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  #21  
Old April 16th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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Re: It's a no win

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Originally Posted by Black Box View Post
Beth wrote: "I had no idea there were so many rules for MIL's."

They aren't rules just for MILs, but to promote good relationships between any two people. They are common sense rules:

Don't be blaming and disapproving of people you want to like you.
Don't make assumptions about what people think and feel.
Don't talk about them behind their backs, and especially don't complain about them to their spouses.
Don't make mountains out of molehills.
Don't expect to be liked and respected if you don't like and respect the other person.
Don't try to intrude in or manage other people's marriages, finances, parenting, etc... You have yours, they have theirs, respect boundaries.
Don't play martyr and victim. (Does anyone enjoy being in the company of people like this?)
Gifts and favors shouldn't come with strings attached. Give and let go or don't give at all.
Be careful of entitlement feelings. (This one is tricky because it involves varied backgrounds, cultures, traditions, and habits that are taken for granted and are seldom examined. We all trip over this one unexpectedly, but well meaning people acknowledge that when it's all said and done we aren't really entitled to all that much from others.)

(Maybe this should be moved to the How to be a good IL thread?, altho my point is it's not limited to ILs)
Black Box, I totally get what you are saying. But there is one problem, people are not perfect. We all make mistakes, at least I know I have. I am constantly learning and changing. There are times where people are toxic to each other and I realize that. And to protect your family from these people, certain steps must be taken. But I think this is more rare than common.

Sometimes when people vent they are unable to get their real point across in the beginning. They need to spew forth the garbage before the real problem comes to the front. Then you tend to hear what's really going on.

When you talk about rules, I agree that these are social rules applying to all. It would be nice if everyone followed them. But that seems unrealistic to me. What about forgiveness for those who don't know any better. Or for those who stick their foot in their mouths with no actual ill intent. Not all remarks are malicious. Sometimes people just don't think.

Another problem is the baggage we all carry and how it colors our relationships. When someone has been hurt and relationships are more difficult, do we empathize?

Perhaps I am not making any sense and am trying to philosophize the situation. Thanks for listening.
  #22  
Old April 16th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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Re: It's a no win

how else do people learn that their words and actions hurt and offend others than by those others standing up and stating it?

a mentally healthy person listens, considers, and corrects bad behavior, a mentally unhealthy person ignores, denies, attacks and shifts blame to avoid admitting to and correcting bad behavior.
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  #23  
Old April 16th, 2009, 07:02 PM
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Re: It's a no win

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Originally Posted by Pandsala View Post
how else do people learn that their words and actions hurt and offend others than by those others standing up and stating it?

a mentally healthy person listens, considers, and corrects bad behavior, a mentally unhealthy person ignores, denies, attacks and shifts blame to avoid admitting to and correcting bad behavior.
I think that that is part of the problem here. I get the feeling, from her posts, that her DIL says and does hurtful things and continues to do so, while the OP never says anything in return and "takes it." This does nothing but build up resentment, anger and hurt feelings.

To the OP: How can your DIL change the situation if she does not know there is a problem. Present it to her in a kind way, not as critism. If you guys are as open and loving of a family as you state, this should happen naturally. Keeping all this hurt and anger in only destroys as relationship and never allows it to grow.
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  #24  
Old April 16th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Re: It's a no win

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Originally Posted by Pandsala View Post
how else do people learn that their words and actions hurt and offend others than by those others standing up and stating it?

a mentally healthy person listens, considers, and corrects bad behavior, a mentally unhealthy person ignores, denies, attacks and shifts blame to avoid admitting to and correcting bad behavior.
When someone offends you, I think it OK to let them know. My issue would be more of how you let them know. Can we not begin with social graces and be polite? Teach them what they do not know and how to respond to you. Sometimes people just don't get it, they are dense. You may have to repeat yourself several times due to their thick skulls. This is especially true of those you think are basically good hearted.

With repeat offenders, the issue becomes more intense. They are not listening nor are they caring. This takes a different tactic. I would make the statement of I have explained before and you do not hear me. Do you need further explanation? For if you do not care about my feelings, then I have no further interest in a speaking with you. It would be fruitless. But still I would be saying this with tact. I don't, however, feel this scenario says they are mentally unhealthy. That seems subjective to me. If someone is unwilling to try and understand, they are selfish and do not wish to be bothered. Well then, why would I? But remember, sometimes we are beat down in our own personal lives so much that we tend to become thick skinned. Be aware of this and try to remember what empathy means.

To me a mentally unhealthy person falls more into the obsessive, abusive category. Then I believe commando tactics would be appropriate and no rules apply.

Last edited by Beth; April 16th, 2009 at 07:39 PM.
  #25  
Old April 16th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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Re: It's a no win

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Originally Posted by grubby View Post
I think that that is part of the problem here. I get the feeling, from her posts, that her DIL says and does hurtful things and continues to do so, while the OP never says anything in return and "takes it." This does nothing but build up resentment, anger and hurt feelings.

To the OP: How can your DIL change the situation if she does not know there is a problem. Present it to her in a kind way, not as critism. If you guys are as open and loving of a family as you state, this should happen naturally. Keeping all this hurt and anger in only destroys as relationship and never allows it to grow.
I agree grubby. I wonder if those two have really tried to sit down and discuss things. Sometimes anger comes before understanding and gums everything up.
  #26  
Old April 17th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Re: It's a no win

You hit the nail on the head, when family is offended no one responds, they just take it! Patterns are established, we are talking decades of behavior on both sides, she dishes it out, we all take it silently!
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Old April 17th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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Re: It's a no win

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Patterns are established, we are talking decades of behavior on both sides, she dishes it out, we all take it silently!
But you can only do something about the behavior on your side. You are not 'just taking it', you too are dishing out through the negative gossip about her and your criticism and disdain and other acts. Silent, passive-aggressive arrows cause just as much damage as overt ones.

Since you acknowledge decades of behavior on your side as well, you will most profit by changing what you are doing. After all, if you get cut off, and you seem to feel that such a possibility is immenint, you have the most to lose: a son and grandchildren. It's in your best interest to de-escalate the situation.

You are willing to 'vent' about all the things she does wrong, are you as willing to own up and expend as much energy to what you are doing to contribute to the estrangement?
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Old April 17th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Re: It's a no win

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You hit the nail on the head, when family is offended no one responds, they just take it! Patterns are established, we are talking decades of behavior on both sides, she dishes it out, we all take it silently!

Well it's sad that everyone is ignoring them, but it sounds like the only other option is to address it. You said your DIL might not know that she offends people. How would she take it if your family, whom she loves and is grateful for, were to gently stand up to her? Comments such as "DIL, you didn't mean that the way it sounded, did you?" I have had to stand up for myself (and it's hard for me to do) with my not-meaning-to-offend-but-very-inept-MIL. She has no IDEA she's hurting my feelings or those of my daughter, but that's my fault for "taking it".

Quote:
it is not about anything changing, it is about being used and then disposed of when you no longer serve their purpose.
I'm confused about this response to my earlier question about what changed... obviously something DID change. You no longer served their purpose (BTW, I like the way you said "their" and not "her"... that means you realize that your son is part and parcel of it. ). While that's a negative thing on their part (to toss you aside), something must have changed that they no longer needed you.

I'd like to offer some possible insight as to the "hovering" she does. It may be the case, it may not be the case. Whatever. BUT... if she missed the first 5 years of her kid's life because she was working, and then became a SAHM, do you think she might be making up for lost time? Do you think it's possible that she feels guilty, or overwhelmed, or stressed, or scared, or unsure of herself? I'm just trying to figure out what would make someone go from you being full-time in her kid's life to you not being allowed more than 15 minute visits with her hovering. She's battling some demons or another.
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Old April 18th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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Re: It's a no win

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With repeat offenders, the issue becomes more intense. They are not listening nor are they caring. This takes a different tactic. I would make the statement of I have explained before and you do not hear me. Do you need further explanation? For if you do not care about my feelings, then I have no further interest in a speaking with you. It would be fruitless... If someone is unwilling to try and understand, they are selfish and do not wish to be bothered. Well then, why would I?
The rules I posted above are just regular social norms. I can understand if you don't know them at age 20, because you are recently 'released' from your family of origin where perhaps you were protected from the realities of society and permitted to be a selfish, spoiled brat and permitted to get away with being rude. Twenty year olds who don't have the hang of social norms are in for a rude awakening. They are about to get stomped on; employers, colleagues, friends, neighbors, dates, etc... unless you are some kind of celebrity, society will not tolerate rudeness.

At that point they will either learn social rules the hard way and change or they will adapt to the intolerance thru various coping mechanisms: picking acquaintances carefully, not working or changing jobs, playing victim/martyr, denial of their behavior, a disassociation between cause and effect, lying, a dogged refusal to introspection, covert or maybe even overt bullying--all done so they don't have to change.

How can you get to be 50 and not know the basic rules of social interaction in your society? If you are 50 and still violating simple commonsense social rules, then aren't you easily identifiable as someone who is "unwilling to try, selfish and not wanting to be bothered"? Someone for whom it is a waste of time on other people's part to try to try to get along with?

If you are dealing with someone who has had 30+ years of adulthood and still can't follow simple commonsense guidelines for interpersonal relationships, or worse who become enraged by them, it's sheer stupidity to think you are going to make them change. At that point, you have two choices: you either put up with the unpleasant aspects and intrusions of that person or you severely limit or cut off contact with that person. Both are valid options.

This is not about a rare stupid comment or occasional thoughtless act. We all do those things and when it's brought to our attention we are annoyed with ourselves, apologize, and make amends if necessary.

Disclaimer: And this was also not to imply that the original poster is a 50+ person who never learned or rejects basic social norms. I brought up the possibility that she might have inadvertently violated some of the rules of interpersonal behavior and she not only assured us that that was not the case but that anyone who would suggest it has emotional problems. So that's that, OP's behavior toward her DIL is beyond reproach. This post is an sidebar and an observation responding to Beth's statement regarding 'repeat offenders' and difficult behavior in others which almost all of us have encountered from time to time in our travels through life.
  #30  
Old April 18th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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Re: It's a no win

This is not a perfect world. You would think that by the time you reach 50 years of age you would have down all the social graces. But this isn't the norm. I come across many people who are rude everywhere, from doctors to store clerks. And I think more than ever before society permits it and our children are raised in it.

I prefer to think that people can be redeemed. Not everyone, but many. People are so complicated. Unless you know their entire background or are psychic, you can't know what hurts they harbor which may be part of the cause of their lack of sensitivity. My own mother was a mean old broad. For the first 40 years of my life I could not figure out why she behaved as she did. It wasn't until she lay dying that I began to unravel what she was all about. She had a secret she withheld from all of us all our lives that burned like a fire within her. All those years she wasted buried in her pain and anger, driving her children away from her. She could have told us, she could have sought help, but she didn't. She could not share her pain with anyone. This is when I found compassion in my life. This is when I began to feel the heaviness in my heart lift.

Tolerance was mentioned in a previous post or the lack thereof. I do believe that tolerance and understanding and compassion are falling to the side for many. And I have to wonder how we get this back. Perhaps there should be a requirement that everyone by age 21 should take a turn working in a pediatric cancer center or a nursing home.

This world is moving way to fast. No one takes the time to really get to know you. When something complicated happens, it seems so much easier to say what an ignoramous and distance yourself. Relationships are hard and complicated. Very few are perfect. There are no rewards from walking away from each other. The exception as I mentioned before is abuse.

As I read the forums regarding family issues, it seems that there is so much anger. I would like to understand this. What is missing? This is universal, not just one particular group of people it's happening to. No one is talking to each other. Only complaining and digging deeper holes.

I guess there are those who feel that some individuals are calculating their every move just to annoy you, but I don't think everyone is that smart. Most poor souls are just walking through their daily lives doing whatever it is they do without calculating their moves. Not thinking, they step all over you. I guess I have hope they can be enlightened.
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