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Feeling manipulated by in-laws

(39 Posts)
thevicky Wed 13-Jul-11 21:19:25

Having 'lurked' for a while on these forums, I know that my problem/rant is in no way as serious as some faced by fellow Mumsnetters, but I could do with a bit of feedback.

To give you a bit of background, I've always had reservations about my in-laws but put them down to the fact that all families are different. We live 200 miles apart. In the past, they've been pretty thoughtless, demanding that we go up to stay then having nowhere for us to sleep, or sending us straight out for a takeaway after our five-hour drive up. When our DS was born in March they came down to visit and refused to make room for me on the sofa, leaving me to sit on the floor - no joke three days after giving birth and with 2nd degree stitches - ouch!

They now visit us every three/four weekends, at very short notice. These visits revolve around our son, which is fine, but they have no respect for his routine or for us, and we're simply expected to spend the day running around after them.

We finally said no to this weekend's visit as we'd been looking forward to seeing some friends and can't keep putting our lives on hold. My FIL responded by calling us three times, asking again and again why we couldn't see them. My husband finally had a pleading call asking for just an hour of our time and felt so guilty he agreed, and so once again, my in-laws come first.

I know that I shouldn't complain about them wanting to see my DS as it's great that he's getting to know his grandparents, but I'm feeling completely overwhelmed. I'm also angry with my husband for not having the courage to stand up to them. Most of all, I feel terribly manipulated by my inlaws. This just doesn't feel like normal behaviour.

Am I being a bit of a moany cow, or am I dealing with crazy people? I'm beginning to wonder...?

Flyonthewindscreen Wed 13-Jul-11 21:22:22

YANBU, your ILs sound horrible. Why on earth do you allow them to visit so frequently when they are so rude?

woowa Wed 13-Jul-11 21:22:40

YANBU. It's often hard to understand someone else's family, but they do sound quite extreme. It does have to be your DH that sorts it though, i think, you falling out with them would put him in a terrible situation, and since he's known them longer he hopefully can work out how to put it to them. I do think he should stand up for you more though.

I think they are crazy people fwiw.

2rebecca Wed 13-Jul-11 22:25:11

When he asked again and again I would just have repeated that you had other plans. I would stress to all relatives that even though you now have a baby you are still entitled to your own lives and don't exist just to entertain people who want to visit him.
I would be angry with my husband in this case and would want to ensure that in future he will stick to jointly made plans. I would try very hard to persuade him to phone back and cancel if he values his marriage.
I can't imagine any of my relatives persistently weedling to be invited once i had said a weekend was inconvenient. I'd be tempted to take your son and visit the friends without him, leaving him to entertain his parents.

2rebecca Wed 13-Jul-11 22:26:43

Also if they live 200 miles away they aren't going to just visit for an hour are they? I'd be telling them a 400 mile trip for 1 hour was bad for the planet and they'd have to wait.

biscuitmad Wed 13-Jul-11 22:55:43

How about a schedule with the inlaws? They come say the 2nd Friday of each month. You can then arrange to go out with the girls for the evening, and let partner deal with his silly parents.

blackeyedsusan Wed 13-Jul-11 23:05:06

take baby out anyway. you had plans. your husband has decided to entertain them, let him. let him take the flack. tell him that you arer not prepared to go back on agreed plans and he can take the consequences.

Hufflepuzzpig Wed 13-Jul-11 23:09:02

Just do your own thing with DS. If DH is so spineless he can't say no to his parents guilt trip then he can deal with the fallout when they arrive and find their DGS isn't there!

bubblesincoffee Wed 13-Jul-11 23:13:52

Crazy people! There is no valid reason why they can't pre arrange visits.

Carry on with your plans and they will just have to lump it.

hairfullofsnakes Wed 13-Jul-11 23:15:14

Why why why are you letting them treat you like shit?! They need to show some respect to the mother of thee grandchild - think about it, what will your son see as he grows up, grandparents who have no respect for his mother. As for the sitting on the floor situation - why didnt your husband say something and insist they make space for you?

Sorry but YOU and your DH are to blame as you ALLOW them to manipulate you and from the sound of it you allow them to treat you like crap too.

Stop it!

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 13-Jul-11 23:41:16

"When our DS was born in March they came down to visit and refused to make room for me on the sofa, leaving me to sit on the floor"

They're coming this weekend? After twisting your arm? Hmm. They may well behave even worse than usual.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. (In particular, prepare your DH.) Talk it through and agree how you're going to handle their visit. I'd suggest telling them that you have found it easier to plan your weekends ahead, and that their visits will in future require more notice. Ideally, their visits should involve an invitation from yourselves. Think about what objections they will throw up, and what would best counter it. Rehearse it. Practice those stalwart MN phrases - "No, that doesn't work for me." and "That sounded rude. Did you mean it to?" grin

KittyBump Wed 13-Jul-11 23:54:57

This weekend stick to your plans, after they have been there for half an hour start busily packing things up ready for going out, get DS ready etc. Then start saying thanks for coming up, seems a bit silly driving all that way for such a short visit we must plan further ahead next time.......then give a date in 6 weeks time smile
You have my sympathy, my PILs visit EVERY weekend! Last week we were going to a wedding 2 hours drive away at which I was a bridesmaid. PILs had been told they wouldn't be able to visit but MIL still called on Friday night to ask what time we are leaving for the wedding to see if she could squeeze a visit in shock

TheFrogs Thu 14-Jul-11 00:32:15

They do sound rather forceful and a bit thoughtless. Is there any way you can come to some compromise though? They obviously want to be a part of their grandchild's life and if you look at it from their point of view, they'll see him less than 20 times a year and are willing to travel 200 miles to spend time with him....and kids grow so fast! If they leave you alone pretty much the rest of the time I think i'd just try to have a chat about giving you reasonable notice etc?

ninedragons Thu 14-Jul-11 00:37:14

They made you sit on the FLOOR three days after giving birth? shock That is stunningly rude and would send me into lifelong passive-aggressive mode with them. What did your DH have to say about that? Why did you sit on the floor, rather than take newborn and retire to bed behind a locked door?

I'm with the previous poster who suggested taking your DS and going out - arrangements were between your DH and them. Not you.

TheFrogs Thu 14-Jul-11 01:19:40

Well is that assuming the op only has a two seater sofa in the whole room then? I'm not trying to pick, or take their side but i'm honestly wondering how that situation came about. It may not have been intentional...some of these parents assume that us "young 'uns" can pop em out and run a marathon the next day! My mum came to help me when I had dd and threw bloody litter all over my house. It drove me mad. Tissues, empty water bottles...arrrgggghhh. Fuck sake mum, put them in the bloody bin not on the floor..because these c section stitches make it hurt to pick your crap up!

But....she was trying to help with other things so I sat quietly grinding my teeth instead grin.

HairyFrotter Thu 14-Jul-11 07:19:24

They do sound a pain but why the hell did you HAVE to sit on the floor days after giving birth? Don't you have dining chairs? I assume if you didn't sit on the floor then one of them would have had to. Could you have had dh's seat or was he already standing? Do you really have only 2 seats in your house? Surely the child could have gone on someones knee?
Not sure what to do about the nightmare ILs but I would definitely be investing in some extra seating!

exoticfruits Thu 14-Jul-11 07:35:46

I think you will have to be more assertive! I can't see that you only have 2 seats in the house.
When they come I would have a serious talk with them and tell them that they are important and you want them to spend time with DS but you do have lives and other things going on. Set some boundries and get timings you like.

exoticfruits Thu 14-Jul-11 07:36:49

DH has to back you and be more assertive too-it sounds as if he has never stood up to them before.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Thu 14-Jul-11 07:42:49

Should have stuck to your guns, from now on they'll never take no for an answer! Next time have an alternate day and time, making ear you will be leaving the house at x time to go to madeup very important appointment.

Becky99 Thu 14-Jul-11 07:52:09

Absolutely outrageous. You & DH should be prepared & armed to tell them NO. I'm wondering what hold they have over you both? Why do you allow them to treat you this way? Have some back bone!

kingprawntikka Thu 14-Jul-11 09:52:44

By agreeing to 'just an hour of your time' your husband has confirmed to them that emotional blackmail and pestering works. I would be furious with him for backing down.

Inertia Thu 14-Jul-11 09:55:10

Why the hell are you putting up with this? Sorry but you need to get more assertive! They refused to let you sit down after you'd just given birth? And you just sat on the floor and let them get away with this (and presumably your DH said nothing)? I'm astonished.

They are treating you like this because you let them. If you have plans for the weekend , call the in-laws back and tell them sorry, DH should not have said that we are available this weekend because we already have plans. Please don't travel down because we will be out. And then be out. And if they turn up at your house, tough, because you won't be changing your plans.

Being part of the family and involving GPs in your child's life does not have to mean being trampled all over while they do what they hell they like.

Sharney Thu 14-Jul-11 10:00:45

Agree with pretty much everything so far. Also get an answering machine, the kind you can screen your calls from so your not put on the spot. If you know what they want you can formulate a response for when you return the call or they ring back.

SinicalSal Thu 14-Jul-11 10:03:51

You need to get a bit firmer.

let them come for the hour. After the hour is up, say Oh it's time for us to go - we'd arranged to meet Whoever.
Tell them it's a pity they came all this way for an hour - if you'd known in time you could have rearranged plans. Pity. Bye bye then

wicketkeeper Thu 14-Jul-11 11:01:39

Lots of posters have told you to be assertive, but that's easier said than done. Here's my suggestion. You need to stop letting them invite themselves - get in there first. Say to them - 'Would you be able to come a week on Saturday?' It shifts the emphasis. Then after a couple of weeks, let the number of invites reduce. And while they're visiting, use them - 'I'm just popping out for a pint of milk/pedicure, you don't mind looking after the baby for an hour do you?'

Good luck.

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