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  • December 15, 2017, 06:32:56 AM

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Author Topic: SIL always says dont tell Mom when its bad news-can I say "then don't tell me?"  (Read 3592 times)

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NotTheNarcissist

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Here's another check-my-heart-motive one. For years my SIL always says to not tell Mom (her Mom) when anything "bad" happens (basically when her kids go to the hospital or jail) in their family.  FWIW DH and I don't feel the same need to withhold any "bad" news from his mom.

When SIL does this, now I am by default made 'keeper of the secret.' Frankly, after 10 yrs, I am tired of it. Now, that may be selfish on my part, but that is not my question.

Etiquette-wise: would it be considered rude or inconsiderate of me to ask SIL to not tell me anything she can't tell her mother?

SIL and I have a bumpy rel@tionship. I just don't do well with boundary tramplers, and in 40+ yrs on this planet, she's the worst boundary trampler I have ever met. 2 years ago I began establishing healthier boundaries with her. Sometimes she is considerate and honors them while other times, she tramples away. She did apologize just yesterday for her latest, most recent boundary crossing 10-days ago which gives me hope for our rel@tionship in the future.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Anything w/this SIL is a touchy subject for me & I feel the need to check my heart motive.

Surianne

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Are you very close with your sister-in-law's mom?  I'm not understanding why you would be telling her in the first place. 

Outdoor Girl

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I'm guessing, OP, that SIL's Mom is your MIL?

I don't see anything wrong with telling your SIL:  'I'm not comfortable lying or keeping things from MIL.  If there is something you don't want her to know, please don't tell me.'
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

NotTheNarcissist

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Are you very close with your sister-in-law's mom?  I'm not understanding why you would be telling her in the first place.  

Great question. I would say not super close, no. We don't call each other and talk much. We (DH and myself) may talk on the phone with his Mom once x month at the most. And see his Mom about 4 times a year at the most.

Judah

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I'm guessing, OP, that SIL's Mom is your MIL?

I don't see anything wrong with telling your SIL:  'I'm not comfortable lying or keeping things from MIL.  If there is something you don't want her to know, please don't tell me.'

I think this is perfect.  I hate being put in the position of having to keep a secret that I didn't agree to keep.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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Mikayla

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I don't think you're selfish at all.  In fact, you've been more on the selfless side in agreeing to be her secret keeper for so long.

I like your wording on that, and I think it's what you should use when you tell her.  Just something like "I've come to realize that being your secret keeper takes an emotional toll on me, so please don't tell me anything else that I can't repeat as I see fit". 

ShadesOfGrey

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I dont think there's anything wrong with saying "SIL, I wont lie to MIL for you.  I wont proactively tell her things, but I wont lie for you." but it strikes me as a little "off" - Does your SIL's family come up a lot in your conversations? Is it *necessary* to tell your MIL the things she tells you?  Do they affect your MIL?

I'm trying to imagine a context in which you feel compelled to tell MIL something that SIL has told you.  Could you clarify the situation a bit?
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

O'Dell

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I'm guessing, OP, that SIL's Mom is your MIL?

I don't see anything wrong with telling your SIL:  'I'm not comfortable lying or keeping things from MIL.  If there is something you don't want her to know, please don't tell me.'

Nice wording. I think you should say something. Telling you secrets when your loyalties lie in different directions is another form of boundary trampling, especially when you aren't close and there is no need for you to know.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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ShadesOfGrey

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What are these secrets though? And why does the OP feel they are "secrets" as opposed to "one of many/various/multiple/normal things I dont mention people in general including my MIL"  ???
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Surianne

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What are these secrets though? And why does the OP feel they are "secrets" as opposed to "one of many/various/multiple/normal things I dont mention people in general including my MIL"  ???

Yes, that's what I'm wondering too.  What makes them secrets rather than just privacy matters?  It's different if the MIL is your best friend or someone who you'd normally share everything with, but if you only talk to her once in a while, why is it a problem to avoid mentioning certain things?

I think there's something more here I'm missing...hope it doesn't sound like I'm questioning you too much, OP, I'm just not quite understanding the full situation yet.

O'Dell

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The OP said it's "bad" things like SIL's kids going to the hospital or to jail. Maybe it's a family dynamics thing as I can't imagine that not being told to the kid's grandmother but told to other family members. I wouldn't want to know if it didn't effect me and the info was being withheld from other family members.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

NotTheNarcissist

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I dont think there's anything wrong with saying "SIL, I wont lie to MIL for you.  I wont proactively tell her things, but I wont lie for you." but it strikes me as a little "off" - Does your SIL's family come up a lot in your conversations? Is it *necessary* to tell your MIL the things she tells you?  Do they affect your MIL?

I'm trying to imagine a context in which you feel compelled to tell MIL something that SIL has told you.  Could you clarify the situation a bit?

Oh, I thought by paring the info down, it would save readers time, but I see that it has created confusion...the issue is that her (full grown) son is in the hospital for a blood-pressure issue. She does not want her Mom (his grandmother) to know. Please don't ask me why. I am a pretty open person so if it were my own son I would just tell my Mom, but for whatever reason, she withholds information such as this ("bad" info) from her Mom.

Also someone asked - does SIL's family come up in conversation w/MIL? Not from DH & I. We tend to keep convos to just our own personal family stuff. It would not be unusual for her Mom to ask DH questions about SILs son because my MIL is a bit of a gossip and "fishes" for info. I'm sorry if that sounds bad, but I've watched her for years. DH & I try to avoid those convos. (He gets pretty frustrated with his family over gossip and secrets and name-calling, usual drama stuff. Very draining.)

ShadesOfGrey

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I guess I dont see why you would feel badly keeping that info from your MIL, who you talk to once per month, not generally about SIL's family, and with whom you try to keep the conversation light.  I'm still totally confused.

Do you think your MIL is *owed* that information? That SIL isnt *allowed* to not tell her mother when her kids are in the hospital (or jail, for that matter-though I think that's public record, but still not required informatin to tell).

I understand being an open person yourself, but surely you realize that others have different boundaries, and just because they are more private than you, doesnt mean you're keeping secrets?   
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Surianne

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Thanks for explaining further, that makes sense -- it would be pretty awkward to know the private info when her MIL is fishing, if you're not comfortable deflecting her.  Would reframing it in your mind from "secret" to "private information" help?  So it's not that you're keeping anything from the MIL that she deserves to know, but that you're simply not sharing someone's private info with her.  Especially since it sounds like the relationship between your SIL and her MIL is pretty toxic; think of it as info that the MIL doesn't necessarily have a right to know.

I think it would be okay to ask SIL not to tell you the "bad" stuff but it may hurt your relationship with her.  She could see it as you not caring about her son, or about you not being willing to support her by listening.  So just keep that in mind when you're deciding if it's worth it (to get out of the squirmy phone calls with her MIL interrogating you).

ShadesOfGrey

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If MIL is fishing, I think you need to deal with this on her side - not on SIL's side.  It's not SIL that's doing anything wrong here.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou