Dealing With His Family
(12-02-2010, 09:25 AM)miss_fluffy Wrote: Did anything bad happen during the quick visit turned into dinner?

No, and my SIL was very nice. But this kind of thing must stop. Not only is it inconsiderate to me, it was overwhelming to my mother, who can't handle that many visitors very well. She has Parkinson's Disease and isn't doing so hot.

Now I'm starting to think that my MIL is my main problem -- I doubt SIL had anything to do with any of this.
It sounds like you are somehow conditioned to be a people-pleaser.  Overall, that's a great quality to have, but it can get tiresome when other people's needs are continually put over your own.  In time, it will only get worse.  If you awkwardly state your feelings every now and then, even if they're really mean, it will have the effect of chasing off those people who take advantage of your niceness.  Don't worry so much about trying to make yourself look like a perfect angel when confronting someone.  You don't have to be right, you just need more of your own space.  The next time MIL starts telling you about SIL's passive agressiveness, just tell her bluntly that you don't want to hear it.  Or the next time she pushes an invitation on you, just say no, and let her know that you don't like being put on the spot.  Easier said than done I know.
I don't know if I'm a people-pleaser or not. I do like people to be happy if possible, but judging from my in-laws, it seems I'm not doing a very good job of pleasing them! But in this case, I felt very hostile and could easily have said "no" just for the satisfaction of being in control and not letting them have something they wanted. I was trying so hard to be kinder than I felt that I ended up being unfair to my mother and making an unpleasant evening for myself.

I sent my MIL a message. I don't think it was mean, but I told her that she was going to have to plan better next time and not put me on the spot. I got the impression from the way she did things that she thought I would tell her that she and her daughter couldn't come by if she asked directly. That's certainly not true.
I've been on the opposite end of the same situation.  It's not fun or easy when a family moves in to live with your own family since they do things their way and you do things your way.

In my situation, their way was to not discipline their own kids at all, which meant that I had to deal with a 5 year old who could get away with anything if she cried enough.  It was very difficult for me to live with a child who demanded attention constantly and would get loud, mean, and violent if she did not get it, and this was during a semester in which I had five classes and a senior thesis to write.  The family occupied 70% of the house most of the time and I was trying to barricade myself into my room so I could do my work and stay sane, and I had to endure subtle comments from the mother of the guests about my lack of enthusiasm in entertaining (read: babysitting) her 5 year old.  There were other problems too, like the family's tendency to leave food hanging around, not wanting to clean up after themselves, and leaving doors open and we ended up getting every representative of the insect world in the house that spring.  I'm sure I caused enough problems with my subtle hints about parents needing to teach little girls about how to behave.

It seems to be quickly forgotten, but the people who live in a house or apartment come to regard it as a safe spot from the rest of the world.  It gives them comfort and security knowing that they don't have to keep up appearances and that the home is something they can control without being questioned.  When someone comes to live with them for an extended period, it disrupts their home routine and deprives them of that one safe place in the world where they can retreat to.  It is a great act of charity to invite relatives in need of a home, but it is also a very emotionally taxing service.  Wanting to make adjustments to the furniture layout of someone else's house is kind of intrusive even if it's meant for a good reason, as it disrupts that sense of control over the domicile for the people who own the place.  Naked children make non-parents uncomfortable.

When guests move into the house of relatives, the people who are hosting them have to be on their toes and try not to offend the guests, and so now they can't be themselves in their own home.  Consider how when you go to someone's house for a dinner, there's a certain standard of behavior you hold yourself to; you don't suggest rearranging the furniture, you don't throw your stuff wherever, you don't sit until you're invited, and you don't poke your nose into the fridge unless you're invited to help out with the last preparations for the meal.  Likewise when you have guests for dinner, you also hold yourself to a certain standard while they are there; you probably dress up nicely, you make the table look nice, and you probably clean everything up beforehand so that your guests don't think you live in your own mess.  When you have guests living with you, they're on permanent dinner invitation mode and you're on permanent entertaining guests mode, and it gets really uncomfortable and frustrating after a week or so.  They don't want to offend you, you don't want to offend them, but inevitably people do what they think they have to do, lines are drawn, the residents retreat into their corners, and upset individuals find someone to complain to in secret because they are on entertaining guests mode and they don't want to be rude but they want things to get better.  Sometimes mini-factions are formed between the major antagonists, and other guests (particularly the ones who aren't there all or most of the day) find themselves helplessly caught in the middle.  Even after the guests finally leave, the sitzkrieg probably continues because both parties think that the other was trying to make their lives Hell for them with no consideration at all.

It's really not fair at all to portray yourself as the perfect victim in this situation, and I really feel like I need the other side of the story to say anything about your issue.  What did you do while living as a guest in someone else's house to make the situation worse?  If you never apologized to your sister-in-law for anything (whether or not you actually did anything wrong) I can see how your relationship would not improve overnight.  Perhaps if you openly submit to your mother-in-law and sister-in-law before your family even if you think you are blameless, you can have a better relationship with them in the long run, but trying to beat out your sister-in-law or try to paint her as the bad guy isn't going to help anything for you.
I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.
dont go around tonite,
Well, its bound to take your lfe,
Theres a bad moon on the rise!
:laughing: :laughing:
Um. Okay.

It wasn't like that at all, actually. First of all, my in-laws' house is like two apartments, one on top of the other. The parents lived in the lower half, their daughter in the upper. She had lived in the upper "apartment" all her life without paying rent or having any responsibilities. Then her older brother moved in for a while with his wife and child, who were going along with what he thought best. I never thought when I moved there that I would be there that long, and practically speaking, I had little choice in the matter.

I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, which was very difficult with a rambunctious two-year-old. I had to put up with a lot of behavior from her that I would have nipped in the bud in other circumstances, but didn't because it would be too disruptive for the others in the house. Yes, I had to use the living room. What was I supposed to do, stay all day in a tiny bedroom with my toddler? Remember, I had no way even to go somewhere else.

I was not a dinner guest. I was a daughter-in-law who was moved in by her husband and trying to function as a mother and a person. I asked if I could move the table; when told no, I didn't argue or move it anyway. Was I bad for asking to move it? It isn't like I asked for permission to paint the walls or install a bidet.

Apologize for what? Am I supposed to just pull something out of my ass? I know very well that this situation couldn't have been fun for my in-laws. I offered various kinds of help repeatedly and wrote them a thank you note when I left and try to treat them fairly and kindly. What more can I do? If I did something wrong that no one pointed out to me, am I necessarily to blame for not apologizing for it?

I cleaned up after myself. I tried to respect everyone's privacy. I tried to keep my daughter in line.

This is not about my temporary living situation, by the way, which is mercifully over. This is about how my in-laws behave now.
(12-02-2010, 03:50 PM)icecream Wrote: I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

What? Yes, I know the song, I just don't see what it has to do with anything.
i sensed another conflagration

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