Author Topic: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)  (Read 12837 times)

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Eeep!

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2013, 01:31:49 PM »
Well, actually, I was recommending counseling for DH and FIL together. I'm sure that Mrs P has tried to present the facts without bias, but I don't believe that it's entirely possible to do that from one side of a very emotional divide such as they have. Since I assume bias, I am not really convinced that FIL is abusive (it seems like the other party is always negatively labeled in ways that I feel is really out of proportion), and would hope that he's as interested in maintaining a relationship and would participate. I do like the "political" wording suggested of attending family mediation rather than counseling, and addressing it as a breakdown in communications to be mended.


Regarding counseling and changing people, I have two thoughts:
1. I suggested it as a way to better understand one another. Perhaps with greater understanding, it could be,  that although FIL doesn't change, the interactions and interpretations of those interactions could be improved.
2. Counseling for one person should not be mixed with counseling for more than one person. When we entered family counseling, we had different people for individuals and for the group.

I appreciate that you are tyring to not jump to conclusions, but I really think that someoone who is interested in maintaining a relationship with their son doesn't (A) publicly shun them at their own wedding and (B) send a type-written letter.  Think of the extra effort that went into the sending the typewritten note. That was deliberate, in my opinion and sending a message.

Someone who does the above doesn't get the benefit of the doubt in my book. And I seriously highly doubt that the father will ever get to a place where any sort of family counseling would be possible. But maybe I'm being pessimistic about.

And regarding your point 1. If a person doesn't go into counseling with the intent to try to change then all any talk of "understanding" etc. does is put more stress on the person who is willing to change.   I'm having a hard time expressing what I mean but I think the OP's DH just needs to learn how to manage his responses to his father's behaviors. My husband's father has all kinds of issues and DH and I can sit around come up with very likely reasons for why his father behaves the way he does.  We can even most of the time predict how he will likely respond in a given situation. But none of that matters very much.  What matters is that DH is working on coming up with how he deals with the behaviors in a way that his helpful to him.  I think if we tried to have his father in counseling, all it woudl do is open up new ways for DH to be disappointed by his father.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

Arila

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2013, 01:50:51 PM »
Eeep!

I just recently went through some really rough times with my mother. Actually, sort of cold and uncomfortable real-life situations were how we started out, followed by stiff email communications - but we were both interested in maintaining/repairing a relationship. So, neither one of these things indicate to me that FIL is not interested in holding up his side.

We went to family counseling. From the outside, third party perspective, nothing has changed in our situation, but from the inside - I assure you that coming to a better understanding of one another has made a world of difference.


I don't know how anyone could assume such a huge thing about a person, such as a parent no longer caring about their relationship with their child without making a substantial effort to verify that.

Eeep!

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2013, 05:12:45 PM »
Eeep!

I just recently went through some really rough times with my mother. Actually, sort of cold and uncomfortable real-life situations were how we started out, followed by stiff email communications - but we were both interested in maintaining/repairing a relationship. So, neither one of these things indicate to me that FIL is not interested in holding up his side.

We went to family counseling. From the outside, third party perspective, nothing has changed in our situation, but from the inside - I assure you that coming to a better understanding of one another has made a world of difference.


I don't know how anyone could assume such a huge thing about a person, such as a parent no longer caring about their relationship with their child without making a substantial effort to verify that.

That is really wonderful that you and your mom were able to work through things! But I think the problem with the "substantial effort to verify" thing is that each time one makes one of those "efforts" they are again opening themselves up for the hurt, rejection, etc. that they are getting from the other person.  So, I guess each person needs to decide for themselves at what point they decided "enough is enough"!
In addition, I don't understand why it is up the child (and in this instance, the party that has been hurt by the other party's actions) to make this effort. relationships are two way streets. If the OP's husband decides to take his father's actions up to this point as a sign that he doesn't care - or at least not in a fashion that is meaningful to him - and takes steps to deal with that fact, then I personally think that is a healthy response to situation.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

LeveeWoman

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2013, 05:32:32 PM »
Eeep!

I just recently went through some really rough times with my mother. Actually, sort of cold and uncomfortable real-life situations were how we started out, followed by stiff email communications - but we were both interested in maintaining/repairing a relationship. So, neither one of these things indicate to me that FIL is not interested in holding up his side.

We went to family counseling. From the outside, third party perspective, nothing has changed in our situation, but from the inside - I assure you that coming to a better understanding of one another has made a world of difference.


I don't know how anyone could assume such a huge thing about a person, such as a parent no longer caring about their relationship with their child without making a substantial effort to verify that.

IIRC, the way they behaved at mspallaton's wedding was not the first time they had acted badly toward mrpallaton. Then, this note. Just how much verification does someone need before he decides the other parties are too toxic to allow back into his life?

baglady

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2013, 09:50:05 PM »
I'm going against the grain here, but I think you should cash the check and send FIL/SMIL a very cool thank-you note. No gushing, no detail about what you're going to spend it on, just "Thank you for the check; we appreciate your thoughtfulness." Then continue with plans to cut them off.

I suggest this because I think sending back the check would just open you up for more drama and family gossip. And tearing it up or failing to cash it would open the door to more unwanted contact when they realize it hasn't been cashed and call to find out why.

They sent the check because they considered it their duty. Do yours and send a cool thank-you, and consider that the end of contact.
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Otterpop

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2013, 10:09:20 PM »
I'm going against the grain here, but I think you should cash the check and send FIL/SMIL a very cool thank-you note. No gushing, no detail about what you're going to spend it on, just "Thank you for the check; we appreciate your thoughtfulness." Then continue with plans to cut them off.

I suggest this because I think sending back the check would just open you up for more drama and family gossip. And tearing it up or failing to cash it would open the door to more unwanted contact when they realize it hasn't been cashed and call to find out why.

They sent the check because they considered it their duty. Do yours and send a cool thank-you, and consider that the end of contact.

I like your reasoning.  Everyone coolly doing their duty and closure, not obligation, is established. 8)

OP, FIL crossed the threshold of being toxic to the family a LONG time ago.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 10:33:49 PM by Otterpop »

lorelai

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #51 on: October 23, 2013, 11:33:53 PM »
I'm going against the grain here, but I think you should cash the check and send FIL/SMIL a very cool thank-you note. No gushing, no detail about what you're going to spend it on, just "Thank you for the check; we appreciate your thoughtfulness." Then continue with plans to cut them off.

I suggest this because I think sending back the check would just open you up for more drama and family gossip. And tearing it up or failing to cash it would open the door to more unwanted contact when they realize it hasn't been cashed and call to find out why.

They sent the check because they considered it their duty. Do yours and send a cool thank-you, and consider that the end of contact.

I think people that find fault with you will find it no matter what. "They took our money and cut us off! Ungrateful children" they might say. I think better to send it back or not cash it.

LeveeWoman

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #52 on: October 23, 2013, 11:43:02 PM »
I'm going against the grain here, but I think you should cash the check and send FIL/SMIL a very cool thank-you note. No gushing, no detail about what you're going to spend it on, just "Thank you for the check; we appreciate your thoughtfulness." Then continue with plans to cut them off.

I suggest this because I think sending back the check would just open you up for more drama and family gossip. And tearing it up or failing to cash it would open the door to more unwanted contact when they realize it hasn't been cashed and call to find out why.

They sent the check because they considered it their duty. Do yours and send a cool thank-you, and consider that the end of contact.

I think people that find fault with you will find it no matter what. "They took our money and cut us off! Ungrateful children" they might say. I think better to send it back or not cash it.

No matter what mspallaton and her husband do, there's gonna' be some back-lash.

zyrs

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2013, 12:16:32 AM »
No matter what mspallaton and her husband do, there's gonna' be some back-lash.

So much this.  There will be backlash no matter what.

So it is up to the OP and her husband to decide which etiquette approved solution would make them feel the least stressed about this situation and then do that.  If the least stress would result from destroying the check and not contacting fil & smil again, then that is what they should do.  If the least stress would be to cash the check, send a bland thank you note and be teflon from now on, that is what they should do.

 

MamaMootz

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2013, 12:27:23 PM »
I would burn the check and pretend I never got it. Things get lost in the mail, all the time - right?
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Pen^2

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #55 on: October 24, 2013, 12:40:27 PM »
No matter what mspallaton and her husband do, there's gonna' be some back-lash.

So much this.  There will be backlash no matter what.

So it is up to the OP and her husband to decide which etiquette approved solution would make them feel the least stressed about this situation and then do that.  If the least stress would result from destroying the check and not contacting fil & smil again, then that is what they should do.  If the least stress would be to cash the check, send a bland thank you note and be teflon from now on, that is what they should do.

This exactly. Don't worry about potential nasty gossip or whatever, because if they're of a mindset to spread such nastiness, then they'll find a reason to do it no matter what you do.

FWIW, someone upthread said that the fact that the OP's DH wants to write a very strongly-worded note to toxic FIL means that, deep down, he still wants a relationship with him. This is not necessarily the case. I've had a similar thing involving toxic relatives, and in my experience, it just wasn't true. Wanting to express anger at a person or object that has upset you is a natural human reaction. If someone on the street yells out something rude, a lot of people have an urge (although the polite ones hopefully don't follow this urge!) to yell something back. Wanting to communicate in retaliation does not mean that they want a relationship with a random rude stranger on the street. It's just a natural response in these kinds of situations, that's all. Wanting to vent anger at a person who has shown themselves to be toxic absolutely does not imply that one wants a relationship with someone so dreadful.

But anyway. Get a good counselor and do what they recommend. Be strong. And keep supporting your DH, OP. You're doing great. Toxic relatives take a huge emotional toll. Do what you can to think in the long run before taking any actions, because when emotions are high, it's easy to do something you'll regret later.

mspallaton

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2013, 10:32:06 AM »
So... after all the hand-wringing about getting tossed into EHell, I have an update.

Last night, after MIL left from her visit, DH and I intended to send the note.  We sat down, he double checked everything, folded it up with the check inside, addressed and stamped the envelope - basically the whole shebang.

We talked a little before taking it out to the mailbox because I wanted him to be absolutely sure it was what he wanted to do.  He sighed and told me he was tired of people in his family telling him he "couldn't do this" or "couldn't do that" and the fact that his mother had such a bad reaction is part of why he was so committed to sending it.  Because, seriously, not her fight.  But he looked at the sealed, addressed, stamped envelope and basically said 'ya know, obviously I can do it if I want to - here it is - sealed up, signed, dated, ready to send - and no one stopped me from doing that'.

Then he took the letter over to our safe, locked it up and said there was no reason to send it.  He already knows where things stand and he's walking away from it all.  And if anyone brings up his father to him, he's first going to bean dip, then draw the boundary, and then walk away if they can't get their heads wrapped around his decision.

So... black hole it is.  I fully expect some e-hell worthy stories at Christmas time when we don't go over to FIL's house on Christmas Eve, but for now things are finally calm.  Thanks everybody for the advice and the listening ears.

MyFamily

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2013, 10:43:50 AM »
I'm so happy for your DH that he came to this realization.  Hopefully, this will help him feel stronger in all his interactions with anyone who is trying to pull him down. 


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

Lynn2000

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2013, 11:29:55 AM »
That's a great update. The thing is, now he's in control. He can send it whenever he wants. Once it's sent, it's out there, it can't be taken back. But now it's within his power to decide. It can be so terribly frustrating when you're upset about something, and people are telling you you "can't" do this or that. Sometimes, it's not that you really want to do those things, you just want to take back control, have the ball in your court. DH probably feels like he's been taking, taking, taking from his father and other people. Now, he can stand up and feel like he's the one with power over his own actions and responses, instead of just reacting to others. I think that is a great place to be.
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TootsNYC

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)
« Reply #59 on: November 20, 2013, 11:32:36 AM »
Very powerful of him, and for him!

Great admiration!

Lynn is so totally right!

...It can be so terribly frustrating when you're upset about something, and people are telling you you "can't" do this or that. Sometimes, it's not that you really want to do those things, you just want to take back control, have the ball in your court. DH probably feels like he's been taking, taking, taking from his father and other people. Now, he can stand up and feel like he's the one with power over his own actions and responses, instead of just reacting to others. I think that is a great place to be.

His power is SO strong that he can even decide not to send a letter even if it *does* have a stamp on it! It sounds like that realization was what made him feel most powerful of all.