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I'm exhausted by the feeling of being completely dispensable

(30 Posts)
StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 11:08:07

I woke up this morning to an email from MIL about a family lunch I was invited to today. DH can't go (work) but her other son is visiting with his family. They are lovely so I was looking forward to seeing them.

Only now it turns out everyone is busy, and what I thought was an invitation to a family lunch is an invitation to come late (after a 2h trip to get there), eat late, and go. 'Have a leisurely morning' she says.

It is always like this. I always end up with the feeling that if there is a pressure point, I am the thing which can be dispensed with. It wouldn't even have occurred to her that I have turned down two things I really wanted to do, because I felt it was better to do a family thing. My leisurely morning could have been spent doing one of those things and it's too late now.

So now I have to go somewhere where it's a bloody pain to get to, be there for an hour, knowing I am not particularly welcome as everyone would rather be doing other things. And knowing I've missed something far better which suited me down to the ground.

It's so so often like this: they don't seem to see me as a person who has a life which deserves any consideration. They don't treat dh like this as he doesn't have a social life and he can cook, so he goes to theirs and caters for them.

I hate this pattern and always fall into the trap. Without just not agreeing to see them at all, how do I stop doing this to myself?!

Lizzabadger Sun 07-Apr-13 11:18:06

"They are lovely so I was looking forward to seeing them."

So I'm not sure what the problem is in this instance. It is a late Sunday lunch rather than the earlier lunch you had assumed. This is not such a big deal is it?

Obviously in general you feel that your husband's family treat you disrespectfully ignoring your needs. What has caused you to feel like this?

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 11:20:56

Poor you, that's not a nice feeling to have.

Perhaps next time you can ask for the specific details? Be up front: "I have already been invited to x, and am keen to see if I can manage to do both or if I'm sadly going to have to give yours a miss this time".

Having been the second class citizen in my family for years, and seethed about it for years, I have finally got the confidence to be more assertive about things like this. It's uncomfortable, and it's early days. They WILL respect you more for it, promise.

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 11:24:54

No consideration of my plans
a last minute email with not even the barest hint of an apology for putting me out
clear signal that I'm not important enough for anyone to think twice about it

It isn't just rescheduling lunch, it is telling me in detail that everyone is busy on a day where I am an invited guest.

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 11:30:34

You could maybe reply saying something like, "thanks for letting me know. I was under the impression this was more of a family event, so I'm going to give it a miss after all. As you know, it takes me two hours to drive there and back. I have loads to do and simply can't justify four hours in the car for a short visit, especially when everyone else is so busy too".

Needs work...but the basic points are there. If you don't want to go, don't go.

BlueberryHill Sun 07-Apr-13 11:38:15

Reply and say that unfortunately that doesn't work for you? Are they seriously expecting you to drive over for 2 hours, stay for 1 hour and then drive back. Use the day to enjoy yourself, see it as an unexpected bonus and spoil yourself.

juneau Sun 07-Apr-13 11:38:24

I agree with mad - don't go! If you don't always jump to their tune and state unambiguously that you are busy too, perhaps they'll be a bit more considerate of your time in future.

DwellsUndertheSink Sun 07-Apr-13 11:43:26

Oh MIL, thanks for letting me know of the change in plans, but I do have a life that Ive rearranged to meet up with you all, and now your plans have changed, It will undo all the rearranging Ive done, and be a major inconvenience. SO this time I'll give it a miss. But thank you for your original offer. Maybe next time we could set a definite time and date, because its a long way for me to travel for just hour.

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 11:49:45

This is the killer
The kids are there so I have to pick them up

As a family (and this includes dh with knobs on) they are so blasé about how they treat others and they will NEVER acknowledge that they've put me out.

BlueberryHill Sun 07-Apr-13 11:51:56

Aah, that is really shitty. You need to think about the future and limit how much they can impact you, put yourself and your family's plans and wishes first.

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 11:58:23

Hmn, that puts a different perspective on things. If it were me, I would pick the kids up, given that's not negotiable, then maybe take them out for a lovely lunch and enjoy the time together?

And please tell them that you rearranged plans thinking it was to be more of an event. If you like my idea (and can justify the lunch) then tell them that you will be stopping by for five minutes to then take the kids somewhere you can enjoy a leisurely meal before the long drive home.

They possibly think they are doing you a favour, 'have a leisurely morning'. It might just be a misunderstanding, you were expecting an event, they thought you were just coming to pick the kids up? Best to be clear up front so expectations are managed all round.

Best of luck.

Mimishimi Sun 07-Apr-13 12:33:08

Why go then?

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 19:32:10

No, I was invited for lunch because BIL and family are there. It wasn't a misunderstanding.
I went, and found out that most of them had gone out for brunch at a place which is near where we live - not the reason why lunch was late but definitely the reason why MIL didn't call me (as she had promised to do in the email).
And then she talked quite a bit about how good it was for the cousins to get together. Yes, I agree, but I could do without being completely messed around like this, it's not like I'm going to say 'no, I don't want them to spend any time together.'
Completely blasé. What a horrible, pointless day of pretence.

BranchingOut Sun 07-Apr-13 20:37:33

What, they made you trek all the way over to them when they were actually over near you???!!

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 20:57:03

They did.
I can't even be bothered to be outraged tbh.

I cried on the phone to dh, even he can see this time that it was out of order. Usually he thinks I'm too sensitive about it but we got messed about par excellence at Christmas and he's still narked.

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 21:35:03

Sorry to read my positive thinking was off the mark - this is beyond the pale! You and dh simply have to call them out on it, in my opinion, as a last ditch attempt to maintain the relationship(s).

Thoughtless is bad, this seems to be pack mentality rudeness, pure and simple. You would think at least one of them would say, "why don't we invite Stephanie for brunch, especially as it's so close, and to save her a drive later?".

You are right to be upset. When you're done with that, get angry, and resolve to not be treated like this by them again. Be as frank as you can manage to be, of you spell it out, they might realise?

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 21:37:22

PS did you manage to say anything at the time? Like, "oh, I wish I'd known you were brunching near me...". Etc. or did your outrage and emotion get in the way at the time? It's much easier to deal with these things assertively in the moment (so I'm told!) than letting them fester once the moment has passed.

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 21:59:02

I didn't say anything out of pure humiliation.
It was half a plan that MIL had talked about last week, that we could meet there. It got superseded by lunch. Which was then screwed up by her email last night.

So when she told me about going, she must have simply not cared a toss. That is humiliating to me.

I honestly think she thinks this is all fine. She's quite odd. Anyway, not going to happen again. Best thing to do is to visit BIL more (not a bad idea anyway) and explain that they need to come to us when they're over, and why.

StephaniePowers Sun 07-Apr-13 22:10:47

To be fair on the others (who are all nice, but also groomed by MIL to some extent) they will not have known about the earlier plans. She does rather organise these get-together days.
Just typing that, I can see it needs to change. The sons are a bit passive when she's around though. <predictable>

madamemax Sun 07-Apr-13 22:25:17

You sound like you've found some anger and reached the end of the road for the current situation. If you can turn that anger into frank assertiveness, and positive action, then I trust you won't be left feeling like this for much longer. Some people, unfortunately, will behave as badly as they are allowed to get away with. Don't let them get away with it. :-)

StephaniePowers Tue 09-Apr-13 13:59:31

I've actually been reassessing some things that have gone on in the past.
She is nice as pie when BIL isn't around.
When he is, she messes us around. Not just me, me and DH, although obviously I am the common denominator.
This has been a pattern for years, and they explain it all away as 'Oh it's just XXX' - but it's getting context specific and worse.

Just the other day I spent a lovely few hours with her and felt we were back on the sort of even keel we were a few years ago. I could not have said that I think she dislikes me.

I think however I might be wrong, and that in her heart she tolerates me some days and cannot, for some mysterious reason, when BIL is around. Maybe he can't stand me and has told her that. I have no idea. He's usually perfectly nice towards me.

Whatever it is, I'm torn between feeling pretty much gutted, and not wanting to allow myself to be treated badly so not seeing them again. I know that if I'm repeatedly, over years and years, feeling as confused as this towards his family, it's not going to magically get better and I want to look after myself. I'm SO sad though because they can be lovely and fun.

(Which is why I was so looking forward to the day in the first place sad )

madamemax Tue 09-Apr-13 21:55:12

BIL is the golden child, perchance? Which by default means your DH is a second class citizen, and you too, by association. May be off the mark here, just seems oh so familiar...

Lueji Tue 09-Apr-13 23:08:54

Actually, it could be that she is trying to drive a wedge between you all, so that you all go to her.

Best thing to do is to visit BIL more (not a bad idea anyway) and explain that they need to come to us when they're over, and why.
Sounds good to me.
Let her go to you if she must.

StephaniePowers Wed 10-Apr-13 15:03:03

Lueji anything is possible, though her sons are pretty unmoved by her behaviour and just get on with being quite nice, really.

Hmm, yes to golden boy. Very definitely. Perhaps she is protecting him from my very presence? grin (Probably.)

StephaniePowers Wed 17-Apr-13 12:36:47

Upshot: DH had a word. MIL denied having invited me, said we'd loosely arranged I'd come over but nothing set in stone.
I have the texts so that's obviously not going to work as an explanation confused

It does show she is not going to accept she behaved badly, or apologise, or that she sees it's something that cannot happen again. So for now it's stalemate sad

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