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Update on my stingy MIL post if anyone remembers

(270 Posts)
tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:03:12

I might be repeating some things in this msg but my previous post is a long thread.

Well we broached the subject but were told that they hadn't factored in paying us anything & made it such a big deal that it costs so much for them to come & see us that they can't afford to give us anything. They are coming business class & they are not that hard up for money. They said that they had to have their roof fixed & BIL is living there rent free/unemployed & what with his baby coming along they have to buy things for him.

We have worked out that we will be about $1000 out of pocket when they stay. The fleeced us with rent, never helped us out when we had no money & had to buy food/nappies on our credit card. They never bought DS anything like a cot or pram when he was born.

When we lived there she wouldn't let us do our washing in her machine even though we bought it. She said I don't think my machine will cope with all your washing so we had to take it to the launderette. This was 21 years ago & we were charged 170 pounds each rent for staying there.

I am so angry that I have the inlaws from hell. I've only ever been nice to them. Mil never helped out with DS or helped me at home. I was really ill with PND & have no parents. They lived 5 mins away but just didn't want to know. They only ever had DS twice when he was sick & couldn't go to the childminder. I had to pay the childminder & MIL charged me by the hour as well to have him for a few hours. I had to go into work as I had no other choice.

The only time MIL ever rang was when she wanted her beauty treatment done for free. When ever they came to our house we would be in waiting for them. They never rang the door bell, just walked straight in with our key. We had a key for their house but always rang the bell as wouldn't have just walked in.

If we went up for dinner I was told what I had to provide. I usually had to cook the dinner & bring it up with me. I can understand bringing so wine or something but not the main course. Xmas we had to buy everything except the turkey & take it up with us. She would make a point of telling us how big the turkey was & how much it costs.
She wouldn't feed DS at all when he was there. We had to bring all his food & drink with us.

I really have the stingist inlaws. I'm glad we are in Australia now as now I realise how bad they treated us.

I hope you're telling them not to bother coming to see you. Tight bastards.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:12:06

Also I forgot to say we ate the last bit of our wedding cake. She got really mad with us for eating it saying she was saving it for Xmas instead of making a Xmas cake. The cake was the only decent thing we had from our wedding as I had no dress, honeymoon, reception or photos. We basically went to the registry office, got married & came home. We had no money for a wedding & they gave us nothing. I can't believe she begrudged us eating our own wedding cake.

I still can't believe when I told her I was pregnant that she said, well there's always the possibility that I could lose it. When we told her I was pregnant when we emigrated she said, well I wont have anything to do with it, not congratulations or anything. They made out to other people that it was such a big deal that we had taken away their grandchildren but when we lived there they never wanted anything to do with us.

Mixxy Fri 16-Aug-13 04:12:48

I remember your thread tabby. God she really is the living end. I'm glad you guys had the courage to at least raise the issue with her. So she stone walled you.

Don't go out of your way for them when they are over. Don't do her beauty treatments for her. Just be polite and accept the visit. It will be over soon.

Then you never, ever have to endure that woman again.

You poor thing, tabby. She is so mean to you and not just financially. What a git she is.

giantpenguinmonster Fri 16-Aug-13 04:14:04

I don't think your IL's are stingy. I think they are victimising you and are just nasty people. You deserve better.

Do they add to your happiness in anyway? Personally I would just cut them off. Don't have them to stay.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:25:01

It's too late, they've already booked their tickets. They keep on saying how they've had such a bad year. FIL had melonoma & BIL lost his job & got this random girl pregnant. They keep saying the only thing keeping them going is coming out for a wonderful holiday. MIl wont cook as she doesn't like cooking on a gas hob. She wont iron as doesn't like my steam iron & is scared of it. They basically expect me to wait on them hand & foot. I change all the beds & do the house work when they are here. They just like sitting outside & having everything done for them.

When we were there I had to do all the housework & cooking, they never offer to do anything when they are here.

One Xmas I was so sick with flu that I stayed at home on my own & didn't go up there. I was self employed & lost so much money. We couldn't afford to buy them xmas presents so they didn't buy us anything. I had never been so ill in all my life. I was sick for 3 weeks. I cried on xmas day as I felt so poorly, inlaws never rang to see how I was or if I needed any help. I was so sick I just wanted my own bed. I just didn't have the strength to get up. MIl would have moaned the whole time as she suffers with her sinuses & would have kept on saying that she hoped she didn't catch. I was made to feel that I had spoilt Xmas.

janji Fri 16-Aug-13 04:31:22

Provide them with the basics and nothing else. Explain that you simply do not have the funds to support an additional 2 adults ( I'd then be tempted to add how they must know how hard it can be as they insisted on asking you and your dh for money at the time you stayed with them)!

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:32:28

I just put up with their ways as that's the way they've always been & I can't change them. They are very old school & like routine.
They just have this way of making us feel awkward & even if we do stand up to them it makes no difference.

I'll still be billed for the few things I've asked her to bring over.
As I don't have any parents they are the only grandparents my kids have.
I suppose it's easier to bear them now as we only see them every 2 years for 6 weeks. After this time I think they will only come out once more. FIL will be 78 the next time they come & I don't think they will come after that. We certainly can't afford to go there & would have no where to stay.

conantg Fri 16-Aug-13 04:32:48

Don't wait on them hand and foot this time. They can change their own bed linen. She can iron her own sheets. If she doesn't like your iron she can sleep in wrinkled sheets. Try to be less obliging. It will be hard, but you have the right to set the rules in your own home.

gamerchick Fri 16-Aug-13 04:35:34

It's tempting just to tell them not to come but in reality it's not that simple I know.

Don't go out of your way for them though. Keep things as basic as possible...from toiletries to food. No fancy meals.

Can you make sure you're out of the house as much as possible? Or have friends come over often.

I wouldn't need bothered about appearing rude.. you don't want them to come back.

StupidFlanders Fri 16-Aug-13 04:43:39

Holy shit! I just read your old thread and your update.

She sounds like the most revolting person - like a character in a movie.

I wouldn't be able to stop myself from having an awkward conversation after she arrived. My theory is people like that survive on other people being too polite to call them on their behaviour.

Maybe around the table while the father is there too casually question why she has always behaved so socially aggressive towards you? Then list a few examples.

Or if she mentions again that she can't afford to pay you I'd say that you assumed by the fact that she had taken every opportunity in the past to fleece you she would have expected to pay for the stay.

You could even do it assume aggressively and ring the father and say that you hoped you hadn't upset dmil by mentioning money, again, you had just assumed by her charging you for every night you had ever stayed and every meal you'd ever eaten at theirs was the way she did things.

Does the fil even know?

Don't cut them out- just never see them and write regularly and send photos- for the first time in my life I'm hoping you inherit from them one day!

StupidFlanders Fri 16-Aug-13 04:44:49

That was passive aggressive not assume.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:49:18

It's hard though as where we live you have to be taken out in a car to go anywhere. They like to know each day where we are going/doing & hate it if we change it.

I'll be working some of the time but we only have one car so it limits what we can do with them.

FIL really annoys me. If the girls are making a noise when they are here he will tut if he's watching the news or something. It really irritates me.
When DS was born & cried FIL tutted so I spent hours just sitting up in our bedroom. I ended up making a rod for my own back as every time he cried I picked him up. He just cried all the time if I put him down.

When they came to the hospital to see DS they stayed for 5 mins & made me feel really awkward. They just looked at DS, never asked how I was & then just left. They never held him. The only thing I can think is that they think I ruined DH's career as he was just starting to join the police. We had planned our pregnancy but maybe they thought we were too young, we were 21 at the time & hadn't bought a house. I just don't really know why the seem to take advantage of me

From the moment DS was born I had PND & felt so bad. I wasn't diagnosed until DS was 17 mths as the Drs just did iron & thyroid tests & said there was nothing wrong with me. I really don't know how I coped on my own with a baby that cried all the time. I would have done anything for a few hours on my own to get some sleep.

I vow to make sure that I'm there for my kids no matter what.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Aug-13 04:50:53

Suggest they pay you in instalments then, starting from now, so they'll be paid up by the time they arrive.
Or you're sorry you can't afford to have them stay.

And no I would not be waiting on the hand and foot either. MIL doesn't coo on gas I presume Australia has takeaways and restaurants?

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Aug-13 04:56:59

And they can use taxis.

I'd buy kids a drum kit and put them in the living room whenever FIL wants to watch the news.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:57:44

Fil is just as bad but MIL wears the trousers when it comes to housekeeping money & controls it. They've always had separate accounts & I think she saw it as a way to make money from us. At the time our friends paid about $25-$50 a month for their keep. We paid $170 each & she couldn't even let us do our washing there.

When we lived there FIL didn't have a car. He used our car during the week when we were at work. We went to the shops at the weekend & when we got back a bit later than expected FIL tutted as he wanted to go out. He begrudged us using our own car & tutted & made us feel bad.
When we sold our car the 6 weeks before we emigrated FIL never offered us his car. We had to lug all our washing down the launderette & he wouldn't even give me a lift home late at night as I was staying at my brothers.

I just don't understand how they can treat people like they do.

gamerchick Fri 16-Aug-13 05:00:41

Because people let them.

Mixxy Fri 16-Aug-13 05:02:38

And if she tries to make plans for the next visit tell her to start saving now as your rates will have gone up by then.

All this harm to you and your DC. Frankly, fuck her and the horse she rode in on.

Practice your deep sighs for when they do anything that annoys you. I hope your DH has a nive treat\ evening out for you guus for when they leave.

Timpetill Fri 16-Aug-13 05:09:25

Tabbycat, there are hotels in Australia, and serviced apartments. Send them a link to wotif, and let them at it. And let them know that, unfortunately, it won't be possible to have them stay at yours on this occasion. Get your DH to do so, if you feel you can't. They are foul and are only getting away with this garbage because others allow it. So don't.

She acts this way because you let her. Remember what Mumsnet always says: no is a complete sentence. She is a cow of the highest order but she can't actually compel you to do anything unless you are complicit and children don't need just any old grandparents, they need good, kind, involved grandparents (and so do you) otherwise they're just a duty for your kids and not a blessing.
Get tough x

impatienttobemummy Fri 16-Aug-13 05:20:12

You have got to put your foot down as other posters suggest start getting money up front. I do not wash people's clothes and iron them when they go on holiday to my home!

I've visited family in Oz they wouldn't accept money so we took them out for either dinner or a lunch nearly every other day to try and make up for it! I washed my own clothes!!

Please try to change how you deal with them this time as you sound like although your complaining about them you are going to do it all again their way anyway as you can't fight it. Yes you can!! It's your home and your DCs home you make the rules!!!

giantpenguinmonster Fri 16-Aug-13 05:25:56

Sorry you can't get out of this visit OP. It's quite obvious that they can afford to help you out etc as business class flights are really expensive. They are using money to bully you and keep you in your place. You REALLY deserve so much better.

What does your DH say about it? I don't think it is good for your kids to see you treated this way.

cleopatrasasp Fri 16-Aug-13 06:09:23

Just say no to them. Tell them you don't give a flying fuck about their bad year since they've never cared about you when you've had problems. Tell them they can get on a plane all they like but once they get to Australia they can find their own accommodation.

Seriously, don't entertain these tightfisted, nasty pieces of work any more. You really don't have to and I actually think it's bad for your mental health and a bad example to set your children to do so.

You've had a shit time but you've built a happy life, don't let these arseholes steal even a little bit of it.o

Walkacrossthesand Fri 16-Aug-13 07:24:14

It sounds awful, but a theme that runs through is that you seethe, try to tackle them and cave. The bottom line is, you don't have to be nice to them, you don't have to please them, it doesn't matter if they think you're awful. So they've booked their tickets - so what. You don't believe for a arcing that they can't afford a hotel (business class to Australia?!) and they're letting BIL stay with them rent free while billing you for a few bits & pieces? You have simply got to say no, and mean it! A telephone call and/or email in which you say you've tried dropping hints, suggesting things, but they've chosen to ignore them so you have to be blunt and say - they can't come to stay. End of conversation. Incidentally, did they ask you before booking their tickets? If not, you do not need to feel a moment's angst. If get did, you agreed, and now regret it, the stance is that you didn't realise they'd be expecting hotel service for 6 weeks, you can't provide or afford this so they have to make other arrangements. But you have to shift your mindset to 'they are NOT staying with us, no how, no way', not wringing your hands saying how awful it will be.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 16-Aug-13 07:25:29

Excuse typos - you know where they are! grin

I really agree that as hard as it is for you, now is the time to stand up to them. If you really have to let them stay just don't go out of your way for them. Let them get a cab to the airport, cook only enough food for you DH and the children. Don't change their sheets, tell them they can use your washing machine if they stick a fiver in the money box.

They sound absolutely awful. If they were my inlaws I wouldn't have them in the house

Nooneelseisallowedafergus Fri 16-Aug-13 07:43:54

Yes. Clear a shelf in your fridge and a kitchen cupboard and tell them that is their storage space for their shopping. Cook for your family first each evening, and then inform them that 'kitchen's free' for their meal prep. They can arrange own transportation, own entertainment, and do their own laundry, if they stick a fiver in the box as akiss said.
Say, you really dislike treating guests like this but you know how uncomfortable they are with sharing food without paying for their portion and doing things which involve sharing costs, and you want them to feel at home on their visit!
Good luck!

Hissy Fri 16-Aug-13 07:50:22

Absolutely don't let them off this.

In fact, tell them that you've reconsidered and they'll have to find a hotel and a hire car.

Screw them!

I get the impression this is not a visit you feel you can get out of, however surely you can put strategies in place to limit their impact on you?

Some suggestions:

- Produce a 'helpful fact sheet' for while they are there. List local attractions, supermarkets, bus/train times, car rental companies, taxi firms etc to make it clear they need to organise themselves. Also put instructions for washing machine in there.

- if the steam iron is the problem then I'd be tempted to buy a cheap iron 'for their convenience'.

- Do not change sheets. Leave a spare set in their room at the start of the stay and say you'll leave it to them to change them so you're not 'invading their privacy'.

- could you also clear out a cupboard in your kitchen for 'their food' and either provide the absolute basics - cereal, bread, pasta - or nothing at all?

Good luck grin

Walkacrossthesand Fri 16-Aug-13 07:53:53

So you tell them what it will be like. You won't be able to afford to feed them, so they'll be doing their own cooking with food they've bought themselves - organise their own day trips with taxis and public transport. Hopefully that will make thdm change their monds sbout staying, before or after they arrive! You do not have to do One Single Thing you don't want to. Where's Attila the Meerkat - she has such a good description of the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) that it sounds you are in. You know they're being totally unreasonable, but seem powerless to take steps to protect yourselves and your interests. You can do it!

They've done a good job on you, haven't they.

You sounded defeated, ready to put up with any amount of shite they choose to throw at you.

I suspect you'll put up with it and wait on them hand and foot despite you letting off steam here.

They're nasty, lazy and tight.

Be brave , when sheets need changing just put them in their room, don't make breakfast and don't take them out every day, with any luck they'll be offended and leave.

Don't be a doormat, it's your children's home andt let that prat tut himself to death!

You know they are treating you like shit, why tolerate it?

carlywurly Fri 16-Aug-13 07:58:38

Having people to stay is bloody expensive (live in cornwall so have plenty of experience of this wink)

It's not just the food, it's the extra water, electricity, even the use of toilet rolls which add up. If people come and stay with me without making a contribution, be it financial or just pitching in, I simply do not ask them again, or make an excuse if they ask.

Your in laws are taking complete advantage of you. They're penny pinching stockpilers and I can imagine them being the twatty sort who would leave any inheritance they have accumulated to the golden child anyway.

You have nothing at all to lose from standing up to them. I'm itching to do it on your behalf.

Using the word stingey towards your ILs downplays their overall behaviour; they are clearly not just stingey. Both of them continue to victimise you and your H and you are both letting them do this to you nowadays.

I am wondering if you are still seeing the therapist fortnightly (I read this in your last thread). If so I wonder what she makes of your toxic and dysfunctional ILs, do you actually talk about them?. I am also wondering if you actually now need to see another counsellor; one who knows something about toxic families.

Have you ever spoken to a counsellor as well about your childhood at the hands of your foster parents?.

Both of you are together and separately not strong enough to stand up to these people and tell them where to get the hell off. This is also why they have gotten away for so much for so long. Your children do not need to have such toxic people in their lives either, they're better off having positive and life affirming role models instead.

Your home life will be made hell on earth when the toxic twosome come to town and you will likely run around after them as well. This is what inbuilt conditioning does to people. Your foster parents were abusive and now his parents are out of the same rotten mould, they are repeating what you yourself saw in your own childhood.

lels99 Fri 16-Aug-13 08:02:35

Can you not suggest they hire a car? Cook lots of meals that you know they dont like (may be petty, but may mean they eat out and give you peace)

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 08:16:44

They are not stingy, they are abusive. Both of you enable this. It is NOT 'too late'. You do not have to let these people in your home. Do you really want these scumbags around your kids? How horrible for them.

You're both seemingly mired in FOG as well - fear, obligation and guilt. All this goes back a long way with both of you.

I would suggest you both read "Emotional Blackmail. When the people in your life use fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate you" by Susan Forward.

Where are your boundaries with such people, both of you seemingly have pretty much non existent boundaries with regards to them anyway. How can two seemingly capable adults allow themselves to be walked over so completely?. This is where FOG comes into it. I sincerely hope you both do not cave into them but I would not be completely surprised if you did.

The only way this will stop is for you and your H to stop engaging with them on any level and cut them out of your lives. Power and control are at the heart of this and even though you are on the other side of the world now they can still play you both like a violin.

TheOneAndOnlyFell Fri 16-Aug-13 08:20:33

Right, I've just read the other thread, and this one. Yes she is an awful (and weird) cow, that goes without saying, but seriously WHY WHY WHY do you put up with this? If she wanted to charge you for every little thing, including occasionally babysitting her own grandson then what the hell were you thinking, giving her beauty treatments for free? And why, now, do you STILL let her come and stay for weeks on end and not charge her a daily rate?

I don't understand it. She's persisting with this nonsense because you allow her to. I agree that charging her for things will not come naturally or easily, but you have to play her by her own rules! Tell her she has to go into a hotel next time as your house can't cope with all the extra cooking/people/stuff. Or tell her the rate is $50 per night.

You should have nipped this crap in the bud years ago but you've settled too well into playing your role of dutiful victim. Get backbone!

42day Fri 16-Aug-13 08:25:18

Have to say do do everything suggested already. Don't meet them at the airport and when they phone don't answer they will get a taxi, after all they have paid the fare for going all the way to you. I would be tempted not to cook for them at all but think they would just cook and leave a mess for you to clear up they sound so awful, give them small portions and if they say anything state how much money you need from them. Don't have their bed made up and make sure there are only the very basic of everything in their room, don't wash and replace any bedding or towels. They treat you so badly now is payback time. Seriously it's time to let them know that their behavour has consequences! Also I would make as much noise as possible and if they moan ignore them, hoover when tv is on, have playdates/coffee mornings if possible over at yours and ignore them, the earlier they start the better with little ones as their day starts early if your in laws are the type to get up later. They may tell everyone how awful you are but more likely they will say how lovely it was and if people know them they will not believe any "horror stories". I fear they will stay far too long if you live your life to keep the peace. Good luck and keep coming back for support if you need it OP.

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 08:27:41

You two sound like you have Stockholm Syndrome. Do you want you kids to?

OnFoot Fri 16-Aug-13 08:29:42

You do know that business class tickets are normally fully flexible and refundable? In which case, the "they've already bought the air tickets" argument would be redundant.

Hookedonclassics Fri 16-Aug-13 08:31:10

A few things.

Breakfast - a packet of cornflakes and carton of milk, and a few tea bags or jar of coffee left out for them to help themselves. If they moan, tell them to go to Coles or Woolies and see how expensive food is.

Lunch - Give them directions to cafes.

Supper - Ditto lunch.

....let them go by themselves, do not go with them or you'll feel obliged to put your hand in your pocket to pay. Be out when they get back!

Bathroom - put your toiletries out of reach so they have to use their own. Leave out threadbare towels for them, not your nicest "guest" ones.

If you do end up cooking meals, how about some budget ones. I find "A girl called Jack" blog has some good ones. If they complain tell them you have no extra money to feed them fancy food.

If they keep complaining, tell them to kindly go to a hotel then, if they can afford business class fares (thousands extra) then they can stump up.

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 08:34:11

She'll do none of this. They will let them come over,do as they please, and their kids will learn that being abused is acceptable.

CaptainJamesTKirk Fri 16-Aug-13 08:41:14

tabby they sound horrendous sad

Is there anyway you can arrange to be there as little as possible when they visit?

Doha Fri 16-Aug-13 08:49:23

Tabby you really have to deal with this now. It is not fair on your DC's if you are prepared to put up with this. They will be miserable, unable to make any mess or noise in the house, you will be stressed out all the time. Is it fair on them because you can't deal with your IL's.
Put it in writing today
you will let them stay with you rent free but
you will not be cooking/providing food
you will not be doing their laundry
you will not be their taxi driver

You and your DH need to man up--don't ask but tell them how it is going to be before they arrive.
I am not sure why you have them coming over anyway. you say they have booked the flights, so what they can book a hotel for their stay too....

Hookedonclassics Fri 16-Aug-13 08:59:30

Yes, do what Doha says! grin

Hookedonclassics Fri 16-Aug-13 09:00:10

Tell them they have treated you far worse!!

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 09:05:08

They won't respect any boundary you try to set: rules, anything in writing, etc. why would they when they know they can bully their way?

They can't come and stay because they will abuse.

DameFanny Fri 16-Aug-13 09:07:42

I'd be tempted to lay information with Australian immigration that they have no intention of returning to the UK. But that's just me.

DameFanny Fri 16-Aug-13 09:08:40

And tell customs they never travel without a bag of apples. [evil]

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 09:09:41

tabbycat, I see a few things going on here.

They are not stingy, they are abusive. In fact, if I have this right I think that DH is the scapegoat and BIL is the Golden Child. Perhaps you are not the issue at all, but their treatment of you is an extension of how they treat your DH. I also think you are a very sensitive person and I don't mean that as a dig, you sound lovely. You had a very bad time as a child and don't have a lot of family. To then join another family and be treated like that again is just pure and truly SHIT! Sorry about the language. My greatest wish right now is that you could learn a bit of indifference, but I sense you are not there yet.

I don't think you can get out of the visit, nor I think are you bitch enough to put them off. One of my dear friends always says that just because someone else has low standards, that doesn't mean you should lower yours. Let them come, but you need to try and change a few things. Their behaviour is not going to change, so you need to change the way you deal with them. I think you need to draw a line under what they have done in the past, you can't change that and it is eating you up. You are wasting mental and physical energy on them which you should be reserving for your own happiness. You need to let go of this lovely idea that your DC need these GP's, they don't.

Anyway the trip. I was an expat for years and I understand what you are going through. Firstly, don't ask her to bring anything. Don't be in her debt for anything, that gives her power. Secondly, look on this trip as their last trip to see you and as a goodbye holiday. Make sure she knows this "hope you have a nice time as it's probably the last time you are coming isn't it" and then make it the last trip by your actions. Book yourself out of the house as much as possible (work, things that need to be done, urgent issues that need to be addressed) and when in the house make sure you keep yourself busy, mending stuff, doing the garden etc. and go to bed as early as you can get away with. Buy no beers or wine for FIL etc. buy the cheapest cuts of meat, buy the cheapest pasta, crappiest biscuits and all from the cheapest Aussie shop with own labels you can find. I don't think you can get out of the trip but you can get the message across that they no longer affect you and you can't be arsed. Do NOT iron her stuff and turn the steam off your iron or swap it with a mate for a few weeks, then put her stuff on her bed to iron herself the cheeky bitch Get a file together and put in leaflets of things to do, bus timetables etc. When they ask to go places or want things tell them you can't afford it. Roll out the threadbare carpet all with a smile plastered on your face.

Tabby, your family is your DH and your kids now. I know that you hurt really badly on the inside, but you DO now have your very own family. Many of us lose our parents, don't get married, don't have kids....your cup is not half empty. You now live in Australia. My advice would be to stay there. You are lucky in that you do not live near them and do not have to put up with them on a daily basis like some on MN. Honestly, the best revenge is to live well.

Sorry, thats so long.
P.s. Where are you in Aus. I am going there in Oct and Dec and I can bring you as much bloody Calpol as you like if you are nearby.

Hegsy Fri 16-Aug-13 09:09:49

Tabby sad please don't let them come out. Screw the flights they've booked. Your MIL is an utter bitch. God MIL and I have had our issues but they are there for us - in fact we've only just finished paying off a £5K loan FIL gave us a couple of years ago. Interest free. That is what 'normal' parents do when their kids are struggling.

Please please please tell them they pay(by their own standards and examples set by MIL) or they don't come. Never mind about grandparents for your kids. I'm willing to bet they pick up on your feelings when your MIL and FIL visiit. I know lots of people who haven't had grandparents or a huge extended family and they are find.

I really hate to think of you spending 6 weeks with these cruel, evil people

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Aug-13 09:19:14

do you really want such callous, horrible people in your childrens lives, they make you feel like crap and are horrid to your children, do you really want these people to make your kids feel like they make you feel?

Grandparents aren't the be all for children, so long as your children have happy secure loving parents everything else doesn't matter.

gazzalw Fri 16-Aug-13 09:20:04

OP I know it will take a leap of courage but you can do it and you will just feel so relieved to have got rid of the feelings or resentment etc.....

sounds to me as if your MIL and FIL know exactly what they're doing and do it because they know you won't stand up to them. From an outsider's point of view it looks as if they're pushing and pushing with the most unreasonable behaviour possible, expecting a rebuff but never get it so their behaviour and pushing just gets worse.....

It is not easy to stand up to parents let along parents in law bu you and your family deserve to be rid of this toxic influence sooner rather than later....

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 09:21:01

Doesn't like the gas hob. "Mil, perhaps you can cut up the chickenor veg, we are having a pot roast cooked in the oven tonight".

"Fil, we are doing the cooking, can you please set the table"

MIL do you want the iron to iron your clothes? What's that you are scared of the steam? Well, I borrowed Karens iron for your stay, it's a non steam iron so you'll be fine. I'll set the ironing board up in your room.

Please get yourself a copy of A Woman in Your Own Right by Anne Dickinson ASAP. You are passively accepting their behaviour. Read this book, it will give you strategies for you to get what you want calmly and effectively.

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 09:26:05

$1000. You are allowing them to take that money from your kids. Fuck that.

catsmother Fri 16-Aug-13 09:31:58

My gob is beyond smacked ......

"Stingy" is when someone who can afford to buy better, chooses to buy something which isn't just "cheap" ('cos there's not anything necessarily wrong in that) but nasty as well because they begrudge spending the extra.

Your PILs are financially abusive bullies - you have to realise that. As someone else up thread said, they are using money to victimise you - to show you that the only value you have in their eyes is as someone to make a profit out of. Hence the "bills" for food you eat at their house, and the expectation of an all expenses paid holiday.

FFS - what kind of parent would effectively force their child into debt whilst treating themselves to business class tickets. Their stay is going to cost you about £600 ($1000 AUSD) yet the difference on BA between a business return vs an economy right now seems to be about £3-4000 per effing person (if I've Googled correctly) and yet the bitch will apparently still be intent on "charging" you for a few kiddie bits she's had the immense graciousness to bring over for you.

Well, tell her to fuck off about that stuff if she wants you to pay her. So - she then refuses to hand it over. So bloody what - you know you can live without it and if the bitter old bag is left out of pocket (slightly, in comparison to all else who cares). How dare they refuse to contribute when you've told them how hard their visit will be for you financially !!

You know ..... if they were genuinely impoverished themselves, and if they were genuinely nice people, and if your DH was mindful of the fact this might be one of the last times he'd get to see his parents then maybe you'd think it was worth going into debt in order to facilitate their visit. No-one would criticise you for that. But it's not like that is it - these are people who can afford business class - who'd rather treat themselves for 23 hours than be fair and reasonable about this. Let alone the largesse they seem to show to the brother.

And then ..... they completely take the piss when they arrive. Yes - we all tend to indulge "guests", most of us think it polite to and most of us do so in the knowledge that our hospitality will be reciprocated sooner or later. But not only do they not reciprocate, they actually abuse you OP - and they also milk their guest status for all it's worth. It's no good relying on that to behave like utter selfish c**ts - regardless of age - guests have responsibilities too - like recognising how their presence impacts upon a household - financially, practically, emotionally - and most normal decent people would compromise accordingly to ensure that the visit is as enjoyable as possible for all concerned.

This pair have a sense of entitlement which defies belief. They are rude, nasty and hypocritical. You - and that means both you and DH need to make a stand one way or the other. You will NOT accommodate them unless they make a fair contribution to their keep as you literally can't afford to feed and entertain them without going into debt which you're not prepared to do. You will NOT alter your normal day to day routine unless you want to - not because FIL gets pissed off. You will NOT be mad to feel bad, or your children, for behaving perfectly normally in your own home. You will NOT be running round like skivvies after them - a roof over their heads and meals IF they CONTRIBUTE fairly is as much as they can expect and if they won't agree to this they will either have to cancel their flight or find alternative accommodation. In short, you will NOT be bullied and abused. You have had enough of being treated like dirt for years and won't tolerate it any longer or allow your children to get mixed up in it again.

For goodness sake OP you must do this for the sake of your mental health let alone your bank balance. Surely your DH can't be oblivious to their disgusting attitude either - he must support you on this. Their behaviour is so extreme and so nasty that the only reason they've got away with it for so long is because they've been allowed to unchallenged. Okay you "challenged" them this time but if you allow this visit to go ahead on its usual terms regardless they will have learnt nothing. Bullies need not only to be confronted but learn that their behaviour will have repercussions.

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 09:41:18

tabby I'm going to be really horrible now but fgs GRIE A FUCKING BACKBONE ABD STOP BEUNG A BLOODY DOORMAT.
It took mumsnet, good friends and a bloody counsellor to make me do it and my pil are nowhere near as bad as yours.
You are an adult woman and have the power to make decisions of your own.
What can they do if you don't do stuff? They are already horrible so what do you have to lose?
I used to wait on mine but when I decided to stop it was quite easy and I found it rather amusing.
I go out as my has possible (work, shopping, visiting or getting my hair done) or. Just lie!
When they were sniffing around for food I sat on my arse and put the telly on.
If I did cook I quickly left the kitchen afterwards do they soon learned to clean up.
I don't buy delicious food anymore I do an Aldi shop and only have austere food in (no treats like at their house)
If they want to be entertained I let dh do it.
Honestly love this can only continue if you allow it to.
She isn't superior to you and cannot affect your life in any way if you don't cow tow to her.
Steal yourself and prepare to back off a bit.

It will be fun.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Fri 16-Aug-13 09:43:40

I wrote a post, then refreshed and read what catsmother wrote.


For what it's worth I was told by a therapist that you should respond to others in the same measure that they respond to you. So if your father is not acting within the parameters of a father/relationship (in my own case), then you are free to redefine the daughter/relationship to reflect that.

My inlaws take the piss and just take take take. So I have taken a step back and as my needs from the relationship (support, even a vague interest in my life) are not being met, I no longer feel obliged to meet all of theirs. I was making myself a doormat and now I am not. It feels so good!

I have a more reciprocal relationship with my mother who matches the effort that I put into the relationship.

cocolepew Fri 16-Aug-13 09:45:56

You HAVE to make a stand. You can see what sort of people they are, just plain nasty.
Phone them and tell them not to come, and then cut them out of your life altogether. Don't ever give them a second thought.
You are setting a bad example to your own DCs showing yourself to be treated like this. Your in laws are not contributing anything positive to your family life.

Your DH is an adult he should be stickibg up for you.

newbiefrugalgal Fri 16-Aug-13 09:53:53

What state if oz are you in OP?

newbiefrugalgal Fri 16-Aug-13 09:54:43

And agree your children don't need Gp like this, better without

GilmoursPillow Fri 16-Aug-13 10:07:49

She won't cook and she won't iron? No problem, they can go hungry and walk about in creased clothes.

Don't do it for them, although I expect you will sad

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 10:08:21

I am the same. Damned if I do, damned if I don't so I won't! grin
There are a few tight-arsed sting bags in our family. At Christmas I just send vouchers for a value I feel is measly enough to get away with. I tell them that in these days of austerity, I want to buy gifts that people will definitely use for something they really need <concerned face emoticon>
Really, I refuse to pay the petrol, parking and refuse to spend the mental energy picking something out for thoughtless people.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 10:11:41

I am in WA & it is expensive here.
How can I take the next step? We've told them that we need some help financially but they have said they can't afford it. There's no way they will cancel the trip now so we are lumbered with them coming. It's MIL's 70 th birthday present to go business class.They just invite themselves every 2 years & make a big deal that they have to come & see us as we can't afford to go there.
There's no way they will pay for a hotel.
I think because of my childhood I've always had to go without & have been treated horribly. Social services never listened when I told them what my foster parents were like. I suppose I can't deal with confrontation & I know i being a doormat. They have been like it for the past 21 years & won't change. I just have the consolation that we live here now away from them.
I've always felt like I'm an outsider. I've only ever been nice to them. For some reason they saw a way to make money from us.

ImperialBlether Fri 16-Aug-13 10:15:49

One thing I notice about your threads, OPs, is you tell us how bad it is but you don't seem to think of doing anything about it. People come up with useful suggestions and you take absolutely no notice of them.

You and your husband have to take some responsibility here. You didn't have to have such a miserable wedding. You don't have to spend time there and give them money etc. You can make independent choices.

It's as though you are just coming on here to moan about the inevitability of your life being ruined by your ILs. You don't seem to want to help yourself.

I'd be tempted to lay information with Australian immigration that they have no intention of returning to the UK. But that's just me.

grin that's evil, but I like it.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 10:20:11

tabby, lots of us are treated like an outsider. I'm not trying to minimise your experience, I am genuinely trying to isolate their behaviour from the rest of your awful experiences to show you that having toxic in-laws happens to a lot of us and you need to deal with it in isolation. As a DIL with toxic in-laws, you start off on the back foot, the victim, the one who is the scapegoat. As you get older (so long as DH is on your side) the power usually shifts as PIL get older and you have your feet firmly under the mat with your DC idolising you, their mum (and DH) above everyone else in the family and a loving husband doing anything for his family. You have a lot more power than you think you know. You need to let go of the resentment for your own sake and see them for what they are now. 2 old people in their twilight years who don't get to see their GC who are 10,000 miles away (?) and you, you live in gorgeous Aus and get to have them all to yourself all the time. You actually have a lot more power than you think you do. Honestly, a "can't be f%cked attitude" and a few weeks of crap food and I promise you will never see them again.

I remember you last post very well.
Well to be honest I think you need to push back on the fact they can't afford it.
You need to make it plain that you cannot afford to have them there and not contribute at all.
If they were in the UK for 6 weeks they would be spending money on food and drink and bills etc....
So that's what they need to contribute.
Make it very clear that they cannot stay there without paying.
If they really can't afford it, as PP said, business class tickets are refundable and/or transferrable so tell them if they really can't afford it then they need to not come over as you absolutely cannot afford to subsidise them for 6 weeks.
You won't be lying or anything. It will be the truth.
Push back and do it now!
Stand up to them! You are a grown woman and you CAN do this.

"I just have the consolation that we live here now away from them"

Yes you do but you have not fully escaped them. They are still coming to visit you regardless, they invite themselves and will expect to be waited on hand and foot when they arrive. You've gone without your whole life and these ghastly inlaws are infact carrying on where your abusive foster parents left off.

There is no "suppose" about it; you still both cannot confront them (they know this and use that against you) and both of you are being doormats.
This sends an awful example to your own children.

Its never too late to confront such people and reclaim your life back. You have not done so to date and your and your H's prevarications about doing so have cost you so very dearly.

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 10:28:40

You have identified why you let them walk all over you so work on it.
Why is ok for them to say they can't afford to contribute to their upkeep but not ok for you.
They ignored you when you said you can't afford it so you do the same to them.
"well sorry but neither can we so what do you want to do?"
If dh doesn't take a stand then you must do it instead.
If they still come and don't pay just don't buy much food and only buy basics. No wine, margarine,cardboard bread etc.
If she complains remind then that you did say you were skint.
Honestly if you just do that one thing it will help
What are you worried about?
You are no longer that foster child, you are you an adult mother. You can stand up to bullies..

gamerchick Fri 16-Aug-13 10:29:03

You need to stop thinking of yourself as a victim and believing you have no control over anything.

Ring them up and say 'I'm sorry we can't afford for you to come and if they want to you'll expect a bank transfer in the next few days to cove their costs' be firm and repeat yourself. If they refuse tell them to cancel their tickets.

Where is your bloke in all of this..why are you dealing with it?

Doha Fri 16-Aug-13 10:29:09

You have been given many suggestions on this thread on how to handle it but you seem to be ignoring them all. We can't do it for you, you must grow a pair and act for yourself. They only treat you like that anad behave in this way becuase you allow them too.
Email them phone them do something before they come, let them know what you will not be doing for them when they come over so they willnnot have any expectations.
So they go home and tell everyone how unwelcome you made them--so what !!! What goes around comes around.

Have you read any of the suggestions here?

Take the bull by the horns, write/ email and tell them they aren't welcome because of their behaviour and you aren't prepared to tolerate it ever again.

This is your home, don't be cowed by them and take back the power.

Get fucking angry, listen to Ledkr and don't be meek.

Do something before they just turn up.

catsmother Fri 16-Aug-13 10:41:00

Hellsbells makes some very good points: they would have had to buy food in the UK, so if they pay you what they'd have otherwise spent they still wouldn't be out of pocket.

They have made huge assumptions about this trip without checking first if it's affordable for you. It's NOT, so they need to do something about it ..... like paying you as above, OR downgrading their tickets so they can afford to pay you fair board (who gives a flying stuff if it's MIL's 70th birthday ?? - so they can afford thousands as it's her Majesty's birthday - but "can't afford" to spend £600 less on her fucking "present" so their child doesn't go into debt ? Evil fucking bastards - excuse my French), OR, they stay in an hotel - which would be more expensive than paying their way at yours.

What would actually happen if you refused to collect them from the airport ? ...... okay, I'd guess eventually they'd get a taxi. What then, if you were out or refused to answer the door to let them in ? Probably a huge row would ensue but hey, it's clear they hate you already and treat you like dirt so why would it matter ?

Yes - they're DH's parents, and obviously, something like this is going to be hugely upsetting and traumatic for him. It's not nice facing up to the fact your parents seemingly despise you and seem to revel in taking advantage of you in every possible way but what's his take on all this ? How does he propose it's sorted out ? It's absolutely crazy to allow yourselves to be continually abused like this - financially and emotionally - I mean, who willingly allows an abuser into their home ?

I think I'd make one last ditch attempt - IF DH is set on seeing his parents (god knows why, they can't make him feel good about himself) - at laying down the law - as I suggested in my previous post but if they continue to refuse to agree to your terms for this visit then you must tell them they will NOT be accommodated. What they then do with that knowledge is entirely up to them and not your responsibility.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Aug-13 10:44:15

Tabby, you email them and say;

Dear Evil Outlaws,

As we are unable to financially accommodate your stay in Australia this year, here are links to the cheapest B&B's and car hire companies I have managed to find for you in our area.

We will try and be available to see you for dinner on the last day for your stay, take lots of pictures of all the sightseeing you will do.

And don't forget to book a cab to transfer you from the airport to your chosen hotel.

xxx (passive aggressive)

jerryfudd Fri 16-Aug-13 10:45:52

I don't really see the point of this thread - without wanting to sound harsh op if you aren't prepared to take any of the very good advice on here and seek to change anything what were you expecting? Just poor you posts? You have choices, they may feel alien and you may feel rude but as has already been said - what do you have to lose?

hardbeingme Fri 16-Aug-13 10:47:45

i would tell them its impossible for them to stay with you and do it now so they can arrange an alternative, change locks, invent problem builders, wood worm, dry rot, anything.
don't invite them round, meet them else where, hide if they turn up. otherwise you will have to face them and have everything out or just let them do as they usually do. its up to you - it really is.

TheOneAndOnlyFell Fri 16-Aug-13 10:51:50

I think they've never forgiven you for trapping their poor baby so young, and for being from an awkward and unsuitable background. They didn't help you out with the wedding because they were in denial it was happening at all. They didn't bother to bond with their grandson because they didn't think you'd be around in three years time. I think they won't help you out of financial tough spots now any more than they would let you use their washing machine back then, because they want to be able to say 'You got my son into this mess by manipulating him, a baby, no house, no money, and only 21 - off you go and behave like the grow ups you think you are, and get yourselves out if it. Don't expect us to help you out.'

Still. Over twenty years later.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 11:12:04

I think we are being a bit harsh on the OP. It's OK for us to sit here and say grow a set, tell them they are not coming but many of us grew up with a support network and people showing us examples of how to interact and deal with family and we still can't stand up to people. I think it is very hard for the OP to do this.

When I lived abroad I had lots of people staying with me. I used to cook meals, pay for meals out and roll out the red carpet. Once my SIL and BIL came to stay for a week and they sat back and let us pay for everything. One night BIL said to me, rubbing his hands, "SIL said, it's great staying with Trotter and DH, they won't let you pay for anything". Well they never offered once and we ended up paying for 7 lunches and dinners. My PIL used to come twice a year for a month and had the red carpet rolled out for them. It then got back to me that PIL had said that I am not hospitable because they are used to their family cooking all meals and paying for things when they stay with them. Well as my DH said, they stay one night at their relatives in the UK, not 1 month at a time. It is not feasible for me to work and wait on people for a month. I was angry. The next time they came I bought everything in a packet, and had lettuce with everything. I didn't cook once. For desert we had tinned fruit. Hmmmm. I never offered a meal out once and would open a quiche or cold pie from the supermarket, cut it into 4 and have packet salad with everything. I had no alcohol in the house and had 3 packets of custard creams in the cupboard. We even had a weekly "leftover night" grin where we would finish off said pies grin

Much to my regret, they didn't come again! I don't waste my resources, either emotional or financial, on people who treat me like shit.

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 11:16:52

You are obviously going to let this happen but at least don't pay for the stuff she brings just say "I can't afford it sorry, you understand obviously that money is tight"

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 11:33:22

misspiggie that's what I did in the end.
At first I bought lovely food as I like entertaining. I'd do cooked breakfasts and lovely buffet lunches and cooked meals with all the trimmings and wine.
Pil acted greedily around mealtimes which bugged me.
I soon realised when we went to then there were no treats.
Basic cereal or toast with Marge for brekkie.
Sand which for lunch and literally tiny meals for dinner which left is hungry. Nothing suitable for the baby so id have to get my own.
One tiny glass of wine and no treats.
I began to return the favour and do the same.
Fil was literally rooting through my cupboards for better cereal cos I got the basics like they do.
I didn't even offer lunch then cook a pasta bake fir dinner no salad or bread etc.
funny enough they are not so keen to come now.
The final straw was last Xmas when we visited a few days after and I had to sneak out and take dd to a cafe as we were so hungry.
I told dh I was never going ever again.

tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 12:15:19

Thanks for all your advise. I have taken on board what you all have said & from this & my previous post. I'm sorry if this has come across as a poor me post, I have to admit I was rather offended by that. I posted again as I had asked them for money from the suggestions given & didn't get anywhere so I didn't know what to do as they had knocked me back.
It is an awkward situation & it's easy for outsiders to say just do this or that to fix it when in reality it's not that easy.
I know my upbringing was toxic & they are toxic but standing up & telling them what I think of them just doesn't come naturally to me. I was asking for advise but won't post anymore.

just doesn't come naturally to me. I was asking for advise but won't post anymore.

That's a shame you feel like that sad, you have been given advice though, it is there.

expatinscotland Fri 16-Aug-13 12:33:16

Yeah, it is that easy when you are 10000 miles away. 'You cannot stay here. We do not want our children involved in your abuse. It stops NOW. You will not be allowed in our home.'

If it doesn't come naturally, you practice. Why? Because your kids don't deserve this.

oscarwilde Fri 16-Aug-13 12:34:13

Why are you asking your IL's for money? Surely that is for your DH to do? Don't put yourself in this position fgs
Ledkr's advice re catering sounds like a good plan.
I don's suppose your MIL has a nice spider phobia or anything useful. If someone told me that they'd found a poisonous spider hiding under the loo, I'd be staying at the nearest holiday in on the 50th floor and I like spiders.

oscarwilde Fri 16-Aug-13 12:34:47

Holiday Inn

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 12:35:55

Don't be silly. You are doing it with us now.
What did you say and what was the reply?
Let us help you compose a response.
You were slightly assertive in that last post so you can do it.

SarahBumBarer Fri 16-Aug-13 12:38:00

Gosh I am sorry to see you feel that you can't/won't post anymore but honestly you have been given lots of good advice but each new post you make (until the last one) gives no indication that you have taken anything on board other than the initial advice to ask them to make a contribution.

There is still lots you can do. Email them and tell them that WA is expensive and since they cannot contribute things will have to be different this time to previous visits - so limited trips out/no eating out/simple frugal meals and they will need to take a turn at cooking etc. Then when they get hear show them where the linen cupboard is/show them where the washing machine is/tell them that they are free to rummage around the kitchen cupbaords to find what they need when it is their turn to cook, give them a set day/days when they are expected to cook and DO NOT change their beds/do their laundry etc.

And for god's sake stick up for your children. It is their home - protect that.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 12:38:02

tabby, please don't feel that way. I think it is very easy for people on MN to tell us how they would act in an ideal situation, to leave your husband if they put a toe out of line, but I rarely come across women as assertive as they seem in their posts and I know some shockers I tell you. You did act very assertively with them by asking for money. I still think there are some good points on this thread for you to try.
I am going to WA later in the year. Honestly, drop me a line if you want and if I am going near you I will be happy to bring you a childhoods supply of Calpol.

catsmother Fri 16-Aug-13 12:38:41

Tabby - yes it's a shame you feel like that. I don't think anyone wants to upset you - we are all just very frustrated at the way you've been treated and are trying to help you find a way forward with this - a way which won't see you and your family bullied/abused/emotionally blackmailed any more.

Many of us do appreciate first hand how hard it is to stand up to close family - and even those who have no direct personal experience of having to do this can still be sympathetic. I made the decision myself, after years of stress and upset to break contact with a close family member and no, it wasn't easy, as I also had to weigh up the effect upon other members of the family. However, it was worth it and the person who made me feel so awful every time I saw them no longer stresses me out as I no longer have to set eyes on them!

Please don't run off ...... if you share what it is you're scared of might happen if you do confront them, then I'm sure many people will respond with further words of encouragement, support and advice. Sometimes, listing all the possible outcomes of a scary situation and then working through your feelings about each scenario can help harden your resolve and/or give you strength to pursue the right course of action. I have to say - being nosey - that I wonder what your DH's stance on all this is ? Do you have his support in seeking a solution ? Or does he profess not to care ? Unless I've missed it, you haven't really written about how he feels and what he thinks is the right thing to do - obviously, if you present a united front on this, you can glean support from each other and PILs would find it far harder to cast you as the wicked witch.

I hope you're still reading this - people really are very concerned for you. I don't think a single respondent has suggested for a second that you're being too hard on the PILs, or that the way you've been treated by them for years now is in any way acceptable. That should tell you something surely ? ..... all these people in unanimous agreement, and shock at how awful they've been.

Maybe you can tell us what it is you fear if you contact them again and say that they simply CANNOT stay with you for free and if they're intent on taking their flights, they will need to make alternative arrangements ? Do you fear being called names ? Would this lead to upset with your DH ? Would they influence other family members against you ? What ? Until you tell us we can't help you.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 16-Aug-13 12:40:22

The trouble is, tabby, there is no easy solution to your predicament. You 'tried' asking them to pay but they 'knocked you back' ie they are still coming to your house on their terms. Only you can decide how angry you are and how firm you are prepared to be - suggestions on here range from locking them out and not answering the door, through being 'barely hospitable' (free accommodation but they fend for themselves/are fed 'basics' only) to carrying on as you have done, running yourselves ragged pampering them like a pair of over-fed lap cats. With about as much gratitude from them. But only you can make the attitude shift necessary - please don't get shirty with us for making suggestions! And please keep posting, if there's any chance you might garner the strength to stand up to them.


I would urge you to reconsider and come back. Running away does not help you and your family ultimately; the problem is still there and you certainly need further perspectives.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 12:46:47

V well put catsmother. It's also really good to air your stuff Tabby because I think you have reached the anger stage. It's really good to get that out and thrash out what you think of them and how you feel. I promise you that after the anger comes the indifference. Imagine being in a place where you actually don't give a shit what someone thinks about you and you can openly say what you think, be as rude back because you have as much feeling for them as you have for a lump of coal.

maja00 Fri 16-Aug-13 12:47:27

Tabby - YOU are in control here. They want to come to your house, in your country - you have all the power in this situation, you just have to see it!

Email them. Tell them clearly "If you want to stay with us, you need to send us $1000 to cover the expense. If you won't pay this, you need to stay in a hotel".

You don't have to collect them from the airport, you don't have to let them in your house, you don't have to do anything for them.

catsmother Fri 16-Aug-13 12:48:35

"I had asked them for money from the suggestions given & didn't get anywhere so I didn't know what to do as they had knocked me back".

.... and people have suggested what you could do as a next step. As Walk says there is no easy solution. The various suggestions here will no doubt involve some unpleasantness and no-one imagines the thought of asserting yourself with a pair of unpleasant mean bullies is going to be attractive. Perhaps it might help if you think of it as "no pain, no gain" though ?

The alternative is to let them get away with their atrocious attitude and piss-taking expectations - which, if you do, would reassure them that they're doing nothing wrong because you backed down. Which will further erode your self esteem - both because you'll be treated like shit but also because you let them do it.

Unfortunately, none of us can wave a magic wand and do this for you. You either do something or nothing. It's in your hands. Yes - you may have already made a tentative step towards asserting yourself but sometimes things take several attempts to sort out. You can do it !!

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 13:05:12

"I had asked them for money from the suggestions given & didn't get anywhere so I didn't know what to do as they had knocked me back".

Tabby, you do have some power here. They have spent 000's to come over to Aus and they are expecting a whale of a time. You need to seriously disappoint them by letting them go hungry and providing them with inadequate amounts of food. Make them spend money. I PROMISE you, if they have a lesser time than they usually do, they won't come again. Who would go all the way to Aus and spend 000's if they knew that they were not welcome and they had a crap time?

Ledkr Fri 16-Aug-13 13:10:21

tabby if it helps I have had quite unreasonable suggestions on here that my dh was abusive as he didn't stop his parents from taking the piss (which is a ridiculous suggestion) I was told I am suffering low self esteem (hilarious)
People can play pop psychologist on here but you are the only one who knows the true story.
It is weird that dh doesn't do more but in that case you get on with it.

misschord Fri 16-Aug-13 13:21:05

Hi Tabby, I hope you are still reading this. I can understand that it is terrifyingly difficult to try and shift the balance of power after all these years. Do you have a friend nearby who you trust and who could help you? Maybe she could just come and be in the house on one of the days when you are at home with the whole family and see what happens, and even speak up for you if you want her to? We are all just trying to envisage this situation, but someone who actually sees it might be able to give you some more useful advice and support. Alternatively, you could just have lots of wine and start shouting. grin 6 weeks is a very long time even with loving, reasonable parents - sending you lots of strength to get through this.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 16-Aug-13 13:30:45

Catsmother said this: "What would actually happen if you refused to collect them from the airport ? ...... okay, I'd guess eventually they'd get a taxi. What then, if you were out or refused to answer the door to let them in ? Probably a huge row would ensue but hey, it's clear they hate you already and treat you like dirt so why would it matter ?"

and I agree with it. Best advice is to liberate yourselves at one fells swoop by not picking them up, not letting them in, not feeding them.

However I also agree with expat that you won't do this because of your terrible life experiences so far and how hatefully abusive they have been in the past - they have successfully ground you down. I feel terribly sorry for you.

The only thing that should make you stop it now is your children - if not for yourself, for them. You are the only people who can do it, and they're your kids, and you should do this for them.

Xenadog Fri 16-Aug-13 13:37:29

Tabby what do you want from this? If it that you really can't stand the thought of the IL coming to stay then tell them (or get DH to) you don't want them. It doesn't matter that they are the only grandparents for your children as they are so far away it will be difficult to have a meaningful relationship with them anyway (due not just to distance but how they are).

If you are prepared to have them stay then you need some ground rules - they follow them or don't come at all.

These rules could simply be: entertain yourselves; feed and clean up after yourselves; hire a car as we aren't taxi drivers and lastly, contribute X dollars a week or don't think you are staying.

They might moan or might refuse to come but if you put things on your terms and DO NOT back down then they have a choice and can behave reasonably or not come.

Personally I would make sure I was on holiday when they turned up with the house boarded up securely!

Ponders Fri 16-Aug-13 13:38:08

"they hadn't factored in paying us anything"

all you need to tell them now is "start factoring it in now, or don't come"

if they don't come, they can get the cost of their flights refunded, so they won't lose anything (except a small admin charge, probably)

If they come anyway then, as so many posters have said, don't pick them up from the airport. If they turn up on your doorstep in a taxi, hand them details of hotels that taxi can take them to. Don't let them in. They were told, but chose to ignore you, thinking they could still walk all over your family.

please, tabby - do it

DontActuallyLikePrunes Fri 16-Aug-13 13:39:18

Read the whole thread and there's no mention of your dh being involved at all. What's going on with him, then?

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 16-Aug-13 13:40:20

Tabby what kind of advice did you want?

There is no advice that will turn them into nice people or make them behave more appropriately towards you. No advice from here,to you, will make them kind, or make them give you money.

The only thing to do, and you know this, is to make it stop, now. Only you can make it stop.

You can't do this though, you say. So really, I think you need advice on how to make yourself feel stronger and more confident.

But however weedy you think you are, in any confrontation you would be the winner. Because you are right. If you say no, timidly, or don't provide food, or say "what are you doing" when they try to eat dinner you've cooked for yourself, or if you leave them at the airport, at some point, a row will ensue.

In this case, you don't need to be great at standing up for yourself, it doesn't really matter if you melt into tears at this point, or any point, because they'll be out in the open as nasty horrible bullies who are abusing you.

Even if you cry on the phone when they call from the airport, or you're shaking when you stand behind the front door not letting them in, what are they going to do. Assault you?

They aren't going to do that. They'll be mad as hell, but they won't be able to physically force you to do anything. And if they even try, you call the police. It doesn't matter if you're scared. You can still do it, even when you're terrified and weepy. It's still possible.

Viviennemary Fri 16-Aug-13 13:45:23

I agree they sound horribly selfish mean people and you are seething which most people would be. You must tell them they can't stay and will have to find their own accommodation. I don't think under the circumstances I'd even bother asking them for money for their board. It seems to have gone way beyond that. Sometimes people do feel obligations and that's fair enough. But I fail to see why you have any obligations to this pair.

Don't go OP. If you read through again you will see that most people have been supportive.

I get the impression that this trip is happening and you're not going to be able to stop it. Instead, you need to take control and ensure it doesn't cost you anything:

1 -email mil: "I've booked you a taxi from the airport. You'll be able to get aus dollars to pay for it from the cashpoint in terminal xx at the airport. It might also be worth you bringing your driving licenses as hiring a car will be cheaper than using taxis while you're here"

2 - when they arrive, make them tea, give them a biscuit (this is simple good manners!) then say "as you're family and staying so long, I've cleared out this cupboard for you. There's a few tea bags in there and I'll give you directions to the supermarket so you can get more when you get the rest of your food."

3 - show them to their room. Show them the pile of clean sheets they can change when they need to. Give them a folder of maps, instructions for washing machine etc.

4 - Bugger off. You've done the polite bits. You've provided what they need. Now leave them to it.

catsmother Fri 16-Aug-13 14:17:02

You know, I'm beginning to think there's a lot more to this. Stuff Tabby hasn't shared. I'm astonished that there's been no mention of how DH feels .... and ..... that kind of makes me wonder if he feels differently to Tabby and isn't prepared to stand up to them (and has warned Tabby off from doing so instead). That would explain why she's asked for help, yet appears very reluctant to consider acting upon the various suggestions made so far - because (perhaps) she feels her marriage would be at risk if she went against her husband's wishes. I could be totally wrong of course - it just seems a bit odd that's all that DH has only been mentioned in passing, as opposed to how he feels about the visit and what he feels about Tabby's misgivings and upset.

It could well be that Tabby's resigned to letting this visit happen - in exactly the same crap manner as past visits have played out - and that she just came on here for a vent. Errrmmmm - okay, up to a point. But you know, a lot of people have invested a lot of time trying to be helpful, sympathetic and constructive. I understand people need to vent but I do sometimes wish those who simply want to sound off would be clearer about that.

MumofWombat Fri 16-Aug-13 14:49:36

Hi Tabby,
I hope you are still reading. I'm in Perth, I know how expensive doing the weekly shop is here. I think people in the UK might be shocked!
So firstly, if you can't do anything about them coming then I really think you need to plan ahead and only have the basics in. Get the $1 bread from your local IGA, eat mainly vegetarian food, buy only the Coles/Woolworth own brand. Don't have wine and beer in the house.
Keep to your routine, don't take time off work, go to playgroups etc. in other words - don't be available for them.
On days when you really feel like you can't avoid doing something touristy go to things like Kings Park (beautiful views - you can do free guided walks - free parking), or the beach - there are lots of beaches along Ocean drive with free roadside parking, or at the weekend (free parking then!) park at Heirisson Island and go and find the Kangaroos. You'll also get beautiful views of the city.
If they make any comments about the basic rations, you having to work, and 'free' outings, you need to respond and say you can't afford luxury food or the entrance fees into places or meals out or to take time off work.
Put a laundry bin in the room they are staying in. Do not empty it and wash the stuff yourself. Leave instructions to the washing machine and how to turn off the steam on the iron in their room for their arrival.

You can't change them - you can only change the way you react to them. You need to plan your reaction to scenarios, you need to talk to your DH so that you are on the same page. You need to find your strength - and you have without a shadow of a doubt got some - to come out the other end of all that you have been through tells me that. Find your strength and stand up to them in these small ways if you can't cut them off.

My parents are visiting me and my family in October - I know they would bring you out some calpol etc (I normally ask for some!), you can pm me. In fact, please pm me for playdates (I have a toddler and a baby) and or coffee meet ups to get you out of the house and away from them when they are here!

fuzzywuzzy Fri 16-Aug-13 14:52:55

Look Tabby if you can flounce on here, you can deal with your outlaws.

Present a united front with your DH and get him to tell them by phone or email them that woopsy in that case you really can't afford to have them stay and you hope they will have a lovely time visiting all the touristy places in Oz. You hope at some point to touch base before they leave.

Seriously do it, you will only silently seethe and have to make cuts and miss out due to financial restraints if you let them stay.

diddl Fri 16-Aug-13 15:10:33

Were they invited to come & stay in your home?

If not, tell them to book accommodation.

NaiceHamIsNaice Fri 16-Aug-13 15:22:12

I reckon you are well within your rights to do the following:

serve small amounts of very plain food at every meal
no wine with dinner (if you are drinkers)
not take them out anywhere because the car is too expensive to run
refuse to go to local attractions for financial reasons

See what sort of a holiday that is for them. But if they won't contribute and you are going to have to use the same budget to look after them for six weeks...well, that's not going to go far!

Thumbwitch Fri 16-Aug-13 15:37:11

How awful. But in reality, and I'm sure you realise this, you have let them get away with this for so many years, that it's not surprising they just keep going.

What I think I would do in your position is actually keep a tab of how much them being there is costing you - in terms of bills, food, fuel etc. - and then tell them at the end that, if you were her, this is how much you would be charging them right now for their visit. But since you are NOT her and would not stoop to her level, all you will do is just not hand over any money for the few bits of stuff she's brought out, since that will constitute a teenyweeny proportion of how much they have cost you.

With a bit of luck, you'll offend them sufficiently that they won't ever return. grin

And yes, keep everything to the absolute basics. As for running around after them like the maid, forget it! Seriously! They already think so little of you, what difference is it going to make if you upset them now? Plus there's the added bonus that you might offend them sufficiently that they won't return...

Don't let them use the car without you either unless they contribute to the insurance, especially if your FIL is 78 - he might have/cause a serious accident - and telling them so might offend them sufficiently that they won't return...

Are you seeing the theme here? wink

FriskyHenderson Fri 16-Aug-13 16:03:25

If they can afford business class flights and travel insurance for the over 70s, then they can afford to pay for the food and fuel they would have spent in a month in the UK. They are just choosing not to.

Crumbledwalnuts Fri 16-Aug-13 22:22:56

Wombat has wonderful advice, and I would add only - assume they will " steal" eat your food so run your own cupboards down. If you go out for a meal together, go for an all in one and pay up front for yourselves.

Nanny0gg Fri 16-Aug-13 23:41:55

I'm a grandparent and I love my DGC dearly. I hope I enhance their lives.

However - their lives would not be ruined if I wasn't there. And if I was as toxic as your ILs it would be to their detriment anyway. So it really doesn't matter that these people are the only GPs your children have. GPs can be a wonderful addition but they really aren't a necessity.

If they won't cancel their tickets, write and tell them that you cannot have them stay unless they pay upfront. Otherwise send them a list of budget hotels.

What on earth have you got to lose?

pippop1 Sat 17-Aug-13 00:49:55

We've stayed with cousins in Perth and the price of some things was shocking. I do have a lot of sympathy with the OP as it's v difficult to be hostile to guests, especially when they are DH's parents.

If it were me I would do a average level of service throughout the six weeks (look martyred and put upon) but on the day they go take them to the airport and, just before they get checked in hand them a letter. This letter can say all that you want it to, in a reasoned manner. It will be read when they are on the plane and you are not around.

This is not the actions of a courageous person but might work.

Wombat has some great halfway measures that you could use.

You have obviously been conditioned by your childhood not to be currently able to tell toxic, nasty abusers to fuck off. That's not your fault. That doesn't mean it will always be like this.

Baby steps, you will be OK.

Cerisier Sat 17-Aug-13 08:56:37

Great advice from Wombat and ATruth.

Be firm Tabby and don't let them guilt you into doing things. They were not guilted into providing for you so don't let them get to you.

Keep posting during the visit and we will top up your resolve!

onefewernow Sat 17-Aug-13 09:09:22

I'm not sure if this helps:

Remember in thinking about being assertive that we can be part of our problem. People can't make you feel guilty about lending them the car. They may be difficult, but you can only make yourself feel guilty. Only you can resist it. So practice that. I learned this in practising in the past against some of my H's passive aggressive behaviour.

Decide what you will and won't do happily. Do that. If they complain, explain what is possible without justifying yourself. And then drop it in your head and move on, and resist the urge to feel guilty.

I unravelled that with my relate counsellor. It was very useful.

onefewernow Sat 17-Aug-13 09:11:33

Any other way if approaching the issue gives them too much power over you, and means that you risk letting them criticise you and defending themselves. The way I am suggesting keeps the power with you.

DrHolmes Sat 17-Aug-13 10:23:23

Frisky has a point. They would be spending money on food/fuel etc if they weren't going on hol. So it's not that they can't afford to. They don't want to.
Good luck OP.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 17-Aug-13 12:28:28

Wombats post is great.
They are coming and I don't think you can response like some of thextreme suggestions on here.
You have told them money is tight.
Don't go into debt for them.
Have you weekly budget do the basics shopping and once it's gone tell them. Keep a few jars of baked beans for emergency no cook dinners.
Don't iron. (Maybe do your ironing and once done ask gp if she wants it left out to use? Otherwise pack it away)
Don't change sheets.

MikeOxard Sat 17-Aug-13 12:55:42

Tell them (or get dh to) that the rent is £200 a week (or however much you want) while they are there, and they need to pay upfront or you will not be able to accommodate them. Whether or not they will or can afford to pay is not your problem, either they pay, or they don't and then don't let them in.

Once they've paid, you can tell them the house rules you will need them to be aware of, eg, you may not use the washing machine, you may help yourself to tea/breakfast etc, you will not be waited on, you will organise your own activities and transport.

You don't have to justify this, it's just the way it is, they can take it or leave it. If you feel it necessary to justify, or if it would make you feel better to do so, then remind them of the rules when you lived with them. You need to grow a backbone when dealing with these people or they will carry on shafting you forever.

Walkacrossthesand Sat 17-Aug-13 13:35:40

I fear Tabby has gone sad

MumnGran Sat 17-Aug-13 13:40:55

I remember your last thread OP!!

Really think that you should reply by saying that you know it will be tight to pay you, but are sure they will manage ... just as you did all those years ago when things were so diicuklt and you paid them for .....(can't remember the exact list you gave, but am sure there were several!!)

Please don't let them get away with this.

MumnGran Sat 17-Aug-13 13:41:27

or difficult, even !

MumnGran Sat 17-Aug-13 13:45:07

Actually ..... on a re-think, you should just email and tell them that they will have to defer their visit then ...... because you simply don't have the spare cash available to feed them etc

People reap what they sow, OP, and after all you have been through you should not feel even a moments guilt for finally drawing the line.

comingalongnicely Sat 17-Aug-13 14:34:54

When they arrive ask them what standard of stay they're after & then pass them a price list - basic (no bed changes, food etc), or superior....

That might make them think....

Tabbycat15 Sat 17-Aug-13 14:36:51

I am still here, thank you for all your replies & suggestions. I just took some time out as I was rather offended that I came across as a poor me post. It wasn't intended to be like that just to give the picture of what things had been like the last 21 years.

I hadn't mentioned DH much as basically he is treated the same & made to feel uncomfortable & awkward. We both felt like we couldn't say anything. They treated us like they did from the start so we just accepted that's how they are & put up with it. It just seems very hard to turn around now after all these years & say what we think. I don't think they realise what they are like. We are both very angry that BIL has been treated differently.

I have read through the suggestions & we will decide what we are going to do.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.

Tabbycat15 Sat 17-Aug-13 14:44:29

I forgot to say they already have a chauffeur driven car from the airport booked as they are coming business class. There is no way that they will cancel their ticket so they will definitely be coming.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 17-Aug-13 14:49:48

God that's a nightmare. Why don't you just be out. They're horrible, nasty people and they don't deserve your home.

Go away for that weekend at least, just to make sure they're ensconced in a hotel. Say "we'll be away that weekend, we just found out we won it in a competition or something. Let me book you rooms". If they won't give you a credit card number then let them book their own rooms. If they DO give you a cc number (lol) book them in for two weeks.

diddl Sat 17-Aug-13 15:01:22

Well if they treat BIL differently, then they obviously realise what they are like!

Or perhaps know that it won't wash with him!

I think tell them that you can't afford to put them up. so they either buy their own food, give you money towards bill/wear & tear or make other arrangements.

It really isn't your problem.

Or they coud downgrade the flights & pay for accommodation elsewhere?

DollyTwat Sat 17-Aug-13 15:08:01

Tabby I've just read both threads and am speechless at these people.

So, if you really can't face telling them no I think you could start some renovation on your house that would make it impossible for them to stay.

tangerinefeathers Sat 17-Aug-13 15:12:50

If they are flying business class they can afford a hotel. There is no relationship worth saving with them, they are horrible to both of you. Tell them you are booking a hotel and that is final.

You say 'it seems very hard to turn around now and say what we think'.

I totally get that. But that is what they are counting on. Stand up to them just once and you'll get a taste for it, I promise. It will become easier. And as they see you standing up for yourself, they'll give up rather quickly, because bullies are basically weak.

Afrodizzywonders Sat 17-Aug-13 15:20:07

Personally, I'd buy/borrow a knackered caravan, put a porta potty in it and park it on the drive. And if they want to stay....that's where they stay. Up to them.

Afrodizzywonders Sat 17-Aug-13 15:25:22

And shove a microwave in it if she doesn't like gas lol. Then I would be VERY busy for the whole 6 weeks, up at a sparrows chuff and out.

Tabbycat15 Sat 17-Aug-13 15:51:37

BIL suffers from social phobia (when it suits him). He's never so spoken to me. He's been in & out of jobs & basically pil have bailed him out & treated him differently. He's never had money for them to fleece him. She treated SIL differently as wanted everything to be perfect so didn't want to scare her off. Never charged her rent for staying there in the early days. They had a flat but couldn't afford it so rented it out & came to live back with them. They only paid a small amount nothing like the 170 pound each we had to pay 21 years ago. SIL decided after 4 yrs she wanted out of the marriage, not quite sure why but I think she must have realised that BIL was a loser & his mother was overbearing.
He did online dating so can't be that social phobic meeting different girls & has now got a random girl pregnant. He acts like he's 16 not 36.

difficultpickle Sat 17-Aug-13 15:56:54

Posted this on the wrong thread blush

Tabby you are 42 years old and a mother. If you allow your MIL and FIL to stay with you will be repeating the cycle of abuse they have perpetrated over the years. What message does that send to your dcs? Now is the time to stop it. If they cannot afford to pay for food or a hotel then they shouldn't be coming at all. I don't know anyone who would expect to stay with their relatives for 6 weeks and contribute nothing. Most people I know who visit relatives in Oz do plan a longer holiday (3 weeks min) but wouldn't dream of staying with family that entire time.

I think if you don't want to suggest a hotel then asking them to pay per night is reasonable, since this is proven acceptable behaviour for yoru MIL. Good luck, now is the time to be the mature adult you are.

MumnGran Sat 17-Aug-13 16:08:59

Tabby, if you are still reading ......
Personally, I'd buy/borrow a knackered caravan, put a porta potty in it and park it on the drive. And if they want to stay....that's where they stay. Up to them.

this ^ is the best solution I have read here. No showdown over whether they pay. No showdown over whether they are coming. Just a simple "this is where you are staying". Give them a basic box to start them off (one box of cereal, a loaf etc One roll of loo paper .... if they ask for more, just "forget".). When they run out, offer to drive them to the shops. Then wait in the car!

Because, Tabby, you have put up with enough.
And now, finally, you can draw the line .....because its your home, in your adopted country.....and you owe them nothing.
flowers cake wine

DollyTwat Sat 17-Aug-13 16:39:02

You could get some lodgers in as you're so broke, just for 6 weeks (friends)

Tuppenceinred Sat 17-Aug-13 18:41:32

How about telling them that you don't want them to visit and that you've booked a family trip away when they are due to arrive? Then do it - book at least the first week of their trip away somewhere.
I feel for you, because if they come I don't think you and DH will manage to stand up to them and implement any of these good ideas. That's not being critical, you've been conditioned.

catsmother Sat 17-Aug-13 19:59:09

Tabby - it's good to see you back. I really mean that. I know I don't know you but your situation has been on my mind, and I'm sure a lot of other posters are also worried about you. You say:

"We both felt like we couldn't say anything. They treated us like they did from the start so we just accepted that's how they are & put up with it. It just seems very hard to turn around now after all these years & say what we think. I don't think they realise what they are like. We are both very angry that BIL has been treated differently."

It's good that you and DH both agree what this situation is. Far far better than other poor women facing appalling ILs whose husbands refuse to accept there's an issue at all. In theory this should make it "^easier^" to deal with it because you both want the same outcome - not to be treated with such dreadful contempt any longer.

Can you try to explain what it is that seems "very hard" to say what you think ? What frightens you about doing this ? What do you imagine might happen if you speak your mind 100% ? ......

..... I really don't think you have anything left to lose even if they did huff off never to speak to you again. It doesn't sound as if there's any sort of healthy relationship between them and DH, them and you (as an individual and as a couple) or between them and their grandchildren. It certainly doesn't sound as if you'd lose out on a relationship with BIL as you've never even spoken to him !

I don't think for one minute that they're ignorant of what they're like ..... if they truly thought their meanness (past and present) is normal, then they'd also be like that towards other family members. Let's assume for a moment that this is borne out of ignorance rather than malice (I don't believe that for a second, but still ...) - well, in that case, they'd surely welcome a full and frank discussion in which you laid out how they'd upset you over and over, and how unfairly you thought they'd treated you over the years. Yes - it would be an embarrassing and mortifying conversation but decent normal people would prefer to be told if they'd unintentionally caused upset, however hard it was to hear. But anyway .... I'm pretty damn sure this is more about malice and/or power and/or "simply" greed and entitlement, as in, they've seen an opportunity to take you as mugs and make a bit of money on the side. I really think you do need to confront them with this, put them on the spot and ask them why they do this ? They'll probably bluster, probably deny, probably get terribly "offended" but at least it will all be out in the open and they would then have the choice to either apologise and try to make it up to you, or walk away (which would be no great loss).

Sorry to keep on but I really want to try and help - as I'm sure many more posters do too. If you could just try to put into words what you fear would happen if you put your foot down with them, we could try to make sense of it - and offer you reassurance and support. To be honest - IMO, it's not just about the money issue, it's also about attitude. Even if you were rolling in it and could afford to host them without any problem, it still wouldn't alter the fact they've treated you like dirt for so long. I wouldn't want people like that in my house and with my children regardless. Is it a case of your DH hoping against hope that somehow a miracle is going to happen and that this time things will be different and they'll act like normal loving parents/grandparents ? Is he frightened to assert himself with them because then all final hope of ever having a normal relationship will be gone ? Heavy stuff I know - but it's that sort of thing which often means victims of abusive behaviour hang on in there hoping things will change.

Hope you come back .....

Dear MIL,

As much as we are looking forward to your visit we have a few concerns, as you know we have some financial difficulties and due to this we will need you to supply your own food / etc whilst you are staying with us. As awful as I feel about this I am sure you expected this anyway as it is the norm when staying in someone's house, I just like to know everything is ironed out in advance - with regards to ironing, in order to make your stay more comfortable my friend has loaned us her iron for you to use whilst you are here; I remember how much you hated my old one and want to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Tabby x

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 17-Aug-13 21:09:44

Imagine a mother behaving like that towards her own child. It's just appalling.

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sat 17-Aug-13 21:16:36

I hadn't realised that the OP was back as her posts aren't highlighted for me. Is there a problem with MN at the moment?

catsmother Sat 17-Aug-13 22:02:46

I think she's changed her name very slightly - a capital T instead of lower case, which means her most recent posts aren't highlighting.

holidaysarenice Sat 17-Aug-13 22:14:19

Time to grow a backbone and stand up to them. Why let them do this in ur house?

You have a responsibility to grow up and set a good example for your children.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Sun 18-Aug-13 02:19:52

I still think that the best long term strategy for Tabby and DH to deal with it is to suck up the visit (with the bare minimum effort to themselves and lots of pranayama breathing by Tabby) and then go no contact with them. Tabby, what is the worst thing that can happen if you go co contact with them. Will they no longer speak to you, will they ignore you in Tesco's? The correct answer is, who cares! You live in WA, are 8 hours behind in timezone and you couldn't get any further away from them if you tried (unless you move to Dunedin in NZ). I think at this stage of the game your best option is to make sure that they do not come over again and you do not go to see them. What keeps you tied to them anyway? Does your DH think he may lose some inheritance if he goes no contact? Many children are often held to ransom by parents over this. If so, let me tell you that they gave you nothing whilst alive, you'll get even less when they are gone. Your BIL will see to that.

Let them come, devise your strategy and DO NOT give your in-laws an ounce of warmth (practise shark eyes) and let it be known that they are not welcome again "well, we did mention that we cannot really afford to accommodate guests for 6 weeks. I hope you have a good time as this is the last time we will be having guests stay in our house. In future anyone who wants to come needs to stay in a hotel".

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 05:02:15

Am back with the correct t. I had changed my password & saved changes with Tabbycat15with capital T by mistake.
Thanks for your msgs.
I think it all stems from the start of meeting them. May be as I haven't got any parents & what my foster parents were like I felt I had to make an impression & did whatever to please them. I think Mil knew she was on to a good thing & took advantage of me. The thing with hair & beauty people just assume you will do friends & family for free so I got sucked in from the start.
We were both working full time & she decided that if I stayed over at the weekend I had to pay her 15 pounds. I did think the beauty treatments would have been enough compensation but she didn't see that. As we lived an hour away from each other it was the only way we could see each other so put up with it. I was only ever pleasant but as we were young & I got pregnant they just got worse. Fil said i had ruined DH's career.

They just didn't behave like normal inlaws I imagine would do & just left us just to struggle.

Mil always got her housekeeping cheque every week from Fil & he paid all the bills. They were not hard up but I think she liked to make out that she was. She left her job as a nurse when she got married & never worked after that. I think she saw us as a way to make money.
Maybe it's my childhood not being able to stand up & say what I really think. I was always told to keep quiet & not tell things to social services. When I tried to tell SS they never believed me any way.

I know reading all what they are like it's easy in the outside to say just do this or that but I fear that it's gone on too long that they just expect to treat us like they do. I feel so awkward & so does DH confronting them. They said they can't pay us & have made us feel guilty that they have to spend so much to come & see us.

They are better with the kids as we live so far away that it's only a short time they see them. It's not as if they look after them so aren't really like proper grandparents as the girls don't really know them. DS is nearly 21 now & I don't think he was affected by it growing up. I think when they come here it's a novolty as they see it as a holiday & we are around so they don't have any responsibility towards the kids.

Another thing though don't know if it's relevant but inlaws used to be naturists. They never sat around naked but went to a club in the summer. DH hated going when he was little & I feel that's what's hindered BIL with his social phobia. They wanted to take DS there but we said no but they took him anyway once.

I know we need to sort this out once & for all so I will go through all the suggestions with DH & see the best way forward.

Thanks everyone. I do appreciate your advice.

I just know that I will never treat my kids as they have treated us.

GilmoursPillow Sun 18-Aug-13 06:10:06

If you really can't get out of them freeloading visiting you this time make sure you make it clear they will not be coming back. Ever.

Don't hint at it or dress it up, just say "That was your last visit here. You will not be allowed to stay with us again."

As others have said, you've got nothing to lose.

Hissy Sun 18-Aug-13 07:31:12

They took DS to a nudist camp against your permission?

Add this to all the other dreadful stuff and please, can't you see how you've all been so conditioned to this total contempt and disregard that these things even in isolation, are huge fucking deals!

Are you able to see this?

Would you tell anyone else that this all is nothing and to put up with it?

They are not making any effort or spending any money to come and see any of you.

They are doing that FOR THEMSELVES, and actually, regardless of your circumstances and without any thought to your convenience.

I don't know what it's going to take for you to stand up for yourselves, or your family.but please know that what they have done to you all IS abusive, neglectful, out and out mean and unforgivable.

In future, if you can't say don't come, just find them a B&B.

I'm appalled for your son, i'm sorry but not reacting when he has been SO <violated> by them must be very hard for him to come to terms with. Why didn't my parents stand up for me is a tough question to ask yourself.

I'd like to think that SS and the police'd want to get involved with a child taken to a nudist camp against their, and their parents wishes. It's wrong on every single level.

They are sick, twisted, manipulative and vindictive. Cruelty doesn't even come close to describe all this. These people ARE the vilest of people. I truly hope they die soon so your family will finally be free.

I know this may seem difficult but I I was I your shoes u would actually get. Kick out of finally saying my piece.

I wouldn't want my child to watch me be treated like that. What if his MIL and FIL one day so the same? You need to set an example. Please tell us what you decide to do.

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 07:46:36

They took DS to the nudist camp even when we said no so never gave permission. He was only 3 at the time so I don't think it affected him.
I know this post seems to get worse & may come across as itight not be true but I can assure you it all is.
I just have the strangest of inlaws.

Cerisier Sun 18-Aug-13 07:54:05

I like the caravan idea, if you can lay your hands on one.

My DH and his family used to have to stay in their caravan on the GP's drive when they visited them twice a year as the GM didn't like children in the house. One year when they arrived for a week with their young DC there was a sign on the lawn saying "keep off the lawn". Unsurprisingly my MIL does not have fond memories of her MIL.

mathanxiety Sun 18-Aug-13 08:11:27

You don't have to accept their initial dismissal of you. That doesn't have to be the last word on this subject.
You need to dust yourself off and you go back at them. If they blow you off again you send another email telling them the same thing.
'Sorry, MIL and PIL, you don't seem to have understood the problem we all face here. Unless you pay for your room and board you cannot stay with us as we cannot afford to put you up for 6 weeks. We expect a contribution of AUS$1000, and if you think you can't pay this to us in advance then you will have to make alternative arrangements for your holiday accommodation.'

What do you have to lose here?
You need to sit down and ask yourself the question:
What are all the bad things that could happen here as a result of a business-like email spelling out the reality of this situation?
Concentrate and write each bad consequence down as it occurs to you.

I think one thing might be that you yourself will be in the unfamiliar territory of taking the initiative and it will feel strange, uncontrollable, and unpredictable.
Sometimes dealing with the decisions of others and letting them take the lead feels safer, even if what they decide to do is trample all over you.

Maybe one thing you feel you have to lose is the possibility that you might somehow change them and they might somehow be nice and fair to you. You need to be firm here, let the chips fall where they may, and stop believing in fairy tales. Are you able to let go of the illusion that being The Good One will get you anywhere with these people? Are you willing to let them go and wash them out of your hair? If not why not?

You need to go through life looking forwards, not backwards. All of your posts here harken back to your childhood, your DH's childhood, things that happened 21 years ago, your wedding, explanations of what happened and what has brought you to this turn. None of that is going to bring you forward. When it comes to going forward you stall your engine and let someone else dictate the shape the future will take.

Turn around and start looking forwards. All you get from looking backwards constantly is inability to move forwards, constant bumping into things and being knocked down.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Aug-13 08:14:10

What math said. With bells on. Stop living in the past. This is now, your childrens' lives.

They pay or they do not stay at yours.

Okay, they are coming. That doesn't mean you are forced to accept them

I'm pleased you came back.

I can imagine how hard it might be to try to summon the courage to stand up to these extremely odd people but you and dh must.

There are some great suggestions here.

Imagine the look of shock on their faces when you stand firm and don't play their game.


What math said. You do not have to accept their refusal as final. It is YOUR house, YOUR life.

When is the trip scheduled for? Would you and DH consider counselling? A counsellor may help you take a little control of the current situation and your emotions over your earlier life.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 18-Aug-13 09:07:50

That's amazing advice from mathanxiety. So insightful.

Ledkr Sun 18-Aug-13 09:09:34

tabby if you search my previous threads you will see I had a few pil problems and like you we were too polite to say anything it have a massive confrontation.
Dh was still in child mode around them and never stood up to them.
This resulted in a few occasions which should have been special, being ruined by mils pushyness and over involvement.
One if my issues was them coming to stay, eating loads and even asking when dinner was etc. I was on mat leave for done of the visits then working part time, we are not skint but have to be careful. I did think they could have at least bought some milk or bread.
The catalyst was when we visited them and were fed measly meals and there was nothing to eat for the toddler. Their only grandchild.
I had to go out and buy bananas and yogurts etc
I also had to take dd1 to a cafe as we were so hungry once.
From then on I woke up.
I buy basic foods. Cheap bread and cereal. Margarine,lots if pasta, cheap meat. You get the picture.
No treats at all.
I also get out as much as I can, particularly when I can see they are sniffing for food.
If they ask where their ironing is, tell them it's on the pile and walk away.
If they say their bed needs changing, chick them some linen.
I totally understand you don't feel able to dramatically nan them from your house, but can you at least do those few things?
Think about a scenario.
Our bed needs changing.
Ok ill get you some clean sheets.
Would they actually then say
Oh but we want you to do it.
Even if they do,just don't do it.
What's the worse that can happen?
My pils face was a picture as I dished up a dry pasta bake with no accompanying bits.
It really helped me to take control.

GilmoursPillow Sun 18-Aug-13 09:31:13

I think OP said somewhere that ILs don't have email so it'd need to be airmail sent PDQ.

MadameGazelleIsMyMum Sun 18-Aug-13 09:35:14

Wow OP I cannot believe your inlaws. You have had some great advice, please do take some of it . What's the worst that can happen? They already treat you with contempt and disdain. So what if they are offended? So what if they leave, or threaten not to come back? Really, so what to any reaction they might have? Be strong and if your resolve falters at all, think about what an army if MNers would say. every poster agrees you should do or say something. How rare is that for MN?

DeckSwabber Sun 18-Aug-13 09:39:14

I've read most of the thread, and remember your last one.

I suggest you send them details of car hire firms. You need your car for work.

Tell them that without the $1000 they can't stay with you and give them details of alternative accommodation.

Don't shy away from reminding them that they charged you to stay with them when you were broke.

raisah Sun 18-Aug-13 10:17:24

Book them into a hotel & have them billed directly. Do the bare minimum and if you are going out with them pay your own bill separately. Since they are coming for a long visit could you book them into a short term service flat as it would be cheaper than a hotel.

Make sure that you are both busy with work and have peopke visit you while they u are there. I find my SIL is very quiet when I have company around but very rude & overbearing on her own.

Treat them like they treat you but very subtly draw boundaries as you have been treated like crap anything obvious won't go down well. Book & pay for your own tickets online & say something like 'I wasn't expecting you to pay for us so we've booked/paid for our own."
If you pay for something for them then claim it back next time by saying "We paid for you last time so now it is your turn." Don't back down, it is scary but after she sees that you mean business it should get easier. Nobody has challenged her hideous behaviour, who in their right mind charges to have their gc for an afternoon. What a horrific woman. Is she elderly?

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 18-Aug-13 10:51:38

I think ledkrs advice is great. I just can't see either yourself or your DH kicking them out or booking them into a hotel, so do the most you can to minimize the impact on yourselves.

Meal-plan with the cheapest ingredients you can. Do not go out with them as you know you will end up picking up the bill. Practice some phrases if they suggest it such as "We can't afford to go out, it's too expensive for us to pay for everyone", or less confrontational " That doesn't work for us - why don't you go out and we'll see you later."

On the sheets and ironing, some great suggestions already. Please make this your line in the sand, it's utterly ridiculous that they would expect you to do their ironing. Leave a set of clean spare sheets in the corner of the room, let them know they can change the sheets when they want to and ask them to put the others in the laundry. If your MIL says she can't manage the iron, give her a demonstration, then leave her to it. If she says she still can't work it then shrug your shoulders and walk away.

I wish you hadn't asked them to get you stuff. To them anything you ask is a sign of weakness. If she hasn't already bought the stuff I'd suggest contacting them and asking them not to bother. Honestly having read your story if you tell me what you want I'll get it for you and post it out, anything rather than have you beholden to them. If they have already got it then don't mention it when they arrive. Make them be the ones to get it out and ask for payment. Decide your stance on this in advance. I sense you are not up for the fight that will ensue if you don't pay for it, so maybe just hand over the money and try to forget about it.

No free beauty treatments. Just no. She does not like you, she will not like you any more if you do this for her. Remember this. You could type up a list of prices for treatments before they arrive. If she asks for anything show it to her but say that you offer a 10% discount for friends or family ( emphasis on the or).

I really feel for you, it sounds horrible. Nasty sods. They sound really miserable.

GilmoursPillow Sun 18-Aug-13 11:01:33

what's the worst that can happen?

That they listen to what you say and pay up.

The best that can happen is that they are so offended they never contact you again.

DameFanny Sun 18-Aug-13 11:09:11

Tabby, I know you've got a tight budget at the moment so please pm me your address and I'll send you a copy of Toxic Inlaws, and DH a copy of Toxic Parents - both by Susan Forward.

Fear, Obligation and Guilt - FOG - are classic signs of abusive parenting. But you can do something about this - even just being able to unpick the behaviours would help you identify some ways to react for the future, at a pace you can be comfortable with. Let me do this for you? Please?

Thumbwitch Sun 18-Aug-13 14:08:04

Lots of good advice here.

I will ask you one question though - why do you get them to bring you Calpol, why don't you just use Panadol for children?
And FYI, M&S deliver to Australia for £10 P&P, which I am SURE would be a better option than getting these leeches to bring you anything.

I understand that you have your responses to these people ingrained into you after 21 years. But you can still change your response. They have zero respect for you or your DH - time to change that. Time to decide that you are worth FAR more than they think you are, and to act accordingly.

As for them making you feel uncomfortable in their current ways and responses, you need to consider how you would feel if it was your children behaving in that fashion - and respond accordingly. Be authoritative! TELL them how it's going to be, TELL them that things will be different and that they have the choice to either put up with it or move on.

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:21:00

Hi Thumb witch. My girls don't like Panadol here. They won't take nurofen or anything. They just don't like any medicine. DS always liked the taste of Calpol. I've asked mil to get the Calpol melts for them to try. They get bad headaches or temperatures sometimes but I have tried everything so need to see if they will like the taste.

We order from Next & M&S. I've just asked for some cheap bikinis & tops from Primark for the girls. I also like Cornsilk face powder which I can't get here.

I know we have to put our foot down so I will get DH to read the suggestions too & see which way to go.
Thank you.

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:23:32

Thank everyone for all your suggestions. There are too many to reply individually but I do appreciate it.

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:30:04

Inlaws are coming out end of Nov until 12 Jan.
Mil doesn't drive & we wouldn't trust Fil driving our car as it's brand new or a hire car.

Thumbwitch Sun 18-Aug-13 14:32:18

Ah jeez, you've got them over Christmas?? That's baaad. So sorry. sad

tabbycat15 Sun 18-Aug-13 14:46:59

I know but it does seem to go quick. The girls will still be at school for 3 weeks & we still have to work some of the time. DS will be finished Uni but works so we will only have one car to fit 5. There will be 6 of us so won't all be able to go out together. They don't mind sitting outside as we have just had all our back garden done & new furniture. They can just sit out there. We have a nice park around the corner too. Fil likes to go off walking for 1 1/2 he's every day so he can do that. He has a routine & doesn't like change.
Mil has done everything for him. She gets out his cereal, puts his vitamins on a spoon & puts a tea bag & milk in a cup so all he has to do is boil the kettle. If she goes away for a week all his sandwiches are made & he has a list for the week of which meal he has to put in the oven. He's never known how to work the washing machine or do any housework. They are very old school.

Thumbwitch Sun 18-Aug-13 14:55:40

Well if he's that resistant to change then MIL might as well carry on the same as she does at home, eh?! wink

I can't be doing with people who are that self-indulgently incapable. God help him if anything happens to her before him then - my Dad and my Grandad were both widowed and had to learn how to cope with stuff they'd not done before, but neither of them were as dependent on their wives as your FIL appears to be so got on reasonably well.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 18-Aug-13 19:57:25

"Inlaws are coming out end of Nov until 12 Jan."

Oh my god. Please listen to some of the advice on here. You are going to end up having a nervous breakdown otherwise.

newbiefrugalgal Mon 19-Aug-13 10:02:38

Aargh Christmas.
At least you can charge more for Christmas lunch sad)

oscarwilde Mon 19-Aug-13 13:24:40

Ok - so I've read both threads now.
You have known these people for over 20 yrs and both you and DH have put up with / accepted this crap for a long time. You two clearly don't do confrontation
You emigrated 11 yrs ago and have had one trip home in that time which you are still paying off as a family.
They visit every 2 yrs so I'm guessing this is their 3rd or 4th visit.
Your family income is v tight at the moment but you have recently replaced your car and relandscaped your garden.
You have three children, two small ones and a grown son who lives at home.
Your IL's are going to turn up and expect feeding and watering but otherwise behave as though they were at home, long daily walks for FIL etc.
You would like to ask them for financial assistance while at the same time avoiding a conversation about their past treatment of you.

^^this (the financial assistance) is the killer here along with the garden and car. Leaving aside their horrendous behaviour 20 yrs ago which IMO since you accepted at the time and didn't tell them to do one, you might as well disregard and treat this as a new beginning. Except you won't because you will both allow this treatment of you to continue while becoming more and more resentful during their visit. I pity your kids - you two will be in bad humour for 6 weeks !!

You've had plenty of good advice about managing the cost of having them to stay. Lets stop pretending that you are going to hand them sheets/force them to stay in a hotel/not do their ironing because after 20 yrs your behaviour is probably not going to change.

Stick with the basics food, manage their visit as best you can without committing any additional level of spend, and then ask for money.
Take Control. Do all the passive aggressive stuff on here or the more direct stuff and feel much better for telling them to get stuffed. Don't expect a penny in funding.

Don't forget to mention the Black Widow spider and the mozzie problem.....

LoisPuddingLane Mon 19-Aug-13 13:30:02

Stick with the basics food, manage their visit as best you can without committing any additional level of spend, and then ask for money.

I don't think asking for money at the end, if that is what you meant, is a good idea. It would come as a huge shock and would seem rude - to anyone.

The issue of money needs to be made clear to them before they arrive, in very plain but polite terms.

MissDD1971 Mon 19-Aug-13 13:35:06

Not read through this thread fully but I'd be tempted to force the evil inlaws to stay in a hotel and then visit you and your DH and family.

Then you won't have to ask for money or anything. Make a scene with your DH if you have to.

I wouldn't want anything to do with them personally but if they want to see their grandchildren and your husband that's fine.

Tabbycat - can I make a suggestion? Write the letter you need to write to your PIL here, on this thread. Be completely blunt. Tell them they are not welcome at your house, you will not be hosting their visit, and why this is the case. Tell them how, if they do come, they can book into a hotel. Tell them how their treatment of you, your dh and your family is abusive and you are no longer prepared to put up with it.

You can say WHATEVER you want to say - this is a safe space.

It might help you to see it all in writing - not in the sense of telling us what they have done, but saying what you want to say to them. People on this thread might be able to help you make the letter into one you can send to your PIL.

I have not been in this situation, but from what I have read on this thread and on others, I can empathise with how scary it is to confront the abusers, which is why I am suggesting do it here first, where nothing bad can happen as a result - that might make it easier for you to take the next step and send the letter to your PIL.

I also think you need to redefine how you see their behaviour. They are not stingy or unpleasant or socially phobic - they are abusers, and their behaviour is abusive. If you can see their behaviour for what it actually is, no excuses, no nicer terminologies, that might help you see what needs to be done.

Do you have any friends in the UK who would post out calpol sachets or fastmelts for you?

Tuppenceinred Mon 19-Aug-13 14:49:24

You can't post drugs to Australia.
Apart from that, maybe the advice to write that letter here would help you?

Thank you for telling me that, Tuppence - I didn't know and should have checked before I posted. blush

Tuppenceinred Mon 19-Aug-13 15:00:33

Don't worry! they're very strict though. grin

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 19-Aug-13 15:16:24

Ok, I read your first thread and am on page two of the second. I used to work for an airline. If they've booked business class tickets, they'll be able to change or cancel them with absolute ease and no charge. Fact.

Cut all contact with this evil pair. You and your DH are worth so so much more.

PunkHedgehog Mon 19-Aug-13 15:38:42

On this and the previous thread you have asked several times why they behave this way. There are two reasons:

1) They choose to.

2) (Some) other people choose to let them.

You can't directly change 1; you can change 2.

If you don't make it worth their while to behave like this - and at the moment you are very much making it worth their while, you are paying them to behave like this - they may decide to change 1. After all, you've seen that they don't treat everyone the same way - if people don't reward them for behaving badly, or they think they are risking something they want by behaving that way, they don't do it.

When you say 'it's to late', 'there's nothing we can do', 'they've already decided...' - you are wrong.

There is something you can do. If you want.

You can say no.

You can't afford to pay for their stay, they say they can't afford to pay you but if you look at the cost of their flights you know that is rubbish - they could downgrade to premium economy and save far more than the amount you are asking them for. So you have a choice - accept what they say and let them walk all over you as they have done for two decades, or tell them that no - you want $x up front or they can book a hotel. You are choosing to let them dictate the terms of their stay. You can make a different choice.

MiL is scared of the steam iron? Tough - she's a grown woman. Show her the iron, tell her how it works, and let her choose whether to stop being pathetic or to walk round in wrinkled clothes. You are choosing to reward her fear by doing her ironing. You can make a different choice.

Mil will hand you a bill for the items she's brought? So what? Her handing you a bill doesn't force you to hand her money. You may have chosen to do so in the past but you don't have to make the same choice in the future.

Stop pandering to them. Stop rewarding them for behaving badly.

Either they will start to behave better or they will leave.


oscarwilde Mon 19-Aug-13 15:42:41

LoisPudding I understood from the OP that they would like to ask for money full stop. Not just a contribution towards their upkeep while they visit.

Very difficult to ask for financial assistance if you can be perceived as recently splashing the cash on a car and a garden. If day to day living is becoming difficult, it is far better imo to demonstrate that over a few weeks and then have a conversation about the level of support given to BIL and why none of it seems to come their way.

That said, it doesn't sound like they will receive any so if it were me, I'd be sending them to a hotel. Doesn't sound like the OP and her DH will though so in my view it is more about minimising the cost of the stay as much as possible and sending them home with no intention of ever returning. smile

Thumbwitch Mon 19-Aug-13 15:49:34

You can post drugs to Australia but not more than 3 months supply under normal dosage. And it has to be a legal drug in Australia so there are exceptions (thalidomide being an obvious exception, anabolic steroids also being very tricky) This explains it if you can get through the official language.

I know it is a tiny, tiny part of the issue, but if your MIL doesn't like the steam iron, she can empty it out, and then it won't steam. But in reality, that is just an excuse for her to be lazy and have others work their fingers to the bone for her.

Jux Mon 19-Aug-13 16:11:06

I've now read both your threads.

I agree with the poster on the other thread who suggested you adopt MIL's approach and tell her as money is tight and prices are high, that you are forced to charge x dollars a week each to visitors. You are sorry that you have to do this, but are sure she will understand having had to resort to that herself in the past....

Make sure you charge a decent amount to cover the extra power, water, and food. While you're writing, point out that you will be using the car yourselves and it is not large enough to fit two extra passengers, but that they can hire one from X or Y.

Finally, you appreciate that this is an unexpected expense for them, but that Business Class travel is easily refundable and you would understand if they chose to cancel the visit altogether.

Make sure it is from DH first and foremost, so starts Dear Mum and Dad or whatever he calls them. Add your name at the end if you want to.

MissDD1971 Mon 19-Aug-13 17:15:23

I don't get why suddenly OP has to charge money to these evil beings. It should never have been about charging for anything. the inlaws should just pay their way - eg food etc. Maybe OP can absorb (polite and a bit generous) some power etc costs as a gesture. But not food etc.

Chances are they won't pay up or will whinge to their DS (her DH) about how unfair OP is by charging them.

and car hire?! I think OP made a rod for her back allowing them (I think this was case) to use last time so they now think it's ok now. yes, car hire firm is way to go.

You don't want to isolate them completely and make them not come ever (as it's very long way away).

but you should compromise and by all means DO NOT run yourself ragged waiting on them hand and foot and bowing down to their needs.

would THEY put themselves out eg steam iron etc for you?? highly doubtful so just be firm. And get DH to back you up or no sex for forseeable future....

Jux Mon 19-Aug-13 17:33:09

Have you read both threads, MissDD? Perhaps you should.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Aug-13 17:49:20

' And get DH to back you up or no sex for forseeable future....'

People don't honestly live like this, do they?

Ledkr Mon 19-Aug-13 18:54:00

Yes. Sex is a reward for menz good behaviour.
Did you not know that expat? grin

DollyTwat Mon 19-Aug-13 19:28:52

I'd be inclined to have very noisy sex ALL THE TIME they were visiting, walk about naked and say you've turned hippy. Smoke lots of dope and play Bob Dylan on a loop. That'd get rid of the buggers grin

TheCraicDealer Mon 19-Aug-13 20:05:10

Dolly, they're nudists so they might actually stay longer if they're encouraged that way.

Tabby, whatever you decide to do, even if it's something small like making them do their own washing stick to your guns. It's your car, it's your house, it's your food, and they're your fucking sheets, and if they don't like it they stick their hands in their pockets or leave.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Mon 19-Aug-13 20:17:43

Bob Dylan Dollytwat? Now you are going too far, no-one deserves that....

MissDD1971 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:33:04

Expat the no sex was a joke. Lol

No I haven't read both threads

MissDD1971 Mon 19-Aug-13 21:43:43

Just read both posts (not responses) and yes OPs inlaws are mean, stingy, OOO etc.

Either you put up and let them walk all over you or you have it your way or they don't stay.

2 options. I know I was left waiting hand and foot on a cousins (about 5) who stayed and never again. They weren't so much ungrateful only didn't offer to help. Now anyone staying with me I either look after them (1 or more people) or they help out.

I wouldn't ask for money towards bills or food but then my relatives/friends would not stay as long as OP. I see no harm in asking for money seeing that's what happened other way round just I don't see OPs inlaws will pay.

DollyTwat Mon 19-Aug-13 22:54:23

I think Woody Guthrie (sp) would be enough to send anyone home!

Seriously Tabby 6 weeks is going to send you insane. It's just way too long especially with Christmas in there, just Christmas Day sends a lot of us over the edge.

So, I what about this for a suggestion: get the number of someone local who could change sheets, clean, iron, cook meals etc for them. Then when they want hotel type service you can give them the no and tell them they'll need to pay for it. You don't have to do it, or ask for money

tabbycat15 Tue 20-Aug-13 00:04:05

Thanks everyone for your replies.
I'm not to sure about the reference to our new car & garden. We built out house 5 years ago & you don't get a back yard. We have lived with just sand outside the back if our house all this time. DH did a masters degree & we have worked hard the past 5 years to pay off his $19k student debt. Until recently I worked 3 jobs 6 days a week. I am a mobile beauty therapist & our car was 10 years old. We could finally refinance after all this time to finish our house & buy a new car but we are not well off by any means. I still work 2 jobs & we don't go out anywhere or go on holiday. I never get to treat myself to anything & go without so my kids can have things. Money is still tight as it is expensive to live here.

I need some time to go over all the replies but I do appreciate everyone's advice.

Thumbwitch Tue 20-Aug-13 01:43:44

Don't worry about the weird refs to your "splashing the cash" - it's pretty obvious that's not the case.

I do like Jux's approach, to turn MIL's attitude back on her - she can hardly complain then! I still doubt you'll get any actual money out of them, but if you stick to keeping the bare minimum of food in the house, and leaving the stuff for them to do, they might get the hint.

Also, when they arrive (assuming you don't manage to put them off by pre-warning them that you're expecting them to fork out for a hire car, food and lodging), take them straight away to the laundry and show MIL how to work stuff. After all, she does it at home, how different can it be? As for the steam iron, as SDTG says, just tip the water out, problem solved. It will still work, just less efficiently.

You CAN do this, tabby - just start a thread and keep it running throughout, we'll back you all the way and help you stay strong whenever you start to weaken!

mathanxiety Tue 20-Aug-13 02:11:35

DollyTwat, the walking around naked wouldn't put these folks off as they used to be naturists.

Tabby, sadly I suspect your ILs are never going to shut up about how you are rolling in dough when they see your car and garden.

You really need to take control of this situation. Steel yourself.

lazydog Tue 20-Aug-13 03:57:39

tabbycat15 - Not trying to put pressure on you, and apologies if I've missed you answering this already, but have you given any thought to the recurring "What's the worst that could happen?" question that keeps popping up from various posters....?

Get your DH to tell them you cannot afford to have them stay unless they pay!

Weigh up which is worse: (a) A short period of feeling awkward - possibly with the bonus of them deciding to never visit again smile or (b) the prolonged stress of your increased financial struggling, long after they've gone, and teaching your kids that it's acceptable to be treated so terribly and that they shouldn't stand up for themselves! sad

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Tue 20-Aug-13 07:24:39

tabby, don't giveher any beauty treatments. In fact, how can you possibly touch someone who is such an ugly person on the inside. It would make my skin crawl TBH. If she wants them, she can pay for them.

SquidgyMummy Tue 20-Aug-13 07:48:11

Hi OP,
read bits of this thread and some of your original thread. I really feel for you having the ILs from hell over.
I really do think you should think about getting some counselling to help you get over your dreadful foster parents and also help you be more assertive towards your IL's. Ideal would be for you to just tell them not to come and visit, but i know that that is easier said than done given they way you have been conditioned from childhood.

I think if they do end up staying, i would arrange to go somewhere else for a few days over Xmas (even rent somewhere or stay with friends if possible, leave all your kids xmas presents there and obviously you will contribute towards food & drink). Then a couple of days before Xmas, jump in your car and off you go. Make sure you do not leave anything to eat, empty the fridge and let them fend for themselves over Xmas.

Do not have guilt whatsoever over this. I would not actually bother coming back till after New year. grin

That'll learn 'em

ProphetOfDoom Tue 20-Aug-13 08:06:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hi Tabby. I've read everything so won't be making impossible suggestions!

The salient points for me are

1. They are bullies/abusive.

2. Your own childhood stops you from recognising how awful their behaviour truly is.

3. It also makes you feel powerless to change what comes next.

4. You will be/are becoming bitter and angry which will take away from the happiness you've worked so hard for.

Standing up to bullies is terrifying, and no doubt they will resist any attempts for you to do so. BUT THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOW SO AWFUL THAT YOU MUST.

Please write that letter. We will help you to word it if you want us to. They have to be told that either they pay $1000 up front towards the cost of their stay - NOT for you to slave for them- or they cancel their flights. There are no other options on the table, nor will there be.

You and your family unit's happiness is your priority. They do not have the right or power to change that UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM. Someone has to budge but it doesn't always have to be you flowers

tabbycat15 Tue 20-Aug-13 09:09:38

Thanks for all your replies. I have seen 5 psychologists, 3 counsellors, 2 psychiatrists & currently see a psychologist that is funded from an eating disorders foundation. I have told them all about my childhood & not one has ever really helped. They just listen & nod but never give me any coping strategies. The current one is probably the best but all she seems today is the reason your feel like this is because of this or that. I have been seeing her for over a year but don't really get anything out of the session.

I know my childhood has made me put up with their behaviour.. I'm not really sure what I'm scared off facing up to them but something is stopping me. I know I never had a proper family but maybe I just see that you have to make the best of the ones you have warts & all. I just don't know
why I'm finding it so difficult.

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 09:14:30

My parents were pretty rubbish - there was alcoholism, DV, general marital horribleness for years - but they never, ever charged me for babysitting their granddaughter. (To be truthful they never really babysat but my mum looked after her while I had driving lessons).

Charging to look after a beloved grandchild is just unheard of. Well, until now. IT'S NOT NORMAL.

MinginInTheRain Tue 20-Aug-13 09:20:09

I know this was from a few days ago but couldn't pass by and not comment.

It sounds as if you know they are awful but feel unable to respond similarly to them. I think you accept they wont change or treat you or your DH or DC well. their treatment of you echoes your upbringing by your appalling FC. It may feel familiar and therefore you know how to cope with their behaviour - you learnt how to cope as a child and are still doing that.

I implore you to change your behaviour - they obviously won't theirs. You deserve so much better. You moved to other side of the world - you escaped.

They don't deserve anything from you. Charge them or bill them or whatever. If they never want to see you again then so much the better. Your DC are better off with no GP than seeing their behaviour and your treatment by them.

Good luck. Never forget how amazing you are.

DeckSwabber Tue 20-Aug-13 09:22:30

My observation is that this is about the relationship between your husband and his parents, but you have taken it on as your problem. Its a huge burden to you which you can't resolve.

I think you need to put this back into his court. Tell him how you feel about the impending visit. Tell him you need HIM to resolve this before Christmas is ruined for you all, including the children.

It does you credit that you are still willing to try, but from what you have said this is just going to hurt you.

What stops you? FOG. Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

All emotions that are familiar and designed to keep you in the place you are now. None of them belong to you and it's their rejection that will set you free.

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 09:29:41

I can imagine what will happen if you do treat them firmly though. MiL will no doubt throw the most monumental of kicked puppy strops. Expect meaningful silences, banging and sighing, and accusatory looks from FiL. Still, they might go home early smile.

DeckSwabber Tue 20-Aug-13 09:55:14

I also think that you have to behave in a way which YOU are comfortable with, that 'sits right' with you, and your husband.

You and your husband can make the boundaries clear in advance, politely but firmly.

By the way - has your husband had counselling? As I said above, this is really his issue. You are just in the firing line.

Jux Tue 20-Aug-13 11:23:27

Are you angry about any of this? Are you angry that they treat BIL so differently? If you can access that anger and use it to act - write the letter - then I think you are likely to start really moving on from all the injustice you have suffered throughout your life.

I'm sorry your psychs etc haven't helped much. Are you fighting against negative emotions? Would this be because you are worried that once you start feeling utter fury (entirely reasonable) against your FCs, SS who wouldn't listen to you, teachers who should have noticed, your ILs who are carrying on the abuse, then you're scared you won't be able to stop?

tabbycat15 Tue 20-Aug-13 12:23:37

DH hasn't had any individual counselling but had come to a few sessions with different psychologists & my psychiatrist so he understands all what I've been through.

I know it his parents but it affects me more than DH how Inlaws have treated us. He is angry too that BIL has been treated different but it doesn't get to him like it does me. We did broach the paying us some money over the phone but were immediately made to feel guilty as they said it costs them so much to come & see us & implied that was payment enough. They won't cancel/change their flights as they always wanted to go business class one time.
They went on about FIL's cancer, BIL & his problems, the roof leaking & how it had been such a bad year. The only thing they were looking forward to was a lovely holiday & want nothing to spoil it.
We are polite $ accommodate them & I realise that I probably do too much for them when they are here I suppose I treat them as I would any guest. Maybe I just don't have a bad bone in my body. I feel I always have to be nice even if I'm crumbling underneath. I suffered with PND so bad & have been left with major depressive disorder. I see a psychiatrist for my meds & will be on meds for the rest of my life.
I am angry but no one has helped me deal with my childhood. SS didn't want to know, FC are probably dead. There is nothing I can to direct this anger at anyone. There is always something every day that reminds me. I just have to live my life as best I can & as stable as I can be on my meds.

Thumbwitch Tue 20-Aug-13 12:39:48

Tabbycat - it isn't bad to want people to treat you with respect, and to do something to ensure that they do. You have, perforce, become a "people pleaser" but in doing so are ensuring that your needs and wants are always at the bottom of the pile. This is obviously not good for you.

You have to do what you can live with. Take some of the advice on board here - keep everything low key, basic, you do the bare minimum, your DH the same. You are not there to be your ILs slaves!

So they've had a bad year and don't want anything to spoil their holiday - talk about emotional guilt-tripping. You HAVE to take a stand and say "enough is enough - we are not crippling ourselves, financially and emotionally, any longer."

Sounds like you've tried a lot of therapists for your emotional load from your childhood - have any of them been NLP therapists? Just asking because proper NLP therapists (not necessarily "life coaches") can give you excellent coping/clearing strategies to help you get past the legacy of your childhood. PM me if you want to know more. smile
Incidentally, NLP can help you with standing up to emotional bullies too...

DeckSwabber Tue 20-Aug-13 12:40:55

OK. I get you.

However, there are a lot of negative things being mixed up in your head and rolled into one. Your in-laws are not your FCs.

They are very successfully passing the buck back to you. Your in-laws are choosing to go business class rather than contributing to the cost of their stay.

Your HUSBAND needs to take control of this and tell them they need to make a contribution. Your husband should be protecting you from this. They are HIS parents. They are tearing you to pieces and he need to stop them from doing it.

The MN phrase that comes to mind is 'that doesn't work for me'. Tell your husband that the current plan for Christmas doesn't work for you. Its making you ill.

I'm sorry you've had such a terrible time over the years and I'm bloody angry on your behalf at the way your in-laws ride roughshod over you and your family.

I second Jux in the opinion that once you let the anger out, you're worried all hell will break loose.

You have lots of people [albeit it strangers] behind you here, backing you up.

Use this support and make a stand, start small and build up your responses.

They're not due til November, you have time to deal with this.

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 12:45:51

it costs them so much to come & see us...They won't cancel/change their flights as they always wanted to go business class one time

OK that's their choice. They don't HAVE to go business class. We'd all like to, I'm sure. But they've decided that's what they want to do. So that's why it's costing them so much. Do not back down.

CitygirlbytheC Tue 20-Aug-13 12:54:45

Tabby, you can't change the past.

You CAN change the future! What's the worst that could happen if you stood up to them?

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 12:58:46

It looks to me like you've broached the subject of money with them twice now, so they know it's a serious issue. I think you (and your husband) have to stand firm and say, bottom line, you can't afford to keep two adults for six weeks. And it wouldn't just be the food and household stuff, it would be extra trips and meals out, and exta petrol.

Bottom line. You can't afford it. They can - they just shelled out thousands, voluntarily, to fly business class.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 20-Aug-13 13:44:43

Right, I'm going to recommend three books I have mentioned over and over on here but I really rate them highly for providing practical help in being assertive. Look for them in your library or for second-hand copies.

Anne Dickson - A Woman In Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You. - this is a really good guide for anyone on being assertive but the title reflects what Dickson says about how this is often particularly difficult for women as we are culturally conditioned to be 'nice' no matter what, as you've said of yourself.

Anne Dickson (again) - Difficult Conversations. This gives you examples and 'scripts' for really hard stuff to talk about with partners, family etc so should help you in preparing a script for dealing with the ILs.

Manuel Smith - When I Say No, I Feel Guilty. This contains advice on the 'broken record' technique for saying no, which you will also find online, but the whole book is helpful for people like you who are struggling with their conditioning to put up with anything and everything.

Try and get hold of one of these at least and see if it helps.

And as has been said, what's the worst that can happen? I guess that they turn up on your doorstep expecting the red carpet treatment anyway. In that case, roll out the ultra cheap noodles...

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 14:03:46

Also, every evening should be about making music on your home made instruments, and singing the collected works of Westlife. If that doesn't get rid of them...

Tabby - if the visit goes ahead, would I be right in saying that you and dh are going to end up taking on more debt, in order to finance the costs of the visit? If so, I can foresee the two of you breaking your backs to pay off that debt, only to have your PIL announce another visit, which will cost you a shedload more cash, sending you back into debt.

Do you want that for your children? Could you, perhaps, use that as the motivation for you to stand up to your PIL? They do not sound like good grandparents, and anyone who makes you and your dh so unhappy is not going to be good for your children, and it would be no loss if your PIL took the hump and didn't come to visit.

Would it help if we wrote some sample letters for you to send to your PIL? If the Fear, Obligation and Guilt makes it too hard for you to stand up to them on your own, could you make use of us as surrogate backbones, to help you do it this first time? And rest assured, I am NOT saying that in a critical way - it is so obvious to me that you are really struggling with taking those first few steps, and maybe it would be easier with the Might of the Mumsnet Massive behind you.

expatinscotland Tue 20-Aug-13 15:03:27

I'd direct my anger at this abusive, toxic, manipulative fuckwits who are your ILs, tabby.

Your children don't need this.

FUCK them and their fucking holiday. You are not a hotel.

They are taking money from your children and they don't give a shit.

Doesn't that anger you and your husband? Why continue to be a victim? The past is the past, this is you laying down the now.

You don't need to do anything for these people.

They have the means to pay for their own holiday.

They are coming over here to kick you in the teeth because they know they can.

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 15:05:34

Dear Mom and Pop in Law

We are so looking forward to your visit and have been measuring the portions of rice to make sure there will be enough for everyone. I thought that you would like the opportunity to see the sights so we've borrowed a tandem from our neighbours for your sole use.

And don't worry about money - our children don't really need shoes that much.

Love, your Daughter in Law.

LoisPuddingLane Tue 20-Aug-13 15:08:12

But seriously...the law must be laid down. They pay you for their keep or they don't come.

Oh Tabby, I just want to wrap you up in a big hug. You sound so down.

Would it help to break things down/ separate them out? Your childhood is one issue. The way your in laws treated you when you first married is another. Unfortunately, shit though they were, you can't do anything about them. They are in the past. The upcoming visit could be seen as something totally different. It is in the future. And, using some of the advice here, you could do things to make it better.

On a slightly different note, you say the counselling hasn't given you any coping strategies. Do you want some? Because lots of people have offered strategies here that you could use.

Good luck.

catsmother Tue 20-Aug-13 18:48:15

Oh Tabby .... I keep thinking about you, and the dread you're so obviously feeling already in anticipation of this enforced visit. It's even worse that it's Xmas isn't it - because there's almost certainly going to be this expectation (even more so than usual) of special Christmas fare and treats isn't there ? Just to add effing insult to injury. Christmas is fraught enough for many families due to politics, "duty" and keeping everyone happy but with all the added and extremely unhealthy history in your particular family I should imagine that this visit couldn't come at a worse time. In other words, if you find it hard enough to stand up to them anyway, you're probably going to feel "guilty" at considering that this time round due to the bloody time of year.

You still haven't actually laid out what it is that's preventing you and your DH from tackling this further, laying it absolutely on the line and TELLING them what will and what won't be tolerated. What is it that you fear might happen if you do this ? Please try to put your fears into words - because I'm sure we can all support you and explain why the various resulting scenarios need not be something to be frightened of.

Ponders Tue 20-Aug-13 20:59:36

I bet they won't even bring Christmas presents for the kids angry

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 20-Aug-13 22:14:08

God Tabby nothing worse can happen to you than is happening to you now.

Any change will be an improvement. Is it going to come from them? No, of course not. Is it going to come from you?

If you are so desperate for family ties that you will put up with this then there's nothing anyone can do or say to change your mind. You've decided this is what you want.

tabbycat15 Wed 21-Aug-13 03:22:00

Thanks everyone.
I will get the books as suggested. I can't afford any more counselling as we have to be referred by a Dr. You only get a set number of sessions per year on our Medicare but you have to pay a gap fee. Any sessions over that you have to pay full price which is $150 a time. I haven't had nlp counselling.
With regards to coping strategies I meant more with how to deal with my childhood/ depression not directly with the inlaw's. It seems I go to a session, tell them everything & cry then I get to a point where I just don't get anything out of the session. No one has done any actual work with me. The crux of my issues is my childhood, inlaws is just another added issue.

I appreciate everyone's advice but I won't make this thread any longer as I need some time to decide the best way forward.

Thumbwitch Wed 21-Aug-13 04:55:18

PM'd you, tabby smile

SquidgyMummy Wed 21-Aug-13 08:39:33

i have pm'd you too

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 05:37:58

BIL just MSG. His girlfriend had been bleeding & had a scan. They couldn't find a heartbeat. She had an abortion, it was a little boy. She was 20 weeks. The baby couldn't have been growing. Not sure what will happen as think they were just making a go of thing because of the baby.

Mil will turn it all around saying how it's all so terrible. What else can go wrong this year.. She will probably say it's a blessing in disguise as maybe there was something wrong with it. I hope she doesn't say it to her, though but she did say to me when I told her I was pg that there was always the possibly I could lose it. She does say what she thinks.

They didn't really like the GF as it was a girl that BIL had a one night stand with & think she got pg on purpose. She is 15 years younger than BIL.

I don't know what will happen now if they will stay together. Everything will be doom & glom when we phone tomorrow.

GilmoursPillow Thu 22-Aug-13 05:40:18

Maybe you can persuade them that their time would be better spent staying there and comforting BIL.

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 05:48:47

Nothing will stop them coming. They'll probably pay for BIL to come out too, they did last time his marriage broke up. My saga just gets worse!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 22-Aug-13 05:57:16

If they can afford to pay an extra air fare THEY CAN AFFORD TO PAY YOU FOR SOME OF THEIR FOOD AND LODGING.

FFS, Tabby.

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 06:16:04

They paid last time but I wouldn' t put it past them to ask if he can come too. His flat sale would have gone through so after settlement he will have some money this time but they'd expect us to put him up for free.

Thumbwitch Thu 22-Aug-13 06:44:54

Tabby - they might expect you to put him up for free but really, you don't HAVE to do so. In fact if they let him come too, then you really DO need to put your feet down collectively, you and DH, and insist they pay towards food at least.

Hissy Thu 22-Aug-13 06:46:13

Tipping point tabby.

Time to say HOTEL.

GilmoursPillow Thu 22-Aug-13 06:53:41

It's in your power to say NO, tabby. Yours and your DH's.

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 07:05:21

I'm only assuming at the moment so will have to see what's said when we speak to them tomorrow.

I do feel sad that they lost the baby as it might have changed Bil. He would have had to realise that he had a responsibility & might have been good for him to get away from inlaws.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 22-Aug-13 07:15:12

I'm sad for your BIL as well, but you are still sounding so very very passive. What are you going to say to them tomorrow? All this passive voice about 'seeing what's said'... why don't you stop seeing what's said, and say things?

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 07:20:50

I was going to go over the replies this weekend but this has been some sad news so i don't think tomorrow we can start talking money until the dust settles.

DeckSwabber Thu 22-Aug-13 07:30:56

I'm with you on that, Tabby. It would be insensitive.

Hissy Thu 22-Aug-13 07:44:24

Erm, insensitive? No way!

You know she thought the GF was a gold digger at best!

BIL and his GF is tragic, awful, but doesn't actually have a single thing to do with the fact that your IL are going to come, regardless, and cost you a fortune you don't have!

They are coming because they want to. (for them, not to see you/family)

They are flying Business, because they want to.

They chose to charge you stupid amounts of money, we're stingy and mean when you stayed with them.

You don't have the spare money to fund their jolly.

The phrase to practice is: "We've looked at our situation, and can't afford to host an extended visit. As there's a précédent set here, you can either pay US the 170 quid a week you charged us, or we can book you into a B&B."

As their flights are business, they can be cancelled, transferred, changed without penalty.

They could cut short their trip to 2weeks for example.

If they won't pay up, you can tell them that they can stay for 2 weeks, but no longer, and you'll transfer them to a hotel for any remainder.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 09:53:51

You two seem to continually run into excuses to be passive and put up with their shit. It's working for you, somehow, to be a victim.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 09:57:03

' so i don't think tomorrow we can start talking money until the dust settles.'

Dust settles on what? You have accepted they are coming, staying with you, you will spend $1000 on them and have accepted they are bringing BIL with them and you're paying for him, too.

Where are your kids in this?

You are setting an example for your kids that it is okay to be abused.

until the dust settles? Your ILs are going to milk this one. Why? Because they know they can abuse you both. You and your DH continually enable them in this.

And your kids are taking every bit of it on board.

I think that is a bit harsh, expat. I see tabbycat as being emotionally and practically paralysed - in a similar way to someone in a DV relationship. Which, in a sense, she is. Her PIL have abused her, over a number of years, and she feels utterly stuck in the pattern of things the way they are.

We can all see what she needs to do, and from outside, it does look very simple - send the PIL any one of the messages that have been suggested on this thread, basically telling them that the OP cannot afford to host them for 6 weeks, and isn't prepared to put up with their shit any longer - but it is very clear to me how difficult the OP is actually finding this.

I would love the chance to be a sort of anti-mediator in these kinds of situation - I would happily ring up/email/write to tabbycat's in-laws, and tell them exactly where they get off, on her behalf. But I am not sure that would help tabby.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 10:28:23

And that cycle is either broken or it's not. But you have to want to break it. Continually enabling, for whatever reason, is just that.

ihearsounds Thu 22-Aug-13 10:30:48

No you don't wait for the dust to settle. You deal with the issue now.

You tell them again they need to cough up cash for their stay. You listen to their excuses. You assert yourself and say well yes that may be so, but this is the situation. Either you are paying your way or don't bother coming. By paying for your way I mean you contribute towards all household expenses. You do your own laundry. You hire your own car. Don't expect me to run around after you. Don't expect us to take you places. If these terms are not acceptable, either don't come or book yourselves into a hotel.

They will continue about how much it has cost, yadda yadda. Be more assertive and tell them what part of you cannot afford to have them stay do they not understand. The flight is not your problem. They should have considered all the costs of a holiday, not just the flight. If they cannot afford daily costs then they cannot afford a holiday and what you are understanding is that they will not be coming because they cannot afford reasonable expenses.

They are very selfish and don't give a shit that their stay will take food from their gc's mouths. Stop being such a doormat.

perfectstorm Thu 22-Aug-13 10:43:29

They are stealing from you, and you're stealing from your own kids, in effect, to fund that. And you are also teaching your kids to allow people to abuse you without a murmur.

You are an adult. You have the power to change this situation. No, it's not that easy. It's excruciatingly hard. But that isn't an excuse for not doing it - a lot of things you have to do for your kids are excruciatingly hard, that's the deal.

You are allowing your in-laws to financially abuse your children and are failing to protect them from that abuse. I'm sorry, but that's the reality.

WeAreEternal Thu 22-Aug-13 11:06:29

Wait a few weeks and then tell them that due to financial hardship you are having to take in some lodgers as you need the money.
And as a result there will be no room for them to stay with you.
But you have research some hotels that are not too far away (but not too close either).

Remember the MN mantra, 'no is a complete sentence'
And just repeat that there is nothing you can do.

Ask a few fronds to pretend that they are living with you when the ILs visit.

You could even claim to have ha to move all of the DCs into one room and be sleeping on the sofa so that you can rent out all of the bedrooms.

Or you could push it further and say that you are having to rent out your house as you can't afford the mortgage and are staying with friends. Then they really can't stay.

I can really sympathise with having evil ILs.
I'm so sorry that you have to put up with them after the awful foster parents that you had.

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 11:07:41

Thank you SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius I think that is exactly how I feel.

I think this thread is getting very long but I am finding some of the comments harsh. If it was as easy as people have said I would have done something by now.

I appreciate all the replies but I won't be posting anymore.

PunkHedgehog Thu 22-Aug-13 11:43:33

" I have seen 5 psychologists, 3 counsellors, 2 psychiatrists & currently see a psychologist that is funded from an eating disorders foundation. I have told them all about my childhood & not one has ever really helped. They just listen & nod but never give me any coping strategies."

When you are able to afford more therapy (next Medicare year), make sure you get 'solution-focussed therapy', such as CBT. You seem to have doen't a lot of delving into your past - you know what the problems where there. What you need is to stop looking at that and to find ways to make your future better. Not 'tell me about your mother' but 'when X makes you feel Y, what can you do to change your reaction?'.

We had some assertiveness training at work, and they pointed out that a lot of people say 'yes' rather than 'no' because they don't like confrontation. But avoiding a small confrontation of saying 'no' to work you don't have time to do actually leads to a much bigger confrontation later when you haven't done it. The same applies outside work - a small difficult thing now can save a much larger difficult thing later.

Take a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle to make two columns. On the left write down what frightens you about having the 'pay us money or don't visit' conversation. On the right put what frightens you about the visit (remember to include the stress before they arrive, what happens when they are actually there, and the financial strain after they go home).

Compare the length of those two lists. Which is actually more difficult: saying no, or saying yes?

unobtanium Thu 22-Aug-13 11:55:25

I feel sorry for tabby. She's not being weak; she is in an incredibly difficult situation and getting no help from her dh.

The incessant and increasingly shrill scolding and warnings concerning how this is likely to scar her children are unfair.

We can't all step in here and tell her what she should do. If only it were that easy, one of her many therapists would have solved the whole thing by now.

Best of luck tabby, you are under unfair pressure from all sides here and I really hope you get the right support at the right time to help you through this. If you find a way to stand up to these people and make their (inevitable) stay unpleasant, I will be thrilled for you.

LoisPuddingLane Thu 22-Aug-13 12:21:24

Seriously if you want a (non joky) letter drafted, I'm sure people here can help. At the moment you are on course for at least six weeks of misery and resentment and anger.

Confronting parents (or in laws) is never, ever easy. They will, probably, try to blame you, or defend their own actions or, when all else fails, turn on your personally. But none of it is about you - they are fucked up people. Charging for the childcare of your grandchild is one of the meanest things I've eve heard.

catsmother Thu 22-Aug-13 12:26:16

I think most of us with this thread on our minds feel incredibly sorry for Tabby, and desperately want to help. I guess anything which seems "harsh" has been written from a "tough love" perspective because quite clearly this situation isn't going to be solved with any sort of "softly softly" approach - PILs seemingly don't have a "better nature" to appeal to - and unfortunately, neither do any of us have a magic wand to wave.

PunkHedgehog's list idea is a great one. This is all about tackling Tabby's fear and so far, she hasn't really identified what frightens her so much about the idea of confronting them and asserting her right to be treated with consideration and respect (plus her DH and kids). I've mentioned a couple of times now that she needs to try and put into words what she fears might happen were she to truly and unmistakeably stand up for herself but she hasn't - and it is frustrating when we all want to help her to help herself. Saying "it's not as easy as that" is a given - we all appreciate that, really we do and have great sympathy. Standing up to bullies is never easy or simple, but the fact remains that nothing will be achieved simply by continually repeating that it's not easy - other than, I suppose, the momentary relief which comes from sounding off about someone who's unreasonable.

There really is, sad to say, nothing more we can do other than agree how awful this situation is unless Tabby bites the bullet and shares her fears. It's absolutely safe for her to do so here - it's anonymous of course, we aren't the PILs, and she'll undoubtedly receive a wide variety of different suggestions for how to cope, how to make things less scary, tactics for asserting herself and so on, as well as reassurance about how much better she'd feel if she could prevent this impending visit happening in the way it always has done previously (or at all for that matter). There are 4 months (ish) until the Christmas visit - that's a lot of time in which Tabby could work on this - and I can guarantee there are lots of MNers who'd be willing to run with Tabby and handhold however long it takes - so long as she too is willing to take steps towards sorting it out.

I really really do feel for you Tabby. I personally spent many years dreading ever running into a close relative because of their attitude and nastiness and no, it wasn't quick and easy to "get rid" so to speak. So I think I can say that I do have some little understanding of how you feel. But I wish you'd let "us" try to help you by explaining what you fear will happen if you stood up to them.

LoisPuddingLane Thu 22-Aug-13 14:08:05

I think that is a very fair post, catsmother.

Realistically, Tabby is not likely to do something so outside her comfort zone or character as to forbid the inlaws from staying and just handing them hotel information.

But hopefully we can help Tabby to state in a firm way that putting up two or maybe three adults for 6 weeks, and doing all their housework, is just not possible.

ZorbaTheHoarder Thu 22-Aug-13 14:16:09

I just wonder why your husband does not seem able to do more to protect you from his parents' horrible ways. Why has he not stepped in over the years to tell them where to get off? He must be aware of all the stress and unhappiness that their behaviour is causing you, but appears to be leaving you to deal with the fallout.

I really feel for you, Tabby, and I know it can be very, very difficult to break the patterns of a lifetime and stand up for yourself, but it is actually within your power to say "I am not putting up with this nonsense any more".

As many other posters have pointed out, refusing to take their bullying any more is not going to make things worse for you - THEY CANNOT GET ANY WORSE! If you find a way of cutting them out of your life, things will start looking a lot better for you!

I sincerely hope you find the courage you need.

Jux Thu 22-Aug-13 16:54:21

It's a shame that you can't afford solution-focused therapy, and that as a result you can't say no to these people who are fleecing you, as a result of which you can't afford more therapy.....

If you can gird your loins and tell them that they are really going to have to pay their way this time, then you would save a lot of money which you can put to much better use.

Do you see the vicious cycle you are in?

When you are on the phone to them, have an absorbing book with you, have your piece prepared - written down if it will help - say it. Read your book until they've wound down, say your piece again. Say goodbye.

Littleen Thu 22-Aug-13 17:45:52

You need to either charge them for staying or tell them to find a hotel. I'd cut contact with these people, as they are not role models for your children, your mother in law sounds like a spawn of satan, excuse my saying. Make them a bill atleast. What does your husband say about it all?

perfectstorm Thu 22-Aug-13 21:25:47

Tabby, I honestly don't think anyone thinks this is easy. At all. It's the hardest thing any of us can ever do, stand up to relatives who damaged us and risk damaging our kids. It's just that gently supporting you while you continue to be abused isn't actually helpful, IMO. You deserve more and so do your kids, but from all you've posted, you don't value yourself and your rights much - but you're a bloody good mum who would lie in traffic for her kids. That's all I, and I am sure other people, mean. That this is the emotional equivalent of lying in traffic, and we do get that, but that is perhaps the best choice, for everyone other than your poor DH's appalling birth family.

Honestly, nobody can wish you anything but luck. You've been through so much. But it is hard watching you allow people to treat you and yours this way. You all deserve infinitely better.

I hope you are still here lurking Tabby, I understand a little of how you feel.

You have been bullied for so long that to stand up to them and face their response must seem a terrifying prospect. It truly is the only way to stop them, as you have probably realised, so that leaves you feeling more trapped, and attacked by some of the posters who are trying to get you to make that move.

Do you recognise these quotes?

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got, and you'll always feel what you always felt.

"If you don't change the way you do things, live your life, or make decisions, you will never grow or mature or feel better about life as a whole. You have to be the change you want to see in your life."

I truly hope you can find a counsellor who can help you to find the courage to take those steps flowers

LoisPuddingLane Fri 23-Aug-13 08:18:25

How about this as a starting point for a letter/email to the parents in law (leaving out the parts in brackets):

Dear Fred and Rose (or...whatever their names are)

We are all looking forward to seeing you later this year (not entirely true but it gets things off to a good start). I know that in previous years we have been in a position to give you a real holiday experience, free from worry about housework, meals, and money.

Unfortunately we are not in a position to do this any more. I'm sure you will understand how expensive it is to have people staying for a several weeks. With BiL's recent bad news, I'm wondering if the plan is also to bring him with you, which would put further strain on our finances.

I feel certain that the last thing you would want would be for your grandchildren to go without essentials - and this is what it would mean if we were to host you for six weeks without any financial contribution from you.

Therefore I would ask you, please, to contribute $xxx per person who will be staying with us, to cover your food and lodging for the time you are here. I understand that you are spending a lot of money coming here, and we do appreciate this. What we are asking for is that you contribute the sum of money you would be spending on normal day to day living in the UK.

Your affectionate daughter in law


mathanxiety Sun 25-Aug-13 16:52:46

I wish you'd let "us" try to help you by explaining what you fear will happen if you stood up to them.

Me too Tabby.
What is the worst thing that could happen in the event of a confrontation?

What is it in confrontation itself that gives you a feeling of dread?

What are you hoping to achieve in not rocking the boat in this relationship?

What are you afraid of losing if this relationship changes or ends?

Anniegetyourgun Sun 25-Aug-13 17:56:42

Dear Fred and Rose


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