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Author Topic: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.  (Read 17856 times)

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lkb

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I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« on: April 06, 2015, 10:06:25 AM »
Hello:
I've finally resorted to using this last night and I'm waiting for the backlash.

Background: My relationship with my sibs-inlaw has been steadily declining. They tend to ignore me at gatherings. One in particular won't respond to my messages via phone, facebook or email. I've been grinning and bearing it for my husband and kids' sakes but at the end of my tether. I should add that most of my sibs-in-law are involved  as organizers for an extracurricular program and have been trying mightily to get us involved, which we have not for several reasons, including lack-of-interest and considerable time and distance issues.

Yesterday (Easter), we were at my parents-in-law, doing my best to be kind and helpful. I had spent much of the previous day making a chocolate dessert that I had thought was well-liked by my chocoholic sib in law. I took extra special effort to look nice and made my usual concerted effort to engage in conversation with everyone -- "Hey, how are you? How's the job? What's new?"

Midway through dinner, I started to notice the usual MO: no one said anything to me unless I spoke to them first. There were also few points in the conversation in which I could add or ask anything -- which was just thoughtlessness on their part, I know. So it was just me, my husband and my kids listening to them talk about this, that and the other thing. There was no acknowledgement of my dessert, good, bad, or indifferent. Nor was there any conversation with me during the cleaning up (me washing all the dishes).

Late in the day I was asked if my child would be available to help with the next event at the extracurricular activity mentioned above. This event takes place three hours from here on a weekend during which all but me and this particular child have prior commitments. My SIL says, "I got roped into serving a dinner for 40 and I could use all the help I can get." (Notice though, she asked to invite my child, not me. Apparently she forgot to add "....except for you, lkb") I said I would have to check our calendar to be sure.

Fortunately, there was an event that weekend the previous night (i.e. Friday night) while the actual event in question is Saturday, so my child would be going on relatively little sleep. So I texted with a variation of "I'm sorry that won't be possible. I forgot about another prior commitment." While I didn't have other plans, I have since decided that the two of us are going to spend the time doing fun things together, rather than my child being unpaid help at an event that is of really no interest.

Because this is family and we have three-five gatherings (holidays, a graduation and a Confirmation) coming between now and the Fourth of July, I fully expect some kind of backlash, but at this point, I am done. Fortunately, my husband knows how I feel and he has his own issues with his sibs.

Thank you, ehell, that I did have this phrase. I'm sorry there is a rift in the family but at least I don't have to be the doormat anymore.

ladyknight1

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 11:03:51 AM »
Bravo to you for standing up for your family. I hope your DH inserts himself into the family conversations at these gatherings and includes you.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

lkb

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 11:15:55 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement Ladyknight. While my beloved husband supports me, we are both socially awkward types so I don't really expect it of him. Just knowing he sees my side of things and agrees is enough.

It's going to be a bumpy few months but he and I can do it, together.

Right now I feel like I've kind of thrown in the cherry bomb and I'm waiting to see what happens.

Carotte

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 11:28:30 AM »
You go you! :)
If you need, get yourself a post-it with "It's not me it's them" or "EHell is 100% behind me".

If there is backlash please know that it is 100% unwarranted. You have a good excuse for not having your son help, and even if you had made it up it's none of their business.

It was already quite a stretch for your SIL to ask, even more the way she did (not including you), since I guess you would have been expected to drive your son, that's 6 hours driving plus what, waiting in the car while he helps? Ridiculous.
So what is she going to gripe about? That you have a life beside being at her beck and call? If she (or anyone else) has the audacity to bring that up just repeat "I'm sorry we couldn't help, but both Son and I had a prior commitment".

Sophia

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 11:39:55 AM »
If you get backlash, I would go on the offensive.  It is pretty obvious that the relationship isn't a two-way street.  You could go with "Why would I want to do that?"   If she talks about how family is supposed to help each other, then you could point out instances in which she didn't help. 

TracyXJ

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 11:40:18 AM »
I think you did great telling your SIL that your son can't be free labor for her thing. 

Are they purposefully ignoring your family, or do you think they are just so used to it just being them that they sort of forget that your family is there?  If the first, I'd start backing out of family gatherings.  If they second, maybe you can try shaking things up a bit by having a gathering at your place (if you think they'd travel that far).  Or, maybe try sitting in the middle of the table and see if they try to just talk around you or let you in the conversation?

lkb

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 11:47:19 AM »
Thanks again for the words of encouragement.

Actually, SIL would be the one driving, picking up my child on the way to the event. My child would have been okay with the whole thing but also knows of my issues and also is not at all enthusiastic about being involved in the extracurricular activity even tangentially as this would be but would have gone along with it for family.. When I presented the alternative of spending a fun day together, you should have seen the eyes light up.

Please understand, I don't want my in-laws fawning all over me or gushing over every dish I bring or acting like I walk on water. But I would like to be acknowledged as a member of the family and that I also have a life and am worthy of talking to. (I should mention that I am the only in-law. None of my husband's siblings are married and there is one divorce. The next generation is getting to the marrying stage but so far those that are potentially there are dragging their feet. So I am really the odd one out.)

I am slowly backing out of family events (they used to be big on family weekend campouts but as the kids have been growing up, there are far fewer of them). Most of the upcoming events are nonnegotiable: anniversary of a patriarch's passing, my (other) child's graduation, this child's Confirmation. Memorial Day and Fourth of July are traditional but I don't know yet what I will do. To be or not to be there, that is the question...
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 11:53:06 AM by lkb »

peaches

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 12:01:51 PM »
To be or not to be there, that is the question...

This doesn't have to be an either-or dilemma. You can choose to be at some events, and not to be at others.

That way, you are still part of the extended family but you're participating in your own way.

DH and I have always done that. We show up for the big things in his (large and busy) family, but we don't go to everything. If we did, we wouldn't have any time for special occasions with the other side of the family, or time for ourselves.

I do think it's nice to be there for the really important things. If you want other people to come to your special events, it's best to support theirs, when you can.

But there's no need to be a martyr to others' expectations. There is a middle course you can take. 

lkb

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2015, 12:37:58 PM »
I understand the sentiment peaches, but let's just say that for the lesser events there is a certain "political correctness" involved. I can only do so much without backlash affecting my husband and my kids unnecessarily. I feel this is my battle and while it does affect my household, I don't want to drag them into it any more than I have to.

Really?

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2015, 12:47:50 PM »
"I feel this is my battle and while it does affect my household, I don't want to drag them into it any more than I have to."

From your other posts above it is already affecting the household. You're child does not want to get involved. Maybe you just don't realize how much its affecting the others. Good luck and stay strong.

Hmmmmm

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2015, 01:39:38 PM »
It doesn't sound like you and your DH are the socially awkward one's it sounds like your in-laws are. Glad you are going stop trying to win their approval. Go to events with the plan to enjoy visiting with your parent in laws (if you enjoy them).

I wouldn't go out of my way to make something they'd enjoy, instead I'd take something you know your family will enjoy. Arrive as late as you can, be the first to leave, and don't volunteer to help out more than the others. I understand attending the events, but try and think of ways to make the event as enjoyable as possible for you even though they are sharing the same space.

viedejoie

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 02:10:21 PM »
If a person can't bother socializing with you on their own or compliment you on that awesome dessert, then you are in no way obligated to *work* for them simply because they ask.  "that won't be possible" really IS the best reply here. 

I'm sorry your il's don't value what they have.

TootsNYC

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2015, 03:48:11 PM »
If you do get backlash, do not be defensive!

Just be really, really puzzled. "But we already have plans on the calendar."

greencat

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2015, 04:06:20 PM »
Better, you didn't commit to it when you were first asked - you said you had to check the calendar.  Then you checked it, and there was that pesky prior commitment.  You weren't backing out when you told your SIL that your child couldn't do it, you were just declining the request.  If you get backlash, remind people of this. 

Enjoy your fun day with your child!


Mergatroyd

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Re: I'm finally using this and waiting for the backlash.
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2015, 04:16:58 PM »
If you do get backlash, do not be defensive!

Just be really, really puzzled. "But we already have plans on the calendar."

Pod!