Post # 1
So, I could use some advice.
Background: Future Brother-In-Law and Future Mother-In-Law had a huge falling out around Christmas. Both of them behaved immaturely, and the end result is that Future Brother-In-Law won’t return FMIL’s calls, etc, and hasn’t for months. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon. She’s been hounding him non-stop since Christmas, and has come close to driving cross-country to surprise/confront him. She doesn’t think she was wrong about anything she did or said during the drama (she was), and is NOT looking to apologize, but rather to demand apologies.
Fiance and Future Brother-In-Law have a decent relationship. Future Mother-In-Law has been seriously upset/hurt that Future Brother-In-Law will still talk to Fiance and not to her. FI’s relationship with Future Mother-In-Law has always been a bit strained.
Recently, Fiance and Future Mother-In-Law had dinner. She asked him if he would be inviting Future Brother-In-Law to the wedding, and he replied “of course I will”. She then said that if she and Future Brother-In-Law hadn’t resolved their issues by then, that she just might not come. Fiance stared at her in disbelief. She then said “would you hold that against me?” Fiance said “Are you crazy? Of course I would.” She dug in her heels, and indicated that because Fiance eloped a decade ago (when he was in college, tumbling into a foolish marriage that didn’t last a year) that she felt like she had every right to ditch our wedding with impunity.
He’s furious. I’m appalled. Could really use some advice about how to proceed.
Post # 2
She’s the one being the drama queen, so she is the one who is going to lose out if she decides to boycott the wedding. Clearly she is trying to manipulate you and your Fiance into uninviting Future Brother-In-Law, which obviously is not going to happen. I would just shrug and say “I’m sorry you feel that way, we would love to have you there but if you don’t feel comfortable attending we will miss you.” End of discussion. Never negotiate with emotional terrorists.
I suspect that she will probably come around and attend once she realises that she is only shooting herself in the foot. But even if that doesn’t happen, it’s still not really that great a loss given she is clearly more concerned with her own squabbles than you and your fiance’s happiness on your wedding day.
Post # 3
She can stay at home if she wants to and you guys can enjoy your wedding without drama. sounds great!!!
Post # 4
Your Fiance should tell your Future Mother-In-Law that it’s like divorced parents at weddings. If divorced parents can tolerate each other for a day (i.e. being in the same room, but seated well apart and not needing to talk to each other), then she and her other son can as well. My parents divorced and my mother hated my father for a while, but she didn’t let that spoil my sister’s wedding. Your Future Mother-In-Law should take the same attitude: not spoil FI’s wedding because of a feud which is nothing to do with Fiance.
Post # 5
TwilightSparkler: I’m getting major narcissist red flags here; she sounds very much like my Mother-In-Law who we strongly believe has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
My advice? Be nice and polite, but stand firm. She is trying to blackmail you, and given that your Fiance sounds as if he is closer to his brother than he is to her, for me it would be a no-brainer: she doesn’t get to dictate who you do and don’t invite, and if she won’t come because her son is coming, that’s her choice, and by the sounds of it, won’t be a major loss to you or your Fiance.
The other thing I’d add, if my suspicions are right, is to play it carefully. Don’t end up rising to her bait or being drawn into conflict, and be nice about it eg ‘I’m sorry you feel that way but it’s important to me that my brother is there and so I won’t be uninviting’. She may (again if my suspicions are correct) come out with statements like ‘I can’t believe you would invite him after what he’s done to me/I can’t believe you would still invite him even though I’ve told you that I can’t possibly come if he does’ (I’d put money on her making statements like this); if she does, the best way to reply is ‘I’m sorry you feel like that. I really want you both there’, and ‘I don’t wish to be drawn into whatever happened between you both, as I care about both of you’. She will probably say that he is siding with his brother; he should just say that isn’t true, and again, he’s sorry she feels like that.
Dealing with these people can be incredibly difficult and draining (I know from experience) and the best approach is to set boundaries, and to remember that your feelings matter too. So, your Future Mother-In-Law is entitled to get angry if she wants; she’s even entitled to lay on the emotional blackmail if she wants. But your Fiance is entitled to stand firm and not back down.
Post # 6
Not that we had this issue with our wedding but I’ve always said that if someone said to me, “I’m not going if so-and-so is going” I would say, “fine, then don’t come”. As if their statement would make me choose them over the other person.
If your Future Mother-In-Law doesn’t want to be there because Future Brother-In-Law will be, that’s her problem.
Post # 7
My Future Sister-In-Law and Future Mother-In-Law are going through a similar situation… except they live 15 minutes from one another and haven’t talked in over two years. We’re doing a domestic destination wedding… this way, we can’t be hurt if neither of them show up.
Post # 8
You should proceed as planned. She’s the one that needs to figure out how she’s going to act, not you and Fiance. Either she can get it together and show up or stay home. To be honest, she would probably be doing you a favor by staying home. If she was willing to go across the country to confront him, what’s to stop her from escalating the conflict at your wedding?
I say accept her gracious gift of peace to keep her crazy ass at home.
Post # 9
Classic manipulation. I stopped speaking to my mother over a year ago because I refused to be manipulated by her anymore.
Don’t fall for it, and don’t feel responsible for her emotions or reactions, because you are not!
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY
Penang1885: This. Every word.
Post # 11
Just calmly tell her you will miss her and never bring it up again. If you let her manipulate you now, everything in the future will be a fight. Family get-togethers, holidays, future children birthday parties, etc., etc. – it will constantly be “if he’s coming or if she’s coming, I am not coming”. The drama will continue and make you miserable and who needs that?
Invite both parties and let them know you expect them to behave politely or don’t bother to come.
Post # 12
Well obviously Fiance isn’t going to not invite Brother-In-Law over this, so he should do nothing. If Mother-In-Law wants to call his bluff she’ll be the one who misses out and it will be only her to blame. I suspect she’ll change her tune eventually but if she doesn’t, the show will go on.
Post # 13
TwilightSparkler: I personally don’t engage bad behavior like that – so I would tell Future Mother-In-Law to go ‘eff herself and that if she would honestly boycott your wedding becuase of her own personal drama she is more than welcome to do so. I expect the adults in my life to act like adults. I had a falling out with a family member a couple of years ago, it was major and they were in the wrong. I’ve moved past it, but my personal feelings will never let things go back to the way they were. That being said, despite the fact we no longer really have a realtionship we still manage to be around each other for various social situations and people who wouldn’t know are none the wiser.
Post # 14
TwilightSparkler: Something I’ve learned in my old age is for some reason we still expect the people we love to be there for us, support us etc like those people are supposed to do. Unfortunately a LOT of people have problems (personality disorders and whatever) and just don’t get it. We still seek approval and whatnot but we should know these certain people are never, ever, ever, ever going to give it. I’d say she can stay home so you all can have a really nice day!
Post # 15
Your Future Mother-In-Law sounds alot like my mother. She too is the mistress of emotional blackmail. I often count myself lucky that my father left her during my honeymoon and not before my wedding, or she definitely would have come out with the same bullshit.
As it was, I have had no relationship with my father for 25 years because I was young and kowtowed to her blackmail. Nowadays, I don’t negotiate with emotional terrorists.
If your Future Mother-In-Law repeats her claptrap, just reply “Yes, we heard you the first time. Your loss if you don’t attend” and go about your business as usual.
Future Mother-In-Law needs to grow up.