To not want to go nc with in-laws?

(44 Posts)
newmumintown Tue 02-Aug-16 07:58:44

Lots of back story, but the long and short of it is that dh wants to go nc with his family over something (in my opinion) relatively minor. I am torn between wanting to support him and his decision (he is clearly very upset) and not wanting this to happen to my family.
The ILs love my children very much, they don't always behave as I would choose them to, but we're all different and that's fine. We don't see that much of them (part of the issue) but the DCs love it when we do. Essentially I disagree with my DH and think it sets a terrible example to the children about how to deal with problems, but I don't see this ever getting resolved as DH's family refuse to talk about difficult subjects (and have previous form for going nc with family members for silly things).
In the interests of not drip feeding info...SIL has always 'needed' lots of help from PIL so sees them all the time, whereas we see them maybe every 5/6 weeks for a brief visit. DH now saying this is the way it's been all his life and doesn't want our children being treated like they are less important than hers, like he feels less important than SIL.
AIBU for wanting to stop this from happening and to bang their heads together?

myownprivateidaho Tue 02-Aug-16 08:04:36

I think that if you think that the in laws are a beneficial influence in your kids' lives it's your right to facilitate contact with them. You can't force your dh to engage, but hopefully if your children still see them the door will have been left open. This is presuming there's nothing that makes them dangerous to have contact with, which it doesn't sound like. Poor you, sounds stressful.

davos Tue 02-Aug-16 08:40:46

It's very hard.

You need to be objective. Is it minor, or is it the tip of the iceberg?

The fact that he visits every 5-6 weeks and then complains about they being closer to sil does suggest, dh is over reacting.

I would have a serious talk with him. Try and understand his point of view but also get over yours.

Missgraeme Tue 02-Aug-16 10:38:11

Personally think your dh has a point. In the long run are your kids going to feel second rate compared to sil kids if they hardly get to see GPS? Been there done that.

HerOtherHalf Tue 02-Aug-16 10:45:22

Sorry, but your DH is behaving like a child. Because he feels like he's taken 2nd place to his sister he's going to spit his dummy and stop his children having any kind of relationship with their grandchildren. The kids will suffer, the grandparents will suffer, you will suffer and he will continue to feel bitter. Tell him to grow the F up. If he doesn't want to see his parents that's up to him but using the kids as a weapon is beneath contempt and that is what he's doing, whether he sees it that way or not.

ToxicLadybird Tue 02-Aug-16 10:49:35

Having just gone nc with my family I have to say I'd go fucking livid if DH didn't support me on it. If he continued to involve them, I'd divorce him.

Going nc is a massive deal and I can't imagine it being done lightly. The trigger may be minor to an outsider, but from the inside it can be the very small tip of a very big iceberg.

It sounds like your DH is trying to protect his children from the lifetime of pain he has had to endure.

LostSight Tue 02-Aug-16 10:55:43

We lived about 200 miles from my maternal grandparents and all my cousins lived round the corner from them, yet I never felt second best. I was aware they saw more of each other, but my grandmother was very careful to ensure we all felt special, so it isn't inevitable.

That said, is it true that DH has always been seen as second best? Have you seen any sign that your children are being treated less well than their cousins?

Gottagetmoving Tue 02-Aug-16 11:13:53

Your DH wants to cut your children's grandparents off from them because of an issue related to how often they see him compared to his sister?
Seriously?
If he has an issue then he doesn't have to see them but to deny them access to their grandchildren is just wrong.
Your children need to make their own minds up about how they feel about their grandparents.. It is quality time rather than quantity that counts.
He may always have felt second best but that doesn't mean he has been treated as second best.
He needs to grow up and deal with his issues with his parents in an adult way.

SquinkiesRule Tue 02-Aug-16 11:17:03

They are his parents and he's lived with this all his life.
My Dh went NC with his Mother, even though I got on with her OK and Ds adored her, we went along with it as it's his parents, his choice.
If He didn't support me with such a decision based on my life long experience then I'd be very angry. By refusing to let him have his small family go NC you are saying his opinions and experience of life of being second fiddle and not important.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 02-Aug-16 11:22:27

If there is "lots of backstory", then its not just about something "relatively minor".

Unless your DH isn't the father of the children, they are not just your kids.

With out knowing the full backstory it is hard to say who IBU.

Gottagetmoving Tue 02-Aug-16 11:23:01

*My Dh went NC with his Mother, even though I got on with her OK and Ds adored her, we went along with it as it's his parents, his choice.
If He didn't support me with such a decision based on my life long experience then I'd be very angry. By refusing to let him have his small family go NC you are saying his opinions and experience of life of being second fiddle and not important*

Sorry but that is really awful!
His relationship with his parents is different to his child's relationship.
Your DS adored his grandmother but cannot see her because his Dad doesn't get on with her?
No way would I go along with it if my DP decided my children could not see a Grandparent they loved. My DP would not be so immature. If he was I wouldn't be with him.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 02-Aug-16 11:28:41

Gottagetmoving

Why are you calling SquinkiesRule's DH immature when you have no idea of the details?

OurBlanche Tue 02-Aug-16 11:32:48

I am married to a man who came 2nd, 3rd, 4th in his DMs life, always.

It took him years to be abelto articulateth hurt and damage that caused to his self esteem, sense of self worth. He is an outwardly placid man who took years to be able to get annoyed, because annoyance led to anger and anger was something he was never allowed to show... and so had never learned to deal with how it felt... or to control it. He was a bit 'light the blue touch paper', it could be scary.

Those saying your DH is behaving like a child can have absolutely no idea how harmful such an ubringing can be. If your DH has decided that he wnts to protect his DCs from similar behaviour from his parents then he is the in best place to know how far they can take it and how badly its effects are.

OP - you say that they behave in ways you don't like, so they haven't changed. Your idea of them having to learn to dela with difficult people is fine... but your DH and his feelings are the result of such behaviour... he could have a point!

And whatever you think, this is not a relationship you get to have the final say in, They are his parents.

I have said before that it is very difficult to talk to someone who has lived throgh this. Every mention of parents made my DH feel threatened, angry, out of control. There was no way of talking about them, let alone to them, without his being forced back into the silent, unloved child he used to be.

Don't force your perspective on him. He will resent it... and, if he is like mine, he will be so good, so well conditioned, at hiding that resentment, you may never know... unless he blows, as mine did! We came through it, we each had our own issues with poor parents. But I can't imagine anyone who has had ordinary, loving parents being able to really empathise and understand how deeply the hurt goes.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 02-Aug-16 11:33:39

There has to be a lot more to this, surely.

You might think the latest thing is "relatively minor", but for your DH, it might be the straw that broke the camel's back.

I don't think your wishes should trump your DH's in this - imagine if the boot were on the other foot, you wanted to go NC with your own family, and he refused! - but it's fine to talk it out with him and discuss his reasons and whether or not they apply to your DC as well.

I mean, if his parents scapegoated him as a child, would they do the same to yours as they get older? Do they already? If they're playing favourites between SIL's offspring and your own, then that's not a good scenario for your DC to be in. They will come to realise that their grandparents favour their cousins as they get old enough, and it will be damaging to the relationship anyway.

I just don't think you are in a position to tell him that you won't have it, frankly. Not without a LOT more discussion.

OurBlanche Tue 02-Aug-16 11:34:22

Apologies for the awful typos smile

Gottagetmoving Tue 02-Aug-16 11:35:21

Why are you calling SquinkiesRule's DH immature when you have no idea of the details

Because you cannot make someone else pay for your resentments towards someone or inflict your feelings on a child that clearly adores his Grandmother.
The two relationships are separate.
It is the same as stopping a child see his Dad because you don't get on with him.
As an adult you try to sort out issues/problems but if you can't you don't use your child/family as a way to inflict more pain.

yorkshapudding Tue 02-Aug-16 11:45:44

I can see both sides here. My DH's parents have blatantly favoured his sister his entire life (for her 18th birthday she got a new car, for his he got a tenner in a card, that type of thing) and this has extended to how they treat our DC compared to hers. DH never cared about this favouritism (he used to just laugh it off) until we had DC. Now he feels hurt on their behalf and I imagine it has brought back feelings from his childhood that he buried for a long time. DH swings between trying to seek his parents approval and going to great lengths to facilitate them having a relationship with DC and then goes through phases of saying "it's their loss" when his efforts are inevitably not reciprocated. It's actually quite heartbreaking to watch. Sometimes I wish DH would go NC but I can't see it ever happening and, rationally, I think that's probably for the best as he might regret it one day when something happens to them.

From an outsider's perspective it may seem "minor" (no physical abuse or anything like that) but having grown up with parents who make no secret of the fact that they see you as inferior to your sibling can be very damaging. To have to then 're-live' that rejection by watching your parents favour one set of DGC over the other must be so upsetting. So, try not to be too hard on your DH. I agree with you that it's not ideal to send a message to your DC that if you have a problem with someone you cut them dead. That's not how I would want to do things either. But maybe in his own way hes trying to protect the DC from experiencing some of the rejection he went through. Maybe when hes had chance to calm down and reflect you could say something along the lines of "I understand if you don't want to spend time with your parents and I support you on that. But I don't want the DC to miss out. How would you feel about me taking them to visit PIL's?" He may be agreeable to this but if not, I guess you have to decide how much you want to force the issue.

OurBlanche Tue 02-Aug-16 11:45:45

... alternatively, as an adult you have to protect your children against individuals whose behaviour causes pain!

As I said earlier, if you haven't lived through such a childhood, I don't think it is possible to have any idea how painful and damaging it can be.

And it is quite different from one parent stopping contact with another! That's quite insulting - or disingenuous!

tiggerkid Tue 02-Aug-16 11:46:23

I don't know what it was that set off your DH but it sounds as if it may have been his last drop or the straw that broke the camel's back. It may well have been a minor incident in your eyes but when he starts mentioning how things have been all his life, it kind of points to deeper issues. It's hard and you can have a conversation but, in the end, it's his decision as to whether he wants to stay in contact with his family.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 02-Aug-16 12:52:44

Gottagetmoving

Because you cannot make someone else pay for your resentments towards someone or inflict your feelings on a child that clearly adores his Grandmother.

But you have no idea, or frame of reference to be able to say that it is just a "resentment", in doing so undermines someone else's experience of what they went through in there life.

You might as well use the line "you only have one mother/father" to excuse the behaviour of the parents.

Gottagetmoving Tue 02-Aug-16 13:05:39

But you have no idea, or frame of reference to be able to say that it is just a "resentment", in doing so undermines someone else's experience of what they went through in there life

What they went through. That does not mean your child will go through the same thing. There is an opportunity for a child to have a good relationship with a grandparent which will be damaged if you can't separate what you went through from their experience.
Of course if it was violence or sexual abuse then that is totally different.
However, if your partner and children have a good relationship with your parent, as the poster said, then surely you are taking something away from them all by insisting you all go N/C

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 02-Aug-16 13:13:22

"Of course if it was violence or sexual abuse then that is totally different."

These are not the only forms of long lasting abuse, emotional abuse is also as bad and as it is not visible can go undiscovered for years.

Scapegoating and blatant favouritism are not something that I would want any child to go through.

yorkshapudding Tue 02-Aug-16 13:14:19

Of course if it was violence or sexual abuse then that is totally different

Emotional abuse can be just as damaging.

yorkshapudding Tue 02-Aug-16 13:14:52

x post, sorry

SteviebunsBottrittrundle Tue 02-Aug-16 13:31:20

This must be really difficult. On the face of it, it does seem a bit of an overreaction but it does sound like it could just be the straw that broke the camel's back. If it was my DH i would probably support him. Chances are it isn't as minor an issue as it appears and if it is then maybe the NC won't last long. I think I would prioritise my relationship with DH over our relationship with ILs. I would look at it this way; either he means it and therefore his wife refusing to support him would probably hurt or upset him, or else he doesn't really mean it so there's nothing to worry about.

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