Troubles in China

My dear Chinese mother-in-law is staying this summer again with us and by now has been already one month here in Germany. Things have been complicated during this time. No it is not all about her destroying stuff in the apartment or behaving more strange than usual (more about that later). It is due to the health condition of granny in China.

Early this year they found out that granny has cancer and decided not to treat it as nothing would help. Back then MIL took her mother nearly daily to different hospitals to get more checkups and the opinions of various specialists in their field. They all concluded that there was nothing they could do anymore for granny so the family decided to keep it all a secret from her. Sure she knew that it was odd to go to so many doctors but she thought all the time that it was for some basic health checkups and to get something for the swelling on her throat (the lymph knots). MIL took care of everything and her brother tried to help as much as possible besides his full-time job.

MIL and the kids in Hong Kong

Due to all the troubles back in China we were not even sure whether MIL could come this summer to help us or not. In the end they figured that granny still had some more time left and she was doing fine as she was not yet affected by the cancer. Now on the very same day MIL arrived in Germany her mother got very sick and was rushed to the hospital. Thankfully it was just very high fever with the risk of developing a serious lung infection but all was taken care of in the hospital. But with this the real trouble started in form of MIL’s sister. Every single day aunty is sending messages and voice messages complaining how much work she has to do now because granny is/ was in hospital and how MIL could dare to leave them all and come to Germany. Those are not just one or two messages a day but multiple spread over all day and night, all about how much work she has and how hard it is.

Someone is not so sure about the statue

Thing is aunty was in Japan in the beginning when granny was diagnosed and did not come back to China. In fact she even prolonged her stay in Japan by one month all the while MIL and her brother were doing everything for their mother. Aunty also complained that she has to cook so much food now for everyone even though she hasn’t cooked a single dish all the time as uncle is doing that. However aunty is complaining now that his food is not good enough and I quote “disgusting” so now FIL has to bring her the food she ordered from restaurants. By the way the food uncle prepares is pretty good, at least no one else has ever complained and I actually like eating at their place. This all puts a lot of pressure on both MIL and my wife as aunty just won’t stop complaining and kind of puts a hold on our business activities as my wife has to argue all the time with her. Right now MIL is considering flying back to China one month early but that is not set yet and I hope she won’t do that as she is needed very much here.

This blog post wasn’t really anything funny, just something which has been annoying me for the past weeks.

You have a family member behaving in a very annoying way putting constant pressure on others?

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23 thoughts on “Troubles in China”

  1. Small point: You mean lymph nodes not lymph knots. Cancerous cells spread through the lymphatic system to different parts of the body through a process called metastasis. From what you write, the primary or source of the cancer is in a different part of the body. I hope she is not in too much pain

    1. Yes, the lymph nodes. Somehow my spell checker didn’t get that/ knots is even the straight translation from German (Knoten).
      She has malign Melanom located in her throat and by now it has spread to her kidneys, liver and lungs. She has no pain yet, just started to realize that something is not alright with her body.

    1. Yeah aunty needs to focus her annoyance on something productive. Sadly we can’t block her as she is also partly needed for our business 😭
      Today was actually the first day she didn’t send any messages, so odd to have a peaceful day

  2. Grumpy old aunt. I do understand the stress it puts on everyone as carers of the sick. Hope they sort it all out and MIL should just enjoy and spend quality time with you all while she’s there. Now at least you got your annoyance out on paper. 👍

    1. Yeah Aunty is really a grumpy one and by now even more family “drama” occured. Will probably write about it in the next couple of planned blog posts. So annoying when the whole family goes mad like that, no unity at all when Granny needs their support

  3. Well, I shall welcome to Asian/Chinese family dynamics. Have heard similar stories before, but I think European families are probably not so different. Maybe we the exception that granny would be pushed into a nursing home.
    Hang in there and give MIL some peace of mind that it’s ok to be in DE for a month.

    1. It is also just so frustrating that no one tells Granny what is going on. My own father is actually the same age as her and when they found out about his cancer they immediately told him straight

      1. My parents in law also never say anything to my partner when something goes wrong. None of us is Asian, we’re all Europeans. So last year, MIL got sick and had to be taken to the hospital (she’s better now), and FIL never said anything, but then reproached my partner that “you don’t even go visit your mother in hospital!” Say that again?!? YOU never told us this is the situation!
        The bottom line is that one can’t win with this type of people.. 😦

      2. Some people can be really confusing 😅
        As for my family they always tell when something is happening, even when I lived in Finland. My wife’s family on the other hand is the exact opposite. Six years ago she only found out by accident that her father had some surgery (she had slept bad and bad nightmares about her father so she called). However only few months ago she was actually told that he had some cancer removed back then !

  4. I’m truly sorry you are dealing with family drama. Of course, I’ve had problems with family members. We’ve had problems since before I was born and could make sense of it. Unfortunately, there’s always at least one in every family and those who don’t have them are extremely rare. I won’t get into the drama of my family because I’m pretty pissed off about it still.

    I’d like to wack complaining aunty upside the head, if truth be told. Have you tried sympathizing with her (pretend, pretend)? Maybe it’s a sign of attention and wanting recognition for all her ‘hard’ work. I wonder if that would appease her? Also, is it possible that you could hire someone to give aunty a day off regularly?

    1. Aunty actually has fights with everyone. For years she didn’t talk with her sister because they couldn’t lend her money back in the day for an apartment. She didn’t talk to her brother for years as well and still does not talk to his wife. She had a business going on for some years with her best friend but well, they had a fight so she does not talk to her either. Aunty is just a very frustrating person!
      We had also some family dramas but it was always about stupid stuff such as my mother’s siblings thinking that my parents suddenly got rich just because they manage their finances very well resulting that they didn’t talk to her either for some years…

  5. I’m sorry to hear about this family drama that seems to be affecting every part of your lives. It seems that Auntie is lacking in generosity. She seems to think she’s the princess. Was she the youngest in the family? Is she used to being spoiled by everyone?

    My grandmother had an unpleasant sister. She didn’t live nearby, but when she visited, we were all glad when she left.

    My sister and I divided the duties required for taking care or our mom before she died. I’m glad we were both nearby and both willing to help.

    1. Aunty is the middle child. Mother-in-law is the eldest and the brother the youngest of the siblings. For some reason all of them are kind of weird when it comes to their behaviour though the brother seems to be the most normal of them all and is even nice to spend time with.

      My mother’s siblings are also a bit odd as especially her younger sister refused to talk to her for years just because they all thought that my parents must be rich even though it was all achieved by saving all the time and managing their finances very well (my father was a postman and my mother a seamstress, so no well paid jobs)

  6. These are trying times especially when it is a family member that you must maintain contact with. Perhaps you could video her complaining? She might then realize how bad it sounds?

    1. Oh she knows how it sounds, especially her own daughter is embarrased by it and tells her all the time but it doesn’t help. For some reason the entire family is kind of odd with their behaviour when it comes to interaction between them

  7. My family is the reverse of this… everyone is trying so hard not to put pressure on anyone that no one ever knows what is going on. Meanwhile my husband’s family are all feuding with each other. Mostly I have no idea why this one doesn’t talk to that one, etc, etc… families are so complicated.

  8. So sorry to hear the series of unfortunate events are rolling along. Sounds like one trouble after the other, like a cursed year D: Aunty seems to come and go and do as she pleases, and no wonder some are frustrated with her. The many back and forth complaining messages can be tiring and ridiculous, and I guess after a while you can say no more. Guessing MIL must also say the same things over and over again to her.

    I read your above comment about the family members being weird. Such weirdness usually comes about the strongest when an unusual situation happens. Like, with my family sometimes the quiet ones end up shouting the loudest – like really have the loudest yelling voice – when they want their way.

    1. In that family everyone is loud all the time. Somehow all the siblings don’t really like each other and more surprising it is that they decided to move all into the same apartment block! Really don’t understand them at all with their decision making. When I don’t like to spend time with someone I do not decide to become neighbors with them…

  9. I’m sorry to read about the family drama and how your wife’s grandmum isn’t doing so well but hanging on. I know some of what you’re dealing, both in terms of family and of aging parents.

    1. Thank you Henry. I still remember your emotional article about your father. For my wife it is hard but still not as hard as it would be for her own parents. In her mind her grandmother lived her life who could even live to see her great grandchildren.
      As for me the situation with my own parents is a bit different as they are the age of granny in China. My ´father was just diaognised last year with blood cancer but he his fortunaly doing very well as it is only slowly progressing. Dealing with aging parents can be really hard as you see them slowly getting “worse” over the years and there is nothing you can do

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