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Need advice on if this is rude or not...
October 4, 2006
10:28 am
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lovetocrochet
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I need to ask something about basic rules regarding planning things with family. This is one of those things where I'm not sure how it works.

Is it normally common courtesy for family to try and keep aware of each other's schedules, or at least ask ahead of time what everyone's up to on a certain day and time, before setting up a get-together, at least with a smaller crowd like immediate family? I'm asking because for the umpteenth time my MIL has arranged an event when DH has to go into work. He tells her his schedule repeatedly, and she still does it.

This time she wants us all to get together on Sunday afternoon for her birthday and she wants to do it at a time when DH would barely be able to stay if he were to leave for work from her place. DH has already emailed her about it but we haven't heard back yet.

Also she will talk to others first (mainly my SIL and DH's aunt), make her plans on what *they* agree on, and THEN ask us to come over at the time they decided. She listed things SIL and DH's aunt are bringing in her email, so I know for sure she did it again. We've got at least a 50/50 chance MIL will have a fit over DH's request to move the time up by a couple of hours so we can at least show up and not have to leave almost immediately after.

IMHO I think it's rude to do that, especially to her own son and his family. I couldn't see just asking my daughter and not my son about when we should plan a family thing. I'd want to be considerate of both of them and their families no matter what the occasion.

If this only happened once in a while I could ignore it, but it seems to happen all the time. I told DH is it really too much for her to check with us too while she's already making the rounds with everyone else, before she cements her plans?

As dysfunctional as my birth family is they still tried to be aware of what everyone else's schedules were like while making plans, and if we weren't sure we asked each other. So I thought that's what everyone did. Or am I wrong?

Your thoughts?

October 4, 2006
10:50 am
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risingfromtheashes
st regis falls, ny
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no, you are not wrong....at least in my opinion.

but, since she obviously isn't going to "get it" - what can you do?

you can politely ask for a schedule change or you can go for as long as your schedule will allow.

do not BEND to her wishes.

if you set your boundaries enough times, perhaps she will realize she needs to check with you first - perhaps not.

Either way - if she won't change her plans, then go as sheduling permits and then leave when it's time - be firm.

you may miss out on alot of family events....and if that's the case, you may need to set up some of your own events, and invite them - on YOUR time....it's hard to coordinate schedules - but I do think some consideration should be made, especially if you communicate his schedule with her regularly.

Don't sweat it, some families are like this.

October 4, 2006
10:51 am
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gracenotes
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This sounds rude to me. If they wanted you to be there, they would take into consideration your schedule, especially if you have let them know repeatedly what it is. If people are having fits about accommodating your needs, then I would really question whether I would want to attend the event at all. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same courteous values that we may have. It would be making a statement if you didn't attend at all, too. I wouldn't even want to attend this event just for a few minutes either. That sounds like second-class treatment to me.

October 4, 2006
11:02 am
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lovetocrochet
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That's exactly how I felt gracenotes - like it's second-class treatment.

His sister's pulled this a few times too, not just with planning events. She and my BIL took away something my husband wanted to do for their boys as a Christmas gift and cut him out of the whole thing. So now DH can't even do the one thing he'd wanted to do most for his nephews for Christmas.

It's like communication and consideration towards DH isn't a priority to anyone and it's all about what they want.

My MIL has gotten crazy a few times when we've stood firm against something she's wanted. Several months ago my IL's wanted us all to go to Florida together - we said no, because first we just don't want to, second what little vacation time we have, we want to use it to see my daughter when she's here or when we go to see her.

So my MIL then corners DH one day and tries to talk him into going with them - without me. DH said no. She then says, well then I'd like to be able to take your son on trips with me, alone. I'm surprised DH's brain didn't explode all over her kitchen, he was so p*ssed.

I don't want to play armchair psychologist but a part of me does wonder if her excluding us from planning get togethers is her little way of being passive aggressive in exchange for the times we've put our foot down.

October 4, 2006
11:07 am
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risingfromtheashes
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just sounds like a control issue to me.

what's husbands relationship like with them?

my dad treats me like dirt - and treats my daughter like a princess, and my brother the same....he'd no sooner leave me standing out in the cold, nekid and freezing than offer me the shirt off his own back.

so, I expect crappy treatment from him....it's the ONLY expectation he meets...ironically enough!!! Do I want to be treated like that? no, but at the same time, it's all he will ever do.

Keep putting your foot down. And if there is something you want to plan - plan ahead - before they can take it away from you....it sucks that you miss out - but maybe if you are firm enough, enough times, they will get the picture and realize they can't manipulate you into participating on their schedule.

October 4, 2006
11:10 am
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lovetocrochet
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Rising, I agree, what can we do? But for sure we don't bend.

I think you're right, if she says no, I can't change this, then oh well. We'll show up for the short time we can be there and then leave. I've told DH if she doesn't budge then we all come and go together, I'm not going to stay longer without him.

She's already going to spend a few hours with DH and my son on Friday. DH brings our boy over those days so he can play with my nephews and DH can help MIL watch them. So it's not like she's going without seeing us for long stretches.

It could all turn out fine, sometimes she goes oh okay no problem and simply bumps things back. But there's more often times than not when she uses things like this to play the martyr.

October 4, 2006
11:18 am
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risingfromtheashes
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you know - my grandma is/was the sweetest woman on earth - and she always wanted the family together.

so, she'd plan stuff. and then someone couldn't make it - and she'd be beside herself - because she worked so hard to get everyone there at the same time.

it is hard - especially planning a family trip to disney - that's something that should take a LONG time to plan - cuz of schedules....but in the end, someone will ultimately end up inconvenienced....it can't always go so smoothly.

in any case - do what you can and don't stress about what you can't, and she'll just have to understand.

the best you can do is communicate, and if she fails on her end, there isn't much you can do.

The other thing is - how about arranging things on YOUR time - invite everyone - stay firm on the time and date - and let them get a taste of what it feels like to be left out if they can't come, and you won't bend.

I don't say do this for revenge, I say do this, so you can spend the time with them that you would miss out on otherwise.

October 4, 2006
11:55 am
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lovetocrochet
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Rising, yes MIL is very controlling. DH's relationship has run hot and cold with her because of it, a lot of it stemming from her using religion as a way to keep the family under her thumb.

Well turns out we're not going. I just talked to DH. He talked to her on the phone and she claimed we weren't an afterthought, but the reason she made the event at the time she did was because SIL said "Well it has to be then because it's the only time I can do it." Uh-huh... did I mention SIL is just as bad about this kind of thing?

He then said well, I'm not going to drive our son half an hour to your place, spend only an hour there and then have to drive all of us back another half hour home so I can get myself ready and go to work. That would only wear our boy out and upset him. So sorry, guess we're not going.

I guess she's disappointed but she's accepting it. DH brings our son to her place on Fridays when he's off, so she can see them and they can play with my nephews while she's watching them. He figures he'll bring her a gift or buy her lunch that day and that'll be good enough.

October 4, 2006
11:59 am
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risingfromtheashes
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it's all about compromise - and sometimes we have to be the bigger person and suck it up and compromise.

but NOT ALL THE TIME.

October 4, 2006
12:04 pm
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lovetocrochet
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Exactly. There were reasons every which way from here and there why she couldn't rearrange the schedule, either because of her plans or ours or (mainly I suspect) because of SIL's demands. Yes, make the latter important but insist we weren't an afterthought. Riiiight.

So she wouldn't budge it. Oh well.

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