Would you sell your soul for a "Free Trip"?

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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:27 PM
  #1
Romy
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Would you sell your soul for a "Free Trip"?

Would you agree to accompany a "family member" who incidentaly you don't necessarily enjoy spending time with, on a 12-day European cruise that she is willing to pay for? Said "family member" is a Mother-in-law.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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If you don't respect her generosity don't go. Sounds a little disrespectful to me! Here soneone is willing to spend A LOT of money on you and you consider it "selling your soul" to go. Very ungreatful.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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No freakin way. Even the most marvelous destinations can be ruined by a lousy travel companion.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:37 PM
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Romy
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I agree with both replies. There's a serious degree of manipulation involved and by "considering" this is being fair to ALL concerned parties.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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Is MIL close to your spouse?

Is MIL is offering to pay for your entire family to go, and not just you?

Is MIL a grandmother to your children who are also invited?

Will there be enough other family members present to entertain MIL so you can do your own activities and remain civil for your family's sake?
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Jan 4th, 2004, 12:53 PM
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Some of the best advice I received from my mom was "You can only sell your soul once, make sure you get a good deal."

Is it just you, your spouce, and the mother-in-law or is it a family reunion with lots of people?
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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I didn't mean to sound harsh in my message but if the relations are that bad then don't go. Both you and she will be miserable & life is too short. I still have to give her credit because she is willing to spend several thousand dollars on you and for that you should be respectful of. This could perhaps be an opportunity to make your relationship beter.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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Sorry for typing errors
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Romy
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We have no children, so it would just be the 3 of us. Husband's relationship with his mother is strained as well. As the daughter-in-law, I have spent years, time, money and frustration to make her happy, to no avail. She is very lonely, doesn't get along with her own sisters and has a strong need to control any and all around her. If I have learned anything, it is the road to hell is paved in good intentions. I also know if we say no, she will probably threaten to "slice her wrists" as she did when we said we wanted to spend the holidays by ourselves. Needless to say, we didn't.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Then you both have to work. Your mean bosses won't let you go. And you really wish you could go. It was so nice of her to offer. And offer to help her shop for a new suitcase.

But stay out of her web of influence!
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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You've got yourself a situation there and I think you're going to lose either way. That being the case, I would say "No, thanks". At least you won't be beholden to her for a costly gesture that is likely to provide the basis for further manipulation going forward.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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You answered the question with the heading of the post.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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Money is often the primary tool of a manipulator, especially a manipulative parent, so IMO, you can disregard all these "you should be grateful" comments. They don't apply in this instance.

Just say no and disengage from any further drama about it. Manipulators depend on certain behavior from others, usually guilt, cowering and capitulation. Don't engage in it. Just my two cents
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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My 2 cents:
Never be obligated to anyone.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Gee, you people are brutal. I guess it would take a lot for me to give up an opportunity like this and I even HATE cruises.

How many "ground rules" can you comfortably discuss first? If like many cruises you're going to be doing land excursions by group every day, it's not much worse than usual when there is always some obnoxious person in the crowd anyway. And since meals are on the ship you don't need to argue about where to eat and when, etc. A lot of the trouble making decisions will be made for you.

On the other hand, is she going to totally monopolize your time? Or is she going to be willing to go with the flow and let you two do a few evenings on your own or do a day trip even if it doesn't appeal to her?

And there is always the rarest of possibilities, that this will be a chance for you all to become friends. It's a different world from entertaining her in your home or you going to her turf.

Is it even possible this is a true attempt to reach out to you? After all you refused to spend the holidays with her and maybe she wants to mend some fences?
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Patrick, you sound like the MIL incognito, lol.
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Romy
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I'm amazed by the amount of excellent advice. I also appreciate it.

For my 40th b-day a little over a year ago, I decided to make the effort to vacation on her turf, so to speak, as we did stay in a hotel nearby. The few occasions my husband and I decided to spend the day or evening just by ourselves, we were called names and hung up on. So the monopoly on time is predetermined. As for the holidays; let's just say we allowed her to manipulate her way into our home, so our "refusal" fell upon deaf ears. As far as I'm concerned my mind is made up and I guess I'm just preparing for the inevitable backlash, threats, etc. My husband does not feel this would be any more enjoyable than I do, but he seems to overlook the patterns I've come to expect.

Thanks again for all the feedback, it's a tough one.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:29 PM
  #18
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Dear Romy -- I would run, not walk, away from this offer. It sounds like you have already tried everything to get along with this woman and she insists upon being unpleasant. She is probably lonely as a result of the way she treats people. If you go on this cruise, you and hubby will not get a moment alone, and if she is anything like my MIL, then you will hear for years afterward how she sacrificed to pay to take you on the cruise.

She already manipulated her into changing your Christmas plans. Ask yourself if the holiday was more enjoyable then what you and your husband were planning alone.

By the way, as far as her threatening to slice her wrists....I'm no lawyer, but in one of my nursing school classes, I was told that if a person threatens suicide, and actually has a plan on how to do it "I'll slit my wrists...", that may be grounds to have that person committed to a hospital. She probably wasn't really planning to slit her wrists, but maybe she'll stop with that threat if you tell her you can have her put in a hospital for saying it. Lawyers on this forum, is my info correct or way off base?
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:35 PM
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Romy
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Mighty Isis, Wow, why didn't I think of that? Now I'm ready, LOL! That just might solve any future suicide threats. I thank you! Come on lawyers, Mighty Isis might be right on target.
 
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Jan 4th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Fear nothing. Stand your ground. Expect an escalation in abusive behavior, because the tactics that used to work for her are no longer working. She will turn everything up a notch, including threats, insults, and real or imagined illnesses, another favorite parental guilt tactic.

You need to grow a backbone and set some ground rules for acceptable behavior, then follow through on the consequences if she becomes abusive again (and she will).

Buy yourself a book called "Toxic Parents" by Dr. Susan Forward to learn how to respond and deal with this kind of manipulation. It helped a friend of mine deal with similar issues. Share it with DH. Sounds like he needs it. It's unfair of him to subject you to this manipulative abuse as well, just because he's used to accepting it. Heck, go visit Dr. Phil's site for tips if you have to!

I feel for you, but buck up. The role of victim is a fallacy. You're only a victim if you choose it.
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