a call.

She should know where the line is, because, with the exception of the dentures and one other large thing, we only give her small amounts via gift cards or shopping trips/lunches.

DH feels no responsibility for her at all, as her situation is due to her life choices.  It more or less depends on how generous he wants to be at any given time.

I don't think it's really our business to know if the dentures can be repaired or if there's a warranty - that's her job as the owner. 

Part of the reason she wanted me to go with her was to advocate for her with the dentist re warranty/repair/replace (possibly pony up the $$).  That would have involved me traveling 30+ miles over the infamous CA-4 during the busiest time of day, so she could go to the dentist 2 miles down the main street.

MrTango

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 09:29:58 AM »
At this point, I'd cut her off from contacting you by your phone.  Set up your phone so that the ring-tone is silent when she calls.  Stop answering your phone for her, don't return her messages.  You've already told her that she needs to speak with your DH directly.

Cami

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 10:34:42 AM »
You and your DH have to figure out what sorts of things you would and woudl not pay for his sister.  It would seem that he feels some responsibility and that you are okay with that.  It doesn't matter if you want to pay for all, some or none of her things as long as you two agree.   However, sister doesn't seem to know where the line is.  Perhaps he paid for dentures as that is a one time big ticket health related item.    But was she responsible with the dentures? Can they be repaired?  Is there a general length of time they are supposed to be good for? Is there a guarantee?  Y

Also consider having DH have a special ring tone so you know if you need to take a call.

She should know where the line is, because, with the exception of the dentures and one other large thing, we only give her small amounts via gift cards or shopping trips/lunches.

DH feels no responsibility for her at all, as her situation is due to her life choices.  It more or less depends on how generous he wants to be at any given time.

I don't think it's really our business to know if the dentures can be repaired or if there's a warranty - that's her job as the owner. 

Part of the reason she wanted me to go with her was to advocate for her with the dentist re warranty/repair/replace (possibly pony up the $$).  That would have involved me traveling 30+ miles over the infamous CA-4 during the busiest time of day, so she could go to the dentist 2 miles down the main street.
Based upon your description, your SIL sounds like she's heading down the road of my father's youngest sister, denture story and all. I could be wrong, but if I'm not, here is an insight I gained from watching my aunt over the decades: 

The minute you gave her the first penny, you were put into her "worth pushing" column. So she's going to keep pushing since the way her brain works is this:

People exist to give me what I want. Their wants and needs are not even on my radar.
Gave me money once = always a possibility they'll give me money later.

People like that do not SEE a line. They do not believe a line exists. Because they do not believe in lines or boundaries. Moreover, even if they did see a line, they only believe in the value of what they want and they'll cross any line to get it. So there is no "should know where the line is."  There is no line, no boundary they will not cross to get what they want. They believe that if they just keep pushing, they will get what they want. It's a matter of how long or hard they have to push, not a matter of IF they should push.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 10:40:41 AM by Cami »

MyFamily

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 10:40:10 AM »
If you don't want to do as MrTango suggests, then my suggestion is to respond to her request with a 'no, that won't be possible and I have to go, have a good day, goodbye' followed by you hanging up.  You told her your hanging up, so you aren't hanging up on her, but just because she wants to keep talking doesn't mean you need to keep listening.

We are dealing with boundaries with my kids - they are young, but the pushing of them is making me nuts and the counselor we work with told me that in his home, his kids know that after they ask 2 times, he just doesn't respond.  He doesn't say yes, he doesn't say no, he doesn't say I've already answered that, he just doesn't respond and they know to stop asking him after two times (his wife doesn't do that, and they bother her over and over and over again).  I'm trying to do that with my kids, and I think it may help with your SIL.


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

WillyNilly

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 10:44:33 AM »
Maybe this is harsh but if it were me and she called me again instead of DH I'd say "no. You might have gotten dentures if you'd followed directions and called your brother, but now?  No.  You get nothing because you are being rude and ignorant. I will inform DH not to buy you new dentures under any circumstances. Maybe next time you'll listen to what you are told and ask him first."

That would be A) setting consequences for actions and B) training her when she asks you she gets told "no" so not to bother asking you.

Calistoga

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 10:51:47 AM »
If she calls again, I'd be very, very firm. "Sisters name, I have told you X times, this is between you and DH. If you call me again about it, I'm going to have to hang up on you."

I guess there are technically two issues to resolve- one, her coming to you for money, and two, her coming to you specifically instead of your husband.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 10:52:30 AM »
"Sorry, SIL, you have to discuss that with DH.  I have to go." and hang up.  She's doing the adult equivalent of a child's whine.  She thinks that as long as she keeps you talking you'll break down and recommend to your DH that he give her what she wants.

TootsNYC

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 11:59:17 AM »
"Sorry, SIL, you have to discuss that with DH.  I have to go." and hang up. Immediately. Without waiting for her to acknowledge or to agree that you are allowed to hang up. Just hang up. She's doing the adult equivalent of a child's whine.  She thinks that as long as she keeps you talking you'll break down and recommend to your DH that he give her what she wants.

And if you only do this when it's a finances thing, and you ALWAYS do it when it's a finances thing, you may find that she gets trained pretty well.

And if she doesn't--hey, you're out of the annoying conversation.

Ann Landers used to say that people can only take advantage of you if you allow them to.
This is even MORE true about phone calls. You can hang up. You have the button. You have the control.

Just say, "I'm sorry, I never talk about financial things. Gotta go!" CLICK!!!

rashea

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 12:03:28 PM »
I'd give her one more warning, and let her know that continuing to harass you is likely to result in you (as a couple) saying no.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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MindsEye

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2013, 12:25:55 PM »
I think that for someone like your SIL, you can't assume that she ought to know what the line is.  For someone like her, you need to draw that line in the sand, point to it, and clearly tell her what it is, and what the consequences of stepping over it are.

Do you want to completely 100% cut her off financially?  (This means no emergency help, no treats, no gift cards unless it is a gift-giving holiday, nothing.)  Then sit SIL down and say something like "We have decided that we will no longer offer you any financial help at all any more.  You are on your own.  Don't bother asking for any money because we will say no every time."

Do you want to keep giving her small amounts of money, gift cards and treats and the like?  Then decide on a fixed monthly amount.  Tell SIL something like "Going forward, we have decided that we will give you $X a month.  You can do what you like with it, but that is all you will get.  You are on your own for anything beyond that.  Don't bother asking for more money because we will say no every time."

And stick with it.  Sticking with it is the important part.  This makes saying "no" easier ("We told you what would happen if you asked for money") and if SIL knows that you won't budge on that line, she might eventually get the picture and stop asking.  Right now there is no "schedule" to the money she gets from you, so there is always the opening that you can be wheedled into giving more if she bothers you enough.

GreenBird

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Re: Ask your brother and leave me out of it! (SIL story)
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2013, 12:35:59 PM »
It sounds like the best way to stop her from trying to drag you into these things is for you to always respond with "Absolutely not".   If you never say 'yes', she will hopefully learn there's nothing to gained by pestering you.  Stop looking like the 'soft touch'. 

Since your husband doesn't feel obligated to buy her things, maybe the two of you could simply decide that if SIL asks him, he can say 'yes' or 'no' (up to a certain dollar amount or something).  But if SIL asks you, you always say 'no', and once you've said 'no', that decision can't be reversed by either of you.  Actually, I think any time either one of you says 'no', it has to be absolutely final for both of you or it will just encourage her to try to reverse any 'no' she hears.  You and your husband will have to be sure to keep each other informed about what you've said 'no' to so SIL doesn't have any success at trying to play one of you against the other.

The other option is for both of you to always say 'no' to every request for money regardless.  Maybe you can give an unsolicited gift on a special occasion, but all requests for money are met with 'no'.  It would be simpler, and might get the 'quit asking for money' message across more quickly and clearly.