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To suggest cutting contact with in laws for good?

(30 Posts)
BetterNotBitter Mon 27-May-13 14:38:28

Ok so, the short version of the back story is that my husband & I have had an awful relationship with his parents since the birth of our LO almost 2 years ago. In this time there's been periods of total estrangements but mostly just infrequent contact. I've only just become familiar with the term 'toxic inlaws' but I'm pretty sure it would apply in this situation.

We've tried a million times to sort things out mostly with no joy, occasionally it seems we've made a breakthrough then things get worse again.

At some points in the last few years its made me ill, on the evening of one particularly bad run in I suffered a miscarriage, on one week when I knew they were coming I lost half a stone in 4 days, last time we were visiting them we had to stop the car on the way for me to be sick etc etc.

I'd say it varies between me and my stand as to who is most annoyed with them, on balance I think my husband has more of a problem with them that I do. He's suggested many times that we 'cut them off completely' and I've always said no we should keep trying for the sake of our baby as I'm a massive believer in the importance of grandparents to a child.

This is now a totally invalid argument as we have such infrequent contact with them that she doesn't have a clue who they are and they show no interest in her whatsoever. And I'm now of the thinking that I actually don't think they deserve to know her and I don't think she'd gain anything positive from a relationship with them.

We had been averaging seeing them every 3-4 weeks but last time was so stressful for all three of us (baby included) that we decided to have a longer break this time and we now haven't seen them for 6 weeks and no plans in place for a visit for at lest a few weeks yet.

My dilemma is this. The last 6 weeks have been bliss. My husband agrees. Previously when we haven't seen them for longer times I've felt guilty and obliged to sort a visit out (mu husband has never shared this opion and ive always had to twist his arm to persuade him to see them) but this time I don't feel that. I just feel such relief not to have a visit hanging over us.

I'm thinking about approaching the subject with my husband (we don't talk about it much as he is so angry at them that he just says 'lets not ruin our day by talking about them') and suggesting maybe he was right all those times he said to 'cut them out'. Is that unfair of me to suggest it to him? Should I wait till he brings it up (he won't!)? Or just bite my tongue and keep enduring the hell of contact?

I had always thought that it had to be entirely his call with no input at all from me so that later on down the line he wouldn't resent me? But now I'm thinking that its not like he disagrees and I'm saying not to see them while he still wants to, I genuinely think he'd prefer not to see them too but is just burying his head in the sand?

Purplehonesty Mon 27-May-13 14:41:31

Oh goodness keep well away if you both hate seeing them so much.

I would bring it up with dh and say you've come around to his way of thinking. That way it's not hanging there unspoken in the air.

harryhausen Mon 27-May-13 14:51:59

Good grief. That's sound awful! I would definitely have a calm word with DH and say you've changed your mind about any contact. Don't give it to him a fait accompli so as he can object if he wants - but from what you say I think he'll be relieved. No-one can say you haven't tried. I think if you're being sick and losing weight at the thought of visiting them then its just no good to anyone.

I have to admit to being incredibly nosy about what they are like/have said.....but just ignore me. I'm a nosy cowwink

pumpkinsweetie Mon 27-May-13 14:56:58

Keep well away, if that's what you want. I and my dc went non-contact with inlaws for 9 months, it was bliss. It took dh quite a while to get used to and for a while he was bogged down with pils begging & crying about not seeing dc, but it's the best thing i ever did. Then i blew it by getting in contact again and quite frankly no-one has changed, mil was ok but sil is already getting involved too much by phoning dh and trying to get him to be her skivvy. Dh didn't seem very happy after the reunion and was miserable after and grumpy. Wish i hadn't bothered and i won't be again.
Unfortunetly dh won't be happy when he realises they are a no go zone for my dc again.

Even mil couldn't put my children first for one fucking today, she bought my niece along with her. Straight away i knew she hadn't changed and sil was even worse for sending niece of to mil on purpose knowing she was seeing my dc for the first time in nearly a year.

digerd Mon 27-May-13 15:38:53

Your SIL sounds the real nasty piece of work here. Is that your DH's sister?

pumpkinsweetie Mon 27-May-13 15:46:39

If you mean me, yes my sil is dh's sister. She may seem sweet and light but she is interfering & malicious

jollygoose Mon 27-May-13 15:49:37

But what have they said or done?

Kat101 Mon 27-May-13 15:53:14

Is doing nothing an option? If you don't initiate contact, your DH doesn't sound like he's going to get in contact with them off his own back. If the IL don't tend to be the ones to proactively arrange meet ups then maybe contact can cease naturally without a big argument?

HighJinx Mon 27-May-13 15:54:53

I could have written your OP a few years ago. For years I was the one that kept communication going between DH and his family by nagging him to call or suggesting we visit. It was a complicated situation that I won't go into here but like you I didn't want him to resent me for them losing contact.

In the end I told him that it was his family and his choice. Since then I have never suggested that he contacts his family or made contact with them myself.

I have made absolutely sure that DH knows that if at any time he changes his mind I will support him fully in making contact with his family. But it is ENTIRELY his choice whether we are in contact with them or not.

LunaticFringe Mon 27-May-13 15:57:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 27-May-13 16:03:48

'He's suggested many times that we 'cut them off completely' and I've always said no we should keep trying for the sake of our baby as I'm a massive believer in the importance of grandparents to a child.'

I've seen that a lot on here. In my opinion it's a fallacy. The kind of people that cause so much stress and upset to their child that they repeatedly want to cut them out of their lives are very unlikely to have any positive impact on their grandchildren. Good grandparents are incredibly important.

xylem8 Mon 27-May-13 16:08:22

Cut them off.About 6 months ago I cut off a toxic 'friend' and the feeling of lightness, freedom and relief was astonishimg.I didn't realise just how much she was pulling me down!

Wuldric Mon 27-May-13 16:09:28

Can I ask what it is that they have done, or that they do, that makes these visits so stressful?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 27-May-13 16:13:19

I don't understand why you feel it is important that your children suffer these people.

Yes, nice, loving grandparents are a positive thing in a child's life.

But that's not what you're offering your children, is it?

you don't HAVE those for them. You have horrible people who make you ill and upset you. Why do you think that they would bring anything good to your children's lives?

A grandparent is only ever a good thing if the individual is a good person.

digerd Mon 27-May-13 16:35:45


Yes. that is the impression I got of her, and I do know people like that.
But does your DH know what she is really like? So he has toxic parents and a sister? Poor man. sad. It is one thing to have toxic in-laws, but your own family is far worse.

As he has already many times said he wants to cut them off, I would say to him, " You were right, it really would be for the best".

CloudsAndTrees Mon 27-May-13 17:18:26

I'd leave it, and wait for DH to bring it up if he wants to see them.

There is no point in you flogging a dead horse and trying to create a lovely happy extended family for your child when it just isn't going to happen with these people.

Let it go and get on with your life. If your DH says he wants to see them, then cross that bridge when you come to it. Until then, enjoy the peace!

GoodbyePorkPie Mon 27-May-13 17:35:51

If they're so awful that they make you physically ill, do you really think they'll be good grandparents?

frissonpink Mon 27-May-13 17:38:25

MIL hasn't seen my DD since January. She was only born in October sad

DoJo Mon 27-May-13 17:50:42

TBH I don't understand why you have been pressing for contact anyway - you don't like them, your husband doesn't like them and I can't really imagine that they will be a positive influence in your children's lives if you can't have a pleasant relationship with them. The importance of grandparents is limited to whether they can be trusted to actually be nice to their grandchildren and their parents, not just a blanket positive no matter what. If I were your husband I would probably be feeling the same as you - not wanting to bring it up, but in his case probably because you have steamrollered his desire not to see them in the past by continuing to initiate contact despite his reluctance. If doing nothing will result in the outcome that you want (ie you and your husband both making no contact with them) then that would be a solution surely?

BetterNotBitter Mon 27-May-13 18:50:48

Thanks all for your replies.

Kat101DoJo* Doing nothing is kind of an option, thats what Ive been doing for the last few weeks but it wont last forever. Eventually they'll initiate something I think & then we'll have to decide what to do, when i say eventually it will probably be in the next few weeks and it will probably come as quite a hostile/moody request so I'm trying to prepare myself for the conversations that will have to come...

LunaticFringe Youre right i think, I have interfered by encouraging him to maintain contact, I think as well as wanting to keep LOs grandparents about, I was often concerned that he was suggesting cutting them out because he thought that's what I wanted and I didnt want him to feel he had to do that for me. What you've said about backbone is spot on in our case as the in laws blame me for absolutely everything and think Im pulling his strings to put his foot down about things etc which is totally false, if anything its the opposite and they must think hes totally spineless and under my thumb!! Not the case!

Justfornowitwilldo ImTooHecsyForYourParty GoodbyePorkPie
I agree fully that its 'good' grandparents that are worth having around etc & I think that the problem was at first I thought we'd be able to settle for the way that they wanted to grandparent etc whereas when the baby actually came and as she grew it was impossible for us to compromise with some things. I suppose what Im trying to say is that initially I thought that they would be good grandparents and alot of whats hindered that has been the breakdown in our relationship seems to have affected how they behave towards our baby so its been an evolving situation. Now, I dont think it is worth having them around, I wouldnt trust them with our baby.

I wont go into major detail because I'd never stop writing!!! Basically MIL is very controlling and selfish and had lots of false expectations about how instrumental she was going to be in our babys life before baby came along. She got a million times worse when little one came along and it was lots of little things that built up and built up then eventually got worse because we were too worried about hurting her feelings to be harsh with her. Then when it all came to a head the first time it was more between me & MIL and thats been the main problem as she (wrongly) assumed that my husband would let her do whatever she wanted & it was me stopping her. He's since told her over and over again that he doesnt want things her way either but shes convinced its all me. Things went on, got worse until eventually they pushed my husband too far when FIL said to him 'we're your parents, you loved us before them (me and our baby) and we should come first not them and you'll do as we say, whatever your mother wants she gets so start doing as youre told' My husband is 28!! They fell out for months then contact was resumed but the problem was everyone just wanted to get on & the issues weren't addressed. this only lasted weeks and their awful ways started to creep back in and now not only are they rude, mean and selfish when we see them but there's the massive elephant in the room of the big fight as well.

LunaticFringe Mon 27-May-13 19:14:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pumpkinsweetie Mon 27-May-13 19:24:29

Funny how the sil always get involved lunatic, seems the toxics have form for even more toxicity in their daughters-normally the first-born strangey. Whereas my sil2 keeps her beak out, she isn't toxic though, she exscaped by moving to the other side of the countrygrin, good for her!

Sometimes in life we have to realise some people aren't good to be around, whether they are ils or bloodties it doesn't mean we owe them anything. I'm starting to realise this with my ils, no matter how many chances they get, they aren't going to change. A lepoard never changes it's spots, they always remain imprinted.
We can try and try somemore, but sometimes people aren't worth the bother with the stress that comes with seeing them.

BetterNotBitter Mon 27-May-13 19:33:38

Maybe I should have elaborated abit more on the kind of problems we've had, just a few examples of the kind of people they are:

She told my husband, his brother and father that it upset her that I could cook quite well and she couldnt so she asked them not to say that they liked anything I made because it wasnt fair to her.

She walked in the hospital room (annoyed at not being allowed to come whilst i was in labour) and didnt say hello or look at me or my husband just walked in and said to my husband who was holding the baby 'right, give me that baby now, she wants her nana not you' those were her first words.

She invited people round and hour after we'd got home from the hospital despite us telling her over and over again that we didn't want visitors. We'd never even met the people she'd invited and none of our best friends had even met the baby yet. When we said no, she cried and cried, said to my husband that I was being awful to her, it wasnt fair etc.

She started to try to manipulate and to lie about things she'd said to me or things she said I'd said to her but unfortunately for her she isnt a good liar and she tripped herself up time & time again and had to end up admitting she was lying or saying she'd got confused/

Shes started to make horrible comments to me when noone else was around.

Her downfall has been that my husband knows what shes like and although I didn't realise it until recently hes now told me that there's been problems throughout his whole life with boundary issues and selfishness etc but its just before he had his own family he was able to shut himself off from them without too much objection from her.

These are just a few tiny historic examples and don't begin to even scratch the surface of things that have gone on but just as an indication. I also havent gone in to the problems between my husband and his mother and father but there are issues there too.

More recently the problems that we're having are less direct as we have much less to do with them than when my baby was first born. So now its more of when we see them they show no interest in anything to do with us or the baby they just talk about themselves or sit in silence and in a mood. If they do speak about the baby or us its to say really annoying things e.g last time, our little one was having a snack (that we'd taken with us) of watermelon, mango and pineapple and FIL said to her 'spit that crap out you dont want that, get in the kitchen and get a chocolate biscuit' or MIL saying about a friends baby 'she's lovely, shes the prettiest baby I've seen since my two were little' or 'my friends DIL is so lovely, she even bottlefed so my friend could get to give the baby a bottle, not like you with all the breastfeeding rubbish'. I dont really care too much about their opinions its more that they make no effort to try to be nice or even civil.

From someone who has not seen her mil since her lo was 2 weeks old I can greatly recommend it. It has to come from your dh, but that doesn't mean you can't raise the subject with him.

Please pm if you want more details or to chat. I understand completely. x

WafflyVersatile Mon 27-May-13 19:53:03

I think you should say to your husband that it's been bliss, you'd like to cut contact with them too now, and that you're sorry you pushed for contact up until now.

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