PIL - Health and Hoovering

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PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby SonOutLaw » Thu May 17, 2018 5:22 pm

I wanted to get some feedback (I have my own notions and don't want to cloud the discussion). When it comes to parent's health, I think there this is an area that will cloud anyone's judgement.

Today, I received an email from my brother whom I have not heard from in 9 years. My brother has chosen not to stay in touch early on. He also chose a response, when we had a death in my family, that was very impersonal. We explained it to my PIL, they chose a path that was not supportive. It ultimately led more and more to a break down of communication.

So, today I get an email titled "Dad" and a short email saying "I thought you would want to know that Dad is having a heart procedure next Wednesday morning. (date and time)".

I'm going to wait for a few responses before I say what I think.
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby merlina » Thu May 17, 2018 6:26 pm

Sounds familiar. I think some families have a culture based on coldness and poor communication. I've been at my OH's home many times and thought 'Everyone here in this room behaves like a robot bar him and me!'

An inability to communicate does run in families. Sounds like yours is one of them. When my own father died my MIL never even mentioned it. it's like the empathy software was never installed!

My own late mother said of them, 'They never learned to row with two oars.' I honestly think such people have nothing to give- so don't be disappointed in zilch return whatever you decide.
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby jigglypuff » Thu May 17, 2018 11:27 pm

I'm really sorry about your dad. Well wishes and speedy recovery for him.

What Merlina said is right on. My ILs are cold people too with very poor communication skills.

When my own father died my MIL never even mentioned it. it's like the empathy software was never installed!


My MIL never offered her condolences when my GM died. When my GM was first recovering from open heart surgery, MIL got upset when I told her I was leaving her home earlier than usual on Thanksgiving to spend extra time with my GM. "Why did you have to have a family?" came out of MIl's mouth, point blank with a dead expression on her face. Was a strange, awkward moment that left me dumbstruck.

Sometimes people will use sickness or a death to hoover. I guess it depends on how you feel and want to handle it. You have to live with yourself and do what feels right for you. If you want to keep LC while your dad recovers, then do so. Just be prepared for the worse. Best of luck on your decision.
'As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am... That you're not here to ruin it for me'
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby SonOutLaw » Fri May 18, 2018 7:18 am

Thanks jigglypuff and merlina. The lack of empathy is my family dynamic.

I see this situation as a no win for my family all around. Whatever we do, it will not be enough. If we travel to his side, we'll get the silent treatment or passive aggressive treatment. The goal is to get me to react or complain and then use the story to their benefit: "Dad was dying but all sonoutlaw did was complain about himself." vs "Sonoutlaw never even called."

I believe the communication was directed by my mom through my brother. If we ask for details on what is happening (obviously they have known this information longer, he didn't book a heart procedure in a week) will require direct contact. It puts brother in charge as he has the information (which is the situation my mom wants to set up). I've seen this before, I had a coworker (pretty sure he was a sociopath) who used information as power. The NC works because my mom gets her power from taking information she learns about us and twisting it into negative for my brother's delight. Diminish our successes and embellish our failures Without information, brother has little need for her. Without a punching bag, they have to aim at someone else within the circle.

The best case scenario for us would be to cut them out of communication and contact dad. We tried setting up that relationship a few years ago (invited just dad to events, took dad to places he liked, sent dad gifts on his birthday), however it was bad for dad. My mom would instruct him to not stop at our house (out of state) when he was traveling in our area. He would say he was coming by then would not and it was never spoken of again. On several visits, my mom would call him on his phone, he'd take it outside, and you could hear her convincing him to come home as he was needed (10 min after arriving). My brother and mom treat him poorly but he now identifies with his captors and tries to punish my family for what they put him through. He refuses to stand up to them, so we now see him as part of the problem. I don't know how you enable people against evil.

When we had the death in our family, it was the same thing for my extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, parents sent a card some did nothing during a time we were devastated, worse he rubbed it in our faces. Brother did the bare minimum in an event that requires at least a phone call It was eye opening but also makes you wonder how to respond to things. If they see this as acceptable, then trying to offer comfort must be the wrong thing to do when it comes to them. On the other hand, a cousin who has used my family over the years and treated us poorly receives much attention and adoration from my family during a similar event. How does someone choose to have empathy for one and not the other? Bringing these events up gets turned back on us: "Don't be petty" when all we want to do is understand the social construct.
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby Melody » Fri May 18, 2018 9:04 am

SonOutLaw it sounds like you've got the entire picture. Sorry :(.

There IS crappy communication in a lot of families. I'm absolutely guilty of it (fortunately my DH is pretty good). As an example, I found out about an event my ODD was in (No she didn't tell me - the parents group did). I asked her if she wanted me to come along with her younger (half) siblings - who she adores. The response I got (and we message A LOT) was she "didn't want too many people there". Well I was devastated and respected what I THOUGHT were her wishes - and didn't go.

We've spoken numerous times ON THE PHONE since then (one being a panicked call when I didn't show up) - WHICH IS WHAT YOUR BROTHER SHOULD HAVE DONE instead of messaging. That is, if he CARED. It turns out my daughter REALLY wanted her sibs and I there and was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, she seems to have inherited my and my crap ex's communication skills. She just ASSUMED I would be there and was excited. The message she sent was a VENT about her father (my ex) constantly inviting himself, his super embarassing father, and his latest flavor of the month girlfriend.

With that said, it sounds like there COULD be a breakdown or lack of communication going on. Written messages can easily be misinterpreted. But the message your brother sent sounds REALLY passive agressive. You know, "I'm just letting YOU know, in just in CASE you started to care!". What Bullsh*t and scapegoat hedging! He IS the definition of petty!

So sorry you're dealing with this. I hope your dad gets through this well. Best wishes!

@Merlina - "They never learned to row with two oars" - ROFLMAO! The daughter I just threw under the bus is actually a champion varsity rower. I'll have to use that analogy with her! LOL!!!!!!
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby PutMILinherplace » Fri May 18, 2018 9:36 am

You are also assuming your brother is telling the truth. It could be that they have decided now is a good time to try to get you back thinking they have let enough time lapse to either teach you a lesson with the silent treatment or thinking that enough time has passed that you will forget everything they have done. Or it could also be that your dad is having an ingrown toenail taken care of. I wouldnt put either past them.

But it could be serious. Honestly, I would vote for NC though. I know this is hard but your dad made his decision. He chose to side with the evil. He may not be evil but he has sided with the abusers. He didn't care enough about you or your family to stand up to evil, hate to put it that way but it is the truth. You now have to concentrate on protecting you and your family and that means dad is out. I know that hurts and I know that will be hard but I dont see where you have any choice but to protect yourselves.

PS Now would be a good time to change your email address or at least block your brother's
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby Queenof3 » Fri May 18, 2018 2:48 pm

If you care about your father (AKA you haven't had the love sucked out of you by his actions) then send him a card, signator ONLY required, and tell him you were told he was having X procedure, and that you wish him a healthy recovery. Then, speak of your love for him, thank him for his influence in your life, your (good/funny/loving) memories, and that you love seeing him in you & your children because he is a part of their history. Then, take a deeeep breath, and let it go. You will never regret this. Block all others from communication.
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby Yacky » Sun May 20, 2018 12:19 am

SonOutLaw wrote:Thanks jigglypuff and merlina. The lack of empathy is my family dynamic.

I see this situation as a no win for my family all around. Whatever we do, it will not be enough. If we travel to his side, we'll get the silent treatment or passive aggressive treatment.


Personally, I think you should consider setting aside what anyone else thinks of you. You're probably right - probably anything you do will never be "good enough" (god, can I relate to that!), but you can't make your decision based on what some snoots might think of you.

It definitely won't be fun is people act passive aggressively, but one would hope that they would not act openly inappropriately while you're in the hospital room. If you think they might, ask a nurse to go in with you (tell them quietly beforehand that your family has a strained relationship, and you want to ensure that this is about your DAD and not upsetting him while he's recovering) so that she can act as both a buffer and to potentially escort out anyone who might become openly hostile. (just a thought)

My IL's are exactly the same way. My husband got a short, curt dressing down from his sister because SHE didn't feel he was doing enough to be in touch with MIL while she was dealing with FIL's throat cancer diagnosis (when in reality, DH was in touch MORE in 3 months than he had been in YEARS with phone calls, webcam visits, FB private messages and sending gifts to cheer them up). My MIL tried to make it all about HER, so she shivered and quivered to SIL to stir her up to call DH and bitch at him so he'd give MIL more attention (rather sick when you think about it - turning her husband's diagnosis into a huge drama show so that SHE would be bombarded with attention).

Anyway, DH simply ignored his sister's message (he only responds to her when she can be respectful - which isn't very often).

Sometimes people act the way they do to get you all riled up emotionally, while they sit there like cold fish acting like they've never had an emotion in their entire lives...just so YOU look like an unstable loon. Don't fall for that trap.

All the best for your dad's procedure.
~~ Some people really need a great big high-five....to the face....with a baseball bat ~~
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Re: PIL - Health and Hoovering

Postby SonOutLaw » Thu May 24, 2018 6:45 am

Thanks yacky! I might not have worded that section well around "not good enough". We don't care what they think, however the openly passive aggressive actions we're no longer tolerating. My grandmother passed a few years ago. During her decline, we had gone up to visit with her (my mom cut off grandmother when I was 10), we helped to clean the house for sale and spent time with my dad (mom and brothers did some photo ops once that year as I recall, but no real work or socializing). I drove to the funeral, my mother has all our phone numbers but chose to call our home number over and over to find out where I was (I arrived early). She did this within ear shot of everyone at the funeral to cause drama, she could have called my cell phone at any time but always plays the game "I don't remember it". Sure I sat with them at the funeral. I made a small connection with my younger brother and he was going to ride with me over to the graveyard. My older brother quickly told him, "No, you're riding with me." and he turned around and followed without a word. After the funeral, my brothers congregated away from me (my mom and dad followed them). I refused to follow their lead and spoke with the pastor and other relatives who attended. After the funeral, mom, dad and brother quickly hopped in their car and drove away to have lunch, I was not told or invited. I drove the 3 hours back home. In hindsight, these are not normal actions but this is how it has been at any gathering for the last 5 years. No one explains it or talks about it. You're told that you're "petty" if you bring it up or the ownership for receiving passive aggressive behavior is put back on me.

I could insert myself and make it uncomfortable, I probably should, but I'm not going to put in the effort. NC is NC for us. The 'rents and PILs are all happy with it when it's to their advantage (doting goldens, free from non-golden grandchildren, free from holiday visits) until they get sick. Then it all changes as the non-empathetic family members (typically goldens as I learn from this message board) are unable to support their emotional well being and certainly not their financial.

We gave my dad multiple options over the years to do the right thing, however like a lot of DH I hear about on this board, he tried to play the fence between us and my mom. My mom will have complete devotion or you get nothing. He is now on-board with that decision rather than fight it. I believe this to mean my mom has given him certain status/privilege for making a go at getting our family to be subservient. It's hard to tell as they openly gossip with my brothers but when we enter the room or get on a phone call its silence...they know nothing.

We're done.
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