Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Vent Away » Totally Unrelated to IBD - Christmas with the In-Laws *sigh*

01-02-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
Totally Unrelated to IBD - Christmas with the In-Laws *sigh*

Hi All;

I'm fairly new here (have been posting on the undiagnosed page, as I'm waiting for my appt with the GI doc....)

Anyway, this is sort of just a random rant, just to get it off my chest and ask for an opinion!

Ok, so backtrack to Christmas. My hubby and I are both broke Uni students. We don't have a lot of extra money, and we can't afford to buy everyone gifts. So, each year I make up a small gift for everyone, write out cards and do up a newsletter with all the major happenings of the year.

I am doing an internship component in school right now, and I put in super long days and I worked up until a day before we left (9 hour drive to visit everyone). Long story short....I spent the entire day working my butt off, making 5 different kinds of cookies. I bagged then all up in festive bags and addressed them to everyone, and these were the gifts for people this year.

Fast forward to meeting up with my in-laws. There is a lot of tension there (they have been very unfriendly towards me, they refuse to accept me in his life, and it's been 6 years now). Every year it's something with them....usually them screaming at us, calling us names and telling us to never visit again (that was the year we asked if they could meet us halfway, because we were exhausted).

Now, usually they give us some really...ummm...strange gifts. We always say thank you and then just donate them to charity. This year though, they gave my hubby a very extravagant gift (an ipad 2, cover and accessories). And, for myself....nothing. They even had his name engraved on the back of the ipad (you know, in case it wasn't clear enough that the gift is only for him and not me). Then they gave us a gift addressed to the two of us, which turned out to be an exceptionally ugly, tiny throw pillow. Fine, another gift to donate!

Now, I really could care less about whether or not people give me gifts. To me, it's all about being generous and thankful for what you have. But, all our other relatives are really good about getting each of us something that we like, or giving gifts that are fairly even. My own parents are great and go out of their way to treat my hubby like one of the family. At all events, they always treat us fairly.

So, I have to admit that I was kind of hurt by this. They also gave ipads to all the rest of the family. (believe me, it's not a matter of money with them and gifts).

So, my husband brings this up with him....just mentioning that next time it would be nice if they would consider me in their gift giving and give a gift that they know I would enjoy as well. Their reply was that they "don't know me". Remember....married for 6 years now....

And then, they say, "well, cookies aren't a good gift either you know". I was floored....after all that expense, time and effort....and I really thought it would be a gift that people would enjoy, or at least be able to use around the holidays...

And, so, I'm really hurt by this. Once again, they've managed to insult everything I do, and make me feel like a little peon *sigh* So, that's my long vent....

Now, to ask for opinions: should we return the ipad? I, personally, want to. There are a bunch of strings attached to it, and it doesn't seem like a true gift. Of course, I am leaving it up for my hubby to decide one way or the other, I'm just curious about what others think!

Also....I have to admit that it really rubs me the wrong way to have the darn thing around, engraved and all. Brings back some bad feelings....of course, I'll swallow them if I have to! But I think we should just return the darn thing, and then go and buy our own (we got a generous gift from my grandmother) and that way it doesn't feel like it has strings attached....

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant about this totally unrelated topic! But it just feels like one more thing to deal with, on top of everything. And that family just stresses me out soooo bad, that every time I'm around them I get sick! Yeesh! Go holidays
01-02-2012, 12:41 AM   #2
KWalker's Avatar
You have every right to be upset about that, even though like you said its not the money or the gift, but its the thought that counts. My fiancees parents were the exact same way with me, but somehow that has passed for me. It was the whole "he's not good enough for you/you deserve better". I went through the many occasions too where I felt like they deliberately didn't get me anything, as if to rub it in. Its just really awkward. I would never expect for in-laws to spend the same on me as they do their own daughter, but to not be acknowledged is a whole 'nother story.

I would be angry if I was you. Be stern with your husband and tell him you can't live like this always feeling like you're not good enough and never included. There were times I didn't know how much longer I could take it, and it really does I feel for you.

I would tell them to F right off with the cookies. Like we said, its not the gift but the thought instead. You're a student, you shouldn't be expected to buy big gifts for everyone. I know I can't while going to school. They should be thankful you guys even went to see them.

Unfortunately I'm not sure if you can return the ipad now that it is engraved though. They won't be able to put it back on a shelf with somebodys name on the back. I wish I could give you more help too, because I really do feel bad for you.

The only advice I could give is to hold your ground and make your point clear. Its hard enough meeting inlaws and making sure to impress them, nobody needs this
01-02-2012, 12:55 AM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2011

Thanks for the reply! I know what you mean though, life is definitely hard enough, without all this nonsense in the way.

I should have been clearer though....not return the ipad to the store, I meant return the ipad to my in-laws, basically stating that we can't accept it.
01-02-2012, 01:00 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2010
Personally I'd keep the iPad. I think returning it would just as hurtful to them as they have been to you and from the sounds of it that's not what you want. In laws can be very stressful but don't let them control the situation, take charge of your relationship, you have a life with your husband and possibly the future mother of their grandchildren. As frustrating as it may be for you you will come out the better person by not rising to this situation. Looking at it from their point of view they have bought everyone else in the family an iPad so I wouldn't take it too personally. They shouldn't have said what they did about the cookies but where is your husband in all of this what did he get them. Also the more tension between you and them will possibly harm your own relationship with your husband and I'm not sure that's where you want this to go. I think with your health it's better to try and just diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand. Sorry I haven't been more helpful and I hope things work out for the best.

Diagnosed Crohn's 2010
ileocecal resection 2010
Meds: Nil and in remission

01-02-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
Jonny C
Jonny C's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: New York, New York
Ahhh, the in-laws from hell! Actually, I wouldn't call your post totally unrelated to IBD, as we all know stress can make our symptoms worse.

Walker, you crack me up but I wouldn't advise telling them to F off with the cookies. That would just reinforce any negative feelings they have.

I also don't think you should return the iPad. They would see such a move as a petty, thoughtless rejection of what they see as a kind act, and they would find you lacking in character, not the other way around.

It sounds like there are some major communication blocks between you and your husband's parents. I don't know if it is possible, given the distance, to sit down with them and talk in person, but you need to make your feelings known to them in a non-accusatory manner. Perhaps say something like this:

"Something we have in common is that we both love your son very much and want all the best in life for him. When we got married, I didn't just want to become part of his life, but his family's life as well. But I can't help but feel like there is a distance between us. Expensive gifts are not important to me, but when I did not receive anything from you this Christmas, I took it as a signal that you have not accepted me. I want us all to be a family, so I would just ask you to explain if there is anything you feel I could have done better. I realize I am not perfect, but your son and I love each other despite our faults."

Long story short, make them explain themselves. And always, always take the high road! Best of luck!
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Pancolitis - November 2011

I still love you Nutella and I don't blame you for this.
01-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2011
One of the reasons that they probably find my cookies to be such a crappy gift is that my MIL has decided that she has a "touch of celiac's disease" because the lady at the nutrition store told her that she could no longer eat gluten *laughs* So, now she wants everything to be gluten free...

I have to bite my tongue when I'm around them, I must admit....I have my BSc. in Nutrition and I'm just finishing my dietetics residency....when she was explaining this to me, I couldn't look at hubby....I was too afraid I'd burst out laughing!

As a side note....hubby always stands up for me and is on my side of things (thankfully!). I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't. Somedays I think he thinks his family is crazier than I do!
01-02-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
Senior Member
chrisnsteph1022's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Tennessee

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My SIL gave us a baggie of cookies and a jar of homemade apple butter for Christmas. I thought it was a very thoughtful gift (even though she knows I can't have gluten-the kids and hubby have enjoyed them).
dx 2003
Remission 2004-2010
Moderate/severe flare through entire colon 12/2010-10/2012
Lialda, omeprazole, Remicade, Methotrexate, Folic Acid, Questran
Been on Asacol, prednisone, Apriso, Imuran, Entocort and Cimzia
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01-02-2012, 07:21 PM   #8
Lisa's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New York

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sigh.....sorry you are having this issue with your in-laws.....personally I don't see ANYTHING wrong with giving a home made gift at Christmas - it shouldn't be about the gift, but rather the thought behind it!.....

I too wouldn't give back the iPad, like what was said before that might breed more ill-will. One thing I am wondering (feel free to say none of my/our business!) - how does it come with strings?

Hopefully things will even out over time- and personally, I wouldn't be going out of my way to make that long drive to put up with being put down or screamed at...sorry - if they wanted to see me/us that bad they would be making the trip themselves.

Makes me glad my in-laws like me! (don't know why lol).....

30 plus years and counting with UC/Crohn's!
on remicade since 11/05

While my experiences may not be what everyone has had- I feel it is worthwhile to share any and all experiences that may be beneficial to others.
01-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011

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Just keep the iPad - returning it would create more problems. So your in-laws don't like you, according to them, because they don't know you? Do you think that is the real reason, and if not, what do you think is the real reason? (You don't have to answer those questions - I'm just weirdly intrigued by in-law dynamics. I have a friend whose in-laws sound like yours and every time she tells me a story about their terrible behavior, I can hardly believe it).
01-02-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
Senior Member
SawyerAshton's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Louisiana
Sell the iPad 2 and buy 2 iPad 1's.
01-16-2012, 02:06 PM   #11
Join Date: Nov 2011
lol, it would take me a veryyyyyy long time to explain all of the dynamics there! As far as I can figure it's because I married their "precious baby" and took him away. A few examples of the dynamics MIL wore a white, formal, floor length dress to our wedding. With an updo, nails done, the whole nine yards. It was also spaghetti straps with silver accents (my dress, which she knew about...was white, floor length, spaghetti strap, with silver accents). We got a phone call from my in-laws at 4:30am on the first morning of our honeymoon. They've called me defective (because I've been sick) and told my hubby that he should be worried about my genetics getting passed on to any children...

And, I could go on and on. I've been called stupid, ignored, told I'm sarcastic and whiny....and no matter what I've tried to do (talk, not talk, be cordial, be friendly, sit there and do nothing, bring gifts, ask about their lives, stay in the background...) they always find fault. And it's not just me that they take fault with, they love to criticize hubby too (stuff like he must clean the house in a pink frilly apron, and they love to tell him that he's a puppet letting me control the strings). Sooo....long story short, we've put up with a lot from all of them.

We actually did sit down and have a discussion with them the other day. It went ok...but I'm still wary. They have never once apologized or really taken any responsibility for their actions. So...I guess we'll see how this new "truce" goes.

As for the strings attached with the ipad....1) They now expect hubby to talk with them at least week, via video messaging. 2) They use the ipad to discuss "secret" topics with him, that I'm not included on. 3) They use the excuse that they gave him such a nice gift to try to guilt trip him...and again, the list goes on...

Also, we already have an ipad2. If they had just asked us about it, they would have know that we actually just bought one. We really didn't need another one, but again, can't return it, since it's engraved.

I'm sure this explanation is long and rambly, lol. There's just sooo much there, it's hard to explain it all. But, ultimately, we decided to just keep the ipad, keep our mouths shut and just see what happens. On a side note...I'm off to my GI appt to discuss all this gastrointestinal stuff...keep your fingers crossed that it goes well!

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