Author Topic: GMIL Birthday Mess  (Read 14027 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2014, 05:08:33 PM »
So if there is nothing to do aside from allow MIL to run everyone's lives, why ask for advice or comments (what the OP asked for)?  I think the OP and her DH can expect the same results they've always gotten when they continue to take the same actions (or inactions) when it comes to his family of origin.  So if that is the route they are going to take, then accept it will be frustrating and just laugh about it.  Personally, I don't think it makes sense to take that route, but if that is the only option the OP and her DH are willing to consider, then there is no chance of any different result other than "MIL did something that upset me again."  So the OP and her DH can expect to be regularly upset by MIL unless they cut her off.

Mikayla

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2014, 05:10:56 PM »

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..

Ugh.  You really have my sympathy with this!

But on the bolded....so what?  This is the mantra you and DH need to start mentally muttering.  Your knee jerk reaction is to try to JADE, but don't.  You aren't even the ones she called to complain to!  She wants that text...don't give it to her.

You said upthread that his family is more about burying heads in sand, not talking, etc. but I think this is a whitewash of what's happening.  The truth is, it sounds like your MIL's kids haven't figured out yet they're adults and they don't have to listen to her, or jump when she says to.

I think the best thing you can do is encourage your DH to stop reacting to mom and start being more proactive about establishing his (and your) own relationship with these relatives.  You mentioned something about that, and it's a great idea.  Focus on the positives and limit contact with his mom.  If she's upset, then she's upset.  It's not his job to fix that.


lastnightsdream

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2014, 06:59:46 PM »
I came here seeking advice because I do want things to change. I'd like a better relationship with IL's - one built on respect. This is where the manners part comes in as I know to be rude in response to rudeness is the cycle we've been on for years (sometimes) and it's time to change that. We can only change our own response - so now we're sort of at an impass of, how do we speak with MIl in regards to what happened. Do we have an obligation to tell her DIRECTLY we are no longer coming. She is right now still blowing up SIL cell phone with texts about being angry she wasn't the first to know, and grilling poor SIL on when and how she found out, and wanting every possible detail.

PurpleyBlue you nailed it on the head there. Mikayla, SIL last text to me was: "So are you guys planning to call her directly to speak to her...she is SUPER mad!" I responded that I had no plans to myself, that's up to DH, but the reasons she's telling SIL she is mad are ridiculous. I told SIL that MIL isn't the 'gatekeeper' - who cares if she didn't know first?! SIL wrote back....wow, you're right!!!

Eeep!

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2014, 07:02:58 PM »
So if there is nothing to do aside from allow MIL to run everyone's lives, why ask for advice or comments (what the OP asked for)?  I think the OP and her DH can expect the same results they've always gotten when they continue to take the same actions (or inactions) when it comes to his family of origin.  So if that is the route they are going to take, then accept it will be frustrating and just laugh about it.  Personally, I don't think it makes sense to take that route, but if that is the only option the OP and her DH are willing to consider, then there is no chance of any different result other than "MIL did something that upset me again."  So the OP and her DH can expect to be regularly upset by MIL unless they cut her off.

Actually, even when the OP posted, they had already cancelled. Per the original post, I believe her initial questions were as follows (sorry I haven't mastered the double quoting):

"DH wants to tell them he is too busy to go because of work and that head in the sand routine is getting old. I told him I understand a white lie to grandma because why upset her further (she's in the 100+category), but he needs to tell his mother the real reason we're not going and discuss it with her.

Any advise appreciated...or commentary. Sigh.  DH has yet to tell them we're not coming (he wanted to wait until their holiday celebration was over as he didn't trust his mom not to blow a gasget and let onto GMIL that she was angry/upset/disappointed, etc). "

So it seems to me that her original question was actually about how to broach their decision with MIL, not the decision itself.
As often happens in life, things morph and change and so at this point they have told the GMIL that they aren't coming but not the mother.

I get that you seem to think that the best thing would be to still throw the party. But since the MIL and AIL were, as I understand it, the people who were going to do the inviting of the family originally, and since MIL basically decided to chuck that whole idea and do her own and it would appear that AIL is going along with it, I'm confused as to how exactly the party would continue.  I guess the OP could get all of the contact info from the AIL, call everyone and tell them "I realize that MIL is throwing a party for GMIL, but we are also going to throw one on a later date. Please come to ours too." But, of course, family dynamics being what they are, who knows if anyone would even come to the second party. Perhaps they don't want to risk annoying MIL - who they live closer to/deal with more. Perhaps, since the OP has stated she doesn't really know the people very well, they will decide not to come anyway.  Who knows what will happen in that regard. But we do know that it will be a big huge hassle for the OP. And might even cause GMIL stress if she finds out all of the drama involved with celebrating HER birthday.

Your point that the OP's DH needs to not give his mother so much power is a good one. But I just don't see that still throwing their party too is the best way to start down that path.  Now how they deal with the MIL's current actions of being upset that she wasn't told first? THAT is a good place to start the new way of dealing with her.
"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

Eeep!

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2014, 07:04:47 PM »
Oops! Looks like the OP beat me to responding. Hee.  Sorry to speak for you, lastnightsdream.
"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

Marbles

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2014, 07:06:15 PM »
So if there is nothing to do aside from allow MIL to run everyone's lives, why ask for advice or comments (what the OP asked for)?
[snip]

TurtleDove, your comments in this thread are reading more and more abrasively. I see that you don't like how the OP and her husband are handling it, but I don't think giving her a hard time for posting is helpful.

Lastnightsdream, my grandmother has similar troubles with obsessing over things that distress her. It's kind of you both to not drag her into the drama that has unfolded.

Perhaps, though, Grandma could help you in another way. Might she have some or all of the contact information for the family members you were hoping to invite? When next you visit, perhaps you can copy some names and addresses out of her address book. It will be a real boon to your DH's relationships with the extended family if he can contact them directly (and get additional addresses and phone number from them, too.)

Who knows? If you can contact everyone directly, you could hold a "close of milestone year" birthday party next year.

Yes, since you were to be staying with her, you need to tell your MIL directly that you won't be coming. I'm  ::) because MIL can tell SIL that she is mad, but not the people she is actually angry with.

secretrebel

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #66 on: January 12, 2014, 08:41:22 AM »
I came here seeking advice because I do want things to change. I'd like a better relationship with IL's - one built on respect. This is where the manners part comes in as I know to be rude in response to rudeness is the cycle we've been on for years (sometimes) and it's time to change that. We can only change our own response - so now we're sort of at an impass of, how do we speak with MIl in regards to what happened. Do we have an obligation to tell her DIRECTLY we are no longer coming. She is right now still blowing up SIL cell phone with texts about being angry she wasn't the first to know, and grilling poor SIL on when and how she found out, and wanting every possible detail.

PurpleyBlue you nailed it on the head there. Mikayla, SIL last text to me was: "So are you guys planning to call her directly to speak to her...she is SUPER mad!" I responded that I had no plans to myself, that's up to DH, but the reasons she's telling SIL she is mad are ridiculous. I told SIL that MIL isn't the 'gatekeeper' - who cares if she didn't know first?! SIL wrote back....wow, you're right!!!

I think you should have told her as soon as you decided not to go. I think you all seem to be engaged in some kind of complicated power play I don't understand.

The party shouldn't have been a surprise. MIL should have been involved from the outset since she was always going to be involved in letting people know. I don't get why you booked flights and a venue without sending invites to the guests. I don't understand why you expected GMIL to know that a big party was planned when the party was a surprise.

Y'all need to *talk* to each other. Use your words. Not just with this but with all future plans.

Explain what you had intend, that you were upset that the arrangements were changed without consulting you and that as a result you decided not to come. Endeavour to communicate better in future and to do your own part in that. Concentrate on more intimate meaningful human connections rather than showy performances. If it's important to you to spend time with GMIL or relations you haven't met, make those plans outside of the birthday arrangements.

There could be perfectly old reasons why people thought the arrangements weren't set in stone or could be changed but because you all won't talk to each other you're assuming the worst and sabotage. Please try harder to work with other family members to find mutual solutions rather than everyone sticking their heels in and wanting it to be their way or no way.

LeveeWoman

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #67 on: January 12, 2014, 09:49:12 AM »
I'd find some way to take MIL out of her role as gate-keeper. Between your SIL, AIL and the Internet, I'm sure you could find the contact information for the other relatives.

TurtleDove

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #68 on: January 12, 2014, 12:04:34 PM »
The OP asked for advice and commentary, and I provided my advice and commentary. If the response is that nothing can change because that is just how DH's family is, well, okay then. I don't see that we can help.

TootsNYC

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #69 on: January 12, 2014, 03:38:19 PM »

.. SIL last text to me was: "So are you guys planning to call her directly to speak to her...she is SUPER mad!" I responded that I had no plans to myself, that's up to DH, but the reasons she's telling SIL she is mad are ridiculous. I told SIL that MIL isn't the 'gatekeeper' - who cares if she didn't know first?! SIL wrote back....wow, you're right!!!

You've got the right attitude. Now keep modeling that. Yours is the reasonable path, and just sort of firmly, assertively stick to it.

You *do* need to directly tell her you won't be coming; it would actually be rude to let her only find out from other people (she can hear it from them first, but she should hear it from you directly as well).

Don't let too much time go by, and don't make it long. Use the shortest, most controlled method of communication you've got. Text her, maybe: "We won't be coming for the visit after all--no need to host us on Friday night."

If she makes snarky comments, just be bewildered. Remember, you are modeling the way *reasonable* people act. Reasonable people are happy to hear in whatever order, as long as they hear soon enough. (Don't let another day go by with not telling her!) So be mildly surprised that she's not content.

I do think you should say to MIL: "We're upset that you changed the plans without consulting us. And now that the plans have changed, we're not coming. Mostly because the plans changed, and the return on investment isn't worth it. But part of why we're not coming is frankly we are upset."

And yes, start assertively creating your own relationships with other people in the family. Break the mold--don't allow MIL to hijack all communications. Once you start acting in the dynamic that you want, she'll figure out how to live within it. Right now, she's not getting any practice at it--the only thing she sees is "when I am in charge of all family communications."

Luci

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #70 on: January 12, 2014, 05:03:03 PM »
Yup. Read it all. Still a mess.

Let MIL do what she wants for the actual day. Don't make a surprise. Continue family dinner 3 weeks later. Tell Grandma you love her.

So, what is really the problem, unless you are concerned about MIL who actually needs to learn to let go? Do it anyway.

cass2591

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #71 on: January 12, 2014, 05:46:09 PM »
The OP asked for advice and commentary, and I provided my advice and commentary. If the response is that nothing can change because that is just how DH's family is, well, okay then. I don't see that we can help.

Let it go, as in drop it. The OP did ask for help and I'm not sure if you have a bee in your bonnet because your advice and commentary didn't elicit the response you expected, but the OP isn't
looking for ways to change her husband's family, but how to make this dramarama easier on all concerned.

You have expressed your disapproval of the situation, and given the mod reports we've received, you've been heard (read?) loudly and clearly.
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onyonryngs

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #72 on: January 12, 2014, 06:37:16 PM »
Go see GMIL. Make a big deal about her birthday. This isn't about you or MIL right now. Don't let MIl make it about her. GMIL is probably familiar with MIL's schemings.  My grandma's bday would've been this month and she died last month. Don't lose a chance to see GMIL for spite.

kudeebee

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #73 on: January 12, 2014, 09:32:56 PM »
DH needs to text mil and let her know that  you will no longer be coming for your visit.  That is all I would say if I were him. 
If she replies back and wants to know why, then he can reply something like "you invited all the family to get together on gmil's actual birthday, rather than doing a small party as intended on that day and having the big family party 3 weeks later.  So, there is no reason for us to come now that the big family party has already happened."
If she texts more, he should delete them or reply once, "mil, i have told you our reasons, there is no more to discuss".

PastryGoddess

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Re: GMIL Birthday Mess
« Reply #74 on: January 12, 2014, 10:23:28 PM »
Acutally I think if she asks why, then she should be told nothing other than they changed their mind.  it smacks of JADEing in order to appease his mother.  And really what's the point.  She's not going to change who she is based on this one incident.