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InLaw nonsense

I apologize if this doesn't make sense but I've been dealing with it all for so long that my brain hurts.  My ILs are a problem.  My husband is about 85% on my side. The latest event was this:

Mother's day this year I was running late and feeling like a less-than-stellar hostess because I hate running late.  My ILs came over, we ate dinner, I took my son up and put him to bed when I came back down my ILs had cornered DH and were wispering, this is the 3rd year of this crap, lets not pretend you're not talking about me and just cut to the chase.  So I say "What's up? Does anyone want to play a game?" (we play games, it's a thing)

FIL starts screaming at me anc cursing me out in my own home.  I look at DH, he has this "I was not expecting him to act like this look" which is really similar to the "I hate conflict, please defend yourself because I'm scared to" look.  I don't mind, too much.  So I scream over him "If you aren't going to talk to me like an adult in a civil tone you can get the bleep out of my house right now."

DH reads Toxic In Laws cover to cover and decides that he needs to write them a letter itemizing the ways they will no longer be allowed to be have towards him (talking about me, telling him I'm a bad wife and mother) and me (acting like a-holes to my face).

FIL sends a letter apologizing for his behavior.  His letter is addressed to DH.

I have told DH that his parents will never see me or our kids again until I receive an apology (frankly I would prefer to write them off entirely).  DH agrees that I deserve one and keeps saying he's going to tell his parents as much. But he plans for us to see them accoring to him "in mid September" and the last time he told them that FIL needed to apologize MIL told him that there was no reason and I got what I deserved (I'm totally ad-libbing here). 

I keep trying to tell him that if he expects this visit to happen at all that he needs to give them time to decide whether or not they're willing to apologize. But when I bring it up it's like WWIII.

I don't even know what I want to happen.  If they don't apologize I never have to expose myself or my kid(s) to them again, because I'm not giving up that condition.  I want my DH to stand up (to be fair he has stood up) but I really want him to tell them where to go and how to get there.  Or maybe they could someday act like human beings, but that might be expecting too much.

I hope what I've written at least makes some sense, and maybe you ladies can help me, I feel like we've already tried everything. 

p.s. DH and I both know that this entire situation started as a DH problem.

Re: InLaw nonsense

  • Why do they act this way towards you? Did something happen beforehand to create this reaction to you?

    I don't think using your kids against them is a good game plan. Your children should not be punished for either of your problems with each other. They deserve to have their grandparents in their life, even if you don't like them as a person. However, if they are reacting this way about you in front of them - then someone needs to stand ground and tell them that this behavior in front of children is unacceptable. You can be civil for them.

    That does NOT mean you have to allow them to speak to you in a degrading manner, and does NOT give them the right to treat you like dirt.

    "I'm sorry that you feel whatever way about me, but what is the real issue between us?" Can you talk out this problem and be civil while doing so? Or is it I'm mad and I'll never speak to you again? Again, you don't have to deal with them if that's what you choose to do, but for your children's sake - don't punish them.

    image
  • They are very quiet, 'don't talk about their feelings' people.  I'm loud, and I don't hide how I feel.

    Fundamentally there have been about 6 ot 7 misunderstandings between us and them. Each time it's because they assume that I "hate them" because I don't act the way they expect me to act. But since they've never actually tried to get to know me they always make assumptions that since I'm not sitting down for a 3 hour small-talk session they read that to mean I hate them. Then they used to call my husband at work and have 3 hour long conversations about how much of a b*tch I am.  Since they speak about me behind my back to eveyone, they will have limited interactions with my children (this is my husband's decision more than mine) because he feels that they cannot be trusted not to talk to my kid(s) about how much of a b*tch i am.

    If MIL was left alone when my son when he was still nursing she would have tried to nurse him.  Sadly, i'm not making this up.

    **Don't get me wrong, small talk is an art.  I envy the people I know who can sit and chit-chat.  I just don't have that in me, it's not who I am.  I'm a strait to business kind of gal.

  • Now that you've made this condition, I would not make plans to visit them, I would not make plans to have them in your home without that apology.  Or at least an attempt at their part, however lame.

    Quite frankly, I don't think it's unfair to keep children away from grandparents who criticize the parent.  It can blow up in your face, but it is your choice. 

  • Well, I disagree with the PP. I think that it's clear that they are comfortable bad-mouthing you. It sounds like this is something they would do with your children if given the chance. I agree with your H that this could happen and should NOT be allowed to happen. 

    I completely agree with your stance that you won't spend time with them until this stops. It sounds like your H is doing a fairly good job at standing with you on this and telling them this is unacceptable. There is room for improvement, though. They shouldn't be allowed to keep him on the phone for 3 hours talking about you. He needs to cut that stuff off, right away. Don't engage with them, even if he's defending you. He just needs to tell him that he won't tolerate negative stuff about you and if it doesn't stop, he will hang up or leave.

    I will say that my inlaws also like to sit and talk about really boring and stupid stuff for hours. It drives me crazy. And although on the inside I am screaming in agony, I am pleasant and go with it. Of course I only see them a few times a year. Anyway, I'm not blaming you here but even if small talk isn't your thing, if that's what they do in that family, you should try. This, though, doesn't really apply at this time, since their behavior has become such that I don't think you should be spending time with them. 

    [IMG]http://i39.tinypic.com/rkd75g.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/23r1e34.jpg[/IMG]
  • image Starstruckchaos:

    They deserve to have their grandparents in their life, even if you don't like them as a person.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree totally with this.  If you can't treat me decently and do what it takes to have a civil relationship with me, you don't get to have a relationship with my children.  Period.  That's not punishing my children; it's protecting them.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • How nasty and uncalled for -- your FIL said what about you where?

    I want my DH to stand up (to be fair he has stood up) but I really want him to tell them where to go and how to get there.  Or maybe they could someday act like human beings, but that might be expecting too much.

    Indeed. The letter was a good start -- your H has to drive it home in such a way so that these people will understand just how dire a crisis they have caused. And if they don't see the light after that, they're hopeless.

    If they are as bad as you say they are -- and I wouldn't doubt your side of the story -- you both need to cut them off completely until they get their acts together and treat you civilly and with respect. And it should happen now; there is no way I'd want my kids to witness just how miserable and toxic the grandparents are. Your son will feel the fallout of this mess -- and no way I'd want my kids around people like these.

    I kind of know where this is at; we had aunts and uncles that were real works of art -- to this day, I remember what kind of a scene they made over a certain incident and I was real young at the time -- and old enough to remember just how badly they acted.

  • image scherza:
    image Starstruckchaos:

    They deserve to have their grandparents in their life, even if you don't like them as a person.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree totally with this.  If you can't treat me decently and do what it takes to have a civil relationship with me, you don't get to have a relationship with my children.  Period.  That's not punishing my children; it's protecting them.

    I wholeheartily agree with this.  My stepgrandma treated my parents and my aunts and uncles like absolute crap.  You know what happened?  She treated myself, my siblings and my cousins like crap too.  No one stood up to her.  Why ? I don't know.  I think they thought that us kids needed my grandfather in our lives even though he allowed her to treat us like that.  They were wrong.  Very wrong.  I would have much rather not seen both of them if that meant not having those toxic grandparents in our lives. 

    It is very unhealthy for children to see their parents being treated horribly.  If that means that particular set of grandparents won't be in the children's lives, then so be it.  Trust me you are not hurting them you truly are protecting them. 

  • I have a feeling there's been bad behavior on both sides.  I agree they shouldn't be talking about you behind your back and your FIL's behavior was bad.  But you also yelled back at him.  Is that how you handle conflict?  When you say "I don't hide how I feel", have you been rude and tactless too?  I wonder if they are justified in thinking you hate them, even if you didn't intend for them to take it that way.  You are very different people and don't understand each otherl.  They clearly have issues but I don't think you have been handling them well either.

  • I would understand why you felt that way. that would just be fair on your part. They acted inappropriately towards you although you could have not yelled back. you could have handled the situation calmly.

    and yes. it is really a good thing that DH is with you throughout all of this.

     

    image 

  • Yeah your DH defiitely needs to be consistent with how he deals with them in terms of their abuse towards you.

    You say they rang him for a 3 hr session of bitching about you. Umm, what was he doing during this conversation? Why did he allow it to go on?

    It does sound like Dh wants to stop the issues but at the same time is ingrained in pleaisng his parents. Maybe help him create some stock phrases that he can use when his parents badmouth you. If he is listening to it when you're not there then that's not ok.

    eg. "Mum I won't listen to you talking about wife like that. If you persist I'm leaving/hanging up" Then if she persists with, "But I'm just telling you like it is, but I just find her so difficult, unlikeable, but you really could do better etc etc etc. He walks out the door or hangs up.

    I also disagree with pp...no one has a right to a relationship with my children. If I can't trust you to be good role models of behaviour then, no, you don't get to spend time with them. The end, 

    [IMG]http://i55.tinypic.com/213pzit.jpg[/IMG]
    Elizabeth 3yrs old Jane 1yr old
  • image Starstruckchaos:

    Your children should not be punished for either of your problems with each other. They deserve to have their grandparents in their life, even if you don't like them as a person.

    Absolutely false.

    NO ONE gets to treat me like crap and disrespect me and still have a relationship with my child.  NO ONE.

    And if the grandparents are rotten, toxic people (and it sounds like they are), the OP is doing her children a HUGE FAVOR by keeping them away from them. 

    Being a grandparent doesn't entitle a person to anything, and children can and do survive not having grandparents in their life.

    Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • Here's the harsh reality.  You will never get an apology from them.  So stop waiting.  What is important is how your dh handles your parents going forward and how strongly he continues to stand up for you.

    My MIL has been pretty awful to me - the worst event being her rebooking her flight and leaving when we had her out to visit two years ago (she has not been out since) and her telling me off before she left.  I wanted an apology, but now know I will never get one.

    I won't say that things are perfect, but I will say that my dh has made progress.  E.g., he invited his mother to come out and visit in Sept when her boyfriend is in town for a week long business trip.  (This would solve some problems because she would be staying at his hotel, not with us.)  Dh told his mother that "If you come out in Sept, I will expect you to be nice to my wife."  She hung up on him.

    She's never going to apologize for her poor past behavior.  And dh is not going to force her to do so.  But he is doing the next best thing - you want to come out mom?  Then be nice to my wife.  That to me is much better than any insincere apology from my MIL.

    Do you really want an apology from your ILs?  Or do you just need your dh to say (and enforce) - "Mom and Dad, I expect you to treat my wife with respect when you are with us." 

    I don't know how this latest drama will play out for us, but I can't say I'm disappointed that my MIL is not coming out in Sept.  And how can my dh be angry with me?  He made a reasonable request of his mother and she chose not to visit - because God forbid being nice to me is too big of a request.

  • My "there's more to this story" alarm bells are going off.    I'm skeptical about your innocence in all this. 

    You say they are quiet, but you are more of a "say how you feel/in your face" type.   Basically, that's the nice way of saying abrasive.     Do you say mean things to them?   Or treat them in a way to make them believe you don't like them? 

    Also, your story doesn't make sense to me.   You say you were running late.   Running late for what?   Dinner?   Then you have dinner, which seems to go just fine.   You go upstairs to put the baby to bed, and come down and they're whispering about you.  OK, I'll buy that.    So, you suggest  playing some game, and all of a sudden you're being yelled and cussed at?     I don't buy it.    What really happened? 

    Also, your DH is a wimp.   A 3 hour conversation?   If my parents called me to b!tch about DH, it would take 5 seconds to end that call.   "You will not talk about my DH like that.  I have nothing more to say.  Goodbye." 

  • I'm in a simular situation as you except up until recently my in laws have been much too sneaky and polite to say anything to my face.

    They haven't cared to get to know me but take all my reactions and lack there of as insults and not living up to expectations I didn't know existed.

    There is no excuse for your DH to be on the phone for 3 minutes if they are bad mouthing you. My DH had MIL whispering in his ear very carefully and we're working on on addressing that now. Basically our rule is if one negative word about one another is uttered by ILs, then the conversation is over.

    Parents need to understand, or be made to understand, that once their child is married their opinion and their relationship with the child is no longer the most important one.

    Spouse comes first. Always.

    Your DH probably knows this in his head, and I'm sure he tries to make it work, but it's hard understand how black and white some concepts can truely be.

    Get on the same page as him. Hold his hand and tell him, he and your kid are it and it's your family against the world as far as your concerned.

    And don't wait for an apology. It will never ever come.

    [IMG]http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/1457/jansiggy.jpg[/IMG]
  • image donnycornelius:

    My "there's more to this story" alarm bells are going off.    I'm skeptical about your innocence in all this.   

    Yeah, I agree.  I have a hard time believing that you are completely innocent in this.  I would be wiling to be that they think you hate them because you have acted in such a way that someone that was a little more sensitive might view as hostile.

    And while I agree that grandparents don't have a right to see the kids when they mistreat a parent or parents, using them as a way to bargain for an apology is really crappy-because then the kids just become a tool in order to get a response out of them.

    image
  • image urbanwifey:

    DH agrees that I deserve one and keeps saying he's going to tell his parents as much. But he plans for us to see them accoring to him "in mid September" and the last time he told them that FIL needed to apologize MIL told him that there was no reason and I got what I deserved (I'm totally ad-libbing here). 

    So DH is "going to" tell his parents.  He also "plans" to see them in September. 

    Sounds like he is stalling. You yell and he tells you what you want to hear.  His parents yell and he tell them what they want to hear.

    Either he allows them to dump all over you or he doesn't.  Stop bringing it up, stop engaging in fights about it, stop getting him to promise you anything.  Instead, step back and WATCH his actions. 

    This is all coming to a head.  So let it.  He read the book. He's had the conversations with them and with you.  Now let him take some action.  Stop expecting him to collapse and cave.   

    Start expecting him to man up and be a husband and father.  And if he doesn't, let him experience his shame without you making a fight out of it.  Becuase that's sooooo easy for him, isn't it?  That's what he's doing now.  Just reacting.  Step back and let him take some ACTION without being bullied, questioned or yelled at. 

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image livinitup:
    image urbanwifey:

    DH agrees that I deserve one and keeps saying he's going to tell his parents as much. But he plans for us to see them accoring to him "in mid September" and the last time he told them that FIL needed to apologize MIL told him that there was no reason and I got what I deserved (I'm totally ad-libbing here). 

    So DH is "going to" tell his parents.  He also "plans" to see them in September. 

    Sounds like he is stalling. You yell and he tells you what you want to hear.  His parents yell and he tell them what they want to hear.

    Either he allows them to dump all over you or he doesn't.  Stop bringing it up, stop engaging in fights about it, stop getting him to promise you anything.  Instead, step back and WATCH his actions. 

    This is all coming to a head.  So let it.  He read the book. He's had the conversations with them and with you.  Now let him take some action.  Stop expecting him to collapse and cave.   

    Start expecting him to man up and be a husband and father.  And if he doesn't, let him experience his shame without you making a fight out of it.  Becuase that's sooooo easy for him, isn't it?  That's what he's doing now.  Just reacting.  Step back and let him take some ACTION without being bullied, questioned or yelled at. 

    This (and everything else) but especially this is exactly what I needed to hear!  Thanks!

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