Help: SIL's lack of maternal behavior toward newborn, and inlaw drama?


#1

My SIL had a baby at the end of August. She has yet to demonstrate that she has an real understanding that SHE is this baby's mother, and has been passing off a lot of the care of the baby to my MIL. She and her husband moved in with my MIL and FIL when she found out that she was pregnant, because she and her husband wanted to pay off a couple of short term debts and save up some more money. It wasn't a question about IF they could move in; rather it was more that they INFORMED my inlaws that they would have to move in. My inlaws felt put in a difficult position, but said okay, for one year. During the pregnancy, the preparation of the nursery, all cleaning, grocery shopping/bills were my MILs responsibility, because my SIL continued to 'pass the buck' and expect her mother to just do these things for them. Now that the baby has been born, my SIL and her husband have already left the baby with grandma for a whole day so they could go to the casino and gamble and have cocktails and pretend to be childfree for a day. This was when the baby was just 3 weeks old. Now, my MIL has told me today that next weekend, they are 'going away', and leaving the baby with her. She thought initially they meant just an overnight, but found out that they were expecting her to keep the baby for them from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. She was internally upset, but she said okay again, even though she doesn't want to. Did I mention that my new BIL has taken 6 weeks of UNPAID leave? And that they have only a few months until their year is up, but just two weeks ago they were hinting they would be staying longer? And that my MIL has had to request a flexible schedule at work, because she has to take care of the baby from 4pm till whenever my SIL gets home from work, by 7pm at the very earliest (she will be returning to work as a young attorney in just over a week). Also, my SIL is 29 years old, definitely old enough to know better. How can they afford to gamble and go away for the weekend if they have to live with the inlaws, just to make ends meet?

My MIL hates being taken advantage of, but her daughter has become a master manipulator. Everybody in the family acknowledges that my SIL needs to act like an adult, act like the wife and mother that she is, and start taking responsibility for her choices. But everyone is truly afraid to talk to my SIL about her behavior because she can be so nasty and vindictive whenever anyone says or does anything she doesn't like or agree with. So they cower and obey, but run to me to vent.

Why do I have to hear about these things? I am getting ready to have my third child, and I live out of state. My MIL and FIL will not be able to come visit me or the new baby, because of having to care for my niece every day. My inlaws know that I am likely to strongly disapprove of my SILs behavior, and her treatment of them, but they are grown adults. They should handle it themselves. I can't fix this for them, and I can't say they are justified in feeling taken advantage of, because I would be speaking negatively about their daughter. This is not my place. But I have become the person that gets vented to, even though nothing good can come of it. And this has seriously impinged upon my relationship with my SIL. And it has me wondering how often I get gossiped about? I really don't know what to do anymore, but I am at my wit's end. They either need to stand up for themselves and stop letting SIL control and manipulate, or they need to accept the monster of their own creation and keep it to themselves. This is not my problem. But saying that I don't want to hear it would be as bad as saying anything disapproving of my SILs behavior, and I absolutely will not be another yes-man for my SIL.

What can I do? I have prayed about this. I will continue to pray about this. But this drama has reached unforeseen levels of ridiculousness, anxiety, and complexity. And I really want no part of it anymore. Or I need to know a better, more Christian and more Catholic way of managing my emotions and my responses when they vent to me. Please help me find a healthier way.
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. :(


#2

Wow...what a sad situation.

I'm really not sure you can do anything...if I understand correctly Sil and mil are mother and daughter?

The only one that can stop this is MIL, she needs to tell them when they overstep. But at the same time, I can see how she feels that she can't.

Say for the casino trip, she says, "I can't watch the baby." The might say, "Oh ok, we'll cancel."

Or they might say, "Well fine, we can't count on you to watch your grandchild, we'll get someone else...." All while your poor MIL gets visions of them leaving the baby with someone incompetent...

Is Sil the sister of your DH? How do they communicate? Maybe he can try speaking to her.


#3

I think the best thing you can do is tell MIL that having to hear her vents about SIL upsets you and it isn't good for the baby. If that doesn't work, you'll probably have to spell it out or have to keep hearing about SIL who is not going to change for sure unless MIL puts her foot down which she won't. In my opinion, the sooner you set some listening boundaries, the better!

KG


#4

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:2, topic:213645"]

I'm really not sure you can do anything...if I understand correctly Sil and mil are mother and daughter?

[/quote]

Yes. MIL divorced FIL#1 when SIL was 3yo. MIL married FIL#2 when SIL was 4 or 5yo. MIL and FIL#1 are parents of both SIL and DH.

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:2, topic:213645"]
Or they might say, "Well fine, we can't count on you to watch your grandchild, we'll get someone else...." All while your poor MIL gets visions of them leaving the baby with someone incompetent...

[/quote]

Yes, this is a problem, because they use my MIL's fear to manipulate her into caving in quickly to their demands. SIL and BIL really do not have any other responsible people to ask, except for FIL#1 and his wife, but that is laughable. SIL and BIL would never ask FIL#1 to help out with this, after SIL has been spending years trashing her father to anyone who will listen. (He is actually a very good man, but all thumbs with newborns and a bit gruff in his personality. But he adores his newest granddaughter, and he is a real softie for girl babies.) Furthermore, MIL and FIL#2 compete nonstop with FIL#1 about who is the best parent, grandparent, and other such nonsense.

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:2, topic:213645"]
Is Sil the sister of your DH? How do they communicate? Maybe he can try speaking to her.

[/quote]

His hands are truly tied here. He would be revealing how much his sister is being gossiped about to us, and how inlaws really feel about his sister's behavior. His sister is also always acting like it is a competition to see which of the two of them can get the most stuff, $, attention, etc. out of their parents, and she is incredibly jealous of my husband's laid-back nature, his success, his happiness, and also any attention bestowed upon our children. (Of course, she is ignorant of our sacrifices and our sufferings, because we tend not to complain to others, but just deal with things as a couple.) Her husband also acts jealous whenever we come into town because the spotlight is not all on them anymore. He was actually quite rude to us when we traveled 14 hours (in one day, while 7 months preggo, and with two small children) to be able to come and see them and help out after the baby was born. So DH's sister and BIL are not going to stand for anyone raining on their parade. SIL has also said some rather nasty abusive things toward me on a couple of occasions because she was mad that I was around with my DD too much and stealing her thunder and cramping her style. I left immediately rather than tolerate such behavior, and I have been careful to avoid becoming the scapegoat or unwelcome guest ever since. She is very good at making a scene and escalating misunderstanding to her advantage, and I opted out of that cycle real fast.


#5

[quote="kevinsgirl, post:3, topic:213645"]
I think the best thing you can do is tell MIL that having to hear her vents about SIL upsets you and it isn't good for the baby. If that doesn't work, you'll probably have to spell it out or have to keep hearing about SIL who is not going to change for sure unless MIL puts her foot down which she won't. In my opinion, the sooner you set some listening boundaries, the better!

KG

[/quote]

I agree with you, but I am at a loss about how to do that. My MIL is extremely sensitive, obviously. And yet she and I have developed a close relationship. She is like a combination of mother, sister, and friend. And yet, I am still an inlaw, and must remember my place in the family. I do not want to be the source of discord. But I also cannot help this situation, and I am negatively impacted by being the confidante. She has also confided in me about her marriages, and her sex life, too. I must be good at inviting confidences, even while I reveal practically nothing so private about my own life, family and marriage. So how do I undo what I have done? How do I stop inviting such confidences? I don't want to embarass or hurt her, but enough is enough, truly.


#6

Grandma and Grandpa both need to establish boundaries, set term limits and grow a set of brass balls with their son, his wife and their grandbaby.

Whenever enough becomes enough.

They both have mouths and are capable of saying the word, "No."


#7

Charity must always be tempered with wisdom. It is tough but your MIL and FIL must set the boudaries so they may enjoy their own golden years.


#8

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:213645"]
My MIL hates being taken advantage of, but her daughter has become a master manipulator. Everybody in the family acknowledges that my SIL needs to act like an adult...But everyone is truly afraid to talk to my SIL about her behavior...So they cower and obey, but run to me to vent.

Why do I have to hear about these things? ...My MIL and FIL will not be able to come visit me or the new baby, because of having to care for my niece every day...they are grown adults. They should handle it themselves. I can't fix this for them, and I can't say they are justified in feeling taken advantage of, because I would be speaking negatively about their daughter. This is not my place. But I have become the person that gets vented to, even though nothing good can come of it. And this has seriously impinged upon my relationship with my SIL. And it has me wondering how often I get gossiped about?(

[/quote]

Master manipulator, my foot. Your SIL could be a total amateur, for all we know. She's golfing an easy par three, and not Augusta National, isn't she? It's a course your MIL and FIL taught her to play, and only your in-laws can change the rules. Parents take note: This is easier when the child is two than when she's 29, but it can be done.

What is the healthy way to deal with this? Be the person who breaks the cycle of those in your husband's family who passively let themselves be manipulated and used in a way that the used ones resent, only to pass on the aggression from their predictable resentment or use the situation to buy themselves some "martyr miles" with some other poor schmuck in the family. Your MIL is letting your SIL manipulate her, but you are one of the ones who pay the freight in those martyr miles. That set of rules is yours to change. People come to you when they want martyr miles, because you've always had them to give. I'm just guessing, but I'll bet you give them out for free, don't you? Now that you realize that, it is up to you to decide if you want to stay in that business. You can still be gentle, but start telling the whole truth, instead of just the parts that people want to hear. Be far more particular about who you choose to take on as a client, and on what terms: it is your choice! You'll find yourself far less popular but more satisfied with the confidante business. (If you don't believe me, ask a priest.)

If your in-laws say they want to come visit you, then you can say, "So come visit. If BIL and SIL wanted to visit, they'd tell you they were going to come, and they'd come. When you want to visit, we trust you'll be able to do the same. Until then, we're going to assume that you're old enough to live with your choices."

When your MIL complains at how she's being advantage of, you can ask, "So, when BIL and SIL told you they were leaving and you told them they needed to find a sitter for Little Bob, they threatened to leave him alone at the house? Or did you ever tell them that? You do know that this "inform" thing goes both ways, right? They inform you that they won't be home, and then you inform them that you won't be taking care of their child. You don't need an excuse to not be available 24/7 to do child care. They do. You are capable of insisting on that."

And finally: "MIL, you're going to have to decide which you want to have responsibility for SIL's poor choices: You or her. If you don't want to be responsible, you're going to have to let go of the steering wheel, even if she's putting it in the ditch. If assuming her responsibilities is what you choose, though, you get to live with the consequences. Don't take the steering wheel of her life and then call up to complain to me about all the driving you have to do. If you're tired of driving, then get out of her car, and make her drive. You can do it!." Once you've told her this, don't bite when your MIL calls to complain. Just say, "MIL, you keep doing the same thing over and over and act surprised when you get the same result. I've said all I'm going to say. If you don't want to drive, pull over at the next off-ramp, and get out. I don't have any more advice than that. I'm not going to try to force you to make the choices I think you should make, but I'm done being a cheerleader for the ones you're making. Find a new subject, or else I need to get back to my housework."

Will she call up some other family member to complain about you? Probably. My first guess would be your husband. Will they call you on your reprehensible decision to finally get a spine, berate you for being so unsupportive of your poor MIL, and ask you to ignore her poor choices because she is "extremely sensitive"? There is a very good chance of it. Then it will be your turn. Either choose to let your MIL drive her own vehicle, or live with your choice to take the wheel. I'm learning that the best way to go is to pray and get out of the car that isn't yours to drive, but you'll come around to what works for you in your own good time.

The catch is that you can only get out of the situation by giving up your illusion of control and actually allowing the manipulators in your family to live with their own poor choices, without even giving them the pay-off of sympathy. You'll have to live with getting bad-mouthed. You'll have to live with some social aggression...they might try the silent treatment, they might try all sorts of things. I think that is better than getting used, because people usually learn to give up on manipulative behaviors where it gets them nowhere, but you're the one buying the goods, not me.

I'd recommend Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself." It was an eye-opener for me. You don't have to have an alcoholic in the family to be in one that runs on the same "agree-to-be-used-then-resent-it" family dynamics.

Check it out at the library.


#9

[quote="mommamaree, post:1, topic:213645"]
My SIL had a baby at the end of August. She has yet to demonstrate that she has an real understanding that SHE is this baby's mother, and has been passing off a lot of the care of the baby to my MIL. She and her husband moved in with my MIL and FIL when she found out that she was pregnant, because she and her husband wanted to pay off a couple of short term debts and save up some more money. It wasn't a question about IF they could move in; rather it was more that they INFORMED my inlaws that they would have to move in. My inlaws felt put in a difficult position, but said okay, for one year. During the pregnancy, the preparation of the nursery, all cleaning, grocery shopping/bills were my MILs responsibility, because my SIL continued to 'pass the buck' and expect her mother to just do these things for them. Now that the baby has been born, my SIL and her husband have already left the baby with grandma for a whole day so they could go to the casino and gamble and have cocktails and pretend to be childfree for a day. This was when the baby was just 3 weeks old. Now, my MIL has told me today that next weekend, they are 'going away', and leaving the baby with her. She thought initially they meant just an overnight, but found out that they were expecting her to keep the baby for them from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. She was internally upset, but she said okay again, even though she doesn't want to. Did I mention that my new BIL has taken 6 weeks of UNPAID leave? And that they have only a few months until their year is up, but just two weeks ago they were hinting they would be staying longer? And that my MIL has had to request a flexible schedule at work, because she has to take care of the baby from 4pm till whenever my SIL gets home from work, by 7pm at the very earliest (she will be returning to work as a young attorney in just over a week). Also, my SIL is 29 years old, definitely old enough to know better. How can they afford to gamble and go away for the weekend if they have to live with the inlaws, just to make ends meet?

My MIL hates being taken advantage of, but her daughter has become a master manipulator. Everybody in the family acknowledges that my SIL needs to act like an adult, act like the wife and mother that she is, and start taking responsibility for her choices. But everyone is truly afraid to talk to my SIL about her behavior because she can be so nasty and vindictive whenever anyone says or does anything she doesn't like or agree with. So they cower and obey, but run to me to vent.

Why do I have to hear about these things? I am getting ready to have my third child, and I live out of state. My MIL and FIL will not be able to come visit me or the new baby, because of having to care for my niece every day. My inlaws know that I am likely to strongly disapprove of my SILs behavior, and her treatment of them, but they are grown adults. They should handle it themselves. I can't fix this for them, and I can't say they are justified in feeling taken advantage of, because I would be speaking negatively about their daughter. This is not my place. But I have become the person that gets vented to, even though nothing good can come of it. And this has seriously impinged upon my relationship with my SIL. And it has me wondering how often I get gossiped about? I really don't know what to do anymore, but I am at my wit's end. They either need to stand up for themselves and stop letting SIL control and manipulate, or they need to accept the monster of their own creation and keep it to themselves. This is not my problem. But saying that I don't want to hear it would be as bad as saying anything disapproving of my SILs behavior, and I absolutely will not be another yes-man for my SIL.

What can I do? I have prayed about this. I will continue to pray about this. But this drama has reached unforeseen levels of ridiculousness, anxiety, and complexity. And I really want no part of it anymore. Or I need to know a better, more Christian and more Catholic way of managing my emotions and my responses when they vent to me. Please help me find a healthier way.
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. :(

[/quote]

I'm in a similar situation. My BIL is going through a pretty awful divorce right now and let's just say that his "wife" (don't know if he'll pursue annulment or that it will be granted) is a little on the extra nuts side of a chocolate sundae. Anyway, I adore my MIL, she is so wonderful. However, before BIL and SIL were split up they spent about 5 months distancing themselves from everyone else. Until about a month ago my husband and I hadn't seen their kids since Christmas, and we live 40 mins away. :( During this time BIL thought he was saving his marriage and he said some pretty awful things to and about his parents. My MIL told me all of this, because I was trying to be there for her. Now, however, BIL is back in the picture and SIL is out and MIL wants us all to act like BIL didn't say and or do anything bad.

I finally had to tell her that while we forgive him in Christian charity, we cannot forget everything he said and did and that it would be better if she didn't give me anymore sordid details so that it didn't further affect how I see him.

Maybe that's what you can do. Just tell her that with all the venting (which you're happy that she feels comfortable enough with you to do), it's really changing your opinion of SIL and you'd rather not have other people's experiences change your opinion. That you love them all dearly and want harmony. :shrug:

Good luck!


#10

The one I feel so sorry for is this poor baby.

Your MIL is the only one that is loving and taking care of this baby, and who knows what would be happening to this baby if your MIL were not in the picture.

I realise that your MIL is being taken atvantage of, and of how badly she is being treated, but at least she is an adult and can make decisions if she choses to. This baby is stuck.

Perhaps your MIL can put her foot down and make them go to some parenting classes (at the very least), in exchange for babysitting, and she has to stick to it. Her daughter doesn't listen to her because MIL has probably never followed through on anything, so the daughter knows her words don't mean anything. Your MIL is going to have to find her backbone, and stick to whatever it is she wants done. It is not fair to you for her to keep complaining about a situation, but then never doing anything to change it. If this were happening to me, I would tell my MIL that she is this baby's guardian angel here on earth right now, and then tell her I have to get off the phone (and then I would). Pretty soon she would realise that you aren't going to listen to her vent and rehash the same things day after day. Tell her kindly that this really leaves you upset everytime she talks about it,and you really can't listen to this topic anymore.
Your MIL is the only one that can change things.

I will keep the real victim here in my prayers. That poor innocent baby.


#11

OP: I don't want to be too hard on you or insist that you have to put your foot down. The only thing that is necessary for you to have peace is to let go of your responsibility for the situation. You can do that in more than one way.

I have a relative who complains about this kind of thing. It has become clear that she's made her decision to let people manipulate her in exchange for complaining to others about it. I've decided that, having made some suggestions that she doesn't have to live with it that she's rejected, I've done what I could. She doesn't want to change. With her, I let her complain. I can live with her complaining once in awhile, as long as I allow myself to feel free to let her be ultimately responsible for the situation. I no longer feel any need to look for a solution for her. She doesn't want one. I can let her talk, and I can at peace that being taken advantage of and complaining is what she's chosen, for the time being. She'll change when and if she's good and ready. In the meantime, I can make allowances.

If you can do that, that is one way to go. If listening to your MIL complain when you know she isn't going to do anything to change what she's complaining about is something you choose, rather than something you are stuck doing with no choice, it becomes much easier. If that works for you, that is OK. You would be no more ultimately responsible for her choices than she is ultimately responsible for your SIL's choices.


#12

[quote="EasterJoy, post:8, topic:213645"]
Your MIL is letting your SIL manipulate her, but you are one of the ones who pay the freight in those martyr miles. That set of rules is yours to change. People come to you when they want martyr miles, because you've always had them to give. I'm just guessing, but I'll bet you give them out for free, don't you? Now that you realize that, it is up to you to decide if you want to stay in that business. You can still be gentle, but start telling the whole truth, instead of just the parts that people want to hear. Be far more particular about who you choose to take on as a client, and on what terms: it is your choice! *You'll find yourself far less popular but more satisfied with the confidante business. *(If you don't believe me, ask a priest.)

If your in-laws say they want to come visit you, then you can say, "So come visit. If BIL and SIL wanted to visit, they'd tell you they were going to come, and they'd come. When you want to visit, we trust you'll be able to do the same. Until then, we're going to assume that you're old enough to live with your choices."

When your MIL complains at how she's being advantage of, you can ask, "So, when BIL and SIL told you they were leaving and you told them they needed to find a sitter for Little Bob, they threatened to leave him alone at the house? Or did you ever tell them that? You do know that this "inform" thing goes both ways, right? They inform you that they won't be home, and then you inform them that you won't be taking care of their child. You don't need an excuse to not be available 24/7 to do child care. They do. You are capable of insisting on that."
Will she call up some other family member to complain about you? Probably. My first guess would be your husband. Will they call you on your reprehensible decision to finally get a spine, berate you for being so unsupportive of your poor MIL, and ask you to ignore her poor choices because she is "extremely sensitive"? There is a very good chance of it. Then it will be your turn. Either choose to let your MIL drive her own vehicle, or live with your choice to take the wheel. I'm learning that the best way to go is to pray and get out of the car that isn't yours to drive, but you'll come around to what works for you in your own good time.

The catch is that you can only get out of the situation by giving up your illusion of control and actually allowing the manipulators in your family to live with their own poor choices, without even giving them the pay-off of sympathy.
I'd recommend Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself." It was an eye-opener for me. You don't have to have an alcoholic in the family to be in one that runs on the same "agree-to-be-used-then-resent-it" family dynamics.

Check it out at the library.

[/quote]

Whoa, wait a minute. How did I become the bad guy here? I am not a codependent, nor am I trying to control anybody. You have been rather rude to me in this post, and I am not sure what I did to inspire such an aggressive response. I needed advice on how to respond in a manner that pleases God and yet does not drag me into family drama, of which I want no part.
To your martyr miles point, I am not sure what you are trying to say about me here.
To your point about satisfaction with the confidante business, I would respond that my primary concern is behaving in a God-pleasing manner, not seeking my own satisfaction or pleasure about being taken into certain people's confidences. This is not an ego trip for me. I love these people, I don't want to increase discord, and I know that there is a lot of misbehaving going on, and I don't want to participate in that or encourage it.
To the first red bolded section, again, I don't know what you are talking about. BIL and SIL would never travel crosscountry to visit us, and I never even mentioned that. Furthermore, how does that relate in any way to the inlaws visiting/not visiting us?
To the second red bolded section, my MIL does not complain about being taken advantage of, she simply complains about what they are doing. Also, why should I have to interrogate her about whether or not she set any boundaries. Again, I will point out that I do not want to be dragged into this and have these conversations at all. Why would I then turn around and put my foot in my mouth, and get involved in the drama?
The blue bolded point, about me finally getting a spine...thanks so much for implying that I am spineless. Apparently attempting to sow harmony where there is discord and seeking God's will for my behavior now means I am spineless. This is good to know.
To the second bolded section, why are you implying that I am attempting to control my MIL? I do not, nor did I ever, tell her what to do, think, feel. If she wants to be actively involved in the daily care of her granddaughter, then she should do it with a smile on her face. If not, she should say so. But as it is, she does it with a smile for my SIL and BIL, and then vents to my DH and me. I don't want the information, but since it is freely offered, I needed a way to respond appropriately in conversation that does not involve me 'owning' any part of the situation. Apparently, you don't have any legitimate advice on that.
To the green bolded section, what illusion of control are you referring to? Again, how is it that I am viewed as the manipulator or codependent person in this situation. Really, what are you talking about. You have been rude throughout this whole post, calling me spineless and controlling. I thought that coming to CAF Family Life forum would help me learn how to be a better Catholic and learn how to serve the Lord through situations of family drama. Perhaps I was wrong in that?


#13

I responded to your first post before seeing this second post. I must say it is quite a different tone than your first. In fact, I find it hard to believe that the same person posted both comments. Perhaps you realized that your first post was too aggressive and didn’t get back in time to edit your first post? I’ll hope that is what happened. Or perhaps you realized you misread my OP?
Anyway, I hoped I had been clear that I do not want this information at all, because I find the behavior of my SIL to be reprehensible, and I also find family gossip to be terribly destructive and it causes deep mistrust. I do not mind at all offering up a situation in prayer, which I will continue to do. But I needed specific advice for how to respond in conversation to my MIL when she calls me to vent. And I wanted that advice to be Christ-centered, not full of popular psychology.
Frankly, EasterJoy, when I realized it was you who had posted the first post, I almost deleted my response to you. I have never seen such ire from you directed toward anybody here, and I was astonished that I triggered it in you. But what I said in response to the first point, I stand by. There was no call for some of the statements you made. I hope you can be kinder to me when I have a genuine question in the future.


#14

Please do not judge everyone on CAF because of one post, there are many honest and compassionate people on here.
You are correct, that post was totally uncalled for, you are not coming across as manipulative, co depended or controlling. :smiley:


#15

[quote="Nordar, post:14, topic:213645"]
Please do not judge everyone on CAF because of one post, there are many honest and compassionate people on here.
You are correct, that post was totally uncalled for, you are not coming across as manipulative, co depended or controlling. :D

[/quote]

No, Nordar, of course I won't. I was specifically addressing that poster with a rhetorical question. I know that the answer to that question is that this forum is a great place to come for Christian advice on family situations, and indeed I have already seen some very helpful comments on this thread. :)


#16

Ummm, that would be my husband and me and kids. :smiley:
My SIL is their daughter.
And I agree they need to learn the word ‘NO’


#17

[quote="joandarc2008, post:7, topic:213645"]
Charity must always be tempered with wisdom. It is tough but your MIL and FIL must set the boudaries so they may enjoy their own golden years.

[/quote]

This is one of those things people say that has the ring of truth to it, but I still don't understand what that really means. You have to understand, I wasn't brought up in a truly Christian household (more like poseur-Christians). So I don't have a clue what mature Christianity looks like. Hence my making so many mistakes. I really want to learn God's will and then do it, but I have no model for family strife. My only model is what I have read in the Bible, or what I can learn from more mature Catholics here at CAF. So, if you would care to elaborate, or give specific examples of what you mean, as it regards my own responses and behavior, that would be really, really helpful. Thanks!


#18

Sounds like you are in a tough spot, but just because you enjoy a close relationship with your MIL doesn't mean you have to listen to gossip from her. She may consider it venting, but venting sometimes crosses into gossip. It's affecting your relationship with your SIL. You know your MIL's version of the story, but you don't really know your SIL's version of what's going on.

When your MIL starts to vent about your SIL, change the subject. If she pursues it, tell her you are trying to stop gossiping and then change the subject again. It's a pity that your wonderful relationship with your MIL has deteriorated to you listening to your MIL routinely saying bad things about her daughter. Stop listening to it.

As others have alread pointed out, your MIL has problems with boundaries. She's crossed some boundaries with you by venting and sharing personal details. You need to set boundaries with your MIL. ( edit: If you can't do that, maybe your husband can help you. )


#19

[quote="tuscany, post:10, topic:213645"]
The one I feel so sorry for is this poor baby.

[/quote]

Yes, it has broken my heart that both of my nieces have been rejected, to different degrees, by their mothers. My own sister abandoned her daughter, and my mother is raising her now. She is a 5yo, only two days older than my DD. That niece is not doing well emotionally, despite my mother's best efforts. Now this baby niece has not been abandoned, but her mother has already demonstrated a willingness to pass her off as quickly as she can, and has complained about the baby not sleeping through the night (the newborn is only 4 weeks old) and has repeatedly made plans to get away and leave the baby with grandma. This is after the prenatal comments about 'dropping the baby off at grandma's house until the child is 3yo'! :eek: My niece is such a precious little bundle of joy. When I held her and loved on that sweet baby, my milk let down many times. I already loved her so much, even though I am just Auntie. I couldn't help the biological response I was having. And my baby #3 is due next month, so of course, I regret all the wonderful things that my SIL and niece are missing out on. And I also fear that while my SIL wouldn't outright abandon her daughter like my sister did, that she might continue pawning her off to the point where other people, mostly grandma, are the ones raising this child.

[quote="tuscany, post:10, topic:213645"]
Your MIL is the only one that is loving and taking care of this baby, and who knows what would be happening to this baby if your MIL were not in the picture.

[/quote]

Indeed.

[quote="tuscany, post:10, topic:213645"]
Her daughter doesn't listen to her because MIL has probably never followed through on anything, so the daughter knows her words don't mean anything.

[/quote]

So very true, and even acknowledged by my MIL. She has said that she hates being the bad guy, but the truth of it is that she isn't even always agreeing with a situation. Oftentimes, her husband, FIL#2, says that THEY can help, and then proceeds to state confidently that MIL will do it. She is thrown under the bus by her own husband repeatedly, and that is even though he knows she is overcommitted already.

[quote="tuscany, post:10, topic:213645"]
It is not fair to you for her to keep complaining about a situation, but then never doing anything to change it. If this were happening to me, I would tell my MIL that she is this baby's guardian angel here on earth right now, and then tell her I have to get off the phone (and then I would). Tell her kindly that this really leaves you upset everytime she talks about it,and you really can't listen to this topic anymore.

[/quote]

It really does leave me terribly upset. I love being an Auntie, and I care about my nieces very much. I want them to be healthy and happy. But as Auntie, I can only pray for them, and love on them when I get to see them. I can't do anything to change the situation, and I also have my own family to serve. But as a mother and Auntie, and being so close to having my baby #3, I do get terribly upset, and yet I need to respond in a Christian fashion, and not just based upon my feelings about a situation.

[quote="tuscany, post:10, topic:213645"]
I will keep the real victim here in my prayers. That poor innocent baby.

[/quote]

I really appreciate that, tuscany. Prayers are needed and welcome. I am still learning how to pray, as a new Catholic and as someone who reembraced Christianity after a decade of wandering a spiritual wasteland. Perhaps you can help me to see how to pray for the baby? I want so many things for her, and I don't know where to start. Mostly, my heart just cries out to God about the brokenness of the situation.


#20

[quote="mommamaree, post:13, topic:213645"]
I responded to your first post before seeing this second post. I must say it is quite a different tone than your first. In fact, I find it hard to believe that the same person posted both comments. Perhaps you realized that your first post was too aggressive and didn't get back in time to edit your first post? I'll hope that is what happened. Or perhaps you realized you misread my OP?

Anyway, I hoped I had been clear that I do not want this information at all, because I find the behavior of my SIL to be reprehensible, and I also find family gossip to be terribly destructive and it causes deep mistrust. I do not mind at all offering up a situation in prayer, which I will continue to do. But I needed specific advice for how to respond in conversation to my MIL when she calls me to vent. And I wanted that advice to be Christ-centered, not full of popular psychology.
Frankly, EasterJoy, when I realized it was you who had posted the first post, I almost deleted my response to you. I have never seen such ire from you directed toward anybody here, and I was astonished that I triggered it in you. But what I said in response to the first point, I stand by. There was no call for some of the statements you made. I hope you can be kinder to me when I have a genuine question in the future.

[/quote]

MammaMaree, I too was a bit taken aback by EasterJoy's first post to you. But I know that she is one of the wiser posters here so I did some thinking about what she wrote. And then I saw her second post to you. I think she was being blunt to get your attention just like you may need to blunt with your MIL.

I think was she is saying to you is that you came here looking for advice on how you might fix this situation. Actually two situations. You don't like how your SIL is treating her parents. And you don't like your MIL complaining about it to you.

I think you need to take Joan's idea about tempering Charity with wisdom here. Your MIL's problem with your SIL is not your problem to fix. It's your MIL's. ---assuming your MIL wants to fix it; it may be that this is just how your MIL controls your SIL: by keeping her the dependent brat. But this is exhausting work so MIL refuels by gossiping (disguised as complaining) to you to gain sympathy. You are not the victim of your SIL's bad behavior. You are the victim of your MIL. MIL's deceived you into thinking that you can and/or should share the burden of this knowledge. You are now feeling like a better person for feeling sorry for your MIL

Tempered charity suggests that you tell your MIL that you cannot listen to her "problems" because you need to care for your unborn child. Feeling sorry for MIL does not really make you a better person; MIL chooses not to take a stand against SIL. Don't let her rob one grandchild (your baby) to help her support another.


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