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Family WhatsApp photo ban

(148 Posts)
olympicsrock Sun 11-Aug-19 03:29:53

I probably am being unreasonable here but i’m annoyed and upset and need to chat about this.

Background: dh brother and sil are having a difficult time. They have dd 7 who has SEN. SIL started a business 3 years ago that was a bad idea, sunk more money than they had into it, had an affair.

DH and BIL were competitively close growing up. 7 years ago they were partners in a business, BIL lied , business failed we and many friends who invested lost money, BIL and SIL bought a 6 bed house and new car at this time.

DH and BIL fell out, DH picked himself up career wise and after a very difficult time ( PND etc) we are doing well. We have two DS aged 7 and 4. BIL has now not worked for 2 years. Turned down a job that DH found for him ( working for a friend. Good job but not good enough for BIL. Still living in big house.
BIL is now depressed due to financial difficulties, not working, likely to divorce and struggling to cope with fact that his daughter has SEN.

The problem. PIL are trying to help BIL and 6 months ago suggested that I didn’t post pictures of my DS on family WhatsApp group as it may be difficult for BIL as he feels the comparison. SIL does put pictures of their DD on the family chat. As do other members of the family. At this time I said that I would send over half the photos to grandparents individually. No problem and I did this to a degree anyway particularly if them doing anything that was vaguely an achievement/ like sports day, baking etc. I usually post once a week or less to the family group and maybe another few pics to grandparents individually. I didn’t want to not send pics to the other SIL and nieces and nephews etc.

Yesterday at family wedding lovely FIL asked me ( and BIL asked DH ) separately if we could not post pictures of our children any more as he feels the comparison and it contributes to his depression. FIL suggested that the family have a separate WhatsApp group for everyone apart from BIL. I know that PIL hugely enjoy getting the pics that I send ( they have told me many times) and other SIL does too. We all live a long way away. DH is trying to patch up the relationship with BIL and thinks I should just go along with the plan.
I just feel a bit irritated by this. I like the family WhatsApp community , don’t feel a group with everyone apart from BIL and SIL is right and can’t really be bothered finding everyone in my contacts list every time i’m trying to be nice and maintaining family relationships.

BillieEilish Sun 11-Aug-19 07:01:17

Agree with Differentname


I think I'm right in thinking that to have a separate group leaving BIL out would make the OP feel bad. It's just odd.

R44Me Sun 11-Aug-19 07:08:16

I think having a seriously SEN child must be the worst thing , worries about the future (once youre gone) being high and not going away.
I would cut slack for the DPs of the SEN child.
Just do what he asks, set up another group, take photos with camera rather than whatsapp and send to the relevant group - takes seconds.
Having less to do with BIL might be a good thing for you going forward.

HoneyBeeHappy Sun 11-Aug-19 07:11:34

If bil doesn’t want to see other pictures he is free to leave the group. Far too much pandering going on here, and I’d even question whether he actually does have depression or whether he’s saying that to be a manipulative arse.

I suspect that next it will be that he’s found out about the separate group and feels that his family are being excluded so group will be deleted.

Topttumps Sun 11-Aug-19 07:13:08

Just set up a separate group without them and try not to let it bother you.

BertrandRussell Sun 11-Aug-19 07:13:41

Have a “chat” group and a “pictures” group. Problem solved.

pennypineapple Sun 11-Aug-19 07:25:57

I feel very sad for his DD, it's almost like he's ashamed of her. I have a seriously disabled sister and as a family we are equally as proud of her achievements as anyone else's.

To be honest though I probably wouldn't want to rock the boat and would just follow the suggestion of a separate whatsapp group, especially if it might help your BIL's recovery.

LolaSmiles Sun 11-Aug-19 07:26:02

The thing I find odd is that presumably the rest of the family will LL continue to post family photos in the main family group and chat about them together and then the second group is entirely for you and DH and your children to share photos, which essentially makes it a more awkward set up.
Have I got that right?

I'd give it a fortnight with a separate group and Bil will be crying to FIL about how he feels so excluded that everyone knows what's going on with your kids except him and can the group be closed, essentially ensuring that the family get no updates from your family unit.

Depression or not your BIL behaviour over time appears manipulative.

GloriousGoosebumps Sun 11-Aug-19 07:26:46

I'm afraid I do think you're being unreasonable. It's not hard to imagine how it must feel to see your sibling's child reaching milestones your child will never reach so if you can spare him that pain, why wouldn't you? Particularly when you can still share your photos via a second What's App group. A pp suggested bil is being manipulative, if he is then all he has achieved is the creation of a second group that he's not a member of - he could hardly count that as some sort of win against you. One question, you say that other members of the family post photos in the group, do those photos also have an effect on his depression or is he only affected by photos of your children?

olympicsrock Sun 11-Aug-19 07:29:37

Thanks for all your comments so far. Really helpful to hear both sides. I will of course not post the pictures to this group any more as I am the outlaw and it is DH family and PIL and DH are keen to support BIL and not give him any reason to isolate himself from family. As someone said depression is an odd beast. This is just another example of them pandering to him though. I made a big point yesterday of being kind and offering for BIL and Dd to come over and for DH and BIL to go to the pub while I babysat. I now feel an idiot when he has made it clear he wouldn’t want to see our boys.
I will ask MIL if BIL is getting any professional help ( meds’, counselling etc) . Not my place to ask him but she could suggest it. He has a track record of not believing in medical help. They spent years denying their dd had SEN almost to the point of neglect.
Yes clearly there are big background issues to this.
A small part of me wants to throw my toys out of the pram and leave their WhatsApp group and let DH interact with the family, but I do have a good relationship with the rest of my in laws ( rare on mumsnet!!) and PIL would miss the pictures.

For those who asked I just post one or two pics once every 10 days if something funny/ happy happens. Not that many !

WhyBirdStop Sun 11-Aug-19 07:30:30

Why can't BIL leave the current WhatsApp group? They are generally used to share updates and photos away from public social media, if he funds that upsetting of course he can opt out. If you set up a new one without him, everyone will start using that so it's the same end result.

olympicsrock Sun 11-Aug-19 07:36:05

Lola yes that’s right and why I feel awkward. No one else has been asked not to put photos as the other children are older.
He is only affected by pics of our children as ds1 is 7 too and ds2 is a normal 4 year old who could be compared to DN.

olympicsrock Sun 11-Aug-19 07:38:44

Why bird - yes the current group shares photos and news ( usually accompanied by photos) and chat about them. He just wants us excluded from talking about our boys in the group. I am already very careful not to talk about achievements.

Gigiandme Sun 11-Aug-19 07:44:42

I think YABU. You can still share the photos with entire family, just not the one person who finds that they trigger his mental health condition. Depression, as another poster said, is not rational. Why wouldn't you do this for someone who is suffering so greatly? It sounds like you almost think he deserves his depression, from your OP (talking about how he didn't accept the job your husband found him etc). If you can literally going to share the photos with everyone but him in a new group, but you're annoyed because you can't post in the old group with him in too, then I think YABVU and quite cruel.

PeriComoToes Sun 11-Aug-19 07:50:43

Whilst it is always best to be sensitive of others and try and be kind where do you draw the line?
First it's don't post pictures, then it's don't mention any achievements of the kids, then perhaps don't mention the kids at all because, you know #upsetting. And then? Perhaps keep them in the background at family functions or maybe don't come at all. Sound far fetched? Depression spirals and everyone around a depressed person ends up walking on eggshells and tempering their behaviour more and more.

OP post a couple of pics every 10 days, that's hardly excessive. It's a family group not a BIL centric group. If he's depressed and it's a trigger the he should come off the group and interact with people who don't trigger him. And get some help.

Threehoursfromhome Sun 11-Aug-19 07:57:35

I can see why you are upset, as it seems as though your children specifically are being excluded from the wider family group, and what does that mean exactly, is it only photos they don't want you to share, or is it any kind of update about your children? Are you supposed to pretend they don't exist? And what happens if BIL decides that after not seeing any photos of them for a while, seeing them in person is too big a shock, because they've changed and grown up in ways perhaps that his DD hasn't?

However, given you get on well with in laws, I think you should go ahead with the separate group as requested. Either one of two things will happen: it will be self-evidently a bit awkward and exclusionary to only have pictures of your two and the group will die off. PIL will then have to decide what they want. Or, it will become a second, active group, where everyone shares photos, in which case BIL is effectively excluded and PIL will have to decide what they want.

I think you would be justified in becoming less active in the first group, not leaving it, but maybe muting. If you are not meant to be talking about your children in it then you will obviously have less to contribute.

Hangingwithmygnomies Sun 11-Aug-19 08:01:09

Olympicrocks how severe are DN SEN needs? I personally don't think you are BU to be offended by this. Why does everyone else get to share their children's lives with extended family but you can't? I have a 9 year old son with high functioning ASD and along with that hates to leave the house and if we do manage it, it normally results in a meltdown. I get where BIL is coming from to a degree as it makes me feel sad when I see friends/family on social media having days out or showing their childrens achievements with hobbies etc. and my SIL shares my neices achievements on our family whatsapp (DB doesn't use social media) but no way would I ask then to stop because it makes me sad - that's my issue to deal with. I love getting updates on my nieces dance shows and horseriding. What did he say to make you think he's not interested in your DC when you offered to babysit?

JingsMahBucket Sun 11-Aug-19 08:02:06

YANBU. This feels manipulative and I’d be concerned that he will edge your DH out of the picture at some point too. He’s starting with you because you’re the “outsider” / non-blood relative but it may lead to isolating your husband from the rest of the family too. BIL obviously resents your husband.

olympicsrock Sun 11-Aug-19 08:05:42

Three hours - yes that’s it. You guys are good at helping me out into words why I feel upset. Will avoidance make seeing us in the flesh worse?? A group where only we post pics will be odd if everyone else uses the main group.

longwayoff Sun 11-Aug-19 08:10:14

BIL sounds dodgy as hell. I'd be disinclined to share anything at all with him. He's got an agenda, don't know what it is but it won't be anything that benefits you. Go with the separate group. His mental health is not your responsibity, don't let him make it so.

Awrite Sun 11-Aug-19 08:11:42

Sounds like you are feeling protective of your boys and he of his dd. Understandable.

I love my nieces and nephews very much. I love seeing photos on the family WhatsApp. I enjoy posting photos of my two. However, any achievement type ones go to my parents directly. I am aware of my siblings', and their spouses' sensibilities.

SummerInTheVillage Sun 11-Aug-19 08:14:58

I think BiL is being very U and the rest of you shouldn't have to dance around him. If he doesn't like the photos he should leave the group. To ignore your boys is rude and I would be very offended.

I'd be so annoyed by the whole situation, given the history as well, that I'd be inclined to tell him to just fuck off and ignore him totally forever.

Why is your DH still creeping round him after what he did? DH needs to grow a par.

Becles Sun 11-Aug-19 08:15:27

YANBU either all photos of kids are banned or all permitted. Why just yours when the rest of the family can share pictures of their children? Sounds like bullying and exclusion being given licence rather than tackling his controlling and unreasonable behaviour. I bet if you set up a new one there'll be more things you need to do to not set him off.

saraclara Sun 11-Aug-19 08:17:42

I don't see the problem. BIL is unwell and you can choose to be sensitive and considerate, or you can insist on doing something that makes his mental health worse. It's a bit precious to think that your photos of your kids are so important that they shouldn't be shunted from the main family thread.

I get that there's history, but I don't get why you want to inflict your photos on someone for whom they're difficult to see. It's the easiest thing in the world to set up a photo thread for those who want to see them. Your PILs must be worried sick about him, so I'd try to understand where they're coming from, too.

saraclara Sun 11-Aug-19 08:21:55

If he's depressed and it's a trigger the he should come off the group

Telling him that he's no longer welcome on the group where all sorts of family stuff is discussed is hardly likely to help him get better. Basically he'd be being told his family are rejecting him in favour of a couple of photos every ten days.

TheBrockmans Sun 11-Aug-19 08:23:24

I do though think that it should be an all or nothing pictures group and other , as BertrandRussell says

Have a “chat” group and a “pictures” group.

Not just excluding pictures of your son.

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