Author Topic: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151  (Read 36935 times)

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AvidReader

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #225 on: May 04, 2013, 12:18:12 PM »



Maybe I'm off base, but there is a part of me that thinks that perhaps DF is a bit naive about the wedding-industrial-complex and so it has been easy for him to blowoff or compartmentalize the idea of a toast or a bridal shower at the reunion.  Whereas for us women, it is a huge symbolic boundary indicator.


I also think this above is part of why I come across as having stronger feelings that LordL. He must have said to me 15 times, "I don't even know what a shower is!" So I explained it to him and had him read Martha Stewart's guide to a polite shower where it mentions hosting, gifts, games, etc.  His response was "Yeah, I definitely want no part of  that." But I don't think it has the same degree of symbolism to him. He eventually realized that his parents were using his lack of knowledge  to their advantage to "play word games" as he put it (i.e. change it from "shower" to "a toasting" but still list us as the GOH).

I had another thought on this aspect of it.  Were you two to go to the reunion and the bridal shower took place, don't you just know that DF would be pulled off by the other men who would make their escape to the bar (or the sports-du-jour on the wide-screen) from all the shower silliness?  And where would this leave you....right where you don't want to be, in the middle of the shower, silently pleading with DF to rescue you.  All the more reason not to go.

TurtleDove

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #226 on: May 04, 2013, 02:26:27 PM »
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Surianne

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #227 on: May 04, 2013, 02:32:34 PM »
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Yeah, I'm confused by the ambush shower thing too. 

Octavia

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #228 on: May 04, 2013, 02:47:27 PM »
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

Yeah, I'm confused by the ambush shower thing too.
I got the impression further up-thread that the other family members tend to follow MIL's lead, so if she tells them to bring presents, they would likely do so.
"I never explain anything." ~Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins

Firecat

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #229 on: May 04, 2013, 02:48:36 PM »
I still am not understanding how the MIL could singlehandedly force a shower. If people don't bring presents, and I see no reason why they would, how would she do this "ambush shower"?  I just really feel like this is being blown out of proportion.  Yes, the MIL is out of line, but I don't think she is evilly trying to come up with ways to ambush LadyL!

I think it wouldn't be that complicated for MIL to do, actually. All she'd have to do would be to get LordL and LadyL to show up, having agreed to the toast. Then she'd contact the relatives separately and tell them something like, "I told LordL and LadyL that we're just going to have a toast to celebrate their wedding. But we're really going to surprise them with a shower - they'll be so thrilled!"

And the relatives, likely not knowing that the happy couple explicitly doesn't want a shower at this event, would be fairly likely to think MIL knows what she's talking about (or maybe not want to rock the boat with her), and go along. Voila, surprise (or ambush, really) shower.

In her mind, MIL isn't being "evil," of course. She probably either wants to celebrate the wedding how she wants to celebrate it, or thinks she knows what the couple "really" wants (which happens to coincide with what she wants, conveniently for MIL). She's not likely saying to herself "I see a boundary here, therefore I must trample over it like a bull elephant."

Sophia

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #230 on: May 04, 2013, 04:27:32 PM »
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play. 

LeveeWoman

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #231 on: May 04, 2013, 04:29:24 PM »
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

DITTO!

VorFemme

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #232 on: May 04, 2013, 06:15:05 PM »
Man, this has been exhausting.

So apparently after more thought LordL is fine with enforcing the original boundaries. I'm glad. I am trying to get some sort of code word approved for "you are being horribly fleeced by your dysfunctional family" that I can just yell REALLY LOUD next time and he will listen and we don't need to have 20 conversations about how and why it's dysfunctional before he begrudgingly agrees. But I know it's not going to be that easy and am keeping an open mind about couples therapy if it isn't at least a bit easier next time.



Gryphon?  Phoenix?  Minotaur?  As in, did you see the article about the poor kid whose parents named him Gryphon Alexander Graham Belle ________?  Have you ever thought about a Christmas vacation in Phoenix, they're cheaper in July, but I might be too darned hot for us?  Who was the name of that special effects guy who animated the Minotaur in that old movie we were watching the other day?

Or any question out of the blue that involves a question about mythology (i.e. no one is talking about the latest Jason & the Argonauts movie, Thor & the Avengers, or even vampires & werewolves....).  It has to be "out of the blue" - dropped into a conversation about whatever else LordL and his family are talking about....

It might work if you watch the right kind of movies......and are convincing about wanting to share a good, funny, or hilariously bad movie with people to watch (al la Mystery Science Theater or Elvira).

Alternatively - if you plan to have kids - ask him what he thinks about naming them after second cousin once removed on his father's side ________(real name, one that might actually work, but is unusual enough that he'd have to say "that's interesting, I'll think about it"!).

Bonus points if his mother comes to a screeching turn in the conversation and insists that any future offspring should be named after her maternal great uncle on her father's side's youngest - totally different name and really "unusual", nobody in school will have that name, he'll be unique!
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

kudeebee

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #233 on: May 04, 2013, 07:22:11 PM »
You and LordL made a decision that you were not going to go to the reunion and that you would arrange to see these people at another time that worked for you (and them, of course).  Stick with that plan.  Any change and mil will see that if she says "sorry" you will change your mind and do as she wants.  Is that how you want to live out the rest of your life, always doing what mil wants without her getting any input from the two of you?

Question that I don't think you have answered.  Where do the people who are coming to the reunion live?  Are they in the area? Far away? How long do they come for the reunion?  Where do they stay?  Who are they--aunts, uncles?  How often is this reunion held?

sammycat

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #234 on: May 04, 2013, 07:41:34 PM »
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

BINGO!

Also, I'm confused as to why invitations need to be sent for a 'toast'. Any toast I've been part of has just happened organically at the time.  I'd consider anyone who sent out invitations for something relatively minor as a toast to be a very special snowflake indeed.

I also want to agree with pp who have expressed the sentiment that other family members have celebrated milestones over the years (weddings, babies etc) yet it doesn't appear that their events have been celebrated (for want of a better word) at the reunions.  In their shoes I'd be wondering why Lord and LadyL consider their event/themselves so special that they need to hijack a family event to celebrate it. 

Now,  I know that we know that Lord and LadyL are not planning it (and in LadyL's case doesn't even want it), but their relatives likely won't see it that way.

From their POV, just taking part in a shower or toast is going to give the (wrong) impression that Lord and LadyL think they're special enough that they warrant this extra fuss for their event.  All the more reason to not attend the reunion IMO.

gena264

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #235 on: May 04, 2013, 10:29:33 PM »
I think MIL wants a shower and she wants it at the family reunion because then it will be all about HER. 
It will be the wonderful thing she organized.  People will be there, that wouldn't be at a shower, since it is really a family reunion.  LordL and LadyL are just bit players in MIL's play.

Agree 100%. Sadly, I had a MIL like this. I say" had" because after 17 years (off and on) of her manipulations she finally overplayed her hand with DH and he cut her off for good (it's been almost 4 years of no contact). I had been to counseling with DH for many of the early years of our marriage because of her . I agree with the others up thread that said that the dynamics LordL grew up with are VERY hard to overcome. My DH could NOT see what she was doing , I became the bad guy in so many situations similar to yours. DH and I were very young when we got married and we did not have the support system or the means to defend ourselves or even know how. Counseling helped a great deal, but it really didn't solve the problem. MIL had to be the center of attention at all costs and since we had her first grandchild (and a girl, which she always wanted herself, but had 3 boys) , my daughter became her pawn and she used her for attention at any opportunity.

blarg314

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #236 on: May 05, 2013, 01:41:29 AM »

It's good you've got some progress.

But it's going to be a long, long slog. I'd expect a repeat of this dynamic (you and LordL make a decision, MIL tries to plow over it, you freak out, MIL lies, you freak out more, FIL intervenes,  MIL gives a half-donkeyed apology on facebook, LordL tries to give in to MIL because she's said sorry, you freak out more, LordL backs down again, rinse and repeat) to go on for several *years* before you come to a place where LordL isn't so much under his mother's thumb. If it goes well.

I'd very, very strongly recommend family counselling - not necessarily just couple's counselling, but meeting with someone with expertise in family dynamics and dysfunctional families. They will have seen this exact same situation hundreds of times, and can provide useful strategies for coping that will hopefully strengthen your relationship, rather than stressing it.

If you plan to have kids, I would multiply the above by a factor of 100. A MIL who doesn't recognize healthy boundaries (and will lie to your face while she tramples them) and a husband who reflexively gives in to his mother is much, much worse when kids are involved.

LadyL

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #237 on: May 05, 2013, 08:57:09 AM »
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.

GratefulMaria

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #238 on: May 05, 2013, 10:33:33 AM »
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.

http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Parents-Overcoming-Hurtful-Reclaiming/dp/0553381407

I just love this book.  It has helped me define problems, detect implications, make decisions, and navigate interactions with both my mother and MIL.  I find the author very compassionate without being touchy-feely, and she has a great sense of precision.




LeveeWoman

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Re: How to stop the escalation? Final implosion #59, updates #90, #151
« Reply #239 on: May 05, 2013, 10:52:19 AM »
Can anyone recommend any books about these kinds of family dynamics? LordL is very receptive to self help books if they are written well (he prefers ones that are pragmatic and non-religious). He has one about conflict management that he was putting into use these past few weeks  >:D.


Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.