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To want to write to SIL?

(15 Posts)
Daisychan Wed 24-Aug-11 00:29:54

Have namechanged for this. Went on a family holiday with DP and our child, DP's parents and siblings. DP's sister is something of a control freak, and always has to be in charge not only of her own family and affairs but everyone else's. Was dreading the holiday. We were cheerfully asked to be "flexible" in the group email with all the booking details, (SIL choose the location and booked the adjacent cottages). However, during the actual holiday, she set out what her routine would be for the day and did not alter from it. We were however, asked daily if we could get our child to nap in the pram or in the car so that we could go to all-day attractions that the rest of the family had decided we would go to... we were not consulted or allowed for some reason to help decide what the next day's activities would be, but were informed in the evening after our child was asleep.

Anyway, have recently gone to some self-help counselling on how to be more assertive. DP is begging me not to say anything, but I really hated this holiday, and it was the same story last summer and oh, at Christmas, so I can't really see this changing. We always have to accomodate SIL, and the whole family does whatever she wants, to keep her happy and keep the peace. It strikes me as passive-agreessive and not particularly healthy for the SIL to dictate to the whole family how to spend their holidays together?

DP had me write a glowing report of the holiday on Facebook so that it would keep her happy. He has never asked me to lie before. I want to write her a personal letter and tell her why I didn't actually enjoy the holiday and why we probably won't be joining her again for a family holiday. Is this a good idea? Seems a bit of a waste of time to learn to be more assertive and then not actually be assertive.

What would you do?

LeBJOF Wed 24-Aug-11 00:32:21

I wouldn't write the letter- it's just admitting that you lied on facebook. Just don't agree to do things her way in future.

Kayano Wed 24-Aug-11 00:32:49

Write the letter and love every minute if it

Otherwise it will keep happening and you will seethe forever

Pamplemoussse Wed 24-Aug-11 00:33:06

but why did you not do your own thing during the day?

don't bother writing her a letter

just decline any further hol invites

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 24-Aug-11 00:34:38

Write the letter, but don't send it.
Apply your new assertiveness learning in the future.

squeakytoy Wed 24-Aug-11 00:36:19

Dont write the letter. It will just create a whole new avenue of angst and be forever held against you. But do make the best use of the course you went on, and dont let the situations that have happened in the past carry on. From now on, be assertive, speak your mind politely, and dont let her make all the decisions for your family if they are not what you want to do.

wherearemysocks Wed 24-Aug-11 00:39:11

Agree with Dione, write the letter but don't send it. Sometimes it just helps to get things off your chest.

Tanith Wed 24-Aug-11 00:40:23

Write her the letter in and tell her exactly how you feel. No holds barred, let it all out.

Then burn it.

Sometimes being assertive means choosing not to cause WW3 over something that is past and cannot be helped.

The future is something else. You can influence that. If you don't want to go on holiday with SIL, you don't have to.

Daisychan Wed 24-Aug-11 00:48:19

I did do my own thing during the holiday- I valiantly stuck to my child's routine of sleeping from 12-2 in a cot... he won't sleep in a pram or a car because we never do that at home. Seems a bit stupid to take him out in a pram or the car for 50 weeks of the year in order to make 2 weeks convenient. We do activities, shopping, playing, etc in the morning before lunch and also in the afternoon after his nap, but I'm a SAHM and there's no reason to drag him with me anywhere during his nap time.

This seemed to be a BIG PROBLEM to everyone except DP and myself.

So sometimes DP went on the excursion (while I stayed with our child or took the child to something he would actually enjoy), and once or twice we tried to go along and peel off early for lunch/nap/etc but were made to feel a bit bad about this. Then the nap was late, and the child tired and the bedtime routine screwed up. By the middle of the week I wanted to go home. I just don't understand why some people can't do their own thing and be happy - why oh why do they have to make everyone ELSE do their agenda too? We for example, did not ask anyone else's children to eat and sleep when ours does. Why is this so hard?

DontGoCurly Wed 24-Aug-11 00:52:53

Oh my God. Don't write the letter. It's good you are becoming aware of her behaviour but it's not up to you to try to change her. And she won't want to hear it either. Domineering people know they are domineering and they like it and do not want to change. Plus she will not care at all that you didn't enjoy it.
With assertiveness you do it in the moment, not after the fact.
You can't change her behaviour only your own. That means in future managing her and not getting yourself into situations where she has control.
Your dh and his family are enabling this woman. That is their choice but you do not have to enable her too. Simply do your own thing calmly and firmly.
Tbh the kerr is a terrible idea. A skilled manipulator like her will have no trouble turning it back on you and it's a bad idea to ever commit contentious stuff to writing. You will just be made out to be a loony tune, especially after the glowing report you put on faceache.
You need to learn to run before you can walk. Start small and practice using assertive techniques in the moment.
But please don't send her such a letter. It'll backfire badly.

DontGoCurly Wed 24-Aug-11 00:56:31

The letter, not the kerr !

Pandemoniaa Wed 24-Aug-11 01:04:07

Write the letter, then burn it, as others have suggested. But vow you will use your assertiveness training to avoid going on another holiday arranged by your SIL. Also, remind your DP that it is not essential to use Facebook as a daily emotional diary (despite a lot of evidence to the contrary) and that you will not post glowing reports of anything on it. Let alone because he tells you to.

The only thing I would say is that if you are immovable about routines it is almost certainly better for you to holiday with just your DP and DC. Expecting everyone else to disrupt their day because your child must sleep for 2 hours in the middle of the day and must take that sleep in a cot could get tiresome even to the most sympathetic friends and relatives.

zipzap Wed 24-Aug-11 01:10:39

If you ever end up having to go on holiday with this lot again, what would happen if you go in there first and said right, my turn today/this time, I haven't had a chance to choose anything ever so I propose we do xyz today/for the next holiday.

And if you are feeling really assertive, why not just write a post on your dh's wall asking if you wrote your post convincingly enough or if he's happy with your post or that yesterday (or whenever it was) was a day for keeping other people happy regardless of the truth, or that one day you would like to chose what to do on your own holiday or something along those lines. And then watch it all kick off or not depending on whether or not others notice or rise to the challenge.

Oh and next time you go away with them make sure you take a baby monitor with you and then you can have a convenient conversation with your dh while the monitor is on downstairs and they can all listen in about how miserable you are being dictated to by SIL and why the bloody hell does everybody let her ruin dictate their holidays... and then come downstairs and put your assertiveness skills into action having had all your say first grin

blackeyedsusan Wed 24-Aug-11 01:12:04

do not send the letter. do not go on holiday with them again. sympathies, still recovering from similar traumas over our wedding/ds first christmas where like you, i did what was best for us... and the drama because i didn't give in. did aa good job of nearly wrecking our marriage..

you did well to do your own thing anyway. look at it like thaat. taake the positives from it and try to dump the negative feelings... difficult, but you caan get better at it...I have, not quite so jelly like in these encounters...still a little wobbly but working on it.

Daisychan Wed 24-Aug-11 01:12:41

I don't expect anyone to disrupt their day. Everyone wanted to do X, and that was great. We would begin X, and then I would take the child away for his lunch and nap, with no trouble to anyone else. Or, I would not do X, so that no no one was inconvenienced. Usually X was chosen because it appealed to her children aged 6 and 3, at any rate.

I know every family does things differently and I would never ask lots of people to change their holiday to suit me. That is why her behaviour baffles me. Her email said it would be great if we could all be flexible, but she didn't want to be flexible. I said our lark would be up from 5:30 until 11 for playtime and then again from 2:30 until 5pm dinner. That leaves a lot of time, unless you want to make sandwiches at 10am every day and head out then... which is what they did.... so basically right when my 18-month old was getting ready for lunch and nap routine, everyone was finally getting organised and leaving.

But you're right. I think one more group holiday will make me staple things to her head.

I do think when the kids are all in school the age differences will be less important and they will be more alike in terms of what they need, developmentally. SIL will still bug the hell out of me though, I'm sure.

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