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Hello again-

My in-laws have decided to drop the ball on us once again....My FIL's side has a reunion every 5 years. His side is HUGE! We're talking around 200+ people. (No joke) Well for 2011 he and his brothers and sisters have decided to "drop" the reunion "plans" on us for 2011. So one of my wife's cousins has already opted out. My wife's sisters and brother live out of town. Her brother is getting married next year so he has to save money for his wedding(no big deal and perfectly understandable.) My SIL's living out of town can only do so much because of the long distance according to them. The other cousins live out of state with the exception of one. So that would leave my wife and I and another cousin and his wife doing the planning. My wife's aunt is having a "mandatory" meeting this week....but they have decided to leave the planning and costs on us. So in a nutshell they don't want to let go of controlling the plans by having these meetings and basically they are ordering us on what to do as far as location, dates, times, activities, and costs are concerned. Nothing will be on them with the exception of basically ordering us around on what to do and what to pay for.

 

Any suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated.

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My wife's aunt is having a "mandatory" meeting this week....but they have decided to leave the planning and costs on us.

 

I don't get it How can they do that without the your consent? Did your spouse make it seem like you could do this?

 

Nothing will be on them with the exception of basically ordering us around on what to do and what to pay for.

 

Any suggestions or feedback is greatly appreciated.

 

I would be assertive and tell them that you absolutely will NOT pay for this or plan this. If you want to contribute financially, given them a set dollar amount that you could afford.

 

My FIL's side has a reunion every 5 years. His side is HUGE! We're talking around 200+ people. (No joke) Well for 2011 he and his brothers and sisters have decided to "drop" the reunion "plans" on us for 2011.

 

In this ecomony people need to be practical. If no one can afford this right now they might have to wait until 2012 or later.

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As I'm fond of saying on these boards, you can't control what others do, you can only control what you do.

 

Although, this time, I get to say it in a different context. Usually it's someone asking how they can make someone (typically an ex) do what they want them to do (usually get back together).

 

Your spouse's side of the family can ask, plead, beg, cajole, nag, demand, insist, etc. that you do this. They can yell, scream, cry, try to make you feel guilty, etc to get you to agree.

 

But they can't force you to do anything if you dig in your heels and refuse to do it. I'm not really blessed in the tact & diplomacy department, so my way of handling this would be very "bull-in-a-china-shop" and probably cause family members to stop talking to me for months or years....but I imagine there are ways you can tactfully and diplomatically refuse (& make it stick) and only have people slightly irritated with you. (BTW, you kind of have to not care if they get mad at you.)

 

It comes to my mind that there are 6 words you can use and keep repeating until they get it - "We can't afford to do this." IMO, anyone who tries to argue with that is showing you a comlpete lack of respect/concern.

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I don't get it How can they do that without the your consent? Did your spouse make it seem like you could do this?

 

My wife was conned into the bait once again. Hearing the first time that only planning will be talked about, well- now... costs are involved.

 

I would be assertive and tell them that you absolutely will NOT pay for this or plan this. If you want to contribute financially, given them a set dollar amount that you could afford.

 

I've already told them the set dollar amount and lets put it this way, it's not going over well.

 

 

In this ecomony people need to be practical. If no one can afford this right now they might have to wait until 2012 or later.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it this way. But no, they keep digging and digging.

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My wife was conned into the bait once again. Hearing the first time that only planning will be talked about, well- now... costs are involved.

 

I've already told them the set dollar amount and lets put it this way, it's not going over well.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it this way. But no, they keep digging and digging.

 

So it's not going over well....so what? Like I said before, you have to learn how to not care if they get pissed because you're not doing what they want you to do. They're not looking out for you (nor should they be, IMO)--Looking out for you is your job, not theirs. They're trying to futher their own agenda using your time, effort and resources.

 

I'd just keep repeating the same message over and over and over - whether it be "We can only afford $xx, no more and we're not planning anything" or whether it be "We can't afford this and don't want want to be involved in the planning."

 

I bet your family members who aren't being expected to pony up used this same tactic -- Said what they were/weren't willing to do and then stuck to it, no matter what. I also suspect your previous behavior with these folks has taught them they can walk all over you and get away with it. If you want them to stop that, you need to show them you aren't going to allow it anymore.

 

Seriously, what's the worst that could happen if you just flat out refused to do anything or pay anything? People get pissed or try to make you feel guilty or they're just so hurt? They cut you out of the will? They don't invite you to whatever they have planned? They stop talking to you for a while? They bad-mouth you to the rest of the family?

 

I dunno, but from where I'm standing none of that is really so bad. It's all survivable stuff. This on-going pattern of getting suckered into things you don't want or can't afford to do sounds a heck of a lot worse to me than putting up with the initial crapstorm you'll get for standing your ground, looking out for yourself and not allowing them to walk all over you.

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Go to the meeting with a check written out in the amount you're willing to spend made out to the aunt who's calling the meeting, hand it to her, say "Here's our contribution," then leave. Or, go to the meeting with this plan:

 

Place: local forest preserve/park

Food: you will provide hot dogs/buns/condiments & cake....everyone attending must bring a dish to pass and their own drinks (please notify you ahead of time so you can make sure you don't have 200 dip trays)

Entertainment: bag toss, ladder golf, music from a boom box, kickball

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I have a question...what happened with the reunion in Canada that you thought was going to ruin your family vacation? Did you manage to get around that?

 

While I get that they are persistent, and you feel they expect a lot from you, Shes2Smart is absolutely right. They will get out of you exactly what you let them, nothing more.

 

Having said that, I really wonder if there is ANYTHING they are allowed to ask of you without you throwing your hands up in the air saying "This Again!?!"

 

They are wanting to enjoy their families. At least try to understand that however bullied and harrassed you may feel, they are trying to build family memories for YOUR CHILDREN as well as enjoy their golden years. I know a lot of children whose grandparents can't give them the time of day. Some day they'll be dead, and your kids will have some memories of big family gatherings.

 

I'm NOT saying let them steamroll you. I AM saying, try to be a little less critical, look at what they want to do and either say "Ok, well here is what we can/are willing to do", or "Sorry we have to miss this one. I hope you have a great time. Let's get together for dinner/bbq/whatever in the coming weeks"

 

Honestly Son1, it's hard to believe the full extent of everything you say, because you automatically attach diabolical intent to everything they say/do. They may be pushy, opinionated and annoying, but they are your wifes parents and your childrens grandparents. They aren't going to go away, or behave how YOU want them to, no matter how much you complain. So take your emotional energy and redirect it to some compassion and cooperation....If they are really the manipulative, controlling negative people you say they are, nothing will annoy them more than you cheerfully offering what you are willing to give.

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I can believe them because my best friend's mother in law sounds the same. In fact, I'd say she WAS the person if I didn't know better The problem is, the more my best friend gives, the more the MIL takes

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I can believe them because my best friend's mother in law sounds the same. In fact, I'd say she WAS the person if I didn't know better The problem is, the more my best friend gives, the more the MIL takes

 

She can only take what you offer to give. If she wants more & complains about it, that's her problem.

 

My point is, I get the distinct impression that if the OP had a magic wand, he'd all too quickly wave it and *poof* they'd disappear from his families life....He is perfectly etitled to have no use for them, but he needs to respect that they are STILL family to his wife & children.

 

If you've read his previous posts, I think you'd get what I mean. He perceives EVERYTHING they do as nothing more than an attempt to undermine HIM. He's created this battle of HIM vs. THEM in his mind and I feel like if they asked to take him & the kids for ice cream he'd say "Ice Cream? Oh, you want our children to get FAT? You don't think I know how to treat my children? You don't think I can afford to buy them ice cream?....." He hasn't had a single kind word for them since he joined us here. It's extreme, so I feel as though there is more to the story and that he is employing some pretty powerful filters on everything they say & do.

 

Regardless, it doesn't change anything, and it will put a strain on his marriage as it is also clearly evident that his wife is close to them. There's a HUGE tug of war going on between him, his wife and her parents. I'm not so sure who's pulling. My guess is they ALL are. Someone has to let go of the rope. Since the OP is here asking for advice and the others are not, I suggest that he be the first...

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I see what you're saying and I thought my best friend was doing the same thing until I saw "The Saint" (my nickname for her mother-in-law) in action. The thing is, you can only take someone's crap for so long. Now, she just avoids dealing with her MIL whenever possible and just does her own thing.

 

It sounds like it's more the wife that's getting pulled into these family things first. She doesn't want to cause friction in the family and the OP doesn't want to cause friction with her so he gets pulled in as well.

 

BTW, I was somewhat serious with the park thing. My best friend's parents and her husband's parents were both celebrating their 40th anniversaries a few weeks apart last summer and her MIL wanted to throw a party, but, like the OP, she wanted the kids to "plan" it (with her 'suggestions' of course, starting with a banquet hall). Well, fortunately, my friend got her SIL to agree to doing a pig roast in a local park and all of the guests brought a dish to pass. Since the sister-in-law approached the MIL with the idea of hosting a joint party for BOTH parents, I think she felt like she had to agree so she did. All they had to pay for was the pig, the cakes, and they did also get sodas...one of the guests brought plates and another brought napkins and silverware.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it this way. But no, they keep digging and digging.
You don't have to keep responding.

 

"Mom, Dad, wife and I have decided we can't be your planner. You'll have to find someone else."

 

And just hang up.

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Farthest-

Canada...still in the works even though my wife told them she couldn't afford to take another week without pay. (They seem to have forgotten the trip they all took as a family back in February of this year.) They're still digging at the Canada reunion plus the reception/party her cousin is still throwing in May. Still on the top of the list with them I guess...but we still keep saying no. My FIL got all defensive when my SIL told him the reason for not wanting to go which was basically the same as my wife and I. I guess WE'LL keep saying NO. Oh well right!? (You would think they would respect that.) In return, on Easter he seemed to think it was necessary to say some "uncalled for" comments towards me that even the other family members (cousins) were asking what that was all about....??? I didn't go into detail but just simply ignored it. And I knew exactly what his intentions were but decided to take the high road. It's fine, I just ignore the comments now.

 

 

 

"Letting go of the rope"-

Not worth pulling anymore...just moving on. I admit I should've learned that in the beginning and that was definitely my mistake. It will be interesting to see them pulling on nothing though.

 

 

"Ice cream"-

They really haven't done this yet....surprising??? Not in the least. I will certainly have no problem with them taking them down for an ice cream cone/treat. My only concern is, what will they be sharing with my in laws?

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That's all you can do. Like I said, you can't control others, you can only control how YOU react.. If others saw it and were like "Whaaat??" HE's the one who looks bad, not you. If you rise to the bait, you sink to his level...

 

And the bolded? See it isn't just you and your wife. They do this to everyone, so stop taking it personally, it's about them, not you.

 

 

 

 

Glad to see, if you can let go in your mind, you will be amazed at how freeing it can be. Look, you can't please everyone all the time. Learn to be ok with disappointing them when it doesn't work for your family. THEN learn to be a bit more generous when you CAN...

 

 

 

I think you completely missed my point on this one. What I was trying to point out here, is that it SEEMS that they can't do ANYTHING right. Because you have taken it personally, you look at everything they do through those lenses. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar....don't assume diabolical intent to everything they do. They may MEAN well, even if their approach is bass ackwards...Plus, as long as you CHOOSE to perceive their actions through a viewpoint of "I know they mean well/just want time with the family etc..." It stops being about YOU and takes your anger and defensiveness down a notch. Then you can think and act, instead of just reacting...

 

I'm not surprised that he made a disparaging remark about you. If he senses HALF of what you tell us here, you have been engaged in a power struggle with them (which goes BOTH ways) for some time. I'm sure as much as you see them as manipulative and controlling, they see you as stubborn and selfish- that you don't CARE about your wife's family (their perspective). You see them trying to force you into doing everything. They see you as trying to prevent them from having anything...

 

Hang in there. Be kind, but firm regarding your family vacation. Once your wife sees the world keeps turning even when she doesn't do everything her parents ask, it'll get easier.

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Yes, they can do things in good ways. A lot of the times though "it" turns into them. That's what I was getting at with "ice cream".

 

I DO know that I can never change someone and I certainly hope they can see the same now that not everyone rides the same track as them everytime. If we do see some things the same in the future, that's perfectly fine but don't cast the stones at me for viewing or doing it differently. Having said that....the part I take a little bit too personal, the cheap shots, name calling, finacial remarks of not being able to afford this and that, weight problem remarks, religion/faith remarks, and husband/father remarks he likes to jab at me. example "are you going to keep up the tradition of divorce seeing how it's all over your side of the family?"...... Now, my wife and I have had the talks with the other siblings to see if their husbands have had any of this same treatment and they all said no. So my question is why???? What am I missing here???

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Here's my view on it:

How much do they know about your family? Do they see your family as "beneath" them? If so, they might be holding your family against you. My former fiance's mother did this to me (hence the reason he's my FORMER fiance!) His family was from a higher "social circle" than mine and she never let me forget it. Nevermind the fact that I was a 4.0 student, cheerleader, star athlete, never got into trouble, etc....basically every parent's wet dream. BUT, because my family didn't have as much money as them, brothers got into a little trouble in high school (but were good athletes), not the best students, etc., I was never good enough for their first born son. Oh, and did I mention that I would NOT let him follow his (and my-another reason I wasn't good enough) father's path of becoming a raging alcoholic, which he was well on his way to becoming before he started dating me because he drank 2-3 times during the week and binge drank on weekends?

 

Is your wife the youngest by any chance? If so, then you took their "baby" away from them...a big "no-no." You could be Bill Gates and they'd STILL find fault with you

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Yeah, people judge. Or it could be something as simple as your wife used to date a guy who they loved, and HE was the one they wanted her to marry. Best thing to do is bring a gift, a peace offering, and sit down with them and honestly express your concerns. Tell them that you want your wife's life to be as pleasant as you can possibly make it, and this is one of the areas you'd like to improve; but first you have to know what it is that bothers them about you, so you can see if you need to change something.

 

Honesty can really be an eye opener, for passive aggressive people who are not used to people acknowledging their behavior in public. It may throw them for a loop. But...it just may be the ice breaker they've been waiting for from you.

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OK, so maybe here's the reasoning for this "uncalled for" behavior/acts. I'm going to lay it all out there for you with a few stories to go along with it if it's ok....

 

She's not the youngest out of 4 but she's the youngest girl. They know a lot about my family. Financially-no but who they are, yes. Religion has played a huge role from the beginning....I think. When I first got together with my wife, her dad asked if I was catholic-no, had a job-no, and flat out asked, "What's good about him?" Reason being was that I was pursuing my college degree. My wife and I became more serious and decided together that it was for the best that we move in with each other....didn't go over too well because of their religion but was more important to us that we did it. My wife went over to her parents house while we were living with each other and her dad pulled her aside and told her that when she and I decided to get engaged, I was going to become this mean, abusive, and drunk husband according to a source in relation to their faith/religion because of moving in with each other. My wife came home upset and told me the news but we still decided to live with each other for our reasons that we had talked about. Didn't sit too well. A couple years later and after we got married, one of her older sisters decided to move in with her boyfriend. My wife asked if they got the same treatment....no. Now the youngest, my BIL is engaged to be married, living with the fiancee and nothing has ever been said to him either. So the other ones can't do anything wrong even though one has been in legal issues, the other has done other things against their religion besides living together... I don't know, I just don't get it. The fact that my wife and I live in a very respectalbe home, and neighborhood-provide a meal for our kids every night but still get things held against us....and for what? I do admit, the other sisters live in very nice homes and maybe they are looking at what they have compared to what we have??? Maybe that's it...I don't know? I joined this forum unanonymously so I would've told you guys if I did something wrong or horrible but that's not the case. Seriously, the worst thing I've done is run through a stop sign before we were married and got a ticket for it. Nothing illegal whatsoever. I've never touched an illegal drug in my life. All I want to know is the reasoning for the treatment. Hopefully I can find some way here....

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That's why I suggest you just sit them down and talk about it. Communication is always the best plan. You sit there with your resentments, he sits over there with his resentments...and before you know it your kids are grown and spent their whole childhood watching Grandpa tear down their dad.

 

Just go talk to them.

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Here's a story for you....

 

When my older sister got caught sleeping with her boyfriend,at 18, my mother LOST HER FREAKIN' MIND. Seriously, she cried for weeks, called my sister names, told her she was going to ruin her life..blah, blah blah. To be fair, my mother HAD to get married at a very young age, and was terrified we'd repeat the cycle...Keep in mind- my parents REALLY liked the bf...

 

Fast forward a year and a half....I'm 'active' with my boyfriend. My mom and are are talking one night, and his name comes up and she says, "He's a nice boy...just tell him to use a condom,please"

 

 

 

Days go by, no meltdown, no names, no freakouts. I ask my sister "Isn't mom going to yell at me?" "No, she says "She yelled at me, don't worry about it"

 

The difference? She was the FIRST. My mom hadn't dealt with it before then. By the time it was my 'turn' she'd gotten a grip on reality and was able to handle it herself.

 

If you took their youngest daughter out of her home FIRST, it could have been as simple as that. And every little conflict you approach with a "they're not going to control me" attitude, just reinforces in their minds that they are right...

 

It doesn't matter what HAPPENED...what matters is what is GOING to HAPPEN from now on...that's within your control.

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OK. I think we're getting somewhere now because the two oldest couldn't do any wrong, even though that the second oldest was 'active' but she played all the sports and was considered the 'favorite' and the two oldest were planned. According to my wife, she wasn't planned and was told she was a mistake....her mom found some "birth control" in her teen years and basically did the same as your mom did Farthest which basically flipped out and at the same time told her that she would never be allowed to wear a white wedding dress..... Here's another question, do you think there's some resentment towards my wife still coming from her parents and maybe this has something to do with the "uncalled for" behavior, acts, and verbal abuse? Could they still possibly feel that towards her, me and our two girls? I'm not sure but seeing how she is the youngest girl, maybe this is what's happening. It was interesting also at Xmas too because I noticed that our girls didn't get some of the stuff the other girls got. It was weird to say the least.

 

Any feedback to this is greatly appreciated...

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Son1

 

Do yourself a HUUUUUGE favour, and stop comparing how they treat the others to how they treat you. Don't you see you are driving yourself NUTS looking for reasons as to why they do X to one and Y to another? You only see a small part of how they treat the others, YOU extrapolate the rest through your 'we're getting picked on' filter.

 

Let the past GO. Stop making comparisons. It won't make a lick of difference if you point out any 'favouritism', it'll just make you look petty.

 

Focus on the relationship YOU have with them, ignoring ALL others. Work on the relationship YOU would like to have.

 

Stop looking for validation that you are being treated unfairly. It resolves NOTHING and only feeds your bitterness....

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I agree. And you'll never know unless you TALK to them!

 

fwiw, some dysfunctional families will designate the IT child. Did you ever read the true book, A Boy Called It? He was the mother's scapegoat - starved, beaten, hated, abused, imprisoned - while the other kids were treated fine. Even the other kids grew up just accepting it; what were they going to do? Maybe you're right, and SHE doesn't get fair treatment, and it's not just you.

 

If that's the case, you have every right to SEPARATE yourselves from that family and never look back.

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