Family Situation--Need Advice Pls!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2003
Family Situation--Need Advice Pls!
7
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 12:36pm
My husband's family has a lakehouse. We have never used it that much because we just don't have time. Our son turned 21 and by the rules set up by my mother in law he can have a key. He went there in June for a weekend with a friend. Now my brother in law says they determined that he stole $60 or so in change that was kept there to play cards with. My BIL also says there have been problems before when we have been there as a family that bed pillows and baseball cards turned up missing but they never said anything. Numerous family members and a cleaning lady are in and out of the place and we can't quite figure out how they determined that we are responsible. My husband confronted his Mother who said she told my son she hid the quarters since painters were coming in and he made a joke that if he found them they were his. She admits he was joking but when they turned up missing she immediately thought of him. Nice, huh? He has worked with money and in situations where he was responsible for clothing merchandise. We always have money and valuables here. Never have any of us ever been accused of taking anything. And if we were going to steal, wouldn't we just sneak up there and do it when they wouldn't know? Why would we pick times they know we were there to steal? I don't have a thief mentality but I would think that is how it would work!

I am very upset over this. My husband's mother admits she made a mistake but the damage is done. My son doesn't know anything about this and I think we have to tell him this weekend when he is home from college so he knows why his cousins may be giving him the cold shoulder. Any suggestions from anyone on how to handle this? I've put up with years of craziness from my MIL. When we first married and lived near them she would call and ask if I had taken her phone book or her broom! Is this some kind of chemical imbalance that makes people call "thief" whenever they can't find something? I'd appreciate any ideas on how to handle this. We don't want to lose our family but can't put up with this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 10:53pm
Who else is going in and out of the lakehouse, and how often????

Perhaps they do have a problem with not being able to locate things, and then just accusing others of stealing. How old are they, by the way? My mother is getting older in years, and she has a problem with her memory. She cannot remember things. She often thinks people come in her house and move things around - even though she is the only person who has a key to her house, no one else goes in her home when she is not there. Memory gets worse with age, sorry, but it does. I'm in my 30's and my memory is already not "what is used to be".

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:14am
Painters and construction workers were in there for more than a month this summer off and on. A cleaning lady goes in twice a month. Other 20ish family members and their friends go probably twice a month. MIL is in 70s and BIL is pushing 50. I think she may have hid money and now cannot remember where she hid it. Is it easier to call your grandson a thief than to admit you cannot remember where you put something? I don't want to embarrass her but I don't want family thinking he is a thief. I hate to have to tell him because I am not sure he will ever forgive her.
Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:21am
I am sorry that your family has been thinking that you have taken things from them. And that they have never said anything to you so that you could defend yourself.

But I find it odd that you are all upset about them thinking your son took the money and have defended him without even talking to him about it. He may have taken the money. Maybe he was short some cash and was going to replace it this week-end. Maybe he moved the money to a better location and all you have to do is ask. Maybe a friend that was with him took it. I guess I can't see defending him and getting upset and it until you know the truth. When you can ask him about it and he doesn't know anything. Then you can say, "He said he didn't take it and I believe him".

But if this is a problem, give the keys back and be done with the house. It is not worth having people think that you would take things.

I certainly hope that you can work through this with your family.

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 3:25pm
I did find a non-offensive way to ask him. I said that some change was missing from the Lakehouse and that his grandmother was about to blame some painters and I wanted to be sure he hadn't dipped into it to buy something when he was there. He said no and I believed him. He has money, our credit card, and it isn't likely he spent time he could spend having fun with his friend searching through closets and drawers for $100 of change. Sorry I did not make that clear--I did ask him but I did not tell him his GM was accusing him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-12-2003 - 9:44am
Personally, I can't blame you for being angry about this, I would be, too. First, that she blamed your son, and second, that she told everyone but you instead of talking to you or your son to find out the truth. My family tends to think the worst of DH and I, and never gives us the courtesy of at least asking for the truth. But, then, this is an entirely human tendency.

I see your point about not telling your son, but not telling him is kind of condenscending, treating him as if he were a child and could not handle this kind of situation. He is an adult and if he continues to use the lake house, he should be aware of what he has been accused of and the potential consequences of continueing to use it. After knowing, he may choose not to put himself in the position of being accused of stealing. In the long run, not knowing may be potentially more harmful than knowing.

How does your DH feel about all of this? This is HIS family and he should be the one dealing with his brother and mother.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2003
Fri, 09-12-2003 - 1:43pm
You are probably right. I guess I know we have to tell him. It is just so hurtful but he deserves to know what he is dealing with. My husband is used to this kind of thing. He was the last of three children and it was always assumed that it it was broken he did it. I am sure it still hurts him but he has experienced it for so long it is not as troubling as it is to me and probably will be to our son. He wants to take our son up there to see his grandmother and let her tell him to his face so she can experience the hurt in the hopes that she will be more careful before tossing around accusations in the future. I hate the idea of this but I am kind of leaving it to him since it is his family.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 09-13-2003 - 12:55am
So your son inherits your DH's role in the family, how nice. Whatever you do now, the damage is done with the rest of the family. I have experienced this more times than I wish to recount, and it is the most frustrating part of this kind of situation. I am sorry that your son has to experience this.