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PIL cause me real bad anxiety and I don't know why!

(33 Posts)
NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 09:23:26

My PIL make me feel so anxious and I dread their visits which now are more frequent as I have a new baby (14 weeks).
They both have some sort of anxiety problems themselves it seems as they constantly ask is this ok, is that ok and they seem really highly strung, like their vibe is on high alert all the time and this makes me feel uneasy and always has but now I have daughter it's worse, as of course they faff over her and get super excitable when they come. My DP has suffered with depression and anxiety most of his life and this is down to his childhood and upbringing.
I'm not an anxious person at all but they make me feel so anxious and when I know they coming to visit ( once a month lets say) I feel like crying sometimes!! What is going on? I can't tell DP as I tried before but it's his family
So he defends and thinks I hate them, I don't as they are generally nice and very generous. I just can't handle them. It doesn't help that I feel super protective of my daughter too that I don't want her to pick up on any anxieties etc as my DP now has as an adult. I know it's crazy but it's how I feel and I don't know what to do

JeanSeberg Sun 09-Mar-14 09:31:13

Could you try a different strategy and just detach a little during their visits? Agree with everything they say or give a non-committal response?

Would it be easier to visit them on their own home so you can control when you arrive and leave?

thanks for you as it does sound draining!

If your DP cannot and will not act then it is down to you to raise your own boundaries here with regards to his parents. They are set far too low currently. How often do they visit and on what basis; are they invited by him or you both or do they show up without prior invite?.

You can and should show your DD a different path here. Their own issues affected and continue to affect your now partner markedly and he is likely to have been left with a combination of fear, obligation and guilt regarding his parents as well. What is his response when you say that no you do not hate them.

It is NOT your fault his parents are like this. Your DP needs to realise that you and his child come first, not they now.

Millyblods Sun 09-Mar-14 09:35:32

What Jean said sounds a good idea. If you visit them or even meet on neutral ground then they are not coming into your space and its easier to detach.

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 09:44:59

They not bad people and they do adore my DD but I don't think any of them realise that how they are is not normal IMO. They usually ask to come and give a week or so notice which maybe is worse as then I stress over it but it's hard as I can't talk to anyone about it, it seems ridiculous I think. My DP acts very strange around them, almost childlike really. I can never tell him this as it would cause problems for us. I do detach usually at visits but now I have DD it's hard as I don't want to leave her with them, I feel like I have to sit with her while they all up in her face etc.
My family are polar opposite and are so laid back (sometimes too laid back but that's another thread smile)

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 09:48:04

The Reason for thread is that they called today 5 times we has missed calls too! To let us know they want to come next weekend. I feel really off now, I don't know if I'm being unreasonable or if anyone would feel this way in this instance.

Your DP acting almost childlike around them is not that unusual; this is also the legacy such damaged people themselves leave their now adult offspring. Such anxious and inflexible parents leave their own scars. He is still actively seeking their approval; approval that they will likely never give him.

I would read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the complex dynamics going on here.

You should be able to tell him, not being able to do so is already problematic for your relationship.

You do not have to leave your DD with these people if you do not want to. This child also needs positive and life affirming role models.

They've already called more than 5 times?. This amount of contact could well be construed as harassment. What has your man said about all these calls from his parents?.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 09:56:04

They're Worrywarts!!! The way to deal with people like this is not to become one yourself and scuttle off to corners but to counteract with some superhuman cheer and breeziness. Big smiles, effusive gestures, lots of confidence, ignore their furrowed little worried brows..... I'd nickname them 'The Glums' and take the piss quite honestly. hmm

If your man wants to maintain relations with his parents that is up to him but it does not follow that you have to tag along with your child in tow.

The Glums is truly a good name for them but you do not have to be caught up in their dysfunctional dynamics. You can and must detach from these people, you are not bound to have a relationship with his parents at all.

Martorana Sun 09-Mar-14 10:01:15

"They've already called more than 5 times?. This amount of contact could well be construed as harassment."

Oh, ffs!!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 10:13:56

She doesn't have to detach. We're adults. We meet difficult people all the time in the course of a normal life. Acquaintances, family, workmates.... Detach from anyone that is a bit difficult and you might as well hive yourself off to a cave and embrace hermitage 100%. Dealing with them properly is far more constructive. So this particular lot are glum and anxious.... they're not going on a polar expedition closeted together for months on end, just an afternoon, a bit of a chat and a few cups of tea. They want to see the OP's lovely baby and that can be managed perfectly well with a bit of wit, wisdom & ebullience.

That is all very well but these people are also making the OP feel more anxious herself. Glum and anxious people are not particularly easy at all to deal with; this is why I also suggested setting her own boundaries re them.

And calling OPs house more than five times in one day and with missed calls to me anyway suggests harassment and indicative of his parents own anxiety issues.

Millyblods Sun 09-Mar-14 10:27:55

I would agree with Cogitos advice on being super positive around them and countering any negativity with positivity. Your DH is stuck in his role as the child. He sounds like he needs help too. The arrival of your first child does tend to bring to light all the issues in family dynamics and it needs sorting now before it leads to falling out later.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 10:30:08

Calling five times is OTT, of course it is, but it's not harassment and besides that's what answerphones are for. They may be anxious and a PITA but people like that can be managed.

WaitingForMe Sun 09-Mar-14 10:32:06

My MIL is very passive aggressive in her worrying and I've found being almost aggressively positive and lighthearted has helped.

With regards to her fears that we are about to lose the house (we aren't - she just doesn't believe being self-employed is a viable career path) I literally laugh in her face saying "I really don't know what you mean, we got two new clients last week and they're really interesting projects."

With DS (she calls stuff off the floor "dirty," I call it "floor treasure"), I smile and say he's 50% hardy northern stock. If she says "but I worry" I say "we appreciate that, thank you. I'm glad you care" but ignore her actual fears.

It is massively exhausting but it was worse when I tried to reassure or empathise with her.

rainbowsmiles Sun 09-Mar-14 10:38:26

Absolutely with cogito on this one. A good tip. Imagine how you would like the day to go. See what happens in your head, simple things like a smile after you say something funny. Seeing them a little more relaxed. Then picture them leaving and think about how you feel, imagine the day has gone well and you feel really good about it. Think and feel it all first and imagine how the "best you" could enjoy the day. Imagine it all. Feel it. The idea is that if you focus on all of the positive your mind will try and work it out that way. Whenever I do this it always turns out well.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 10:40:32

My DM is a worrywart. I'm having some work done at home at the moment and there's a bit of a hitch with the council building inspector. My take on it... ' minor hiccup & that's why I'm employing an architect to deal with the niggles'. Her take on it... 'you poor thing, it's a disaster & it's ruining the whole project for you!'

Some people are just pessimists.

Calling five times on one day and with missed calls on top of those is a serious issue. Its not just OTT, why should OP have to be called so often?.

Dealing with such people is indeed exhausting; it is very hard to be overtly cheerful and positive particularly when OP is surrounded by her man and his parents, all of whom are miserable. They are also making the OP more anxious herself. Perhaps a way forward for OP is somewhere in between the two approaches of being overtly cheerful and detaching herself from their dynamics and not allowing herself to be sucked in.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 09-Mar-14 10:46:57

Absolutely you don't get sucked in. They're obviously the type that, when you greet them at the front door and take their coats, you start the conversation by mentioning what time they'll be leaving! smile Yes, it's exhausting dealing with negative worrywarts. But 'detaching' is rather too passive for me.

'Is this OK?'
'Of course!'
'Is that OK?'
'Naturally! It's always OK'
'Is this OK?'
'Goodness me mother-in-law, what a silly little worrywart you are. Let's put the kettle on'

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 11:42:45

Thanks everyone for advice and tips, I usually do just try my best to relax (which has been hard with new baby) and get through it. They are not the usual kind of people and I've never met anyone like them. They don't have a laugh or anything. What makes me particularly anxious is my DD, when they hear her cry they say.... Why is she crying!? Mil constantly says is she cold as I refuse to dress her in cardys and blankets at home, they worry over her and it makes me feel uneasy.
I just want to it feel anxious and tearful about impending visit

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 12:00:22

Also since having DD my DP has become more anxious which I understand but it's hard work as I'm laid back. He tells me things a million times like be careful with this and that, don't put baby on edge of bed, clean the kitchen work top before making bottle, he sees it as reasonable to say it over and over and when I get pissed off he says, I'm allowed to care about my daughter you know. That really winds me up as it makes me feel like he is saying that I don't care! Having a DD has definately had an effect on us all but I tend to just follow guidelines and allow flexibility on some things but DP and his family are rigid.
Another thing is they all talk over each other and if a foot is anywhere near DD they are like "ooh be careful, be careful"

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 12:00:56

Sorry for going on, I just have no one to talk to about this at all

NewMummee Sun 09-Mar-14 12:02:28

Re read post above, I meant I just don't want to feel a
anxious and tearful ....

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