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NC with mil but feeling!

(12 Posts)
Bigbrownmincepies Thu 26-Dec-13 11:04:53

Dh went no contact with the mil last summer (18 months ago), reasons include a history of neglect, picking and choosing when she acknowledged children & grandchildren, and choosing her step son, his life, his wants and desires over her own children. ( she has 2 boys, in their 40's, stepson is 39, so not a child).
Lots and lots more details but it would out me and it's not hugely relevant to my question.
Anyway, she has sent Xmas gifts to the kids ( quite happy with that, teen dd and almost teen ds have thanked her by text). However, Dh wasn't going to open his gift, just send it back , but bil said he should as it's a framed photo of their ( long since deceased) father.

My dilemma is, the polite past of me wants and needs to thank her, even tho my gift was yet another scarf.
What do all you folk who are nc do in situations like these?
Dh refuses to have any contact and I support him fully in this, I don't want to have anything to do with her either, but I'm new to this no contact stuff so could use advice/ opinions and thoughts.

bunchoffives Thu 26-Dec-13 11:12:02

Your NC decision is for valid reasons seemingly. Can't see why a scarf or any other kind of gift would alter that.

Bigbrownmincepies Thu 26-Dec-13 11:40:50

Thanks, it doesn't alter anything....I'm just looking for what other people in such a situation would do.
I've been brought up polite, I feel I should thank her, but I don't want to start anything with her.
So, as I said, what would others do??
Anyone who's had or gone no contact, what do you do with stuff that gets sent to you?

TheArmadillo Thu 26-Dec-13 11:49:31

Presents are a way of pressurising you to drop the NC.

They send you presents, you feel obliged to respond to say thanks, contact is reopened at least to a certain extent. People like this use social norms and ettiquette in order to manipulate you and allow them to continue the abuse. They flout the boundaries you have set and rely on these norms and ettiquette for you to let them, even thank them for it.

Whether you chose to keep the presents or not is up to you. Certainly do not put pressure on your dh to open or keep the present. I would not respond at all.

I always gave the presents to the charity shop, however my kids weren't old enough to know they had been given. Even something that was a nice gift from anyone else would remind me of them everytime I saw it so I didn't want it.

Meerka Thu 26-Dec-13 12:06:16

what armadillo says ... People like this use social norms and ettiquette in order to manipulate you and allow them to continue the abuse.

Handling it requires another step back and seeing it as part ofthe whole thing. They made you feel bad enough to go NC in the first place; this is another way of making you feel bad, by going against your own code of conduct.

badtime Thu 26-Dec-13 12:12:10

The politeness of others is one of the things that gives these people their power. It is not possible to maintain a simple 'polite' or 'nice' manner and remain non-contact, and this is something you will have to deal with.

Personally, I would not accept a gift from the family member I do not communicate with. Yes, in this situation that may have seemed rude and could have caused issues between your husband and his brother, but maintaining boundaries is not always easy.

There is no 'polite' solution.

iluvsummer Thu 26-Dec-13 13:01:24

I've been nc with pil for 18 months huge back story but involves social service, treating ds and dss differently, ignoring ds and me, accessing my medical records, spreading rumours around etc and last night my dh went up to see his son and came back with nothing for our ds, I confronted him this morning about it and he said there's a big bag of presents for ds in their house but they want to see him open them so they refused to send them back last night!

These are people who walk past my ds in the street! I can see it for what it is emotional blackmail but dh is being slowly drawn in by them again, mil text me this am to say sorry but no explination of what she was apologising for. I have been brought up to be polite but there is a reason for going nc and Ill be sticking to it, I haven't replied to her and quite frankly she can stick the presents up her backside! No one will be emotionally blackmailing me or my son! Be strong!

Floralnomad Thu 26-Dec-13 13:07:52

I'm assuming that you don't send her a gift and I would in those circumstances be sending the gifts back ,unopened.

Bigbrownmincepies Thu 26-Dec-13 13:13:05

Thankyou, all of you, especially speak a lot of sense.
My scarf will go to a charity shop, it's most probably come from one anyway so I will give back.
It's very mush emotional blackmail, the photo of dh's dad speaks volumes, he died when dh was 13/14, and he misses him so much it's tangible.
It's like she's saying ' see how much I care,I give you a photo of your father as I know how much you miss him'
Manipulating bitch.

I thank you for your wise words, and will give it no more thought. It matters to me that my children thank her, and they have done, as they are old enough to know her, remember her, and see what she sends them.

Bigbrownmincepies Thu 26-Dec-13 13:14:20

Floral that was the plan! to send them back! until bil told dh to open his as it was a framed pic of their father....that's what caused the dilemma.

Aussiebean Thu 26-Dec-13 17:45:03

Scan the photo, reprint it. Put it back in the frame and send it back.

You get to keep the photo and you have maintained your boundaries.

BetterNotBitter Thu 26-Dec-13 18:36:28

Agree with everyone else. No contact is no contact for a reason, although I sympathise fully as were in the same position with my husbands parents. Even though you know you want to keep NC you still feel a pang of guilt and obligation with things like this. Hoping it gets easier as time goes by!

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