Quite a lot of AIBU's in one go. Sorry

(54 Posts)
Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 22:51:39

Just had our first counselling session. Big can of worms opened up as expected.
The main issue is, his family really piss me off. They're so bossy and domineering I hate being undermined by them.
If I tell my dh that something's been said or done that annoys me, he sees red and I'm deemed a trouble maker.
The whole session today was him defending his family.
So I have a few questions:
AIBU to ask to be put before his family as his wife? He said he would never do that and that he will never choose.
I asked that he gets involved if I have a concern or a problem with something that's been said or done. He said it's up to me. Is that normal?
He said he'll speak up if he thinks it's something that needs speaking up about but that I'm a bit too over sensitive so won't pull them up on everything. Is he BU?
I've decided if we stay married I won't stay at their house again, it's too much hassle. Is that BU?
Apparently they're treading on egg shells around me now as they think I have some kind of anxiety disorder and they're terrified they'll upset me.
It's driving me nuts!
Hope some of you can help, I can't see how counselling can solve this but I'm giving it another go next week.

4boysxhappy Thu 14-Aug-14 23:05:13

Really hard one because he can't win can. In general I expect my hubby to stand up for me / be on my side. However when it comes to his family I try not to make him choose.

Not impressed with him putting all the blame on you.

I think you are right just to distance yourself from them. I mean why stay there if you don't have too. Let him handle things with his family and keep your distance if that would make you feel better.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Thu 14-Aug-14 23:11:01

I would always expect my DH to put me first as I would do for him

Of course it won't be easy for him but to dismiss your concerns like that is not ok

He says he's not choosing between you but it seems very much like he is choosing and it's not you

SoonToBeSix Thu 14-Aug-14 23:17:25

No yanbu, you are his wife, you should be his first priority.

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 23:18:56

I agree, thanks for your help. Hopefully the counsellor will pull him up on a few things..or are they supposed to just sit there and say nothing like he did today? hmm

BackforGood Thu 14-Aug-14 23:21:42

I wouldn't expect my dh to choose between me and his family.
I wouldn't expect him to "side" with me in a dispute just because I held one opinion. I married a man with a mind of his own, and a family of his own. I'd expect him to be able to make a judgement on his own too.

Of course, without knowing all the ins and outs of each situation, it's difficult for any stranger on the internet to know if you are being a "trouble maker" or "over sensitive" or whatever, or if he is being blind to really poor treatment of you. We'll never know - even if we heard his family describe the same situation from their pov.
Presumably, he loves you, and his loves his family too, so maybe his judgement isn't biased one way or another?

He said he'll speak up if he thinks it's something that needs speaking up about but that I'm a bit too over sensitive so won't pull them up on everything. This is the nub. If you have real, fundamental issues with what you both find acceptable, there will always be issues. DH and I have issues in both our families but they range from 90% in both that we find acceptable and 10% we don't. We challenge the 10% in both we feel we need to. If you think 90% of what his family does is unacceptable and he feels 10%, there is going to be an ongoing problem.

What are the behaviours, specifically, that you feel need to be addressed?

chesterberry Thu 14-Aug-14 23:24:22

Hard to say without knowing any of the backstory regarding his family and your relationship with them and how unreasonable you/they are or are not being. If his family are very toxic then none of what you say sounds unreasonable, but then if they are a normal family who you simply disagree with then some of it may be unreasonable.

Assuming your behaviour is normal and theirs is constantly toxic or unreasonable then I don't think YABU to ask your DH to put you before his family when you are responding to something they have done/said in a reasonable way or where they have acted unreasonable. I also don't think YABU in asking him to sometimes become involved when there is a problem between you and the family and to expect him to stand up for you when the family are acting in a controlling or otherwise harmful way towards you. I think that if the family are causing you that much grief it's reasonable for you to decide not to stay with them again.

That said, if in any of this you are acting in an unreasonable way I wouldn't expect him to put them first just because you are his wife. With no back story it's hard to know whether your husband and his family are trying to put the fault of their unreasonable behaviour on you by saying you're 'over-sensitive' or whether you really are over-sensitive. If some of the issues you are getting upset about are minor your husband is not being unreasonable to say he won't pull up his family on every little thing. I would expect him to support you and intervene by talking to them regarding major issues but over minor issues I would agree with him that sometimes it needs to be up to you.

I guess really it's hard to say whether his reactions are reasonable without knowing anything of your behaviour and problems with his family or their behaviour and problems with you and thus being able to gauge whether it is them, you or both who is being unreasonable.

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 23:46:59

His family act very above us, I believe his family are extremely controlling and he knows no different so I'm an obstacle in their life as I don't agree with the way they are as a family. For instance, a holiday was booked by the IL's for us all to go together as a 'treat' but it was completely unsuitable for the dc's and when I asked Dh to get some more information about it he was too scared as he's appear ungrateful. It was so stressful I had a full on panic attack.
Smaller examples are when I told sil not to give our baby dd a whole grape as she might choke and sil just said 'it's Fine' and gave it to her anyway. I asked for them not to leave crisps and olives out at Christmas as dd was crawling and putting things in her mouth and again they said its fine and left them there. I know they're just small things but it happens a lot and it's the way they just undermine me like that.
The mil is so anxious around me it's all really tense which makes me worse!

RonaldMcDonald Thu 14-Aug-14 23:51:56

From these details

YABU to ask to be chosen before his family in every or any situation where he doesn't have the fact and doesn't agree with you
Imagine your child being asked to do that. It isn't realistic or fair.

If you have an issue, it is your issue tbh. You can discuss it with him and ask him for support but he doesn't have to give it or wade in on your behalf
If you make and throw balls he shouldn't be forced to play. YABU to expect this from him

You can stay where you want Yanbu

Your sensitivity or his lack of sensitivity is work that you might do together.
Your perception and his and your ability to communicate might need work
Your expectations of what role a husband 'should' play seems somewhat different than his and this will need a discussion

IME counsellors don't really chastise people or keep score on your behalf
Usually saying very little is a hard won skill.

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 23:52:39

Usually I will tell Dh I'm upset and he has spoken up twice if I recall. At least it shows he can do it. But he thinks I'm being very over the top needing a particular room in the house if we stay over there (I have ibs so prefer the upstairs room near the bathroom) - he brought this up at counselling as if I'm a real diva! He also made out that all the problems I have with his family are because of my anxiety but the anxiety is caused by this, it's not the reason for this iyswim..

BackforGood Thu 14-Aug-14 23:55:38

Well, going on the examples given -

Having a panic attack at the thought of asking your in-laws about arrangements for a holiday does seem to indicate some issues with anxiety. I don't understand (if you feel you aren't over anxious) why you wouldn't be able to phone up and ask a few details and explain any particular concern?

The grape thing is just a parenting difference - not something to end a marriage over

I think you were rude to ask them not to leave things about, if that is their tradition when they are hosting, tbh. When mine were toddling / crawling, I felt it was our responsibility as parents to keep a close eye, not expect the whole world to be adjusted for us - it's a crisp, if she had got hold of one, not some form of acid.

Sorry, not what you want to hear, I@m sure, but you did ask.....

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 23:57:23

Ronaldmcdonald, thank you. The help here is fantastic, it's helping a lot to see other peoples perspectives.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 00:02:32

Backforgood, it does help, I actually like being told I'm bu as it makes me think maybe it's not so bad as I think it is!
I had a panic attack over the holiday thing because it built up to such a bloody 'thing' and it needn't have been. My sil was furious when Dh asked for the dates to be changed - she hadn't even checked when we were free. When I heard it was on the top floor of an old apartment I felt worried. I asked Dh to find out if there were facilities for dd as she was only 2. He was too scared. I just felt the whole thing was a mess from start to finish. If sil had asked us first where we'd like to stay or what facilities we needed is have been happier.

HoorayHenri Fri 15-Aug-14 00:10:42

Asking for a particular room in the house does sound a bit 'diva' if I'm being totally honest. If you are in someone else's house I think it's pretty rude to dictate which room (I have IBS and it wouldn't occur to me, tbh).

The grape thing would piss me off. I didn't cut them for DD but had someone asked me not to give them to their child I would totally respect that. The petty undermining of parenting choices with 'it's fine' is extremely irritating.

The panic attack over hols I really don't get though. You do sound unusually anxious?

BookABooSue Fri 15-Aug-14 00:11:08

It sounds as though you need to manage your relationship with them and not rely on your DH to do so. For example with the holiday, you could have called with the questions. You can't really expect your DH to always share your concerns or act like a mediator between you and his family.

It shouldn't really feel like he has to pick sides or write a priority list. Sometimes he'll agree with you and speak out (as you've said he has) and sometimes he won't agree with you. That's ok too.

I'm responding to what you've written but I'm unsure if you're just touching the surface and there are bigger issues. You mention your anxiety and say it's caused by the situations. Have you been diagnosed with anxiety? Do you have treatment for it? I'm struggling because there is an uneasiness about your posts that makes me think there may be bigger problems than which bedroom you sleep in and whether or not they put out crisps (for what it's worth if you're the guest then you watch your DC, you don't ask them to change the snacks to suit your DC).

Your counsellor may speak next week or he may not. There are different approaches to counselling but don't be afraid to change counsellor if this one isn't working for you, or to ask for individual sessions if you're feeling you're both getting entrenched into certain positions regarding his family. Who suggested counselling?

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 00:20:09

The counselling was my idea as Dh left last week after another row over his mum upsetting me.i overheard her talking about me and asked if we could discuss it together but she started crying and Dh got really angry with me. I said I would consider us separating otherwise. I think today was about establishing what our problems were and the real session begins next week so it'll be interesting to see what happens.
Maybe I do have deeper rooted problems but I don't know what they are! I've always just foud his family so close and authoritative I took a dislike to them all straight away. My family are laid back, we talk about problems openly.. With dh's family they're scared of conflict and prefer to pretend nothing's wrong. Dh is fiercely defensive of them.

BookABooSue Fri 15-Aug-14 00:40:53

Sorry I wasn't implying you had deep-rooted problems! I was just wondering if the anxiety was a medical diagnosis and solely related to your dh's family, and also if there was more going on between you and dh.

You were sounding a bit unreasonable with the examples you gave but sometimes, if the dynamics in a relationship are manipulative then you can sound unreasonable over small issues because you've been conditioned into ignoring the elephant in the room.

From your last post, it sounds as though the elephant in the room is that your DH left because you did try to have an honest conversation with his dm. That makes him seem UR not you.

His family seem to have an interesting approach to conflict: his dm cries and your dh leaves. They're shutting down any challenges which is incredibly manipulative.

If I were you, I'd ask for an individual session with the counsellor not because I think you have 'problems' but because I think you might find it more beneficial than having an hour rehashing the same old arguments with your DH in front of an audience.

ADHDNoodles Fri 15-Aug-14 00:52:50

A good marriage counselor is meant to facilitate communication and help you two solve your own problems together, and to learn how to talk to each other again without making personal attacks so you can talk about the problems. Not take sides, and a good counselor won't. He also shouldn't be allowing your DH to be criticizing and attacking you like that either.

BookABooSue Fri 15-Aug-14 01:20:52

ADHD you're exactly right but a bad one will allow one party to feel constantly attacked and will not intervene under the pretext of impartiality.

ADHDNoodles Fri 15-Aug-14 03:34:05

ADHD you're exactly right but a bad one will allow one party to feel constantly attacked and will not intervene under the pretext of impartiality.

Agreed. That's why I said the counselor shouldn't be allowing her DH to keep laying blame on her like that.

You should never go away from a session feeling shitty. If you are, you might want to get a different counselor.

Let's just hope they were assessing the situation before deciding what to do since it was the first one.

softlysoftly Fri 15-Aug-14 05:06:47

Got to be honest you sound like a bit of a diva and I can see why they are anxious around you. Your examples are mildly irritating and easily resolved.

The thing is you say you took an instant dislike to all of them, that's not fair or normal.

You married into another family they will do things differently. Your family aren't "right" and his aren't "wrong" they are just different and you need to learn to be flexible and communicate and accept some differences and focus on the only things you can't ignore. So from your examples - olives and crisps just watch your DC, grape where it was actually dangerous say "no SIL it's not safe please do not give her one not cut up again".

Thumbwitch Fri 15-Aug-14 05:29:50

"The grape thing is just a parenting difference..."
Bollocks is it. DS1 nearly choked on half a grape (I cut them) because he sucked it backwards side on, iyswim - so it blocked his throat the same as a whole grape would have done. After that, I quartered them. Whole grapes are dangerous to babies without teeth/skills to chew them and your SIL shouldn't have been so blasé about it.

I think that you do have a problem with your DH being spineless against his family and I hope that the counselling will help with that. But he is obviously in a difficult position as well because his family do things very differently from you and yours, and he can't just change the way his entire family are just to fit what you expect. However, I do believe that you should expect some support from him, not for him to expect you to bow to his family's wishes all the time either!

Good luck with it.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 15-Aug-14 05:44:45

The grape thing is just a parenting difference
No it isnt. It is literally a matter of life and death. I regularly have this out with family and friends who think its is ok to hand my dcs a punet of grapes. Ffs!
Thankfully my dh is both very loyal (better than me really in this regard)
And he has looked into the risks himself so always backs me up.
Never give a child grapes that are left whole.
The man who is in charge of our life support training says he still wont give them to his 8yo based on his knowledge and experience of resulting deaths from choking.

Reading between the lines i would say they sound controlling. And that would piss me off too.
You might be a little tiny bit over reactionary about some things. But when ppl are trying to exert control over you and push you into accepting choices for your children that you are not happy with then anxiety is very likely. No?
Counselling might help you work together but you're not going to get the backing up from the counsellor that you seem to be looking for.

JenniferJo Fri 15-Aug-14 05:47:13

I think you are BU to expect your DH to be on your side if he thinks you are in the wrong.

You have said you disliked them from the start which seems very unreasonable.

You are not BU about the holiday, though, but you seem to object to so many things that he feels torn.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 15-Aug-14 05:47:18

I think its important to have each other's back.
But I struggle with backing my dh up over "absolutely everything" i think he believes i am disloyal in this respect. But i cant help it. I have to say it as i see it. The subject rather than the person.
So, middle ground might be a good plan.

MinesAPintOfTea Fri 15-Aug-14 06:10:06

I think that if you are going into the counselling determined that dh will come around to your way of thinking entirely then you're setting it up to fail.

Maybe you could negotiate having less to do with them in the future, but that would probably mean them seeing dd alone (as would divorce) so think about what you really want.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 09:19:40

I've decided to stay away for these over night visits in future. I understand if Dh doesn't see something as an issue he doesn't have to take sides. I do think they're controlling, they cant handle any kind of confrontation so this needs work.i need my parenting to be respected instead of challenged - it's their whole 'we know best' way of thinking that drives me mad.

softlysoftly Fri 15-Aug-14 10:10:39

But you have a "we know best" attitude too about your way/family. And by being so inflexible and spitting your dummy out staying away for overnights which is very rude you are being controlling too!

"Do things my way or I'll never see your parents and make life as difficult as possible".

The infarctions you mention are minor and your response is extreme. You even expect the councillor to "pull him up" on things. Please try to consider it might actually be you.

Legionofboom Fri 15-Aug-14 10:25:47

I've always just foud his family so close and authoritative I took a dislike to them all straight away

I think this is at the heart of the problem. You decided you didn't like them immediately and everything they have done since is interpreted by you in such a way as to reinforce the belief that you were right.

You actually sound far more controlling than them with your demands for certain bedrooms and food to not be left out. I have no idea what could be so awful about a top floor apartment either.

I don't think they are challenging your parenting as much as just not pandering to your every demand.

My family are laid back
This is also surprising to me because you certainly don't sound laid back.

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 10:52:16

I picked up what Legionofbloom picked up on. You say that your family is laid back but sound very uptight and inflexible.

Re the grapes, I am with you on that but just say something? When I went to my mums and in laws at Christmas the house wasn't toddler proof and I just inwardly sighed a bit, asked for a fire guard, discreetly moved a bowl of sweets to a higher shelf and got in with it.

Can you try to put on a cheery face when dealing with things? It will help. Re the holiday a cheery call about how you won't be able to attend all the holiday as the date clashed would have been a good start? Followed by a cheerful enquiry about if there was a brochure or more info about the apartment?

I feel a bit sorry for your DH tbh,when dealing with his family can you consider how you would deal with your own family and try to build across the chasm?

Refusing to stay over as you want a specific room does make you come across as a diva, is the bathroom on the same floor as the other bedrooms?

dancestomyowntune Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:29

i've been there grin

when dd1 was concieved and ILs were told they told dp (now dh) not to assume it was his!!! when i saw SIL in town she blanked me sad then when dd1 was born she wanted to be godmother and to have the baby all the time sad i relented and made he godmother, but a HUGE row erupted when dd1 was ten months old and i said sil couldnt have her for the day. bil and his gf interfered and my now husband was told to make me do what they wanted. i refused to back doen and poor dh was in the middle for a good eighteen months. now, 11 years on, we are nc with bil and his wife, but have a reasonable relationship with sil. dh learnt to stand up to his family and support me and the majority of the family learnt that i would not be bullied when it came to the dcs.

notagainffffffffs Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:43

Agree with just movibg things yourself. I do this at mils house. Jusy pivk up a bowl of sweets or whatever and say 'im just popping this here, little obe is eating everything atm!' And smile.
You need to communicate with them yourself rather than getting into a state and going on at dh.
For example with the holiday it would have been so easy to just call them abd say 'thankyou so much for the wonderful surprise, im a little bit worried about being on the top floor, do you think the travel agent could arrange xyz or perhaps I should pack a stairgate?'
It stops it snowballing.

oldgrandmama Fri 15-Aug-14 11:11:04

Oh, I picked up on the grape thing too - young children, not just babies, have DIED through choking on grapes. Extremely dangerous. My youngest grandchild is nearly five but I still quarter grapes before I give them to her. Older GC loves olives, but I cut them up too. So I don't think OP was being at all unreasonable about the grape thing. As for the rest, I'm not sure what I think. OP does sound as though she decided from the start that she wouldn't like her ILs, but they in turn sound controlling ...

Thumbwitch Fri 15-Aug-14 11:22:13

No I'm sorry, I really don't accept that the SIL giving the baby a grape after being asked not to is a "minor infraction". It's not - it's bloody dangerous, and she shouldn't have done it, especially after being warned not to.

This reminds me somewhat of the time a 3yo with a serious nut allergy was given a walnut whip by the MIL/SIL because they didn't really believe that she was nut allergic - child ended up in hospital.

The OP is doing her best to keep her children safe; her ILs seem to be oblivious to some of the basic safety aspects of doing so and her DH is failing in his duty to his DC by not picking his family up on these things.

I'm not saying the OP is perfect, it doesn't sound as though she is (and really, who is?) but it's ridiculous to call her uptight because she'd rather her DC wasn't put in harm's way!

dancestomyowntune Fri 15-Aug-14 11:33:02

My Mil used to give my dd peanuts and tell her not to tsll me. i'm sure because she thought i was being ridiculous with my "no nuts before 5" rule. it used to make me so angry.

jellybelly701 Fri 15-Aug-14 11:46:39

I agree with softlysoftly and legionofboom

If I had to walk on egg shells around my DIL for fear of causing a panic attack or a serious argument with my son, then I have to say, I wouldn't be very confrontational either. I wouldn't want to make things worse.

I agree with you about the grapes. But I think you are being really quite unreasonable about the rest.

His family is different to yours, so what? Its no reason to take an instant dislike to them. Which they WILL have picked up on by the way.

Out of curiosity, what did you overhear MIL saying that ended with DH walking out?

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 13:00:16

I am cheerful and I did move the things out of the way only for them to be put back again so it's just that they'll do what they want despite what I say. Dh has been there when I've been undermined this way and he's too scared to say anything. With the holiday, I couldn't just phone her as she'd already shouted at Dh for asking questions. I was told asking questions would appear ungrateful but I was just trying to be organised.
I don't know if the problem should be his family or the way Dh handles his family. I agree I should speak up more when problems arise but they're so domineering I don't feel I can or all hell will break loose again.
Jellybelly, I overheard mil discussing with Dh some issues they have about ds and I heard my name mentioned. I asked if we could all talk together about it but Dh saw red and defending mil while she got all upset.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 13:04:12

According to Dh, mil has asked whether she should reign in her spending on us as I might be seeing it as her wanting a maternal power over us. Dh has brought up the fact they spend money on us as a reason I shouldn't be finding faults with them..
I dont ask for their money and I don't expect it so having that thrown back at me is a bit off isn't it?

BackforGood Fri 15-Aug-14 13:28:18

I have to say, the more you post, the more I am reading that it's neither dh nor his family, but you.
Even though you will (as we all would) be posting this from your perspective, so you'd think the things you post ought to make you sound the reasonable one and his family 'awkward', you seem to be making yourself sound less reasonable as the thread goes on.

BookABooSue Fri 15-Aug-14 13:32:17

Yes it is a bit off but you're still falling into the temptation to keep some kind of score sheet about who is being UR, and who is right. You need to try to move away from that type of thinking.

I don't think it was unreasonable to ask to be included in a conversation about you and your DS. I do think their responses (crying and walking out) were disproportionate. They seem to have you on the back foot all the time so you don't know what will cause an argument, a crying fit or a temper tantrum. You're starting to fall into the same dynamic by having everything escalate into a crisis. Or you are used to a similar dynamic in your family. Either way, you really don't need to play those games - detach from all the extreme emotions.

For the next counselling session, maybe write down some ideas or questions before you go. I'd think along the lines of 'how can you raise any valid concerns you have with your ILs' behaviour?'

Some of your concerns do seem extreme but your ILs seem to treat all your concerns as extreme which is undermining any valid points you have, and I think it's leaving you unsure what's important and what isn't.

JenniferJo Fri 15-Aug-14 13:35:32

I've come to the conclusion that you are probably even more controlling than his mother. Poor DH.

jellybelly701 Fri 15-Aug-14 14:09:22

Surely there is more to it than that op? That's a very extreme reaction to what you describe as a simple question.

For the record, I don't think that your DHs family putting bowls of snacks back onto their table after you have moved them is undermining you. If people were eating them then they need to be easily accessible. If that means that your dc might be able to reach them then you should keep a close eye on her. You said DH was too scared to say anything about his mother undermining you in this way. He didn't say anything not because he was scared but because it was a total non issue. It isn't undermining you, or controlling or even rude so there is no need to go all confrontational. You was a guest in their house, you do not get to dictate what food is served and where it is kept.

Based from what you have written here and in the nicest way possible I would have to agree with your husband, you do seem a bit over sensitive.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 15-Aug-14 14:12:41

They say men often marry women who are like their mothers. OP, you certainly sound every bit as uptight and controlling as your MIL so I'm afraid I don't think it's your DH's automatic duty to take your side, sorry.

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 14:19:07

Re the money situation I imagine that your Mil is desperately trying to think of ways that she has upset you and is clutching at straws to try to prevent it in future.

Re the counselling session I also suggest that you ask for suggestions in how to tackle minor issues, maybe mention anxiety? This thread is from your perspective, what does your best friend say on the subject?

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 14:28:35

Well the only other person who knows about the situation (apart from the whole internet now!) is my father who I have now realised IS very controlling. He's been encouraging a separation and has said all along Dh and his family are in the wrong and he believes they're all emotionally abusive, manipulative etc. I've had this drummed in to me for so long I want to accept I'm BU but feel like that would be becoming a walk over and I'm giving in. It's a horrible realisation but I told Dh I'm prepared to see things from his POV now. You've all helped me so much here, more than the counselling has so far!

DaisyFlowerChain Fri 15-Aug-14 14:38:25

I feel for your DH, bar the grape thing you sound high maintainable and very me me me.

Your DH is an adult, perfectly able to have a mind of his own. His family will always be that, partners not always so.

If you are willing to leave just because you don't like his family, then why on earth did you marry him in the first place?

BackforGood Fri 15-Aug-14 15:30:27

How lovely to have someone on MN pose a question, and then actually take on board what people are saying smile
Makes such a lovely change.
Often I read a thread, people post what seems sensible, then the OP gets all angry that everyone isn't agreeing with her.

I genuinely hope we've been of some help, and hope you can move forward a bit with fresh eyes smile

If your DF is controlling it is in his vested interests to split you up so he gest his way all the time. It sounds like you and your DH both have lots of baggage and separate as well as joint counselling is in order.

All right-fighting gets you is being right. Alone, miserable, bitter but right. Everyone seems to be right-fighting. Ask yourself every time, "is this the hill I want to die on?" The grape thing might be (I'd have done postal), everything else wouldn't be, for me.

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 15:39:52

How about also finding a friend to talk to? Try to not take on board your Fathers behaviour, you can choose your own opinion and behaviour.

Good luck OP

WorraLiberty Fri 15-Aug-14 15:45:46

I agree with everything BackforGood has said here.

Also, I think you are relying far too much on your DH to do your speaking for you.

You aren't happy that he won't speak for you and yet you won't speak for yourself either.

The grape thing was out of order but again, you could have been firm with your SIL over it.

It's not easy learning to speak up for yourself, but ultimately it's better than letting things fester and turn into panic attacks etc.

softlysoftly Fri 15-Aug-14 15:52:02

Oh good for you OP, it does sound like your DF has been stirring!

The thing is In Laws (and others tbh) can be irritating, the relationship can be difficult but its your own emotional response to that which dictates how things are going to be.

For example my MIL is a HUGE help to me, I love her to itty bits but my good god can some things wind me up. I have to just decide what is and isn't important. So shoving the DCS mouths full of chocolate the second they cry I hate but let go because I figure its not harmful if they don't get the same message / overfeeding from me the majority of the time.

However the constantly running kettle and rice cooker was on a toddler head height table and my foot came firmly down and I very sweetly said it may be me being fussy but I heard of "x" child who had been burned this way and the DCs just couldn't come over if the kitchen weren't rearranged with heated items on a higher shelf. I had the conversation with MIL, SIL and DH and the kettle and rice cooker were relocated. Problem solved.

However other SIL (BILs wife) took little issues and reacted to the nth degree, never said anything directly, always via BIL, always saw things as a battle to win / a way of offending her and the whole thing snowballed until everything was a drama, PIL started acting the same way and they are barely in contact. I see how torn BIL is between wife and family and how worried MIL is about never seeing his DCs and it was all so avoidable with better communication.

Aim for the happy middle ground most of us inhabit, you may not be best buddies and agree on everything but as with all relationships you forge a way forward that satisfies all parties on the whole with lines in the sand when things are dangerous (eg grapes) Vs irritating e.g snacks / apartment location.

hamptoncourt Fri 15-Aug-14 16:24:57


I would not stay married to a man who wanted me to play second fiddle to his mummy.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 18:07:29

BackforGood its true, I've seen it many times on here too! I've found this all a huge help for me. I was hoping I was BU and I think I generally am! I love mumsnet for this completely unbiased, 'tell it how it is' advice.
HamptonCourt that's put a spanner in the works! haha!
I've told my DF to back off. I'm willing to stop being so sensitive towards the IL's and have to realise they're different to me but then, everyone's different.
I'm going to stay there less just because I would find it easier if there was a bit of distance and I need a break now and then.
If something's done or said (for example SIL telling of my DS without talking to me or dh first or the dreaded grape episode) I am going to have to speak up. I mustn't just react over everything though otherwise I'll still be seen as a PITA.
I still feel DH should speak up on certain things as I have to know he's on my side. He IS terrified of standing up to his sister. I think she's the only one who I'm worried about causing trouble in the future. MIL isnt so bad.
SIL is very authoritative, I think this is mainly because of her job and the fact she has no children and has been divorced. She is this way with her DM and other family aswell though. No one questions it. It's very hurtful when she undermines me. At least we've pinpointed what the problems are!

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