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AIBU - should I let up or am I right to stick with my instinct?

(50 Posts)
Figureitout1 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:03:13

Need to give some background:
Split from DH 9months ago, my choice- we were a multiracial family and had a LOT of pressure and problems with his family that were not happy about race mixing.
ExFIL was absolutely awful to point where our 3DCs (7,5,4) don't know him and he probably couldn't spot them in a lineup (we tried to facilitate some sort of relationship in the early days but when he called kids an abomination we drew the line).

ExDH and exFIL barely speak, exFIL will not be in a property or family event if I am there. ExMIL was ok to our face but awful behind our back and awful to me if my exDH wasn't around to hear/see.

ExFIL divorced exMIL about 20years ago but they have maintained a very strange relationship as she never accepted it and wants to remarry him despite the fact that he has clearly moved on and stated that this will never happen. When they divorced not sure how they worked it out but he kept his 50% share of the house that they had ie the house that she still lives in today.
About 6 months before our split exMIL, exDH, exSIL, exBIL and all our 15 or so DC had gathered at exMIL house for a nieces birthday lunch when things kicked off and basically in laws stated how much they couldn't stand me and our mixed relationship, they would never accept it, wish they had nothing to do with our shameful marriage,etc (lots of awful, hurtful things).

ExDH was appalled at the time (but back at him mums for Sunday lunch with the family the following weekend- I was unreasonable for refusing to go apparently hmm) and I was livid and upset and in tears, I then turned to exMIL and said how could she let her children say these vile things to me as the mother of her grandchildren to which exSIL exploded and physically pushed me back towards the door because how dare I have the audacity to appeal to her mother when I have no rights in this house. ExSIL then told me to leave and I again turned to exMIL and said how can she let her children speak to me this way, exMIL turned and said they were right and I better leave her house.

Fast forward 3months and I got over it all and forgave the whole thing, DCs started going to exMIL again. Then we split up and exFIL stated that he didn't want either the kids or I to step foot in his house (the one he owns 50% with exMIL).

Sorry for the long background I just want to minimise drip feeding but this is my issue:
as part of our split 3DCs go to exDH every other weekend, some weekends he has been running late for pickup and asked me to drop DCs at his mums (only ever do this if I can, not a taken and he knows this). ExMIL was fine with me at these drop offs, very friendly, asked me in for a cup of tea, etc which when I had the time I went in as I wanted to be amicable with the and for the DCs to see us getting along.

About 6months ago on one of weekends exDH asked me to drop DCs at exMIL, DCs were very excited as usually when they go there will be cousins that she babysits there as well and she leaves them to run amok (no rules, do as you please kind of attitude to the grandkids- this has been an issue as children, not just mine, have been hurt before but it was a case of its not serious injuries so don't overreact as they are fine 70% of the time - exDH said this to me!!) - anyway on this occasion when I get there to drop them off she refuses to open the door and let them in as exFIL is there and she doesn't want a scene, she opens the window and shoos us away!!!

My DC (6,4,3) were distressed- crying and banging on the door to be let in, especially because 2 of their cousins were inside. She point blank refuses to open the door to them, I was beyond livid and the kids were obviously incredibly upset and I stated that if she didn't let them in today they would never be coming back here again as she would have made her point clear.

My 6 and 4 year old were inconsolable that whole week and for a long time afteras they couldn't understand why Nanny didn't open the door to them - I said she was busy, they said so why were our 2 cousins there? I said their mum was there looking after them they said so why couldn't you stay and look after us?, etc am sure you can see where it was all going and I am only human (lone parent with few friends and no family support at all as they all live abroad) and I just don't know how to handle the whole situation.

After the event she stated that she was justified in her reaction especially as I had been told by exFIL to not come to the house with the kids, etc but later changed to an apology. I was baffled as she had let us all into the house before and we had chatted and had tea, etc - I foolishly believed that we could get along blush

She now wants the children to come to her house as she says she is very sorry and it doesn't matter what exFIL says she owns 50% and she can have them there if she wants. As far as I am concerned she could have said this and exercised this right on hundreds of occasions before and she never bothered and I just don't trust her intentions or how genuine she is with this new leaf malarkey.

My problem is if exFIL turns up when I am not there I don't want my DCs to be sent upstairs to hide (I regretfully accepted this being done to me once) or having to hear him say nasty things about them or me in front of them. Also they all make comments about DCs hair and skin tone and say things like one is better/prettier than the other because of fair skin, blonde, blue eyes, etc Life is cruel enough without been subject to this bullshit from those who are supposed to protect you and love you unconditionally. Before all of this we very rarely let them be in her house for long periods, eg over an hour, without either one of us being there due to this comments.

My best friend had this treatment from her gran growing up and she can't be in a relationship as she always always feels like she isn't good enough and can never believe when a man finds her attractive or friend thinks she's stunning - which she is by the way but because she grew up hearing that her darker skin tone made her less than her fairer siblings she is psychologically messed forever.

Now I know my kids might not be affected in this same way but I have decided that it is a risk not worth taking, my DCs are the most important thing I will contribute to this life and I want to do as good a job as I can (as do we all)

AIBU to continue to refuse to allow DCs to go to her house and to not allow her to see them?

BTW exDH says I will eventually give in when I am desperate enough hmm he doesn't see the issue now that she has apologised so another concern is am I just digging in my heels for the sake of it? Please give me your honest opinions but don't be too hurtful halo
And I am very sorry for the super long post - also name change to avoid being outed smile

ailbhel Sun 20-Mar-16 18:09:06

You're their parent, it's your job to protect them from physical or emotional abuse and neglect. Possibly if their grandmother apologises directly to them, she might be allowed another second or fifth or fortieth chance?

ihatethecold Sun 20-Mar-16 18:10:13

I am shocked.
What disgusting behaviour from your in laws.
If it were me the relationship would be over.
How can you allow someone to say racist comments about your kids.

Vintage45 Sun 20-Mar-16 18:10:55

Abuse hides behind culture and religion.

paxillin Sun 20-Mar-16 18:15:08

Absolutely refuse to give in. Tell the dc now what you thought of this, tell them this nasty behaviour had nothing to do with who they are. Keep telling them this as they get older. Tell them FIL is a nasty bully and anyone allowing it is either mean or afraid of the bully.

LastInTheQueue Sun 20-Mar-16 18:20:38

AIBU to continue to refuse to allow DCs to go to her house and to not allow her to see them?

No, YANBU for refusing to allow your DCs to go to her house. In fact, I think you were being unreasonable for exposing them to this disgusting behaviour for as long as you have, but that can't be fixed now.
I would suggest that if she wants to see them, then she should come to you, and see them while you are there. If this means to seeing their cousins/rest of the family, so be it. Long term I think you're children are better off not being part of a family that condones the kind of behaviour and attitudes your in-laws have shown so far.

Atenco Sun 20-Mar-16 18:21:27

Whao, OP. How horrible for you and your children. How could a grandparent act like that with their grandchildren and how could your ex allow them to treat his children like that?

It is horrible that your children will lose their relationship with their cousins, who will unfortunately probably grow up to be like the rest of the family, but I wouldn't let any child of mine be treated like that.

kaitlinktm Sun 20-Mar-16 18:22:42

What toxic people! I certainly would do everything I could to prevent them from having anything to do with my children in future as they are clearly treated as second rate whilst they are there. In fact the day that either of my in-laws were racially abusive to me, made me hide upstairs, or otherwise disrespected me, then that would be the last time I or my children would set foot in their house or they in mine.

Why does your exDH think you would be desperate enough to change your mind? How dare he allow them to treat you and his own children so contemptuously?

Moreisnnogedag Sun 20-Mar-16 18:34:09

I'm amazed you allowed contact for so long really. They can all go to hell and keep their nasty little racist thoughts to themselves. My parents protected me and dsis from our racist extended family and I am very grateful for that. I was mortified as an adult to sit through a conversation with them - as a child I probably would have internalised their beliefs and believed their poisonous comments.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 20-Mar-16 18:34:43

Your ex is a total bastard to subject his children to the abuse his parents and siblings routinely hand out. You would only be unreasonable if you did not protect them from his family.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 20-Mar-16 18:36:18

You need to get tough! What awful I laws - you wouldn't let a friend treat you/kids like that - being family does not give them extra "rights" to do this !

Save yourselves and tell DH exactly why - let him run round and collect etc and let him deal with it

Realfootyfan Sun 20-Mar-16 18:39:22

You are absolutely right OP and I can't believe your IL's are behaving so appallingly to you, let alone your DC.

If I were your ex I would certainly make it very clear that this behaviour is unacceptable. It shouldn't be you having to stand up to his family, he should.

MrsDeVere Sun 20-Mar-16 18:41:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greathat Sun 20-Mar-16 18:45:19

Keep your kids well away and keep them emotionally safe

amarmai Sun 20-Mar-16 18:50:47

op, can you and your dcc go for counselling to root out the nastiness you have had to deal with? YANBU to stay away from these racist people -and i include your your exh in this category.

novemberchild Sun 20-Mar-16 18:51:08

I'm hazarding a guess that you're black and your ex is white. In any case, his family sound unhinged. Definitely keep the kuds away. How vile to try and insinuate that you and your kids are somehow 'less' than them.

If it wasn't so awful and toxic, their lack of intelligence would be laughable.

Micah Sun 20-Mar-16 18:53:27


Id move to the other end of the country and stay as far away as i could. Another country if possible.

They are racist. Have nothing to do with them, at all, ever.

MrsDeVere Sun 20-Mar-16 18:54:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jw35 Sun 20-Mar-16 19:03:32

I wouldn't have guessed black and white? Could easily be Asian or anything really!

Keep dc well away from exDH's toxic family. It's a shame he has to be in their lives too co sis wrong he doesn't protect them from such neglect. Poor kids sad

Millbram Sun 20-Mar-16 19:05:24

Run, run far away and leave your weak willed ex DH to reap what he's sown. He's allowed his family to treat your children as second class citizens, I wouldn't be taking my children anywhere they were treated in that manner and I'd be fighting tooth and nail to make damn sure they weren't ever made to feel like that again especially by people who should love them unconditionally no matter what colour they are.

MrsDeVere Sun 20-Mar-16 19:08:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beefles Sun 20-Mar-16 19:10:44

I'm pretty sure you can get social services involved here. Your ex husbands family are racist to your children and he allows that. To be fair, you have allowed it too but it's time you both stopped. I wouldn't allow any of them any access to your children. DH should be looking after them not taking them to a house where they will be racially abused by his own family members in any way. I would get advice from home start or similar and try and find out what you can do to protect your children from these horrible people. Remember that if left with their dad they may be forced to see these people and suffer the racist abuse they have had to deal with so far. I know you need help but you don't need help from those people. I'm sorry your kids have been through this and you as well.

hedgehogsdontbite Sun 20-Mar-16 19:11:01

You need to protect your kids from this. Never allow them anywhere near that side of their family again.

piddleypower Sun 20-Mar-16 19:12:31

YANBU. How awful to go through that abuse. Keep the children away. I would be polite but firm, explain that their behaviour is damaging and upsetting to your children and its your job to protect them. If Ex -MIL wants a relationship with her grandchildren say you are very happy for her to come to you.

Don't underestimate how damaging this is for the children, and how actually they do know exactly what is going on and will internalise it.

maresedotes Sun 20-Mar-16 19:14:57

Do not let them go to your ex-pils. Ex-mil can come and visit at your house under the strict instructions that she will be asked to leave if any negative comments are made. How dare these people treat small children like this.

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