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AIBU? In-Law issues unbiased advice please??

(19 Posts)
Cally72 Sat 25-Jul-15 12:34:44

Since my ds was born last spring my in-laws have been unbearing, or is it my sensitivity as a new mum?
My fiancé has always had a strained relationship with his parents as they've always been controlling, Opionated & expect you to live by their rules. He rebelled leaving home in his teens.
My fiancé has 2 children from a previous marriage whom we have joint custody. Over the past 10 years we have forged a close, supportive family unit & they accept & love me as their step-mum & vice versa.
After years of trying for our own baby (I was diagnosed with psos) & suffering a miscarriage at 12wks I gave birth to our beautiful miracle ds last year. It was a very traumatic birth which resulted in my life hanging in the balance! Luckily I pulled through but took ages to recover afterwards.

Here lies the problem. My in-laws used to turn up unannounced all the time, often when I was in middle of feeding our baby or doing skin-on-skin time. They always called unannounced before our ds was born but I used to let it go as MIL would always say how sad it was that she doesn't see her gc as often now that their mum & dad are divorced (they still saw them twice a week). She'd also call saying 'I've just popped in to see my boys' so I felt obliged to accomadate her.
Anyway, one time after They called i stayed upstairs Until I had finished feeding our baby. They had big faces on them when I went down eventually, they stood up, gave me a look, cooed over the baby & left. Another time when my fiancé & I didn't get chance to call when we said we would, they both called round at our house demanding to know what was wrong, why we hadn't called, why we wanted to be spending so much time just the 3 of us & that is was wrong & unhealthy. She said we should be getting out & mixing with people & visiting relatives & that she used to visit her MIL twice a week when her kids were born. I explained that we needed time to adjust (baby was 6 weeks old) & sometimes it was inconvenient people turning up unexpected if we'd had little or no sleep( & I was still in a lot of pain). She gave a look that said 'how dare you' & they havnt called unexpectedly since!

Since then I have been called cruel for not allowing ds at 6 months old to have chocolate. MIL often saying in front of me (talking to baby) 'Nannie's going to give you chocolate at Xmas isn't she'. This made me so angry like she was belittling me & my wishes in front of everyone.
They couldn't call to see me on my birthday as they were too hungover, so when we visited them the following day I was given a tea stained card that just read 'happy birthday'. Not one question of 'how was your birthday, did you have a nice time?' Just 'how's my little baby boy' then she proceeded to pick him up out his pram & pass him round. Her son & gc got a visit on their birthdays by the way, with the biggest verse I think she could find.

My fiancé knows how hurtful & unhappy all this is making me so we have distanced ourselves by only seeing them twice a month now. But on these visits we are still met with demands of 'why aren't you bringing the kids to see us more often? Just bring them round! Are we not worth a few hours of your time once a week?' It's all so stressful! My fiancé & I get asked nothing about how we are, everything is just about 'their boys'. I now dread these visits as they are uncomfortable & strained. They critise our ds hair & how it needs a cut, how they should wear their clothes etc...I stand up & say their hairs ok it looks lovely, which is met my a disapproving eye. They ask nothing like 'is it ok if...' They just do what they want because they think it's their right as Grandparents.

My fiancé hates confrontation & refuses to speak to them as he feels we will get nowhere as they are stuck in their way, he prefers to just distance away from them. However, these visits still are very stressful & I am finding I'm dreading them days before they've happend!

I'm 12 weeks pregnant again, no one knows. I'll tell all the family when I get the ok from our scan next week. I'm absolutely dreading having to go through all the stress & upset again. Id love in-laws who take an interest in US, be supportive, ask how we are, not just everything about the children, 'their boys'. It makes me sad thinking back to how my MIL used to make a beeline for our newborn without hardly acknowledging us. On my 1st Mother's Day not being asked how it was. (She did have a face on because my fiancé whisked my ds & I to a hotel overnight so didn't see her on Mother's Day, even though he called her later on in the day which he said was met with a very cold response.)

On my ds 1st birthday I invited them round to join in the celebrations. Lots of pictures were taken by them but not 1 of my fiancé & I with our 3 children. They however have now got a framed picture in their house, taken on the day of them with our 3 children. They have none whatsoever of us as a family unit.

Am I being overly sensitive? My fiancé keeps saying to just ignore them but it's so hard as all this is making me feel stressed. I feel at times like I just want to run far away with my baby & never come back. I love my fiancé very much & we plan to get married next year. I just need advice on how I can move forward positively from this situation please, as it's eating me up??

Thanks for taking the time to read & advice given, it's much appreciated

LIZS Sat 25-Jul-15 12:55:04

I don't think they perceive you as part of the family. They probably did that with his ex. Are they still in touch with her? Having said that I think you are reading too much into them having no photos including you in display. Keep your distance and secure the doors.

featherandblack Sat 25-Jul-15 13:01:59

I agree that it's eating you up and can completely see why flowers. No, I don't think you're being overly sensitive. Your MIL clearly doesn't have good boundaries and your DH is trying to keep the peace rather than lay down the law.

As they seem to express disapproval by withdrawing, sulking and complaining, I think there's a limit to what they can do to you, provided you are able to emotionally detach yourself from this. In your position, I would be prepared to explain why and leave immediately if they are unpleasant when you visit. Complaining would be included in that - I would say something like, 'I'm sorry that you feel that way but this conversation isn't helping the relationship dynamics at all. It's best if we leave now and try again another time.'

Then I would try to be extremely self-disciplined about not allowing myself to dwell on the subject at all.

chippednailvarnish Sat 25-Jul-15 13:04:13

You sound over sensitive and they sound over bearing.
Your DH is actually the issue as he acknowledges there is a problem, but won't do anything about it. You need to start with him.

Floralnomad Sat 25-Jul-15 13:10:04

Why put yourself through seeing people you obviously dislike - just stop going round there - if your fiancé wants to go let him go alone ,if the older dc want to accompany him let them . If they visit you don't pander to them and if that offends and they leave that's their choice.

Fatmomma99 Sat 25-Jul-15 13:22:16

I think the most important thing here is to congratulate you very much on your second pregnancy, and I hope it goes better for you than the previous one. That's lovely news for you. Try not to get too stressed out about this (as you obviously are), because it's not good for you or the baby. And I agree with you that it wants sorting so that you're not stressed throughout your pregnancy.

Also, congrats on building such a great relationship with your step children - that can be such a tricky one, so it's great for all of you that you've all been able to do that so successfully.

You don't mention other support networks. Where are your parents in all this? What about sisters and brothers of you and your OH?

I think you hold more power than you realize you do - you've already drastically cut down on the contact you've had with them. and (if I read it right) they're no longer calling unannounced? So, you've already gone a long way to change things. It seems to me that they do "hear" you and give you what you want, even if they're not happy about it (sulking, exchanging looks etc). So you're not as powerless as you think you are, imo.
So then with things like your MIL saying to your baby "I'm going to give you chocolate at Christmas" you could say things like (in an ickle baby voice) "you won't be seeing me at Christmas if you're going to disrespect my mummy's wishes"

Good luck, and hope everything goes well for the pregnancy.

Cally72 Sat 25-Jul-15 13:40:57

My oh sister is very supportive & always asks how we all are not just the children. She also rings or texts to make sure it's a good time to call. I have a very good relationship with my parents (dad died years ago) which means Ive been able to speak openly about feelings etc...without taking offence. My oh was never allowed that By his parents, he had to keep his thoughts & feelings to himself & had what he called a surpressed upbringing.
I have a brother & sister who I'm very close to also & who are supportive, but again we can speak openly to each other about things so nothing is built up.
Which is why this is so frustrating as I feel it's my oh position to speak up to his parents, not me, but he isn't able to do it because he was never allowed it growing up so finds it uncomfortable. So there lies the problem. I feel nothing can get resolved here without open communication but if I speak up I'll be the trouble maker in what is already a sensitive situation. They are stubborn so will stick to their guns no matter what.
They aren't in contact with his ex, it was a bitter break up & she stopped my oh from seeing his children before he had to fight for custody in court, they havnt spoken in years.

Thanks for any advice offered in helping with this situation.

Myname15 Sat 25-Jul-15 14:13:28

I don't think you're being oversensitive, they're being inconsiderate, difficult and very rude. It could turn into you being a bit OTT though, esp with more minor things like the photos, as these things become overwhelming, so make sure that your partner is fully aware of how this is affecting you if hes not already.
Firstly, however you decide to approach this is gonna be a shitload easier if you're both on the same page, so ask him how he wants to deal with this long term. If withdrawing from them is his answer, I'd really want him to explain to them why if he's confronted, so you're not blamed.
How do you get on with his ex? Did she have similar problems with them or is it a case of them preferring her? Tbh though, it sounds like this is just what they're like, rather than it being personal. Unfortunately though, this behaviour always FEELS personal unless you challenge yourself when this feeling crops up.
I can totally empathise with how stressed out you feel about it, and you shouldn't have to be going through the bullshit platitudes when you're feeling judged, disregarded and disrespected. I don't doubt you're kids will pick up on it, it may cause stress within your relationship and you really do not need this now you're pregnant so the bottom line is, it needs sorting!
Totally, you can not go round, and your other half can take the kids if he so wishes, but that division sounds almost dangerous to me, and certainly not healthy. And would you really want your newborn taken from you to visit them? As much as you could do that, I think it makes such a point your unhappy with them it will make you look very childish and difficult, and that is the last thing you sound. I really would try to come across as a united front and not allow it to look like you're the problem.
Maybe try meeting on more neutral territory, and challenge their barbed comments. "No, cause nanny's not gonna give you chocolate, babies don't eat chocolate" might work while he's still too small to know what's going on. Ad just answer the comments like you would anyone else "we like his hair longer", " we're very busy and make the effort to see you as we know its important to you, and see you more than A,B,C, and need time alone too". If you get the shitty looks, ask what's wrong. Don't go out of your way to avoid a row, stand your ground and make sure DP is behind you. A row might be the perfect opportunity to voice your concerns if you stay fantastically calm. Don't be bullied by the sulks, and introduce the notion this is your family unit and they fit around you. But the most important thing is making sure your fiancé is behind you. Good luck

ollieplimsoles Sat 25-Jul-15 14:24:32

Congratulations on your second pregnancy op! flowers

Here's my view: Your mil sounds like she is still holding a candle to your fiances previous relationship and misses her grand kids from his failed relationship. Its lovely you have such a strong family dynamic and get on well with your step kids. Your mil needs to get over it, relationships breakdown, new ones start.

The real issue here is the over bearing ness of it all and her general attitude and behaviour towards you. You need to except your mil is just one of those mils (taking over with baby, turning up when it suits her, not interested in you at all, trying to undermine you). I know because my mil is the same. Once you except it you can start dealing with it.

Brush off all her comments you don't like, and remember its up to you when she sees your children, so you do have a choice to let her in or not!

Myname15 Sat 25-Jul-15 14:25:49

And they don't pop round unannounced anymore? Brilliant! If they start to again, don't answer the door, or if that's unavoidable, answer it half dressed and start on the washing up, hovering etc, while being polite but don't hide your stress. Well done for telling them.
They may not have any interest in you, and it's bloody ignorant and rude, but you can't change that. My mother's the same, and it still hurts me, but I'll only see her once a year. You can ask point blank "are you not gonna ask about ....?" Or just accept this is all about the kids with them. Try not to let it get to you. Try might just be really crap when it comes to adult relationships (does sound like that).
However, lovely as I'm sure he is, your bloke needs a wake up call. They're only in your life as an extension of him, and he really has to sort it out. Point out the difficulties it may cause to you all, and tell him he has to do something, with your support.flowers

JohnCusacksWife Sat 25-Jul-15 14:38:51

She sounds like hard work but I think you are being over sensitive. The gist of your complaints seem to be that she doesn't ask about you or take any interest in you. But if you don't like her I'm not sure why that bothers you?

My MIL doesn't give two hoots about me and I don't give two hoots about her. It would be lovely if things were different but that's never going to happen. Just pay the duty calls, smile, be polite and then forget them.

TattieHowkerz Sun 26-Jul-15 10:12:05

They do sound controlling and I agree distancing yourselves is the way to go.

Things I think you are being sensitive about - the minor bits like the lack of photo of all of you, the lack of attention to your birthday and Mother's Day. Be happy they don't pop round anymore!

Obviously you are int he situation and will be able to tell better how things are meant. But I don't think most adults think adult birthdays are important, or Mother's Day is an occasion for wider family interest.

allinahuddle Sun 26-Jul-15 13:40:26

I think they do sound controlling and selfish but they are also typical of quite a few grandparents in that they have done it all before (had children) and so think they know better than you. I get along well with my parents and in laws now but when the kids were younger I found it really hard as both my mum and MIL were desperate for me to disregard all the current advice and wean the baby earlier than advised, give the baby chocolate etc etc. They did the talking to baby instead of me and MIL once dipped my eldest's dummy in chocolate cake before I could stop her. I was furious but everyone just said I was over-fussy/paranoid and I got the usual 'Well it never did my kids any harm.' I think it is quite common (although still completely unacceptable). I also had the same problem with my parents that they were only really interested in the baby and never asked about me. They would talk over the top of me or interrupt to say something about the baby. There isn't an easy answer and distancing yourself works up to a point but does breed resentment and means when you do meet up it's worse.

In the end I made a point of addressing things instead of letting them build up. So when comments were made about needing haircuts etc I said things like, 'I've just got so much to do, I haven't had the time. you must have forgotten what it was like. You don't fancy coming round and doing my ironing whilst I take them do you?' followed by gales of laughter so it was obviously a joke (NOT!) It did sort of diffuse things and a couple of times I did bring up things that had been said before in the nicest possible way (which they felt uncomfortable about and so ended up being more guarded about what they said). For example, if I couldn't think of anything to say at the time I'd say, 'You know the other day when you said the kids needed a haircut. Well, I feel really awful about it now. I know you didn't mean it in that way but it made me feel like you were criticising me.' Every time I have done that, they have gone overboard telling me that wasn't what they meant at all. I don't know of it will work for you but the family obviously aren't used to talking about feelings and if you do say it in a friendly way, you might just shame/embarrass them.

Indantherene Sun 26-Jul-15 13:57:07

My MIL was the same as this; round every 5 minutes and grabbing the baby. One time we got to their house and before I could even take her coat off MIL grabbed DC1 out of my arms, saying "oh good, Joan can see the baby" and gave her to her neighbour, a woman I had never seen before in my life. She was all of 3 weeks old at the time and I didn't like handing her to MIL, never mind a complete stranger.

I waited for DH to step in and say something, but he never did. Over the years it caused so many rows. Looking back now, if I could have my time again I would have said something myself, and not waited for him to do it.

I had a late baby when I was 43. I took no shit from anyone with that baby grin

Cally72 Thu 30-Jul-15 09:11:49

Thanks so much to everyone for taking the time to reply & offer advice it's been invaluable. In response 2a previous question MIL was just as interfering & overbearing etc...With her previous dil apparently, but she allowed it. My oh & her had their kids in early 20's so they were both quite young. I'm now in my early 40's, have a good career & am not willing 2 go along with MIL bullish, overbearing, controlling ways just 2 keep peace at the sacrifice of my own integrity.
Like other posts she too talks thro my baby not me. She laughs about how my baby wld love his dummy dipped in some beer (is she 4 real!) & the idea of using humour 2 get my point across is something I'm working on.
Recent developments is they called round other day on my birthday, after a general chit chat she said 'I want a day we can take the kids out this wk'. I responded with the same courtesy 'I'll check what we've got on this wk & (my oh) will let u know later on today'. She blew up!! 'What? Check what you've got on?! Probably nothing much. Go & check now & tell us'. Anyway this lead to a full blown heated row. My oh stood his ground & supported me. I got lots off my chest that's been eating away the past 12 mths. She got lots off her chest. Bottom line is she wants 2b queen bee still & have everything her way as that's what she's been used 2 since her kids were born. We're both 2 very different people with different ideas & attitudes but both fiesty in what we value & believe in. She thinks it's rude & 'a stab in the heart' that we r asking them 2 ring or text before they call up to check it's convenient. I told her 'Everyone in life is different. We're not asking u2 agree with us, all we're asking is that you respect our wishes.' She pulled a face like she'd just caught a wasp in her mouth!
Who knows what the future holds. Two things are for certain tho...I feel more confident to stand up to her & speak my mind instead of keeping my mouth shut & letting resentment build. Secondly, I know exactly how NOT to be with my future DIL's haha. Xxx

TheSkyAtNight Thu 30-Jul-15 15:34:55

Fantastic news, Cally! Hope it feels good being in control smile

ollieplimsoles Thu 30-Jul-15 16:43:17

Great update!

Theres nothing like sticking it to an over bearing MIL! grin

having support from your OH really does help in these situations, because its his mother you can sometimes feel like you cant make your voice heard. But they are your children not hers, and when your kids are in the frame, you can't take a back seat because one family member is being a precious idiot!

freesiasaresweet Thu 30-Jul-15 18:06:52

Well done cally that must have felt soon good! well done to your oh swell, so glad he didn't cave. One other solution, move further away!

freesiasaresweet Thu 30-Jul-15 18:08:28

Silly sticky keyboard! Well done cally that must have felt soo good! Well done to your oh aswell, so glad he didn't cave. One other solution, move further away!

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