Pre-wedding Parties

Hostile FSIL "needs" a shower invitation

13

Re: Hostile FSIL "needs" a shower invitation

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited February 2016
    Jen4948 said:
    Stuck in box
    From what the OP has posted about this family, they are already "alienated" even after 4 years of her being "civil" to them, and nothing she can say or do, including inviting the FSIL to the shower, will change that for one second.  Continuing to do the same will just result in more of the same. So advising her to do nothing about her situation for fear of "alienating" people who are treating her with incivility and hostility, and who aren't going to stop, even though she keeps being civil, is not going to result in better treatment in any way, shape, or form - just more hoops for the OP to jump through on pain of accusations of "disrespect to the family."  And that's no way to start off a marriage or new relationships either, by emotionally blackmailing the OP, because it gives all power to people who are already "alienated" regardless of whether or not the OP sets boundaries with them or not.  What's clear is that by not setting boundaries that require respectful treatment, nothing will change for the better for the OP.  Nobody needs to be married or "understand" what passes for "family dynamics" in this dysfunctional family to see that.  
    The FMIL asked OP  to invite the FSIL to a shower, so now the whole family is dysfunctional and OP and her FI are already alienated from the rest of the family? 

    Can we please stop making grand assumptions and leaps of inference? This is really getting out of hand. 
    Check out other threads by the OP before you accuse me of "grand assumptions," "leaps of inference," and "getting out of hand," okay?

    By the way, it's also a 'grand assumption" and a "leap of inference" that setting and maintaining boundaries with her future in-laws will totally and permanently alienate them to the point that no relationship with them at all is even possible - especially if she's always been civil with them up to now.  It might even result eventually in respectful treatment by all concerned.  But the only way to know for sure is if the OP sets and maintains some boundaries.  It can be done with civility and respect for the FILs. 
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
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    Jen4948 said:
    Stuck in box
    From what the OP has posted about this family, they are already "alienated" even after 4 years of her being "civil" to them, and nothing she can say or do, including inviting the FSIL to the shower, will change that for one second.  Continuing to do the same will just result in more of the same. So advising her to do nothing about her situation for fear of "alienating" people who are treating her with incivility and hostility, and who aren't going to stop, even though she keeps being civil, is not going to result in better treatment in any way, shape, or form - just more hoops for the OP to jump through on pain of accusations of "disrespect to the family."  And that's no way to start off a marriage or new relationships either, by emotionally blackmailing the OP, because it gives all power to people who are already "alienated" regardless of whether or not the OP sets boundaries with them or not.  What's clear is that by not setting boundaries that require respectful treatment, nothing will change for the better for the OP.  Nobody needs to be married or "understand" what passes for "family dynamics" in this dysfunctional family to see that.  
    The FMIL asked OP  to invite the FSIL to a shower, so now the whole family is dysfunctional and OP and her FI are already alienated from the rest of the family? 

    Can we please stop making grand assumptions and leaps of inference? This is really getting out of hand. 
    Before you know it, this will turn into a musical and someone will have the OP singing!
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2016

    Wow, thanks for all the insight, everyone.  With the stress of the wedding, and traveling for work so much, I almost forgot I posted, so this is the first time I've checked in a while.  I did not mean to "post and run."

    It's probably irrelevant at this point, but no, my FI does NOT scream and yell at me.  We've actually never had a fight about the issue, he just makes it clear that he doesn't want to be in the middle.  I'm not asking him to put himself in the middle, because yes, I, too, feel like this is "high school drama," and her issue with me is not technically his problem, but, age-level aside, I unfortunately can't seem to reconcile the issue by being the bigger person.  And that, in and of itself, is exhausting.  We actually did have a conversation about it, and he did say "I support you."

    FSIL has, herself, excluded me from intimate family events (not that I care, and nor have I ever demanded an invitation), and she often goes out of her way to conceal them from me.  When FMIL invited me to a family dinner for her son's (FSIL's husband) birthday, she pretty much threw a tantrum and spent the three hour event sitting with her back to me (impressive, since she sat across the table from me).  When I got up to use the restroom, I returned to find her berating my FI for not "making an effort to get to know" her, even though she's family now.

    She hasn't beaten anyone, molested a child, or gone to jail, and it's hard to put into words exactly what she's done, because it isn't that she's done ANYTHING at all to me, but it seems like I am perpetually wronging her.  She's hostile whenever we're in the same room.  She makes pointed comments about things like putting china on our registry ("You don't want china, that's not what the registry is for"), or my puppy reacting when her dog backs it into a corner ("Well, your dog just isn't well trained, you're an irresponsible dog owner"), or her attitude towards my ering ("Well, he didn't buy you an ering because he didn't have the money").  It just wears a person down, trying to be nice and shrugging s*** like this off all the time.  "I picked a china set that will go very nicely with my grandmother's wedding china.  I like the idea of old and new and want to pass something of myself down to my granddaughter, the way my grandmother did for me." "I'm sorry that my dog reacted badly when your dog came up behind her and startled her."  "I told him before he proposed that I wanted to wear my grandmother's ring.  She passed a while back, and I feel like it brings me closer to her."  That kind of thing.

    This may not mean much, but my breaking point actually came at Christmas.  I put a lot of thought into her gift, and it was a real struggle to get it for her.  It had to be ordered three times and it took 10 months for me to actually receive the custom item to give it to her.  When I buy gifts for people, especially family, I go to excruciating pains to ensure that the gift is practical yet personal, so I tailor my options to their particular tastes and interests.  Like, for my bridesmaids, I want them to have something personal to each of them that can grow with their families, so I made a shadowbox for each of them with custom-made 2" Scrabble tiles spelling each family member's name.  As their families grow, they can add to them, and they'll still have a special memento of their participation in my wedding day.  I love doing this stuff because I love giving and making people happy.  Despite the history between us, I really wanted this woman to have something special, and I was really, really excited to give it to her.

    When she opened it, she gave it a half glance, said, "It's cute," and made a point to ignore that she even got it.  Not even a thank you, or a pretend, "I can't wait to use it."

    Yes, it's trivial, and yes, it probably equates to high school drama, but I was stung.  I don't give gifts for the recognition or the thanks, but her reaction made me angry all the same.  There was no reason for her to act like that.  She didn't appreciate the lengths to which I went to get it, even though my FI recounted that story to the amusement of the rest of his family.  She didn't acknowledge the thoughtfulness of the gift, or the attention to detail, or how it was, without a doubt, perfect for her.  I even ran it past her husband and our MIL before I ordered it, just to make sure it was a gift she WOULD enjoy.  So yes, it hurt my feelings, and yes, it's drama, but it's just part of her pattern of behavior towards me.  If my FI had given her the gift and taken credit for it instead of me, you can bet the farm that her reaction would have been vastly different. 

    It is drama.  It's drama I have never wanted any part of, and drama I have done my damnedest to try to ignore and shrug off.  But emotionally, I feel like I'm beating my brains out against a brick wall, and it feels like if I don't put my foot down now, say "Enough is enough", I'll never have that chance again.

    Only 15 people are invited to my shower (it's extremely intimate, and my wedding party and family are not huge), so her presence will be hard to ignore.

    I'm not sure I'm getting my POV across, and I've probably made it sound truly trite (boohoo, my feelings are hurt, poor me, waaah), but it's a sucky situation that I feel like I have no control over.  I don't want to dole out equal measures of spite and dislike, I just don't want it around me on such a happy, intimate occasion.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    spockforprez
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
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    banana468 said:
    She sounds like no prize.

    But this all sounds like drama.   And it sounds like your FMIL wants her at these events for some weird reason.   

    If you put your foot down and say no, that can torment you forever.   "And THEEEEEEEEEN she didn't invite me to the shower!!" 

    But, if you're gracious, she's the one that looks like a crazy case if she makes a scene.

    That doesn't mean that your have a shower that's guaranteed to be drama free.   However I think it's a decent idea to tell your hostesses your feelings about her.   If they see her acting out, it's on THEM to say,  "If you can't act like you are happy for the bride to be then why don't we fix you a plate of food that you can take with you."   And if you keep smiling all along while she makes an insane fuss, people will think, "Man, that bride is gracious while her BSC SIL is terrible."

    Instead, if you start to set up a wall for an occasion like this, it just gets awkward for everyone.   

    Similarly, she's going to be invited to your wedding.   If she makes a scene or is awful, how you handle it will be the memory people have of you.

    Stand up for yourself - but do it in a way that can't be used as a way that you intentionally excluded her when everything she's done thus far has simply been to act like a petulant child.   


    I absolutely get your point, but I disagree, regarding the shower. FI's SIL is an asshole and OP shouldn't have to deal with it. The SIL has made it clear to everyone that she doesn't like OP so OP is doing her a favor by not inviting her. The same doesn't go for family /holiday parties since she's the brother's wife, but I don't see any reason to invite her to the shower.

    I know that mother =/= SIL, but I had a very similar experience with my MIL. She never did anything to me that was outright horrible, but she was a general ass to me for years. Little jabs here and there, "jokes" that weren't really jokes, ignoring me, not caring about gifts I gave her and then bitching about not getting gifts, just general bullshit. Once H and I stopped allowing it (calling her out instead of ignoring, stopped including her in our lives, etc.), her behavior changed.

    I'm not saying that this will happen for OP, but it's clear to me that OP doing the same old shit and just dealing with it will result in the SIL doing her same old shit.

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    Jen4948[Deleted User]OliveOilsMomcupcait927
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
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    I don't think that you should extend an invite to FSIL to the shower.  Others have given you great answers to provide your FMIL with already.  It is possible that FMIL might want FSIL invited to show some sort of family harmony, but that is just a guess.  I can't imagine that FSIL actually wants an invite to the shower.

    But I also want to add that you need to stop being a doormat.  Lower all expectations you might have about FSIL to 0.  If you need to give her a gift, just do a gift card.  She does not deserve the personal gifts that you buy for everyone else.  Let her look around the room when you have given thoughtful and personal gifts to each person and she got a gift card. 

    And while your FI may not want to get in the middle of you and FSIL.  At some point he needs to step up for you.  "FSIL, why must you always treat my FI this way?  She has been nothing but kind to you, but you always seem to have a level of disdain for her.  Why is that?"   

    [Deleted User]Jen4948SP29db1984
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    While I agree that not everyone's tastes are the same, as these are my closest friends, I am pretty comfortable with my decision to move forward with this gift. At any rate, the Scrabble tiles are attached with velcro, so if for some reason they don't like it, they're free to do whatever they want with the tiles. Just because it's not something you would similarly value doesn't mean it's necessary to make snap judgments. FSIL makes no secret of her favorite interests, so I am confident in saying, especially since it was verified by her husband, that the gift she received was in line with her interests and her tastes, although I should make it clear it was nowhere near as ostentatious as a shadow box with Scrabble tiles. That, however, is neither here nor there. 


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Bleve0821 said:
    While I agree that not everyone's tastes are the same, as these are my closest friends, I am pretty comfortable with my decision to move forward with this gift. At any rate, the Scrabble tiles are attached with velcro, so if for some reason they don't like it, they're free to do whatever they want with the tiles. Just because it's not something you would similarly value doesn't mean it's necessary to make snap judgments. FSIL makes no secret of her favorite interests, so I am confident in saying, especially since it was verified by her husband, that the gift she received was in line with her interests and her tastes, although I should make it clear it was nowhere near as ostentatious as a shadow box with Scrabble tiles. That, however, is neither here nor there. 
    It's not a snap judgment. One-size-fits-all gifts for a group of more than two are often not appreciated by at least one person, and despite the personalization of names, that's what these shadowboxes are. I am not assuming that these are bad gifts for your BMs - it's true, you know them best - but since I know many people who think they are great gift-givers and really are not, I just wanted you to consider that point.

    To your FSIL, I think your "homework" was probably accurate. However, she is not worth the effort as PP mentioned, so you can stop doing said homework.
    MyNameIsNotInLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I told FI on the way home that weekend that he's in charge of all future gifts for her, no way am I going to that kind of effort again. It's not that I thought it would mend bridges, but I didn't think it would hurt them quite the way it did.


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    MobKazJen4948OliveOilsMomspockforprez
  • Bleve0821 said:
    While I agree that not everyone's tastes are the same, as these are my closest friends, I am pretty comfortable with my decision to move forward with this gift. At any rate, the Scrabble tiles are attached with velcro, so if for some reason they don't like it, they're free to do whatever they want with the tiles. Just because it's not something you would similarly value doesn't mean it's necessary to make snap judgments. FSIL makes no secret of her favorite interests, so I am confident in saying, especially since it was verified by her husband, that the gift she received was in line with her interests and her tastes, although I should make it clear it was nowhere near as ostentatious as a shadow box with Scrabble tiles. That, however, is neither here nor there. 
    It's not a snap judgment. One-size-fits-all gifts for a group of more than two are often not appreciated by at least one person, and despite the personalization of names, that's what these shadowboxes are. I am not assuming that these are bad gifts for your BMs - it's true, you know them best - but since I know many people who think they are great gift-givers and really are not, I just wanted you to consider that point.

    To your FSIL, I think your "homework" was probably accurate. However, she is not worth the effort as PP mentioned, so you can stop doing said homework.
    Yea I agree that it isn't a snap judgement. Any time someone is getting all BMs the same thing (yes even personalized with names) most likely someone isn't going to like it. But hey if all of yours will then that's great. 

    I also want to add that just because something matches this persons interests/tastes doesn't mean it's a gift they will like. Example I love frogs and rodents, always have. For some reason everyone in my family thinks they are getting me the best gifts ever by buying me things with frogs or rodents on them. I pretty much hate every one of those gifts. (Really what am I supposed to do with kissing frog salt and pepper shakers? I have salt and pepper shakers that I use now. And the Christmas ornaments... I don't put up that kind of ornament, I like having my tree all matching!) Though I do smile say thank you and how cute it is so yes she should have done the same even if she hated it. 

    I also think that even though your FI doesn't want to get in the middle it is his job to stand up for you. He's the one who should be telling your MIL that she isn't invited to the shower and why. DH would never let his family treat me badly and I won't let mine treat him badly either. 
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    photokittyInLoveInQueens
  • You SIL is rude. Full stop. She's clearly out of line and rude. 

    However what I can't figure out is why you keep trying to make her like you when she's clearly not interested. Maybe this is harsh, but I agree with PPs, stop taking it from her. If she does something that hurts your feels, tell her. If she insults you, call her out on it. You don't have to stoop to her level, but respond clearly and calming that you won't put up with her behavior anymore. 

    That being said I think with people like this not inviting her is going to cause more problems than it's worth. I'd want to keep my FMIL happy, but if you really don't want her there, no you don't have to invite her.
    InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdom
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    You SIL is rude. Full stop. She's clearly out of line and rude. 

    However what I can't figure out is why you keep trying to make her like you when she's clearly not interested. Maybe this is harsh, but I agree with PPs, stop taking it from her. If she does something that hurts your feels, tell her. If she insults you, call her out on it. You don't have to stoop to her level, but respond clearly and calming that you won't put up with her behavior anymore. 

    That being said I think with people like this not inviting her is going to cause more problems than it's worth. I'd want to keep my FMIL happy, but if you really don't want her there, no you don't have to invite her.
    Sounds like inviting her is going to cause more problems than it's worth too.
  • I'd invite her. Then every time she says something rude, I'd laugh in her face then turn and walk away. She'll look like the a** hole. Everyone will catch on. Especially if its a small party. You don't even have to really respond.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    I'd invite her. Then every time she says something rude, I'd laugh in her face then turn and walk away. She'll look like the a** hole. Everyone will catch on. Especially if its a small party. You don't even have to really respond.


    Actually, I would think a guest of honor laughing in someone's face and turning to walk away would make the guest of honor look like the asshole. 

    As SP29 said, it would better for OP to ask FSIL "why would you say that?" and let FSIL stamper out a poor excuse for her behavior.  (BTW, I think I might have advised that before!  That is a classic Dear Abby technique!)

    Only if the FSIL is likely to learn from it and shut up -- not if she keeps being an a**hole for the whole party.  And if she's going to do that, I think it's best to just not invite her, because using her as the party entertainment is to lower oneself to her level.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Wow! Good for you for speaking up for yourself.  I hope your FMIL  continues to be supportive.  I was expecting that same kind of "get-over-yourself" lecture that you mentioned.  It's really great that your FMIL didn't react that way.  She must just not have known how bad the situation between you and your FSIL was.

    Hugs and support for you!
    OurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    Bleve0821 said:

    I really appreciate all the input, everyone.  It's been an incredibly stressful last few weeks for me without all this petty nonsense (why must EVERYTHING go wrong in the two months before the wedding?).  At times like these, I find that sometimes it's best to get a perspective from someone removed from the situation.  Opinions are very divided, so I feel a little better knowing there really isn't a correct way to handle this.

    The matter is mostly resolved, and I took a little bit of advice from both sides.

    My FI and I talked.  He offered to speak to his mother about the situation, showing his support, but I asked him not to until I had grown a pair and spoken to her myself.  Then he could run interference if needed.

    Last night, I told my FMIL exactly this (I know, because I asked my dad to give it a once over and make sure I didn't sound like a crazy person before I called her and read it to her):

    "FMIL, FSIL is not particularly welcome at my shower. Her attitude towards me is toxic and hostile. It is clear she doesn't like me, and quite frankly, I am tired of her behavior towards me. She is rude and snide and unfriendly, and no amount of effort on my part has made a difference. I do not know what I did to her, the feeling is not mutual, but I am tired of being treated like I have no place in her life. From the moment FI and I started dating, her attitude towards me chilled and became increasingly hostile. I do not want to continue to be party to a lifetime of hostility for no discernible reason. I have gone out of my way to be the bigger person, and it has taken a toll on me mentally and physically, and I am very frustrated. I won't return dislike for dislike, but I have had enough of her hostility towards me and do not want that kind of attitude around me at my shower. Family is family, but I clearly am not part of hers, so please forgive me if I am reluctant to welcome her into mine with open arms. That being said, she did receive an invitation."

    I went on to tell her that this was a difficult decision for me and that it has caused a great deal of stress and I was sorry that she was in the middle of everything, this is between me and FSIL and it wasn't fair for anyone else to be dragged into it.

    I probably should have grown a pair and told her this when both FMIL and FI asked me to make her a BM way back when, but all I could do at the time was say "No," and would they please respect my decision.  They did, and in retrospect it was probably more of a suggestion than a "You should really do this" kind of thing.  But the aforementioned birthday dinner was still fresh in my mind, so my emotions probably definitely clouded my judgment.

    FMIL was heartbreakingly supportive, so I guess on some level she's aware of the situation.    I think it was a shock to her that I feel this way, but I've spent years pretending it doesn't bother me when family is together.  Her reaction completely overwhelmed me, because I was expecting a not-so-nice lecture on "Well, she's family, and you're going to have to deal with her, so suck it up and get over it, etc."  Not that my FMIL has a mean bone in her body, but you know Mama Bears.

    It doesn't fix things.  I'm still in limbo.  FSIL got the requisite invitation, I don't know if she's coming, but my MOH and other BMs have been asked to monitor the situation if she does show.  I know with their support, even if FSIL does attend, there will at least be no brawls.  And they'll have my back if I do say something slightly less than tactful.  And FMIL won't judge or condemn me for standing up for myself.

    The biggest relief is that FMIL is supportive of my feelings, despite the fact that FSIL has been family far longer than I.  Well, that, and knowing for sure that FI is on my team.

    So I wanted to thank everyone again for all the input, advice, suggestions, etc.  It was welcome and very much appreciated, and made me feel like a little less like the insane bridezilla I imagine my loved ones believe me to be.


    So, I'm really glad you said something, but telling your FMIL that you don't want her there and then sending an invitation feels sort of like you half-assed both sides and are following through with neither.
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  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    @scribe95 China, yes (and he thanked me for letting that one go since it was the very first thing she said to me at Christmas). Dog, no. Ring, no. 

    @ShesSoCold long story, but my MOH claims to have misunderstood when I asked her to WAIT til I had talked to my FMIL before she did anything, and sent the invitation out within an hour of that initial conversation with my FMIL. She also waited a week to tell me she'd invited her. My fault for bringing it to her attention at all, but as my BFF, she's my go to "I'm so angry just let me rant and blow off steam." No choice now but to roll with the punch, I guess


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    Knottie1452098987
  • You are SPOT ON!!!! I would only ask, what do you think is the best way to deal with families like this?
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited April 2016
    You are SPOT ON!!!! I would only ask, what do you think is the best way to deal with families like this?
    Set boundaries.  As soon as you get treated with unwarranted hostility, make clear that it's not okay and has to stop on pain of specified consequences (you'll leave immediately or, if it happens on your turf, the other person will have to leave immediately, or whatever else is appropriate), and enforce those consequences if it doesn't stop.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    @AtomicBlonde, has the shower taken place? Was your FSIL there? How did things go?
  • To be perfectly honest, this sounds a lot like the situation I have going on: I typically am very comfortable standing up for myself, but was initially very afraid to rock the boat with my future in laws, that led to a lot of issues festering and more problems later on, people thinking they could walk all over me, and now I am having to be even more firm than I would've had I just stood up for myself from the beginning.
    These are growing pains....they hurt but we are better for them.
    THe 2 things I have really come to learn recently are
    1.  Sometimes I just have to do things I don't want to do, I have to say to myself, I love my fiance so much, or else I wouldn't be doing X. An then I suck it up, and take one for the team, because it is better to see my partner happy than be right or prideful.
    2. There are my needs, his needs and the needs of the relationship, and those are often 3 different things that need to be weighed and balanced.
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