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AIBU to reply (or not) to MIL's snarky email?

(76 Posts)
TheRabbitCatcher Fri 24-May-13 07:13:59

Sorry....Another MIL thread.

MIL is not an easy woman. She is intelligent, successful, interesting, full of energy, but pretty clueless when it comes to family relationships. I like her (although not really in the capacity of Mother in Law) but she has difficult, complicated relationships with most of her family. I think she quite likes me, despite her view of me as socially, intellectually and morally inferior (that's fine by me). She travels a lot and we therefore don't see much of her, maybe 4/5 times a year.

Yesterday she returned from a 4 week pilgrimage. While walking she wrote a few group emails to family and friends detailing her journey. They were (as ever) interesting, lyrical and thoughtful. But not in any way reciprocal, no 'how are you?' etc. Anyway, on her (unexpected) return yesterday, DH, DBIL and I received a message about how disappointing that we didnn't bother to reply to her messages and how difficult her return home is 'without a safety net'.

In the four weeks she was away we have both been working long hours, our daughter has just started school and our son is having investigations for leukaemia. To be honest, much as I enjoyed her messages, a reply was not top of our list of priorities.

DH sent a reply designed to placate her, he was upset that she came home unhappy and lonely. I just feel pissed off and am tempted to send her a blasting in return. I suppose that would be unreasonable (or unhelpful) and I know that I am projecting a lot of stress about other things in her direction. What else can I say to her? I just feel real angry (especially on behalf of DH).

fedupofnamechanging Fri 24-May-13 15:02:07

I would have sent the blasting email, based on your later posts about how she isn't acknowledging your son's potential illness or your dd's first day at school.

If she shows no interest in your lives, then she has no business being put out that she is not a central person in yours.

Bobyan Fri 24-May-13 14:03:44

I think people forget the emotional side, the first visit to GOSH I was actually hyperventilating with fear about what they would find. My DD is still being monitored but its no longer potentially life threatening.
Stay positive and be kind to yourself, and maybe try to lower your expectations of your mil to match your Dh's - she's not worth the energy wink

whistleahappytune Fri 24-May-13 14:00:13

OP I find it difficult to believe that your MIL was on a pilgrimage, and never once lit a candle, said a prayer or sent specific love and good thoughts to you and your DS.

CouthyMow Fri 24-May-13 13:39:31

I hope everything works out OK for your DS. It's so bloody tiring to have sick DC's.

And I wouldn't reply, but I would ignore.

What would I do if I was on holiday and my GS was ill? I'd fly home to support my DC's and their partners.

Not send flowery fucking emails about how great my holiday is, and expect a pay on the back for sending a friffing email...

It's all about her. Sod the OP, sod her own son, sod the fact that her DGD just started school, sod the fact that her DGS is very ill, just look at me, aren't I great, I went on holiday and sent some generic emails, give me a pat on the back...

I have a selfish, toxic MOTHER like that. What she is doing is always the important thing, and she doesn't listen to the things that are going on with her GDC's. Or me.

I keep her at arms length, over the phone mostly, and I don't hold any truck with histrionics over me 'not paying enough attention to her'.

If she starts, I hang up! And turn my phone off.

It's not personal - the OP hasn't had time to see her friend's new baby, amongst other things. Obviously her DS's health HAS to take priority. Not answering a bloody round robin email!!

Sending you all my best wishes, OP. It'll be more than you'll get from your MIL by the sounds of it...

TheRabbitCatcher Fri 24-May-13 13:23:18

Thanks Bobyan- it is exhausting, emotionally and physically. He's sleeping well at the moment, but a couple of weeks ago he had a chest infection and I was managing on about 3 hours sleep a night, and then going into work the next day (my husband was away). If she had sent the message then, I may be regretting my actions now!

DH did reply back, saying how much he enjoyed her messages and that he hoped she had a lovely time. He's used to her and generally has very low expectations of their relationship.

Thanks for all the good wishes for DS by the way smile

Bobyan Fri 24-May-13 13:09:56

Is your mil my mil op?

I've done the GOSH rounds and it is exhausting, my mil has barely even acknowledged that our dd was potentially seriously ill.

The best advice I can give is to detach and ignore.
She's not your mother and she isn't your problem. Wishing your DS all the best.

DuelingFanjo Fri 24-May-13 12:58:28

what I mean is, it's not her responsibility to respond to the emails.
If the MIL is critical that an email was not responded to then she should be critical of her own son who also did not respond to the email, not the DIL who is not the first person who should be replying and not the first person who should be criticised.

the Son (OP's DH) has had a longer and closer relationship with his own mother and so should be thinking of responding to messages from his own mother.

brass Fri 24-May-13 12:52:58

It's nothing to do with you.

ok I find this difficult. Are they not a family and does the OP's DH not have any expectation that his mother should be concerned if one of his children is ill enough to warrant hospital intervention?

OP is not a baby making machine. It's common courtesy to ask after someone especially if you're feeling entitled to fawning responses.

No wonder there are fractured relationships if half the people are walking round thinking you're not family - you just married their offspring.

I like that Eldritch!

DuelingFanjo Fri 24-May-13 12:41:19

Why are you accepting it as a criticism of you? Your husband could (And should) have responded. Leave it to your husband to deal with. It's nothing to do with you.

EldritchCleavage Fri 24-May-13 12:39:16

Clearly you were supposed to reply praising her witty, well-written emails.

How about composing a standard response along the lines of 'I do love getting your emails, you really bring everything to life for us-have you ever considered becoming a writer?' and then send it to her every bloody time you get one of these missives.

brass Fri 24-May-13 12:37:26

meh don't waste energy on the MIL, hope everything goes well at GOSH.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 24-May-13 12:34:06

she doesn't hear what she doesn't want to hear
but expects some kind of feedback and pat on the back for enjoying a
a lovely 4 week break?

You have a lot on your plate so I'd just let her have her say, duly noted, and move on.

Hope DS gets a diagnosis and appropriate treatment and gets well soon.

ephemeralfairy Fri 24-May-13 12:33:05

Yanbu, she sounds self-centred and entitled. Does she know about your son? If so, you'd think her first concern would be to ask after him, not try to make you feel guilty for having concerns about things more important than her self-indulgent jaunts.

Nanny0gg Fri 24-May-13 12:32:58

After your last post, it's clear you are not U at all.

When he's got the time and energy, your DH needs to have a straight talk with his mum.

ClartyCarol Fri 24-May-13 12:17:22

Sorry x post. I think you need to detatch from her a bit and preserve your energy for the other things you have going on.

Good luck for your ds.

ClartyCarol Fri 24-May-13 12:15:07

I'm with Brass, Couthy et al. OP -does MIL know abpit your ds?

I can't believe MIL has been off navel gazing for a month, sending emails which to me sound like they'd be full of pretentious waffle (lyrical and thoughtful you said OP) and then has a hissy fit because you didn't reply. If she didn't know about your ds' s potential illness then she is simply self obsessed, if she did know, then I'd find her heartless in the extreme.

TheRabbitCatcher Fri 24-May-13 12:14:05

Thanks for the messages.

MIL does know DS has been ill. He has been ill on and off for months now including being hospitalised twice and having some confusing blood test results, which is why they are now investigating something more systemic. TBH, leukeamia is unlikely, but they want to rule it out before they refer to a specialist team at GOSH. I have tried to talk to MIL about his illness, but she doesn't hear what she doesn't want to hear and I when I include information about his health in emails, she never acknowledges this. She knew that my daughter was starting school too.

I really don't resent her success and adventures. I am proud of her but don't really have the energy to meet her expectations at the moment.

EldritchCleavage Fri 24-May-13 12:03:25

Don't even take this on in any way. It's on your DH-he's her child, he can take the lead in communicating with her and he's apologised already.

Nanny0gg Fri 24-May-13 12:00:09

has the op told grandma her GS might be ill?

I wondered that. Does she know what's going on in your lives?

(Hope everything is ok for you DS too)

Lweji Fri 24-May-13 11:59:20

Also teach her how to FB, so that you can "like" her stuff instead of replying. grin

Lweji Fri 24-May-13 11:58:31

I might reply saying that I didn't feel she wanted a reply as there were no questions or requests on her e-mail.
I'd apologise and tell her that next time I'd make sure I'd reply.

"And by the way..."
Then write 10 pages long about how your 4 weeks went.

brass Fri 24-May-13 11:54:40

exactly: look at me and my lovely holiday, I'm not terribly interested in how you are or what you might have on your plate right now. ah boo no one's fawning over me now I'm back.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Fri 24-May-13 11:47:09

Surely she should be sending emails asking how her grandson is, instead of expecting her family to fawn over her holiday tales? OP, I hope your son is ok. What a stressful time for you xx

Torrorosso Fri 24-May-13 11:45:05

She sounds self-obsessed and needy, but as others say, a rant would make things worse and your dh has dealt with it. I'd have been bloody resentful too.

I hope your son is ok - do look after yourself - you have a lot of stress. Perhaps ask mil to help out now she's back - that might make her feel more wanted?

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