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what do you think?

I love my dh, and his family has deffinately grown to be a part of mine.  Two of his brothers are currently going through difficult divorces. I try to stay totally ambivilant about whats happening between ex sil and bils, and I do for the most part (sometimes I tell dh what I really think, but I don't share it anyone else in his family).

My niece celebrated her 2nd birthday in mid September, and bil planned a birthday party for her on his weekend with the chlidren.  It worked out great that the weekend he had them fell on the weekend that my other bil had his children, and I was off ( I work everyother weekend). A few days before the party mil called and said that for some unknown reason ex sil decided to keep the kids that weekend and have her own party, and they would have to have dn party the following weekend.  Not too big of a deal, I couldn't come the next weekend, but dh could go and take a gift.

A few days later ex sil msgd me and ask how I was doing. I told her I was doing great, and ask her how she was. Her first response was "I'm good, we had the most WONDERFUL birthday party for dd on Saturday". I replied back with "I'm glad to hear it". She then ask me if I was going to the party bil was having for her.  I told her no, that I had to work, but that dh would go.  Suddenly ex sil got very upset and told me "Well I told mil that everyone was invited to dd birthday that I had, but I guess she didn't tell anyone."  A few hours later she called screaming at my mil. Heres what I don't understand....

1. If you really wanted everyone to know that they were invited to the birthday party for dd why didn't you call and invite them instead of relying on your ex mil to do it?

2. If you are going to invite bils entire family, but forbid bil to be there, do you really expect us to go?

I don't know if she was really upset about this, or more upset about the fact that no one really cared that she didn't let dn come that weekend. In the end, shes really only hurting the children.

How would you have handeled this situation?


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Re: what do you think?

  • I'd butt the Fvck out...that's how I would handle it.

    ETA I'd never expect IL's to cross party lines (so to speak) if their own son/brother wasn't welcome at the party.

  • butt out of what?  I don't think I'm butting in.


    Your second response is what I was looking for.  I want to be coridial towards her when she speaks to me, but I don't want to be drug into the mayhem.  I don't know how to politely avoid her.  It seems commen sense that she would know we wouldn't be interested in going to a party that bil isn't invited to.  This leads me to believe shes just trying to stir up trouble.  If you note the op you will see that she contacted me, brought up the party, and then she, not me, got upset and called mil screaming. Why? What I'd like to know is how other people handle ex inlaws trying to cause conflict. Do you just totally ignore them?


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  • My general rule is to ignore anyone who is just trying to stir up drama. Ex-inlaws or not.

    Sometimes it is easy to get dragged into the middle of things. The phone call they made preys on your mind, other people ring, text, email to hear your point of view etc etc

    So it can take a bit of an conscious choice to step back from it. But it's what I try and do 99% of the time.

    Often these people will get tired of it when you don't give them the attention they crave. It's the reward of everyone's attention that keeps them wanting to stir up more drama. 

    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • In the given situation I think you did well to be polite and cordial.

    However, she clearly took the information you gave her and pitched a fit at MIL. So maybe next time you say, "I'd rather not discuss this with you" If she's trying to dig for information on what the rest of the family are doing.

    It's not your job to keep her informed or to feed her hysteria.

    If she asks you directly why you didn't attend her party. You could be direct and give your thoughts ie. a) It's not MILs job to pass on your invites and b) I don't feel comfortable going somewhere BIL is not welcome.

    Or you could simply say, "I'd rather not discuss it" 

    If she gets mad at you then yous imply say, "I'm not interested in this, I'm going now." and hang up.

     If you get angry with her or try and reason with her then you are only feeding her need to discuss the whole issue and drama. She clearly created this situation. Which is her choice, but you get to choose if you're going to be a part of it.

    Personally I wouldn't. If you're firm, polite and refuse to be drawn on the topic then she'll give up. Eventually.

    Good luck. 

    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • I think you handled it fine.  She contacted you, she asked you a couple questions, you answered.  EVerything based on what YOU knew and what YOU did.

    What she did w/ that information - out of your control.  You can do the "I don't want to discuss it" thing, but depending on what is being asked and when, that could actually add fuel to the fire.

    In the example you gave us, though, when she asked "are yo ugoing to bil's party?", to THAT I could easily see saying "I'd rather not discuss BIL.".  I think that's a VERY fair response,.

    But realize this- she IS looking to stir up drama, she absolutely wanted HER party to be the ONLY party, and she wanted BIL to miss out on it.  SHe's playing games and trying to involve you all in it, and no matter what you say or don't say - she's going to do something w/ it.

    The only other thing I would do is get on the same page as MIL and others (if necessary).  Just so that if SIL talks to you, draws whatever conclusions she's going to draw, then goes and yells at MIL - that MIL knows whats going on and doesn't get sucked into the drama herself.  You all need to be a united front now that you all know what SIL is probably going to try and do in the future.  The more together you all are, the less her games will work and she may actually give up!

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • She called you purposely to prod into why no one showed up. You fell for it and she got what she wanted. Next time do not be so easily tricked.

    I definitely would have said something like" You should have invited people yourself and not have relied on someone else to do it for you"

  • imagemagsugar13:

    She called you purposely to prod into why no one showed up. You fell for it and she got what she wanted. Next time do not be so easily tricked.

    I definitely would have said something like" You should have invited people yourself and not have relied on someone else to do it for you"

    This. I think the ex sil manipulated you into a situation from which she could vent on her ex mil.


  • By inviting her entire ex-husband's family, but forbidding her ex-husband, she was just playing a petty game to try and hurt him.  I think her ex-MIL handled it correctly by ignoring her 'invitation.'  I'm also confident that she doesn't really care that none of you came, and is just happy to have an excuse to stir the pot.

    All she wanted from you was a way to cause problems with your family, and it worked.  Next time she is obviously fishing for something to get upset over you really need to find a way to change the subject or get off the phone.

  • I'd handle it exactly how you did.  Let it be between the former SIL and her former MIL.  You're absolutely right -- if she wanted to invite the whole family, she should have done it herself.

    This is not uncommon confusion for newly separated/divorced couples with kids.  They'll figure it out eventually.  Just keep out of it and give them all time to sort out how they deal with situations like this.

    Oh, and if MIL calls to complain that xSIL called and reamed her as a result of the phone call you and xSIL had, just tell MIL that you're sorry she got reamed and that you're sure she and xSIL will deal with it, but that it's not your business.

  • 1).  When she said she told ex-MIL that you all were invited, you should have said, "I only accept invitations when I'm personally invited by the host."   You don't show up to someone's house when they haven't personally invited you.   Her fault, 100%. 

    2).  Your MIL is a big girl.  She can handle her ex-DIL calling her to pitch a fit.   It's not your fault, and you shouldn't be expected to do anything about it.

    3).  If MIL calls you to yell at you, that's when you say, "Listen, this is none of my business.  I'm not taking sides, and I'd like to be left out of it." 


  • Thank you for all the great advice. Fortunately MIL didn't even react to her crazy episode, when ex sil called yelling at her and saying she never wanted to talk to her again, mil said "okay" and blew it off. Mil called and told dh about what happend, but wasn't upset with me at all. 

    I agree that it doesn't matter how neutral I try to stay, if shes looking to stir the pot, she'll use whatever information I give.  I hadn't considered before that she was communicating with me for that purpose, but it does make sense.  I am going to be careful to not divuldge anything even remotley pertaining to bil in the future.


    <a href=""><img src="" width="400" height="80" border="0" alt="Lilypie First Birthday tickers" /></a>
  • I think you handled everything fine. she sounds like a real winner. She was trying to get information out of you and that is not your fault she would have gotten it from either you or another relative. glad that your mil took it with a grain of salt.

    I agree with you that if she wanted people to come she would have contacted each person. look she contacted you when she needed more fuel for the fire so she could have called you for the party!

    not inviting the childs father is just tacky! she needs to grow up!


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  • I'm going to give you the *same* snark my DH told me when my exSIL pulled the same thing..."ExSIL's reasoning is simple: It's her world and we're just living in it."

    Basically, it's up to you if you want to play a role in her dramafest...and that's all it is.  Everything is a manipulation so that she can play offended, wronged, injured martyr.  Puhleeze.  From this point on, I'd really reduce the contact I have with her directly...for *me* that meant, no I will not be attending her soirees, but will be attending family hosted functions.  She's not family, your young niece isn't hosting, and your young niece isn't missing out as there will be a family party on your DH's side of simply can't reschedule, and that was because exSIL decided she needed to rule the universe on already scheduled dates. 

    How I would have handled it would have been to tell her just that.  I wouldn't need to be snarky, but just truthfully that she changed plans that were already in place and that it was darned decent of DBIL to allow things to go smoothly for her for the sake of the child and not turn a birthday into a power issue between two adults.  You had plans to be there, you couldn't accomodate a change but DH could and you weren't miffed (outwardly at least) that her changes affected that, so they shouldn't miff her either.

    As it stands with me, we still get last minute changes (and my DB lets it happen every single time) and we get invitations through my mother (exSIL's ex MIL) and I never so much as give an RSVP. 

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