Author Topic: GMIL Birthday Mess  (Read 14643 times)

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secretrebel

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #45 on: December 31, 2013, 03:03:26 PM »
I think you should tell your mother in law the truth and I'm surprised that your husband is promoting the idea of a polite lie.

Simply say "after you decided to change the plans with no discussion we cancelled our flights. We're disappointed and unhappy about the change in plans."

If you ran out of the room crying during the conference call she should already know that you're upset.

lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #46 on: December 31, 2013, 04:36:04 PM »
The original plan for GMIL's actual birthday, according to MIL several months ago, was immediate family who were local to the city (so roughly have my direct IL's only, and not any of the extended aunts uncles, etc) would gather at GMIL house for a cake.

Instead, she didn't tell anyone and took a cake to GAIL house at her annual family gathering, and celebrated with extended family from one side there. then on GMIL actual bday, invited the rest (and majority) to GMIL house for a big pot luck dinner celebration, with a huge cake.

DH nor I have access to these extended relatives. We have never lived in their city or close to it (DH left home at 17 and never went back). We don't have their phone numbers. That was a huge reason we were going to all this trouble too - to try and get closer to these relatives who MIL always (for some unknown reason) 'gatekeeps' us from. This would be the first time in over a decade we'd even see them, and we really want to get in touch with them. (We will be asking AIL, when she's feeling better, to provide us with addresses and contact information so we can just speak with them directly in the future)

MIL did not cancel the venue. What she did though, was have these two seperate events with all these people who DH and I have no current access to - and one poster is dead on; this is how it always is in their family. Everything goes through MIL. I'd be making people VERY uncomfortable and MIL would create massive drama for everyone involved if I tried to piece together this get together. MIL actually told me she NEVER bothered to tell these family members about the event - the only one's who knew were the one's AIL contacted. Word got around, and MIL got some phone calls, and told people not to bother coming, and to just come on the actual bday instead.

SPuck

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2014, 04:07:25 PM »
I would really just take this situation as a lesson learned. Your MIL is a manipulator, unsympathetic, and, I know you figured this out already, but don't let her have any power over your relationships with other people.

oopsie

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #48 on: January 02, 2014, 09:44:09 AM »
OP, I would probably have done the same thing as you.

Having the surprise ruined and all your careful planning changed by MIL would have hurt/angered me as well, especially if she was given ample opportunity to weigh in on it all from the beginning.

In any case, you didn't cancel the trip just because the surprise was ruined but because it no longer made sense to make that long of a trip for an occasion that amounted to dinner out with immediate family. This is not being childish or spiteful or exhibiting retaliatory rudeness.

I would really just take this situation as a lesson learned. Your MIL is a manipulator, unsympathetic, and, I know you figured this out already, but don't let her have any power over your relationships with other people.

POD. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."


TootsNYC

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2014, 03:22:07 PM »
DH nor I have access to these extended relatives. We have never lived in their city or close to it (DH left home at 17 and never went back). We don't have their phone numbers. That was a huge reason we were going to all this trouble too - to try and get closer to these relatives who MIL always (for some unknown reason) 'gatekeeps' us from. This would be the first time in over a decade we'd even see them, and we really want to get in touch with them. (We will be asking AIL, when she's feeling better, to provide us with addresses and contact information so we can just speak with them directly in the future)

. . . this is how it always is in their family. Everything goes through MIL. I'd be making people VERY uncomfortable and MIL would create massive drama for everyone involved if I tried to piece together this get together. MIL actually told me she NEVER bothered to tell these family members about the event - the only one's who knew were the one's AIL contacted. Word got around, and MIL got some phone calls, and told people not to bother coming, and to just come on the actual bday instead.

I bet you would not either.

And you can certainly just ignore it. Just blithely go ahead and contact anybody you want to; heck, even arrange a party next year after all. And invite people yourself. And act as though it is completely, completely normal.

I bet people will like it!

And I wouldn't go either, because as oopsie and others have pointed out, there's not enough of a return on your investment to go now that there's no larger gathering.

lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess UPDATE #50
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2014, 06:04:28 PM »
I can't quite believe my first post was two weeks ago. Time sure flies sometimes.

DH finally called GMIL last night in a spur of the moment decision, and told her he was very sorry but couldn't make it out in January due to work commitments. GMIL's reaction was interesting. She kept saying 'Well now, don't you worry, nothing was set in stone - there were no definite plans afterall - and even if there were work comes first, so don't you worry. Made no sense anyhow for you to fly out for a dinner."

Something is still just not adding up, and clearly we never got the whole story from MIL. In fact, plans were set in stone - with bookings, invites, and reservations. And we weren't flying out for a 'dinner' - we were flying out for a large family milestone celebration.

DH decided not to call MIL to tell her we're not coming, and just let GMIL tell MIl. GMIL and MIL speak twice a day, so by now she must know. SIL text'd me to ask what was going on because people were being 'weird' but no one is saying why (SIL lives near IL's - IL's watch her DD five to six days a week..something ending very soon much to IL's disgruntlement as she is about to enter kindergarten full time in September, but that's another forum and another topic on its own). I expect this isn't the end of this..

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2014, 09:24:38 PM »
I am not used to such hide the ball behavior from everyone! It sounds like it might be a cultural thing where people simply are not straight with each other? Why didn't DH just explain the actual situation and what happened to GMIL? I don't grasp why the dynamics are as they are here!

something.new.every.day

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #52 on: January 09, 2014, 11:32:00 PM »
I am not used to such hide the ball behavior from everyone! It sounds like it might be a cultural thing where people simply are not straight with each other? Why didn't DH just explain the actual situation and what happened to GMIL? I don't grasp why the dynamics are as they are here!

Pod.  Why not just be direct?

lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2014, 01:01:56 PM »
In my FOO, we are extremely direct, to the point, and forgiving while not tolerating poor behaviour. In my DH's foo, there is massive 'head in the sand' syndrome - no airing of dirty laundry, no discussing actual feelings, nothing. The IL's are actually split up - but they live together. Just sleep in different rooms. And they didn't tell us for almost a year. It's not discussed, and DH never once asked his parents how they were doing after the split. It's alien to me. I have no idea how DH turned out how he did. We met at 17 and have been together since, so at this point he's been my partner almost as long as he was living at home since birth. Over the years he's gotten much more vocal about his emotional needs - which I hope he continues to grow in.

DH chose not to be direct with his grandmother because of her age and because of her general nerves. She has become in the last decade, so distraught with any bad information she can't sleep at night and it consumes her. Although this isn't ideal - I understand why he chose to handle GMIL in this way.

MIL however - called my SIL this AM to voice her anger. She is mad she wasn't told first. She is mad he still hasn't called her. He is mad he told SIL at all (not sure why she's angry about this one except that she's used to being the 'gatekeeper' in the family).

DH called GMIL and told her and AIL on speaker. He told SIL because we were supposed to take care of DN one day and wanted to give her a heads up we wouldn't be able to do that. We only had plans to spend one night, if that, at MIL's house. He said GMIL would tell MIL we weren't coming, but perhaps he was (we were) rude for not calling MIL directly to inform her we wouldn't be there to spend that one night.

TootsNYC

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess UPDATE #50
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2014, 01:19:17 PM »
I can't quite believe my first post was two weeks ago. Time sure flies sometimes.

DH finally called GMIL last night in a spur of the moment decision, and told her he was very sorry but couldn't make it out in January due to work commitments. GMIL's reaction was interesting. She kept saying 'Well now, don't you worry, nothing was set in stone - there were no definite plans afterall - and even if there were work comes first, so don't you worry. Made no sense anyhow for you to fly out for a dinner."

Something is still just not adding up, and clearly we never got the whole story from MIL. In fact, plans were set in stone - with bookings, invites, and reservations. And we weren't flying out for a 'dinner' - we were flying out for a large family milestone celebration.

But that's the thing--she didn't know things were set in stone, because it was a surprise.

Did MIL explicitly say she'd told GMIL that there was a surprise party and it was now cancelled? Even if she thinks she did, I can totally see GMIL not thinking this was the case, because who would do that, right?
(well, your MIL would, but nobody would expect it!)

lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2014, 04:29:58 PM »
MIL told us that she told GMIL there was going to be a surprise party at her favourite restaurant and we were flying out for it. That's what she told US she said - but I have no idea what she actually told, and every reason to believe based on past experience that she's not telling the full truth.

I almost don't care what she told GMIL - anyway this played out, MIL manipulated this situation so it would be what she wanted from the start, and ruining plans on purpose. There's no doubt in our minds this is what happened. MIL has always been fond of small, immediate family only gatherings and sabotoges attempts to do otherwise. We knew this but thought this time she was playing ball with AIL and the rest of the family (BIL's and their families) who were all eager to do this for GMIL milestone. Guess not - and lesson finally learned.

Now the fallout has begun from MIL not being the first to know. I'm wondering if DH should call or text his mom and just say, "just want to make sure GMIL let you know we can't make it." He truly doesn't have time this week to deal with a larger discussion around his mothers behaviour - and as many of you have pointed out, we're not sure what the hopeful out come of such a discussion would be right now..

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2014, 04:37:05 PM »
Has the birthday actually happened already?  I seriously do not understand why everyone just passively lets MIL do this.  If it were me, I would go ahead with MY plans.

cross_patch

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #57 on: January 10, 2014, 04:47:12 PM »
Has the birthday actually happened already?  I seriously do not understand why everyone just passively lets MIL do this.  If it were me, I would go ahead with MY plans.

Because it's already been explained that that is not the way it would work in this family. It's pretty hard to go ahead with a surpise party when MIL has been messing around with it like this. You have made it very clear that you wouldn't let anything like that get in the way of your plans, but that's clearly not advice that's useful for the OP. And family dynamics often being what they are, although again I know you have said you would still go ahead, in many situations that is simply not feasible.

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2014, 04:51:57 PM »
Has the birthday actually happened already?  I seriously do not understand why everyone just passively lets MIL do this.  If it were me, I would go ahead with MY plans.

Because it's already been explained that that is not the way it would work in this family. It's pretty hard to go ahead with a surpise party when MIL has been messing around with it like this. You have made it very clear that you wouldn't let anything like that get in the way of your plans, but that's clearly not advice that's useful for the OP. And family dynamics often being what they are, although again I know you have said you would still go ahead, in many situations that is simply not feasible.

The surprise portion is ruined, but the party can still happen. If there is no possibility of changing "the way it would work in this family" why bother seeking advice?

PurpleyBlue

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2014, 04:55:26 PM »
Has the birthday actually happened already?  I seriously do not understand why everyone just passively lets MIL do this.  If it were me, I would go ahead with MY plans.

Because it's already been explained that that is not the way it would work in this family. It's pretty hard to go ahead with a surpise party when MIL has been messing around with it like this. You have made it very clear that you wouldn't let anything like that get in the way of your plans, but that's clearly not advice that's useful for the OP. And family dynamics often being what they are, although again I know you have said you would still go ahead, in many situations that is simply not feasible.

The surprise portion is ruined, but the party can still happen. If there is no possibility of changing "the way it would work in this family" why bother seeking advice?

The guests (most of whom the OP doesn't even have contact information for) have already been "uninvited" and are planning to attend MIL's celebration.  That makes it a little tough to go ahead with the party as planned.