AIBU to think my OH and in-laws are emotionally stunted?!(46 Posts)
Don't get me wrong, I love them all very much, but my OH and I are having a rough time recently (money problems, that we've kept to ourselves). Last night, as relationships often end up, we took our frustrations out on each other and had a row in the car on the way to see his parents.
I tried desperately not to cry and to act normal. But once there and in the house, his mum sensed the tension and said "what's up with you two, you both seem down in the dumps". OH abruptly said "nothings up with me!" then nodded towards me and rolled his eyes. He's always been a bit insensitive when he's in a mood and this triggered me to break down into floods of tears. Weeks of pent-up weeping just poured out. But everyone just clammed up and didn't know where to look.
I went to the loo to grab a tissue...But literally as I got up for a tissue, his parents just started chatting to OH about general shit, not one of them acknowledging this scene before them. It was bizarre.
I return seconds later, still tears streaming down my face. But they're talking about everything except what's just happening right in front of them. I have broken down in tears, OH is clearly not ok, but they are just chatting about football, fishing, going out for dinner next week, that they've bought a lovely joint of beef for Sunday lunch, that she bought a nice skirt for 3 quid out of fuckin asda! And I'm sat there thinking... WTF?!
Nobody put an arm around me, nobody even asked why I was so upset. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means an attention-seeker (seriously, Im really not!) but being 'the elephant in the room' just upset me even further. I struggled to understand why nobody cared.
I've known them for 6 years, very well! I thought I was pretty close to them. I often go round for dinner with them, or sleep-over, on my own if OH is working away. Have days out with the kids with his mum etc. We even lived with them for a few months while we were having some housing issues. But last night it was like they couldn't bear to acknowledge this emotional stranger in front of them and all 3 (including my OH btw!) just basically ignored me, and continued to talk general crap while I cried. The only person to offer me any comfort was my 2 yr old ds.
Is it just me, or is this just fuckin weird????
In the end I just had to leave. But they still came to the door to wave us off smiling, while joking and laughing at the door, shouting happy goodbyes like nothing had happened. Im really disturbed by this!
They didn't want to interfere.
They sound kind but obviously yes a bit emotionally illiterate.
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"I tried desperately not to cry and to act normal."
I would have taken that as a hint that you wanted me to do the same. I try to take my lead from the person who's upset in that sort of situation - if they're making zero reference to how upset they are, I won't reference it either.
What happened when you got in the car?
They obviously thought it was a private matter between you and your OH and didn't want to get dragged into it. If he didn't volunteer any information it would be quite rude for them to keep asking.
What laurie said. Lots of people wouldn't know what to say esp given the relationship they wouldn't want to seem like they were taking sides. And - sorry but how long were you crying for? You've made it seem like it went on for ages. Could you not either stop or excuse yourself earlier?? And in front of your dcs? Was dc in the car whilst you had the argument? Don't you think YABU?
Also - I'm a crier. I cry when I'm sad, angry or happy but the amount of tears is disproportionate to my actual feelings. I can have tears streaming down my face when actually all I feel is slightly annoyed. It's purely a physical response, so I prefer it when people ignore it! It's not for attention and if I could stop it I would - I frequently cry laughing, too.
They are kind. A loving and warm family who regularly hug and kiss each other. But this is why I find it so unusual. If they were all a loveless cold family I could understand it but they're not.
I'm not trying to suggest they should be miserable, not at all. But if someone, a member of their own family is in emotional pain and crying shouldn't someone at least put an arm around them? Offer to lend a shoulder to cry on?
My family are the type that don't hug each other or say "I love you" because they're a bit rigid, but if someone was to break down and cry in front of them they'd still say "tell me all about it, I'll put the kettle on".
I can't imagine having someone crying in front of me while I just sat and ignored them while I talked about what I was having for my lunch the next day, with everyone doing the same
I think your inlaws reaction was normal, they didn't want to get involved. Did you really want them to enquire what it was all about? I would prefer my inlaws to act in the way you describe.
I think it sounds normal, that they didn't want to get involved in a private argument.
I think you're looking for sympathy/understanding from the wrong people.
I think they were embarrassed and I really don't think I would feel comfortable if my In laws wanted me to tell them all about mine and dh's relationship problems.
I'd have done the same. You put them in an awkward position going to theirs after an argument, with a noticeable coldness between you. They won't have wanted to get involved and probably thought they were helping in that you could come back when ready and join the conversation, rather than it being stony silent.
I don't think it's weird or 'emotionally stunted' at all. They picked up that there was clearly some tension / difficulties between you and your oh, and quite rightly assessed that it was just that - between you and oh and were very tactfully staying out of it / not interfering.
I would not appreciate my in laws, nor my siblings poking their noses in if dh and I had had an argument about something - it's not their business to.
No the story makes it seems like I was balling for ages, I wasn't. We only stayed for about half an hour. But the tears did keep rolling down my face because I suppose I wanted someone to be a little supportive but they all just chatted amongst themselves. I gave up my family, friends and job and moved 200 miles away to be with him, so I don't have my own family to cry to, or get a hug from my nan (the only person who hugs me without me forcing it).
But OH parents have always said that they see me as a daughter and I can come to them about anything. But the first time I cry in 6 years they could barely look at me.
The reason we had gone to see them was for my OH and I to ask for their help. But following the uptight response OH just left that massively important bit out and continued to talk about general rubbish.
When we left we didn't speak to each other until we got home for fear of arguing in front of ds again (I know we shouldn't have argued in the car earlier with our ds there. It was the first time tbh, but that's how stressed we have become, and hence my floods of tears).
I disagree that it's normal. I thought I was on the emotionally stunted end of the spectrum but I would have got you a tissue and a glass of water. Not a hug if that's not what you do (I don't like being touched much by anyone other than dh or the kids).
If my son ignored his partner's obvious distress I would feel I had done very badly as a parent. I would hope my dc would take you somewhere quiet to calm down and listen to you. I wouldn't want you sobbing in the living room feeling embarrassed because I wouldn't want to be sobbing in the living room with everyone there.
How bloody awful for you op
I wasn't looking for sympathy JeanSeberg, but thanks for that. Just wanted advice because I found it strange, as we're all really close. Nothing like this has ever happened before. I've never broken down, but they've seen us go through hard times and we've often talked about personal things with them. This was so out of character.
My dh finds it very hard to discuss emotions especially if I am emotional and I have lost count of the number of times I have ad to tell him thta what I need when upset is a hug and to feel he is there for me and listens to me. His parents are lovely and we have been married almost 15 years but they rarely talk about of express strong emotions.
I would say it is weird but also normal for some families. My own family were more likely to shout, cry and row than be quiet!
If you wanted advice, f you need to have that emotional support (and of course most of us do!), then I would talk to dh and concentrate my efforts on helping him to be more open about discussing emotions etc. I would not worry about encouraging your in laws, presumably they are much older and less likely to change and the person you really need to grow a little emotional maturity is your dh.
I would also try and get you and dh to read this book ...Five Love Languages or something similar.
You didn't ask for advice, so please ignore it is you prefer!
If your child was there then I find it even weirder!
I would have taken ds and everyone else except your oh off to the kitchen or somewhere to give you some privacy.
I agree that they probably didn't want to interfere. Asking what was the matter could have been awkward-you could have argued about all sorts of things that aren't their business.
If an adult couple came into my home, one eye rolling and the other upset after an obvious argument I wouldn't get involved either unless I was asked!
In hindsight it probably would have been better after the argument in the car to simply turn round and go home.
I don't think your in laws are the problem. Your OH was insensitive to reference your falling out in front of them, which made you cry and made his parents feel very awkward I imagine. Your OH should be the one to go after you if you leave the room in tears, especially as he's the one who upset you. If your PIL's had tried to comfort you when OH was ignoring your obvious distress it could have appeared as though they were taking your side or interfering in your relationship. I think it was shitty of your OH to put you all in that position to be honest.
How horrid for you OP, I'm with you, very odd.
My instinct would be to comfort or at the least reassure, I couldn't help myself, and I think most are the same.
it's very strange to just talk right over your sobs.
Hopefully the next time you go over one of them might take you to one side and see if you're ok.
Hope you've managed to sort things a bit more now.
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