AIBU to not want to make up with my in-laws?

(44 Posts)
HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 01:11:23

I'll try and be objective here, stick to facts as don't really want to bash in-laws as I know it's all a bore - sorry!

Just had a bit of an argument with my DH. In a nutshell, my in-laws including SIL's have been awful to me for 20 years. I know there is 2 sides to every story, but I have plenty of my own family and friends who have really nice things to say about me, so I know on some level that I am not a bad person.

Just to summarise a few things. My MIL is a massive bully and her DH her enabler. Her DD's (all grown and single) are a chip off her block. They've had it in for me from the start, but it's not just me, they have it in for their other non-directly related female relatives too. Anything nice that has ever happened to us has been spoiled, ruined by their poisonous words. A few things off the top of my head include MIL getting angry when we got engaged, refused to be involved in wedding, spoiled 1st/ 2nd birth of baby by taking over, then with 3rd baby it was very premature, born by C-section and I was told the night before my C (when I was terrified) that she was not impressed and got a massive telling off because I had not cooked a dinner (I couldn't eat, just wanted to sleep). They are just a few examples.

The hardest part for me over the years is that I am a very feisty person and would not usually let someone get away with something. But with my DH in the early years I didn't have the confidence that he would pick me over them. It has eaten me up not to be able to stand up to bullies like I would in my normal day to day life.

So, fast forward to now. A while back I told my MIL what I thought of her, because I no longer care. She denied it all of course. Her family were horrified that I dared to stand up to her and blanked me for ages. I've had little to do with her since then. Now she wants to make amends, although I do not trust the woman. When she talks to me, she is really still off hand. In fact they all are. I believe that she is pretending to be pleasant as my DC are the only grandchildren (her DD's are 40's and single).

I have told my DH that I am happy for her to come over and she will be welcome and I will be polite. But that's it. I will no longer go out of my way to include her or do nice things for her (which I have always done). My DH says I should let bygones be bygones but I do not agree. It's not that I am being vindictive, it's just that I feel nothing. I don't want her to do anything fo rme, I don't want anything off her or give her anything back. I genuinely have no feelings for the woman - be it love or hate.

He says IABU

allibaba Mon 28-Jan-13 20:09:48

THT I am 10 years in so not as far as you. My ILs have hated me from day one, my FIL being the particularly savage one. There are so many incidents ingrained on my brain that I cannot forget and not really forgive either.

But all that frustration with myself and anger towards them eats you up. So I brought the toxic in laws book, made my DH read it too (although he does see the problems, he doesn't like confrontation) and stopped going round.

It really lifted a weight! Due to a family bereavement I'm having to go round again now which is hard and I expect to be back to square one again soon. But you must protect yourself and your DCs from their toxic behaviour. No one should be bullied like this and have to put up with it.

foreverondiet Mon 28-Jan-13 19:34:31

I think you are being reasonable, and I also think she isn't going to change.

No need to do anything nice for her - but yes would be a bit unreasonable not to give them access to their grandchildren (I know you are not suggesting that).

I think biggest problem though is your DH who sees their toxic behaviour as normal. You can't change your MIL/SILs but maybe you could suggest counselling for you and your DH to try and find a position that you can take together that you are both happy with.

re: the making amended for 20 years of horribleness - I think that the way to this would be a genuine apology and for your really to believe she meant it, and I don't think that she is capable of this - so I don't think amends is possible. This is something to discuss in the counselling....

bootsycollins Mon 28-Jan-13 17:53:12

HomeTweet you said their pompous and have deluded high opinions of themselves that's the perfect recipe to ruffle a few feathers, if I knew them personally I'd be able to give you loads of inspiration but I'm struggling to think of anything specific. You know them inside out, you know what makes them tick, you have the power to drive them to distraction and get to sit back and watch it all unfold without them ever knowing that they've been set up for your amusement. What do your dc's think about your weird il's?

sudaname Mon 28-Jan-13 14:37:27

ME 'demeaned'.

That's exactly how l feel and would feel more so if l had to go the extra mile with someone who treated me so badly.

sudaname Mon 28-Jan-13 14:33:06


' If she thought anything of her son she would have been nice to the OP from the get go '

That is such a short,simple statement unlike my 'novel'' upthread but it says it all really -very true good point.

MusicalEndorphins Mon 28-Jan-13 14:29:17

You being polite and welcoming during visits to each others homes is better than nothing.
You do not have to spend any further time, doing whatever it is they do.
You husband needs to realize you are not a robot he can program. They should be grateful for any contact, it is that or nothing.
Really, what is it to them anyways? You don't enjoy their company, and have your own life with people who respect you. Hanging out with them when they treat you disrespectfully, with catty comments would be demeaning.

Msbluesky32 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:18:20

Sounds like your DH needs to offer you more support. They are his family so they are his problem, not yours. He should be deflecting the sh1t and paving the way to helping maintain a good relationship between you, not driving a wedge with you on one side and him and his family on the other. If he expects you to make an effort with his family then he must also make an effort with yours. Makes me mad" You both need to be seen a 'united front' as much as possible or none of his family will take you or your relationship seriously.

Tbh I wouldnt put up with it for 20 years, you have the patience of a saint! While I appreciate there are two sides to every story I have come across a few strained MiL/DiL relationships similiar to this. Its a weird power struggle situation and I hate to say it but its always the mother and daughter-in-law relationships where the strangest behaviour truly comes out. Goodness, I hope if I ever have a DS Im not like this to his DP!

diddl Mon 28-Jan-13 14:05:21

If she thought anything of her son she would have been nice to the OP from the get go.

Whocansay Mon 28-Jan-13 13:57:36

I would ask your husband what he wants you to do. Why should you have to put up with behaviour that makes you uncomfortable/angry/upset? I think your proposal of civility is more than reasonable. And I would point out to him that what you are prepared to do is more than he's prepared to do for your family.

And trying to bully you into doing what he wants is pretty nasty.

As for SILs, I suspect that they are jealous of you.

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 13:55:30

Please share those naught covert ways bootsy. I really need it.

bootsycollins Mon 28-Jan-13 13:52:30

How have you resisted sabotage and shit stirring with an innocent face general naughtiness for 20 years? Sooooo many simple covert ways to torment idiots like your il's. childish I know but I'd find it irresistible under the circumstances grin would really help if your dh was on board though.

sudaname Mon 28-Jan-13 13:14:41

fruitloops very good post and very good point about asking someone to change their feelings - it is an impossible demand.

What a twat your husband is for not sticking up for you in 20 years, and now is causing a fuss because you refuse to be treated like shit.

Can you move? Leave the bastard?

sudaname Mon 28-Jan-13 13:08:49

'not his son' obviously should replaced 'not his SS'

sudaname Mon 28-Jan-13 13:04:46

God l could have written this thread but about my adult SS.
My DH is behaving exactly like yours too.
SS has moved out after being after six years of living with DH and I after a huge bust up in which he called me several names and made several allegations about me for which he has never apologised for or retracted l might add.
He was a rude disrespectful selfish inconsiderate entitled shit and bain of my life while he lived here and seemed to be on a mission to split us up and almost succeeded on several occasions. I also didnt feel able to clamp down on his behaviour in early days as blood is thicker than water etc etc so a pattern was set unfortunately, coming to a head in above incident.
I - much to my regret now - but l did it for DHs sake not his - started speaking to him at a family do as we hadnt spoken since above incident and l knew it was uncomfortable for DH at this family occasion.
I say much to my regret because he has never once retracted his allegations or apologised for or acknowledged his behaviour. In fact , because l was the one who first started speaking to him (only a 'Hello,how are you?' type of way) he has now gone into super cocky mode if anything. You would think l had apologised to him iyswim.
Every time l have to sit in a room with him now l just want to punch his smug face tbh, because l always said l wanted nothing more to do with him until he apologised and retracted. He now knows he has got away with it and those things he accused me of, names he called me have stood.
Worst part is my DH now can only see that we are speaking so everything must be ok. So when he asks me why l go quiet when he mentions his son or change the subject or always decline to tag along to visit him etc. and l say it's because l am only being civil for his sake but have no time for him otherwise because he obviously has no time or respect for me or he would have apologised or retracted, DH says' ffs that was years ago and youre like a dog with a bone etc'.

l so wish l had stuck to my original policy of not speaking to him until he had apologised. Because now l am stuck in this situation of having to be pleasant to him without the awful way he treated me ever even being acknowledged. But worse l am now forever in DHs bad books because of my refusal to give any more than small talk/civility to him. To DH now - l am the problem, not his SS as he is PA and devious enough to always be gushing and nice to me in front of his dad but very different when he is out of earshot and in the way he talks about me to others in the family.

OP l feel your pain. No advice really or obviously l could resolve my situation if l did !

Squeakygate Mon 28-Jan-13 12:59:12

Only you can decide if you want to give them another chance. They will be in your life forever though one way or another.
I keep my inlaws at arms length for various reasons; mainly due to their toxic behaviour and how they treat my dc. Few visits every year, for a set period of time. Dont holiday with them, stay overs dont happen any more. I go through the motions being as polite as I can but still have to leave the room to silently scream in frustration.
is that an option?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 28-Jan-13 12:45:28

I think you need to point out to your DH that he had it in his hands to do something about his family's treatment of you over the 20 years they have been like this. I'd be asking why he thinks you need to back down when they never did, and he did nothing to stand up for you.

Miggsie Mon 28-Jan-13 12:43:36

Frootloopz is right here when she says your DH can't comprehend your feelings - it is like someone who lives in a cave trying to get the concept of sunshine...

He does need to realise what his family are like, but it is a slow and painful thing.

He needs to see you are not doing htis to be awkward - you just don't want to be treated that badly.

If your child came home from school and described these sort of things as having happened to them - you would advise them not to be friends with such a person, avoid them, and not stand for being told you are crap. Perhaps your DH might comprehend this?

Also, just because it is your family does not mean they have the right to be nasty - nor do you have to put up with it.

Frootloopz Mon 28-Jan-13 12:33:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 12:32:35

Cross posting.

Miggsie you are dead right actually about the power struggle. In fact, when one of the SIL's broke up with her DP and moved home for a few months, I felt as if she was seriously staking her claim and trying to put me in my place. She had gone off to live with him in another city and we hardly heard from her (bliss) but when she came back she threw her toys out of her pram at every opportunity and wanted to be the centre of attention whenever we were there. She used to talk down to me really badly in everyone's presence which really irked me because she is certainly not superior to me in anyway. I am not some wall flower. I am educated, have a good job and have lots of things going for me (not meant to be a stealth boast!) I found it really difficult to take that, but again in their house, with 4 of them and just lil old me, I had to bite my tongue. I am not myself trying to position myself on their hierarchy. I don't really care as I have a massive family of my own who are fabulous. But I won't be treated as bottom of the pile, which Miggsie identifies and is spot on. I am equal to them in every respect (well secretly I think they are frumpy, haughty, pompous and deluded to their own opinion of themselves whereas I am cool and hip ;)

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 12:22:28

I don't know Who. They tend to live in each others pockets so I think that is it. I wouldn't mind but if you asked my DH what my aunts/cousins/uncles names where he wouldn't know because he's not interested enough to remember after meeting them. I on the other hand have had to sit thru so many gossip sessions, I could draw a family tree and give you a presentation on each and everyone of the extended family twice removed. When my parents call he says hi and passes over the phone. It's all about his family. Someone asked upstream what their relationship is like. Well actually they pay him ZERO attention and the SILs 99.9% of the attention.

I am actually very, very upset.

Miggsie Mon 28-Jan-13 12:18:38

Sadly, your DH is just as much of the problem as your inlaws.
He has been conditioned his whole life to see them as normal and keep the peace.
My dad was exactly the same with his vile mother.
Only now, aged 87 has my father admitted his mother was a poisonous bitch. She's been dead 20 years.

You need to talk to DH about how his family are NOT NORMAL - in a quiet way, not an arguing way.

The books, "toxic parents" and "toxic inlaws" will help here.

Your DH has also been conditioned to avoid any form of confrontation with his dominant mother. This conditioning is incredibly strong - always, always the child of the vile parents will argue for them and make excuses why they have done horrible things. You should have heard my father justifying being locked in a coal hole for 12 hours when he was 6...!!!!!

Therefore don't get paranoid - it is not you, it is them.

They have a very unhealthy family dynamic. Families like this want conformance and a power structure mapped out. As the daughter in law your role is to be submissive to the dominant female. The males must also be subservient. Note how your place in the power structure is the lowest - and your DH is expected to assist with keeping you there. He won't even question that as a basis for a family relationship - it is what he knows.

You need to keep telling your DH his family are actually really quite nasty people - he needs to read toxic parents and understand what it is saying.

Also note, that in a dynamic like this grand children, when small, will be used to manipulatate their parents - later, as they devlop personalities and opinions they will get crushed down into the family hierarchy as well. My grand mother used to favour me, to piss off my mother. Then, if I did anything worng, it was proof my mother was a bad mother. Complete crap - and not a good way to grow up, I stopped seeing my grandparents when I was about 14, it was worse than being bullied in the playground - which is effectively what it was, except it happened in my own house - nice.

Stick to your guns.

It is THEM, you are a nice person, they are not nice.

pigletmania Mon 28-Jan-13 12:18:02

Your dh is being a dick and totally unsupportive. He let them treat you like that for 20 years! He really is the prblm, you cannot switch your feelings on an off like a light switch. Your dealing with it really well and in a mature manner

Whocansay Mon 28-Jan-13 12:08:37

What exactly is he expecting you to do? You haven't said you won't see them or receive them, so I don't understand what his problem is. You've given imho a very generous compromise. I'm not sure I'd be wanting to see them at all.

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 12:03:03

Actually I am sitting here quite upset actually after another bust up with my DH. He basically says that his family are being really nice now and that he can see it is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. That is, he can see why they are upset with me, and why I am with them. That to me is a massive cop out. He says that since they are now being nice, I should just forget about it.

Perhaps I am now really paranoid, but I have seen these people in action over 20 years. They do not do something unless it is to benefit themselves as they seriously think that everyone else in the world orbits them. I don't trust them and TBH I can't just wipe 20 years of what I think is abusive behaviour under the carpet. I told him that if they are being nice, that's great but I still don't want to get involved in their family politics etc. and I do not want to be involved in things other than receiving them politely in my house and being polite when visiting them. Now he's in a mood with me and we ended up just putting the phone down on each other.

I am feeling really paranoid now. I feel like they have done a really good once over on him and seriously buttered him up. I feel marginalised from my DH and even more paranoid my little brain is saying, what if they try and push me out of my family and kids after all they consider my DC their family and me the walking womb.

Help - paranoid alert.

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