Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

I wanted to get some help here. I apologize for the ambiguity, but I am trying to keep this as neutral as possible!

My spouse and I have had relationship issues which we are in counseling for. One of the issues is one of us believes their parent-in-law is regularly making underhanded, petty, somewhat insulting comments in e-mails. The other believes their parent has no negative intentions and that the spouse is simply looking for things to find fault with in the e-mails.

We wanted to get some advice from strangers, so we can know what to work on - whether one of us is completely blind as to their parent's underhanded insulting tone or the other is over-reading into otherwise neutral words.

The story is that after out cats were boarded in the kennel and shortly after they came home, they got sick with what appeared to be a very bad cold. After a few days when they did not get better, one of us took the cats to the vets. Both of us have a medical background and had our own opinion on whether or not they should have gone sooner.

One of us feels this e-mail contains a few petty, underhanded comments, and the other of us believes it is just an innocent message our spouse is reading into. The names of all involved have been modified, but it is otherwise copied and pasted word for word.

Can anybody provide their opinions on the e-mail below (from a parent-in-law)? This is not a "one of us is right, the other is wrong issue," but rather to help us determine which one of us needs to address the issue. This has been discussed in counseling somewhat, but we really would like completely neutral unbiased opinions. Thank you in advance!



--- Begin e-mail in question below---------

Hi,
What a shame that Maxwell and Jingles became ill.
Bryan told me that Maxwell especially had been sick.
Are they doing better? I am so glad you took them in to be checked before it got any worse!
I hope the shot helped Maxwell and he is feeling better.,
Take care,
Parent-in-Law
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

IMO, I don't see any petty or underhanded comments in that email I mean there is only so much you can say about sick pets. Don't get me wrong I love animals and what the parent in law wrote seems pretty normal for someone showing some sympathy over the sick pets.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

Yeah I don't see anything petty or underhanded in the email either.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

Some do not communicate in writing very well or choose words carefully because they know it can exist as a document forever and ever once it belongs to the recipient. Ironically demonstrated here...

Honestly, I get emails from close friends that are like this in terms of phrasing and semantics, about even more pressing issues that cats having been sick and then recovered (which is a big deal, especially after boarding, not to mitigate that...). These are friends, not relatives, and I know they love me and have solid proof that they're not pandering to me (and not sexually involved or anything like that...just close friends and I know it) and I have to read their emails reminding me of our relationship that we do have and not base it on her email.

Some people too are not cat people and so they'd be, like, oh gee, I'd love to have a drink and watch a movie and mess around after but we better write an email to so and so or they're gonna think we don't care about the cats and you know how that will go over! This is how people think. Corresponding sometimes about issues where there are details involved such as illness, specific cats, viruses you know nothing about but your children do...and you have to demonstrate that you care...so you're careful about it, and you put forth your best effort and try not to offend...
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

Pretty standard "sympathy email" in my way of reading. I can see how someone *could* think there was an intended slight in the "before it got any worse" phrase--like, "well, geez, you waited long enough, didn't you?" But people say stuff like that all the time, like "omg, aren't you glad you didn't wait any longer?" It's not intended as a slight; it's intended to show empathy, like, "wow; I'm sure you feel like you had a close call and I'm so glad it wasn't worse!"

I think it is a *much* bigger issue that one of you feels the in-law would send an intentionlly slighting email. Glad to hear you are in MC and maybe someone needs some IC, too, unless there is a history of unequivocal mistreatment from the in-law.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

Not petty, I can only see if this is read too much into that whatever spouse may have an issue with the parent in law. But some things need just a glance and no further look and this is one of them. Sorry.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mocapman View Post
I wanted to get some help here. I apologize for the ambiguity, but I am trying to keep this as neutral as possible!

My spouse and I have had relationship issues which we are in counseling for. One of the issues is one of us believes their parent-in-law is regularly making underhanded, petty, somewhat insulting comments in e-mails. The other believes their parent has no negative intentions and that the spouse is simply looking for things to find fault with in the e-mails.

We wanted to get some advice from strangers, so we can know what to work on - whether one of us is completely blind as to their parent's underhanded insulting tone or the other is over-reading into otherwise neutral words.

The story is that after out cats were boarded in the kennel and shortly after they came home, they got sick with what appeared to be a very bad cold. After a few days when they did not get better, one of us took the cats to the vets. Both of us have a medical background and had our own opinion on whether or not they should have gone sooner.

One of us feels this e-mail contains a few petty, underhanded comments, and the other of us believes it is just an innocent message our spouse is reading into. The names of all involved have been modified, but it is otherwise copied and pasted word for word.

Can anybody provide their opinions on the e-mail below (from a parent-in-law)? This is not a "one of us is right, the other is wrong issue," but rather to help us determine which one of us needs to address the issue. This has been discussed in counseling somewhat, but we really would like completely neutral unbiased opinions. Thank you in advance!



--- Begin e-mail in question below---------

Hi,
What a shame that Maxwell and Jingles became ill.
Bryan told me that Maxwell especially had been sick.
Are they doing better? I am so glad you took them in to be checked before it got any worse!
I hope the shot helped Maxwell and he is feeling better.,
Take care,
Parent-in-Law
Is this a joke? Theres nothing wrong with this email to me. But on another note, in laws can be pains in the ass. Just accept they will be pains at times and let it roll off your back. I am so over the annoying in laws. I ignore them when i want and talk about them to my spouse and just dont care anymore about trying to impress them.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Opinions needed - is somebody reading too much into this message?

This is the least offensive email I have ever read.
I seriously think your Mother In Law is trying to be nice to you.

Here is some advice for you:
-- don't read tones in emails
-- Don't try to assign motives to another person by tones or facial expressions instead, use their words and actions
--Accept that there will always be some level of competetion between yourself and your MIL, but instead of fixating on her your job is to give your husband admiration, sex, love, fun and you will be guaranteed to have a loyal, emotionally supportive husband who puts you way ahead of any other person in his life.
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