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AIBU about BIL? Or are we in the wrong?

(157 Posts)
Livingtothefull Sat 13-Dec-14 12:30:25

We have a DS (13 years) who is severely disabled, has severe learning difficulties & is confined to a wheelchair. A few months ago we went to visit my DSis and BIL in their house. They had just been on holiday and were talking to my DS about it.

My BIL gave DS some things about the holiday to look at…to be honest I don't recall what these items were but believe they includedbooks and maps about the country they had been to. Apparently (BIL claims) among these were a couple of books that he wanted to loan to DS. He has now indicated to us that he wants them back.

This all started when BIL called a few weeks ago and spoke to me. He mentioned both the titles by name/author & asked if I could give them back to him when we saw them next. I said I couldn't recall the titles & he was adamant that we had them so I said I would look. We had a look & all I could find was a map of the country they had been to, nothing else.

A couple of weeks later my Dsis spoke to me about them & I confirmed I wasn't able to find them. I explained that it is very difficult to keep track of everything as we are so busy & DS was travelling constantly between home, school & therapy; but to the best of my knowledge we didn't have the books. SIL said not to worry & there was a good chance that we had never had them & that BIL had form for wrongly claiming other people had books of his which then turned out to have been on his bookshelves all along.

What has really upset us today is that we have received their Christmas card addressed to DS, sent since the conversation with Dsis. BIL has written in the card on the left hand side opposite the greeting: 'Please ask your Mummy to find/give back these books (listing titles/authors/publication dates)'.

DH is absolutely livid & said I am lucky he doesn't get straight on the phone to have it out with DSis and BIL. He wanted to burn the card but we have compromised & put it away in a drawer, I don't particularly want it out on display.

To be honest, I don't remember what BIL gave DS, also I didn't know that BIL was so anxious to have the items back. I am not excusing this but people often give things to DS to look at/play with, & I am assuming that people would not lend things to a disabled child that they would need to have back; only things they would have no further use for. I don't even remember the word 'lend' being used. I don't feel that we can take responsibility for such things as we have a lot on our plates (both DH and I work full time as well as caring for our DS and we both have health issues of our own).

I certainly don't remember BIL saying that he would definitely need the books back as they were precious to him; if he had, I would probably have refused to take them & told him that I wouldn't want to take responsibility for these. I assumed that BIL would understand not to entrust precious things to a child but then BIL and DSis don't have children.

I am feeling really upset now. We are due to see the whole family on Xmas day and I am worried that BIL will start on again about the books. I want to have a nice day not for us to be harangued about this. I could offer to pay for the books but I am not sure if we ever even had them & DH is strongly against us having to do this. BIL seems to consider them as precious/irreplacable anyway don't want to complain to my DM as don't want to drag her into this, she is elderly….so I don't know quite how to handle this.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 13-Dec-14 12:33:35

I'd let your husband let rip at him to be honest. FFS don't buy replacements.

Just search the car/house etc and then if you cant find them, let your husband call your sister's husband and tell him what for.

aldinator Sat 13-Dec-14 12:35:50

I would ask your DSIS to have a good look for them at her house. Have another look round at yours. The easiest solution is to find them then your dick of a BIL can STFU about it.

pictish Sat 13-Dec-14 12:35:55

I actually think your bil is mistaken about you having them at all.
I would shut down conversation about it politely but firmly.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sat 13-Dec-14 12:36:20

When loaning something to a child (assuming they are removing the item rather than just playing with it) the onus is on the lender to be clear it is a loan.

But I wouldn't make a big issue or anything just a quick call to BIL saying "I have repeatedly looked fr the books you claim you loaned DS and no he does not have them.please stop going on about it and do not bring it up with him again"

Livingtothefull Sat 13-Dec-14 12:38:50

Thanks Funky, we have already searched the house and they are not there, both DH and I agree that we didn't throw out/give away any books of that description. So to the best of our knowledge we don't have them & never did.

DH says that getting the Xmas card has spoiled his weekend & if it were not for DM he wouldn't go for Xmas day. He thinks that the authors/publishers/ dates were included as a hint to buy replacements if the originals are lost.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 13-Dec-14 12:40:30

I am with him. I'd be livid.

JennyBlueWren Sat 13-Dec-14 12:42:32

Does sound like BIL finds it hard to let go of things. I like that your Sis says he's done this before. He probably didn't lend/give them to you but can't find them and believes himself to be infallible so can't admit to losing them.

Don't let yourself get worried/upset over this as it is not really important in the big scheme of things. If BIL brings it up over Christmas it will be him who looks bad -maybe have a light hearted response ready e.g. "well you'll know not to lend to us again", "I guess we're off your lending list" but don't get into a heated argument about it.

I wouldn't give a teenager (special needs or not!) anything that was precious or irreplaceable. I wouldn't want anyone even lending such things to me as I would be bound to put them in a "safe" place -never to be seen again. If he did lend them to your DS then it was a stupid thing for him to do.

pictish Sat 13-Dec-14 12:43:08

Just face him out.
"None of us remember taking them away, and none of us recall ever seeing them in our home, so therefore we do not have them, despite what you think. Please stop asking us to return items we never had."

Headagainstwall Sat 13-Dec-14 12:46:00

I think your DH is right about the hint and I think your BIL is a total wanker. Do not replace the books. I really hope your SIL finds them, just so that he feels like a complete tool.

CelesteToTheDance Sat 13-Dec-14 12:46:45

Send a Christmas card back with a note at the back saying 'we do not have bils books and don't want to hear another word about it. Bore off'.

quietlysuggests Sat 13-Dec-14 12:47:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Livingtothefull Sat 13-Dec-14 12:48:57

I think I will warn my Dsis that we do not want to have these books mentioned at Xmas day. I think that I will go with the light hearted response as recommended by Jenny if BIL says anything to me but I can't vouch for what my DH will say. He will not be diplomatic if the subject is raised.

I mentioned my DS disability to highlight that we have a lot on our plates and that if I were missing books it would not feature on my radar as a 'problem'. BIL is retired & has nothing else to worry about.

WeirdCatLady Sat 13-Dec-14 12:49:52

I can't believe your bil did that! What a twat!
I would definitely raise it with your sister, make sure she knows how appalled you are.

pictish Sat 13-Dec-14 12:58:13

OP you would remember taking them that day if you had. You would remember taking them in from the car when you got home. You would remember them being in your home. You know you would.
However, we are all guilty of misplacing our own things in our own homes. We all put things to the side/wherever, then promptly forget where they are.

I have no doubt your bil is convinced that you have them, but I think it highly likely that he is wrong.

There's nothing you can do but show him the hand. One day those books will turn up in his house, and he will feel like the pillock he is. Good.

Don't be hassled by him. Tell him no - you do not have the books, and you don't want to hear another word about them again.

DoJo Sat 13-Dec-14 13:01:27

Would you normally buy you brother in law a christmas present? Could you buy him the missing books, wrap them up and write in the gift card 'to replace the ones you lost' and be done with it. That way you are being seen to give a shit, don't have to think of a gift idea for him and end up being the 'bigger person' sort of without actually having to put yourself out!

Livingtothefull Sat 13-Dec-14 13:04:51

DH has just told me he has sent a text to my DSis complaining about the 'harassment' regarding these books. The message is not diplomatic and makes clear the upset that this has caused to us and, as WeirdCatLady recommends, just how appalled we were. I have actually felt quite tearful about this….although that may also be down to everything else besides this, we have ongoing worries re DS well being. I feel that this missing books issue has gone too far & needs to stop now.

SpicyBear Sat 13-Dec-14 13:07:04

Your BIL is being ridiculous. To the extent it sounds as if he has some obsessive traits. And if you have those kinds of feelings about things, then don't ever lend those things out. I only lend things I'm happy not to get back to anyone, let alone a 13 year old.

Don't get embroiled in some massive row that will only reinforce his perception of the importance of the books. A very clear, "we don't recall bringing them home and have checked".

WhaddayWant Sat 13-Dec-14 13:07:09

I think QuietlySiggests suggestion is perfect.

I had something similar happen to me when a friend gave my teen DD some revision notes that had belonged to her DC. Three years later she asked for them back shock I KNOW I wouldn't have taken them if they had been on loan rather than being given. I just said sorry but we didn't realise and had thrown them out. Even though I was a bit confused that she kept going on about it.

Fullpleatherjacket Sat 13-Dec-14 13:08:35

Are they irreplaceable ancient papyrus or something? I'm guessing not hmm

He's been assured you don't have them and he's being a tool. I'd let dh let rip.

I'm sorry OP, it does seem like such a storm in a tea cup.

I remember when DS was younger and I was exhausted trying to work part time, be a good mother and cope with an illness, my retired DF used to make such a fuss about ridiculously minor things.

Have you posted before under a similar name about more serious concerns? If it's you (even if it's not)then I'd suggest that you try not to think about it. Your BIL is being silly and your DH should not have escalated the situation, but hey it's happened now.

If you haven't already bought presents I'd get him an Amazon voucher and as DoJo suggests put on it that he can use it to replace his missing books.

WhaddayWant Sat 13-Dec-14 13:11:17

OP, I'm sorry this is upsetting you so much. how about suggesting that your DH calls his sister and resolve it one way or another. Even if it's an 'agree to disagree' situation you may feel better if it's resolved.

Have a brew and try not to worry to much smile

Purplepoodle Sat 13-Dec-14 13:12:54

I think you need to ring your sister now and talk to her as don't think text was the way to deal with this.

Livingtothefull Sat 13-Dec-14 13:23:48

Thanks rookie, yes I agree that it is a storm in a tea cup but then we didn't make the fuss in the meantime, I feel that DH is not the one guilty of escalating this matter, we have tried to play it down and it has not got us anywhere.

I have posted before and yes have much more serious ongoing issues to worry about. I don't want to have to worry about this. My concern now that this subject is ended and that it is not raised at Xmas as the consequences will not be pleasant. I don't think we are responsible for escalating this; but we are both really upset about this & don't see why we should just suck it up just to spare everyone else.

We don't usually buy presents for the adults in our family….I don't want to take responsibility for replacing the books as I don't see why we should & it could be taken as a tacit admission that we had & lost the books.

pictish Sat 13-Dec-14 13:27:36

I can see where DoJo is coming from, but I don't think I could bring myself to indulge the nippy twat whatsoever...even if it was for the ultimate good.

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