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

You are doing the right thing.

My dads family are exactly the same. This is how they treated my mum. When I grew up they did the same to me. So really your DDs are next in line.

Stick to your guns on this. They will never change.

EMS23 Mon 28-Jan-13 01:25:31

More than what you've already said you'll do (welcome in your home, you'll be pleasant etc) what does your DH actually want you to do?
I think you're doing enough, I don't see what more they should want. It's not like you're stopping her seeing the DC's is it?

Playing Devil's advocate... You were the one that changed the goalposts. You had one relationship with her then changed it to another overnight. She didn't react well. Does she get one chance to be a better person?

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 01:31:32

I agree that they will never change. The problem now for everyone is that I have changed. I no longer am prepared to put up with their shit and they know it. I can envisage them all sitting round a table saying well we want to do this that and the other with the DGC so we better pretend to be nice to HTH or she won't let us. I't amazes me that they think I am stupid enough to fall for that. You see, that's also one of my issues. That they must think that I am thick to have not noticed the thrown looks, the sarcastic comments and the shit starting they all do when I am in their presence. One of my SIL's favourite things to do is sit round the table and say when was the last time you saw your DM. How many nights did you spend there. Then look at MIL and say in a sarcastic voice "oh 3 nights, how nice for her eh mum" when my DP's live 300 miles away.

Yes, and by standing up for yourself you suddenly become "unreasonable" or the one with the problem. It could never possibly be them.

My aunt, when confronted, would turn it all back on the other person telling them to get a sense of humour or stop being so precious.

HomeTweetHome Mon 28-Jan-13 01:37:57

EMS, there are lots of women in the family who are verbally ripped to shreds and they all hate each others guts. Come an occasion and it's all kissie kissie on both cheeks and false. I cannot do that. I am not playing the game. I am meant to be very nice to them and play happy families but it's OK to take shots at me and no doubt slag me off behind my back (they do that to everyone). I can't live like that. If I do not like someone, I can't hang out with them.

Terry, after 20 years I think they should have come round to me. Since they have not, I do not think they ever will. I would be setting myself up for another fall.

"Now she wants to make amends"
Has she given any details on how exactly she plans to make up for 20 years of horribleness not that it's actually possible anyway?

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Mon 28-Jan-13 02:40:46

YANBU. They can do one.

Well you put out the olive branch and if your Dh doesn't like it you can always reel it back in and do nothing. He's being unreasonable if he thinks you can sit by and get ripped apart and not say anything, is that what he expects you to do?
Does he realize it will be his kids next?
I'm "nice" to my SIL see her twice a year and chat like no problems, I know she doesn't like me, I don't know if she knows Dh tells me everything or she might not try to be so nice. However, I would not be so nice should she decide to have a go at me, I don't give her the opportunity as I refuse to there without Dh or my grown boys as a buffer. She has tried it on by phone over 20 years ago and I stood up to her and she's been civil (to my face) ever since.
I know she'll kick off when we get ready to move, we are acceptable only when living the way she thinks is OK.
My job (nurse) is a "hobby" cause I worked part time and we aren't ambitious enough, meaning, didn't by a mini mansion and go into debt up to our eyeballs like her.
She backed off over parenting when my boys were more successful (college, exams, uni etc) and hers weren't interested in education or going anywhere liked she'd hoped.
I think you have done as much as you can OP you have offered for her to come over and said you will be polite, he can't ask that you act like a doormat.

BTW I don't think you are in the wrong. I just think you have got yourself in an interesting position. Yes, they had 20 years to come round to you. But, by your own admission, you weren't being yourself. You were pussyfooting around, not being feisty. I am imagining my own sadly passed MIL. She would have hated a meek, mild DIL. I called her out a couple of times early on and, although our relationship wasn't all hearts and roses, she respected me and I respected her.

I think the choice to give DH is this. Either he accepts polite, cold, no extras HTH or you will be yourself, no censoring. Feisty, speak your mind, say what you like, walk out if they try nonsense. He can choose.

I think it is perspective. If I lined up the shit my ILs have done; told me where I could get married; told me BFing at 10 months was weird; told me my friend was odd; told me I was spoiled to spend a night in a hotel after the wedding with DH (we didn't have a honeymoon until a year later). However, they are just that way. Believe me I have said crap to them too. We loved each other dearly.

SunflowersSmile Mon 28-Jan-13 07:01:08

I only have to see my inlaws once a year but for a horrendous extended period in a confined house.
Last time I saw them FIL did a Razor [CBB] on me - though unlike Spiedi I believe I was an innocent party!
He was more aggressive actually and I am expected to forgive and forget. He is old and loves his Grandchildren. He can't stand me.
I will see him this year though avoid speaking on phone. I will do what op suggests- arms length politeness. I will protect my children from his tantrums and will take steps to keep the old bastard calm.
I hate the situation but my children do want a relationship with him so gritted teeth for me.
Sympathies op......

Inertia Mon 28-Jan-13 07:17:56

If she genuinely wants to make amends her actions will show it. Doesn't sound as though she has changed anything about her behaviour though - just takes making amends to mean return to the way things were.

Tbh though your DH is a big part of the problem if he won't back you when they are being horrible.

Branleuse Mon 28-Jan-13 07:29:37

YANBU fuck em.

fool me once

Yfronts Mon 28-Jan-13 09:45:13

I think I would give her a chance to prove she can be nicer - for your DH. I wouldn't welcome her with open arms though, just see where things lead. But give her opportunity to make amends.

With my MIL, the more horrid she is the more distant I am from her, but the nicer she is, the more I open up and show warmth. Sadly my MIL swings madly between vile and nice and so I just withdraw when I have to. Over the years she has slowly realised that I'm not a push over.

Yfronts Mon 28-Jan-13 09:46:50

Actually wanted to add that my IL's are awful about lots of people too and it just boils down to their jealousy and them feeling inferior.

Adversecamber Mon 28-Jan-13 09:50:42

Well done , I agree about sitting on the olive branch. You do not have to be best buddies and I loathe hypocrisy which is why I avoid people I am not keen on.

elizaregina Mon 28-Jan-13 10:59:29


you poor thing - may i ask however who told she wasnt happy there wasnt a meal on the table post op!

unfortunalty its your DH who you probably know is the biggest problem here - he has let you be treated like this for 20 years?

Can I also ask how she treated HER mother in law - if you know by any chance?

You only have one life - you have given twenty years to trying to be polite and get along and now you have had enough.

BTW do they treat your DH really well?

She is still off hand to you> I would draw up the bridges until she knows you mean business - has a true think about what she is like - and then if she can be truelly pleasant to you - go from there.

There are no other children in the immediate family, you have graced them with precious GC and this is how she treats you. They all have the pleasure of your off sping including the aunts.....and this is how you are repaid for these wonderful beings.

stand your ground, tell your DH to F off.

its very very liberating once you have the courage of your convictins and make a descion that you are worth more than being treated liek that.

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 28-Jan-13 11:27:44

Just make sure you keep being reasonable. Don't give them a chance in 5 years time to throw things in your face ( like 'well SHE didn't invite me' or SHE wouldn't come etc). Keep the moral high ground and give them enough pleasantness to choke on.
We haven't seen step MIL for over a year...previous to the non-contact she was down here frequently (lives 2 mins away). She is an absolute psychotic bitch and I want nothing to do with her. The no-contact is induced by her only. We argued over her not being in a fit enough physical state to take the dcs (who were 3 and 1) out alone and she huffed off. In the following month we were subjected to horrific abuse from her by text, phone and face to face. She said some awful things to df which I will never forgive her for. YET we still send her an Xmas and birthday card from the kids. The last text I sent her was that she was always welcome to come and see the dcs any time. We still invite her to the kids parties. I always refrained from calling her all the names she deserved and remained fairly meek when she was screaming.
Purely because I will NEVER ever give that old cunt a chance to say I made her miss her grand kids growing up should she crawl out of the woodwork in 5 years time. I am determined not to let her be able to place blame on me.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 ;)

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