Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Showered with Indifference”

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Showered with Indifference” who was upset when she was not invited to her fiancé’s cousin’s baby shower. “The hostess called me yesterday to apologize and explain she did not invite me because she doesn’t know me very well, and didn’t want me to feel obligated to come. She then insisted several times I come to the party, and left me stammering. She hung up the phone without telling me where the party is being held, what time to come, etc. I have not received an invitation in the mail and I do not expect I will.” Keep reading to see if she decided to go to the shower or not.

I’d like to thank you and the community for answering my letter. At the time the column was posted, I wrote in the comments section to further explain my situation, but I’ll reiterate here: I had no idea my fiancé had told his mom how I was feeling, or that she had told her sister. The call I got from his aunt (the hostess) the next day was a total shock. I also don’t think I conveyed very well in my letter how hostile the aunt was. Her tone was one of obvious anger and she blamed me for the entire situation, even though she apologized and invited me, which left me even more confused. It was never my intention to steal anyone’s thunder or make the shower about me, I was genuinely confused by her mixed signals.

Now for the update: I decided to “split the difference” as best as I could between going and not going to the shower, since I had absolutely no idea if I was really welcome or not. I told my mother-in-law that I couldn’t make it, and dropped off a small gift with a thoughtful card for her to take to the party for me. That way, the whole mess about not inviting me could be dropped.

About a month after the shower, a beloved relative of my fiancé’s passed away. At the crowded viewing, the aunt demanded total quiet because she had an announcement to make and “shushed” some relatives who were crying over the casket. She announced very loudly that her daughter’s “cervix had softened, and the baby could come any day now.” Her daughter was not at the viewing. Many people were very hurt that she chose that time and place to make such an announcement, and appalled at how she treated her grieving relatives.

This aunt has been the “star” of the family for several years. Her children have all gotten married fairly recently, and her daughter’s pregnancy was the birth of the first great-grandchild. What we’ve come to realize is that she was having a very difficult time letting go of the spotlight, and her actions at the viewing and with the shower were a desperate attempt to keep it. Our wedding is the first major family event in years that won’t center around her and her children, and we think she excluded me from the shower out of jealousy. Those two incidents were out of character for the person she is, so I decided to have sympathy for the fact that she is obviously struggling, and just let it go.

Many of you said that I was feeling so concerned about the situation because I was worried about fitting in to a new family, which was exactly right. Having Wendy and others remind me that this person is not someone I will see too often made me feel a lot better. Also, some of the commenters mentioned how awesome it is to have a mother-in-law stick up for me so quickly, which is very true and was a great way to positively view the situation. We have included the aunt in every part of our wedding so far: engagement party, shower, etc., and so far so good. My fiancé and I just purchased a beautiful home, and are happily counting down the last few months before our big day. Here’s to hoping the aunt doesn’t use our ceremony as an opportunity to announce the state of her husband’s hemorrhoids. — “Showered with Indifference”

Wow, that aunt sounds like something else! Thank you for a funny and thoughtful update. Congrats on the new home and your upcoming wedding!

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

22 comments… add one
  • avatar

    java82 March 19, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Do keep us updated on the state of her hubby’s hemorrhoids, though. I am invested now! I NEED to know! :p

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    artsygirl March 19, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Ugg I am sorry but TMI in any situation let alone a funeral. If my mother had done something like that I would get off my pregnant butt and kick her in the ass. No one needs to know about the state of my cervix.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. March 19, 2012, 2:59 pm

      Yeah, really.. The state of my reproductive organs is strictly off-limits at funerals. Might fly at a rehearsal dinner, but otherwise…

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    Addie Pray March 19, 2012, 2:14 pm

    This reminds me of when people in labor update their Facebook status from the hospital to share with the world how many centimeters they are dialated. It makes me think about their woohoo and how big it must be and then that makes me feel gross.

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki March 19, 2012, 2:32 pm

      Instead of updating FB, I’m going to come and update the DW community when I get pregnant and go into labor. Keep an eye out for that forum post!
      But yes, totally gross. Its like a Christmas letter we got from a family friend (I didn’t know people still did those)… it had a picture of their new baby on the front and the first line was “Well, I guess you can figure out what we did at the beginning of this year” (the baby was born in October) and all I could think of was that they just told us they had sex at the beginning of the year. I don’t want to picture that, thanks. I also had a friend who put pictures of the actual birth up on FB. Like up close and personal.

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ March 19, 2012, 2:55 pm

      Hear hear. Some moments are meant to be private. My 2nd husband wanted to video tape the birth of our son. *shudder* Nothankyouverymuch. A friend got a phone call to tell people online (mIRC) the day of, and I posted online when I got home the stats of the baby, but other than that, no “glamour” shots, no stupidity. Sorry, but it’s ridiculous to be so addicted to the internet that you have to post while in labor or as soon as you pass an 8lb kid from your loins.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 19, 2012, 3:16 pm

        Agreed. But it’s totaly acceptable to update Dear Wendy readers on things like zits. That’s obviously ok.

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        Friend of Beagles March 19, 2012, 3:30 pm

        My husband wanted to photograph the arrival of our first child also (he was smart enough not to ask again with the second, after my uncharacteristic response of “absolutely not” the first go-round). Unfortunately, I got to see his parents’ up-close-and-personal pics of the arrival of my sister-in-law in the world. Talk about being unable to unsee what has been seen. Yeesh.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki March 19, 2012, 4:12 pm

        My husband and his daughter think we should videotape if we ever have a baby. My stepdaughter’s birth was videotaped and she calls it the “Sage Movie” and has watched it with her mom. I’m vetoing that idea.

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      • avatar

        Lydia March 20, 2012, 4:43 am

        “Sorry, but it’s ridiculous to be so addicted to the internet that you have to post while in labor or as soon as you pass an 8lb kid from your loins.”

        It doesn’t necessarily have to be an addiction to the internet thing though. I could totally see myself posting something on my Twitter/FB/LiveJournal during labour – but that’s because I have a lot of close friends with whom I mainly communicate through those channels, and I’d want to let them know that it was happening.

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    Violet March 19, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Sometimes, I feel a sense of comfort when I read things of this nature, because other families have tactless relatives, too, and we have no say in who our blood ties us to. 🙂

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      Ladybug March 19, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Amen. I now feel much better about my grandfather’s standard greeting of commenting on whether someone looks like they’ve gained or lost weight.

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      • avatar

        Violet March 20, 2012, 1:22 am

        I have an uncle who has been doing that for decades! He has no qualms about telling his sisters they look fat. He is shorter than most of the women in the family, though, so I assume he is just very insecure.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie March 19, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Boy how, childbirth v. hemorrhoids, hard to choose which I’d want to hear about least.

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    • avatar

      Taylor March 19, 2012, 4:04 pm

      I’ve heard the one can lead to the other! Any stories like that out there? Think of all the awesome potential FB posts!!

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      • avatar

        Guy Friday March 19, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Particularly if her husband’s hemorrhoids lead to child birth. I mean, that would be quite the medical miracle there on any number of levels 😉

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      • avatar

        redessa March 19, 2012, 11:02 pm

        My mother asked me repeatedly during my first pregnancy if I “had hemerroids yet.” I don’t know why in the world she would have wanted to know such a thing and there was no way I was going to “share” that information even if it had been an issue. But my mother never has had any sense of personal boundaries.

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    Britannia March 19, 2012, 8:09 pm

    This woman seems to have zero capacity for compassion – the understanding how others feel in situations. Funerals are never ever ever a good time for any sort of “announcement”, unless it’s to remind people where the collation will be. I’d try to keep her as far away from me as possible, whenever possible.

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      evanscr05 March 20, 2012, 7:47 am

      “Funerals are never ever ever a good time for any sort of “announcement”, unless it’s to remind people where the collation will be.”

      Nor are they the appropriate locales to walk up to a newly engaged couple and with zero lead up say “Congratulations!”. My husband’s uncle did that to us at his grandmother’s funeral a couple of years ago (RIGHT after the service was over). We were baffled at first. Our engagement did not even register at first so of course we all thought “Congratulations on Frieda dying? What the hell is wrong with you?????”

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  • avatar

    MiMi March 20, 2012, 8:12 am

    omg! can you imagine the mortification of being the cousin and having such a mother? she couldn’t be trusted a inch with private information. sounds like the cousin needs a friend, LW.

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  • avatar

    Megan_A_Mess March 22, 2012, 12:07 am

    Cheers to you for not only handling the situation with tact and grace, but also with humor. Kudos to you for turning the other cheek in such fabulous style, darling.

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    • avatar

      Trixy Minx March 22, 2012, 12:40 am

      Another Megan!

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