Author Topic: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....  (Read 5992 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

tinkytinky

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 409
You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« on: July 26, 2013, 04:30:06 PM »
I apologize in advance, as this will probably be quite long.

B/G: MIL is not the loving, caring mother/grandmother type of person. She has favorite children and grandchildren. This is a fact, that has been brought to my attention by several people, by close friends and passing aquaintances alike. I am under no illusion on her feelings for me (or other daughter/son - in laws), and try to have limited contact with her (although for the last 23 years she has lived next door). In February, FIL and another family member went on a vacation, leaving on a Thursday, returned on the following Tuesday. MIL calls DH and asks to talk with him. He goes to her house and returns a while later. He and I had plans that afternoon, and upon driving past her house, I see a strange car. When I asked, he said that MIL was leaving FIL and somebody was there helping her move out. He asked MIL what FIL said about it, as this was a shock to us because we were unaware things had escalated to this point. She replied "Oh, I haven't told him. I don't want to ruin his vacation. YOU can tell him when he gets back to the airport, or even coming up the drive. I don't really care. He will be served with divorce papers the day after he gets back. Oh, and tell TinkyTinky,  NO FACEBOOK". She left and wouldn't give out her address. After we dealt with having to let FIL know (a whole other story in itself) we then let our children know. (they are teens/preteens, so we could be somewhat matter-of-fact). The only contact she has had with any of them was her usual generic birthday cards in the mail (she has always mailed them, even though she lived right next door) My children have made the decision to give MIL the cut-direct, and focus on keeping FIL upbeat. End b/g.

issue #1: I have made sure to not bring it up on facebook. Not necessarily because she demanded that I didn't, but because it was nobody elses business. Most of my friends already knew what took place, as we live in a small town. The first court date was the day after Mother's day, and it coincided with one of my DD birthday. I asked for prayers for FIL and DD. This was the only mention of it, and BIL demanded that I no longer make any mention of any of it because his wife was getting questions. I basically stood there shocked. He doesn't have a facebook account, and doesn't know how it works. I wanted to give him a sharp retort, but I didn't. He continues to rant about facebook, how it is how people get your identity, you put things on there that you shouldn't, etc. I need e-hell approved ways to tell him that my facebook has nothing to do with him, or this situation

Issue #2: The birthday cards. My kids don't want them. two of my children refuse to accept them when I try to hand them to them. The other 3 just take the envelope, look at it, don't open it, and put in a pile with other cards. We didn't have an address for MIL, but we have already returned Easter cards to her church (in a manilla envelope with her name). The kids say that the cards don't mean anything other than their name was on her calendar, and they don't want her to try to buy them with the $10.00 she gives them. We recently found a PO box for her and are planning on writing the return on and return to sender with cards we receive from now on, and the others we are going to put in a manilla envelope to return to her. I am torn between just sending the cards back, or sending them with a letter to her to not bother, she made her decision and to just stay away. 


There is so much more to the background but to keep this from getting too long, I only put in the most pertinant details. However, if there are questions I will go into deeper detail if needed. Thank you for any helpful advice that may be given.

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 588
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2013, 04:50:33 PM »
I guess I'm not entirely sure what parts you want advice on - let me know if I miss the mark.

The cards first - why not just recycle them? Why make a production out of sending them back? If you truly don't want any contact, the best course of action is no response. Sending the cards back is a response, and it can come off like you're just trying to needle her.

As for the facebook issue - well, BIL is correct in that lots of people do put stuff on facebook that shouldn't be there. Not saying that's what you did, but I get his annoyance if indeed his family is being asked questions.  When you do something like ask for prayers for someone without giving context ("so and so is sick, please pray for them"), people have a natural instinct to ask why, and check if everything is ok. So it can raise undue interest and look a little attention-seeking.

I think your BIL was a bit out of line to rant at you. However, it seems to me that posting about other people's private stuff like court dates (however indirectly) is not a great idea. On the other hand, if you wanted to support FIL with a call or text, that would be appropriate.

Good luck to the whole family.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2013, 05:37:47 PM »
If people are asking your BIL about messages on your Facebook, then the most tactful thing for him to do would be to refer those folks to you. I think the right thing for you to do would be to tell him, "If it happens again, please send the person to me."  Then when you find out who is going to BIL about your posts, block them.

However, I think it is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are not stirring the pot on Facebook. If most of your friends already know what happened, and you post asking for prayers for your FIL, then yes, you are signaling something about the divorce. While it was rude for BIL to speak to you in a demanding, ranting way, there is a very fine line here.  If you live in a small town and friends are asking your BIL about family business in reaction to your coded messages on Facebook, he is not completely off-the-wall in asking you to respect the family's privacy.  If you really want your Facebook to be "nothing to do with him," I think it is your responsibility to not be dropping hints that will get him dragged into the middle, or else use your privacy settings so that nobody who will go to him sees your posts.

As for the cards, I agree with delabela - if you really want no contact, then just throw them away.  Going out of your way to return them is taking extra effort just to insult your MIL.  If you believe there is money in them, just open them for your kids and put it in their college account or donate it to the church.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30504
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2013, 06:05:32 PM »
I'm in agreement. i think you were wrong to mention your FIL in that vague way, and you'd be even more wrong to mention the court date. It's not your life

If you know people IRL that you could ask to pray for FIL without violating his privacy, feel free to do so. But even that is not really kosher.

As for the cards--they have no return address, yes? And that's how you know it's MIL? I vote for "give them to the kids and let them toss or not, as they care." Or write "return to sender" and put it in the mailbox, even if there is no return address. They'll end up in the dead letter file.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5150
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2013, 06:08:21 PM »
If people are asking your BIL about messages on your Facebook, then the most tactful thing for him to do would be to refer those folks to you. I think the right thing for you to do would be to tell him, "If it happens again, please send the person to me."  Then when you find out who is going to BIL about your posts, block them.

However, I think it is disingenuous for you to pretend that you are not stirring the pot on Facebook. If most of your friends already know what happened, and you post asking for prayers for your FIL, then yes, you are signaling something about the divorce. While it was rude for BIL to speak to you in a demanding, ranting way, there is a very fine line here.  If you live in a small town and friends are asking your BIL about family business in reaction to your coded messages on Facebook, he is not completely off-the-wall in asking you to respect the family's privacy.  If you really want your Facebook to be "nothing to do with him," I think it is your responsibility to not be dropping hints that will get him dragged into the middle, or else use your privacy settings so that nobody who will go to him sees your posts.

As for the cards, I agree with delabela - if you really want no contact, then just throw them away.  Going out of your way to return them is taking extra effort just to insult your MIL.  If you believe there is money in them, just open them for your kids and put it in their college account or donate it to the church.

I disagree.  I don't think OP is stirring the pot at all.  Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things. 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Daffydilly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2357
  • Live;) Laugh;( Pretend you're sane :-}
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2013, 06:20:32 PM »
Write "return to sender" on the cards and toss them back in the mailbox. It doesn't matter if she gets them or not. The only thing that matters is your children know you respect their wishes and see the example you set. Since your mil has already dropped all other forms of contact, I wouldn't want to encourage one way communication that is set in her terms only. Your children deserve to be treated with love and respect in their family relationships.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2013, 06:29:56 PM »
Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things.

But it WAS about the court date.  OP did in fact intend to post about the court date, and people read her message absolutely correctly.  To pretend that "oh, it could have been about anything" would be childish and untrue. BIL is being asked about things he does not want to discuss, because of OP's public hinting that something is going on.  Part of that is BIL's responsibility to shine up his own spine and refuse to talk about it, and part of it is, in my opinion, OP's responsibility to be more careful in who she shares with.

Don't get me wrong, I think BIL was out of line in the way he approached it, but he's not imagining things. 

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 553
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2013, 06:49:17 PM »
MIL issued the mandante, "No facebook."  BIL obviously agrees.  However, I don't see where FIL made any such request.  OP putting a vague "Please pray for my FIL and DD today as they are having a tough time" (or anything along those lines) isn't exactly pot-stirring.  If she put, "Pray for FIL since he has court today," I would have a different opinion.

I'm not sure why OP is under obligation here to treat her FB page as though MIL and BIL are in charge of what she posts.  I will agree that it's tacky to post gossipy details of a private family matter on FB, but I don't see how that's what happened.  If other people knew that day was the court date, then they are obviously also in the know.

As far as the cards, I agree that you should just ignore them.  Returning them seems to send the message of, "I don't want to talk to you and I really want you to know that I'm mad," which is not really the same thing as a direct cut.  If she's issuing checks (for the $10) it's a little more problematic, but if it's cash, just put it in the church collection plate.

Softly Spoken

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 604
  • "I am a hawk on a cliff..."
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2013, 06:51:04 PM »
Write "return to sender" on the cards and toss them back in the mailbox. It doesn't matter if she gets them or not. The only thing that matters is your children know you respect their wishes and see the example you set. Since your mil has already dropped all other forms of contact, I wouldn't want to encourage one way communication that is set in her terms only. Your children deserve to be treated with love and respect in their family relationships.

This or as a PP said, recycle the cards and donate the birthday money to charity.

You can't force a relationship, and you can't force someone like your MIL to see her flaws and mistakes.

Sending the cards back seems PA. I am not 100% clear on how the "cut direct" works, but it seems counterintuitive to draw attention to your cutting someone off, i.e. "I'm contacting you to let you know...that I'm not going to contact you." ??? So while rejecting the cards may give you and your children a certain sense of self satisfaction, I doubt it will get your point across to your MIL and will just give her a wound to nurse about her horrible DIL and ungrateful grandchildren.  ::)
**POD to what GSNW just posted, she said it better than me!**
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5150
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2013, 07:09:35 PM »
Absolutely ANYTHING could have happened to FIL the day she asked for prayers; unless anyone else knew the court date, there is no reason to think it was specifically about that from an outsiders perspective.  People may assume that, but it could be any other number of things.

But it WAS about the court date.  OP did in fact intend to post about the court date, and people read her message absolutely correctly.  To pretend that "oh, it could have been about anything" would be childish and untrue. BIL is being asked about things he does not want to discuss, because of OP's public hinting that something is going on.  Part of that is BIL's responsibility to shine up his own spine and refuse to talk about it, and part of it is, in my opinion, OP's responsibility to be more careful in who she shares with.

Don't get me wrong, I think BIL was out of line in the way he approached it, but he's not imagining things.

I'm neither childish nor lying, thank you.  If she didn't actually post the court date, they have no evidence that's what she meant.  If they go asking, they're being nosy when it is none of their business.  What the OP did is not stirring the pot, that's asking for prayers for someone who is having a hard time.  Stirring the pot is saying, "Prayers for FIL for his court date today!"

Also, what GSNW said.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2013, 07:12:12 PM »
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2013, 07:44:52 PM »
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

POD.

And I don't think OP's inlaws should dictate what she is "allowed" to post on FB, but by the same token, if she doesn't want them to be involved, then she needs to be careful who she includes in her circle. 

bloo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1240
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 07:52:34 PM »
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

I agree with this. Something like this would be better for face-to-face conversation and even then depending on who Tinkytinky spoke with and the extent it was talked about, it could be unnecessary gossip. If I was Tinkytinky I would never speak about it to anyone except DH. I might acknowledge what the OP knows to be factual to someone else if they bring it up. And not everybody needs to have their curiosity sated and acknowledged.

OP, you might not like your MIL (and from what you've shared, I doubt I would either) she still deserves her privacy that she has requested from you. Respecting your MIL's privacy is also a benefit to your FIL.

As far as the cards, open them to ensure there are no checks/cash. Donate the cash and return the checks and shred the cards.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5150
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2013, 08:13:19 PM »
This is one of those situations where I truly wonder what the purpose of posting such a request on FB has other than to notify people that "something" is happening.  Anyone that doesn't know why you were asking is immediately going to wonder about it, those who do are reminded of it - and "it" is no one's business, not even yours.  Why take it upon yourself to post that and call attention to someone else's personal tragedy?  It is borderline gossiping IMO.

So for people who believe in God and the power of prayer, they shouldn't ask for prayer for those they love?  I see that was all that the OP was doing so I don't understand how it is gossiping.  The purpose of posting is to use the power of prayer to help the OP's FIL.

FTR, I am an atheist.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

YummyMummy66

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 758
Re: You can't force a rel[color=black]ationship[/color]....
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 08:13:37 PM »
As far as MIL saying no posts on Facebook, from what I am reading, she meant as far as "now", being that she was leaving while FIL was on vacation and did not want anyone to know or FIl to know until he was back from vacation.

Personally, that is a crappy thing to do, not only to your FIL, but to your husband, to bring him into the middle of everything. 

As far as FB, I am not sure why you were asking for prayers for your dd.  Because this was happening around her birthday?  How old is she?   Yes, people may be down about the situation, but couldn't she still have a "Happy" birthday celebration or enjoy her birthday?

As far as FB for your FIL.   If you do post for prayers for him, people are going to question why he needs prayers.  Personally, as far as MIL's request, I would tell her to go pound sand.   But, as far as FIL is concerned, are you sure he wants people talking/discussing about his situation?   I would not post anything out of respect for him.