Author Topic: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151  (Read 42500 times)

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audrey1962

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2013, 09:47:57 AM »
I re-read your older post. Are your friends also throwing you a shower? If so, tell her that and then decline to give her the addresses because those people are already invited to a shower.

As for everything else, I agree with the others about couples counseling.

JenJay

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2013, 10:03:24 AM »
I'm confused. Did she send the would-be reunion invitations labeled as toasting invitations instead, or did she issue separate invitations in addition to the reunion? I recall at one time you were okay with allowing her to initiate a brief toast during the reunion, and I think this is the compromise your DF thinks he's agreed to. I could understand where he's coming from BUT if she issued the main invitation as being to a "toast" and not a "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

I would ask DF to call her on speakerphone. I'd ask him to say something like -

"Mom, LL and I have had a chance to discuss the reunion and we are not comfortable with your plans. I know I agreed to them earlier but I only did so because when you asked if you could toast us I pictured everyone gathered around casually, you saying a few nice words, and the family wishing us well. The fact that you'd like to change the invitation from "family reunion" to "wedding toast" is too much. As we told you before, we do not want the focus of the get together to be about us! In fact, after further discussion, we aren't comfortable with the toast at all. We do not want you to bring up the wedding in any way. It will be awkward and uncomfortable for us and the relatives we couldn't invite and put a damper on our enjoyment of the reunion. I need you to respect our wishes on this. If you try to organize any kind of wedding-related event during the reunion we will be forced to decline attending and that will upset us very much."
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 10:06:31 AM by JenJay »

TootsNYC

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2013, 10:08:57 AM »
Sorry to be a voice of dissent, but the invitation your MIL sent out does not sound like a shower invitation to me. It clearly asks for no presents and says that it will simply be a 'toast' rather than a whole event in your honor. I can see that your MIL is going to be a tough cookie and that you and your fiance have some things to work out. I too have a difficult MIL, and I have to tell you: this is a long game. Nobody and nothing is going to change immediately, and you have to pick your battles wisely. This does not strike me as the right hill to die on, so to speak. You will have plenty of chances to take stands, draw lines (and all manner of other battle metaphors), and while I do agree that couples counseling can't hurt (at any time, ever) - I would not skip the party or make up some last minute business trip. Go and show your MIL that you and your husband to be are a strong unit.

I'm going to agree w/ Zizi here. I would absolutely not think this was any sort of shower.


I just don't see this as all that big a deal. I think you're being inflexible and that this is particularly hard on your future husband. *HE* doesn't mind. When do his preferences come into play? It's not all about you.  This is his family, and his family's dynamics. Having a moment for them to say, before the wedding, "Ooh, we're so pleased and excited" is a really nice thing.

You really can't just set this aside in order to make this family connection easier for him?

Mind you, I would still absolutely refuse to give her the wedding-party's addresses, and I'd even tell her to not invite my parents (and tell my parents to not attend the family reunion--unless she normally would). That would make the event be too big, for me.

And remember also that you are playing on a bigger stage w/ this--the entire family on his side is the audience now. And this is a tremendous PR opportunity, which is here whether you want it or not. Would you like to win it? If you refuse to attend now, you will lose.
They'll hear about it, definitely. And they'll see it as "you rejecting *THEM*," not "you rejecting your meddling MIL."


You're going to be connected to this family for a long, long time.

LadyL

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2013, 10:14:35 AM »
if she issued the main invitation as being to the "toast" and not the "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\


This is the case. There is one main invitation and it refers only to the toast.

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

This is one of my big concerns. I know that if the reunion was changed to a baby shower or birthday party or anniversary party or ANYTHING with a GOH, it would kind of bother me, because usually the focus isn't on one person/couple.

Toots - I told LordL  that if he had changed his mind and was ok with a wedding centric event then we should talk about that and figure out a compromise between us. I would be willing to compromise for him. The problem is that he didn't indicate that, I thought we were both on the same page of saying no. Then he talks to MIL and then suddenly he's ok with an invite that explicitly and only mentions the event being in our honor. I feel like she kind of bullied him into accepting her version of reality.

She has pulled similar stunts at large family get togethers before and at some point it's kind of impossible to not have this sort of conflict play on "on the larger stage" as you put it. In the past we've bit our lips about her antics, and it left us feeling extremely resentful (the turkey incident comes to mind in which we were literally tricked into cooking thanksgiving dinner for the entire family).

Eden

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2013, 10:16:29 AM »
And remember also that you are playing on a bigger stage w/ this--the entire family on his side is the audience now. And this is a tremendous PR opportunity, which is here whether you want it or not. Would you like to win it? If you refuse to attend now, you will lose.
They'll hear about it, definitely. And they'll see it as "you rejecting *THEM*," not "you rejecting your meddling MIL."


You're going to be connected to this family for a long, long time.

This is exactly what MIL is counting on. The OP cannot control, nor is she responsible for whatever perception of her MIL deals out to extended family. If MIL were communcative. If MIL was asking and negotiating, this would be a different story. MIL is doing what she wants without involving the couple. OP's fiance is unwittingly perpetuating it. I feel for him. It's a tough position to be in and difficult when it's what you grew up with and the normal you know. But I think the OP is absolutely in the right to dig her heels in on this.

I think the easiest and best solution for this particular event is for OP to bow out and her fiance to go if he wishes to. But without OP there it cannot really be an event to toast the happy couple. Or at least it will deflate that portion of it.

weeblewobble

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2013, 10:20:12 AM »

Also, it is possible he could go alone, but it is 4 hours away so I would have to either stay home or make alternate plans with friends in that area (both are doable). If the situation continues to stall out that is what I plan on doing. I know it will hurt LordL a bit (he'd like me there because reacquainting with his relatives is a bit emotionally fraught for him), but honestly this situation hurts me too and if he can't admit that there is no way to please everyone, someone's going to get hurt - me, him, or MIL - and I have personally completely had it with being mistreated by MIL, so it's not going to be me.


As hard as it is to put LordL in a difficult emotional position, he can't have it both ways.  He can't ignore your needs/boundaries to placate his mother and then expect you to be there to support him while he visits relatives who make him nervous and protect him from the stress MIL causes.

There is no compromise.  You said no.  Your MIL is trying to weasel around you.  So you remove yourself from the situation.  "Playing nice" with a personality like this only emboldens them to act out bigger next time because they got away with it last time. 

By the way, isn't this the same woman who expects to you to sleep on the floor (she magnanimously "put down a carpet, IIRC) in her not-quite finished basement?  And DH really doesn't see how unreasonable this woman is?

TootsNYC

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2013, 10:36:49 AM »
if she issued the main invitation as being to the "toast" and not the "reunion" then she has completely made you the focal point of this gathering and I can't understand how he doesn't see the distinction.  :-\


This is the case. There is one main invitation and it refers only to the toast.

Also, won't this potentially ruffle a few feathers among the extended family? If I was accustomed to going to a family reunion every year and then got an invitation to travel several hours to toast a wedding I wasn't invited to I'd probably decline. Not to be snotty or anything, I'd wish you well, that's just not something I'd travel for.

This is one of my big concerns. I know that if the reunion was changed to a baby shower or birthday party or anniversary party or ANYTHING with a GOH, it would kind of bother me, because usually the focus isn't on one person/couple.

I agree with the two fo you that this is the problem. But I think my solution would be to insist that she send invites to the reunion itself, and "redirect" her w/ the shower thing to having a line at the bottom of the reunion invite that says, "We'll also toast LordL and LadyL, who will marry in a small ceremony in October."

Miss Tickle

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2013, 11:12:34 AM »
What's the saying? Begin as you would go on.

Do you wish to spend the rest of your marriage negotiating your life decisions with your MIL instead of your DH? If you let her win this time she will make every single thing a fight from now on. The sooner you (two) get her straighted out the easier your life will be.

zinzin

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2013, 12:06:15 PM »
What about what LordL wants? You talk about his mother putting him in the middle - but it sounds like he actually wants to attend and doesn't have an issue. It's his wedding too - and if he's ok with this, why not concede to him on this one?

I think even conceptualizing this as you or his mother "winning" is really disrespectful to him as a person and your supposed partner. Maybe sometimes he should get the final call.

citadelle

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2013, 12:11:48 PM »
I respect all of the advice given here, and acknowledge that I may not have an understanding of what it feels like to have boundaries disrespected.

Having said that, in your shoes I would go along with the shower/reunion combination. You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime. It seems likely that she wants to celebrate her son's marriage, and I honestly can't fault her for that. It also seems as though her son is at least ambivalent about the event. Likely, he wants to please both of you. I feel for him.

I would try to see my mother in law in a positive light, because that will make your future years happier, for all of you. I know that boundaries are important and so are your feelings, but as the younger generation we sometimes have to be a little more giving, with the expectation that our daughters in law will be so for us.

I know this is an unpopular view, but it is my view nonetheless.

LadyL

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2013, 12:21:14 PM »
You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime.

I really, really wish that there weren't a novel's worth of incidents behind my feelings. I would love to have a good relationship with her. In my relationship with my stepmother, we had a rocky start for very similar reasons, but we were able to talk it out and are now close. I would like nothing more than the same thing to happen here but unfortunately it's not that simple. To give an example of what I mean by "antics," MIL once lived in a rural community where neighbors and relatives would let themselves in to other people's homes. Although this was 20+ years ago, she used that precedent to justify breaking into our apartment when we were not home. To us, this was an extreme violation of our trust, but she dismissed our feelings completely.

gramma dishes

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2013, 12:21:54 PM »
...   

I agree with the two fo you that this is the problem. But I think my solution would be to insist that she send invites to the reunion itself, and "redirect" her w/ the shower thing to having a line at the bottom of the reunion invite that says, "We'll also toast LordL and LadyL, who will marry in a small ceremony in October."

I like Toots' suggestion for several reasons.  It really does allow LordL a bit of wiggle room and I think that's important.  He seems to want to see his relatives and is concerned that some of them are (apparently) having some serious health issues.

Two, it is much closer to what you both agreed to in the first place.

Three, it emphasizes that the ceremony in October is SMALL.  Meaning, you won't be inviting a lot of the people who might possibly be at the 'reunion' and gives them a heads up on that fact so they won't be expecting an invitation to the wedding.

I would still absolutely insist that invitations NOT be sent to the 'not in family' people in your bridal party though. 


Zilla

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2013, 01:07:47 PM »
I respect all of the advice given here, and acknowledge that I may not have an understanding of what it feels like to have boundaries disrespected.

Having said that, in your shoes I would go along with the shower/reunion combination. You refer to her "antics" and "stunts", and it concerns me that you see her in such a negative light when she will hopefully be your mother in law for a lifetime. It seems likely that she wants to celebrate her son's marriage, and I honestly can't fault her for that. It also seems as though her son is at least ambivalent about the event. Likely, he wants to please both of you. I feel for him.

I would try to see my mother in law in a positive light, because that will make your future years happier, for all of you. I know that boundaries are important and so are your feelings, but as the younger generation we sometimes have to be a little more giving, with the expectation that our daughters in law will be so for us.

I know this is an unpopular view, but it is my view nonetheless.


I agree with this to a point.  What you have described so far isn't so out there in the realm of holy batman that lady is a nutter.  I also think it heavily colors/biased your views against her and that must be frustrating your fiancee as well.  You both need to come to a compromise regarding his mother that you both can live with.  It isn't fair to keep coaching him on how to cut out with his mom when he clearly doesn't want to but trying to make it work with you at the same time.  It's a very tough place for him and counseling is an excellent for both of you to deal with this effectively.

MyFamily

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2013, 01:11:22 PM »
Maybe I missed this but I'm confused so I'm just going to ask a few questions here, with my comments included.

How long does the reunion last?  A couple of hours or over a weekend?  If it is a couple of hours, than it sounds like the toast/shower is the reunion and the actual reunion itself is pushed back.  This is rude to those attending the reunion - Great Uncle Joe wants to go and see his nieces and nephews he rarely gets to see, not go to a toast/shower for just one great-nephew.  Doesn't his feelings on this count for something?  If this is over a weekend, and all it is a toast - is your MIL inviting people to come to a 5 minute event?  Because that is about how long a toast should last, so I'm confused on this part. 

If all that will be at the event is a toast (that should last 5 minutes), and you are able to make sure your friends and family aren't invited, then you should go.  If it starts to turn into something longer, I think you should excuse yourself and leave.  Who wants to sit through a toast that lasts more than 5 minutes (and even that seems like a really long time for a toast, imo)?


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

*inviteseller

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Frustrating update #15.
« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2013, 01:15:49 PM »
I had the steamroller MIL also.  And the ex dh would say to me while we were dating, please, just go along for the sake of peace and I would bite my tongue and just acquiesce to whatever flaming hoop we were to jump through.  And then she tried to absolutely take over my wedding.  I started putting my foot down (for very good reasons) and the war that started in 1992 continues today, even after we broke up and he passed away because she now takes it out on DD.  You do NOT want a bridal shower thrown at a family reunion filled with people you either do not know or will not be invited to the wedding.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Your future DH doesn't seem to care or leans towards not wanting it, but because he doesn't have it in him to fight with her, he will do whatever she wants to keep the peace.  I don't see it as, well the future DH wants it and LadyL is being mean and stopping everyone.  So, when LadyL lets her have her way and spends the reunion being uncomfortable, she then starts planning her wedding and guess what?  MIL wants to add some more people because they just have to come...and then some more...and well, she has some ideas about how the reception should be.  LadyL says no, and Lord says no, but I can't tell mom no and the wedding becomes the MIL show.  Then they decide to buy a house and MIL is in every detail, including having a key and coming in when they aren't home.  LadyL hates it, Lord hates it but well, can't upset mom.  See where this goes?  LadyL agreed to marry LordL, not his mom.  If she is so hell bent on throwing a shower it should be a separate event at another time with just the people who will be invited to the wedding.  LadyL, I would call her and tell her that if she is going to turn this into a shower even though you both have said no, then you will not be in attendance, and stick to it.  If Lord wants to go, he goes by himself.  He wants you there to be his buffer, but he doesn't want to be yours.