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Quite a lot of AIBU's in one go. Sorry

(54 Posts)
Doubtfuldaphne Thu 14-Aug-14 22:51:39

Just had our first counselling session. Big can of worms opened up as expected.
The main issue is, his family really piss me off. They're so bossy and domineering I hate being undermined by them.
If I tell my dh that something's been said or done that annoys me, he sees red and I'm deemed a trouble maker.
The whole session today was him defending his family.
So I have a few questions:
AIBU to ask to be put before his family as his wife? He said he would never do that and that he will never choose.
I asked that he gets involved if I have a concern or a problem with something that's been said or done. He said it's up to me. Is that normal?
He said he'll speak up if he thinks it's something that needs speaking up about but that I'm a bit too over sensitive so won't pull them up on everything. Is he BU?
I've decided if we stay married I won't stay at their house again, it's too much hassle. Is that BU?
Apparently they're treading on egg shells around me now as they think I have some kind of anxiety disorder and they're terrified they'll upset me.
It's driving me nuts!
Hope some of you can help, I can't see how counselling can solve this but I'm giving it another go next week.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 18:07:29

BackforGood its true, I've seen it many times on here too! I've found this all a huge help for me. I was hoping I was BU and I think I generally am! I love mumsnet for this completely unbiased, 'tell it how it is' advice.
HamptonCourt that's put a spanner in the works! haha!
I've told my DF to back off. I'm willing to stop being so sensitive towards the IL's and have to realise they're different to me but then, everyone's different.
I'm going to stay there less just because I would find it easier if there was a bit of distance and I need a break now and then.
If something's done or said (for example SIL telling of my DS without talking to me or dh first or the dreaded grape episode) I am going to have to speak up. I mustn't just react over everything though otherwise I'll still be seen as a PITA.
I still feel DH should speak up on certain things as I have to know he's on my side. He IS terrified of standing up to his sister. I think she's the only one who I'm worried about causing trouble in the future. MIL isnt so bad.
SIL is very authoritative, I think this is mainly because of her job and the fact she has no children and has been divorced. She is this way with her DM and other family aswell though. No one questions it. It's very hurtful when she undermines me. At least we've pinpointed what the problems are!

hamptoncourt Fri 15-Aug-14 16:24:57


I would not stay married to a man who wanted me to play second fiddle to his mummy.

softlysoftly Fri 15-Aug-14 15:52:02

Oh good for you OP, it does sound like your DF has been stirring!

The thing is In Laws (and others tbh) can be irritating, the relationship can be difficult but its your own emotional response to that which dictates how things are going to be.

For example my MIL is a HUGE help to me, I love her to itty bits but my good god can some things wind me up. I have to just decide what is and isn't important. So shoving the DCS mouths full of chocolate the second they cry I hate but let go because I figure its not harmful if they don't get the same message / overfeeding from me the majority of the time.

However the constantly running kettle and rice cooker was on a toddler head height table and my foot came firmly down and I very sweetly said it may be me being fussy but I heard of "x" child who had been burned this way and the DCs just couldn't come over if the kitchen weren't rearranged with heated items on a higher shelf. I had the conversation with MIL, SIL and DH and the kettle and rice cooker were relocated. Problem solved.

However other SIL (BILs wife) took little issues and reacted to the nth degree, never said anything directly, always via BIL, always saw things as a battle to win / a way of offending her and the whole thing snowballed until everything was a drama, PIL started acting the same way and they are barely in contact. I see how torn BIL is between wife and family and how worried MIL is about never seeing his DCs and it was all so avoidable with better communication.

Aim for the happy middle ground most of us inhabit, you may not be best buddies and agree on everything but as with all relationships you forge a way forward that satisfies all parties on the whole with lines in the sand when things are dangerous (eg grapes) Vs irritating e.g snacks / apartment location.

WorraLiberty Fri 15-Aug-14 15:45:46

I agree with everything BackforGood has said here.

Also, I think you are relying far too much on your DH to do your speaking for you.

You aren't happy that he won't speak for you and yet you won't speak for yourself either.

The grape thing was out of order but again, you could have been firm with your SIL over it.

It's not easy learning to speak up for yourself, but ultimately it's better than letting things fester and turn into panic attacks etc.

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 15:39:52

How about also finding a friend to talk to? Try to not take on board your Fathers behaviour, you can choose your own opinion and behaviour.

Good luck OP

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 15-Aug-14 15:32:22

If your DF is controlling it is in his vested interests to split you up so he gest his way all the time. It sounds like you and your DH both have lots of baggage and separate as well as joint counselling is in order.

All right-fighting gets you is being right. Alone, miserable, bitter but right. Everyone seems to be right-fighting. Ask yourself every time, "is this the hill I want to die on?" The grape thing might be (I'd have done postal), everything else wouldn't be, for me.

BackforGood Fri 15-Aug-14 15:30:27

How lovely to have someone on MN pose a question, and then actually take on board what people are saying smile
Makes such a lovely change.
Often I read a thread, people post what seems sensible, then the OP gets all angry that everyone isn't agreeing with her.

I genuinely hope we've been of some help, and hope you can move forward a bit with fresh eyes smile

DaisyFlowerChain Fri 15-Aug-14 14:38:25

I feel for your DH, bar the grape thing you sound high maintainable and very me me me.

Your DH is an adult, perfectly able to have a mind of his own. His family will always be that, partners not always so.

If you are willing to leave just because you don't like his family, then why on earth did you marry him in the first place?

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 14:28:35

Well the only other person who knows about the situation (apart from the whole internet now!) is my father who I have now realised IS very controlling. He's been encouraging a separation and has said all along Dh and his family are in the wrong and he believes they're all emotionally abusive, manipulative etc. I've had this drummed in to me for so long I want to accept I'm BU but feel like that would be becoming a walk over and I'm giving in. It's a horrible realisation but I told Dh I'm prepared to see things from his POV now. You've all helped me so much here, more than the counselling has so far!

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 14:19:07

Re the money situation I imagine that your Mil is desperately trying to think of ways that she has upset you and is clutching at straws to try to prevent it in future.

Re the counselling session I also suggest that you ask for suggestions in how to tackle minor issues, maybe mention anxiety? This thread is from your perspective, what does your best friend say on the subject?

OTheHugeManatee Fri 15-Aug-14 14:12:41

They say men often marry women who are like their mothers. OP, you certainly sound every bit as uptight and controlling as your MIL so I'm afraid I don't think it's your DH's automatic duty to take your side, sorry.

jellybelly701 Fri 15-Aug-14 14:09:22

Surely there is more to it than that op? That's a very extreme reaction to what you describe as a simple question.

For the record, I don't think that your DHs family putting bowls of snacks back onto their table after you have moved them is undermining you. If people were eating them then they need to be easily accessible. If that means that your dc might be able to reach them then you should keep a close eye on her. You said DH was too scared to say anything about his mother undermining you in this way. He didn't say anything not because he was scared but because it was a total non issue. It isn't undermining you, or controlling or even rude so there is no need to go all confrontational. You was a guest in their house, you do not get to dictate what food is served and where it is kept.

Based from what you have written here and in the nicest way possible I would have to agree with your husband, you do seem a bit over sensitive.

JenniferJo Fri 15-Aug-14 13:35:32

I've come to the conclusion that you are probably even more controlling than his mother. Poor DH.

BookABooSue Fri 15-Aug-14 13:32:17

Yes it is a bit off but you're still falling into the temptation to keep some kind of score sheet about who is being UR, and who is right. You need to try to move away from that type of thinking.

I don't think it was unreasonable to ask to be included in a conversation about you and your DS. I do think their responses (crying and walking out) were disproportionate. They seem to have you on the back foot all the time so you don't know what will cause an argument, a crying fit or a temper tantrum. You're starting to fall into the same dynamic by having everything escalate into a crisis. Or you are used to a similar dynamic in your family. Either way, you really don't need to play those games - detach from all the extreme emotions.

For the next counselling session, maybe write down some ideas or questions before you go. I'd think along the lines of 'how can you raise any valid concerns you have with your ILs' behaviour?'

Some of your concerns do seem extreme but your ILs seem to treat all your concerns as extreme which is undermining any valid points you have, and I think it's leaving you unsure what's important and what isn't.

BackforGood Fri 15-Aug-14 13:28:18

I have to say, the more you post, the more I am reading that it's neither dh nor his family, but you.
Even though you will (as we all would) be posting this from your perspective, so you'd think the things you post ought to make you sound the reasonable one and his family 'awkward', you seem to be making yourself sound less reasonable as the thread goes on.

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 13:04:12

According to Dh, mil has asked whether she should reign in her spending on us as I might be seeing it as her wanting a maternal power over us. Dh has brought up the fact they spend money on us as a reason I shouldn't be finding faults with them..
I dont ask for their money and I don't expect it so having that thrown back at me is a bit off isn't it?

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 15-Aug-14 13:00:16

I am cheerful and I did move the things out of the way only for them to be put back again so it's just that they'll do what they want despite what I say. Dh has been there when I've been undermined this way and he's too scared to say anything. With the holiday, I couldn't just phone her as she'd already shouted at Dh for asking questions. I was told asking questions would appear ungrateful but I was just trying to be organised.
I don't know if the problem should be his family or the way Dh handles his family. I agree I should speak up more when problems arise but they're so domineering I don't feel I can or all hell will break loose again.
Jellybelly, I overheard mil discussing with Dh some issues they have about ds and I heard my name mentioned. I asked if we could all talk together about it but Dh saw red and defending mil while she got all upset.

jellybelly701 Fri 15-Aug-14 11:46:39

I agree with softlysoftly and legionofboom

If I had to walk on egg shells around my DIL for fear of causing a panic attack or a serious argument with my son, then I have to say, I wouldn't be very confrontational either. I wouldn't want to make things worse.

I agree with you about the grapes. But I think you are being really quite unreasonable about the rest.

His family is different to yours, so what? Its no reason to take an instant dislike to them. Which they WILL have picked up on by the way.

Out of curiosity, what did you overhear MIL saying that ended with DH walking out?

dancestomyowntune Fri 15-Aug-14 11:33:02

My Mil used to give my dd peanuts and tell her not to tsll me. i'm sure because she thought i was being ridiculous with my "no nuts before 5" rule. it used to make me so angry.

Thumbwitch Fri 15-Aug-14 11:22:13

No I'm sorry, I really don't accept that the SIL giving the baby a grape after being asked not to is a "minor infraction". It's not - it's bloody dangerous, and she shouldn't have done it, especially after being warned not to.

This reminds me somewhat of the time a 3yo with a serious nut allergy was given a walnut whip by the MIL/SIL because they didn't really believe that she was nut allergic - child ended up in hospital.

The OP is doing her best to keep her children safe; her ILs seem to be oblivious to some of the basic safety aspects of doing so and her DH is failing in his duty to his DC by not picking his family up on these things.

I'm not saying the OP is perfect, it doesn't sound as though she is (and really, who is?) but it's ridiculous to call her uptight because she'd rather her DC wasn't put in harm's way!

oldgrandmama Fri 15-Aug-14 11:11:04

Oh, I picked up on the grape thing too - young children, not just babies, have DIED through choking on grapes. Extremely dangerous. My youngest grandchild is nearly five but I still quarter grapes before I give them to her. Older GC loves olives, but I cut them up too. So I don't think OP was being at all unreasonable about the grape thing. As for the rest, I'm not sure what I think. OP does sound as though she decided from the start that she wouldn't like her ILs, but they in turn sound controlling ...

notagainffffffffs Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:43

Agree with just movibg things yourself. I do this at mils house. Jusy pivk up a bowl of sweets or whatever and say 'im just popping this here, little obe is eating everything atm!' And smile.
You need to communicate with them yourself rather than getting into a state and going on at dh.
For example with the holiday it would have been so easy to just call them abd say 'thankyou so much for the wonderful surprise, im a little bit worried about being on the top floor, do you think the travel agent could arrange xyz or perhaps I should pack a stairgate?'
It stops it snowballing.

dancestomyowntune Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:29

i've been there grin

when dd1 was concieved and ILs were told they told dp (now dh) not to assume it was his!!! when i saw SIL in town she blanked me sad then when dd1 was born she wanted to be godmother and to have the baby all the time sad i relented and made he godmother, but a HUGE row erupted when dd1 was ten months old and i said sil couldnt have her for the day. bil and his gf interfered and my now husband was told to make me do what they wanted. i refused to back doen and poor dh was in the middle for a good eighteen months. now, 11 years on, we are nc with bil and his wife, but have a reasonable relationship with sil. dh learnt to stand up to his family and support me and the majority of the family learnt that i would not be bullied when it came to the dcs.

VSeth Fri 15-Aug-14 10:52:16

I picked up what Legionofbloom picked up on. You say that your family is laid back but sound very uptight and inflexible.

Re the grapes, I am with you on that but just say something? When I went to my mums and in laws at Christmas the house wasn't toddler proof and I just inwardly sighed a bit, asked for a fire guard, discreetly moved a bowl of sweets to a higher shelf and got in with it.

Can you try to put on a cheery face when dealing with things? It will help. Re the holiday a cheery call about how you won't be able to attend all the holiday as the date clashed would have been a good start? Followed by a cheerful enquiry about if there was a brochure or more info about the apartment?

I feel a bit sorry for your DH tbh,when dealing with his family can you consider how you would deal with your own family and try to build across the chasm?

Refusing to stay over as you want a specific room does make you come across as a diva, is the bathroom on the same floor as the other bedrooms?

Legionofboom Fri 15-Aug-14 10:25:47

I've always just foud his family so close and authoritative I took a dislike to them all straight away

I think this is at the heart of the problem. You decided you didn't like them immediately and everything they have done since is interpreted by you in such a way as to reinforce the belief that you were right.

You actually sound far more controlling than them with your demands for certain bedrooms and food to not be left out. I have no idea what could be so awful about a top floor apartment either.

I don't think they are challenging your parenting as much as just not pandering to your every demand.

My family are laid back
This is also surprising to me because you certainly don't sound laid back.

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