Am I over-reacting?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2012
Am I over-reacting?
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 7:52am


I need someone to help put a bit of perspective on this for me. If you've read my previous post you'll know that myself and my in-laws do not get on. I can generally live with this when they are not forced upon me and I have as little to do with them as possible, to attempt to avoid the constant conflict. However, they will not do the same! The first thing was that it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. SIL never sends me a card and I accept this. We don't get on, never have, that's fine. It irks me a little because MIL constantly hounds my husband into sending cards and presents for SIL's husband, but I am not afforded the same respect. I was also a bit put out because they had made a big fuss over how much money they had spent on my BIL's wife for her birthday. However, I tried to not let it bother me. She's never sent a card so that's fair enough, didn't expect anything else and I got on with it. However, MIL rings the day after and lies about SIL having sent a card. 5 days after my birthday, I then receive a card that SIL has blatantly been forced to sign. The card had clearly been chosen by MIL, the envelope had been addressed by MIL and SIL had then had to squeeze my name in down the side of the envelope because MIL hadn't left enough room. Not receiving a card I can live with, but this blatantly forced effort 5 days late just felt like a total slap in the face! Ignoring each other is fine, but this might as well have said I really really don't like you across the front of the card. It really irritated me. And don't think MIL has done this to make me feel good, she hasn't. She's done this because she has such a go at my husband about making a fuss for SIL's husband that she would have felt she couldn't get away with doing that again if SIL hadn't sent a card. It was only to ensure husband could be guilt tripped next time, don't be fooled. So anyway, MIL randomly announces that we'll be doing a group Skype because his siblings really want to see our baby - we knew straight away this wasn't true, they never talk to us except to moan about something and have shown no interest in our baby. No, this was about showing off SIL's baby who we had been informed had just started talking. So, that irked me. Lies again. So the group Skype takes place and I could have predicted it word for word - not one of them acknowledged our baby on the screen at all. Instead they paraded SIL's baby about like a performing dog making him talk so that hubby could coo over him, as was intended. The only time our baby was acknowledged was when hubby mentioned she'd just had her dinner and SIL demanded to know how old she was and when we'd started feeding her (shouldn't she know her age??) and then informed us that they'd started feeding their baby at the same time (like it's a competition). She then made a dig about how she shouldn't be eating something we'd given her and all I said was well it was a 4 month old baby pouch so it's fine. At my response to her dig, she stormed off in a huff declaring that she wasn't doing this and left the room, causing a scene as usual because I'd dared to disagree with her. It wasn't even really disagreeing with her anyway!! When she eventually returned she made a big point of just saying bye to hubby and baby and ignoring my existence as usual. The whole thing was just a farce and has really annoyed me. Clearly, they had had a discussion the previous night about how hubby isn't paying enough attention to SIL's baby (this is a running theme because he doesn't live near them) and MIL has thought that forcing a skype conversation will solve all that. I have no doubt that they feel great at forcing hubby to take an interest and listen to their inane life stories but as usual I'm left frustrated that they didn't do it because they had an interest in us, they made their lack of interest clear and as usual I'm totally ignored and disrespected and no-one cares. I also will not have our baby used as a weapon - ie they will talk to her to prove how much they're not talking to me and have her constantly compared to SIL's baby and measuring as inferior. There's no way I'm letting that happen! As usual, hubby thinks I'm over-reacting and doesn't see what the problems are. Is it just me? I know sometimes I do over-react because I've had it up to the hilt with them and everything they do irritates me now. Would love to hear what you think and any advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2012
Mon, 11-26-2012 - 10:14pm

IMO I think you have the right to feel as you are feeling.

I go thru something similar with my oldest (32) her daughter (6), and my youngest (9). Much of the time my oldest treats our youngest as a sibling, and forgets that she too is a mom of a small girl who has feelings. As far as my oldest is concerned the sun rises and sets on her youngest and she can do no wrong, and her little sister is always getting yelled at by her big sister.

My oldest lies like your MIL in regards to what her kid has/has not done, achieved etc. Latest is how my grandaughters school wants to jump her 2-3 grades. The child is in 1st grade and is not a baby einstein and I know the school district as I have worked there and there is NO way they would jump a child that far, alone for alienation due to a huge age gap with other kids in the same grade.

Your MIL maybe just feeling like the only one she can control is your SIL and her family as it seems you are pretty solid in your relationship and a strong personality that does not let others walk on her. Don't let her try to control how you live your life.

It seems that many people are not happy unless they have something to complain about and it looks like you have a prime drama queen to deal with. We have discovered the best way to deal with our drama queens, our oldest, my MIL is to nod our heads, smile and keep on with whatever we were doing in the first place.

Seems like you already have it nailed that there is some sort of subliminal competition going on with the babies and it is obvious you don't want any part in it. Good on you! Babies develop at different stages and each grandchild is a blessing, no matter how spoiled or "perfect" they are in the eyes of their parent(s).

My MIL reacts a lot like yours, going off in huffs, many times when I don't say "good morning" right away, I MUST be mad at her, ummm no, I was only thinking about getting my coffee and waking up lol.

Just realize some people need it to be "all about me" and there isn't much you can do, but ....nod your head, smile, and move on :D

Many hubbies are just "thick" mine thankfully gets just as annoyed and I have had to have him bite his tongue and nod and isn't easy to do, but you eventually get a routine of it and their little "digs" and "comparisons" no longer bother you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 1:39pm

Hi Maya,

Your SIL sounds like a spoiled brat.  And your MIL sounds like she has your DH wrapped around her finger.  If it were me, I'd consider showing some replies to her regarding your post.  First, your sil sends you a card. What does she send her brother?  In my opinion, you are both now their family - you come as a package and it is wrong to send something nice to one brother and just a card to the sister in law.  It says - we love him we don't love you.  You DH needs to recognize this and realize just how hurtful it would be to you.  Second, the fact that he lets his mommy tell him what to do is ridiculous.  How old is he?  It is time to act like a man and a husband and that means the two of you deciding how you will handle gift giving and phone calls etc.  And, it would be wrong for him to expect to send a card/gift to everyone in his family for their birthdays when in return they just send you a card.

What he should do is acknowledge that this is how they want to have holidays.  Many families do this.  They send cards instead of gifts because life is expensive and really it is the sentiment that is supposed to count.  If SIL wants to acknowledge birthdays with a card - then that's what you guys should consider doing and nothing more.  

I would have a skype meeting with the whole family at the start of January and say something nice like "starting this year, we would like to keep holidays simple and not send gifts - only cards.  We would give gifts for special occassions and for the children but again, we feel that it makes since to do this especially with the cost of living and the cost of shipping etc.  Obviously it would be yours and his wording. 

Then stick to it.  Mommy needs to stay out of it as it isn't her decision.

AS for the behavior of his sister - storming out of the room.  Well, I would treat a temper tantrum just like that.  And, for me, I think I'd have made it a point to tell her goodbye even if she didn't say good bye to me.  

You did the right thing by defending against her comment on the baby food.  She was just being a snot and the truth is, she didn't like it because you stood up to her so she ran out of the room like a baby. 

I think your response on that was perfect.  And, when she comes back have a great big smile on your face.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Thu, 12-06-2012 - 1:40pm

oops on my last post I meant show the replies to DH not to sil.