Family Vent - Ugh! (Not mine this time!)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Brief update on husband's family since I don't talk about them much.

    C, his mom, is elderly and does not hear at all. She also is a true diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive animal hoarder, arrested for such on multiple occasions. To put it mildly, she smells. husband can't stand to be around her, although she does live within 20 miles. I try to make him stay in contact with her, but it is difficult at best. Cards and gifts are purchased and sent by me. husband is the oldest.

    The middle sister, A, lived in California for many years, and about 12 years ago moved back here. She lived with their mom for a number of years, including two of her three children, Le, (now 30 y/s) P (now 21 y/o), and M (now 15 y/o). Le, the oldest daughter lived elsewhere when A first moved back to town and was a total difficult child. All of these children have different fathers whom none of us have ever met. Le moved back into town about 5 years ago and moved in with C, about the time that A, P, and M moved out. Le moved a friend in with C and "lived off" of her for a while. All we knew about her and her friend was how much they "like to go out dancing" and C had to keep quiet so she won't wake them during the day. While the housing market was still high husband & I encouraged C to sell the house and get into a very nice and affordable assisted living facility in the neighborhood at the time. She couldn't be talked away from her ability to hoard, so that was a no go, and Le made it clear that she was not happy that we were trying to take away her free room and board. Then Le had a baby a couple of years back and later got a place of her own. We learned about the baby when C called to tell us about it after the fact.

    The youngest Brother is J. He & his wife T have always lived within about 20 miles, and we don't see a lot of them, although we do try to participate in things when we are invited, which is few and far between. We were invited to Christmas in about 1993. Other than that and one of his wife's grown son's graduation, which we traveled by car 400 miles for in 2001, we have never been invited to any family or holiday event by any of these people.

    We've done Christmas's and Thanksgivings, and Mother's Days, over the years, and invited them. They came at first, but would show up two hours late, having already eaten at the homeless shelter before they came. A's daughter M was dirty and wiped food all over the curtains and walls and would chase the dogs through the house. A would never say a thing to her. So between not having anyone who actually wanted to be here from my family, and their obvious disinterest in celebrating a holiday with us, we gave up on the major holidays. Besides, when we did ask, we were told that it was happening at J's house or A's house but got no "would you like to join us". We've invited them all to most any large event that we've held in our home our outside the home over the years, and other than husband's 50th b-day last year which only J and his wife T came to, not one of them has ever shown up. J usually responds "no", and we never hear anything one way or another from the rest of them. We tried to make arrangements do dinner with husband's mom for Christmas last year, but J told us that Le had already planned Christmas for their mom so that was a "no". We weren't invited. I thought it was quite rude, but I don't really like these people so no I got over it. I can tell it rubbed husband the wrong way, though.

    So, out of the blue in February we get a "Save the Date" for Le's wedding to be held this fall about 100 miles from home. There was no "rsvp" on it, just a magnet. We've never met the bride or the groom, and haven't seen the rest of the family in years. I put a note on my calendar to send a gift and forgot about it. Yesterday C called while husband was out to ask if we were coming. She's so deaf, I'm not going to try to explain it to her on the phone. I sent a note to Le's mom A, and to J explaining that we couldn't really afford to travel (true), that we don't actually know Le or her fiance (true) and that we won't be coming, but would send a nice gift from wherever they are registered.

    This did not go over well. J's wife T wrote back that we should have taken this opportunity to get to know them, and we were invited because we "are family and family is what is important to Le and her fiance". Really? It hasn't been important to her in the past when it was general family stuff we wanted to share or would have liked to have been invited to. It hasn't been important to her in the past when we wanted to share our family's special times.

    You know that I politely let her have it with both barrels. Traveling is too physically demanding upon me to do it for one day for someone I don't know and I let that be known. If they had spent any time with us they would know that, but I left that unsaid. We have now said "no" to one invite. We might have said "yes" if anyone had ever made an attempt to respond to any of our past invitations to them or invited us to anything else, but that wasn't the case. No one should be mad, and it wasn't meant to make anyone mad. I made it very clear that if we were keeping score they were all way ahead of the game in blowing people off. They don't get to play the "you people acted like you were too good for us" card at this point. And I reiterated that we would be sending a gift. They can do with it what they please.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  2. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Has anyone reported your mother in law to Adult Protective Services?
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Many times. She can choose to live that way if she wants. She owns her home, so there isn't a landlord to kick her out. The times she has been arrested and institutionalized (she never goes to jail, it's clear she's mentally unwell) have been for animal cruelty. Animals die when they are with her. She then is usually put on probation for a period where she must limit the number of animals in her home, but that can only last so long as the law allows. For right now, she's on her own again.
  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Now at this point I would even forget sending a gift. You have done way more reaching out than anyone in this situation would do first of all.
    Now, you've been through enough in your life that you don't need to be doing anything other than what's best for you and husband. For some someone to have the audacity to exclaim that "you think you're too good for them" is beyond rude and wrong after all the reaching out you've done. They're not even worth being mad at, you're mental health is too valuable to waste on them. Just let it roll off your back and we both know you'll have a much better time doing anything than being at that party. Your feelings are important and how many times have they dismissed them?? Too many! Forget it and don't feel bad. (((hugs)))
  5. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Figured that was the case with mother in law. Too bad. Where does she get the animals? I assume the local shelters/SPCA/rescue people know not to let her adopt an animal?

    As for the relatives, I'd make your gift consist of a card and maybe a set of shower curtain rings. Sounds like it's no loss if you "alienate" the deadbeats.

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    She steals animals off the street. No stray in her neighborhood is safe. There are literally dozens of dead animals buried in her yard.
  7. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Yikes. That is pretty um icky. Would not want to be the person that finally gets the house after she's gone.

    I'm sorry for husband and you that she's unwilling to cooperate with mental health treatment. Sure sounds like she needs it. At least my crazy grandmother didn't hurt animals. She took spikes and nailed her front door shut and threw out her food every so often because of her paranoia but she never hurt an animal or person physically. Well, except when she decked the nurse when she got hospitalized for a broken hip and they had to restrain her cause she was psychotic. :tinfoilhatsmile:
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    She doesn't intentionally harm animals, she just loves them to death. She won't let them out of the house because she's afraid they'll "run away". She doesn't feed them right, she doesn't take them to the vet, they get feline leukemia, they get other cancers, it's just a terribly unhealthy environment.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    in my opinion you've already went above and beyond.

    I'd have trouble sending a gift to "family" that was a stranger even if it was a wedding, more so under the circumstances.

    Sad for husband's Mom though.......sad for the animals too.
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?


    You're nicer than me, I wouldn't send a gift. Situations like this really tick me off.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I come from a family spread over a large area. All my siblings were invited to my three older kids' weddings, but the two who live furthest away were unable to attend. My eldest brother didn't get to any of the weddings - a combination of being broke, and having surgery schedule for prostate cancer repair work. He had no control over when the surgery was scheduled. My sister (the youngest) lives half an hour south of our older brother, was able to attend only one wedding because their farm was in harvest mode for the other two. Sis-in-law lives on the other side of the country, got upset at the date for difficult child 1's wedding and actually wanted us to change it to a few weeks later, so it would be more convenient for her. I was sad that not all my siblings could make it, but I understood. I wasn't happy with sis-in-law's continued expressions of unhappiness over the date, there was no way we could make such a change.

    Some people make life easy for you. Some make it difficult. With the ones who make life difficult, we tend to not put ourselves out for as much. It's a fact of life.

    Witz, you've done everything you could and more. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty.

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I'd send an open ended - non-filled gift card, to a local restaurant in my neighborhood, with an expiration date - stating :

    Your Mother said FAMILY was very important to you and what's his name. Please feel free to use this restaurant gift card anytime between now and XX and husband and I will be glad to pick up the tab at a restaurant close to our house one evening. We'd love to meet your new husband and take you out to a wonderful dinner and get to know you better!

    Yeah - something like that should suffice (I'd also seal my card with my usual wax seal and 2 horse-shoe prints) doubly smart*****
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I kind of like that idea, Star!

    Marg, as usual you're spot on. They've not only not made my life easier, they've made it more difficult. They don't deserve my anger, it takes too much energy and I could be spending my time better. That being said, this is husband's sister, & he should have dealt with this from the get-go a month ago after he announced "No way we're going to that!"