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Should I contact mil? Confused

(60 Posts)
Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:12:50

Hello. I have name changed for this because if I was outed It would cause even more conflict.

I have three daughters aged 2, 4 and 7. Since the birth of my eldest, my pil have shown very little interest in the everyday 'bog standard' details, events of my family, choosing to spend all their time on my brother in laws sons instead. It is very hard for me to explain it all on here but their behaviour has been very hurtful and upsetting. We spent years trying to involve them in our children's lives and found it more and more hurtful as time went on. We tried to discuss this with them and they would become very defensive and say we were over reacting.

My middle daughter was very ill a few years ago. At one point she was so ill she was hospitalised and we thought she had a life threatening illness. Even then, our pil took over a day to enquire whether she was ok and since then have never asked how she is or shown any interest, despite me originally trying to keep them informed.

Anyway, a few years ago we had enough of thus treatment and told them exactly how we felt. This resulted in a tirade of abuse from them via text message, email and phone calls where we were called every name under then sun and told that they did not want to hear from us until we apologised for our behaviour (?!).

Since then, my husband has taken our daughters to see them on very rare occasions To avoid a possible threat of court action from them or further abuse (I am worried about them turning up on doorstep or even at our daughters school). Despite not really wanting anything to do with their grandchildren originally, as soon as we stopped making the effort, they have acted as though they are the worlds most devoted grandparents (still no interest in day to day life etc but spending large amounts at Christmas for example). We go months without hearing from them until a birthday approached and then they get in touch.

Anyway, to cut. Long story short, I no longer have anything to do with them (I have struggled for years with the upset of it all) but to keep the peace the rest of my family have met up a few times a year. I feel I need to explain to my mil how I feel and how their behaviour has affected my family to such a large extent over the years. I don't want a row, I don't want them to now have a sudden change of heart and start taking an interest, I just feel for me to be able to move on and not be so hurt by it all, I need to tell her how I feel. There is a reason it would be to her not to my fil but I am unable to write this down.

What would you do? Sorry for the long message, I am shaking writing this as it still upsets me so much. Other family members only know my pil side and have chosen to listen to them rather than even find out from us what happened. My husband is 100% on the same wave length as me but has managed to detach himself from the emotional side of it and just get the rare meetings with them over and done with and move on.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you

whattoWHO Sun 01-Dec-13 09:17:45

Hmm. Difficult one. If you call or write to her, the only effect would be more drama, which your children might become aware of.

Frustratingly, I'd suggest writing a letter, get your feelings out, but DON'T POST. It might help you a little.

Sorry, they sound horrid.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 09:18:43

So you were upset because they didn't want to be so involved in your life and now you're upset because the do want to be involved? Have you ever tried just taking these people on face value rather than expecting them to morph into some kind of perfect grandparent model that probably doesn't exist?

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:24:18

It's tricky as I can't write all the details down. Whenever I have tried to get them involved in the past, they've refused. It's only once I stopped they started buying expensive gifts. As soon as I try again, they don't want to know. It's like they think by remembering christmas they have done nothing Wong.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 09:25:21

Why do you want them involved?

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:26:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:27:49

I don't want them involved. If is was up to me I would never have any contact again. But on advice from my parents, I feel that I would be being unfair to refuse them access to my children.

Ragwort Sun 01-Dec-13 09:34:27

I don't think it would be useful to talk to your ILs or even write them a letter at all - they will only see things their own way and it might even backfire, ie: saying that you are over sensitive/over emotional blah blah blah.

The best advice (and I know this is far, far easier to say than actually do smile) is to just detach emotionally. Would it help to talk to an independent counsellor or good friend?

However hard you try, you can never, ever get anyone to see things the same way as you do and in the end it is surely better to retain your dignity - they clearly think they have done nothing wrong, they give your children generous gifts, perhaps that is what is important to them?

Sometimes in life we just have to accept that not everybody likes us or is prepared to put the same effort into relationships as we do. Yes, it is hard, but endlessly worrying about it won't get you anywhere.

JeanSeberg Sun 01-Dec-13 09:35:25

But you're not refusing them access. Your husband still takes them to see them doesn't he?

Why do you refer to a possible threat of court action?

AuditAngel Sun 01-Dec-13 09:41:32

If any of the other family wanted to hear your side of the story, they would have asked by now.

I would take a deep breath, then the moral high ground.

Enjoy your family in a way that the in laws will ever be able to.

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:42:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pimpf Sun 01-Dec-13 09:47:53

You will never change, you need to stop trying to. Carry on ignoring them, if they want to send presents, let them.

I'm confused by your parents though, you're not refusing them access, they're just not that interested, remember, they're the ones missing out, not your children.

My natural dad hasn't seen my children for years, yes, incredibly hurtful yo me, they couldn't care less, they don't know him. Why on earth would I inflict his indifference on them? They see dh's parents and my parents as often as possible and know that they are very loved, why try and have a forced relationship with someone just because they're related.

It's often said on mn and its so true, you can't change the person, only how you react to them. And repeat!

temporarilyjerry Sun 01-Dec-13 09:50:34

How could they take court action against you? They have no legal rights. If they turn up at school, what could they do? Your DC would not be handed over to them without your permission.
I do not agree that it would be unfair to refuse them access to your DC. Unfair on whom? Not on your DC.

Pimpf Sun 01-Dec-13 09:51:05

What on earth do you think the courts are going o do? You have a set of grandparents who have never shown any interest, a set of parents who have tried to keep a relationship going.

You don't need to do a big dramatic we're never going to see you again kind of showdown, just stop going to these events if you don't want to go and stop making plans.

temporarilyjerry Sun 01-Dec-13 09:52:22

I do sympathise. I am in a similar position with my own DM. When I tried to raise the issue with her, I was told not to be so silly. I've learned to expect nothing from her. That way, I am not disappointed.

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:54:27

Pimf can I ask you some advice? I hope you don't mind. One of the reasons I try to keep some contact is I worry about what would happen why one of my pil dies. I know this sounds dramatic. I would feel like we had to all go to the funeral although it would be incredibly two faced of us to go and why would we go to a funeral if we didn't even see them when they were alive? I do struggle with guilt a lot and can quite see if this happened months of anguish and guilt. Are you ever planning on seeing your natural father again?

Conduseddil Sun 01-Dec-13 09:56:51

I know my fil wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court, or at school etc. I just don't want it to even get to that point which is why the children see them

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 10:00:30

I had two grandmothers. One was fully involved in my life and I miss her every day. The other was a terrible woman (violent etc) who my DM sensibly kept us well away from. I met her I think twice in my life, never had a birthday card etc. regarded her as a curiosity, no more. I didn't invite her to my wedding and when she died ten years ago I didn't feel the need to attend her funeral. She wasn't anyone to me. My DM any my DB went along as representatives but what you never had, you'll never miss.

I still think you should take these people on face value rather than - as you have done - put them either on or off a pedestal.

"I don't want them involved. If is was up to me I would never have any contact again. But on advice from my parents, I feel that I would be being unfair to refuse them access to my children".

I would actually stick to this and disregard your parents advice on this occasion. Why would it be unfair to deny them access to such frankly awful people. Your parents here are being far too reasonable because not all grandparents are kind and loving by any means. You have been also too reasonable and have worried unnecessarily about possible court action. Your FIL would never bring court action anyway (he would be thrown out of court) and uses that as a stick to bully you with. Grandparents as well have no automatic rights to see their grandchildren.

You likely come from a family as well where this type of familial dysfunction is fortunately unknown. Any attempts to be at all reasonable with such people is thrown back at you twice over, the rule book on familial relations is thrown out when you are dealing with dysfunctional parents like your Hs.

Your ILs, particularly FIL (he may also have some form of personality disorder as well because generally speaking emotionally healthy people do not go through life constantly falling out with others) are both bullying and have never shown any real interest in any of you to date. The mistake commonly made here is to continue the relationship at all because such people will not change.

If they are too toxic/difficult for you to deal with then they are certainly too toxic and difficult for your both vulnerable and defenceless children.
Your children likely get nothing at all positive from meeting such people anyway; you need and have to protect them from such malign influences.

I would suggest you also read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as a starting point.

I would not contact your MIL either to try and put your point across because doing so however reasonably, will just set you up to receive more abuse and pain. Another mistake commonly made here is to keep going back in the hopes that this time, things will be different She after all is also playing a role here in this overall dysfunction. She will always back her own awful H.

Walkacrossthesand Sun 01-Dec-13 10:42:33

The core question in your OP was around a need to 'tell your MIL how you feel' - presumably in the belief that she would accept it, validate it and things would somehow be better. However, you have never seen any evidence that she/they have the capacity to listen in this way and react in any way except with hostility, so I hope the response on this thread is helping you to see that there is Absolutely.No.Point in trying to have this conversation with her, it simply won't pan out the way you hope, and will only end up with you even more hurt. In fact, I join with PPs - why are you persisting in 'taking DCs to see them'? You have no legal or moral responsibility to do this - they are your DCs, and you don't want to expose them to people who treat your family badly (and even refuse to acknowledge one of them exists , FGS!). End of.

CailinDana Sun 01-Dec-13 10:48:23

So you've chosen not to be around them but your children don't get that choice? They have to see two horrible people in order to protect you from the court action they imagine you might take. Does that seem sensible or fair to you?

CailinDana Sun 01-Dec-13 10:50:13

Sorry that should be "court action you imagine they might take."

bragmatic Sun 01-Dec-13 11:04:04

* I worry about what would happen why one of my pil dies. I know this sounds dramatic. I would feel like we had to all go to the funeral although it would be incredibly two faced of us to go and why would we go to a funeral if we didn't even see them when they were alive? *

^^That makes me think that perhaps you over think things,generally. You don't particularly like them, you don't have to see them. Your children see them rarely and eventually they'll be at an age where they can make their own decisions. Your husband is supportive of you. No one can accuse you of isolating them from their grandchildren.

My advice would be to stop dwelling on things and live your life.

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