Author Topic: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling  (Read 23004 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2013, 09:40:30 AM »
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But I think you should tell your SIL, in no uncertain terms, that you feel VERY hurt and offended that she pulled up your flowers without permission. No doubt she'll give you the "but I was only trying to heeeeeelp" line. In that case, keep on repeating "Yes, but can you understand that your actions - well intentioned or not - resulted in something very valuable to me being destroyed?"


I do think this is really the only effective approach that the OP can make to her SIL. Not to scold, but to share. In a way, saying, "I want you to understand me more deeply." Which is actually a way of drawing people closer, instead of pushing them away. Counterintuitive. But often the most counterintuitive things are most effective. (want a loud little kid to listen to you? whisper. want the comedy-club audience to laugh at your jokes? slow down, and speak more softly)

Acadianna

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2013, 12:18:41 PM »
Not to scold, but to share. In a way, saying, "I want you to understand me more deeply." Which is actually a way of drawing people closer, instead of pushing them away.)

This is one of the best approaches I've ever seen on eHell, one that applies to countless situations.  It's definitely going into my "Responses Toolbox."

Thanks, Toots!

lowspark

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2013, 10:06:07 AM »
The ideal would be for your DH to stop saying "they're just plants," and go to his sis and say, "I don't think you realize that it's not *just* that you messed with our stuff without permission, etc. It's also that the thing you destroyed and treated like garbage is irreplaceable and had a huge emotional meaning. It's the plants that her mom and aunt planted for her during the kidney thing."

Ah, but he has to come to understand this himself before he can impress it upon SIL. And it sounds like he doesn't get it at all.

Yeah, this is the aspect of all of this that is bothering me the most. SIL did a terrible thing and apparently doesn't really get how awful her behavior was and is not apologizing and and and. HOWEVER, she is not married to the OP. DH is.

And the fact that he is not empathizing with the OP, and in fact, belittling her reaction by citing the "it's just plants" argument is (in my opinion) fueling the whole thing. I think that maybe if he'd taken cattlekid's side in the first place, sharing her indignation without exclusion, it wouldn't be hurting as much. His attitude can go a long way toward either mittigating the pain or aggravating it.

And yes, as Petticoats says, it would be easier and maybe even intuitive for DH to argue cattlekid's case to his family if he actually understood and shared her feelings.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2013, 10:20:16 AM »
It might also help DH if cattlekid's reaction became full of "i'm sad!!" instead of "I'm mad!!"

Right now it seems as if the whole thing is being framed by the idea of "they messed with my stuff" and "they are awful," instead of "I'm so incredibly sad."

Sad is easy to empathize with. Mad makes people uncomfortable.


CaffeineKatie

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #49 on: August 05, 2013, 11:17:20 AM »
I have a feeling OP's husband is like mine.  He had a nagging, fairly passive-agressive mother, and he dealt with it by selective deafness.  I didn't realize for many years that when I would complain to him about anything (including his family's treatment of me), his brain just heard "nagging female = shutdown listening centers"  He would nod and agree and do nothing.  It's very difficult to overcome.  Good luck.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #50 on: August 05, 2013, 12:08:47 PM »
And I think if you want to cut through that natural (and probably healthy) resistance, you need to make sure that *your* complaints are delivered in a way that is completely counter to *their* complaints.

The emotional appeal for consolation, instead of the angry demand for action, etc.

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2013, 12:11:02 PM »
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #52 on: August 05, 2013, 12:12:38 PM »
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

It's not about concealing her true feelings.

It's about choosing the *expression* of her true feelings that is most likely to get through to her audience.


It's about choosing a route that puts her DH on her side before demanding an action or response from him.

gramma dishes

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #53 on: August 05, 2013, 12:14:08 PM »
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

How so?  She really IS sad.

She's also justifiably angry, but he doesn't get that.  Maybe he'll understand better when he realizes that the loss of "just plants" has made her sad because they weren't 'just plants' to her.  They were very special.

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #54 on: August 05, 2013, 12:15:20 PM »
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

It's not about concealing her true feelings.

It's about choosing the *expression* of her true feelings that is most likely to get through to her audience.


It's about choosing a route that puts her DH on her side before demanding an action or response from him.

No, it's lying. It's using emotions to get someone to respond to a lie. Women are allowed to be angry. They shouldn't have to be sad in order to get their husbands to deal with issues.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #55 on: August 05, 2013, 12:18:54 PM »
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.

jaxsue

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #56 on: August 05, 2013, 12:19:44 PM »
I have a feeling OP's husband is like mine.  He had a nagging, fairly passive-agressive mother, and he dealt with it by selective deafness.  I didn't realize for many years that when I would complain to him about anything (including his family's treatment of me), his brain just heard "nagging female = shutdown listening centers"  He would nod and agree and do nothing.  It's very difficult to overcome.  Good luck.

That was exactly my experience with my X-DH. She'd even openly insult me in his presence (as well as FIL's presence), and he never "heard" it.   :-[

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #57 on: August 05, 2013, 12:21:20 PM »
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.

So, she should continue the manipulation? Advising her to conceal her emotion and present a false one is advising her to lie, to do what his mother did.

asb8

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #58 on: August 05, 2013, 12:30:52 PM »
How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
« Reply #59 on: August 05, 2013, 12:41:21 PM »
How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you THINK YOU had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

I'd add those two words.