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

Old Jan 4th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Good advice again. I have the book by Susan Forward "Toxic In-Laws". It has helped but perhaps I should read it again, it's been a while.
Old Jan 4th, 2004, 02:55 PM
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Romy honey, no sarcasm intended, but if you've read the book Toxic In-Laws and are still asking this question, read it again.

Ncgrrl had it right. If you're going to sell your soul, get a good deal. This is not a good deal.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 03:48 PM
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Mr. R5 is a Clinical Psychotherapist at a Bay Area hospital and can answer on the being "committed" note:
The on-duty or on-call psych person
(Dr.,LPN,Psychotherapist/LCSW or PhD)
at your Hospital ER can have any individual determined a "5150"-danger to self or others, and then committed providing there is a bed availiable-which may or may not be at the hospital
itself. Lawyers typically do not have much to do with that part of it. An ER
doctor must call for a Psych consult
to determine this. Very serious stuff.
Myself would probably just say "No".
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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Nothing is ever "Free". As Dr. Phil says, when you "_______" for money (or in this case a trip), you'll pay for it every day. Think of it this way, it is worth "12 days of your life"? I get upset when people or things waste minutes or hours in my life, let alone giving up almost two weeks.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:13 PM
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Sigh! What a problem!

First question: are you and your husband going to be in a separate stateroom or are the three of you going to be in the same room together? If you are going to be together, I personally would not go. If separately, then it depends.

Your MIL sounds like a very lonely person. Going on a ship is one way that she can ensure that you are all together in one place. But I would not want to be in the same room all that time!

Some cruise ships have "escorts" for all the elderly women who travel alone. They are the dance partners, dinner partners, etc. If such an arrangement is possible, maybe you could arrange for her to have a "partner" once in a while. That might take her mind off of you two - once in a while.

Some cruise ships allow you to have meals at different tables, so you could have different companions and enjoy the company of more passengers than if you sat consistently with the same crowd.

In other words, try and find ways to make the cruise a pleasure for both yourselves and your MIL.

On the other hand, if your MIL is both possessive and nagging, I'd forget it. No fun. Total burden.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:23 PM
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You can NEVER get enough for your soul. Stay home where love is.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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I thought I had survived a difficult MIL. Yours sounds even worse. Of course, on a cruise, you will be sharing her with other people -- certainly not like being stuck in an Airstream on a cross-country trip with her. It's up to you. I found I could get along with my MIL in small doses, and used to get horrendous headaches if we were with them for more than 3 or 4 days at a time...and that was when my lovable FIL was still alive. 12 days is a long trip. Would she be willing to do different excursions at various ports -- maybe pick 3 to do together and let you guys do your own thing elsewhere? ("Mom, you probably would be more interested in seeing the glass blowers in Murano, we'd rather see the modern art so we'll meet up with you back at the ship at dinner time...")
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 06:14 PM
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Romy, if you go she will make you miserable. If you stay home she will make you miserable. In this case misery does not like company!! So, stay home.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 06:27 PM
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And I thought my mother-in-law was a horror!

Stay home. Don't even think of embarking on this cruise to hell.
Old Jan 4th, 2004, 07:09 PM
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And we can all probably relate to the old joke of the husband and wife arguing about each other's relatives being a pain. The husband becomes exasperated and says, "No, I don't hate all your relatives. I really like your mother-in-law."
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 08:30 PM
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I might try to rationalize going by telling myself two things. First I'd decide that no reasonable person in my position could turn down such an incredible travel opportunity. Then, to make myself feel better about being a selfish ingrate, I would decide to make a conscious effort to reach out to the MIL and to show her appreciation for having given birth to the person I love.

I don't know how you can lose. If the MIL is truly that abusive, then who cares? Go with your own agenda and don't let her get in your way. On the other hand, maybe she's still hoping for a nice relationship with you. In that case you should continue to do what you can to help accomplish that.

Either way you have a free European vacation!
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 10:15 PM
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I don't like to get involved in other people's problems but feel compelled to ask, have you taken MIL to see a doctor? She sounds very depressed. A physician may be able to help her. I'm sure some part of her wants to have a better relationship with you both or she wouldn't be asking. Good luck.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 10:42 PM
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A word from an MD... If you feel a person is suicidal or threatening to harm themselves--call 911. A police officer or trained team will come out to perform a psychiatric evaluation. Laws vary by state regarding involuntary hospitalization.
I agree, very serious stuff.

And, very manipulative.

Good Luck, Romy.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 10:58 PM
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I wouldn't feel at all sorry for "Mommie Dearest" or attempt to engage with her. This is a person who operates on fear and doesn't know how to give or receive love or be close to anyone now. She substitutes the power and control of manipulation for real intimacy and connection with other human beings. Nothing she does is directed at you personally, it's all about her (and isn't that always the case?) and her fears. Laugh off and dismiss, but do not engage, IMO.

But of course, if you already read the book, you know all about that.
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Old Jan 4th, 2004, 11:10 PM
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Pretty harsh response. What I see is a person that needs help. Hopefully you'll be able to give it to her if she's willing. You only have one mother in life too ya know. Good luck.
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:02 AM
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Again, I'm amazed and enlightened with the thoughtful responses and I thank you all.

She called last night and didn't even mention the trip. Yet.

Interesting point about the cabin situation; This opens up an entirely different quandry that I did not mention before. She would also like to bring my husband's older half-sister. She is clinically depressed (goes off her meds regularly and usually ends up in hospital a few times each year). To further confuse this situation, the half-sister just lost her son less than a month ago to suicide who was also fighting mental ilness. Obviously MIL thought this would be a nice diversion for her to get away. I do believe her intention are good. But, for obvious reasons we're a little nervous. Originally, MIL mentioned 2 seperate staterooms, but when she was here for the holidays, she said it was less expensive for us all to share a suite. That's when I seriously started questioning if this was a good idea.

Sorry to throw a wrench in this already difficult dilemma. I realize this sounds more like a bad movie than a travel quesion.

I appreciate this forum. The objective, sometimes humorous, and thoughtful advice is extremely helpful.
Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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OK, throw out my "Pollyanna" answer from the other day. With all this new information, I wouldn't touch that trip on a bet.
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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I apologize for the typing errors, I should have previewed before I sent...
Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Romy: Wow! sounds like you have a truly complex situation here!

Not being aware of your budget nor cruise experience, please forgive anything that I say that is not applicable or that you know already.

Cruise cabins tend to be small. A 3rd and a 4th passenger may well find themselves in the upper bunks which, most likely, fold down from the wall.

A suite is different. Usually a suite includes a separate sitting room and possibly a private balcony. If your MIL can afford a suite, I would urge her to pay for two separate cabins instead.

Your MIL doesn't sound like such a horror. Her motives seem good - to help your DH's half sister. I would conjecture that she doesn't feel like she can do the cruise alone with her daughter and would like your DH and yourself to help.

Depending on the cruise line, you have a host of activities going on all the time and if your MIL and her daughter go to one activity, you and your DH can head for another. I would look carefully at the cruise line and what they offer. Rock bottom priced cruise lines should be avoided.

Just to mention a few cruise lines: Carnival caters to a crowd younger than your MIL - lo! Royal Caribbean would be fine. Any of the "dam" ships (Rotterdam, Amsterdam) of Holland American are fine. Celebrity or Princess would be fine too. I personally don't like the food on Princess - but that's another topic!

Hope this helps a bit!

If you do decided to go, don't forget to post a trip report!
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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I think some of the people who accuse others of being "brutal" in their responses need to go back and read Romy's descriptions of the MIL behavior. Name-calling, phone slam downs, threats of suicide if they don't capitulate to her wishes, imposing herself on them in their home despite their wish to be alone....this is manipulation at its height.

Anyone who has ever had a manipulative and controlling parent understands that you either continue to capitulate and have no self-esteem, or you refuse to capitulate and are subjected to heightened abuse, which you must either ride out or ignore. These manipulators are used to controlling people, and it's usually where they feel safest -- with family members. If they feel they are losing that control, they will escalate the abuse in order to regain it.

Let me guess Romy....has MIL also ever threatened to cut you and DH out of her will? Blamed you or DH for her own abusive behavior? Refused to accept any responsibility for hurting you? More classic parental manipulative tactics. This behavior is "addictive love" and requires constant repetition in order for the manipulator to feel satisfied. That's why it never stops.

Romy, perhaps it's time for you to make a decision rather than post continual additional details about the horror of it all, lol. GL GF.
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