more in-law problems

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
more in-law problems
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:00am
Sorry, this is a long one…

DH and I got rid of our home phone a few months ago because we didn't

make enough local calls to justify the $30 a month charge. We've been

using our cells phones instead. Yesterday, we got new phones, so that meant new phone numbers too. We decided that we'd only give out my phone to my DH's family. With the phones we just got rid of, they'd call DH when they wanted to talk, and they'd call my phone when they were looking for DH. We thought only giving them one phone number might be a way to get the to talk to me on the phone too.

Not only do they have a problem talking to me on the phone, but they

also have a problem talking to me via e-mail. MIL (and sometimes one of my SILs) seems to have a problem remembering my e-mail address. MIL refuses to learn how to use her address book. She remembers my DH's

e-mail address, but doesn't remember mine. I think it's just an excuse. I used to send her mail once a week, but I stopped doing that because

she'd rarely respond. She's ignored me for several years, so I'm not sure why I'm surprised she'd ignore me through e-mail too.

In order to help MIL remember my address, DH and I decided to open a joint e-mail account. We sent a message to DH's family about the new address. (We also sent a message to my family, alerting them to the new address; they've used it several times.) MIL never did respond to the e-mail. We're sure she got the message; she's probably just mad or something. Anyway, back to the phones…

When we got home yesterday after buying our phones, DH and I composed a message to his family about our new phone number. As I said earlier, they are only getting the number to my phone. (I sent up the voicemail so that it has a greeting from DH and I.) We sent a separate message to my family, with both phone numbers. We explained to them that we didn't want his family to know about the other number. Lastly, we sent messages to our friends, letting them know about the new numbers.

DH has two sisters. We're having problems with one of them. When I say SIL, I just mean the one sister. DH's dad doesn't have an e-mail address, and doesn't want one. We sent the message about the phone numbers to his two sisters and his mom. (I'm sure his mom will pass the number along to her husband.)

A few minutes after sending the e-mail to everyone, an e-mail arrived at our joint account. My husband was now outside working on our car, and I was still sitting in front of the computer. I opened the message; it was from SIL. This is what she said:

"i have a question. y do u send this only to jane,

mom, and i? also, i thought i saw u and on oak

street in Harrisburg(fictitious town name) on sat. i tried cell phone and it just went to his voice mail. so i wasn't

surprised to find out that u guys didn't stop by home, if it was u guys, when i called mom and dad. anyway, bye."

We weren't in "Harrisburg" last Saturday, we were at our house, which is 1.5 hours away. I responded to SILs message with:

"Why do you ask?"(Referring to her question about why the message was only sent to her, her mom, and her sister.) I also said "We weren't in Harrisburg on Sat." I signed the message, with my DH's name and my name. I knew that I hadn't said anything rude to her, so DH wouldn't mind having his name tacked onto the end of the message. Immediately after sending it, I went outside to tell DH what I had written. He was, of course, fine with it. Normally, DH wouldn't be home on a Thursday. He took off Thursday and is taking off today to spend time with me (and to work on our car); my birthday is tomorrow.

I went back inside a few minutes after taking to DH, and found another message from SIL. She didn't know DH had taken the day off of work. She responded by telling me that she didn't like it when I signed the messages with DH's name *and* my name because he doesn't know what I am typing. She told me that he couldn't possibly know what I was typing because he was at work today. Here are her words:

"i just find it odd that u sign it " and " whenever he doesn't know what u are writing b/c he is at work now."

I was going to respond, and let her know DH was home today. Instead, I went back outside to talk to DH about her message. He decided to come inside and compose a message to her. He told her he took the day off to be with me, and that she needs to not use such a hateful tone with talking to me. We thought that was the end of the messages from her. Around 8pm, I had a weird feeling in my stomach; I knew she had sent us something. I checked the e-mail account, and there was a message from her. This is what she said:

"thanks for answering for since she seems unable to confront me if she is uncomfortable about something i say. u are being the middle-man here and it is making u look like a complete jackass, this could be directed to *both* of you if that is how u take it , since u 2 are no longer individuals. it was just a question for and in no way was i trying to be bitchy. i just found it odd, that is all. it is times like this that make me miss u , and despise more . it seems like u can't think for yourself anymore and have some hovering over u at all times. i am sorry that i offended her but it's not like it takes a lot to "hurt" her feelings, it seems. your whole immediate family is upset at u b/c u never see us anymore, i dont' give a XXXX what u say, u don't. and b/c this is not like u to not come around, it has led some of us to believe that the reason is . says that is "uncomfortable" around our family, well u know, we have tried w/ her and she says that we are mean to her. she is a part of our family whether or not she likes it, and this may sound harsh, but i was hoping that u would find someone that loved our family and truly be a part of it as much as they could. i was really looking forward to having a great sister-in-law, but it seems to be more of a dissappointment b/c we feel she is avoiding us. mom and i truly miss you the most , and i know the others do as well, u aren't your old self anymore. but why should u be? u and are one in the same according to u.

love u and miss u,

Well, first of all, I was never hurt by her message first two messages. My husband and I felt it would be best if he responded to her second message. We didn’t think that if the message was written in my words, that she'd believe he was actually home for the day. (I'm not sure why we cared if she believe us or not.) I did think her first two messages had a hateful kind of tone to them, though. Basically, she is making this out to be my fault. I think she's trying to get DH to feel bad for not talking to his mom and her. I also think she hopes he'll eventually get mad at me. The third and final message she sent did hurt my feelings. She said that they've tried with me, when DH and I know they have not. She said she'd hoped for a great sister-in-law, and that she despises me. That makes me feel bad because I have been good to her. We've both given her many chances. Every time, she has chosen to say and do mean things to us. It also bothered us that she signed the last message saying that she loves and misses DH. How could she love him as much as she says she does and still do such rude stuff?

I just feel bad. There is someone out there that despises me for no reason. I can't change how she feels about me because she is so irrational. She's jealous of the relationship DH and I have. She has lots of anger towards both of us, but mainly towards me. I just wish there was something I could do because, DH knows and I know that I'm not the person she makes me out to be. We think she has some sort of a mental problem and that she should seek some help. (Another thing we found odd were her references to us being one person. We think she said that because he has defended me through all of this. It might also have to do with the fact that we now have a joint e-mail account and we have "one" phone number.)

DH responded to her last message telling her that she has lots of anger that she is directing towards us for some reason. He told her she needs to talk to someone about it. He also said that she couldn't love him like she says she does and treat him in such a bad manner. Lastly, he told her that he doesn't want her to contact us any more.

After he sent the message, we blocked her e-mail address(es). We're both upset by what she said, but we are relieved that she's out of our lives.

Avatar for twinmommy4
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 12:21pm
I'm so sorry. I don't have any advice for you, but I know what you're going through. Sometimes the best thing to do is just move on with life & it sounds like that's what you two are doing. Good luck & try not to let her get to you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 5:38pm
Your SIL definitely needs help!!! She is soooo VERY jealous of you and DH. It sounds like she is jealous of your marriage and the time that it takes, because she makes reference to how you aren't really individuals any more, etc.

I agree that she does sound very angry. Maybe she's just angry that her brother got married. Oh well, she's just going to have to get over that!

As far as blocking her e-mail address, I would just let her send e-mails. Let her dig her own grave. Keep the e-mails and don't respond to them. One day you can use them to your advantage. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 7:23am
His family wants a seperate relationship with him, like they had before you came into his life. My mil and bil were like this, they resented for years that I was the 'interloper' in their triangle with him. They were quite rude about it many times, in many different ways. The basic message was 'he is OURS' too. I let my dh call his mom by himself, and have very little relationship with her, other than the superficial, holiday junk. I took the hint, they wanted him, not me. I just cleared off and put the distance there. You can't force anyone to like or accept you. If they are still clingy to the way the family used to be there isn't a lot you can do. Stop trying so hard. Step back, way back. Let him deal with them. You sound like a nice person, put that energy someplace positive.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 3:42pm
I'm very sorry that you had to read an e-mail like that. No one should read such hateful comments about themselves.

A few things struck me about your post however. First, giving DH's family your cell phone number and not his strikes me as being rather manipulative. How did you think this would come across to them? Aren't SIL and MIL entitled to a private conversation with their brother/son if they wish? I don't think it is is realistic expectation to monitor every interaction between the three of them. If they dump on you, he is well within his right to chastise them, but seems to me this was arranged to cause frustration and anger for the ILs.

The joint e-mail is something that needs to be handled with care as well. My DH and I have a joint e-mail account also but it is used solely for JOINT announcements and correspondance. It isn't fair to have people guessing about who they are corresponding with.

I sympathize with you and I *do* understand what the two of your were trying to do (get the ILs to respect and include you) but I think you might have gone about it the wrong way. Forcing their hand is not the way. Clearly, the two of you have complete control (manipulating phone calls and e-mail and finally blocking SIL's e-mail addy) and have left them without any say or input in how the two families will relate. I think this is asking for trouble - which you now have.

Lastly, it isn't fair to label an individual as 'crazy' if they don't like you. Neither of you are crazy; you're incompatible, is all. It's a pity, given that you've married into the family, but if they don't, they don't as disappointing as that is. Your DH's role is to insist that they treat you with respect, but that's all he can do. Exacerbating the situation won't help.

Glamour Girl

glammie . . . .

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 4:51pm
I'm not trying to monitor calls between DH and my in-laws. The whole reason we gave them the one number is so that when they call, they will also have to hear me answer the phone once in a while. The idea is similar to when we had a home phone; people would never know who was going to answer. It has nothing to do with being manipulative. I am *not* a manipulative person, and neither is DH. We just want them to realize that I exist too. That's all...

I'm not trying to keep him from his family; that's not my place. Blocking SIL's e-mail address is something that was his idea. (DH is the computer geek, not me.) The e-mail you read was not the first encounter with SIL. She has sent six or seven other ones, all of which had the same tone, over a period of five months. DH and I have *not* deserved the treatment we have received from her. It is very hurtful to receive e-mail once a month like that. We start to feel better about things, we get a rude e-mail from her, and we start to feel worse. It's a pattern that we're quite sick of.

As far as someone "crazy" goes, I don't recall calling anyone crazy. SIL has some problems that need to be dealt with through counseling of some sort; I think that's pretty obvious to any rational person. I don't think having problems or seeing a counselor means that someone is crazy.

Finally, we don't feel that *we* are making the situation worse. We are trying to smooth things over with is mom right now. SIL, however, is going to have to get over some of anger before we try with her again.

Please don't think I'm irritated about any of your comments. I appreciate them. I don't want to sound rude or anything because I am not a rude person. I'm just kind of emotional today, that's all. Happy Birthday To Me!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 7:58pm
Yes, but ... if they have to go through YOU or YOUR phone to get to HIM, how is that not manipulative? They only other recourse they have is to call him at work. Otherwise, MIL and SIL have to ask YOU to interact with their own son/brother. It is *definitely* not the same as calling a shared telephone line and asking whomever answers the phone to pass it to him.

I understand your wanting to save the $30 on the landline, but I don't quite follow the logic. Say you're out shopping and MIL calls and asks to speak to her son. What are you supposed to say? "I can't/won't give you his number, but I'll let him know that you called." Would you feel comfortable doing that? You've already said in a post below that you don't feel comfortable speaking with them at all. What if you're out and turn your phone off and there's an emergency??

Maybe I don't have all of the details or I'm not fully understanding you, but I just don't get it. It seems almost 'secretarial'. *laughing* If I had to work with this arrangement to call my own brother, I probably wouldn't bother to call at all. And it would have nothing to do with his g/f, whom I like very much. It's just a silly set up.

Glamour Girl

glammie . . . .

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 8:32pm
If MIL called my cell phone or landline and wanted to talk to DH, I'd hand the phone off to him if we was with me or at our house. If he was not with me, I'd take a message. It doesn't matter if it's a cell phone or a landline, the end result is the same. People can share cells phones and landlines.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 8:54pm
I didn't really look at it as manipulation before, but I see your point now. Yeah, we are trying to get them to do something we want them to do.

They only know about the one phone number. We set up the voice mail so that it says our names, not just mine. We plan to use my phone to make our phone calls. The only reason why we even have two phones is so that he can reach someone if his car breaks down when he goes somewhere, or something of that nature.

Avatar for big_concern
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Sun, 04-06-2003 - 6:56am

Your always so full of wishdom.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 11:01am
I couldn't possibly agree more. We have a similar situation with my evil SIL, and *believe me*, it doesn't make us like her any better knowing that the only way we can have any contact with my brother is through her. Just thinking about it is making me see red.