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Future In-Laws Heartache

I'll preface this by saying this might be a bit long, but bear with me. 

I know a lot of people come through asking for advice about their in-laws.  I read through here a lot and try to use whatever advice I can that matches my situation.  Now, FI and I are at our wits end and after taking as much advice as we can find, we've come to a point where we no longer know what to do.

From the beginning (and I literally mean two days after we began dating), his parents, especially his mom, has been asking FI if I'm using him for money.  She constantly questions whether I'm doing all of my duties as a future wife (i.e. she thinks I don't contribute enough to the household, I'm not feeding him well, he's gotten too pale, why am I not pushing him to find a church, etc.).  She is always saying hurtful things (i.e. if we don't find a church then our marriage will fail, I'm wrong for even being upset with FI solely because he is the breadwinner (yes, she thinks that his making more means I'm not allowed to get upset with him EVER), I ruined the last family vacation we went on, etc.).  She's even gone so far as to get mad at FI for the things that the family offered to pay for in regards to the wedding.  They've offered, on their own, to pay for some groom/wedding expenses, but they never fail to try and guilt FI for it because they helped pay his way through college several years ago.  It's complicated, I guess.

His sister has frequently gotten in fights with him because he chooses to split time between both of our families instead of solely choosing them.  For example, we told her we were coming to see the family on Father's Day, but that we couldn't spend the night the prior night because we were going to see my father (who has cancer, btw).  She yelled at him saying that he needed to pay more attention to his father than spending that time with mine (we are very careful to split time and not spend more time with one family over the other, for what it is worth).

So, with this being a common thing, FI confronted his family about their behavior around Christmas.  He was very kind, wrote everything out prior so that he wouldn't get too emotional, and tried very hard to defend us.  However, as soon as he started talking about how his mother had made him feel, she started wailing and saying she'd never say anything to us again and locked herself in her bedroom.  Half an hour later, we got a call from his father screaming at FI for "hurting her feelings" and saying that he didn't agree with a lot of what I believe and do (which is based on how I was raised).  FI's father has agreed that the family has issues, but that we should just deal with it because it isn't going to change.  His father tends to be a pretty nice guy, but he has definitely grown into this "yes, dear" role where he just lets FMIL make all the decisions and he encourages her freak outs by not ever telling her that she might be wrong.  It has become a family thing because of this.  She is the epitome of "if mom isn't happy, no one is happy".

FI and I saw a counselor who said that because FI's family is from a small town (the entire family lives on one road that bears their last name), I'm probably seen as the equivalent of the "big, bad outside".  You know, bad things happen when you leave home.  That sort of thing.  The counselor told us that the family would probably come around.  However, the behavior just continues to get worse and worse.  The closer we get to the wedding, the worse they've become.

FI wants to talk to his family again, but he's afraid of having to cut them off for good to make a point.  I can understand.  Completely cutting off your family because they treat you like crap can be scary and tough.  Especially if you've come from a very family-oriented background.  Does anyone think there is any other options?  I'm just tired of them constantly being so hurtful.  Sure, I can try to ignore it, but ignoring people who hurt me has never been my strong suit.  I just don't want to cry anymore about people who think I'm the worst thing that has ever happened to their family.  And I'm truly saddened for FI that they have begun to treat their only son this way.  It just isn't right.  He doesn't deserve it.  He's an amazing person.

The good news is that FI is on my side.  Our future family is all he cares about.  At the same time, I don't want him to have to choose.  I love him so much and I'd hate for him to be without his family in the future.

Please.  I just don't know what else to do.  Am I completely mental?  If you need anymore info, feel free to ask.  There is just so much I could type and my mind is bouncing all over the place trying to get the pertinent facts, so I could have left something out.

Thank you in advance.  I (and FI) appreciate it more than you know. 

«1

Re: Future In-Laws Heartache

  • Why are you carrying the burden of making him choose between you and his family ?  Why isn't that on them and their bad behavior.

    Look, momma has obviously learned through the years that getting hysterical and throwing a temper tantrum gets her what she wants.  She  is no different than my toddler in the cookie aisle.  However, I ignore my toddler's tantrums because I don't want her to learn that throwing herself on the  ground and screaming gets her what she wants.  If she knows it works, she will keep doing  it. 

    You have to do the same, ignore the tantrums and ignore the angry phone callls. 

    I know you don't want your FI to be without his family, but they don't sound all that great in the first place.  Did you ever think that maybe he would be better off without them in his life ?  At least temporarily.  I know it might be hard to accept,  but cutting them out of his life might be the healthiest choice for you guys.  Is it sad, sure.  Is it a shame, of course.  However, the reality is that they aren't  supportive, encouraging accepting people and just because he has a genetic link to these people, that doesn't mean he has to keep them in his life. 

  • Thank you for your reply.  I really do appreciate it.

    Honestly, I don't know why I feel that I carry the burden.  I think it is probably my own personal depression/anxiety demons talking.  I've never asked FI to choose, nor would I.  That is not the kind of person I am.  Perhaps that makes me a bit of a pushover in that area?  Possibly.  I've just always been advised to never make a person choose because it is unkind.

    As far as ignoring the angry phone calls go, that is the hard part.  We'd have to literally ignore her altogether because she never calls angry.  She calls to talk about her day and see how her son is doing, and then she'll switch mid-conversation and throw a tantrum out of nowhere.  At that point we feel stuck to stay on the line because we can't just hang up on her, can we?  So, some calls are fine, but others get out of hand.  You just never know.

     I agree that at this moment he is probably better off without them for awhile.  Everything you said is absolutely true and is exactly how I feel.  At the same time, I know how hard it would be for him just because of how he was raised and he'd have a lot of guilt about it.

     Your reply is great and makes a lot of wonderful points.  Thank you for it. :) 

  • Why do they know so much about your relationship? Why are they so involved in your lives? To me, that kind of information is a privilege, not a right. And it seems they've abused that privilege and if it were me, they'd be getting not one bit of information till the proved they weren't going to use it against me or my H.

    It's totally alright to say, "we're great, no problems" or to refuse to answer questions they put to you. After all, if they know about your situation with his bread-winning or your job, they know it through you. Just don't tell them. If you want to leave Father's Day early, just leave early. Don't say why. It's NOTB.

    Is your FI the eldest child? Or the eldest son? How old are the two of you?

  • She calls to talk about her day and see how her son is doing, and then she'll switch mid-conversation and throw a tantrum out of nowhere.  At that point we feel stuck to stay on the line because we can't just hang up on her, can we?  So, some calls are fine, but others get out of hand.  You just never know.

    "Mom/MIL, I see you're getting upset and I don't think this conversation is going to be going anywhere, so I'm going to let you go and we can talk later when you're a bit calmer."  Then hang the phone up. If she calls back immediately, send it to VM.

    As someone else on here says, "rinse, later, repeat." ;)

    You determine how someone else treats you, no matter who that someone else is. If someone is treating you with cruelty or rudeness, it is YOUR job to set that boundary and to teach that person that you won't tolerate that kind of behavior. And key to any learning, of course, is consistency. Do it and keep doing it.

  • Hm, how do I explain this.  They know some things about our relationship, as do most parents.  However, a lot of things they have issues with are things that they DON'T know about or that they don't have all the info on.  For example, her not thinking that I'm doing my future wife duties is solely because she thinks FI looks too thin or too pale.  She has no idea what I'm doing, to be honest, but that doesn't stop her from having issues with it.  Does that make sense?

     There are some bits of information that they absolutely abuse.  For example, they know that FI and I want me to be a SAHM when we have kids.  FMIL was a SAHM for awhile, and while she thinks it was okay for her, she doesn't think it will be okay for me.  Obviously, this is info she has heard from us, but I don't know if we'd have been able to keep it secret in the future.

    FI is the eldest child and only son.  He has a younger sister.  FI is 26 and I'm 25, so we've both been out of the house and out of school for a handful of years now living our own lives.  Does that make a difference?  Any insight?

    I also really like your advice about a good way to set some boundaries.  We will definitely have to try that response!  It is a good one! 

  • image JoEsther:
    She calls to talk about her day and see how her son is doing, and then she'll switch mid-conversation and throw a tantrum out of nowhere.  At that point we feel stuck to stay on the line because we can't just hang up on her, can we?  So, some calls are fine, but others get out of hand.  You just never know.

    "Mom/MIL, I see you're getting upset and I don't think this conversation is going to be going anywhere, so I'm going to let you go and we can talk later when you're a bit calmer."  Then hang the phone up. If she calls back immediately, send it to VM.

    As someone else on here says, "rinse, later, repeat." ;)

    You determine how someone else treats you, no matter who that someone else is. If someone is treating you with cruelty or rudeness, it is YOUR job to set that boundary and to teach that person that you won't tolerate that kind of behavior. And key to any learning, of course, is consistency. Do it and keep doing it.

    Exactly.  Of course I wouldn't have a problem just hanging up with them either.  You have to get out of this mindset that you guys are misbehaving by standing up for what you want or that you are being disrespectful.  I too had this problem with seeing myself as a grown woman with regards to my parents and not a little girl.  I finally told myself that my parents didn't raise me to be their obedient little girl forever, but to be a strong, responsible and  confident woman who can take the values and principles that they taught me and  apply them to my own family.  That is how I can truly honor my parents.  Giving in to every whim and demand is not. 

    Honestly, try standing up to them.  They will hate it at first but after a while you might be surprised how better they respect you two.  If they don't, well at least they know not to mess with you either. 

  • It's not so much about keeping secrets as it is about sending the message that Topic A - whatever it is - is none of their business. If your FI is looking pale or thin, and FMIL wants to reach conclusions about that, that's up to her. It's up to YOU (and him) to say that no, everything's fine, thanks for asking, and then change the subject. Kind of like a "need to know" basis. Do they really need to know that FI's been sick in bed the last two days? Nah, not really. Okay, so don't tell them. Do they really need to know what your future plans are about being a SAHM? Nah. Not really. So don't tell them. It's, again, about boundaries.

    And if they do share their unwanted, unneeded, unrequested thoughts, say something like, "Thanks for your thoughts/opinions, we'll have to think about them/process them at some point," and change the subject. If they insist on talking about it, put up your boundary and either insist on changing the subject or leave the conversation (leave the room, hang up the phone, etc - but do it with control and dignity) altogether. Stop sending them the message that what they feel and think is gospel truth or super-important. It's not. Just take it as what it is, and then go and do your own thing WITHOUT confirming or denying what your actions are.

    Your age is playing a part here 'cause you're still learning to be adults, out of school and independent. Luckily you have a couple of years under your collective belts, so this should be easier, but it's all about cutting the apron strings and creating your own, new, independent-of-them family unit. That requires boundaries.

    And the phone trick? It works on SILs too. ;)

  • You know, for everything I wrote, you'd be surprised at how well I stand up to my own family!  I was raised that you don't take crap from anyone, not even your own family.  My mom and I have issues sometimes, but I always let her know exactly how I feel.  She taught me that she will always listen to me because I might just have something good to say.  Being her daughter doesn't mean she gets to ignore me and boss me around.  My family is very frank with one another.  I cut my father out of my life from the ages of 16-23 because he had been an abusive idiot, so I am no stranger to dropping family if they are toxic.

    It is harder for me in this situation because I've always been told that I'm not allowed to say anything to the in-laws and that FI has to handle it.  He is going through that learning process where he is realizing that just because they are his family doesn't mean he has to take their crap.  I try to encourage him, but I always feel bad because I am afraid this means I'm becoming the horrible DIL who takes a son away from his family.  I'm over-worrying, aren't I?

    For what it is worth, FI has expressed that he'd love to not have to deal with his family for an extended period of time and if he could cut them out he would.  I think he is getting there.  I think there is going to be a final straw sooner rather than later that is going to cause him to completely cut off contact with them.  Not forever, but for a little while.  Still, it makes me sad for him.
  • image MeganAngela:
    You know, for everything I wrote, you'd be surprised at how well I stand up to my own family!  I was raised that you don't take crap from anyone, not even your own family.  My mom and I have issues sometimes, but I always let her know exactly how I feel.  She taught me that she will always listen to me because I might just have something good to say.  Being her daughter doesn't mean she gets to ignore me and boss me around.  My family is very frank with one another.  I cut my father out of my life from the ages of 16-23 because he had been an abusive idiot, so I am no stranger to dropping family if they are toxic.

    It is harder for me in this situation because I've always been told that I'm not allowed to say anything to the in-laws and that FI has to handle it.  He is going through that learning process where he is realizing that just because they are his family doesn't mean he has to take their crap.  I try to encourage him, but I always feel bad because I am afraid this means I'm becoming the horrible DIL who takes a son away from his family.  I'm over-worrying, aren't I?

    For what it is worth, FI has expressed that he'd love to not have to deal with his family for an extended period of time and if he could cut them out he would.  I think he is getting there.  I think there is going to be a final straw sooner rather than later that is going to cause him to completely cut off contact with them.  Not forever, but for a little while.  Still, it makes me sad for him.
    Yes, your are over-worrying. What's more important to you - to be the good little DIL everyone loves, or to have a healthy, honest, frank relationship with your husband where you both feel joined and acknowledged and in a true partnership?

    It sounds like it's almost inevitable. Maybe some time away from them will do him good. And you, as a couple. It seems to me that there's more history here that's added to his getting fed up with them, and it's been a long time coming. If he does that, it is NOT your fault, though. Remind yourself of that. Maybe your personal history is serving as his motivation and inspiration - that's not a bad thing. 

  • I really appreciate all the advice!  It is very helpful!  And I agree that we still have some growing up and learning to do!  My mom is in her 50s and there are still times she can't stand up to her almost 80 year old mother, so I know that we're all always learning something no matter the age!

     FI and I were just raised differently.  I was raised to be sort of unattached to family due to divorces, scattered family, and things like that.  FI was raised that the family means everything.  Like I said, the whole family lives on the same road in houses all side by side.  It is a conditioning he is working to get through.  He's definitely made progress since we started dating, so that is a good sign, I think! 

  • image JoEsther:

    image MeganAngela:
    You know, for everything I wrote, you'd be surprised at how well I stand up to my own family!  I was raised that you don't take crap from anyone, not even your own family.  My mom and I have issues sometimes, but I always let her know exactly how I feel.  She taught me that she will always listen to me because I might just have something good to say.  Being her daughter doesn't mean she gets to ignore me and boss me around.  My family is very frank with one another.  I cut my father out of my life from the ages of 16-23 because he had been an abusive idiot, so I am no stranger to dropping family if they are toxic.

    It is harder for me in this situation because I've always been told that I'm not allowed to say anything to the in-laws and that FI has to handle it.  He is going through that learning process where he is realizing that just because they are his family doesn't mean he has to take their crap.  I try to encourage him, but I always feel bad because I am afraid this means I'm becoming the horrible DIL who takes a son away from his family.  I'm over-worrying, aren't I?

    For what it is worth, FI has expressed that he'd love to not have to deal with his family for an extended period of time and if he could cut them out he would.  I think he is getting there.  I think there is going to be a final straw sooner rather than later that is going to cause him to completely cut off contact with them.  Not forever, but for a little while.  Still, it makes me sad for him.
    Yes, your are over-worrying. What's more important to you - to be the good little DIL everyone loves, or to have a healthy, honest, frank relationship with your husband where you both feel joined and acknowledged and in a true partnership?

    It sounds like it's almost inevitable. Maybe some time away from them will do him good. And you, as a couple. It seems to me that there's more history here that's added to his getting fed up with them, and it's been a long time coming. If he does that, it is NOT your fault, though. Remind yourself of that. Maybe your personal history is serving as his motivation and inspiration - that's not a bad thing. 

    Yeah, there is a LOT of history there. His parents didn't always treat his friends well growing up (they frequently had guests do chores for them when they were over) and there were a lot of issues with his last long-term relationship.  FI had his own issues with his ex, but his family definitely drove a wedge in there.  At one point they asked FI for money to help pay bills, but turned around and took frequent trips with money they obviously didn't have.  When he confronted them about it, they were offended that he would insinuate that they shouldn't take trips with the money they should use to keep their bills current.  Of course, his ex was infuriated that they'd blow their own money and then ask their son to help pay the bills.  Honestly, I can't blame her.  I've told him that won't fly this time around.  Things like that have made his relationship with them a mess for almost his entire life. 

    I'll remember what you said and take it to heart.  I don't have to be the perfect DIL to people who act this way and treat us so disrespectfully.  My relationship with my FI and our future family is what really matters to me in the end.  In laws can either get on board or get off the platform!  And I'll be supporting FI every step of the way and try to lessen the blows where I can.  :)

  • image MeganAngela:

    I really appreciate all the advice!  It is very helpful!  And I agree that we still have some growing up and learning to do!  My mom is in her 50s and there are still times she can't stand up to her almost 80 year old mother, so I know that we're all always learning something no matter the age!

     FI and I were just raised differently.  I was raised to be sort of unattached to family due to divorces, scattered family, and things like that.  FI was raised that the family means everything.  Like I said, the whole family lives on the same road in houses all side by side.  It is a conditioning he is working to get through.  He's definitely made progress since we started dating, so that is a good sign, I think! 

    It sounds like you two are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and that might end up being a good thing. Being close to family isn't bad per se - it's the unhealthy co-dependence and enmeshment that can feel suffocating, particularly for someone (you, in this case) who isn't used to it. And it's not healthy for those in it, either, even if they seem to be happy with it - things like this have a way of hitting the fan at the worst time.

    Good luck to you both. Keep those boundaries up and, as Dr Phil-ish as it is to say (oy!!), remember: you teach people how to treat you. You teach them, by your actions and reactions, what you'll tolerate and what you refuse to even try. 

    Good night! :)

  • I'll preface my response to say it is long as well, but I can relate to your experience and wanted to dd my two cents.

    Our inlaws seem to be cut from the same stock.  My advice mirrors a lot of what other posters have said - set boundaries and stick to them.  It's great your husband is on your side as fighting that battle is worse (been there, done that). 

    My MIL was a SAHM and despite her kids being in their 30s, still calls herself a SAHM (seriously, if someone asks her what she does she says SAHM).  Her entire life is built around being a SAHM - so when I came along (having lived on my own for close to 6-years) there was a definite upset in the force.  My inlaws are very open - MIL expected to know our family income, how much we spent on x, how long we spent on vacation and with whom, etc.  I'm fairly private and don't think those are any of her business (particularly our finances).  MIL would tell other people DH was losing weight because I didn't have any food in the cupboards (SIL once counted MIL's cupboards and found 18 bottles of spaghetti sauce, so we have food but we're not that stocked).  She'd throw tantrums (still does) when she does not get her way.  The rest of the family largely gives her what she wants (extended and nuclear, my FIL sounds like yours).

    I knew MIL would be an issue when I married my DH - but I love my DH and we're a team 100%.  We set boundaries (usually we agree from the outset, sometimes it takes some wrangling) and stick to them.  I can honestly say it gets better - or at least it did for us - when we send a consistent message.  MIL has definitely been pissed at us and will be again in the future.  While we don't like that and try to avoid it, we're not going completely compromise us to keep her completely happy. 

    We're planning to TTC soon and will be seeing a counselor before/during to learn some new skills.  There have been more blow-ups with MIL recently than we like (we bought a house and MIL wanted to be involved in every piece, which caused some tantrums when we said no, this is not an extended family decision).  Kids will make it worse and we need to be prepared instead of trying to solve these issues when I'm pregnant and hormonal or when we're sleep deprived new parents.

    I once got a fortune in my biscotti that said "Being an adult is being comfortable with the uncomfortable".  That is one piece of advice I carry into every aspect of my life, particularly when we're out of sorts with the inlaws.    

    Best of luck!

     

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Cutting off his family is tough. You are 100% right about that. I agree that you should not let FMIL's tantrums continue and its horrible that people allow her to do this.  Well said PPoster.

    My DH and I cut his family almost completely out of the picture. We were very tired of always being in "trouble" with them because we didn't do this or that. Having enough, we told them that's it. We're not doing this anymore. It started with numerous emails explaining our point of view, which resulted in a couple of phone conversations but after that we ignored everything that came our way. Life was STRESSED and they wouldn't change it. So we did. Why does being "family" mean you literately HAVE TO put up with their stuff? If they aren't willing to change then you make the change. You should not be forced into dealing with this crap. Put your foot down.

     It's hard though. It has not been exactly easy for my DH to push his family away. His sister (who did EXACTLY what you described your FI's sister did) refuses to talk to us and we to her. And we only visit when we want to (mostly because its been a few months and we're just trying to keep the peace).  My DH's and I's lives are much quieter now - more relaxed - and we have a ton of more free time because we don't let his family dictate anything. In my personal opinion and take it how you want - sometimes pushing family away is the better option. At least for a little while. And if they can't deal with that then maybe you really did make the right decision and the "little" while ends up being a "long" while. God Bless and Good Luck. 

  • My brief pieces of advice:

    - Time spent w/ each family doesn't have to be "even steven" in order for it to be fair.  And dont' tell either family how much time you spend w/ the other.  If they dont' know, they can't compare.

    - Yes, you can hang up!!

    - Stop explaining and defending yourselves.  It only gives them more room to argue.  "Thanks for your concern but we're fine" is all you need to say.

    - Cutting them out doesn't have to be permanent. 

    - And yes, YOU can speak up if what they are saying or doing directly affects YOU. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Also, are your FI's arms broken.  If he  is so thin why can't he make himself a sandwich.  Why is all of that on you ?
  • I have not read all of the responses.  First of all, make sure you deal with this before you get married.  Next (others have said this) boundaries are key.  Talk in very general terms about your life.  If your FI does want to confront his mom again, I would ask him to do it in front of the counselor.  It may be more constructive that way.  Good luck.
  • OK - I think I have some valuable insight... My mother and father are your future ILs, it sounds like.  Their marriage is, as you have described, one of "if mamma ain't happy, nobody's happy".  My father condones my mother's behavior, even while recognizing that it isn't correct.  In essence, this makes his behavior no less egregious than her own.  My brother is not like the SIL you've described, but has taken on my father's example of "if it doesn't affect him directly, then he's not going to stick his neck out" type thing.  

    While I agree with your counselor in that you are seen as an interloper to some extent, I do not agree at all that the family will eventually come around.  Now, what they can do, is start to not be able to cross boundaries and standards which you set up for yourselves...if done strategically.

    Where your errors have been is to accept financial help and or gifts from them.  Right now, today, your FI needs to return anything that has - in their eyes - strings.  That means wedding/groom stuff.  Either do without or pay your own bills.  And take that into the future, no matter how dire the circumstances feel or become.  Do not give them any shadow of seeing him as dependent or owing them.  You, too, for that matter.

    Since you weren't married on Father's Day, it would have been fine had you both gone to your respective homes instead of splitting them up.  However, how you handled it was not incorrect at all.  Neither was trying to have a conversation with his parents about how the relationship is already bearing stress needlessly.  Conversations like that can be handled strategically and smart or can be handled like a list of grievances or not considering your own advantages (in other words venting)...so how it went from your end can matter, even though it takes two to tangle (the MIL).  Your FIL calling up - then as in the future - should likewise be handled strategically (this doesn't always mean it's fair...).  "Dad, I'm sorry Mom is so upset.  I agree, what I'm putting forth isn't going to change, so we all need to get used to it."  

    As for future holidays....this will only become worse if you appease everyone on both sides of the family now before there are children involved.  My mistake was in allowing my parents to "call dibs" on every freaking holiday.  My ILs, fortunately, were the essence of understanding that the date/hour was not significant.  My mother eventually tried to milk as much as she could...so instead of just Christmas she had to have Christmas beginning at 8a.m. and then she had to have Christmas Eve with the kids sleeping over there (Christmas Eve belonged to my MIL) and then it was like several days worth of activities during the week leading up, and then the day after Christmas...now we didn't give into all of this, but that's where you are headed if you waver on what you appear to be doing...which is to try to remain balanced with your respective families.  So, I'm encouraging you here to do the same, keeping in mind that if one holiday doesn't really mean anything to one family, allow it to be skipped rather than split, so that the family can fully celebrate their traditions...and it would be smart for the two of you to start deciding what holidays are going to be celebrated by you in your home (which means no traveling for you, but that the extended family may gather and celebrate with you) and of course, which ones (like Father's Day once you have kiddos) you may decide on not sharing at all.  

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image MeganAngela:
    She calls to talk about her day and see how her son is doing, and then she'll switch mid-conversation and throw a tantrum out of nowhere.  At that point we feel stuck to stay on the line because we can't just hang up on her, can we?  

    "[Mom/MIL], I can hear how upset you are and know that this must be an emotional issue for you; however, I can't hear you when you talk like this, and I certainly can't feel as if communication can be fruitful when the conversation is so charged.  I'm going to get off the phone right now so you can gather yourself.  When you are ready to calmly/rationally speak about the topic, I promise I/we will be available.  We might not come to an agreement on the matter, but perhaps a compromise or just respect can be gained.  I love you, now, I'm hopping off the phone.  Bye."

    Do not allowed that text to be interrupted, continue speaking in a very low, slow tone and deliberate pace. And repeat every single time you need to.  

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Just to give you some insight on what your future might be like, my BF's parents had the same issue with his dad's family. We'll call them FMIL and FFIL for the sake of being clearer. A little opposite than your situation- FMIL's extended family had loads of money and she did benefit from that. FFIL's family were all born and raised in the same small town and still live there to this day. On the same street, all of the houses in a row. From day one in their relationship, FMIL was not accepted by FFIL's family. They made comments about her family's money, the things she wore, how she kept her house, etc. They were even mean to the kids (my BF and his siblings) because they were a part of her. Eventually it came to a head and they cut the family out. FMIL and FFIL have been married for 28 years, together for more than 30. They are a wonderful couple. I think as long as you and your FI are on the same page and remain each other's number one priority, you can get through this. I'm sorry this turned out to be longer than I'd hoped, but I wanted you to know that a happy ending is possible. Good luck to you!
  • This is nuts, this is unwarranted and it makes YOU look like you are using him. There and then you should have said goodbye --- and what DID he do when she started this mess:

    From the beginning (and I literally mean two days after we began dating), his parents, especially his mom, has been asking FI if I'm using him for money.

    Where is he in the middle of all of this? WHy hasn't he told his mother to just keep her opinions to herself and that what hurts you hurts him?

    Is this a cultural thing? if it is, it is more or less "expected" but wow, these people are cruel and just plain mean -- and that isn't cultural. That's being cruel and mean!

    If he doesn't cut them off -- and that means RIGHT NOW, not after the wedding ---- I would seriously suggest that you give back the ring, tell him it's over and then go your seperate way. This is a no win situation. And love cannot conquer all, as you can see.

    If you are religious, I am sure that your cleric would tell him that the marriage vow is forsaking all others. This means that he is to stand by YOU and be a team with you, no questions asked.

    It's positive that he is seeing a counselor with you and positive that he is considering cutting them off.  If he is going to cut them off, he needs to do so now -- and this also means eliminating them from the wedding and other festivities that are involved.

    You need not explain anything to anybody -- I am sure that his side of the family knows that his parents are first class 24 karat baztards.

    Wishing you luck in this. Let us know how it goes.

  • They act this way because they think it will work.   And it has worked in the past.   They act like this?  Poof, ex-gf is history.   They act like this?  Whee!! Money to pay bills!    Acting like this has gotten results and attention, so why would they NOT act like this?

    That's why you have to cut them off.  Not permanently (not necessarily permanently I should say), but definitely partially.   Your FI should have a perfectly frank conversation with them.   It should emphasize that he is on your team and that if they alienate you, they alienate him by extension.    And stick by that.   

    Also, if she starts being dramatic in the middle of a conversation, of course you can hang up!   Here's how you do it.  "Mom, I will not discuss this, and if you bring it up I will disconnect the call.   And I will disconnect each and every call from now on where you start this crap."   And do it.  And then don't pick up the phone when she tries to call back.   And don't pick up the phone when FIL calls.  

    Eventually, they'll learn that if they want to have a relationship with their son, they need to obey some simple rules of civility.   If the relationship is permanently cut off then, it's their fault, not yours. 

  • I don't know why you seem to be bending over backward to try and please mean, unkind people who clearly don't give two craps about hurting you.

    News flash, hon ... there is absolutely no pleasing people like this. Even if you ask them for a list of tasks to make them happy and you follow every one to the letter, they will still not treat you nicely. It's not a matter of you having to be a better DIL ... they're just unkind people.

    If your H decides that he's had enough of their B.S. and cuts communication with them (whether that's for a little while for them to learn their lesson, or forever if they just won't knock it off), don't feel like you're the one who is responsible. Your in-laws are the ones responsible, because if they'd just treat you decently then there'd be no need for this.

    You don't have to put up with disrespect just because they're your elders or because they're the parents. That doesn't give them carte blanche to treat you like shiit. If someone in life is hurting you then you absolutely do not have to just grin and bear it, no matter how they're acquainted with you. Family, friends, strangers on the street ... if you're in an unhappy situation, remove yourself from it and don't look back.

    image
  • I had to comment on your post because DH and I went through almost the exact same thing with the ILs. 

    My MIL is really manipulative.  One time during wedding planning, she and I were talking on the phone.  She started screaming and crying bc she didn't get her way... called me nasty names and hung up on me.  The crazy thing is DH was sitting right next to me during the whole thing and got to see exactly how his mom was to me.  After she hung up on me, she called DH and was crying about how mean I was to her and said such awful things to her.  He had to tell his mom to just stop talking because he was sitting right next to me and heard the entire conversation and that I didn't say one mean thing to her.  The line was silent for what felt like a whole minute.  It was really hard to sit there and watch DH realize how toxic MIL is.  I kind of felt bad.  But, it is not your fault!  Don't take any responsibility for whether or not your DH stops talking to MIL.  That's all on her!

    Two big pieces of advice that I think some PPs have pointed out that helped me the most:
    1. stop telling them your business
    2. don't justify anything to them

    In the past, I was very open with the ILs.  MIL once asked me how much debt we had a few months after we got married.  I told her (stupid, I know).  She looked at me with this evil grin and said "oh! you must really like to shop!"  I was pissed.  I told her that I didn't shop and that the debt was from DH's college expenses.  She got huffy bc apparently she had been telling everyone that "they paid DH's college in full".  I was basically calling BS on that claim.  Now, she was upset and ended up confronting DH about it.  He, of course, backed me up, but it wasn't a pretty situation.  I could have avoided the whole situation if I would have just "we're doing fine, thanks".  Learned that lesson the hard way. 

    Oh, and my MIL has "accused" me of not feeding my DH because he was looking too skinny.  Funny thing is MIL and FIL are obese and DH is within his BMI.  I told her that he was an adult and fully capable of feeding himself.  I haven't had a comment about his weight since.

    Our first xmas together as a married couple was terrible.  We literally sat there and counted "26 hours with your family" and "24 hours with my family"... do you think they'll notice that we spent 2 more hours with one family instead of the other?  Then, we just looked at each other and realized "what the eff are we doing?".  Unfortunately, we had told both sides where we would be when, and they had already done the math and realized the "injustice".  Haha   Then, we felt like we had to explain why we were spending 2 more hours my family instead of splitting it.  Stupid.  Now, we don't tell either family what our plans are... we just say "Great!  See you Saturday at noon!"  Also, if one side finds out we are spending more time with the other side, we just blow it off and don't explain ourselves.  We can do whatever the heck we want to do on holidays/weekends.  It's our holiday too!

    Whoa, this got long.  It takes some time to get used to not being so open and almost guarded around the ILs.  After 5 years of marriage, we are still learning.  Good luck!

    Est. 10/06, DD 03/12
  • image stw_77:
    Also, are your FI's arms broken.  If he  is so thin why can't he make himself a sandwich.  Why is all of that on you ?

     Haha!  You know, I don't know why his mom sees it as all on me!  FI cooks half of the time, but she doesn't know those things.  She just assumes I'm doing all of the cooking, I guess.  She is weird that way. 

  • image chavayjakov:

    Since you weren't married on Father's Day, it would have been fine had you both gone to your respective homes instead of splitting them up.  However, how you handled it was not incorrect at all.  Neither was trying to have a conversation with his parents about how the relationship is already bearing stress needlessly.  Conversations like that can be handled strategically and smart or can be handled like a list of grievances or not considering your own advantages (in other words venting)...so how it went from your end can matter, even though it takes two to tangle (the MIL).  Your FIL calling up - then as in the future - should likewise be handled strategically (this doesn't always mean it's fair...).  "Dad, I'm sorry Mom is so upset.  I agree, what I'm putting forth isn't going to change, so we all need to get used to it."  

    As for future holidays....this will only become worse if you appease everyone on both sides of the family now before there are children involved.  My mistake was in allowing my parents to "call dibs" on every freaking holiday.  My ILs, fortunately, were the essence of understanding that the date/hour was not significant.  My mother eventually tried to milk as much as she could...so instead of just Christmas she had to have Christmas beginning at 8a.m. and then she had to have Christmas Eve with the kids sleeping over there (Christmas Eve belonged to my MIL) and then it was like several days worth of activities during the week leading up, and then the day after Christmas...now we didn't give into all of this, but that's where you are headed if you waver on what you appear to be doing...which is to try to remain balanced with your respective families.  So, I'm encouraging you here to do the same, keeping in mind that if one holiday doesn't really mean anything to one family, allow it to be skipped rather than split, so that the family can fully celebrate their traditions...and it would be smart for the two of you to start deciding what holidays are going to be celebrated by you in your home (which means no traveling for you, but that the extended family may gather and celebrate with you) and of course, which ones (like Father's Day once you have kiddos) you may decide on not sharing at all.  

     Thanks for your advice!  As far as going to our respective homes is concerned, we choose not to split our holidays this way because his parents would just be pleased to just have their son around whilst making comments about my non-attendance.  In essence, my not going would be a victory for them.  It is one thing we have refused to cave on.

     Also, I see my family three times a year.  Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  FI and I refuse to give up one of those dates to solely his parents because we see them and his entire side of the family far more often than that.  It is why we compromise and split those holidays in the first place.  His family would rather me not come or not see my family at all, but we've been strong on the fact that we must compromise so that I don't miss the precious time I do have with my family.  We've done well on that regardless of how his parents have acted (even when they attempted to guilt us for not showing up for Christmas last year because we physically couldn't get there to either family due to the snow, which we never get).

     We have decided that once we have kids that Christmas will be spent at home, no compromise.  Actually, we've been debating even now to spend Christmas by ourselves and go home just before or just after to see his family so that they get used to it now! :)

  • She sounds like a nutcase.  Not only does she want you working full time  so that her precious prince isn't burdened with  bringing home all the bacon, but she also wants you to wait on him hand and foot and do all of the cooking, cleaning and I assume future child raising.  She doesn't see him as a future partner and teamate, but as royalty that needs to  be  served because he is giving you the priviledge of being with him. 

     If I were him I would be insulted.  She is crazy and you can't take what she  says seriously. 

  • image TarponMonoxide:

    This is nuts, this is unwarranted and it makes YOU look like you are using him. There and then you should have said goodbye --- and what DID he do when she started this mess:

    From the beginning (and I literally mean two days after we began dating), his parents, especially his mom, has been asking FI if I'm using him for money.

    Where is he in the middle of all of this? WHy hasn't he told his mother to just keep her opinions to herself and that what hurts you hurts him?

    Is this a cultural thing? if it is, it is more or less "expected" but wow, these people are cruel and just plain mean -- and that isn't cultural. That's being cruel and mean!

    If he doesn't cut them off -- and that means RIGHT NOW, not after the wedding ---- I would seriously suggest that you give back the ring, tell him it's over and then go your seperate way. This is a no win situation. And love cannot conquer all, as you can see.

    If you are religious, I am sure that your cleric would tell him that the marriage vow is forsaking all others. This means that he is to stand by YOU and be a team with you, no questions asked.

    It's positive that he is seeing a counselor with you and positive that he is considering cutting them off.  If he is going to cut them off, he needs to do so now -- and this also means eliminating them from the wedding and other festivities that are involved.

    You need not explain anything to anybody -- I am sure that his side of the family knows that his parents are first class 24 karat baztards.

    Wishing you luck in this. Let us know how it goes.

     Thank you for your advice!

    FI is right there with me, and as I've stated he's always taken up for me and HAS confronted his family on a few occasions about their behavior.  The problem is that they don't feel like they have to listen to their son's grievances because he is their son and not an equal.

    As for this being cultural, it absolutely is.  It is very much the way that a lot of super small town families are.  Very distrustful of anything or anyone that comes from "outside".  The counselor we saw, who is from the same area as FIs parents, have said that this is absolutely just the way things are where he grew up.

    And his extended family is just as bad as they are all from the same town and all live on the same road.  This isn't just his parents.  It is a symptom of his whole family (minus one really awesome aunt who just does her own thing no matter what anyone says!).  So, yeah, if his parents were cut from the wedding, we'd have to cut his ENTIRE family from grandparents to cousins to aunts and uncles.  FI has stated that if it comes down to it, he'll tell them all to stay home, but I'd rather it not come to that.

    Still, I'll keep you posted on how it goes! 

  • This is cultural, as you said --- and now you've got a problem within a problem. CUlture is nearly impossible to breach.

    What is normal for that culture is not normal for ours.

    I suggest a counselor that specializes in cultural differences.

    And the cutting off of his parents and family would be a good idea -- who knows? maybe they'll wake up and come to their senses when they see that they've more or less hit a "rock bottom" moment and that their son/sibling will no longer be in their lives.

    Please have this resolved before you're married --- I would hate to see a kiddo or 2 being brought into a nasty and cruel family like his. Who wants a grandmother that is nasty, divisive and is hell bent on making the kiddo's mother's life a living hell?

    This is no grandmother material for your kids; kids will pick up on how rotten the grandmother is and that's not good for them. 

  • image MeganAngela:

    As for this being cultural, it absolutely is.  It is very much the way that a lot of super small town families are.  Very distrustful of anything or anyone that comes from "outside".  The counselor we saw, who is from the same area as FIs parents, have said that this is absolutely just the way things are where he grew up.

    Wow. I was with you up until you said that.

    fiizzlee = vag ** fiizzle = peen ** Babies shouldn't be born wit thangs ** **They're called first luddz fo' a reason -- mo' is supposed ta come after. Yo Ass don't git a medal fo' marryin yo' prom date. Unless yo ass is imoan. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Then yo ass git a all-expenses paid cruise ta tha Mediterranean n' yo ass git ta hook up Jared Padalecki on tha flight over while bustin yo' jammies. But still no medal.
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