Family Matters
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Is it really all that serious??

I dunno. Sometimes I read these IL rants or terror tales and I think to myself, you're really upset that they had the nerve to disagree or that what they said was so terribly offensive?

Or do we just set ourselves up not to like our IL's or hold them to a higher standard of politeness than we do our friends and aquaintances?

 



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Re: Is it really all that serious??

  • Sometimes I think that the past has left such a bad feeling towards them that no matter what they do or say it is going to be taken the wrong way.
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  • image TheGrimGyno:
    Sometimes I think that the past has left such a bad feeling towards them that no matter what they do or say it is going to be taken the wrong way.

    I agree with this.  My psycho MIL could become 100% healthy and normal, and I'd still always hate her, and every little thing she did would probably always drive me insane.

    On second thought, though, psycho ILs are usually the exception and not the rule...

    But if I apply the above to, say, annoying coworkers, it works out the same for me.  I'm always going to wonder "What did they really mean by that?"

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  • Unfortunately "family" has a way of getting under our skin more so than friends and coworkers. It's a fact of life.
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  • image flexiblebride:
    Unfortunately "family" has a way of getting under our skin more so than friends and coworkers. It's a fact of life.

    Agreed. I also have a lot less tolerance for my IL's than I do my own family because we are around them SO much more than my family. 

  • image dimake:

    image TheGrimGyno:
    Sometimes I think that the past has left such a bad feeling towards them that no matter what they do or say it is going to be taken the wrong way.

    I agree with this.? My psycho MIL could become 100% healthy and normal, and I'd still always hate her, and every little thing she did would probably always drive me insane.

    I agree with you both. ?My MIL has some serious issues, but even if she started seeing a counselor and became healthy, I would still hold a grudge for the things she has done/said to me in the past (or at the very least I would keep anything that meant something to me private from her, to save myself from further frustration/hurt).?

  • I have heard it described as a sunburn.  A little sun is fine on healthy skin; too much burns you.  After you are burned, everything hurts like hell- even a gentle breeze that wouldn't bother healthy skin.  And until enough time passes that your sunburn is healed, any addition sun just makes the burn worse.  You have to stay out of the sun to heal it. 

    So if your ILs have been "burning" you with rude statements or mean comments, then you have to recover before being able to deal with any fresh annoyances.

  • image Lauren&patrick:

    I have heard it described as a sunburn.? A little sun is fine on healthy skin; too much burns you.? After you are burned, everything hurts like hell- even a gentle breeze that wouldn't bother healthy skin.? And until enough time passes that your sunburn is healed, any addition sun just makes the burn worse.? You have to stay out of the sun to heal it.?

    So if your ILs have been "burning" you with rude statements or mean comments, then you have to recover before being able to deal with any fresh annoyances.

    Interesting analogy. ?DH and I have chosen to "stay out of the sun" for over a year now, with no avail. ?:( ?But the issues with his parents run far deeper than just hurtful words.

  • image oakvik07:

    Interesting analogy.  DH and I have chosen to "stay out of the sun" for over a year now, with no avail.  :(  But the issues with his parents run far deeper than just hurtful words.

    I would imagine that you are still sunburned.  Embarrassed <--- Sunburned smiley face.   Depending on how bad it was, it will take a lot of time. 

  • Some of what I read I think "wow- you really do have a horrid MIL".  However, some stuff I read - I think "I'd LOVE to hear your MIL's side of the story!".  I see a lot of what I'd call VERY self-centered posts.  People who only see the world through their eyes and make no effort to step back and think "Huh- how COULD someone else take what *I* said wrong?" or "How could this situation be perceived from a different point of view?"

    I'll even say that I see a bit of a competition at times.  While many wives complain about how their MIL's won't "let go" of their sons, I see many wives who think that the mother/ son relationship should just end the day their son gets married.  That the mom should now jsut let the wife "take care" of their son. 

    There was a post once from a women whose DH was having surgery and she was up in arms that her MIL wanted to come to the hospital to see her son after his surgery.  I'm like "Cripes - this is her SON and he's having surgery. You seriously expect her to not care, to not be nervous, just because he's now married?"

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  • And that's more of what I was referring to. Some of it I get. I really honestly do. I wonder how some MIL's survive a get together because if I were in the DIL's shoes, I might shank a ho.

    But then I read ones about off-hand comments, slight overstepping of bounds, or curious inquiries and I wonder why some women have a hard time just letting go or even saying, hey, this is what your son/brother/whatever have chosen, but I appreciate the advice. For some hookers, it won't work. They are simply evil, manipulative or have an underlying issue. But I think for the average, reasonable person, after saying that for a while, they get the point.

    I was especially thinking this with the name comment post. I wasn't there so I can't for certain say these women weren't being catty and obnoxious. But let's say they were. A simple those are family names and are pretty special to me and H would certainly be more appropriate and probably start to set a tone for the relationship than crying in the bathroom.



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  • I think it really depends on the circumstances.  My FIL says things sometimes that get under my skin, but I love him.  So for the most part, I can just let it roll off my back.  For example, I just started my own law practice.  He basically told dh that he didn't think I would succeed - that I don't have an outgoing personality, etc., etc., etc.  Whatever.  Doesn't bother me.  He's critical of dh too and I guess I just understand where FIL's coming from.  He's not a big risk taker and I've seen him be critical of many family members - cousins, etc.  He means well and just wants what is best for me.  There are times when he gets under my skin, but for the most part, I love my FIL.

    I really do think my MIL has mental health issues.  Very challenging ones.  Perhaps I should understand and sympathize that she is just sick.  But I don't have the history with her.  She didn't raise me and mother me.  So all is see is her nasty, crazy side.  I know she's not all bad.  But I just don't have the capacity to deal with her.  I have a very short fuse regarding her.

    I don't know how the MIL issue will play out over time, but dh is seeing independent signs of her mental illness.  It's one thing when she blows up at me.  But when she blows up at him for no good reason, he can't so easily ignore that her behavior is not normal.

    IL relationships can be hard.  I expected them to be like my FIL.  Not perfect, but that affection might develop over time - but of course expected that some things would get under my skin.  I think I have a normal IL relationship with my FIL. 

    My MIL is not mentally well, so it's truly a challenge...

     

  • image Lauren&patrick:

    I have heard it described as a sunburn.  A little sun is fine on healthy skin; too much burns you.  After you are burned, everything hurts like hell- even a gentle breeze that wouldn't bother healthy skin.  And until enough time passes that your sunburn is healed, any addition sun just makes the burn worse.  You have to stay out of the sun to heal it. 

    So if your ILs have been "burning" you with rude statements or mean comments, then you have to recover before being able to deal with any fresh annoyances.

    Great analogy! To take it one step further - repeated sunburns over the long term will most likely lead to skin cancer. Except in my case, the culprit is my mother, not my MIL. I still talk to her, but there are some things for which I'll never forgive her.

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  • Well let's say you get a minor sunburn? Do you keep exposing yourself to the sun for long periods of time and then continue to blame the sun?

    Or so you allow yourself to heal, slather yourself with sunscreen and limit your exposure?



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  • image hindsight's_a_biotch:

    Well let's say you get a minor sunburn? Do you keep exposing yourself to the sun for long periods of time and then continue to blame the sun?

    Or so you allow yourself to heal, slather yourself with sunscreen and limit your exposure?

    Pretty much.

    I'm a firm believer that after a certain point, the only one really responsible for the hurt/pain from ILs is yourself.

    You can recognize a pattern and be smart and protect yourself, or be stupid and naive and get burned yet again. Nothing neccesarily "justifies" IL behavior, but you can't make others behave differently.

    When I hear stories about how the MIL/FIL/SIL whatever are always nasty and rude, but hey they hang out one weekend a month or other nonsense, I can't help but roll my eyes at the DIL. "Oh I can't stand my MIL. But anyway, we see her every single day and I talk to her on the phone all the time. How do I make her more nice to me?"  That is NOT a MIL problem, that is a DIL being dumb problem. If MIL is so rude and annoying, STOP VISITING AND TALKING TO HER. Hey, problem solved. 

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  • Sometimes I think people expect almost perfect behavior from their ILs, and anything less that that is unacceptable. We don't expect this behavior from anyone else.

    I also think that some women expect their ILs, MIL in particular, to cower in the corner like a scared puppy waiting for DILs permission to do or say something. That attitude irks me. They have a right to their own opinions and ideas, and that doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

    And, I think people also need to recognize that it takes time to build a relationship. You have to expect some bumps, and it will take a while before the relationship feels comfortable.

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  • I think that after awhile, the only person responsible for their own behavior is themselves. But, as in the case of IL's, you also have to figure out a healthy way to deal with their behavior yourself. It *will* impact your life, sometimes your spouses, and often your children if you can't figure out a way to deal with PITA IL's.

    You cannot harbor petty grudges forever, but I am certainly not in the "forgive and forget" and all is happy camp either.  

  • Oh, and I hold "family" behavior in higher regards than friends, coworkers, etc. Maybe that's why it's so much easier to get worked up over family issues; with friends, you don't have to have the constant contact.
  • Sometimes I read these posts and wonder what the other family would say. Especially when they start talking boundaries. If a new husband started talking boundaries and cutting off ready access to the degree some of these young wives do we'd all swear he was abusive and isolating.

     

    Yeah, some of the MILs are really wacked, but often I think it's MUD to some degree and that a real crisis will be character building for the sillier and pettier ones.

  • If a friend treated me badly, offended me, etc., I would most likely tell them honestly how you feel since a friend is usually an equal you choose to have in your life. Or, if there bad behavior continued, I wouldn't be friends with them anymore and try to get them out of my life.

     With in-laws, you can't always be 100% honest, or treat them as you would your friends. You choose compatible personalities in your friends-you don't choose your in-laws. So if you have a SIL or BIL that you would never be friends or acquantances with because of their behavior, beliefs, lifestyle, etc., its hard to be forced to have to like them. Especially if they make it difficult for you to even be civil with them.

    And as pp said, once you get burned by someone, its not always easy to forgive and forget.

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