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In Laws inventing problems AGAIN

(59 Posts)
PrincessBuggerPants Sun 01-Nov-20 20:03:12

I have managed to remain suitably detached from my awful in laws, but they managed to make me see red this afternoon over the latest bonkers problem inventing fiasco.

My child's birthday is soon and they had asked what my child would like and we made a suggestion. They bought this. Fine, and nice of them. I am genuinely grateful.

However, we found out in this weekend's weekly Skype meeting that they took it upon themselves to assemble it, decided it was so hard to assemble that they refuse to disassemble it as they want to save us the trouble of reassembling it… This means it doesn't fit back in the box. They say they can't find another box it will fit in, so can't send it.

We suggested they drive it down to us tomorrow afternoon and see their grandchild before lockdown on Thursday. This is not possible because they are making some other bits to go with the gift and they aren't going to be finished by tomorrow. Lovely. So I (stupidly) suggested that they just send us those bits in the post when they are finished.

MIL immediately snapped that I 'obviously, really, really wanted to get my hands on this present' angry

I am seeing red as around this time last year we tried to organise Christmas with them and they kicked up a stink about not being able to fit us in with other family members who might (though they hadn't actually asked them yet) might also want to come. After pleading with them that actually we would all be able to fit in the house fine in various very straightforward sleeping arrangements, I (stupidly) suggested we might just come up on Christmas Day early in the morning and leave in the evening as they are just over an hour away.

You would have thought I had served them a shit sandwich. MIL was furious and when I asked her if she would rather we didn't come at all, simply didn't have an answer for that. Then, and only then did she concede she would ask the other family members if they were coming or not (they weren't). We went up for Christmas, had an ok time, and they bonkersness about her flap about sleeping arrangements was never mentioned ever again.

What do you call this behaviour?

It is worse than problem finding, it is problem inventing, but the problems are demonstrably not real. So it's not even shit stirring.

OP’s posts: |
justgeton Sun 01-Nov-20 20:11:16

Sounds like they can't do right for doing wrong to me.

They're trying to help you out by not asking you to rebuild something, and commented it wouldn't fit in the box. Did they say that was it? No present? Or are they trying to find a solution, given the chance.

You MIL isn't the only woman to stress about Christmas.

Why not invite them to yours?

PrincessBuggerPants Sun 01-Nov-20 20:14:43

I would like to politely point out this isn't AIBU.

In answer to your question @justgeton they didn't 'comment' it wouldn't fit in the box. They very much presented us with the problem of they didn't know how to get a birthday present to us, and threw back every single suggestion we had. We made it perfectly, perfectly clear we were happy to reassemble the item. We spent longer discussing it with them than they admitted it would have taken to assemble it i.e. 30 minutes.

OP’s posts: |
BitOfFun Sun 01-Nov-20 20:18:38

Presumably it wouldn't fit in the box even if they had managed to put it together? What were they intending to send it in then?

Lollypop701 Sun 01-Nov-20 20:22:44

Don’t offer solutions more than once. Just make vague happy uhmmmm noises. It’s attention seeking, so give them your advice once and then ignore it. They sound like they like the drama, nothing wrong wit hmmmmm to that, but you don’t have to join in

Sunshinegirl82 Sun 01-Nov-20 20:27:48

Stop offering solutions would be my advice. I'd say something like "Gosh, that does sound tricky! I'm sure you'll come up with a solution though, we're happy to help anyway we can just let us know what you need us to do."

Don't engage with it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Nov-20 20:28:17

What does your husband think of his parents behaviours?. Why is he seemingly not talking to them here with regards to his child’s present?
He is key here.

I would further raise your boundaries with regards to them also as they still appear to be too low.

Bluetrews25 Sun 01-Nov-20 20:33:50

Who opens a present to assemble and then take it apart again?!
They clearly don't have enough to occupy them.
Agree with PP - bat the problem they have made back to them.

PrincessBuggerPants Sun 01-Nov-20 20:47:38

@AttilaTheMeerkat he had been discussing this with them for a good 20 minutes with me in the background looking after our son. It is a small, open plan house.

I got so furious with the general exchange after trying to detach that after the point where they said they couldn't just drive the present to ours because of the inverse-Deus Ex Machina they came up with of the present wasn't actually finished yet, because of some bits they were making to add to it, that I snapped/suggested they could just send them in the post.

I appreciate that I do need stronger boundaries with them (my husband doesn't agree that he does), but feel that some kind of way of describing this behaviour, if only to myself, might help with that.

OP’s posts: |
jrb123 Sun 01-Nov-20 21:16:25

We have a word in Scots for them: thrawn. It means perverse, obstinate, peevish grin

BlueJava Sun 01-Nov-20 21:19:09

You seem way too over involved with your ILs just back off and let DH sort. I only ever manage to make mmm, yeah, oh dear type noises. Às for a weekly Skype call - why if you don't get on?

Sunnydaysstillhere Sun 01-Nov-20 21:22:12

Why on earth would they have even contemplated opening the box??

Sunnydaysstillhere Sun 01-Nov-20 21:26:07

Just remembered a scenario regarding my ils and making life difficult for themselves .
They lived a good hour away.. One year I forgot my purse en route to holiday abroad (driving) .. Had dh's but not mine. Ils had a key to our house. They drove to our home every day to use my own bank's cash machine to take out the daily allowance and put it in dh's bank. Apparently to be sure my card would work in the atm machine... The one's in their home town might not accept my card....

Thatwentbadly Sun 01-Nov-20 21:26:17

I can’t figure out if they are looking for an excuse for not being able to post it and therefore they need to visit. Or if they are disorganised or both.

PrincessBuggerPants Sun 01-Nov-20 21:45:15

Thank you BlueJava but honestly you would recommend just making noises, or ignoring the making of plans that directly affect you?

I appreciate the birthday present is a small(ish) issue, but Christmas plans you might have to go along with? Honestly?

OP’s posts: |
BlueThistles Sun 01-Nov-20 21:51:30

Why the FUCK did they think it appropriate to try to assemble it knowing it couldn't then be sent ? sounds dodgy as hell to me.. are you sure they bought it.. your MIL sounds like a contrary DICK. flowers

PrincessBuggerPants Sun 01-Nov-20 21:55:25

@Thatwentbadly I think this is to do with wanting to visit. Previously they have announced they have to come and see us to hand over a present as it is too big to post, and then it has turned out to be a bottle of hot sauce confused But if we try to make plans for them to visit they can thwart that by being unwilling to accept about pretty much any scenario we suggest.

Plus illness, Covid and you know lockdown has affected some plans meaning they can't go ahead, through nobody's fault. They rarely suggest rescheduling plans that fall through though.

We have rarely said no on the rare occasions they have suggested visiting us.

OP’s posts: |
picklemewalnuts Sun 01-Nov-20 22:10:53

It's passive aggressive control freakery.

Sunnydaysstillhere Sun 01-Nov-20 22:16:35

Ime gifts from ils always came with strings..

Longsight2019 Mon 02-Nov-20 01:06:15

sounds like my idiotic NPD in law. Everything is a problem. Always catastrophising the minutai. Loves a drama. Will take offence rather than move on. Likes to punish herself and others. Rarely a ‘yes, sure, not a problem’, more a ‘we’ll let you know once we’ve thought of imaginary reasons why we can’t do XYZ’

They’re a drain on life itself and would be better off ignored.

Onjnmoeiejducwoapy Mon 02-Nov-20 01:39:28

They sound like a pain in the ass but it also sounds like you’re really massively overreacting to it.

Honestly? Just ignore it, some people are just stressy and disorganised. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people, just irritating.

In the nicest way possible though, you do seem quite easy to irrriate! So step back and let their son deal with them

PurpleTrilby Mon 02-Nov-20 02:14:02

They're fucking batshit crazy. They clearly love the drama and I could not deal with it. Leave your husband to it. His circus if he continues to put up with them. I'd suggest counselling for him though. Sounds pretty enmeshed. Fuck drama, there's enough around anyway!

HellonHeels Mon 02-Nov-20 02:34:28

I agree with pp who suggested they haven't actually bought it.

Ignore the whole thing.

joangray38 Mon 02-Nov-20 02:50:51

If it’s something you really want just tell them you will buy it and they can return the one they bought.

WellQualifiedToRepresentTheLBC Mon 02-Nov-20 03:53:12

You've really got to practice your "mmhmm, oh dear, what a shame, more tea??" face op.

If they have a massive stressy plan to come by etc, just say "of course" or "sorry that doesnt work for us" and leave it. Or better yet just let your dh deal with it, practice some self control and stop trying to save them from themselves. Let them fuck up Christmas once or twice, they will soon learn. It doesn't have to be perfect and sometimes letting them stress out and fuck up is the best lesson.

Never complain, never explain, that is the key to IL relationships IMO.

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