Shannon75's picture

Please give me an objective point of view!

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my tale. Double thanks if you have some words of wisdom for me!

I have these in-laws..... these impossible in-laws..... who create a huge dramatic saga, then want you to stay quiet and just be the recipient. Here's a fine example:

This past week my husband and I, after a long period of debating the subject, finally agreed on a baby name for the daughter we hope to have. In the future. I'm not currently pregnant.

I said something in my FB status about having decided in a name for our FUTURE baby, as several of my friends and I had joked about how difficult agreement on this had proven to be. I speficially said FUTURE child. Within ten minutes my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law had gotten on the phone with each other, deciding that I was pregnant and had chosen to announce it on Facebook! No, I'm not kidding. First of all, if I knew we were having a daughter I'd be five months along! The good sense God gave a mule should have told them that. But... it got better.

The SIL texted my husband, who'd been sitting right next to me when I'd put the innocuous message up, saying "Your wife is LEADING people to believe she's pregnant", something to the effect that he should take care of that. WTH?!?!?!?!?!Are you kidding me?

I tried to respectfully talk with her about it, to get it resolved, but she wouldn't talk to me. Then, against my advice, my husband called my mother-in-law to voice his disapproval of all this nonsense, which got it all stirred up again. I called my MIL, begging her to just drop it, not to say anything more about it to my SIL, to just let it go. Yeah, that can't happen with these people. So yesterday, the SIL called my husband, saying she's tried with me, she doesn't know what else to do, I'm going to turn her against him.... blah,blah,blah. I called the MIL to ask why she went against my wishes, why she made things worse, and she snapped at me, telling me this all just got her too upset, not to talk to her about any other member of the family, she just couldn't take it. She seemed to have no problem talking about it with the SIL, but with me, who was actually trying to resolve something.... no.

I was supposed to stay with them this coming Tuesday, I have an interview in my husband's home town (we've both been out of jobs, so we're looking at moving there. I know, I know.) I politely declined staying with them, I have a friend who lives there and was going to drive me to the place where I'm interviewing anyhow, so I wouldn't have the stress of finding a new place on top of an interview. They're still not talking to us.... but I'm quite sure they're talking to each other.

What can I do with this bunch? They talk about me among themselves, know NOTHING about me, yet when I try to open up a dialogue, for a mature discussion, they won't talk to me. They are very clique-like, with it being very clear that I am considered as an appendage to my husband, they have no interest in having a relationship with me. Thoughts?

acitez's picture

If you really want to repair the problem--and I'm not saying you caused it, obviously your in-laws are a little wacky--but if you want to repair the problem, apologize for the misunderstanding. I'd suggest a snail-mail handwritten note to your mother-in-law, and another to your sister-in-law.

I'm a little confused that you declined an invitation that was extended . . . after they made it clear they wanted no relationship with you? They still were OK with you staying there for your interview, right? That sounds to me like you could have seen it as an olive branch. Instead you made other arrangements.

I don't know if you have much experience with apologies. Some people think that an apology means that you make an explanation. That only makes things worse. In an apology, you suck it up and take responsibility. Something like,

"I'm so sorry that my post on facebook upset you. Please know that if/when I am pregnant, we will call you right after I call my mom. I can only imagine that hearing through the grapevine about such an important event would be very hard. Please forgive me."

and for sister-in-law

"I've heard that you should be careful about e-mails and facebook posts because they can be misinterpreted. I should have been more clear that choosing a name was more on the lines of what we do when we're ten years old, not actually choosing a name for a baby I'm expecting. I've learned from this experience, and when I am pregnant we will be sure to call (MIL's name) on the phone to tell her. I'm sorry that this has caused a problem in our family. I hope that you can forgive me."

Then, follow through. Don't tell anybody but your husband that you are pregnant until you've called your mom and your MIL. Not your sister, not your best friend, not your boss.

Shannon75's picture

Thank you for your response. I know you're probably not going to believe this, but I've already extended this type of apology to both parties. I know, sometimes it's better to keep the peace than be right. I've since talked to the MIL, and will be visiting them while in town.

The main point here is these people have NO boundaries. They read each other's e-mail, text messages, etc. They stir up conflict, then don't want to talk about it once the nest is turned over. Hubby told me, SIL would bubble over if MIL ever got close to me; predicted that while we were dating. I honestly don't know how to deal with this in the bigger picture. What to do with people who don't respect boundaries, then get wicked upset when you ask for some?

aunt tessie's picture
aunt tessie

Sounds like the sister-in-law may have jealousy issues and likes the drama. Be the bigger person and don't play into her games and your husband needs to let them know he isn't going to tolerate them treating you like an outsider. If they care about him they wouldn't talk to him about you. Sounds like she is a busy body. Don't play into her hand, she probably doesn't want you getting too close to the MIL cause she wants to be numero uno. Good Luck.

Shannon75's picture

Thank you for your comment, Aunt Tessi. I hate that this is the situation, but I think you're right. I'm not sure why I let this bother me so; my husband has told me I need to think of his sister as a 13 yr. old, that's about where she is on the maturity scale. My husband has also said that everyone calls the MIL and SIL Scarlett one and two, they tease about them getting the "vapors" every time something doesn't go their way. If I'm really honest I guess I was hoping my husband's family would accept me better than this, all I have for family is a 92 yr. old grandmother whom I ADORE. She won't always be here, though. I guess I will have to adopt the motto "love your friends as your chosen family"!

2xstepmom's picture

Some people just thrive on drama and it is very difficult to please them. Went through this with my ex mother and sister-in-law. (Ironically both wanted to be my best friend after the divorce so they would continue to have full access to my children.) Your husband is being supportive of you and it would probably be best for you to take his advice since he has known them much longer than you have. Their behavior must be a big disappointment to you.

Also, you might consider taking them off your Facebook "friend list". You should be able to say whatever you want to on there without having to consider what they will do or say as a result.

Shannon75's picture

Thank you, stepmom..... you're right, it is disappointing. You're also right that many people thrive on drama.... I really should not be surprised at any of this, my husband told me these things would happen before we got married, and you're right about him knowing them longer and better, too!

I agree about the FB list. I appreciate your affirmation that I should be able to freely speak there. The post they took so grossly out of context was meant for several friends, anyhow, we had joked that we might have to call any future children "Thing one" and "Thing two", my husband and I couldn't seem to agree on a name! It was fun news intended for a different audience. Period.

acitez's picture

It would probably be less obvious if you just used the list function on FB, and have a "family" list and a "friend" list. Then they wouldn't get all offended that you had unfriended them.

SnglDad's picture

Why would you waste the time and energy to argue about the name of a child when you are not even pregnant?

After your MIL posted the announcement on Facebook, why didnt you simply reply with a statement explaining that you are not pregnant, and leave it at that?

It sounds like this fmily thrives on drama and debate, and for some reason you are easliy dragged in to it. Stop answering the phone calls from those who wish to gossip.

In the past, I had a close friend who, for whatever reason, felt the need to call me and attempt to discuss the lives of everyone we know. I finally told him I had my own family to care for and did not care what others did as long as it did not involve my kids, or take place on my side of the fence. We never spoke againg after that, but that was his decision.

Thats just too much drama to have to deal with, and it sounds like each person feeds off of the other.