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RoseRed135

Cultural differences & inlaw issues

139 posts in this topic

BSW, I think you've shown so much strength and resilience with dealing with your in-laws.  I can't even imagine how hurtful it must have been to hear your MIL confess that she was resentful of your relationship and intentionally tried to hurt it.  I see things in Maxine's posts where my MIL appears to have acted in the same way and although my MIL is now civil and polite, I know I would be deeply hurt to hear her tell me her true feelings on the subject. I just accept her now at face value and I don't worry about what she is saying behind my back. However, at least some good has come from that and you were able to fully distance yourself from her nastiness and move on with your life.  At the end of the day you can look in the mirror and be proud of who you are.  

Chrissy3, what a lovely story, that's how it should be, a family with love and tolerance.  My grandparents were different religions.  When my parents married there was a huge upset over the difference in religion, my parents broke off their engagement due to the differences and the arguing.  However they later got married and my grandparents decided to get along and put their differences aside so that the family could be together and happy.  They actually became friends and regularly got together for a night of dinner and cards.  I often look back at my grandparents with a sense of love and pride, what amazing people to be able to look past the differences and find common ground.  When I saw my in-laws fight and fight and fight to the detriment of their family, it was then my amazement and pride for my grandparents grew.  I often wish they were still here.

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On 11/18/2017 at 10:53 AM, Maxine2020 said:

Here is an example.  Everyone in our family speaks russian.  We also read, speak and understand English. Some better than others.  After almost 30 years in America and American TV and movies you get pretty good.  But when SIL began visiting our house, he told my daughter that he felt left out and thought it was rude when we spoke Russian in front of him.   Well sometimes he uses big words that we don't know and we don't understand him.  So what's the difference?    

Quite often people with an extensive vocabulary base use words in the company of others who they know will have absolutely no idea what those words mean and as a result no idea what they are saying- Somebody I know does this often and has actually said on many occasions, "Well, I can't help it if he is too stupid to know what the word means-" It's definitely intentional on their part to make them look intelligent and the person they are speaking to look ignorant- This is much different than instinctively speaking Russian opposed to intentionally speaking Russian so that others who dont speak Russian wont understand whats being said- 

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7 hours ago, Komorebi said:

Quite often people with an extensive vocabulary base use words in the company of others who they know will have absolutely no idea what those words mean and as a result no idea what they are saying- Somebody I know does this often and has actually said on many occasions, "Well, I can't help it if he is too stupid to know what the word means-" It's definitely intentional on their part to make them look intelligent and the person they are speaking to look ignorant- This is much different than instinctively speaking Russian opposed to intentionally speaking Russian so that others who dont speak Russian wont understand whats being said- 

I have an extensive vocabulary, and have never done this. Most people wouldn't. So I have no idea where you are getting the 'quite often' from. Embarrassing others is not the goal of the vast majority of people.

However, Maxine has already admitted to switching to Russian to be able to insult her SIL in his presence.

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8 hours ago, Komorebi said:

Quite often people with an extensive vocabulary base use words in the company of others who they know will have absolutely no idea what those words mean and as a result no idea what they are saying- Somebody I know does this often and has actually said on many occasions, "Well, I can't help it if he is too stupid to know what the word means-" It's definitely intentional on their part to make them look intelligent and the person they are speaking to look ignorant- This is much different than instinctively speaking Russian opposed to intentionally speaking Russian so that others who dont speak Russian wont understand whats being said- 

I think both of these examples - intentionally using large words to make the other person look ignorant or intentionally speaking another language to exclude someone in the room - are obnoxious.

As I've mentioned here many times before, my MIL did the same thing that Maxine is doing with her native language - used it to exclude.  I think it is so petty and low class to behave this way.  I used to feel bad and excluded when my MIL did this, so its intended effect was accomplished, but then I realized that it was a gift, because it meant I didn't have to listen to her or engage with her, so I never pushed for her to speak English.  I just welcomed the break.   Maybe Maxine's SIL has come to the same conclusion. 

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1 hour ago, ImpishMom said:

I have an extensive vocabulary, and have never done this. Most people wouldn't. So I have no idea where you are getting the 'quite often' from. Embarrassing others is not the goal of the vast majority of people.

However, Maxine has already admitted to switching to Russian to be able to insult her SIL in his presence.

Exactly my point LMAO .. :)

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4 minutes ago, Komorebi said:

Exactly my point LMAO .. :)

Pardon? How is that deliberately trying to make someone feel stupid, and myself superior?

I'm a writer. I've been paid to write. If I don't have a decent vocabulary, then I'm in the wrong business.

That's like accusing a nurse of trying to make someone feel inferior b/c they know medical things.

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33 minutes ago, BSW said:

I think both of these examples - intentionally using large words to make the other person look ignorant or intentionally speaking another language to exclude someone in the room - are obnoxious.

As I've mentioned here many times before, my MIL did the same thing that Maxine is doing with her native language - used it to exclude.  I think it is so petty and low class to behave this way.  I used to feel bad and excluded when my MIL did this, so its intended effect was accomplished, but then I realized that it was a gift, because it meant I didn't have to listen to her or engage with her, so I never pushed for her to speak English.  I just welcomed the break.   Maybe Maxine's SIL has come to the same conclusion. 

I agree-

My sister experienced similar to what you experienced with the language "barrier" thing with her husbands family, not all but some- But as the years past it became a running joke and her husband and brother in-law did it on purpose to raise her hackles then laugh at her- They occasionally do it to this day, (all these decades later ..) they still get the same reaction .. To be fair, her mother in-law didn't speak any English and her father in-law very little- They were kind people, but my sister just was like, "I have no idea what they are saying, I cannot contribute to the conversation-" She did what she could to make the best of it -- she always enjoyed the music and the dancing .. as well as their company- So, the situation was similar, but not the same- The intent was absent I guess -- except when her husband teased her ..

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My DD's PIL are from Hong Kong...FIL speaks 'passable' English as he owned a business here, though his clientele was largely Chinese speaking...MIL was a stay-at-home mom who to this day speaks very little English although she's been here nearly 50 years. Nice people...who do always try to speak English to their son's wife...DD & MIL get along very well. The conversations aren't deep intellectual discussions, they are pleasant, however. They speak English to me as best they can. There are times when DD & I are the only non Chinese in the room...the conversation is overwhelmingly Cantonese, but someone usually translates so we're all involved. That's what considerate people do!

 

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13 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

Pardon? How is that deliberately trying to make someone feel stupid, and myself superior?

I'm a writer. I've been paid to write. If I don't have a decent vocabulary, then I'm in the wrong business.

That's like accusing a nurse of trying to make someone feel inferior b/c they know medical things.

It's called misdirecting by attacking you and being deliberately obtuse, ignore :crazy:

Edited by pearlj
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9 minutes ago, Mame925 said:

My DD's PIL are from Hong Kong...FIL speaks 'passable' English as he owned a business here, though his clientele was largely Chinese speaking...MIL was a stay-at-home mom who to this day speaks very little English although she's been here nearly 50 years. Nice people...who do always try to speak English to their son's wife...DD & MIL get along very well. The conversations aren't deep intellectual discussions, they are pleasant, however. They speak English to me as best they can. There are times when DD & I are the only non Chinese in the room...the conversation is overwhelmingly Cantonese, but someone usually translates so we're all involved. That's what considerate people do!

 

When my husband and his sister are together they speak their language, but when I am in the room it's English. On the other hand my dil 's mother does not speak English and I don't expect her and her mother not to talk, so like your situation we all try and use gestures and odd words and some translation to include everyone in the conversation :)  Like you said, that is what considerate people do :good:

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My FIL always spoke English in my presence which I appreciated.  He would also openly reprimand my MIL and ask her to speak English when I was present, but she would just give him a look - mutter a few words in English then switch back to Greek.  Early in our marriage, DH would also only speak Greek to his mom when I was present as he told me it is the only language he has ever spoke to his mom so it felt very unnatural and not intuitive to speak English, which I understood, but I told him by speaking Greek when I was present he was going along with the unspoken - which was that I was being excluded.  (By the way this all took place in my home - I didn't give a flip if my IL's didn't speak a word of English in their home, although from a pure "good manners" perspective a host/hostess would try to be inclusive of all guest(s) in his/her home so speaking a language all understood would be a considerate gesture.)   So, from there on DH spoke English to his mom when I was present and for a few years would translate what she said, but I thought he was playing into her idiot game by doing so, because she spoke English, so I asked him not to translate.  By that point, I preferred just checking out and not having to engage when my MIL was present.  What was also super annoying was when she would call our home and ask DH if she could talk to me.   I told DH not to hand the phone to me and I screened every call from her as if she couldn't be bothered to speak English in person, I think it should apply to the phone as well.   

 

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On 11/20/2017 at 1:44 AM, Komorebi said:

Quite often people with an extensive vocabulary base use words in the company of others who they know will have absolutely no idea what those words mean and as a result no idea what they are saying- Somebody I know does this often and has actually said on many occasions, "Well, I can't help it if he is too stupid to know what the word means-" It's definitely intentional on their part to make them look intelligent and the person they are speaking to look ignorant- This is much different than instinctively speaking Russian opposed to intentionally speaking Russian so that others who dont speak Russian wont understand whats being said- 

I came to Canada when I was 8 years old and DH was born here and I, at times, use a word and he has to ask me what it means even though English is his first language not mine. I'm not doing this to make him look stupid I use the word I feel is most appropriate. When speak with my parents DH will use a word my dad doesn't understand so Dad will ask him to explain what he means and DH does. DH isn't doing this to make my dad feel stupid and my dad takes it as an opportunity to expand his vocabulary. 

Just because someone you know does this does not mean that people with extensive vocabularies do this quite often, it's an unfair generalization that seems to be based on one person. 

 

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6 hours ago, Arabelle said:

I came to Canada when I was 8 years old and DH was born here and I, at times, use a word and he has to ask me what it means even though English is his first language not mine. I'm not doing this to make him look stupid I use the word I feel is most appropriate. When speak with my parents DH will use a word my dad doesn't understand so Dad will ask him to explain what he means and DH does. DH isn't doing this to make my dad feel stupid and my dad takes it as an opportunity to expand his vocabulary. 

Just because someone you know does this does not mean that people with extensive vocabularies do this quite often, it's an unfair generalization that seems to be based on one person. 

 

If I said all people with an extensive vocabulary base did what I described in my post I'd say it was a generalization- But I didnt say that- What it boils down to is that some people consider who they are speaking to and as a result strive to be understood by whoever is listening- 

Its very possible that our personal experiences differ- At this very moment, everyone I know that is dealing with the medical community is experiencing issues with the medical community "on top of" their personal struggles with what ails them physically- Elsewhere, for others, this may not be the case-

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5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

If I said all people with an extensive vocabulary base did what I described in my post I'd say it was a generalization- But I didnt say that- What it boils down to is that some people consider who they are speaking to and as a result strive to be understood by whoever is listening- 

Its very possible that our personal experiences differ- At this very moment, everyone I know that is dealing with the medical community is experiencing issues with the medical community "on top of" their personal struggles with what ails them physically- Elsewhere, for others, this may not be the case-

But I think dealing with doctors and people in a business setting is different than people talking in a personal setting and having a conversation. Professional (doctors, mechanics, lawyers, etc ) should explain difficult concepts with their customers-this is customer service.

friends and family talking to each other is a different situation. I assume adult friends and families who speak the language I speak fluently can either understand the what I’m saying or will ask me to explain. I don’t assume someone can’t understand because that would lead me to talking down to them which is condescending. However I would not assume that a person from Japan speaks English or that a person from the US speaks Russian. Instead I would try to ask them what the best common language we have is and then speak to them in that language.

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20 hours ago, darkprincess said:

But I think dealing with doctors and people in a business setting is different than people talking in a personal setting and having a conversation. Professional (doctors, mechanics, lawyers, etc ) should explain difficult concepts with their customers-this is customer service.

friends and family talking to each other is a different situation. I assume adult friends and families who speak the language I speak fluently can either understand the what I’m saying or will ask me to explain. I don’t assume someone can’t understand because that would lead me to talking down to them which is condescending. However I would not assume that a person from Japan speaks English or that a person from the US speaks Russian. Instead I would try to ask them what the best common language we have is and then speak to them in that language.

Understood- What's your personal take on acronyms? Laziness? Convenience? Expectation? Rudeness? I mean, after all, everyone has the ability to type out entire words but choose not to .. :) 

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1 hour ago, Komorebi said:

Understood- What's your personal take on acronyms? Laziness? Convenience? Expectation? Rudeness? I mean, after all, everyone has the ability to type out entire words but choose not to .. :) 

I think it depends on the acronym and the setting. A group of scientists at work using acronyms is productive. Common acronyms such as USA, CNN, KFC are fine When people in the common culture are talking to each other . I’m assuming every language and culture has acronyms that I don’t understand. If I don’t understand I ask.

 On this site we have a huge list of acronyms that people use MIL, dd, SIL. People new to the board either ask, figure it out through the context of the post, or research and find the post that explains the acronyms. I don’t think most people who use acronyms are rude or lazy. It is just a part of speech.

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Asking is the first step to understanding. "There is no such thing as a stupid question"....Especially in areas where you have no frame of reference...if you don't understand what your doctor tells you ask...I went through that with a nephew recently. He was referred to a specialist I know well, so he asked me to come with him to the visit as 'the translator'...I did that for DH all during his cancer treatment...the language is complicated, DH was very intelligent but had no previous understanding. He asked appropriate questions and got the answers he needed...and was able to discuss them further with me so he always had a good understanding of his very complicated medical issues. Anatomy is full of acronyms as is surgery. 

There are different English dialects in this country....traveling through the different areas is enlightening....I had young teen cousins from Louisiana staying with me years ago...I'm a native Left Coast girl...one of them popped up with "Y'all shure tawk funnee"....over 40 years later he still thinks I talk funny....

Purposely choosing to speak another language in a social situation with nonspeakers is rude and deliberately exclusionary.

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Our DIL is from a different culture than ours. We have never expected her to accept our culture as we are not really fussed about it, although we obviously do eat some different things and have one or two differences when it comes to the way we celebrate things. But we didn’t try to force it upon her, we just discussed the different ways things are done and asked her and our DS how they wanted thus to do things around our GS.  She did like some of the things from our culture and adopted those things, which was nice. 

The only area where we did hit a problem was once when I was singing to my GS when putting him to sleep and I sung several song in my native tongue. She was not there in the room at the time so it wasn’t like I was doing it to exclude her, but when she walked past and heard me she came into the room and told me in an angry tone never to do it again. I couldn’t see the issue really as I was quite happy to tell her what I was singing, but she told me not to so I did not do it. 

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26 minutes ago, Gigima said:

Our DIL is from a different culture than ours. We have never expected her to accept our culture as we are not really fussed about it, although we obviously do eat some different things and have one or two differences when it comes to the way we celebrate things. But we didn’t try to force it upon her, we just discussed the different ways things are done and asked her and our DS how they wanted thus to do things around our GS.  She did like some of the things from our culture and adopted those things, which was nice. 

The only area where we did hit a problem was once when I was singing to my GS when putting him to sleep and I sung several song in my native tongue. She was not there in the room at the time so it wasn’t like I was doing it to exclude her, but when she walked past and heard me she came into the room and told me in an angry tone never to do it again. I couldn’t see the issue really as I was quite happy to tell her what I was singing, but she told me not to so I did not do it. 

Welcome, Gigima! Glad you decided to join us!

I've read all your posts so far (glad you're becoming such an active poster!) and, IMO, you sound like a very wise and loving mom/MIL/GM. Sorry DIL got upset about the singing. Is it just that it was "too much" of another language (on she doesn't know) for her to take? Or does she, perhaps, not want GS to get in the habit of being sung to sleep? Maybe she was afraid he'd expect it from her when you weren't there? :)

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3 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Welcome, Gigima! Glad you decided to join us!

I've read all your posts so far (glad you're becoming such an active poster!) and, IMO, you sound like a very wise and loving mom/MIL/GM. Sorry DIL got upset about the singing. Is it just that it was "too much" of another language (on she doesn't know) for her to take? Or does she, perhaps, not want GS to get in the habit of being sung to sleep? Maybe she was afraid he'd expect it from her when you weren't there? :)

Hi, yes, I’m loving this site, so glad I found it. 

No my DIL generally leaves a radio on with music for my GS so it’s not that she doesn’t want him falling asleep to singing, she was upset that I was singing in my native tongue. I think she feels threatened by it because she does not understand it and so she does not want her son to learn anything about it. I find that a little narrow minded, but nothing I can do about it so I just apologised and didn’t do it again. 

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Good thinking, IMO! If she doesn't want GS learning your language, I see that as "narrow minded," too. And a little unfair to him, as it's part of his heritage. But I think you were very wise to just apologize and make up your mind not to do it again. Always better, I believe, to respect a parent's wishes (barring abuse, etc., of course).

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5 hours ago, Gigima said:

Hi, yes, I’m loving this site, so glad I found it. 

No my DIL generally leaves a radio on with music for my GS so it’s not that she doesn’t want him falling asleep to singing, she was upset that I was singing in my native tongue. I think she feels threatened by it because she does not understand it and so she does not want her son to learn anything about it. I find that a little narrow minded, but nothing I can do about it so I just apologised and didn’t do it again. 

It is unfortunate that DIL did not like it when you spoke your native language to her DS.  My IL’s only spoke their native language to my kids since birth which I supported. DH spoke it occasionally to the kids. My MIL singing her native nursery songs to my kids when they were babies is a vivid memory I still have.

As a result of this early exposure to a second language I believe it made learning a third language in middle school/high school an easier task for my kids. In fact my DS is now learning a fourth language and minoring in 2 languages in college (Spanish and German).

Edited by BSW
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8 minutes ago, BSW said:

It is unfortunate that DIL did not like it when you spoke your native language to your kids. My IL’s only spoke their native language to my kids since birth which I supported. DH spoke it occasionally to the kids. My MIL singing her native nursery songs to my kids when they were babies is a vivid memory I still have.

As a result of this early exposure to a second language I believe it made learning a third language in middle school/high school an easier task for my kids. In fact my DS is now learning a fourth language and minoring in 2 languages in college (Spanish and German).

Yes it helps create neurological pathways in the brain for language, which is one of the reasons why I did it. 

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My MIL thinks I’m narrow minded for not having my children baptized as babies. My mother thinks I’m narrow minded for not having them baptized at age 8. Both think I should do it whether I believe so their souls will be saved. 

My SIL thinks I’m narrow minded and short sighted because I choose to work instead of being a SAHM and homemaker. One of my friends think I’m narrow minded because I feed my family meat. 

I think the only issue that matters is that Gigima respected the decisions of the parents. Suggesting someone is narrow minded can’t do much to help the relationship.

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21 hours ago, darkprincess said:

My MIL thinks I’m narrow minded for not having my children baptized as babies. My mother thinks I’m narrow minded for not having them baptized at age 8. Both think I should do it whether I believe so their souls will be saved. 

My SIL thinks I’m narrow minded and short sighted because I choose to work instead of being a SAHM and homemaker. One of my friends think I’m narrow minded because I feed my family meat. 

I think the only issue that matters is that Gigima respected the decisions of the parents. Suggesting someone is narrow minded can’t do much to help the relationship.

Hi Darkprincess,

many people think I’m narrow minded about things too, that’s fine, we don’t have to all agree on everything, but to refuse to allow my GS to have anything to do with his father’s culture because my DIL feels threatened by it is definitely narrow minded, especially in a multi-cultural society like ours. Whether I think she is narrow minded or not is not the issue here, how I dealt with it is. And I dealt with it appropriately by respecting her when she told me not to do it, even though I disagree with her about it.  Respect doesn’t mean I have to agree with you, it means I accept that you have a right to your opinion and don’t try to force mine upon you, especially when it comes to YOUR child. I raised my children the way I felt was right. My successs and failures were my own.  I respect other’s rights to do the same. What I do not agree with is that our modern culture seems to think grand children don’t have a right to have unrestricted access to their grandparents. If the grandparents are toxic or disrespectful I agree wiht firm boundaries, but every child has a need for and a right to access extended family who love and support them. Even if the parents and those extended family members don’t always agree on everything. As long as the grandparents and aunts and uncles don’t meddle and are respectful of the patents being the parents then this kind of loving relationship should be respected and encouraged. 

I for example I have never told my kids how to raise their children and am careful if asked for advice because I know the importance they attach to my opinions. When they were pregnant I sat down and discussed with my son and DIL what they wanted from me as a grandparent and I have been very careful to stay within those parameters. Sometimes things like these come up though which no one thought about and we deal with it and I respect their choices for their child, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a mind of my own or my own opinions about things, because I do. But since these are those little things I mentioned before that are just differences of opinions I don’t think they are worth bothering myself about it. I just go with the flow and do my best to help make life easier for everyone  

 

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