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in laws keep excluding me - really getting me down - any advice(54 Posts)
I got married straight out of university and have been married for 16 years. I have 3 children. My husband is very loyal and protective of his family. He has 4 sisters.
We visit his family every week when his whole family get together. The family are very polite and courteous towards me but never include me. The only conversations that take place between us centre around the kids whom they all adore. My mother in law is ok but she's very selective about what she tells me compared to what she tells her daughters. Whenever the sisters chat they will always to do it away from me and I seem to be most often left in front of the TV.
Whenever there is something going on in the family I often hear about it 3rd hand. Whenever we attend any functions the sisters all sit together and leave me out.
I have spoken to my husband about this numerous times and it has just caused arguments. His final word on the topic is that they are the way they are and I am the way I am and I just have to let it go. He has never intervened and nothing I could do would make him.
I have spoken to his sisters about it a couple of times but they haven't taken any notice. We are culturally close knit so I have to regularly deal with them. I try not to let it get to me but I find it very hurtful. I went through a lot of bullying and exclusion all through school and it feels exactly like that.
My husband is their only son so he is expected to make financial contributions towards his family. I don't mind for his parents so much but towards his sisters for weddings too. I hate that he gives his sisters money when they make me feel so bad. Again there is not a lot I can say to my husband as it's an argument I wouldn't win and it would cause endless arguments.
It makes me feel so sad but I need to find away of visiting them without feeling so bad each time.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Why do you need to go? How much of the week is spent there? I think you need to have a serious chat with your husband. How can he see it as reasonable that your joint household income is being used to prop up the finances of women who treat you badly. That is unacceptable.
Perhaps I'm missing something here but if they are all young and unmarked then why are they not living off their own wages?
Sorry, that should be unmarried not unmarked.
Agree with them ^^
Also, "DH I am not giving money to people who are rude, disrespectful and exclude me".
Why would you be expected to?
Thanks for your responses.
I don't think I can stop visiting because DH would visit with my kids and I would never see them, they would just guilt my DH into going more often and convince him to stay longer and longer. They would love me not being there. I would also not know when they ask for money so DH would be convinced to hand over more money as I probably wouldn't even find out. DH would be so torn he would just nod his head to both of us.
The other reason is that he would then refuse to go to visit my family and my parents would worry themselves sick thinking I'm not happy at home. I couldn't put them through it.
I have spoken to DH about them and he says I don't make an effort, I've taken it the wrong way and why do I always complain about his family. He's blinded by them They are so nice to him that he doesn't see it and keeps defending them which makes it worse and more arguments. I'm happy with my husband but I can't ruin my marriage by arguing with him all the time.
I still don't understand why they aren't supporting themselves. Are they not able bodied adults able to work?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Could you not be busy so that these visits are cut down a bit, say one a fortnight or per month? Couldn't you arrange some days out with your dh on weekends ? It does sound very uncomfortable having to be on the sidelines every week
His sisters work and spend their money. Its a cultural thing that has been instilled in DH that he has to contribute.
The whole family gets together one evening and a day on the weekend, I can't really cut it down as everyone attends and DH is expected to attend, he seems happy to go as he's doted on and would find it too awkward to refuse and would resent me for it. If I let them go on their own they would ask him to go more frequently or would ask DH to drop of the kids so they can drop them off later. I know it sounds bad but I don't want my kids to have a whole life that I'm not apart of, they are my kids I don't want them pulled away from me.
Are you from a Muslim background.
I know a few people in a similar situation as you. ( their DH expected to contribute to all the family, the sisters very close, the DH not seeing the problem while the wife is excluded.
I have said the same things that have been posted here to them. (Let him go by himself etc and they have the same reply as you.
There doesn't seem to be a good solution.
Yes I am muslim, to be honest the family expectations are so vast
I have a inlaw in your exact situation except the money part. She has learned to cope by detaching herself from the sisters. She spends the time being with her children and making polite conversations. She doesn't share anything except information about the kids.
She's incredibly hurt but she has her husband s support and understanding even if they can't change the situation. Its all superficial and she doesn't try to hide it from the relatives. We all see her relationship with her inlaws and are supportive her too so she has other people to talk to at family gatherings.
I should add that the sisters do that to everyone so wife doesn't feel as bad. And she's happy yhat her mil doesn't tell her everything. When other relatves ask why she doesn't know, her and her husband blame mil so now people just bypass mil and tell it to the wife and son.
I'm so glad you understand my position, I will try to do what you advise,
Do you work yourself? I'm asking because your posts strike me as though written by someone very lonely. If not then is working, even p/t a possibility? It would widen your social sphere somewhat. If this isn't possible is the any hobbies you could take up? How old are your children? If still young, could you join and social groups? When we lived in south Manchester I remember there was an NCT type group specifically for Muslim women. Is there anything like that in your area as they may have real understanding of your situation.
Your husband is being a little selfish and a little too caught up in being doted upon. You really need to try and get across to him how lonely it is making you feel. I do understand the cultural aspect to the gathering but is there a cultural expectation for him to financially support 4 young women who should be supporting themselves?
You H does see, its just that his comfort level trumps your hurt feelings.
Nothing you have said to date has changed or improved their behaviour, so its safe to say that more of your "if he/ they would only see how hurtful this is" would yield similar results, you can't change them. If you insist on discounting not visiting them, then for your own sanity, you need to suck it up and let their bad manners wash over you.
A lot of this problem could be resolved by your DH standing up to his family. But as you have said that he it's instilled in him to be this way and he is the only son, it seems as though there isn't much you can do.
As you said that you have a happy marriage, you have to find peace with this situation. Yes it must feel really terrible to be around them, as though they clique together but I think you just need to think of them as your husbands family and not your family iyswim. By separating that you may be able to deal with it. You just need to be polite with each other and nothing more.
As for the financial part he should be consulting with you. If he has to do it, maybe come to an agreement on the amount. He will not stop Providing for them or being so loyal to them, just try to manage it from your side.
Look, its not you. Its them. They are in a clique by themselves. Its like being back in school where there are always a bunch of people excluding others. Even if they like you, being with themselves is much more important. They don't like you, stop trying to befriend them. Ignore them.
Your husband does see but he can't change his sisters' bad behavior. If he brings up, its 1 vs. 5 (including MIL). He's never going to win. MIL probably supports this bad behavior because she would've said something many years ago.
All you can do is ignore and detach from them. Keep going to family gatherings and keep yourself busy with taking a long time clearing up or talking to other relatives or the children. Let them be bitches. You are a good person and people will see through that.
Sorry to be blunt but sometimes people, even family, aren't very nice. Not standing up to them just enables them to continue their poor behaviour.
I don't work because the kids are just too young and I want to bring them up myself. I have always worked and was very career minded before the kids. I worked abroad a lot and was always well respected. I felt like what I had to say mattered, what I thought mattered.
I am trying to make an effort to make friends with mums at the kids school and nursery. I have made a few friends and have begun to spend time with them but it's always difficult as all of them have young kids. They respect me and treat me well and I think this is what is making me feel even more intolerant of my in laws. They treat me like I am nothing. When I'm with my new friends they think I'm interesting and witty, I feel valued.
My parent always taught me that when you get married your in laws become your family and should come first and I have always been encouraged to spend time with my in laws. I am not really a practicing Muslim and very English and liberal. I never attend Muslim events, it's not really my thing, but I have still given his family an important place as my parents have taught me. I feel like I'm living 2 lives. One when I'm with DH, kids, friends where I actually exist, and the other where I'm with my in laws where I'm a stray dog waiting for scraps. When I'm with them I feel worthless like I have no dignity.
So, I'm muslim too. We're Indian and I think I pretty much have the in-laws from hell itself.
What I did was before we got married was explain to my husband that any money he and or I made was only for us and our children. I refused to marry him if he decided that he was going to contribute financially to the wellbeing of family members.
I had to establish boundaries quite early, with everything. His sister doesn't like me, and I'm not fond of her...but I am respectful towards her and she is kind and respectful towards me. They have always treated me like an outsider and always will. I treat them the same way.
The good thing is though, when I see them some of my friends and their families come along so if I'm left sat on the sofa, I'm not alone. It's an asian family thing never to refuse guests and I have taken advantage of this (admittedly, it's wrong but it saves me from being lonely and sad). My friends tag along for me, and I tag along to their family events for them.
I feel that my boundaries, and strong insistence on not letting my in-laws dictate how i feel about myself have made my marriage quite stable when it comes to family events. I hope this helps you.
Hi OP, neither I/dh or his family are Muslim and yet I also get treated this way a lot. This is our second marriage and we have dc from our first marriages. We scype once a week as inlaws live abroad and see each other once a year. (Thank God)
Dh is doted on, dsc are doted on, dh used to invite me to their scype sessions but as soon as one of the dsc came along to say hi I was practically pushed off my chair!
I know it sounds mild in comparison to your situation but I just want you to know its probably not a Muslim thing, but inlaws who just dont approve of any wife for their darling son, spoiled him, still spoil him, spoil dsc, just to make a point that you are redundant...
Now I ignore their scyping unless I'm actively invited to join in, or I give my spot to dsc most insistently and then busy myself. It's all "I have a life" now and it works for me.
so i'd let him go on his own to the evening do and then go as a family to the day event.
i agree you should be with the kids.
Can you take a book or magazine to read so that at least your time isn't being wasted? Do you have any other hobbies - knitting, etc? Or just your phone and MN while you are with them? It sort of sends the message that you know what they are doing but aren't going to let it get to you. You have lots of things to do with your valuable time.
How old are the sisters, will they be marrying soon and spending time with their inlaws?
Perhaps they have a chip on their shoulders as you had a successful career, which is probably more than they do.
To be honest would you really want to be included in their gossiping/ coven? Make sure you have the tv controller and watch something you like!
2 of the sisters are married but seem to be mostly at their mums. They keep saying things like "it's alright for you, you don't have to work", "you just watch TV all day". They make it sound like I sit on my butt all day spending their brothers money. Before the kids I worked for 11 years around 14 hours a day (I loved my job I didn't mind the hours). I saved like mad knowing that I wanted a nice home and wanted to be at home when my kids were young. Even now I don't sit around. I take care of everything, the house the kids all the admin, I'm also a governor at both my kids schools so I'm always busy during term time.
i really felt for you reading this thread OP. i cut down on visiting in laws a few years ago except for big occasions. my DH goes with our children but 9 times out of 10 i go off and do my own thing rather than visit with them. im lucky DH will still visit my family and turn up for family occasions BUT my family are unfailingly polite and kind to him. iv been happy with this arrangement for a long time until just this weekend gone when i felt that i was really unaware of how my dc got on with their aunts/uncles/ cousins. i would like to share that time with them sometimes but i just dont know if i can handle all the family politics.
(It also really disappoints my parents how little I have to do with my in laws - out of all my married siblings I get on with mine the least. They have the same attitude and tradition your parents have op but I got burned really badly and after that retreated and for that they think I am stuck up rather than 'once bitten twice shy'.i need to do something about my own situation).
I find when I go round I'm quiet and withdrawn lately because I've run out of steam. I try to make the effort but somehow my mouth doesn't move even when my brain orders it to, I even rehearse polite conversation with my sis before I go but when it comes to it nothing comes out. I thought they would at least wonder what has happened to me but they haven't, they just pretty much blank me, I'm sure they think I'm stuck up rather than just hurt. I'm sure mil will speak to DH if I don't go back to normal and complain that I'm rude and stuck up.
Aren't DCs of an age where you can take them to sports or something rather than always have to go to inlaws. Eg you take one of them swimming, footie training or something then join the others at ILs later, so you don't have to spend so much time there.
Surely as DCs get older they will be fed up with sitting about at ILs, or don't they know anything else?
I hope you put your SILs straight and tell them that actually you have a very busy life and make a valuable contribution to the house and the DC's schools. Cheeky madams!
I can't believe you have to financially contribute to FOUR sisters! Perhaps a one-off contribution to weddings, I could see how historically that became a custom, but do you have to contribute regularly? Is it a lot? (Sorry if you don't want to answer, I'm just being nosey).
You sound lovely, and the in-laws sound dreadful!
my DH is not expected to contribute money or things like that i would find it hard if so. i also think that its better you go both of you together if his sisters have the habit of asknig and expecting him to give them money. in fact with my in laws thankfully theyve helped us out financially a fair bit,- far more than my own family - on that i cant say a word against them. but theres politics in DHs family like you wouldnt believe - just wouldnt ever believe - and after continually being caught up in the wrong end of it i just declared i would go no contact as much as possible. his parents are lovely to me but they retired abroad, its his huge extended family i cant hold my own with. some things that are considered social niceties in my upbringing and culture are considered differently in his and vice versa, so we offend each other sometimes without meaning to. its hard iv decided im going to make more of an effort with them because as you said, it looks really wrong when i dont go to events with him and the dc but they only just started asking me why. my parents say they understand me but i know they secretly think im really wrong in being that way - my mum recently said to me you have no allies amongst them anymore as you've burnt so many bridges and that did get me thinking also.
OP - I can't believe how unkind and welcoming your IL are to you. They sound absolutely dreadful.
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I'm not really a practicing Muslim because I have been exposed to so many cultures during that I see good in all of them. I was born in London and have been taught about family values and so try to respect them.
I do want to be fully inclusive that's exactly what marriage and family means to me. I never said I don't like anything about the Islamic way, it's nothing to do with religion, the difficulties I'm having aren't unique to Muslims.
I don't want to work right now, I've worked really hard so that I can be with my kids while they are young. I do have a lovely life and want to try and be a good person. I want to get along with my in laws and have a place in their family because it would ultimately bring my DH and kids a lot of joy. If I can I want to fix the situation so that I can effortlessly be apart of DH family.
I'm not sure what you mean by the UK lifestyle but as far as I'm concerned I'm as English as it gets in modern day Britain.
Waltzing, that's an odd post.
Op, you sound lovely and they sound like bloody hard work. Sometimes there just isn't anything you can do to change established family dynamics but they're the ones missing out. It makes little sense to me to behave the way they are doing. Keep being yourself and hopefully they'll slowly come round to the idea you're a permanent fixture in the family.
I agree with the first post, stop visiting. You don't have to go and he can't make you.
Ooh or I like the idea of taking a book.
Following on from a previous suggestion, perhaps you could take your sister along occasionally? It sounds like she is aware of your situation & at least would stop you feeling outnumbered & they might be more friendly when there is someone who is more of a guest present.
Another idea might be to try & build a relationship with either MIL or the nicest SIL away from the others. However as this would involve spending more time with them eg during the day without DH, then I can see that it might not appeal.
Yes, that sounds an idea, taking DMIL places during the week without SILs.
All you can do is try different things over the next year and hope things improve. What about inviting them to your home?
Life isn't fixed, MIL will age, DCs will get older and more independent, you should find hobbies that interest and fulfil you and might interest ILs. If you are depressed you are not someone that others want to have fun with (speaking from experience here not meaning this as a criticism) so what can you do to make yourself happier and more interesting and light-hearted?
My parent live 45 min away and we seem to always put them on the back burner and visit on special occasions. I would love to visit them on a more regular basis. They all adore my kids and my sisters kids are my kids ages so it's nice for them too.
It would be ideal to go and see each of our families on alternate weeks. I'm not sure how to bring it up with DH as we have been going to his family on the weekend for the last 16 years and I think he's going to take it as me trying to stop us from going to his family. I'm worried it might turn into a you've never liked my family kind of argument. Any ideas?
Well, you could tell a few white lies about your family, your DF wants to see more of the DCs now he is getting on a bit, not as well as he was, busier than he used to be, whatever. Start out with 2 wkends at ILs and 1 at your family's. My DCs saw GPs a few times a year and that seemed plenty. This every weekend thing sounds like purgatory to me let alone doing it for 16 years. Just sounds like everyone wasting their lives to me.
What about doing some study to enhance your prospects of a good job or part time job once DCs are older then you are planning for a happier future despite now being a drag.
Waltzing, how odd. It's like Racism Lite. Not thoroughly offensive but enough to make me stop and not feel good after reading it.
This is an Asian thing not muslim as such. So Indians, south Asians do it. I'm certain this occurs in many European cultures too unmarried kids no matter how old don't pay anything live with parents and provided for. Boys are expected to pay towards the household bills girls nothing except if they work they pay for their own clothes and toiletries. But even this is often paid for. Girls weddings are paid for by parents and brothers, but increasingly girls help towards costs or pay for it themselves. Same with boys. Basically you stay at home until you get married.
I used to visit my mums house every weekend my husband loved it since he came from a small family and had become part of a large family. No longer visit so much as we've moved far away, and even if we were near not possible have a lot more chores with 4 kids.
If your sister in laws and parents in laws don't make you feel welcome don't visit as often tell your husband why. but if you think this will cause unnecessary friction make your excuses your busy. You have chores to do your own friends to meet. Sure visit to keep things amicable and keep family ties as its a sin for muslims to break family ties unless there's a pressing need for it. My sister has been in the same predicament for near 20 years. Yet every wknd or even wk day if they demand it she's there. She's totally knackered rfrom work and household chores yet she keeps up with all the niceties. They say its a lunch or dinner invite but wen she gets there they have meat defrosted and waiting . basically they use her to make their meals.She doesn't speak up, don't be a doormat or it will continue like this.
Ashisha this is exactly what is happening with my sister. She only lived mins drive yet she spent every weekend for 20 years at her in laws she felt she had no choice she couldn't cross them. Hr husband didn't stick up for her either. He's a mummy's boy he'd rather go to his mums plus he's scared of her .
Only when my mum got suddenly ill and died did my sister regret it. I said nevermind don't blame yourself mum understood what you were going through. But her regret has never gone 3 years on. She now comes often but my mum is not here just the rest of us siblings and my dad. But that is better than nothing.
Be blunt say let's make it fair how about we visit your parents one week and my parents the next. Our parents are old soon they will be gone let's make the most of seeing all of them whilst we have no regrets. Plus your kids will get to know both sets of grandparents equally. no other way of saying it. Don't feel bad if he gets into a strop he's being unreasonable you have a right as a muslim to see your parents does he know that? Besides who came first your parents or him that's the way I see it,my parents sacrificed many more years of their life to me than any man .
Waltzing this is not a muslim thing at all its cultural. it's basically indian culture and customs. This is all our parents followed pre Islamic times. I don't think cultures are bad but backward elements need to be discarded. Like all this nonsense with in laws controlling their daughter in laws and the husband sitting silently doing as mummy says.
Those visits sound horrible. I'd take a book or something to mumsnet on. Or school reports you need to read. Just basically making myself at home. You see them so often there can't be that much to chat about anyway.
OP - it could be your DH is one of those blokes who doesn't want to admit there's a problem, because he can't see a solution to it, so would rather pretend there's no problem. If you talk to him again about it, but this time offer a solution at the same time, he might be happy to be on board with fixing this issue (and more likely to fix the issue).
My suggestion would be to tell your DH you think that his sisters are nice woman but just don't know you so are excluding you because they don't know you well enough to chat too, whereas there's their other sisters and their mum in the same room, then they'll just talk to them because they know them better (you might think this is bollocks, but it's a way to say there's a problem without saying your SILs are bitches to your DH). So your solution would be to arrange various situations where you get each one on her own, if there's another family member htere, then they will talk to them, but if it's just you, then they'll talk to you and get to know you better. Suggest you start with picking a film, your nicest of SIL and say that DH doesn't want to go to see it with you, will she come along? Invite MIL over to lunch in the week when the SILs are all at work, invite another SIL for a coffee or to go see an exhibtion at a local gallery etc. (this means your DH will have to be on board enough to be happy for you to go out in the evening while he looks after the DCs) Invite one of your married SIL and her DH to your house for dinner with you and DH.
Get your DH on side making this a 'project' and he can see that you are making an effort with them individually to get to know them and them you. Stress it can't be a big group as they will automatically revert to just talking amongst themselves and the whole point is to try to force a situation where you can get to know them.
If after a few months (maybe do this between now and the new year) there is no improvement on the group visits, then you can go back to your DH and say that your plan hasn't worked, can he think of something to help?
oh and while I can't help with the financial situation, at least if you get on with them better it won't be quite so hard to pay up...
OMG justanuther , your poor sis.
We are all on this planet once (ok some here might disagree) and to have your life ruled by being a skivvy to in laws is just awful. so sad.
And what is it with these MILs, is it that they have no control over their lives (decisions made by their parents when they are young) so that when they can wield power they do it maliciously.
My DM made her dil's so welcome, and I had good relationship with my ILs. Why would anyone want it otherwise?
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