Sad and angry about family

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sad and angry about family
9
Sat, 05-03-2003 - 8:31pm
As mentioned in my previous post, it was my moms birthday 2 weeks ago. And not just any birthday. It was her 50th. She was very down about getting old and just had some family members over for a visit and some coffee and cake.

We had just sung happy birthday and cut the cake (around 12:30) when the phone rings and my mom goes to answer it. It's SIL's mom. She congratulates my mom on her half century, saying its an achievemnet and then asks what DB and SIL are doing. My mom tells her we just cut the cake and everyone is stting around, chatting and eating. SIL's mom throws a fit and tells my mom to tell DB and SIL that they can't have any cake because they (SIL's mom, sister, BIL and their kids) have been waiting for DB and SIL since 10am to start their bbq and they aren't going to wait for them any longer. I couldn't believe it when my mom told me. I was standing next to her during the call and heard how her tone changed when she said she'd relay the message. My mom tells my SIL and they leave about 20 minutes later, before my mom has opened her gifts. My mom was really hurt and I was outraged on her behalf. But SIL's family is always doing things like that and SIL has a history of excluding us from special events. To the point where we are told when to drop off gifts for their birthdays and when we arrive they are having a full blown party with SIL's family and we clearly aren't invited.

DB and I and DB and DF get along really well, so I know it is SIL who excludes us. And it hurts and makes me angry, but I guess I can't change it. What makes me most angry though is how hurt my mom is by it and how rude her family is to us.

When my mom did eventually open her gifts, I was even angrier. It seemed that everyone, excluding DF and I, had gone to the minimum amount of effort to get her a gift. She received a box of chocolates, a slab of belgian chocolate from my cousins trip there a year ago and a vase from DB and SIL (my mom has made her dislike of cut flowers very well known, she prefers living plants). My father didn't even get her a gift and said that they'd agreed to not get eachother gifts this year. Even if they had, which my mother denies, it was her 50th birthday.

I stayed behind to do the dishes and tidy up after everyone else had left and while we were alone in the kitchen together my mom broke down crying. She has done so many things for everyone in our family and bailed them out so many times and they all just treated her like she was nothing on the one day she was feeling really down and needed us to be loving and show her how much she means to us.

I felt really embarressed on their behalf and so angry at them all for hurting her as much as they had. I want to say something, make them realise just how inconsiderate and cold they all were, but I don't even know where to start. It is just so painful to me to see my mom so hurt and to know that these people who I care about and thought cared about me really couldn't care less. I know this particular occassion wasn't about me, but they have done similar things to DF and I in the past.

They have pushed us so far away that we are in danger of falling off the edge. That night when I got home I told DF that I didn't want anything more to do with any of them. That I would send the kids their gifts for christmasses and birthdays, but that would be it. But now my resolve is weakening and it is my neices birthday tomorrow and we have been invited over for lunch to celebrate. We will go, because we love her and she adores us, DF in particular, but I am dreading it, especially if SIL's family are there too. If I say something I could end up causing a huge family feud. If I don't, I will be guilt ridden and regret it.

I am already almost on non-speaking terms with my other SIL (DF's sister) because she hasn't acknowledged receipt of my nephews (her son) birthday present in March or thanked us, but she has called 3 times to ask DF to go over to her house to fix her computer and spoken to me first everytime.

In an effort to minimise my chances of being hurt by my family, I find myself excluding them from special events in my life. It was my graduation last week Thursday and I didn't tell or invite any of them except for my parents. Even then my dad managed to make the day all about him by complaining non stop about having to take the afternoon off of work and about how much work he had to do, etc and being impatient about getting our photo taken and it just carries on and on.

I don't expect or want my family to magically turn into the Waltons. I just wish that we could get through things without me always wanting to cry or being so tired emotionally that I just sit there, hoping numbness will set in. Why can't they all just be nice to eachother and respect eachother? Instead it turns into a "whats-in-it-for-me" scenario. And my answer is always sadness and anger.

Sorry this got so long. I'm just really sad today and needed to get this off my chest.

Natalie

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 05-03-2003 - 11:24pm
I can imagine how your mom felt when her 50th nears. I felt the same when I turned 40. I just turned 50, also in Feb. and I made everyone sure that this is to be a very special event for me, and NO ONE BETTER bring me down! I have three neices and sis and her DH and DH's brother not showing up. I don't care, because if they did, THEY'RE the people who's gonna make my birthday sour. Sis was having daughter crises, and one was sick, but her oldest made an effort to show up because I showed up when she turned 30, and her mom and sisters didn't. I didn't expect any gifts, because I'd probably retuned them anyway. Instead, I gave everyone attended little Godiva chocolates as tokens to help me celebrate. I'm sure my sister didn't want to help me celebrate: 1.) she just recently found out she's diabetic. 2.) She didn't have a 50th party when she turned 50. She was having a tough times. 3.) Even if she did, I wasn't invited. 4.) She continue to let me know she doesn't want anything to do w/me, when she keeps calling my DH to download on her troubled daughter, and didn't even bother to respond to my note telling her to let me know if she needed or if there was something I can do for her, when I found out she's got diabetics. 5.) She doesn't have good news to talk about w/my DH's relatives or want to confront my parents.

As for your mom breaking down, I'm so sorry. I've done that, myself once or twice, because of ungrateful DH's relatives. I'm just too sensitive with words and their actions aren't worth repeating. I can't understand why people can't put aside their differences just for one moment, to make someone they THINK CARE/LOVE happy. I'm very, very sorry. That phone call was bad timing! ! ! ! I stopped going to a certain SIL's events during the past 9yrs. right after her wedding. Then all of a sudden her kids got older, and I showed up ONCE. Continue making excuses if I were you to avoid being sad and angry all over again. Please don't get high blood pressure over this, just make excuses. Don't feel guilty. It's for your own sanity. You're welcome to come and vent all you want, that's why we have this wonderful board! ! !

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Sat, 05-03-2003 - 11:44pm
Wow!! How incredibly rude of your SIL!!! I can't believe that she would just get up and leave that like. Also, her mother calling is quite rude as well. If she needed to leave early, she could have expressed it ahead of time, or could have told her mother that it was her MIL's birthday and that she wouldn't be able to make the bbq. I guess your SIL doesn't think your MIL is important to her. I am with you as far as wanting to avoid them, etc. If you are invited to a gathering, tell them you have other plans (don't have to say what they are -- could be cleaning or just relaxing! LOL) and that way you don't have to see them. I agree with sending gifts to the kids, because it isn't fair that the kids get the brunt of it because their mother is a first class idiot.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sun, 05-04-2003 - 6:16pm
An update on how my niece's party was.

When we arrived noone came out to greet us even though there were 4 cars parked outside the house. So we eventually let ourselves in through the gate (something I hate doing because I wouldn't want people doing it at my house and went in. My other niece ran out to hug us as we got to the door which was sweet. We followed her into the kitchen where we found the birthday girl, hugged her, kissed her and birthday wished her, said hi to my brother and then the older niece led us into the lounge area where SIL's sister, BIL, Mom and a woman I've never seen before were sitting. We stood there for about 30 seconds waiting for a break in the conversation (it was in German so I had no idea what they were saying.) When it became clear that noone was going to stop talking and greet us (SIL's mom looked right at me and then looked away again, we walked through to garden and sat down. They didn't greet us at all, not even a nod of acknowledgement.

About 20 mins later SIL comes out and says hi, then goes inside again. Then DB comes out and offers us something to drink. When he comes back with our drinks we see that SIL's other sister, BIL and her daughter have arrived. We can see them through the glass door and they can see us but they don't come out to say hi either. DB comes back out to sit with DF, my mom and I. Another 20 minutes go by and my niece comes to call us to lunch. We were there for about an hour by then and none of her family had greeted us. We ate lunch outside where SIL joined us, went back in to sing Happy Birthday and see my niece open her gifts and by then I felt about as welcome as a viral infection and asked DF if he was ready to leave. I didn't even have a piece of cake because by then I was feeling really nauseous and just wanted to get out of there and away from them. I went back out to collect my things and then back through the house where I greeted the kids who were playing with the new toys, said bye to SIL and DB walked us out to the gate.

It was a total emotional nightmare and I hadn't even said anything about how rude they were on my moms birthday. DF, my mom and I were basically blanked out by them the entire time we were there. Except for the brief words I exchanged with SIL when she was complaining about how difficult my eldest niece is and i suggested it might be because she doesn't have clear authority figures because she spends afternoons with her grandmother or aunt, evenings with a housekeeper and weekends with her parents. SIL's sister apparently overheard this and said no, its just that she has the same personality as her father (SIL's first husband).

I give up.

Natalie

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Sun, 05-04-2003 - 10:01pm
I know what it is like not to be acknowledged by people when you go over their house. I have a similar problem with certain individuals who refuse to acknowledge me when I go over their house. It does hurt. Howeer, I have tried to look at it as it is THEM and not ME. THEY are the ones with the problem and they are the ones with the lack of manners, not you. I have learned not to expect certain people to be polite, etc. This way, when they are nice I am surprised, but when they are rude, to me, it is just expected. It has made a difference adn I don't worry as much as to whether or not they acknowledge me or not. It took a long time for me to come to this, but it was worth it.

I think that people should be polite and considerate, but as we know, not everyone is that way.

Also, the next time you get an invite, you may want to mention that you felt somehow left out of things and that you don't want to be somwhere you aren't going to be welcomed, etc.

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 05-04-2003 - 10:52pm
Does your brother know how you're being treated with his wife's families? I'd let him know if I were, and in the future start making excuses to avoid going to their events. My DH's families act the same way. I'd be talking to his mother, but when someone comes in the door (their daughter and her family and kids) she rudely gets up and greet them, not letting me finish my sentence. But when my family are walking up the path, no one but their dog comes and greet us. They ignore us like we don't exist! So, I know where you're coming from, Nicole. Another rude thing, when people can't understand the language, they shouldn't speak THEIR language where no one can understand them. We know darn well, they're talking behind our backs! ! !
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 3:54am
Hmmm Ill say honestly you have just fallen in with some bad relatives (in-laws). I live in Germany and no German i know would a) not greet you warmly with a handshake b)just let you find your own way in. I do sympathise about them going about in their own language. I hate it when DHs grandma and her friends start talking in Plattdeutsch, a strange north german dialect.

I think what is best is to send your nieces and nephews a card and gift on their special days and just forget about SIL. Of course with the 50thbday/BBQ I have a feeling that SIL mom is a bit controlling and SIL cant stand up to her. Im surprised your brother didnt say anything. I mean a 50th birthday comes once a BBQ could he held at anytime.

Try not to stress over it too much and Happy Birthday to your mom.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-24-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 11:47am
I am so sorry your mom had to feel that way on her 50th birthday. I often deal w/ the same thing w/ my mom. My brother and father are mean and disrespectful to her and I have moved away. The only person that gives her any support is me. I am the only one who buys her gifts on her birthday and Christmas. It is heart breaking to see your mother cry over having sacrificed everything she has ever wanted and even things she needed for the sake of her family and they don't care. They act like she's not important. I used to get really mad and want to stop talking to them or yell at them but then she would tell me not to. She never stands up for herself. So what I do is try to support her the best I can but not get involved in the other stuff.

As for your brother and your sister in law the blame should not all go on her (not that she is not the main perpetrator). Where is your brother when your told to drop off gifts but are not invited to the party. In my book if there is a party no gifts should be requested from those not invited. It's extremely tacky. Why isn't your brother stepping in to say you guys should be invited to her family gatherings just as they are to yours?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 6:38pm
Thank you for your supportive comments and kind words. I could literally write a book about all the things that have been said and done by SIL and her family to our family.

Ahh yes, the eternal question. Where is my brother in all of this? Mostly blissfully unaware. I have a feeling he doesn't like SIL's family, but they do help them out alot with the kids, etc so I think he puts up with all this because of it. As for his part on my mom's birthday, he apologised to my mom and then helped round the kids up. I spoke to him the next day and he said that his BIL gave him attitude when they got there and then B told him that he thinks his mom's birthday is more important, which apparently shut BIL up. But it doesn't make my mom feel better because they still left and then we got the cold shoulder at nieces party anyway. I don't know how he could possibly not see what is going on, but he either doesn't or he doesn't care or he just wants to avoid the whole thing. I know my mom has spoken to him about it before and he said he hadn't noticed, but surely he must have by now. Sunday was about as obvious as it gets.

I've tried everything I can think of to get along with them. We invited SIL's mom to spend Christmas with us one year and she just sat there complaining about everything (from the food, to the kind of tree we had to the temperature.) And when she wasn't complaining in English she was (I assume) complaining to SIL in German. To the person who posted about it not being cultural, I know because all the other German people I have ever met have been warm and friendly and tried to speak English even if it was very broken. SIL's mom has lived here for over 25 years and is fluent in English, so she is really just being rude. Last Christmas I made traditional German christmas cake and sent it along with DB and SIL for their Christmas eve diner with her family. Noone has said anything about it (not even that it tasted awful, which I'm sure it didn't because it smelt great.) I don't even a picture of DB and SIL's wedding because SIL keeps "forgetting" to order one or she can't find the negatives. How many woman do you know who don't know where their wedding negatives are?

Anyway, i know I should just accept that that is how they are and it is a reflection on them and not on me, but it still hurts. Thanks again for the kind words.

Natalie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 7:29am
Natalie,

Have you ever thought about learning German? Id be glad to teach you even though i am far from perfect. How bout choice phrases like "Its rude to speak in another language in front of people" or "How was that chocolate cake i made for Christmas". Wouldnt that just shock them. Maybe even wake them up to the fact they are leaving you out. Just an idea. If you are interested let me know :)