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more family issues - how would you respond to this reply from PIL?

(98 Posts)
silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:00:51

Right, I fear this will be along one, so here goes.

we have a (at best) fractured relationship with dh's parents. they are toxic in the extreme, and we are currently not flavour of the month.

this stems from a big row last year, where we travelled a long way for their Golden Wedding anniversary, were treated appallingly (travel not easy for us, as dd1 (ASD) doesn't always cope well). due to several factors, but mostly dd1 being upset after the journey (overnight drive to the other end of the country), we missed seeing them for afternoon tea the day before the party. obviously the biggest crime in the world hmm. we were due at the party the next day, family lunch at their house the day after that, family lunch at the place we were renting the day after that. plus we were staying for the week after, to see more of them too.

this led to FIL ranting at my step-children, who popped round with a box of chocs and a bottle of wine to apologise (dh and I were still calming/comforting dd1). step children were then 19 and 17, and were physically scared of their grandfather, who shouted a lot of abuse, and slammed the door in their faces. dh asked for an apology, this has never been forthcoming (sorry, just trying to give brief background to where we are now)

fast forward to this year, and PIL have been stirring things with dh's brothers. we don't get invited to BIL's 50th celebration. dh speaks to BIL, who confirms this is the reason behind non-invite.

dh is obviously hurt and upset, but trying to carry on even a fractured relationship with his parents.

so, we are holding a Christening party for our dds. sorry, but there is back story to this too. we originally didn't have dd1 Christened, but had a Naming ceremony (religious differences between dh & I, couldn't decide (amicably) which religion to go for, so hedged bets)

PIL not happy with this, and ranted on at us for years about how dd would be consigned forever to Purgatory if she died un-Christened hmm. honeslty, FIL brought it up in every conversation we had.

dd2 came along, and we were still undecided about what to do, and also in the middle of dd1's ASD diagnosis, etc. lots of shit going on, really. so poor dd2 didn't even get a Naming.

last year, we had them both Christened, privately. dh & i had sorted out our differences, and the opportunity came up while staying with friends - there was a priest staying too (you couldn't make this up grin), and he organised a quick service for us - all legit. we told PIL this last year (after the fact - it really was a spur of the moment thing, no-one was there apart form friends we were staying with)

anyway. back to today. we are finally holding a proper Christening party for the girls. It's more than that, really, as we have had a tough few years, but dd1 now settled at school - we fought the LA for that and won. we have been moving around alot to get the best school for dd1, and have recently moved again. life is feelign settled and good, and it's a time for celebration, for us. we decided to have a Christening party, as it would be a good reason to get all of dd2's Godparents together (who all know that they "missed" the Christening, as such, and are happy with this) - they haven't met as a group before.

so, we send an invite around, pretty much saying all of the above.

and PIL reply:

"Hello MrSilverfrog:
We ought to be grateful to have been copied into the many e-mail
addresses of your friends to join the celebration.

It is a great relief to learn that you eventually decided to have your
two girls christened. We have prayed for this to happen for a long
time and would have flown to anywhere to join this baptism.

A belated party for this event at such short notice is not the same
and does not convey the same spirit.

Your loving Parents."

the party is being held in 6 weeks time - a bit short notice, i suppose, but not like it's tomorrow.

dh is fuming. it just feels like such a kick in the teeth, especially following on from not being invited (due to his parents bitching) to the big family even that was his brother's 50th.

so, what would you do?

<really, really sorry for the essay. trying to give info, and not have an AIBU by stealth>

CornishKK Wed 25-Aug-10 16:07:29

They sound bloody awful! Treat him like toddler and ignore, ignore, ignore - or find a suitable quote from the bible about forgiveness and email it to him hoping he can "forgive" your terrible shortcomings?

Vallhala Wed 25-Aug-10 16:07:31

What would I do?

I'd reply with two words... "Your loss".

Then I'd carry on putting the finishing touches to the party plans withput giving these awful people a second thought.

Ever again.

Depends on whether you're as assy as me though, doesn't it?

You can be too forgiving to toxic people y'know, and it very rarely does you any favours.

Casserole Wed 25-Aug-10 16:09:24

Honestly? I would just reply back something like:

"Ok Mum & Dad. I'm sorry you feel so disappointed in the paths we have chosen. You remain welcome at the party, should you wish to attend - just let us know."

And leave it at that.

You would be utterly within your rights to kick off at them. But I sense that would just cause you, and DH, more stress, and pain, and anger.

I don't think you're going to be able to win them round. So I think you've just got to accept that they are fucked up, and try and do the right thing, not for their sake but so that you lose the least amount sleep over it.

Really sorry BTW. It sounds fun. I'd come grin

pjmama Wed 25-Aug-10 16:12:02

Let them sulk and enjoy your party. As Valhalla says, it's their loss.

tiredlady Wed 25-Aug-10 16:14:14

They sound truly awful.

Why does your dh persist in trying to have a realtionship with them?

Can he not just cut them off? It sounds brutal but for severely toxic parents there is not much else one can do.

If I were you I would never visit them again. Ever.

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:14:44

I have already cautioned dh not to rant back at them grin

I owuld be so inclined ot never see them again, but that's easy for me to say - they're not my parents.

I think it's the "we ought to be grateful..." bit that grates with me - the implication being, they're not angry

I think dh is so upset because he is seeing it as another step towards the final result - not really bothering with them.

bloody hell, families are problematic, aren't they?

<if it was my mother, I'd just tell her to shut up. but then she'd never have come out with shite like that anyway>

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:18:13

Casserole - I like the"you remain welcome should you wish to attend" <scribbles notes>

tiredlady - we are not ever visiting again, certainly not as a family. dh has already told them this.

they are also not welcome to stay in our house until they can apologise to my step-children. until this happens (recognising he was a tfault for being so angry), I cannot trust FIL with small children (dds are 6 and 3. dd1, despite being gorgeous can be very trying due to ASD)

dh is just not yet ready to let go, I don't think. he is just beginnign to realise his parents/brothers are not the people he thinks they are - they really are these self-obsessed monstrosities.

ANTagony Wed 25-Aug-10 16:19:17

How much goes unsaid? You sound like you have good immediate family and you try hard to please.
Are a lot of the issues not understood by the wider family, would a good (rationed - even scripted) rant back actually bring a few things in the open before the final result?

diddl Wed 25-Aug-10 16:20:04

I would do nothing.
It doesn´t need a reply.

They do sound blöödy awful, but tbh I can see why they are pissed off that it happened without them.

If I had grandchildren and wasn´t invited to the Christening, I think a party afterwards would just seem like throwing one insult after another.

notquitenormal Wed 25-Aug-10 16:20:19

I would reply with, "I'm sorry you feel like that. If you change your mind please do come along as, I'm sure you know, you'll always be welcome."

And then, becuase I'm not actually very nice or forgiving, I would 'accidentally' copy their email and my reply to everyone on the original invite.

It probably wouldn't help in the long run though.

TheCrackFox Wed 25-Aug-10 16:24:57

I wouldn't reply either as they sound like a pair of drama queens so just don't give them any drama so they will get bored, eventually.

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:25:30

ANTagony - issues well known and sniped discussed within the family. PIL's favourite game is divide and rule amongst their children, so whoever is currently out of favour gets bitched about and torn apart.

diddl - really? I'm trying hard, but I can't see it like that. the actual Christening was not an organised event, it was just something that happened, Nobody was there - it is not as though we didn't invite PIL alone.

As I said earlier, the party is about more than the Christening, it is just a good label for the party if you like.

It's about finally being settled and happy as a family, about having won (for now) our fight with the LA. It's about having a day for our girls, because we have lost so many already to combing through legal documents, etc. And they know all this.

notquitenormal -tempting grin

Casserole Wed 25-Aug-10 16:26:51

Ooooooooh yes, like notquitenormal's little trick grin

TheCrackFox Wed 25-Aug-10 16:27:22

You will probably enjoy the party more with that pair of misery guts being there.

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:28:56

oh, undoubtedly, TheCrackFox, but I don't think dh will really. not deep down.

because he will be sad about the slight from his parents. he knows they are awful, but they are his parents. and he is not quite ready to cut them off, I don't think.

ANTagony Wed 25-Aug-10 16:29:00

It sounds like its time to allow a little healthy distance to establish so that they're negativity and game playing doesn't ruin your enjoyment and celebration.

Congratulations on wining your fight with the LA.

Are you having cake and will it be large gooey and chocolate?

diddl Wed 25-Aug-10 16:29:32

No I no you didn´t invite anyone, but they had made it clear that Christenings meant a lot to them.

I don´t know them of course, butt they probably think you did it to spite them!

That said, I don´t know why anyone bothers with them anymore!

anyabanya Wed 25-Aug-10 16:29:32

Tell 'em fuck 'em.

rollerbaby Wed 25-Aug-10 16:30:17

I completely agree with everyone above, but just to be devil's advocate... There's 2 things going on here really as far as I can see. The first that they are a bit toxic and clearly there are lots of unresolved issues. Secondly that they felt very strongly about a christening.

Putting the first one aside, maybe they don't appreciate the circumstances that came about to help you decide to suddenly do it and feel quite excluded. Did you talk to them about this directly? It might have helped perhaps - they're clearly surprised and not dealing with it very well.

In a way playing tit for tat isn't going to help. You either have to cut them out of your lives, or decide to be the better people and ignore their petty behaviour and not pander to it (as they clearly want you to). It's attention seeking and controlling.

diddl Wed 25-Aug-10 16:31:02

Know not noblush
But not buttblush

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:31:33

situation also complicated by the fact that it is just us (as in dh & I, plus dds) who are not invited to family stuff.

so, take BIL's party - the rest of the family went. dh's children (now 19 and 21) went, as did dh's ex.

so my step children get involved (I mean that in a passive sense, as in "they are involved by those around them") in all the bitching too.

it is such a fucked up situation, it really is.

diddl Wed 25-Aug-10 16:34:00

So you´re the 2nd wife?

Sounds as if they haven´t really accepted the situation tbh.

diddl Wed 25-Aug-10 16:37:31

Also, perhaps an actual Christening means something to them-not just the party afterwards.

silverfrog Wed 25-Aug-10 16:37:35

sorry, x-posts.

diddl, yes I cna see what you mean re: christening being important to them (althoguh think it was a bit hmm of them to repeatedly tell us how much our children would suffer if they died before we got around to it. especially since this is not how it is viewed by the church anymore anyway)

but we told them about the Christening. we explained it all. their only reaction at the time? relief that we had finally done it. a bit odd to now be throwing the toys out of the pram, surely, more than a year later?

don't really want to play tit-for-tat. just wan tto know how we should respond. I am no good at playing political games - as I said before, if my parents (they are now dead) had behaved like this I'd have told them to grow up! but that's my relationship with my parents. dh's is clearly different (his father was very abusive during dh's childhood)

I don't think ignoring is the right way ofrward, unfortunately. this tends to mean that PIL think it is all swept nicely under the carpet, never to be mentioned again. and that when they pop up again in a few months time, wanting to visit, or wanting news/photos of the girls, we should all be best friends hmm

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