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My mother-in-law is now 87, depressed, verbally cruel, and I have never been an accepted daughter-in-law for 31 years of marriage to her son. Each holiday is a trial. I have opted to not attend gatherings for the last 5 years. My husband has stood up for me and understands, and has also pulled away. Now, however, a sister-in-law is spreading the guilt with the claim of our mother-in-law being "fragile, this will probably be her last holiday." I've heard this for 3 years. The guilt has gone to my adult daughter, newly engaged, and with other plans for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law contacted her via Facebook pressing her to change plans due to the fragility of grandma. Me and my spouse were going to go this year but now are weary and sad. I stood up for my daughter and am now being judged and am being accused of creating confrontations. I am hating the holidays but ever wish I could find a way around the soap operas. Looks like we are not going this year again. My spouse, and daughter, both see my mother-in-law on a regular basis. They don't wait for a holiday to show her they care.

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No guilt. No confrontation.

Your daughter, newly-engaged, I assume is looking forward to Thanksgiving with her fiancé's family? She has already accepted that invitation, she has no excuse for changing the arrangements. Tell her it would be bad manners to cancel her plans (by implication, it is bad manners for her aunt to try to persuade her to do so; but you don't have to mention that unless you want to). She sees plenty of her grandmother and has no basis for guilt.

If you were planning anyway to go to MIL's for the holiday, go, guilt-free, as a kind, mature person whose husband would like to be nice to his mother. You'd already made the mental effort required to grit your teeth and face putting up with the outlaws all day, so why waste it? Your SIL can stage whatever little drama she likes, you don't have to join in. Don't let her derail your good intentions.

I speak as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the few blissful years when my MIL wasn't speaking to me (she does tend to take these things literally), so I know how the heart sinks at the thought of days like this. It won't be fun, but you can rise above it and it'll make your husband proud of you.
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Sand go forward with strength😃
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Thank everyone for your input. I feel blessed by such wonderful, and helpful words. May you all have a blessed holiday!!!
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Anybody ever tempted to deal with this like so: "Hi there MIL! Heard you were dying in the new year, so we thought we better check you out to see how bad you are!! And by the way, I always did like that Sevres vase - could I take it home with me now, to save coming over after you croak?"
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Some familiy members love to play the guilt card and put pressure on others, especially elderly people. The do it and they can! Don't let your MIL get to you, she knows she is getting to her family, it is the way she is. Be nice to her and grow a thick skin!! As for that sister-in-law, don't let her talk get to you. How does she know it will be your MIL last holiday, nobody knows. Be strong for you and your own family.
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I agree with everyone else - ignore your SIL. I wonder if she's projecting her own guilt onto you and your family, since your family (hubby and daughter) see grandmother on a regular basis?

I'm lucky in that I live away from family and it's just my mom and me. My dad was in the Air Force when I was growing up, so we could never be around other family at holidays anyway, so the particular "day" has never meant a lot to my mom, brother or me. Too bad so many make it an unnecessarily guilt-ridden, stressful time.
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Never felt any guilt on the holidays and pray I have never made my kids feel guilt. I see them almost daily and that is more important than a holiday! With in-laws out of town it is rough but we did Easter with them and every other Thanksgiving they came to our house. We had our normal back and forth summer visits.

Many years we went over the day or so before Christmas and drove back home early Christmas morning to see what Santa left and enjoy the day with my family. No guilt, I wanted my kiddos to enjoy both families and I loved seeing their faces when we got home! Helped keep Santa magic going a year or so longer...lol! Christmas Day should be spent where you want to be and for us that is home with all my family.

Guilt is such a control issue and I never bought into it. In an ideal world we do things (like visit family) because we want to but sometimes you just know it is the right thing to do. Nothing is going to take the joy out of my holidays. Your SIL is a pill and I would ignore her completely.
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Your SIL is miffed because she couldn't guilt your daughter and you wouldn't help her. You, on the other hand, did good backing your adult daughter's decision to celebrate the holiday as she and her fiance had planned.

The best gift we can give our kids is flexing on holidays to reduce unnecessary stress for them.
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Ha, the guilt stuff ruins the holidays for us doesn't it? We can't turn it off and are reminded of the happy family gatherings we should be having with all the generations happily and merrily celebrating -- TV shows, relentless holiday adds, magazines, jolly neighbors, etc, Hallmark....the truth is, it just ain't so for most families. We are blood, we choose our friends but not our families.

I don't think it is fair to continue to suffer thru holidays to make others happy and it is okay to bow out. If MIL is still "with it", she knows why you don't come, SIL knows why you don't come....it's okay.

It's okay to make other plans. Just say, you'll stop over after the holidays or send a card. And maybe you and husband should confront SIL and tell her that she hurt her nieces feelings and her niece is building a new life and perhaps some new traditions with her fiancé and you hope she won't upset your daughter in the future. Tell her that your daughter has always been a good granddaughter and you are certain that grandma will understand.

Stand up and be strong, 31 yrs of putting up with this for the sake of making family happy is no longer practical with long distances and busy lives. And you deserve a peaceful holiday whatever that looks like.

Now you can take a page from this book and not make your daughter feel guilty about not coming home on "the holiday". My husband and I have accomodated family for yrs and our son just got married and they are fretting over split holiday time etc. We've told them, anytime we get together is a holiday so make time as a couple to do what you want when you want...we don't expect you to trAvel every holiday or the day after, etc....if we celebrate Chistmas in mid or late Jan, so be it.

Each of our children and their significant others live away and have busy lives. It's unrealistic and selfish to expect them to make all the rounds to see family.
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So, what about the siblings that never ever come to visit, let alone on the holidays? They call on the phone. Wish her a "Merry Christmas... Happy New Year... Happy Birthday" and call it good... By now, I'm finally learning to let it roll off and call it good...
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I wouldn't worry so much about other people are saying. When I know the truth about a situation, then what is more important? Is it more important that I sacrifice and am miserable or for them to feel miserable? I say, let them be miserable and I will follow my conscience. I can live with that. I was blessed with the ability to not guilt myself out when it's not deserved. Life is too short.

If you really want to invest a certain number of hours at her house on a holiday,
then go for it. If not, then I wouldn't let it bother me in the least bit. Some people suck it up for the sake of so called peace and get away as soon as possible. That's common in many families.

It's highly unlikely you and your daughter's appearance at the celebration is going to make your MIL happy. I'd be prepared for that.
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If your daughter and husband see her on a regular basis, what is the big deal about "the holidays"? Ignore your sister in law, she's a nutcase who enjoys stirring the pot. You really can't give people like that the time of day, or you go nuts yourself.
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Why do families have to play the guilt card? Because they can.

Especially when one gets married... do we spend it with my parents or with his parents.... who gets to see us on Thanksgiving... who gets to see us on Christmas, and Easter. It's a constant juggling act so no feelings will get hurt, but in reality feelings are hurt. I being an only child, I was sure my parents wanted to see me on all holidays plus birthdays. But I couldn't ignore my then hubby's family as his mother wanted to see him on all holidays plus birthdays.
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