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  • December 14, 2017, 07:45:30 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 3591 times)

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audrey1962

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I'm coming from the point of view of OP's husband; this is his mother and his nephew. I would have a hard time NOT sharing with my mother that I was worried about my nephew being in the hospital. We're all family, and even if we weren't super close, some events, such as hospitalizations, are very serious.

In my family we always share hospitalization news in case someone wants to visit or send a card or flowers. It's assumed that those directly affected are too busy worrying about the sick person to notify others, so extended family often handles notifications.

I would find it very hard to keep such important information from others. (Assuming no toxicity, etc.)

NotTheNarcissist

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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).

No, I have no personal interest in what details my MIL knows or doesn't know about her grandkids hospital visits. As the kids are grown adults, IMO it is their own choice what information should be shared or withheld from their grandmother.

I think personally for me I caught myself judging her, as Surianne said, that just because I would tell my Mom, she should not withhold info from her own Mom. Because I passed this judgement, I was getting a little puffed up about it all. This is really the essence of why I posted here because I cannot trust my gut responses with my SIL because of our "bumpy" past.

I think Surianne hit the nail on the head and I will think about transitioning it from "secret" to "private" information. And I definitely acknowledge that I should not "put" my own expectations on anyone- I needed someone to spell that out for me...

Funny thing is that this grandson is close to his grandmother and may well call her from the hospital and tell her himself.

This SIL also keeps "secrets" from her DH about her own kids as well as her (SIL's) past. I have lost count of all the "Don't tell Joe"'s conversations she has told me. I have never done well with secrets, and so I immediately began to throw up a wall when I read her request to not tell her Mom. Again due to the bumpy past, I felt the need to check my heart motive on this as I was on the verge of just saying "If you can't tell your Mom, then don't tell me," but stopped myself.

leafeater

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I don't think it's rude, but you might want to consider that your SIL might see you or her brother as someone she can talk to about things that would upset her mother.

My little sister had an unplanned pregnancy early in college.  She kept it secret from our parents, but came to me for advice.  If she hadn't been confident that I would keep it to myself, I know she wouldn't have told me either, and I'm glad she felt like she could.


ShadesOfGrey

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I see - applying your own standards to someone else - happens all the time!

I'm glad we could convince you otherwise.  Good luck in your quest - I think boundaries you are setting are a good thing overall!
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

pierrotlunaire0

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My take on this is that there is a weird dynamic between your SIL and your MIL, and that they are trying to use you to play off each other.  SIL wants/doesn't want her mother to know something, and SIL wants/doesn't want to be the one to tell her.  So she tells you, maybe hoping that you will tell, or maybe hoping that the urge to talk on her part will go away.

MIL suspects that there is something going on (it's her daughter and there is always something going on), so she fishes for info.  This then confirms SIL's fears that her mother is trying to know her business, so she ramps it up.

Opt out.  Tell her that you can't keep secrets.  You won't run to tell on her, but you can't lie either.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

NotTheNarcissist

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LOL - weird dynamics! Yes!

I appreciate all the advice ~ you guys are great!

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Does your husband not want to know when his sister / niece / nephew are in the hospital (or jail – yikes)?  If you tell SIL not to tell you these things, does that mean that she is not to tell your husband either?

There are sometimes good reasons to keep family secrets.  My dear aunt lost one of her sons two years ago and has been in a deep depression ever since.  Her other son has some serious medical problems, but we don’t tell her much about it (including hospitalizations) because she freaks out completely.  We feel it harms her to know, and it puts added stress on everyone else.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

NotTheNarcissist

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Does your husband not want to know when his sister / niece / nephew are in the hospital (or jail – yikes)?  If you tell SIL not to tell you these things, does that mean that she is not to tell your husband either?

Some days DH does not want to know various family drama which does include jail situations. Other days he is OK. As long as his sisters and mother are not flinging accusations back and forth, he will listen to what they have to say. Once they start accusing each other (which is not unusual) he will find a reason to get off the phone. As you can see this issue could just go deeper and deeper, and I *think* I have the answer I needed (because of all the very helpful posts folks have shared) and I'll likely just wrap this up as done for me personally.

At this point, I don't plan on telling her to not tell me what she doesn't want her Mom to know. However, to answer your question, she can always tell my DH, and he can decide whether to share the info or not.

Balletmom

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My take on this is that there is a weird dynamic between your SIL and your MIL, and that they are trying to use you to play off each other.  SIL wants/doesn't want her mother to know something, and SIL wants/doesn't want to be the one to tell her.  So she tells you, maybe hoping that you will tell, or maybe hoping that the urge to talk on her part will go away.

MIL suspects that there is something going on (it's her daughter and there is always something going on), so she fishes for info.  This then confirms SIL's fears that her mother is trying to know her business, so she ramps it up.

Opt out.  Tell her that you can't keep secrets.  You won't run to tell on her, but you can't lie either.

Exactly. Way too much triangulation going on, and poor OP is being made the messenger/bad guy/secret keeper.

I agree completely with opting out and making that clear. In the long run, it will help SIL and MIL to deal with their issues, and save you, OP, a whole lot of stress.

boxy

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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?
My vote is not rude, not inconsiderate.

I am working very hard a not being a gossip so I have some standard sayings which I use and then follow with some bean dip. 

Me speaking to someone else:

-  Wait, stop.  You're about to say something that I don't think I should be hearing. 
-  If you can't say it in front of __________(name of person) then don't tell me. 
-  If you're about to say, "they'd tell you themselves if they were here" then stop.  They're not here, they can't tell me, I don't want to hear whatever it is second hand.
-  Wait, stop, we're heading down the path of gossip and I want to stop now before it gets worse.
-  Hey guys, I'm going ask that we stop talking about this now because it makes me uncomfortable.

NotTheNarcissist

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After sleeping on this situation and the valuable advice I got here (thanks to everyone who chimed in), I think in this particular situation, because it's medical, I won't say "If you can't tell your Mom then don't tell me." However, in the future, when it's about jail or CPS or other family drama (ie anything other than medical), I am pretty much on the verge of telling her that only because she has a history of starting sentences with "Don't tell Joe (or Mom or x or whoever), but...." and a line needs to be drawn somewhere. If her DH knew all the things she doesn't tell him, well, I just can't imagine living like that, I am lost as to what he may do if all her 'secrets' came out.

Again, I needed help w/my own heart motive, and that I definitely got! You guys are great.

I am with boxy on the gossip and have stopped some gossip when I was quick enough to catch it.

O'Dell

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After sleeping on this situation and the valuable advice I got here (thanks to everyone who chimed in), I think in this particular situation, because it's medical, I won't say "If you can't tell your Mom then don't tell me." However, in the future, when it's about jail or CPS or other family drama (ie anything other than medical), I am pretty much on the verge of telling her that only because she has a history of starting sentences with "Don't tell Joe (or Mom or x or whoever), but...." and a line needs to be drawn somewhere. If her DH knew all the things she doesn't tell him, well, I just can't imagine living like that, I am lost as to what he may do if all her 'secrets' came out.

Again, I needed help w/my own heart motive, and that I definitely got! You guys are great.

I am with boxy on the gossip and have stopped some gossip when I was quick enough to catch it.

That's an excellent compromise!
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman