Am I being mean?

(42 Posts)
SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:33:34

I need some perspective on this situation as I am constantly re-visiting it and feeling guilty . I don't know if I should be or not .

DH and I have been married for 8 years .

In that time , there have been some epic fall outs with us and DH family . I understand my part in it - usually I have retaliated in irrational ways when I have been wronged by them or been hurt by their deliberate exclusions .

However, his family are truly awful towards me . I've been told I'm not blood therefore not family , told I'm nothing to do with them etc . They've made some quite hurtful comments , done petty things to prove a point to me , as well as excluded me from things , turned up deliberately late to events I've arranged etc .

I'm always the scapegoat during the fall out . I can honestly say I've tried to get along with them , be nice to them etc but it never works out .

If I'm in the same room as DH family , they rarely speak to me apart from "hello" . It's awkward and it is obvious they don't like me.

I'd had enough a few years ago and I decided to go no contact with his family . I no longer attend his family events . I am civil when I do bump in to them but I have no interest in any relationship with them.

The problem is , we have three children and there are five nieces and nephews on DH side . All the children rarely see each other , although they only live a short drive away . DH sees his family a few times a week , but the children are usually at school or clubs so he doesn't see them .

It's sad for the children but I have encouraged DH to take them to see his family . I never go . His family are not very pro active in trying to build a relationship with our children , but they will ask occasionally to take them out .

I do not invite his family to my children's birthday parties (nor my family) as I like to keep my distance and I don't want an atmosphere ruining the event . I always only ever invite my children's school friends (which reading on here is generally acceptable). My children never ask or mention wanting to see their cousins .

My children have just been invited to a family BBQ for one of DH's nieces birthday.

I will not attend but I have encouraged DH to take our children (he is reluctant as he hates family gatherings!)

So it has me thinking again , am I being mean by distancing myself in this way ?

I try to encourage a relationship for my children from a distance , but I think DH should be doing this as it is his family . I feel it is his responsibility , but if I don't encourage it, it doesn't happen .

I worry when my children grow up they will wonder why they don't know their extended family . Will they resent us ?

My family are not close and are scattered around the world and I do feel sad sometimes that I don't know aunts / uncles etc but I wouldn't say it affects me .

flowers if you've read this far ! AIBU?

FuriousFate Thu 14-Apr-16 17:38:11

I wouldn't want my children around someone/people who so actively disliked me, 'family' or not.

DH's family (PILs), whilst polite to me, make no bones about implying that I'm an outsider, to the extent that they used to try and take family pictures and not include me. So them, their DS (ie DH), and our DC. Now I'm wise to it, sadly I don't let them engineer this anymore grin. Don't pander to them, OP. If they can't be civil to you, they don't deserve to see you children. Your DH should back you.

EverySongbirdSays Thu 14-Apr-16 17:40:11

It's a hard situation and I don't envy you but it's hard to know if you are BU or how BU you are being w/o knowing specific reasons why you fell out to begin with?

Can you give scenarios? being nosey

Otherwise, yes it's very important for cousins, my close friendship with my cousin, I was closer to her than my sister was ruined after problems between my mum and her brother's wife who was a bad shit stirrer.

Hero1callylost Thu 14-Apr-16 17:43:43

Are you feeling guilty for being no contact, or are you feeling guilty for not picking up responsibilities that should be your DH's?

SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:47:22

I can't really say specific situations without outing myself sadly , but I see your point .

Most of the issues have been about them saying / doing things that are openly rude and I've been unable to bite my tongue any longer . (Maybe not handled in the best way!) It then escalates as his family are very feisty ! I apologised on numerous occasions - even when I wasn't to blame and it was thrown back at me . So I gave up altogether .

I doubt even if the children saw each other regularly that they would be very close - there are big age gaps and also , the eldest ones are boy / girl - DH nephew "hates girls" so doesn't like to play with my DD . This is just a phase I know ! I'm just giving context .

SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:48:49

Hero good question .... But I don't actually know why I feel guilty blush

Part of it I think is that DH family have repeatedly blamed me for things and I just don't want this to be another thing . I worry an awful lot about what they think of me .

lessthanBeau Thu 14-Apr-16 17:50:11

I would leave it to dh to facilitate the relationships with his family, if he can't be arsed, then why should you put yourself through it for their sakes (his family, not your kids) we have a good relationship with our in laws on both sides, but bil and sil don't speak to any of her family except her father, who has a whole host of step relatives to fill the void, you find extended family in the most unusual places and they're not always related by blood.

Narp Thu 14-Apr-16 17:50:42

You have behaved in the best, most assertive way possible.

The alternative is to leave yourself open to their nasty comments - why should anyone have to do that?

You are trying to keep the door open for the sake of your children - which is actually pretty noble of you. The least your DH can do is to take over the management of any interactions your children have.

If he doesn't bother much, maybe he doesn't care?

My one concern would be him not bothering, and then letting you take the flack because it's easier for him. I don't know if this is what he does.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 14-Apr-16 17:56:01

Apart from mentioning that he dislikes family gatherings, you've said nothing about your DH's attitude in all this

You mentioned that he sees them several times a week, so what's his view on how his family behave towards you?

SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:56:34

I guess I'm also feeling guilty about the BBQ invite because I never invited DH family to our children's party.

It was explained to them at the time that for the sake of numbers , we were just inviting school friends . Their response was a very abrupt "that's up to you but we won't exclude your children" . It's not about excluding them , but obviously that is how they see it because I am always the bad cop .

SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:58:09

DH understands why I don't want to see them , but if I'm honest , he is quite weak in standing up to his family and although he has never taken sides, it obviously feels very much "me against them" .

Narp Thu 14-Apr-16 17:59:23

I wondered that too Puzzled

There's something really passive about it

Narp Thu 14-Apr-16 18:00:06

X post with OP

There's your problem then

You feel guilty because of his mixed messages.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 14-Apr-16 18:02:30

Somehow I thought that's how it would be, OP sad

It sounds very much as if he's simply keeping his head down and avoiding the flack to be honest, which suggests to me that - while there's no need for falling out - a more united approach might be a good thing?

Bogeyface Thu 14-Apr-16 18:07:09

I worry an awful lot about what they think of me .

Why? You know what they think of you so why bother trying?

If you get it wrong then they will slag you off and if you get it right they will still slag you off and give the credit to your DH. So why put yourself through that?

His family, his problem. You are not stopping him taking the kids, you are simply not doing the work of making contact. If he doesnt want to then the kids dont see his parents, end of.

SmarterThanTheAverageBear16 Thu 14-Apr-16 18:08:04

You don't need to see them. You don't like them, they don't like you. It sounds like its both sides that caused the rift, from their perspective they probably would say much the same as you do, but that you started it. It's clearly mutual animosity.
Nobody needs a large family.

Bogeyface Thu 14-Apr-16 18:08:29

He's never taken sides? His wife has been insulted and provoked to the point of arguments and he has never once said "Dont speak to my wife like that"?

Its time he did take bloody sides.

RandomMess Thu 14-Apr-16 18:09:10

Yeah your DH behaviour is very very strange.

He visits his family regularly yet hates family gatherings and doesn't facilitate the DC have a relationship with his family.

You have a serious DH problem! Does he agree his family have behaved badly towards you (even though you have retaliated inappropriately)?

EverySongbirdSays Thu 14-Apr-16 18:09:36

Ouch "that's up to you but we won't exclude your children" indicates to me that thy see you as excluding there's and, as "the bad guy" - I would go, and start trying to build bridges

EverySongbirdSays Thu 14-Apr-16 18:11:35

I would also be rather concerned about the conversations being had with DH about me when I'm not present

olrose Thu 14-Apr-16 18:21:17

personally i wouldnt keep trying, i wouldnt let someone put me down and insult me like that, i was ask your children how they feel. ask if they want to go to the gathering, ask if they want to see their cousins more.

as for your dh, he needs to have a serious kick up the backside. hes letting his family put you down and blame you for everything. this is no way to treat the person you love.

Miniminimus Thu 14-Apr-16 18:26:19

Well, you sound a pretty reasonable person to me as this is clearly bothering you. I wonder how the family are with the other non-related DP's in the family...surely there must be some for the cousins to exist in the first place?

I had a vaguely similar situation and found most of the problems stemmed from the controlling aspect of DP'S parents. They often had big family gatherings and would comment on and compare people in the family and control the situation so negatively that it felt like a big weekly competition. In the end I just maintained contact with and meet up with one set of cousins and their parents. We all get on much better away from the competitive 'family' atmosphere and those cousins and my children do days out together, walks etc so keeping up the contact..both for now and for when they are older and can decide what to do for themselves. Is there any scope at all for you to try this?

Oldraver Thu 14-Apr-16 18:27:20

I dont have a relationship with my cousins as both my Dad and Mum's DB's had wives who were all about their family and were not interested. My DP's fell over themselves for years to try and foster a relationship.

Its really no hardship

SugarSnapPeas77 Thu 14-Apr-16 18:38:38

DH agrees that his family have been awful and his lack of ability to stand up for me at times , has caused enormous rows between us in the past .

Now that I am not in the thick of it , I rarely speak to his family but I'm civil when duty calls . I'm so much happier and there is nothing for DH and I to row over .

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 14-Apr-16 18:40:59

"DH understands why I don't want to see them , but if I'm honest , he is quite weak in standing up to his family and although he has never taken sides, it obviously feels very much "me against them" ."
Never taken sides? I beg to differ! He has clearly taken their side, as "DH sees his family a few times a week" - now unless he works with them, that a fuck-load of visiting.

As ever when anyone says they have a PIL problem, in reality they have a spouse problem. He is your husband. Why has he never told his family to buck up their behaviour to his wife? His behaviour goes beyond weak.

Anyway, back to your immediate problem. You are not being mean, and no I wouldn't facilitate meetings between your children and his family. All that would happen is that your children would be piggy in the middle, and it sounds like they wouldn't be able to resist dripping poison into your children's ears. Fuck them.

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