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What would you do?

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
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I'll try to keep this brief. My husband's family takes a family vacation every other year to the beach. We get a house big enough for MIL, FIL, SIL and her boyfriend, DH, me and our three kids. Our kids are 21, 5 and 3. Our 21 year is not biologically my husband's but we've been together since she was barely 4 and my ILs always treated her like their grandchild. DD has two children - they're 20 mos and 6 mos old. Last year was the year we were due for our vacation. MIL has acted *funny* with DD since she got pregnant the first time (long story but she avoids her, never asks about her or her children - even the one that was in the NICU for 5 weeks). She basically pretends she doesn't exist. Not OK. Last winter MIL started asking about our availability for our bi-annual trip. We said we could be flexible on dates but wanted to be sure DD was invited. All of the sudden, no more vacation talk. Then a few months ago I received an evite to join them on the vacation to our usual destination. The evite went to me, DH and SIL - you know because you need to track THREE people's responses on evite. Anyway, I said to DH - why is DD not on here? DH insisted it was just because MIL assumes that we'll tell her. I was skeptical. So, for months I bugged DH to clear this up with his mom. Finally last week, he checked in with her to confirm that DD was invited as always. She responded, "Sure. I'm just worried there's not enough room." Now, normally when I plan a vacation, one of the first things I think about is who is coming and where they're going to stay. DD was clearly not considered. I'll be honest - this really pisses me off. And I don't want to go on a family vacation where part of the family is not invited. But, vacation has been booked and MIL has been talking it up to my two smaller children. I feel like I'm in a real predicament so I'm considering my options:

- Refuse to go. I said last year, no DD no family vacation. This would obviously cause drama that could potentially have irreversible impact on my relationship with the ILs. And my children are looking forward to it - like ask everyday when we're going to the beach.
- Book our own place for the same week. A costly but effective statement. (to clarify MIL pays for this place and we pay for the groceries for the week for everyone)
- Go but be loud and clear that this is the last time and that it's unacceptable to exclude one of my children. If I do this, I think DD's feelings will really be hurt. It does not go unnoticed that MIL pretty much pretends she doesn't exist since she got pregnant.
- I got the address of the place we're staying to check out how many bedrooms and if me, DH and our two boys share a room and DD and her two kids share a room (if this is even logistically possible based on the setup) then we just invite DD and it's water under the bridge or at least sends the message that it's not acceptable to exclude DD. There's a chance with this that there would be a lot of tension in the house. MIL is generally very pleasant though and I don't think she would do anything blatant. She would, at worst, avoid DD which obviously be upsetting.

This is just vacation and I realize it's a first world problem and no one is obligated to include anyone in anything. But I feel like going and not addressing the matter is the equivalent of saying it's okay with us that they exclude DD. DH believes DD should be invited but also thinks because his mom said she can come (even though there isn't really enough room and she obviously wasn't invited in the first place!) that we're all good. I'm really at a loss. If it were you - what would you do? So much for keeping it brief...
 

Matata

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No matter what you decide about going or not going, the issue of why MIL has lost interest in your daughter since she's had children is the elephant in the room. A discussion about that is called for, I think, otherwise this thing will continue to fester.
 

Puppmom

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Thanks, Matata. I think you're right. The vacation is just a manifestation of a really crappy underlying situation.
 

momhappy

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I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're dealing with it. I know how tricky family politics can be and it seems no matter what you decide, someone's feathers get ruffled. I wish you luck on your decisions and I hope it works out for you.
 

Calliecake

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Puppmom, I would call my MIL and talked to her. She has a daughter. I'm sure she will understand why this would hurt your feelings. It sounds like you have had a decent relationship with her so I think talking to her would be the best way to clear it up and not add to feelings being hurt more than they already our. I would also ask her why she has been acting strange and wants to avoid your daughter. If she doesn't agree with decisions your daughter has made regarding her life I would remind her that everyones makes decisions at some point in time we disagree with, but we don't cut them out and ignore them because of it. i think this problem can probably be easily resolved by talking to your MIL. I'm wish I had just had a few conversations with my MIL when she was alive. It sure would have been better than feeling hurt a lot of the time.
 

amc80

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MIL has made it pretty clear as to who she considers to be in her family.

Time to take your own family vacation.
 

Puppmom

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Momhappy, thank you! It definitely weighs on me that MIL treated my DD like her own and literally overnight just started to avoid her.

Calliecake, your advice is totally reasonable. MIL and I are not very close. We spend a lot of time together but talk about nothing serious. We're very different people. That obviously doesn't prevent me from having a conversation with her - just a little background. MIL has two daughters actually. One who I have never met (been with DH for 16 years). DH doesn't know her either. MIL kicked her out when she was 17 (or 18??) and they have no contact with her. MIL pretends she doesn't exist - no pics of her in photo albums, she refers to my other SIL as her only daughter etc. I've always tried to find out what she did that was so bad that she disowned her (I say she bc FIL tried to keep in contact with her but it was creating problems within the family and the slowly stopped speaking apparently). I've never gotten a straight answer. DH was 12 when she moved out and doesn't remember much - just that MIL and his sister constantly fought. I guess my point is she's done this before - to her own child - although I don't know why which is obviously a factor. MIL avoids confrontation and would I'm sure insist that she doesn't "mean any harm". So, if I do have a conversation, it would have to be a very frank discussion so we don't skirt around the issue.

AMC, that's what I'm inclined to think but my feelings are so tied up in this that I don't entirely trust my judgement. I'm not generally a sensitive person but, you mess with my kids, and I can barely see straight!
 

telephone89

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You said it's only since she had kids. Is she unmarried? Are your ILs quite religious or would otherwise disapprove of that? Maybe they think she's too young? Does she not want to pay for the extra rooms required? Not that it makes it better, but it might help you understand a bit more if you can figure out WHY the issue only started when she had her own children.

Anyways, I would call her and say something like "If you're planning a FAMILY vacation, we expect that you invite our FAMILY. This includes DD and little one 1 and little one 2. If you don't have enough room for us then we will have to skip this trip, and catch the next one."
This should be said by your husband, so long as he feels your DD and her kids are his family. (if he doesn't, that's another issue).
I would not go on the trip as planned, this is just giving your MIL ammo for next time they exclude them. "Well they didn't come last time, why is it an issue now?!"
If you still want to go and pay, you can certainly do that, however it might be setting precedent (as above) for the next trips too. So you might think you're only paying this time, but they might start expecting you to pay for your fam all upcoming trips.

I'd call her bluff and see what she does. I wouldn't tolerate my MIL treating my family like that, biological or not.
 

Puppmom

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Telephone, thanks for the advice. DD is not married but her boyfriend is very supportive (sorry, probably not relevant to this! :lol: ). MIL is not religious at all BUT DH grew up in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood where this type of thing does not happen (we all know it DOES happen but you know what I mean). I honestly think MIL is embarrassed by it. The thing is - I had DD when I was 17 - and she *accepted* me. But, things like this make me wonder about that. DH absolutely considers DD and the boys family. The issue with him is he thinks the best of MIL and doesn't see this as a problem because "she doesn't mean anything by it". To him, she said DD can come so problem solved. I share some blame too because I've kept quiet up until now (aside from the mention of vacation last year) so I feel like my silence has allowed this to continue. I would much prefer my husband talk to her but he doesn't really look beneath the surface of what she says or how she acts. He does have a better *way* with her than me though. She and I have just don't speak the same language. It's hard to explain. We walk away from conversations with one another drawing opposite conclusions sometimes.

All of this is very strange and complicated by the fact that MIL is very pleasant. It's hard to articulate.
 

susief

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I would absolutely not go without your DD. It would hurt her, and be setting a bad example to your younger ones that their older sister is not "really" part of the family.

I suspect your MIL wants to distance herself from your DD since she made choices that don't fit with her expectations. Sadly she didn't truly consider her one of the family, despite appearances.

Either book your own accommodation (which might be a better option anyway - your own space, less tension), or politely decline and book your own more affordable holiday elsewhere.

I have a 3 year old. I get not wanting to disappoint. But young children get over things and I'm sure planning an alternative holiday and talking it up would go a long way to easing any disappointment. Be honest with them about why.
 

OoohShiny

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Can you see the ILs before you go away?

I would be tempted to ask them out to an early dinner at a neutral location "to finalise some details about the holiday" - pick a nice place that you've not been to before and don't need to go back to again, just in case the worst happens :lol: and pick an early time so they have no excuse to rush off 'because it's late'.

Take the whole family, including the young kids, so they can also witness if grandma misbehaves and understand if the worst comes to the worst.

Have the nice meal but don't touch on the holiday, nobody drink alcohol (as that rarely helps) and then when you've had dessert and are sitting having coffee, say that there are a couple of things you need to talk about.

At that point, DD can say to grandma that she loves her very much but that she has not felt very close to her recently; that she would like that to change because she does not want grandma to miss out on the babies growing up as they are only young once; and that she wants her children to be as close to (great-)grandma as she has previously been, because we only get one (great-)grandma and they are wise and lovely (or words to that effect - you know what I mean :lol: )

That way you and DD are emphasising the benefits grandma brings and making her feel valued and wanted - if she really is embarrassed by what she thinks 'society' is thinking (even though society doesn't care about children out of wedlock nowadays!) then hopefully the pull of family will over-ride her perceived worries. She appears to be very strong minded if she can stop speaking to her own daughter, but we can but try...

Oh ,and if you can also teach the 20-month-old to say "I wuv woo gramma" while giving Bambi-eyes, then that is added emotional weight ;)) LoL


You will need to speak to DH and DD beforehand to lay out your plan/strategy, and they will need to be onboard - methinks DH is just brushing off your concerns in an attempt to try to not rock the boat...

I think you need to speak to DH anyway - leaving this bubbling away inside you will make you focus on it more and it will slowly consume you and potentially lead you to say rash things in the heat of the moment if discussions get animated.

It is a tricky one - if you confront her then she is likely to get defensive or brush it off like it's nothing, then nothing will change until/unless a bigger argument is had at a later date. If you push it then you might have that argument then and there, which might make any future communication difficult. And if you completely guilt-trip her, she will feel obliged against her will, which she will resent.

I hope you can find resolution. Ultimately grandma will need to explain her feelings and her thoughts to you/DD/DH - if she cannot / will not, you might be stuck.

The ball appears to be in her court!



EDIT: thinking about it, you could always plant the seed in DH's head about 'have you ever thought about looking for your sister?' :Up_to_something: lol :Up_to_something:

EDIT2: Ooh, just thinking again - if you can't have a conversation before going, you could always have it on the last day of the holiday this year and see what happens. And if you can't have it then, you should email them when you get back and say that it's your turn to book the venue next year, and that you've already done it (so they can't book the usual place and then say 'too late' by return email) - if they are then your guests then they have no choice but to behave ;-)
 

Calliecake

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puppmom|1466798316|4047707 said:
Telephone, thanks for the advice. DD is not married but her boyfriend is very supportive (sorry, probably not relevant to this! :lol: ). MIL is not religious at all BUT DH grew up in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood where this type of thing does not happen (we all know it DOES happen but you know what I mean). I honestly think MIL is embarrassed by it. The thing is - I had DD when I was 17 - and she *accepted* me. But, things like this make me wonder about that. DH absolutely considers DD and the boys family. The issue with him is he thinks the best of MIL and doesn't see this as a problem because "she doesn't mean anything by it". To him, she said DD can come so problem solved. I share some blame too because I've kept quiet up until now (aside from the mention of vacation last year) so I feel like my silence has allowed this to continue. I would much prefer my husband talk to her but he doesn't really look beneath the surface of what she says or how she acts. He does have a better *way* with her than me though. She and I have just don't speak the same language. It's hard to explain. We walk away from conversations with one another drawing opposite conclusions sometimes.

All of this is very strange and complicated by the fact that MIL is very pleasant. It's hard to articulate.

Puppmom,

After reading more about this situation. I'm not so sure I gave you the best advice. If she loved your daughter before she had her children how the heck does your daughter having children justify her treating her like this. If you love someone, you love them. Not everyone is going to make the same choices for their life that she would make. It also bothers me that she could cut her own daughter completely out of her life. So much for unconditional love.

I tend to agree with you regarding having your husband talk to her. If there isn't enough room for your daughter and her little ones, I would rent someplace nearby so everyone was included in the vacation. I would make sure she realized a family vacation is just that and your daughter and her little ones are going to be included unless she would pefer to have your immediate family not attend in the future.
Hopefully she will get the picture that her son isn't going to play these games and she will change her ways. If not, she risks not being a part of her son's life. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this Puppmom.
 

Queenie60

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Calliecake|1466803875|4047768 said:
puppmom|1466798316|4047707 said:
Telephone, thanks for the advice. DD is not married but her boyfriend is very supportive (sorry, probably not relevant to this! :lol: ). MIL is not religious at all BUT DH grew up in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood where this type of thing does not happen (we all know it DOES happen but you know what I mean). I honestly think MIL is embarrassed by it. The thing is - I had DD when I was 17 - and she *accepted* me. But, things like this make me wonder about that. DH absolutely considers DD and the boys family. The issue with him is he thinks the best of MIL and doesn't see this as a problem because "she doesn't mean anything by it". To him, she said DD can come so problem solved. I share some blame too because I've kept quiet up until now (aside from the mention of vacation last year) so I feel like my silence has allowed this to continue. I would much prefer my husband talk to her but he doesn't really look beneath the surface of what she says or how she acts. He does have a better *way* with her than me though. She and I have just don't speak the same language. It's hard to explain. We walk away from conversations with one another drawing opposite conclusions sometimes.

All of this is very strange and complicated by the fact that MIL is very pleasant. It's hard to articulate.

Puppmom,

After reading more about this situation. I'm not so sure I gave you the best advice. If she loved your daughter before she had her children how the heck does your daughter having children justify her treating her like this. If you love someone, you love them. Not everyone is going to make the same choices for their life that she would make. It also bothers me that she could cut her own daughter completely out of her life. So much for unconditional love.

I tend to agree with you regarding having your husband talk to her. If there isn't enough room for your daughter and her little ones, I would rent someplace nearby so everyone was included in the vacation. I would make sure she realized a family vacation is just that and your daughter and her little ones are going to be included unless she would pefer to have your immediate family not attend in the future.
Hopefully she will get the picture that her son isn't going to play these games and she will change her ways. If not, she risks not being a part of her son's life. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this Puppmom.
I agree with Calliecake - to add, she sounds very much like my MIL who tends to brush confrontation under the rug. I suggest that both you and your husband speak with her together. I find that my husband is the same, he feels that everything is okay simply because he made a brief mention of it to her. It's not okay and she needs to be spoken to by BOTH of you together - it's his mother and he needs to make things clear. If she's not willing to make room for your daughter and grandchildren then I suggest you get a separate place for your family. Going without your daughter and grandchildren is not ok. And, being in the same house with her could be uncomfortable for your daughter which can make the vacation end up being not so pleasant. And vacation is for relaxing and fun, not family stress and politics. She also needs to be spoken to regarding her treatment of your daughter. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Bad situation to be in - I feel for you and good luck with all of this. :wavey:
 

NOYFB

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Queenie60|1466805144|4047781 said:
Calliecake|1466803875|4047768 said:
puppmom|1466798316|4047707 said:
Telephone, thanks for the advice. DD is not married but her boyfriend is very supportive (sorry, probably not relevant to this! :lol: ). MIL is not religious at all BUT DH grew up in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood where this type of thing does not happen (we all know it DOES happen but you know what I mean). I honestly think MIL is embarrassed by it. The thing is - I had DD when I was 17 - and she *accepted* me. But, things like this make me wonder about that. DH absolutely considers DD and the boys family. The issue with him is he thinks the best of MIL and doesn't see this as a problem because "she doesn't mean anything by it". To him, she said DD can come so problem solved. I share some blame too because I've kept quiet up until now (aside from the mention of vacation last year) so I feel like my silence has allowed this to continue. I would much prefer my husband talk to her but he doesn't really look beneath the surface of what she says or how she acts. He does have a better *way* with her than me though. She and I have just don't speak the same language. It's hard to explain. We walk away from conversations with one another drawing opposite conclusions sometimes.

All of this is very strange and complicated by the fact that MIL is very pleasant. It's hard to articulate.

Puppmom,

After reading more about this situation. I'm not so sure I gave you the best advice. If she loved your daughter before she had her children how the heck does your daughter having children justify her treating her like this. If you love someone, you love them. Not everyone is going to make the same choices for their life that she would make. It also bothers me that she could cut her own daughter completely out of her life. So much for unconditional love.

I tend to agree with you regarding having your husband talk to her. If there isn't enough room for your daughter and her little ones, I would rent someplace nearby so everyone was included in the vacation. I would make sure she realized a family vacation is just that and your daughter and her little ones are going to be included unless she would pefer to have your immediate family not attend in the future.
Hopefully she will get the picture that her son isn't going to play these games and she will change her ways. If not, she risks not being a part of her son's life. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this Puppmom.
I agree with Calliecake - to add, she sounds very much like my MIL who tends to brush confrontation under the rug. I suggest that both you and your husband speak with her together. I find that my husband is the same, he feels that everything is okay simply because he made a brief mention of it to her. It's not okay and she needs to be spoken to by BOTH of you together - it's his mother and he needs to make things clear. If she's not willing to make room for your daughter and grandchildren then I suggest you get a separate place for your family. Going without your daughter and grandchildren is not ok. And, being in the same house with her could be uncomfortable for your daughter which can make the vacation end up being not so pleasant. And vacation is for relaxing and fun, not family stress and politics. She also needs to be spoken to regarding her treatment of your daughter. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Bad situation to be in - I feel for you and good luck with all of this. :wavey:
I agree with this 100%. I think you and your DH need to speak to MIL together and let her know your concerns and try to find out why she is feeling differently about your DD now that she's had children. It's not going to be easy. I've had my own share of uncomfortable conversations with my MIL who seems to be very much like yours (very nice/pleasant, not wanting to rock the boat, etc). If she can't give you a straight answer or blows it off as no big deal I would tell her that you are going to book your own accommodations for the comfort of your family (which includes DD and her children) and that in the future if the accommodations she books do not include DD and her children that your family will either continue to book your own accommodations or go on your own family vacation.
 

Bayek

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I hate to ask this, is DD's kids the same race? I could care less about this personally, but MIL probably is my age and some of us old boomers still carry fears. peace.
 

OoohShiny

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Ah! Interesting - I hadn't even thought of that - which I guess says good things about me, hopefully... :???: lol
 

purplesparklies

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It is not okay that MIL ignore DD, regardless of reason. That issue needs to be directly addressed, as it sounds like MIL is trying to be passive aggressive. I would not stand for that, personally.

As to the vacation rental, what is the expectation of the family as far as future growth and need for space? Do you think the issue is specific to DD1 or just the result of her being the eldest and the first to have her own family? I can see that it be expected that eventually the group will grow to a size that will require multiple homes to be rented or that the next generation and their families will need to vacation separately. My mother's family did something similar. Her parents and their children vacationed together, along with the grandchildren. However, once the grandchildren grew up and had their own families, they did not go and stay with the larger group because it was not feasible for all of those people to fit in bedrooms, share limited bathrooms and single kitchens, etc. Because it would not be feasible by the time the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. grandchild had their own family, the rule was in effect even for the first. For fairness to all.



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purplesparklies

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If I wanted my younger children to enjoy a vacation with the rest of the family, I would rent separately nearby. Of course, I would prefer to have to live with fewer people anyway so that would work out for me and allow for joining in for somethings and happily opting out of others. I would imagine people would ask why and I would be honest that it was mentioned that space was going to be an issue. That would make it clear as to your expectations for future vacations.


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azstonie

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The 'why' does not matter.

She has carved out your daughter and what are you going to do about it? You can kiss MIL's fanny, tell her it's not fair, blah blah blah.

You are going to either support your DD or you're going to give MIL free reign over *your* family. You're going to have to choose, because make no mistake, thus far MIL has outsmarted you here, she's leveraging you via the younger kids.

Time for you to have family vacations of your own. Tell your children the truth, you aren't doing your adult daughter any favors exposing her to MIL vwho obviously finds her so distasteful that its a hill she's willing to die on.

Your younger children can understand a simple version of what's happening here: Grandma did not invite (sister's name), so we will vacation where (sister) is invited and welcome.
 

rainydaze

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Oh hell no. Your MIL's treatment of your DD is awful, and I couldn't bring myself to stand for it. I would simply decline the vacation, and if asked why, let her know that this has always been a family vacation which included DD, and since she is now no longer being included, I will no longer be going. Her blatant lack of respect would, for me, mean that I wouldn't go to any lengths to accommodate her or find workarounds.

I would want to know why her behavior towards DD changed. If there is not a reason I can understand or find compassion for, then I would be distancing myself from MIL. I do understand your difficulty in approaching with her, but I am having a hard time understanding your DH's passiveness with regard to it. I'd be upset and hurt that he isn't willing to get to the bottom of this with his mother, and stand up for his family (you and DD).
 

missy

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azstonie|1466822715|4047982 said:
The 'why' does not matter.

She has carved out your daughter and what are you going to do about it? You can kiss MIL's fanny, tell her it's not fair, blah blah blah.

You are going to either support your DD or you're going to give MIL free reign over *your* family. You're going to have to choose, because make no mistake, thus far MIL has outsmarted you here, she's leveraging you via the younger kids.

Time for you to have family vacations of your own. Tell your children the truth, you aren't doing your adult daughter any favors exposing her to MIL vwho obviously finds her so distasteful that its a hill she's willing to die on.

Your younger children can understand a simple version of what's happening here: Grandma did not invite (sister's name), so we will vacation where (sister) is invited and welcome.
Puppmom, I am so sorry this is happening and Kristie said it perfectly. Time to separate and do your own family vacations. Not acceptable behavior. :nono: :nono: :nono: And your DH needs to be 100% completely onboard with you on this. Period. Your MIL is behaving like this because you guys are enabling her to... please stop allowing this horrible behavior. She is poisoning your family and it has to stop.

Thanks Kristie for saying exactly what I am thinking saving me the trouble of writing it out on my own.
 

tina sparkle

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I don't post much, but wanted to chime in on this, I would tell your MIL that you want your vacation to include your daughter and grandchildren. That's the fun of being a grandma! If she doesn't agree, you could get your own place near them, or plan your own separate vacation.
 

Loves Vintage

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Very interesting about the disowned daughter! I wonder if there may be a connection -- do you think she might have been pregnant when the arguing started? Do the siblings (your DH and SIL) ever discuss wanting to find her? MIL seems like a powerful woman if she can persuade even her husband to disown the daughter as well!

Vaca is a tough one, but I'd be inclined to rent something nearby and cite her comment about not being sure she had enough room.

Good Luck with this!
 

caf

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azstonie|1466822715|4047982 said:
The 'why' does not matter.

She has carved out your daughter and what are you going to do about it? You can kiss MIL's fanny, tell her it's not fair, blah blah blah.

You are going to either support your DD or you're going to give MIL free reign over *your* family. You're going to have to choose, because make no mistake, thus far MIL has outsmarted you here, she's leveraging you via the younger kids.

Time for you to have family vacations of your own. Tell your children the truth, you aren't doing your adult daughter any favors exposing her to MIL vwho obviously finds her so distasteful that its a hill she's willing to die on.

Your younger children can understand a simple version of what's happening here: Grandma did not invite (sister's name), so we will vacation where (sister) is invited and welcome.

Totally with Azstonie here. MIL is not going to stop manipulating unless you stop allowing her to manipulate you and your family. Talking with her about your feelings is not going to change anything. And MIL "working" your younger children has the danger sound going off in my head. Sounds like it would not be much of a vacation either - walking on eggshells. I would tell DH that you know he wouldn't feel right leaving DD out of the vacation. And since MIL has strong feelings, you think you and your immediate family (including DD and her kids) should go do something yourselves. Since MIL is making you choose, there really is no choice. And I wouldn't go rent a house to be near them. MIL will not be kind to DD.

THIS IS NOT OF YOUR MAKING. You did not create this problem. MIL did. And you cannot fix it. Sorry.
 

Puppmom

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Thank you so much for all of the thoughtful advice (and for sticking up for DD!). It seriously has me choked up. This whole situation is so upsetting to me. The vacation was just the last straw so to speak. It all started when DD got pregnant with her first. Prior to that MIL and DD were close. DD was a typical teenager and that created a little distance but nothing unusual. Once MIL found out DD was pregnant she asked to watch my youngest at her house so she didn't have to see DD (she was watching my youngest 3 days a week at the time). I hit the roof. DH told her absolutely not and that we could make other childcare arrangements and she backed off saying it wasn't a big deal To him, that was the end of it. I have not forgotten that. DD ended up moving out a short time later because that's what she and her boyfriend planned to do anyway. Between her work schedule and preparing to move, she didn't see MIL much. A lot has happened since then (that was two years ago) but nothing huge - I just notice that she does not ever mention DD and does not ask about her children. When we have get-togethers, MIL is very awkward around DD. I sent a mass text when DD's water broke at just less than 31 weeks and got concerned responses from everyone except MIL who just responded 'Ok'. Not ONE TIME did she ask how DD was while in the hospital - never mind visiting or sending anything to her. Friends and family from everywhere sent books and magazines and personal care products or just called or sent a text to say hello. Nothing from her. When the baby was born a week later - again nothing. Literally didn't even ask how the baby was doing the entire five weeks he was in the NICU. I once rushed out of dinner early to deliver pumped milk to him before the NICU closed for shift change. It concerned her that I was leaving in a hurry so she asked where I was off to. When I told her, she just said "Oh." I've complained to DH many times but I've heard so many times that "she doesn't mean anything by it" that I started to think that I was seeing something that wasn't there or making something of nothing.

I don't know much of what happened with DH's other sister. There was a time when SIL and DH were communicating with her but she was very bitter and the conversations were always brief and she would give very little personal information. Once our kids were born DH put in less effort (it wasn't much in the first place) and now hasn't talked to her in a few years. SIL does but very infrequently and I'm pretty sure it's only letters that again reveal very little. It's strange to me that DH was 12 and doesn't remember much. 12 is pretty old. I can remember most things from that age - at least big events.

Sorry about the rambling. I feel really terrible for having allowed this to go on for so long. DH and I talked this weekend. He agreed that there is a problem with MIL. He admitted that he thought this particular problem was solved when MIL said she could come (never mind the fact that she's obviously not wanted and there's nowhere for her or kids to sleep!). He keeps saying, "I can't change the way she feels. I can only control me." I understand that but that doesn't mean that we don't let her know that this is unacceptable. I have to be honest. It's killing me a little that he hasn't already put his foot down with her. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. DH stayed home with our kids while studying to for a new career for two years then recently went back to work. It was very difficult for him emotionally. He started having pretty bad anxiety. That is much improved (thank goodness!) but I feel worried whenever I have to discuss anything *heavy* with him because he was always so easy going so this is all very new to me. I haven't quite learned how to navigate difficult conversation because of the constant worry that I'll make him feel worse. I'm working on figuring that out.

So...I think we are going to talk to her and point out that we have noticed her behavior and that it's not acceptable. We haven't determined the setting. I have a pretty good feeling what her response will be. She will act like she had no idea what she was doing could be perceived that way and it's all a big misunderstanding. I'm afraid that it won't get very far because DH will accept that response. But we'll see.

As for the vacation, we're not going. We'll find something else to do...or we won't. Either is okay. I don't want to spend that much time with someone who doesn't value all of my children (and grandchildren). Seriously, DD's babies are the sweetest, most beautiful children and this makes me sad for them too.

Thank you again. This has really been weighing on me this weekend and to check in and see all this thoughtful advice and encouragement was just plain nice.

ETA - I'm still struggling with how telling her how we feel and that this is unacceptable will turn out. Other than not going on this vacation, I don't have any "consequences". She's a grown up and I can't control her. So I'm still going through in my head - what will give her reason enough to change her tude, if anything?
 

packrat

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
10,615
I've been following this thread-I have no advice and it doesn't apply to me anymore, but it's interesting and upsetting just the same.

I had issues w/my MIL, tho not the same as this. There were "consequences", and she chose to accept those consequences rather than tow the line like an adult. So-she died a little over a month ago, and the last time she saw the kids was three years ago, for a few minutes. She spent a grand total of a couple hours with Trapper, his entire life. It's a package deal, me and my kids, and she couldn't accept the fact that I wouldn't allow her to act a certain way and do certain things, and that JD agreed with me. It took him a few years but once he saw what I was trying to point out, it made him stop and think about other things and realize that this wasn't new behavior, he just had accepted it as "how she was" and "how she was" turned out to be quietly controlling and purposely (again, quietly) antagonistic in a wide eyed innocent "oh goodness, what? Who, me?" way. I don't regret any of it.

I hope you and your husband can present a united front. It's not fair to your daughter and her kids. They're the ones that are "paying" for it and that's not right. If she can do that to her own daughter, and is quite obviously doing it to your daughter and your daughters kids--there's nothing saying she won't find something to offend her tender sensibilities regarding your younger children as they grow up. Or you.
 

azstonie

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
3,758
puppmom|1466996290|4048668 said:
Thank you so much for all of the thoughtful advice (and for sticking up for DD!). It seriously has me choked up. This whole situation is so upsetting to me. The vacation was just the last straw so to speak. It all started when DD got pregnant with her first. Prior to that MIL and DD were close. DD was a typical teenager and that created a little distance but nothing unusual. Once MIL found out DD was pregnant she asked to watch my youngest at her house so she didn't have to see DD (she was watching my youngest 3 days a week at the time). I hit the roof. DH told her absolutely not and that we could make other childcare arrangements and she backed off saying it wasn't a big deal To him, that was the end of it. I have not forgotten that. DD ended up moving out a short time later because that's what she and her boyfriend planned to do anyway. Between her work schedule and preparing to move, she didn't see MIL much. A lot has happened since then (that was two years ago) but nothing huge - I just notice that she does not ever mention DD and does not ask about her children. When we have get-togethers, MIL is very awkward around DD. I sent a mass text when DD's water broke at just less than 31 weeks and got concerned responses from everyone except MIL who just responded 'Ok'. Not ONE TIME did she ask how DD was while in the hospital - never mind visiting or sending anything to her. Friends and family from everywhere sent books and magazines and personal care products or just called or sent a text to say hello. Nothing from her. When the baby was born a week later - again nothing. Literally didn't even ask how the baby was doing the entire five weeks he was in the NICU. I once rushed out of dinner early to deliver pumped milk to him before the NICU closed for shift change. It concerned her that I was leaving in a hurry so she asked where I was off to. When I told her, she just said "Oh." I've complained to DH many times but I've heard so many times that "she doesn't mean anything by it" that I started to think that I was seeing something that wasn't there or making something of nothing.

I don't know much of what happened with DH's other sister. There was a time when SIL and DH were communicating with her but she was very bitter and the conversations were always brief and she would give very little personal information. Once our kids were born DH put in less effort (it wasn't much in the first place) and now hasn't talked to her in a few years. SIL does but very infrequently and I'm pretty sure it's only letters that again reveal very little. It's strange to me that DH was 12 and doesn't remember much. 12 is pretty old. I can remember most things from that age - at least big events.

Sorry about the rambling. I feel really terrible for having allowed this to go on for so long. DH and I talked this weekend. He agreed that there is a problem with MIL. He admitted that he thought this particular problem was solved when MIL said she could come (never mind the fact that she's obviously not wanted and there's nowhere for her or kids to sleep!). He keeps saying, "I can't change the way she feels. I can only control me." I understand that but that doesn't mean that we don't let her know that this is unacceptable. I have to be honest. It's killing me a little that he hasn't already put his foot down with her. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. DH stayed home with our kids while studying to for a new career for two years then recently went back to work. It was very difficult for him emotionally. He started having pretty bad anxiety. That is much improved (thank goodness!) but I feel worried whenever I have to discuss anything *heavy* with him because he was always so easy going so this is all very new to me. I haven't quite learned how to navigate difficult conversation because of the constant worry that I'll make him feel worse. I'm working on figuring that out.

So...I think we are going to talk to her and point out that we have noticed her behavior and that it's not acceptable. We haven't determined the setting. I have a pretty good feeling what her response will be. She will act like she had no idea what she was doing could be perceived that way and it's all a big misunderstanding. I'm afraid that it won't get very far because DH will accept that response. But we'll see.

As for the vacation, we're not going. We'll find something else to do...or we won't. Either is okay. I don't want to spend that much time with someone who doesn't value all of my children (and grandchildren). Seriously, DD's babies are the sweetest, most beautiful children and this makes me sad for them too.

Thank you again. This has really been weighing on me this weekend and to check in and see all this thoughtful advice and encouragement was just plain nice.

ETA - I'm still struggling with how telling her how we feel and that this is unacceptable will turn out. Other than not going on this vacation, I don't have any "consequences". She's a grown up and I can't control her. So I'm still going through in my head - what will give her reason enough to change her tude, if anything?
You cannot change one single thing about another person (your MIL), there is no "reason for her to change her attitude" particularly because both you and your DH seem confused by her behaviors. You didn't create her problems, you can't cure her problems, and you cannot manage them either. Chances are she has a personality disorder---malignant narcissist or a borderline. Never, and I mean never, detail or describe your feelings to a person with a PD as with those in their hands, you give them a clear target and it's right in the middle of your forehead. Never give personal details about any of your children, whom she is in the process of grooming to be under her control. She was in the middle of grooming your eldest daughter and the reason your MIL shows 0 interest in her now is because your DD is of no use to her now. Never discuss your marriage, money, health or career with MIL either.

People with PDs do not have relationships, they take hostages. Anyone who doesn't give them control is Devalued, Demeaned, and Discarded (what she's done with your DD).

Your job as a mother is to protect your children. She has shown you who she is and how she views your children. Pitting family members against one another is a favored tool and so is scapegoating. You have both those going on here.

Of course she knows what she's doing, she's good at it! Don't indulge in discussion with her, you decide what her contact will be with your children and you don't Justify it to her, Argue it with her, Defend yourself, or Explain yourself to her (JADE). It just *is.* You're the mother, what you say goes.
 

rainydaze

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
2,850
I think Aztonie may be on to something. I would like to add that reading your further explanation, including more about your dh's relationship with her and approach to her, his anxiety and sensitivity, further supports this. As I was reading it, I was thinking his anxiety is probably due to the effects of living under her, his easy-going-ness became his defense mechanism, and his attitude of 'she doesn't mean anything by it' was his way to cope with her toxicity since, as her son, he had to find a way to live with her. There is a biological bond that counts on believing our parents are okay so we can survive, and most children will dismiss or circumvent obvious problems with parents for this reason. It's hard for many to recognize and accept when parents are toxic, and even harder to break the bond so that they cannot cause further damage. Guilt comes into play, and it's a strong and persuasive emotion.

In light of this, I agree that approaching her with this could be fuel for more fire. Your dh is right in understanding that he/you can't change her. However, I reiterate that I'd be distancing myself from her vs. going in deeper or toeing the line. She's toxic, with or without a personality disorder. And since you cannot change people, I'd look to protect my children and myself from her by having little contact and giving her little opportunity to have any effect on us. I'd say helping dh understand all this (and understand that she DOES mean something by it, and it cannot be tolerated) would be more effective than approaching MIL.

Whether it was because she has deep-rooted feelings about unwed mothers having babies, or as Aztonie suggested she has a PD and DD having a baby made her lose her value, she clearly disowned her because of her pregnancy. This is not normal. It is toxic. It is unacceptable. And I would be very concerned about exposing my other children to her.

You are on the right track, and I wish you all the best as you navigate this with your dh. I hope he is receptive - you sound like a thoughtful, kind-hearted person and I'm sure your approach with him has been and will continue to be gentle and loving. I wish you the strength to remain firm, and hope you find your path through this.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,608
Hi Pupp! MIL probably isn't happy about the fact that your daughter is a young teen mom with two kids out if wedlock. She probably does love your daughter, but her choices are hard for her to accept. Nothing you can really do about it unfortunately. Everyone isn't going to get along, and family members aren't always going to be supportive. Just the way it is. I would just plan my own vacation.
 

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
3,160
Packrat, sorry you had such a difficult relationship with MIL. It is beyond me that anyone would do something that compromises their relationship with their grandchildren. I would like to think that presented such a consequence MIL would change her tune real quick. But I guess I don't know. Us not going on this vacation is really going to shock her. We usually just roll with it. Even not accounting for the fact that she didn't invite DD, MIL planned the vacation without consulting us on anything including the date so she was taking a chance that we could get off work etc.

Aztonie and Rainydaze, I appreciate your honesty. I've never really thought of this as a serious situation (more of an annoyance) up until now. Pardon my poor articulation - but I've always thought MIL was controlling but because she's so polite and proper and always doing things *for* us - DH thinks I'm imagining it. But his whole life that's how she controlled things - by making him need her. It's very interesting because DH views me as *bossy* because I speak my mind and have an opinion on how I want things to go. Whereas, MIL just quietly does what she wants. Me being vocal about my wants and needs makes me bossy but it actually creates conversation and often compromise. But, because MIL says nothing and just does what she wants there's no room for that.

I have absolutely zero knowledge of PD if that's what is going on. We have to tell her we're not going so I think some conversation needs to happen but I don't know exactly what to say because she is going to guilt DH and he will not view it as an intentional guilt trip. He'll think she is genuinely hurt that we would think she would do such a thing.

I'm really worried about the strain this will create in my relationship with DH because I've had enough and I'm not backing down. He's seeing a therapist to work through his anxiety and we've seen her in the past as a couple. I think I may make an appointment with her so she can help us get through this and present an outsider's view.

Laila, I think you're right. It's just unfortunate that there's been a standard set and if you don't meet it, it's like you don't exist. As her mother was I disappointed that she fell pregnant second semester of college? Hell yes! But it was a moment in time and I've moved on because I love her and it's her life to live how SHE CHOOSES.
 
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