On being a doormat

gerinaMarch 29, 2010

I didn't want to hijack Mark66's post, but this doormat thing has been eating at me for a couple of weeks and I need to vent.

My DH has had a habit of "volunteering me" to do favors and letting me know as an afterthought. While we were living together, but before we got married, his EX wanted to borrow my truck to bring home a large purchase, he told her he'd meet her at the store and bring it home for her. I told him never again, but he did it again six months later. I blew my cork. I think he was so used to making all the decisions regarding "his family" and he just assumed I would go along. Last year he his daughter wanted a dog and he said fine. I had no idea that she even wanted one until I came home to find some strange dog barking at me. I drug him into counseling and that type of stuff was my big gripe.

Recently, my MIL (who lives in my house/ we live in hers - medical reason and too long) gave my SD 26 who was moving to a new apt. permission to store her belongings in my garage. I was casually informed almost as an afterthought. It is a problem for me because most of my personal possessions are still at my house because there is no room here. Additionally, I have my mom's stuff stored in there (she died a few months ago) and I need to go through it. Finally, this particular SD vehemently dislikes me and I don't care to do her any favors.

I told my MIL, of course after the fact, that I didn't want it stored there and she said it was only for a couple of weeks. I let it go. The stuff was still there 2 months later and it turns out that SD told her former roommate that it was fine to store her stuff there as well, which makes me personally liable should it become damaged. What nerve on the part of SD!

I told DH that I was getting ready to go through my parents' possessions. DH took it upon himself and called his DD and told her to remove her things from garage (which is how we learned it wasn't all her stuff). I learned from my other SD 22 that her sister 26 (the one who hates me), left her second car parked in front of her BF's mother's house and the neighbors were complaining. I guess I didn't quite hear SD 22 correctly, but her sister planned to park the car in my back yard (I have RV or boat parking). I called my MIL the following morning to tell her that I thought her GD was going to ask to park the car there, but before I finished my sentence...she told me that SD asked to park it there and she said YES! I was beyond furious. I asked my MIL to please call her and tell her it can't go there. MIL told me it was too late because she already parked it there!!!

I told MIL I was sorry but it needed to go. I said I didn't want to hurt her feelings nor those of DH, I said this kid is still extremely rude to me and I do not want to do her any favors. I also told MIL that this SD has such disregard for me that she still hasn't acknowledged that my mom died. MIL refused to tell SD to move the car. I asked her for SD's phone number and said I would be more than happy to make the call. My MIL begged me not to do it. She repeatedly said I had a lot to lose! Sure sounds like a threat to me. I told her that if this is going to create that kind of a loss (divorce), that it was worth it. I said being married wasn't worth another 40 or 50 years of being treated like garbage by this kid. Aside from me not wanting to do favors for this SD, the previous week I'd been speaking with contractors about doing some major work to the yard and the car will be in the way.

I finally told MIL and DH that from now on I am the only one to give permission about that house. I also told MIL that she has put DH in the middle and backed me into a corner. Give and take is one thing and it is fine, but doormat isn't. Thanks for the ear.

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finedreams

sounds that maybe MIL considers it her house since she lives there rather than your house. i am wondering that if she would not let SD to keep stuff at your house, she would let SD to keep stuff in her house, where you actually live, so you'd be forced to look at SD's stuff. It might be better the way it is.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 8:03PM
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gerina

SD originally asked DH to store a couple of boxes at our house and he cleared out a space for her. Turns out the space wasn't large enough because none of it was actually boxes. That's why she ask my MIL. SD never keeps her end of the agreement with anything, hence, keeping it there for months and not weeks. Even my MIL didn' know that some of the stuff belonged to SD's former roommate.

It's not that I want my MIL to feel it isn't her house, but since she pays no rent, most everything I own is still there, and we need her permission for major things at this house...well, the door swings both ways. Something minor is one thing, but I don't want my house to be used for permanent storage - that's why they have Public Storage and other companies.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 8:30PM
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mark66

Hi gerina

My limited experience suggests this continues until one makes a stand; something that can be difficult due to potential consequences.

Is it mainly stepchildren who presume and don't ask (in case you say no, and then it may be perceived more than it actually is), rather than biological children who ask?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:09PM
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finedreams

"Is it mainly stepchildren who presume and don't ask (in case you say no, and then it may be perceived more than it actually is), rather than biological children who ask?"

stepchildren are also somebody's biochildren. LOL it sounds funny when people speak of stepkids like of some unique species.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:14PM
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silversword

Volunteering is a no-no. Sounds like there is lack of respect, regardless of "whose" house you live in. Sounds like this is a DH problem rather than a MIL or SD problem (although they are the ones "creating" the issue, your DH is the one perpetuating the issue).

Talk to DH. MIL has absolutely no right to allow anyone to park on your property without your permission. I agree with you completely. Not ok for someone's stuff to be in your house without you knowing, even if it would probably be not really a big deal, it's the thought that counts. As in, asking before just assuming that it's ok.

I feel your pain. My mother used to volunteer me for things/my house for things/my car for things...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 9:30PM
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gerina

Silver-
Yes, it is a DH issue. He got an ear full from me too. He supposedly told DD (yesterday) that she is to ask me from now on and no one else for favors at my house. I want to catch her alone or send her an email to make sure she and I are on the same page.

MIL is just as guilty and the teacher and leader of this pack. One of my MIL friend's visited her during the first few months MIL was living at the house. I stopped by a few days later and my MIL said that her friend really liked a certain lamp of mine. She told her friend that since I wasn't using it, she would ask me if her friend could have it. I was dumbfounded. What was she thinking? Last month that same friend commented on my Cuckoo Clock. Again, MIL wanted to know if I had any attachment to it. I told her it was a gift from my dead parents. And this, my GW friends, is where my DH learned his lack of boundaries.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 10:36PM
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catlettuce

Not just a lack of boundaries. There ARE NO boundaries.
Oh, I feel your pain. And yes agree it is a DH issue, even more so than the adult child doing the manipulating.

Same thing here to the Nth degree. Same thing with Mark only its his DW.. I don't know what the answer is beyond lighting my hair afire and running screaming into the night.

~Cat

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:36AM
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finedreams

"MIL is just as guilty and the teacher and leader of this pack. One of my MIL friend's visited her during the first few months MIL was living at the house. I stopped by a few days later and my MIL said that her friend really liked a certain lamp of mine. She told her friend that since I wasn't using it, she would ask me if her friend could have it. I was dumbfounded. What was she thinking? Last month that same friend commented on my Cuckoo Clock. Again, MIL wanted to know if I had any attachment to it. I told her it was a gift from my dead parents. And this, my GW friends, is where my DH learned his lack of boundaries."

wow, that's crazy gerina. wow. do you have any attachment to YOUR things? haha How dare you? They want a lamp, maybe you could use that lamp to throw at someone.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:22AM
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sweeby

The whole setup -- her living in your house / you living in hers -- is a recipe for trouble.

Think about it -- MIL's in a position where she can't really make decisions about the house she owns because you're living there, and can't make decisions about the house she lives in because you own it.

She's in a no-win position.
And of course, you are too.

Is there any way of changing the living arrangements? Because the way they are, there's really no way to avoid trouble...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:59AM
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gerina

I agree Sweeby. I had my reservations going into this, but I didn't think she be trying to give my stuff away! It's a LONG and complicated story. She is still relatively young, but becoming less and less mobile (my house is much easier to navigate for her). I honestly believe she will need assisted living in a couple of years or less, and I think I can hold out until then.

Reading Mark's thread just made me want to vent and I didn't want to hijack his post.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:30AM
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silversword

Well, maybe a little well-placed retribution.

MIL:
"Mrs. H. loves your dining room table, can she have it?"

Gerina:
"Funny you should ask. That table's been in my family a long time, so I'm rather attached to it, but my friend Sam was just asking about your china. He loves the pattern, and since you probably won't be throwing any dinner parties, I told him I'd ask if you would give it to him."

Smile. Pause. Repeat as needed.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:41AM
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sylviatexas1

or how about:

"Mother-in-law, give away or appropriate just one more item that belongs to me & I'm calling the police & you're going to jail."

& to husband:

"Back the h@!! away from *my* stuff, or your stuff is going out on the lawn & I'm changing the locks on the doors."

something like that...

This family is disfunctional, & you can't argue them into reasonable behavior any more than a bunny rabbit can argue a fox into going vegetarian.

You're just meat for their grinder.

I'm sorry.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 1:34PM
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lamom

"Is it mainly stepchildren who presume and don't ask (in case you say no, and then it may be perceived more than it actually is), rather than biological children who ask?" Mark, both kinds of kids do it of course but with skids a much uglier set of dynamics can be set off.

Gerina,

Good for you for standing up for yourself. You did exactly right. MIL was WAY overstepping. My DH has overstepped in similar ways with me in the past and I've had to put my big foot down. It hasn't happened in a long time but it happened enough.

And I've learned the hard way, you don't really have to do anything for adult skids who don't like you. And you shouldn't.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:11AM
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silversword

LA mom, you can switch that around too... SM/SD and BM/BD can both presume and don't ask, but there is more potential for it to become volatile if it's S than B.

My SM presumes up a storm.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:31AM
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gerina

LA and Silver-

You too are both right. I think even in the case of my lamp and clock - if it was my BM vs. my MIL offering up my things (and my BM did give away something of mine once to my sister - Grrrr), I would be equally ticked off at both of them, but more offend by my MIL. It's the blood is thicker than water thing and I think that is just human nature.

After having posted this stuff, I have to say aside from the obvious dysfunction, it is so unbelievable that it's pretty hilarious. It could be one of the side stories in a Seinfeld episode. I feel like the gift registry at Macy's!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:53PM
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silversword

ohhhhh I know!!! Just put those little sticky papers on the backs of things like my grandma!!! LOL. She has everything listed, on the item itself, where it is going when she dies. Next time she does that:

MILWNM (MIL With No Manners): "Jane likes your lamp, can she have it?"

You: "Oh, you know, I forgot all about that lamp. Just check the back for me, will you?"

Perhaps having it in black and white will show her whose stuff that really is, and since she's of that age group where they do that sort of thing, maybe it will sink in her little pea-brain.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 1:51PM
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colleenoz

"I honestly believe she will need assisted living in a couple of years or less"
I think it's time to start the ball rolling now. You move back into your house, MIL puts her place on the market and buys something easier to manage.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:10AM
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