• Announcements

    • LatoyaADMIN

      What to do if you get a "Wrong Password" message   01/21/16

      You must reset your password (even if you know it's the right one) before you can sign into the community. Thanks to the upgrade, there's an issue with passwords and signing in. The good news is that you can click here: http://community.grandparents.com/index.php?/lostpassword/ to change your password (it'll let you reuse your old one). If you can't reach the email address connected to your account then please contact the admin at latoya@grandparents.com and I'll help you sort it out. 
    • LatoyaADMIN

      Anonymous posting is back   01/21/16

      We've removed the extra step that required you to go to the full-page editor to access the anonymous post option. Now, you can reply to a post and toggle the button to post anonymous (see photo below).    Read more on anonymous posting here:    In short, the mods can see who posts as anonymous, we moderate anonymous posts the same as revealed posts, you can reply anonymously to your own topic, you may report anonymous posts.
RoseRed135

Passive Agression

129 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, Mame925 said:

Not attending the shower smacks of passive aggressiveness as well. I'd go to support my son & his wife having a baby. I have the personal self confidence to go into a room where I don't know/barely know anyone. Speak to someone who looks familiar (will others from your side of the family be there?). Be pleasant, be polite. You are an accessory at this event. Think pretty bracelet, not dirty petticoat....Rise above the pettiness or just ignore it. 

I don't agree that Constance not attending DIL's shower is passive aggressive.  I think its simply an honest and genuine response to a gathering that she is not up to attending based on past experiences.  I think if Constance purposely didn't respond to the invite or showed up at the shower late and sulked or bought DIL a book on how to be a nicer person as a shower gift, etc. that would be passive aggressive.   I also think that it is hard at times to just put on a "polite and cordial" face at gatherings in which you feel like you are the odd wo(man) out or are in a room full of people you'd rather not be with.  In this case, if you don't think you are up to being "polite and cordial" for whatever reason - and there can be many - maybe it's best to decline the invite. 

 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BSW said:

I don't agree that Constance not attending DIL's shower is passive aggressive.  I think its simply an honest and genuine response to a gathering that she is not up to attending based on past experiences.  I think if Constance purposely didn't respond to the invite or showed up at the shower late and sulked or bought DIL a book on how to be a nicer person as a shower gift, etc. that would be passive aggressive.   I also think that it is hard at times to just put on a "polite and cordial" face at gatherings in which you feel like you are the odd wo(man) out or are in a room full of people you'd rather not be with.  In this case, if you don't think you are up to being "polite and cordial" for whatever reason - and there can be many - maybe it's best to decline the invite.

I certainly don't think it's passive aggressive to decline.

I suspect I would go, be gracious, leave asap. I chat well - appear to have never met a stranger. BUT if I was so annoyed I couldn't be polite & didn't think our son cared - I'd just regret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the years I've made efforts to communicate what events I'm not interested in attending or hosting, what I'll accept in our home and what I won't- This has resulted in less contact over time as the years go by- If people can't treat each other as equals or at the very least make an effort to, gatherings that are intended to be enjoyed can rapidly become very tense, even those geared towards the children, even with their best interests in mind, even when the childrens parents preferences are met- When I do choose to accept an invitation to an event I'm often met with at least one passive aggressive comment, frequently spoken in the company of others in attendance- Also often enough the company makes it known through their sarcasm that they've been made privy to or are familiar with the source of the presented aggression- And while this can be uncomfortable at times I understand how people gravitate towards supporting aggressive behavior in order to protect and preserve whatever grudge is being held as well as unhealthy dynamics- Which is why I think Mame hit the nail on the head when she said, "You are an accessory at this event- Rise above-" 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Mame925 said:

Not attending the shower smacks of passive aggressiveness as well . I'd go to support my son & his wife having a baby. I have the personal self confidence to go into a room where I don't know/barely know anyone. Speak to someone who looks familiar (will others from your side of the family be there?). Be pleasant, be polite. You are an accessory at this event. Think pretty bracelet, not dirty petticoat....Rise above the pettiness or just ignore it. 

Is not attending "passive aggressive" or just "dropping the rope?" If dropping the rope is P/A (you didn't say that, Mame. I know), then it's a form of P/A that often gets recommended on these boards. But, to me, it's self-protective rather than P/A,

I would probably attend the shower for the same reason Mame gives here. And b/c, IMO, every baby deserves to be celebrated. But I can see where Constance and DH might feel that giving a gift covers both those concepts. And it seems to me they've already made their decision.

Agree w/ the idea of a GP being "an accessory" at such an event. And definitely "not dirty petticoat, " LOL!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree about the shower being about the DIL. It's about the coming baby, and helping *both* parents prepare and welcome the new little one.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Komorebi said:

 

I can completely relate to where you're coming from, but it's best to be direct I think- Such discussions are difficult at best but nobody could ever say you didn't make an effort to communicate where you stand on the matter-

But how would this work (genuine question, not arguing)? Would she let DIL know she's upset w/ her failure to attend the dinners, be on time, etc? But MILs are usually advised to "go through DS." So maybe she would express these concerns to him? But that might sound like "complaining," and MILs are often advised not to complain about DIL to DS.

Or would it be a matter of letting DS & DIL know that it's ok  if DIL doesn't attend. "We're inviting you guys to dinner, but we totally understand if DIL doesn't come." Fine . But given the apparent tensions, DIL might "hear," instead, "We're just being polite - we don't really want DIL to come." Being direct is generally preferable, no doubt. But it can be very tricky.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But...an invitation is just that an invitation and not a summons.  Nobody "has" to attend any event.

DIL doesn't have to attend dinner and MIL doesn't have to attend a shower. The question is how much damage to a possible relationship is the not attending causing?  And do you even care?

 

Edited by SueSTx
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

But how would this work (genuine question, not arguing)? Would she let DIL know she's upset w/ her failure to attend the dinners, be on time, etc? But MILs are usually advised to "go through DS." So maybe she would express these concerns to him? But that might sound like "complaining," and MILs are often advised not to complain about DIL to DS.

Or would it be a matter of letting DS & DIL know that it's ok  if DIL doesn't attend. "We're inviting you guys to dinner, but we totally understand if DIL doesn't come." Fine . But given the apparent tensions, DIL might "hear," instead, "We're just being polite - we don't really want DIL to come." Being direct is generally preferable, no doubt. But it can be very tricky.

We're discussing what's passive aggressive behavior by definition and what isn't- Indirect resistance and and avoidance of direct confrontation are two traits of passive aggressive behavior- Constance indicated that her intention is to schedule future events with the expressed purpose that her daughter in-law would be unable to attend-

A host can directly address the behavior of her guests in her own home- She does not have to "go through" another to do it when under her roof- She has control over her own words and manner in which she addresses her guests and as a result some control over what her guests "hear" when she addresses them- If she leads by this example, some of her guests will be inclined to follow suit and address any rudeness directed at them specifically and others too if and when such a situation arises- As a result, they'll find the confidence to "protect" themselves and each other as well-

Is that what Constance is attempting to accomplish?

When under her own roof, she's not stuck between having to choose to go through her son or be afraid that she's complaining-

Edited by Komorebi
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Komorebi said:

We're discussing what's passive aggressive behavior by definition and what isn't- Indirect resistance and and avoidance of direct confrontation are two traits of passive aggressive behavior- Constance indicated that her intention is to schedule future events with the expressed purpose that her daughter in-law would be unable to attend-

A host can directly address the behavior of her guests in her own home- She does not have to "go through" another to do it when under her roof- She has control over her own words and manner in which she addresses her guests and as a result some control over what her guests "hear" when she addresses them- If she leads by this example, some of her guests will be inclined to follow suit and address any rudeness directed at them specifically and others too if and when such a situation arises- As a result, they'll find the confidence to "protect" themselves and each other as well-

Is that what Constance is attempting to accomplish?

When under her own roof, she's not stuck between having to choose to go through her son or be afraid that she's complaining-

If I understand correctly, Constance and her DH have already been scheduling events when DIL is unable to attend, and it has been working out ok (except for the apparent irritation of DIL constantly texting DS). So I think she's planning to continue to schedule them that way.

But your comments are food for thought, IMO, overall...

Edited by RoseRed135

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Is not attending "passive aggressive" or just "dropping the rope?" ....   And b/c, IMO, every baby deserves to be celebrated.

I can see where Constance and DH might feel that giving a gift covers both those concepts. And it seems to me they've already made their decision.

I see showers as gift grabs, thus giving the gift is plenty, unless her son actually cares if she attends. Since Constance says they don't get along, dropping the rope seems a pleasant non-confrontational solution.

8 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

I disagree about the shower being about the DIL. It's about the coming baby, and helping *both* parents prepare and welcome the new little one. 

IF the son is invited, it may be about both parents. I agree shower gifts are preparing for baby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it is PA to avoid places, people who ignore me or treat me badly.  DIL has made her position clear, she is not interested in her DH's family and does not even seem happy when DH visits on his own, thus the constant phone calls.  DS has been asked by his parents what the problem is, seems to be aware of it and knows what the problem is but does not want to discuss.  So the "issue" whatever it is has been put out there.  And makes good sense for OP to discuss this with her DS as it often suggested. 

If his parents have been rude, toxic, etc. to DIL, son could present that, put parents on notice, parents could change, DIL could see if change sticks and better relationship could happen.   DS could be honest with his parents, and say, I love my DW, but she is who she is, it is not a reflection on parents, and then everyone understands the lay of the land, don't worry about it anymore and everyone gets what they want/need.

DS and DIL can't have it both ways.  They seems to have defined the parameters of the relationship.  DS visits when DIL is unavailable, and can most likely visit with grandchild under the same circumstances.  You can't say, I don't like you, don't have time for you, you mean nothing in my life, but be surprised when people drop you.

For me, I actually put more of the onus on the son.  He knows his parents and he knows his DW.  He could resolve this entire issue, even if it means telling DW to knock it off, if it is all her and the same with parents.  

 

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, FreeGirl said:

DS and DIL can't have it both ways.  They seems to have defined the parameters of the relationship.  DS visits when DIL is unavailable, and can most likely visit with grandchild under the same circumstances.  You can't say, I don't like you, don't have time for you, you mean nothing in my life, but be surprised when people drop you.

For me, I actually put more of the onus on the son.  He knows his parents and he knows his DW.  He could resolve this entire issue, even if it means telling DW to knock it off, if it is all her and the same with parents. 

Yep. I always think the root of any problem is our kids. Our AC know us, speak our language, and are the ones we depend on to define the relationship parameters. When we don't like something/how something is working out, after a long wait, my husband talks to our sons or I talk to our daughters. (same sex division of unpleasant tasks) For us solving problems has nothing at all to do with ACIL, they have their own parents and family to deal with and manage.

Edited by JanelleK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Is not attending "passive aggressive" or just "dropping the rope?" If dropping the rope is P/A (you didn't say that, Mame. I know), then it's a form of P/A that often gets recommended on these boards. But, to me, it's self-protective rather than P/A,

 

Why can't dropping the rope be both self protective and passive aggressive.   One does not preclude the other IMO. You need to protect yourself so you do something  passive aggressive.   I think when we recommend people drop the rope it's as a last resort.  Desperate measures?  But still IMO passive aggressive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, ConstanceS said:

I disagree. I feel it gets everyone "off the hook". Her actions show she does not want to associated with us if she can help it, so going ahead and scheduling when she is at work (instead of continuing to try really hard to schedule when she is off work, just to have her not show up or pull her cellphone stunt) allows her to gracefully bow out and everyone else to not have to deal with rude behavior.

My parents did this for a long time only inviting me when dh was at work after a while he felt my parents didn't like him like they  were trying to avoid him, then that was another factor in us limiting our visits. Why does his wife talking on the phone at your house bother you? Before we had kids I would take a book to my in-laws house so I would read while they watched TV nobody wants talking anyways but just the fact that we were there was a "visit".

Edited by Whiteroses
Forgot to add something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@FreeGirl  - 100% agree with you.

"Dropping the rope" works on both sides of the relationship, although it seems we usually see it on the DIL/SIL side on this forum.  I think a MIL/FIL potentially has more to lose when "dropping the rope", namely a relationship with a GC, possibly with the AC, but Constance has considered this in her decision. 

I also don't see passive aggressiveness in "dropping the rope".  I think it is a decision that is made in which you acknowledge the state of the relationship for what it is and not what you expect or want it to be, and you simple stop putting more effort into it after this acknowledgment is made.  I think it is a way to get some peace in your life.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO  This is a DS problem. Who knows what DS has said to his DW  about his family behind closed doors. By not wanting to discuss the DNL problem with his parents says a lot.  He wants to show respect for his parents but not disrespect his DW. The history between Constance, her DH and DS has 3 different POV  Looking at this from DNL's POV . She wants to do what she feels is right for her.

I remember what my husband said to me about his parents/siblings when we were dating. He thought  I was being way to nice to people who didn't like me and never would. I was not being phony, I wanted them to like me, or at least have a real reason not to like me. The next 20+ years went downhill and myself, DC, and DH suffered because I was trying  to be nice. It took me a very long time to wise up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DH's mom never really liked me...she grew to respect me, but never really liked me...and I was ok with that. I'm not a people pleaser by nature, so as long as my personal behavior was appropriate, the problem wasn't on me. I often attended as a show of support to DH because his family could be difficult...he did the same for me. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BSW said:

@FreeGirl  - 100% agree with you.

"Dropping the rope" works on both sides of the relationship, although it seems we usually see it on the DIL/SIL side on this forum.  I think a MIL/FIL potentially has more to lose when "dropping the rope", namely a relationship with a GC, possibly with the AC, but Constance has considered this in her decision. 

I also don't see passive aggressiveness in "dropping the rope".  I think it is a decision that is made in which you acknowledge the state of the relationship for what it is and not what you expect or want it to be, and you simple stop putting more effort into it after this acknowledgment is made.  I think it is a way to get some peace in your life.

Agreed. I don't see anything passive aggressive to stepping back/away from people that make you unhappy. I also think that, unfortunately, it's true that a PIL has more to lose in this particular scenario.

As long as Constance is accepting of any potential fall out, then great.

It's when a choice is made, and folks get upset over consequences to the choice they made that big problems tend to arise. My suspicion is that, by not attending the shower, it will be used as a reason to not have Constance around the baby at all. "Your mother didn't even care enough to come to the shower!" etc.

5 hours ago, JanelleK said:

I see showers as gift grabs, thus giving the gift is plenty, unless her son actually cares if she attends. Since Constance says they don't get along, dropping the rope seems a pleasant non-confrontational solution.

IF the son is invited, it may be about both parents. I agree shower gifts are preparing for baby.

Disagree. They're both the parents. Any gifts for the baby is by default, for *them*, and therefore the shower is actually for both parents, not just the DIL. That's why I'm more a fan of couple showers vs just Mom. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, skipped said:

Why can't dropping the rope be both self protective and passive aggressive.   One does not preclude the other IMO. You need to protect yourself so you do something  passive aggressive.   I think when we recommend people drop the rope it's as a last resort.  Desperate measures?  But still IMO passive aggressive.

It could be, IMO, if the point of dropping the rope is to hurt someone, make a point or even make them wonder, "Why don't they contact me? Don't they like me?" (They might wonder that, anyhow, but I'm talking about cases where the rope-dropper is deliberately trying to get the other party to think this.) If it's just to get out of the line of fire or avoid a situation where they feel unhappy, then I don't see the "aggression" in it. Still "passive?" Yes. "Aggressive?" No, not in my book.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/24/2017 at 2:54 PM, ConstanceS said:

I do always send an email to son to check if that specific date/time is acceptable. So if she wanted to be included she could have him suggest another date/time so she could attend as well. Which reconfirms my opinion that this works for all of us.

It doesn't sound like DIL is mature enough to understand how to do this. And it sounds she does her orchestrating behind the scenes, typical PA behavior. 

Also, if DH ever "forbid me" to do anything regarding my relationships, I'd know I had a DuH/DuW problem, not any other kind. So, there may be problems in their relationship they don't want to deal with or just don't know how. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/7/2017 at 0:48 PM, RoseRed135 said:

The following article is currently featured in the GP.com Newsletter and on the GP.com FB page

http://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/mother-in-law-daughter-in-law/how-to-deal-with-a-difficult-daughter-in-law

So now I'm wondering, are any of you dealing w/ a family member/IL that you feel is P/A? Or have you done so in the past? Or have you observed someone else going through this? And, if you will, how do/did/would you handle it?

Yes, my husband and I have noticed this with our dil and it's concerning to us. We get along very well with our son, and generally with our dil too, we are pretty laid back parents in that we don't tend to be judgmental or criticize or interfere or impose  (although my dil's mother has a LOT to say and mothers my son also).   I never offer unsolicited advice and I respect how she wants to do things.   In the last year since she had a baby she has  been encouraging us to move closer and then boom it stopped and she has been running hot and cold with us and markedly so and we feel perhaps there is some possessiveness with our son and more importantly some pressure from her mother.   We figure as paternal grandparents we accept we will be left in the dust a bit, but  this feels a bit different and odd. 

How we are planning and trying to handle it is:  Not involve our son, no complaining or questioning or confronting. We can't make our dil respect us or involve us or consider us so we are trying to maintain an upbeat relationship with our son, send gifts to our granddaughter, keep in touch with our dil via fb as per usual,   offer help if needed, be supportive, and just get on with our lives.  I adore my granddaughter but I sadly have to accept that I will not be given the same opportunity to nurture a nana/grandaughter realtionship  that the other nana gets but I can still be there for my granddaughter in other ways.   If anyone has some tips I would appreciate it. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pearlj said:

If anyone has some tips I would appreciate it. 

Just make the point to stay relevant in your DGD's life...kids know who love them and usually can spot a fake. If the other GM is an overmothering micromanager, your GD may enjoy spending time with someone who appreciates her for her authentic self. And it can start now...I am paternal GM to FIVE...all are special individually and as a group...recently we all went to lunch (along with DS/DIL), the 4 & 5 yos each had to sit with me, one on either side....the older sibs sat beside them, with the parents at the other end of the table...I had chats with all 5 separate from each other...make the relationship your own...as long as the parents are agreeable and in-the-loop, you should be good. It's not a competition...never has been, never will be, unless you make it into one.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, pearlj said:

Yes, my husband and I have noticed this with our dil and it's concerning to us. We get along very well with our son, and generally with our dil too, we are pretty laid back parents in that we don't tend to be judgmental or criticize or interfere or impose  (although my dil's mother has a LOT to say and mothers my son also).   I never offer unsolicited advice and I respect how she wants to do things.   In the last year since she had a baby she has  been encouraging us to move closer and then boom it stopped and she has been running hot and cold with us and markedly so and we feel perhaps there is some possessiveness with our son and more importantly some pressure from her mother.   We figure as paternal grandparents we accept we will be left in the dust a bit, but  this feels a bit different and odd. 

How we are planning and trying to handle it is:  Not involve our son, no complaining or questioning or confronting. We can't make our dil respect us or involve us or consider us so we are trying to maintain an upbeat relationship with our son, send gifts to our granddaughter, keep in touch with our dil via fb as per usual,   offer help if needed, be supportive, and just get on with our lives.  I adore my granddaughter but I sadly have to accept that I will not be given the same opportunity to nurture a nana/grandaughter realtionship  that the other nana gets but I can still be there for my granddaughter in other ways.   If anyone has some tips I would appreciate it. 

Welcome, peralj! Glad you decided to join us and are becoming an ctive poster! It sounds as if you and DH (dear husband) are very wise parents/PILs/GPs, and DS/DIL might appreciate this more than you know.

I find DIL's apparent change of attitude perplexing. But unless something upset her in recent months that you're not aware of, I think you've come up w/ a couple of very possible reasons for her behavior.

...she has been running hot and cold with us...

IMO, this^^^^ could also simply be due to the stresses of babycare. As GD has been getting "older" and is awake more and maybe "getting into things," etc., there just may be some days DIL has nothing more to give to anyone else, etc. It may not be about you, at all.

Anyhow, I think the way you and DH plan to handle things is very wise. And I agree w/ Mame's advice, as well. When GD gets old enough to appreciate it, you might also have a certain type of gift that you always send her - maybe homemade doll clothes if you're good at knitting or crocheting or books from a series she comes to love, etc. (as long as the parents have no issues w/ whatever it is) - something she'll associate w/ you (or you and DH). We still have paintings in my house that one of my LD (long distance) uncles made for my DDs when they were little. They're no longer interested in them, but they enjoyed them as kids and have fond memories of his creating these for them. :)

Edited by RoseRed135
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be patient, most likely your turn will come as your grandchild gets older and active. Continue on with your DS and DIL as planned and when your grandchild is old enough to crawl and walk, she will want to play with you if you have a few board books, a simple toy or two, ect. in a basket at your house.You are on a good path to make the most of what time you do get. When she's older and you get to observe her personality you can choose things to do or send that GD will love and will associate with you. Maybe by then you DIL will settle down, gain confidence as a mom, and be warmer to you as she sees her daughter develop a positive relationship with you.  I have found it best to block out my DIL's mom from my mind as much as possible. No sense in even comparing our situations and getting discouraged by the lopsided nature of things since there isn't anything I can do to change things. My DS is very independent and once a month or so is probably enough visiting for him. DIL wants much more time with her family so that is just the way it is. All this to say that while sometimes I still feel a bit sad or hurt,  for the most part I have made my peace with the situation and try to enjoy my family when I see them. 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you all, I really needed to hear your views and ideas and perspectives.  Oh and thanks for the welcome ♥

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now