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AIBU to stick my oar in..

(40 Posts)
RVF400 Fri 23-Sep-11 23:31:54

to a family dispute between DH and MIL that is escalating wildly?

(First post but I have been lurking since birth of 8wo DD)
DH and MIL have always had a somewhat fiery relationship, I put it down to the Mediterranean blood, but now things are getting out of hand. Here is the (long, sorry) latest feud:

I recently gave birth, DD was born at 9.30 am so by the time I was installed in the postnatal ward at 4pm I had been awake for nearly 48hrs. DH had done all the phone calls to family etc and requested that no-one visit until the following day, (I didn't know but seems sensible).

DH left about 5.30pm to sleep. At about 6 ish MIL & FIL turn up on postnatal ward. I was a bit hmm but DD was sleeping peacefully (little did I know how rare this would turn out to be!) and I was feeling pretty happy so I just went with it (I usually get along pretty well with ILs). They talked at me for a bit and left about 8 I think.

The following night was absolute hell, DD screamed constantly until 7.30am.

Next day, DH is livid about his parents having visited and decides that his parents are now not allowed to see DD at all as he is soooo pissed off with them and cannot trust them to respect his decisions.

Some of me thinks this is an over-reaction, but some of me is also very annoyed with the Ils. They have a history of belittling DH, treating him like a naughty child (he is 38 ffs). They don't believe he is capable of being a responsible adult. I really think they should have respected his decision, whether or not they agreed with it, but I'm alarmed that we're now faced with a showdown in which the weapon of choice appears to be DD. sad

Since then some fairly vitriolic emails have been going back and forth with trivial "sub-arguments" that are muddying the waters (e.g. FIL had a cold so put babies at risk by visiting, but oh, no, FIL actually had hayfever, long and totally irrelevant debate ensues over difference between cold and hayfever). I have tried my hardest to stay out of it because
a) it's not my family
b) I am likely to get over-emotional and say something I regret
c) I think the whole thing is very sad and I just wish everyone would try being nice to each other

But it is getting silly now, with uncles, nephews and all sorts involved (WHY? None of them were there!) and I really feel like going in a banging a few heads together. Also, DH is getting stressed about it and would like me to "show some support". I do fully agree that his decision should have been respected (and am prepared to say so) but TBH I don't like the way he has over-reacted. He is a very black and white person, I am not.

Well done if you got this far.

Should I stick my oar into the vicious email traffic with my ha'penny worth, or should I just leave them all to it?

(reading that back, it sounds like DH & his family are a bunch of nutters. They may well be)

eaglewings Fri 23-Sep-11 23:37:24

Do you really want the first few months if your dd's life being remembered for this dispute?

If not you need to tell your dh to stop his behaviour and back off. Tell him you understand where he is coming from but it's not worth the arguments

I would not take sides any more than this just ask for it to stop

Hope things improve

squeakytoy Fri 23-Sep-11 23:38:42

When you say it isnt your family, you are wrong. It is your family too now, because these are your daughters grandparents.

They wanted to see their grandchild, they were excited... your husband really is being rather pig headed to behave the way he is, spoiling what should be happy first weeks for all of you.

You need to tell your husband that he is being a prat, and that you will not allow your daughter to be denied loving grandparents just because he is behaving like a spoilt child. No wonder they "belittle" him if he is so stroppy.

Honeydragon Fri 23-Sep-11 23:38:48

He is a father now, hi priority is his family, he is upsetting you and using your dd. He needs to stop it now.
Sorry, but right now he shouldn't be sending petty email at all.

But, his parents should have listened. Right now ALL of them are treating you horribly. Let the hormones out and tell them all their behaviour is foul.

And many congratulations on your dd, you will get to sleep again one day smile

hiccymapops Fri 23-Sep-11 23:41:17

Congratulations on your dd smile

I think you're going to have to stick your oar in. Sounds like your dh has some long running issues with his parents (justified or not) but this is escalating too much. Is there any way you could explain to your inlaws why your dh is so angry, and possibly they could apologise?

Really awful situation for you to be in sad

Quidsi Fri 23-Sep-11 23:42:08

Honeydragon has put it perfectly. smile

springydaffs Fri 23-Sep-11 23:42:14

Don't get involved. This is old stuff, nothing to do, really, with what has just happened. It was probably a long time brewing. I would say though that DH needs to calm down for your benefit. YOu could well do without this when you've just had a baby. He can pick the fight up later, tell him. He may be incandescent (don't blame him) but fighting while he's slightly lost the plot - due to tiredness not in small part - is just not going to produce anything good. Hopefully, the fire will go out somehow - I hope so, for you and the baby's sake.

Congrats on your new baby btw. I hope all the drama dies down soon.

LeBOF Fri 23-Sep-11 23:42:50

I agree with squeakytoy and Honeydragon- you need to tell DH that he is marring this time for you both by rising to their shenanigans, and that you want him to quit it. You can say that you'll support him in being assertive with them generally, but right now you need some peace and an end to this aggro.

hiccymapops Fri 23-Sep-11 23:43:34

Forget mine, what Honeydragon said grin

AgentZigzag Fri 23-Sep-11 23:43:49

Having been in a similar situation myself, although it was my mum who was the problem, I would say that overall your loyalty should lay with your DH.

I'm sure your DH values your opinion and expects you to tell him the truth about how you see the situation, but with such complicated relationships, you just can't predict the outcome of anything you might choose to say.

Your DH seems to be trying to set some boundaries with his parents, and even though it's a bit of a cack handed effort, it's totally his right to say what happens with his DD (and yours as well of course), however sad it is that she's drawn into it.

His parents don't seem to want to understand why he's reacting like this, but you do, and it might be important to him to feel you're acknowledging it even if you don't totally agree.

RVF400 Fri 23-Sep-11 23:53:16

Thanks everyone,
particularly like HoneyDragon's response, true that if they were putting mother and baby first then none of this would be happening. I'm usually a quiet easy-going type so could be fun to watch reactions if I "let the hormones out".
I do stand by DH in this but he can be a stubborn arse sometimes. Gets it from his mother..... tempted to point out to him how similar his character is to MILs
<and then duck>

Honeydragon Sat 24-Sep-11 00:07:44

When my dh is infuriated by his parents particularly his mother the rest of us bite our lips hard grin, I have been known to tell my dh he is like his ma if I have clear unobstructed access to an open doorway though.

BoF given good advice too, let dh know you support him, but that you can support him better later on.

Oh and people visiting particularly MiL's should be kindly and firmly introduced to the location of the kettle, and bring biscuits.

OpenMouthInsertFoot Sat 24-Sep-11 09:50:04

Sounds like this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I think it needs sorting out. Boundaries need to be laid. The relationship needs to change.

This can sometimes be a painful process but the alternative - brushing it under the carpet, going back to the old way - is far more painful and for a much longer time.

Sure, in the short term, this is harder - but in the long term it is for the best.

Springyknickersohnovicars Sat 24-Sep-11 10:01:52

Oh dear they're all out of order reading on the lines, but it sounds to me as if your DH has snapped and there is more history behind this. Reading between on the lines it seems as if he is drawing a line, he is now a father and what he says goes. He is no longer the son to be belittled so the row isn't really about the fact they disrespected his wishes but something much larger.

I think you can only deal with what is on the lines and not the subcontext, just say you stand by your husband you were exhausted etc. but it is now more than time to forget about it all, be friends and move on as your daughter needs all of her family to be there so long as they are not arguing which helps no one especially your daughter.

TheControversialJessie Sat 24-Sep-11 10:40:38

I'm getting the impression that your in-laws are reaping what they've sowed for the last couple of decades.

Obviously, ignoring his request and going behind his back, at your expense, when you'd just given birth, has been the last straw for him.

I'm not surprised the acrimony is distressing you; it would really distress me. I'd probably want to make peace.

Objectively: if you let this last incident of discourtesy and selfishness go, their behaviour to you both will just carry on, if not escalate, and chances are, they'll do something upsetting in the future that will bother you in the future too. If he climbs down now, it sets a precedent for them that he will climb down next time.

PuspornInBoots Sat 24-Sep-11 10:51:34

Just take DD round to her GPS house for a visit. Tell your DH you're going and ask him if he wants to come. If he does, great, if he doesn't just say OK, see you later and go. If your inlaws say anything just say "oh please leave me out of this silly argument" and change the subject. Just refuse to engage any of them about it and carry on as though it wasn't happening. Hopefully unless they really are a bunch of nutters they'll realise that you're being sensible and they aren't...

diddl Sat 24-Sep-11 11:13:53

I can understand why your husband is pissed off.

But how did it come about-why didn´t you say no to them?

He probably feels let down by everyone.

I think he needs to tell them to treat him as an adult from now on & to respect his wishes as far as his family are concerned.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Sat 24-Sep-11 11:22:38

It sounds like this issues has tipped your DH over the edge. He has probably been pissed off with them for years for treating him like a naughty child and belittling him. When he specifically told them not to visit and they did it anyway they stuck the final knife in.

I rather feel sorry for your DH and admire him for standing his ground. This isn't just about the visit, if it were it would seem petty, but you know there is more to it then that.

I think you should support him but probably not actually get involved in the email sending. If there were a face to face conversation though it would be right for you to back him up.

I have similar in-law problems and I'd anything for my DH to stick up for himself, me and the dcs but he just can't do it. They have put him down for so long that he doesn't have the confidence to do it.

Birdsgottafly Sat 24-Sep-11 11:24:39

He needs to address the problem of him feeling that they have belittled him, over the years. If this is deep seated from his childhood, he should work through this and not focus on this petty problem.

Sometimes when you have had a difficult childhood but 'got on with it', it comes out at crucial times, usually the birth of your first child, as you re-think how your parents were, instead of making excuses for them or burying your feelings.

PuppyMonkey Sat 24-Sep-11 11:33:07

This sounds like my MIL. When I had DD1, and DP rang to tell her from the labour ward, all excited , he said to wait till the next day to visit. Within the time it took to get to the ward, she was there waiting. And she told DP I looked "really peaky." hmm

DP was livid, but you've got to get over such silliness. Tell DH you're completely on his side, but the bad atmosphere now is worse than what his parents did in the first place.

EdithWeston Sat 24-Sep-11 11:39:31

You are absolutely right - you must not let your DD become a weapon in this. And it is reasonable for one spouse to expect support of the other. If you agree with those assumptions (and and realise some might not), the key question now is what do you want your future family relations to look like (for your weird in-laws are now your DD's blood relatives).

You might not have known what DH said about "no visiting" - and you may want to sort out with him later whether is is reasonable for him to issue edicts on your behalf without consulting you. But I do rather think in this case, he was proved to be in the right - you were hopelessly sleep deprived, and could have done with the downtime (such as it ever can be down time) before the next interrupted. Do you agree with any of that? If so - have you told DH that you think he did the right thing and appreciate his solicitude?

Has anyone in the visiting party apologised?

If this row is widening, then I suggest you might want to think about joining the fray. Would it be helpful if you were to place yourself as the voice of sanity - loyal to DH, but just wanting everyone to grow up?

You could try saying, yes: I think DH is being over-protective, but given what happened when we were exhausted in hospital and needed those few hours, I can see why he is being like this. What do you think you need to do to put that right, and reassure him that important things will never again be ignored?

RVF400 Sat 24-Sep-11 14:47:31

Some great comments. It's true dh feels this is the"last straw" and certainly wants to draw a line in the sand re. DD. It kind of feels like a power struggle between him and his mother, she is very matriachal (sp?)
diddl I didn't know DH had asked for no visits until he told me the following day.
edith as you rightly state, it didn't seem like such a bad idea to me at the time, but by the next morning I was hanging and so DH was proved to be spot on with his request. I have no problem with him having made the decision without consulting me, seems entirely appropriate given the circumstances. He knows exactly how I feel about it all, he has been reading this thread himself.
MIL sent another email today, just to me, saying she has "apologised upteen times" and doesn't know what else to do. First either of us have heard about apologies though confused. Tempted to point this out to her.

Merrin Sat 24-Sep-11 16:06:58

At last, a man with balls!

Kayano Sat 24-Sep-11 16:38:16

Your husband sounds awful imo

troisgarcons Sat 24-Sep-11 16:48:12

Everyone has got their knickers in a twist over something so silly ~ and no one is taking your feelings into account.

Frankly I'd be banging all their heads together and telling them they ALL need to grow up a bit.

Individually I can see the 'right side' of every issue. Collectively it's utterly purile.

I can see why he asked them not to visit you the first night AND common sense would dictate that people would respect that BUT I can imagin the excitement at a new grandchild. As you were quite happy to see them - no harm done is there?

What is juvenile is the 'they are never going to see the child again' attitude he came out with. Any normal bloke would be thrilled to show off his beautiful wife and baby daughter, not have a hissy fit because his M&D pitched up!

However , having pointed that out his request to 'show some support' is correct in that first duty as husband and wife are to each other. Thats what teamwork is all about, even if one of you is being a tit! However, you must use all your diplomacy in this one to make both side swallow pride because your daughter doesnt deserve to not have grandparents who will dote on her.

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