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to not know whether this is normal...should I be annoyed?

(34 Posts)
vulgarbunting Wed 24-Aug-16 13:26:54

My PIL have always been extremely critical of decisions in my and my DH's lives. Everything from holiday destinations, and what we eat for dinner, to bigger decisions like where we live.

Around November last year it became unbearable, and so as a result I didn't see them for 6 months (my DH saw them alone every couple of months). About a month ago I decided the situation was ridiculous, so I met with my MIL and told her that unless they butted out of our lives (obviously I was more polite than that!), I would struggle to have a relationship with them.

She agreed, and I have since seen them a couple of times. The criticism when I am there has (mostly) stopped.

However, when my DH occasionally goes to visit them alone (they request he goes there alone, super bizarre, but I wouldn't want to see them anyway), they are still massively critical. Nothing we do is right. Now obviously I don't hear it, but he reports back and it annoys me so much.

AIBU to get annoyed? On the one hand I feel like I don't hear it from them directly, so it's my DH's issue, not mine. Also, they have improved around me..On the other hand I can't bear this constant whinging from them behind my back.

JudyCoolibar Wed 24-Aug-16 13:29:04

What does your DH do when they whinge? It's not going to stop unless he pulls them up on it.

vulgarbunting Wed 24-Aug-16 13:30:35

He has this amazing power to just not listen, and let them whinge. He's had it all his life, so he has learnt to block it out.

Paddingtonthebear Wed 24-Aug-16 13:30:35

Your husband needs to tackle this himself

Paddingtonthebear Wed 24-Aug-16 13:31:41

If he's not prepared to confront them and ask them to butt out then I would ask not to repeat any of it to you. At all.

Ignorance is bliss!

HarryElephante Wed 24-Aug-16 13:32:53

Get your MIL to post on here so we can get a balanced view and then decide.

KimmySchmidtsSmile Wed 24-Aug-16 13:34:05

What's happening here?
Is he visiting then venting when he gets back = YANBU but he should be telling them or keeping schtum
Is he returning from being nagged to you nagging requesting detail of every slight/potential criticism that came his way = YABU

doji Wed 24-Aug-16 13:34:32

Tell your husband that you don't want hear about their complaints. Either he tells them to stop whingeing at him, or he stops repeating it to you.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 24-Aug-16 13:35:07

You wouldn't know unless your husband tells you. Why do you think he does that? Why just report it all to you instead of say, telling them to shut up when they do it?

NarcyCow Wed 24-Aug-16 13:36:32

Your DH needs to stop telling you.

Pagwatch Wed 24-Aug-16 13:37:12

Tell your DH that you don't go because you don't want to hear it, so unless he's determined to miss the bloody point he shouldn't be repeating it.

They are his parents. He can get them to stop it or stop inflicting it on you.

JudyCoolibar Wed 24-Aug-16 13:50:24

Clearly he does listen to his parents, otherwise he wouldn't be able to tell you about it. I agree, he either tells them to stop or stops reporting back to you.

Lorelei76 Wed 24-Aug-16 13:54:30

why is he telling you this stuff?

LurkingHusband Wed 24-Aug-16 13:54:42

However, when my DH occasionally goes to visit them alone (they request he goes there alone, super bizarre, but I wouldn't want to see them anyway), they are still massively critical. Nothing we do is right. Now obviously I don't hear it, but he reports back and it annoys me so much.

did you not feel the answer to your question as you typed ?

It's meant to annoy you. They can't get at you directly, so they are doing it by proxy.

Having suffered for 18 years with a MiL who (we now realise) was trying her best to split us up, I would suggest this is their goal. And - being totally honest - they can still achieve it, if your DP stays in contact. Imagine years of drip-drip-drip negativity ... you bickering with DH (^why didn't you stand up for me ?^) maybe a situation where DH stops reporting back (because of the arguments) so that chats with his DPs become "secret" ?

Perhaps this needs to be moved to relationships ?

LurkingHusband Wed 24-Aug-16 13:58:23

why is he telling you this stuff?

Because loving, caring partners share stuff - and abusers know it. The alternative is to not share stuff, and start to develop a "secret relationship" with DPs which will corrode the OPs relationship with DH over time.

I will bet a pound to a penny the PiLs here have already said something they have either begged DH not to repeat or which is so vile and horrid that the DH feels he can't share it.

And so it begins.

flowers for the OP.

Lorelei76 Wed 24-Aug-16 13:59:44

Lurking "The alternative is to not share stuff, and start to develop a "secret relationship" with DPs"

um... I wouldn't consider conversations that were private between myself and my parents to be a "secret relationship" with them.

ThatsMyStapler Wed 24-Aug-16 14:02:47

"(they request he goes there alone, super bizarre, but I wouldn't want to see them anyway)"

not sure why its bizarre, they obviously dont like you (for whatever reason, i dont know enough to comment on that) so why would they want you in their house?

shovetheholly Wed 24-Aug-16 14:03:11

I think you should tell your DH not to report what they say, and to deal with it himself by tacking them assertively. I suspect that there is far more to his avoidance than simply not hearing it - because the fact that he reports it to you suggests that he DOES hear it and it DOES have an impact.

They can't influence your lives if you don't allow them to.

Your DH may need help and support to tackle them.

I appreciate, however, that it's hurtful and annoying behaviour. They need to learn that if they can't say anything nice, they shouldn't say anything at all.

AcrossthePond55 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:07:46

First off, it's pretty obvious why they want to see him alone. So that what is happening happens in the first place. You've made it clear to them that you will not tolerate their criticism (and good for you) so they've simply removed you from the direct line of fire and are giving it with both barrels to your DH who, in turn, 'shares' it with you (as they know he will). Mission accomplished!

Your two alternatives are 1-grow a thick skin and let him 'vent', or 2- (as PPs have said) explain to your DH that in reality nothing has changed, that they're still 'at it' knowing that he'll tell you. Tell your DH that if he wants to continue his solo visits that's fine, but that you will not listen to their 'second hand spite' when he gets home.

Do you mind if I ask a question, and I don't mean to be rude. If you are sure in your decisions, is there a reason their criticism bothers you so much? Is it a need for approval? I have an aunt who was hyper-critical of her children thinking she was being 'helpful'. One of them can just shrug it off, the other gets upset about it and takes it to heart.

woowoowoo Wed 24-Aug-16 14:08:08

What on earth are your PIL's criticising? What are they saying? Do they criticise everyone or just you two? My PIL are quite bitter and negative but they're like that with everyone, not just us.

Your DH needs to stop these meetings without you there. Then they will be forced to keep their nasty opinions to themselves. He also needs to stand up to them more and tell them that their constant negativity behind your back is the reason he is no longer visiting alone.

Relationships with PILs can have a detrimental affect on marriages. It has affected mine and has got to the stage where I only see my PIL at Xmas, Mother's Day etc. Sad, but the only way I can handle it.

LurkingHusband Wed 24-Aug-16 14:08:46


As I suggested this may be better suited in relationships ?

I'm not suggesting partners force each other to spill the beans - or that's how relationships work. What I am suggesting - and if nothing else being on Mumsnet has taught me invaluable advice about how abusers work - is that controlling, narcissistic, and destructive parents will use "don't tell DP" as their first in towards trying to take over a relationship.

It's exactly what my MiL did. She would say "don't tell MrsLH" to me, whilst spinning an opposite story to MrsLH with "don't tell LH".

I'm sure better qualified MNetters can explain better ...

Lorelei76 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:11:43

Lurking, I hadn't even noticed it was in AIBU!!

yes, perhaps I am oblivious because I can't imagine any relationship being my parents' business. But I do wonder why her DH is passing on comments that she has said she doesn't want to hear. Realistically I'm sure OP realises the comments will be made but part of the point of keeping out of her ILs way is to stop hearing them.

vulgarbunting Wed 24-Aug-16 14:25:27

Thanks all, really helpful.

I do ask what they say, in an 'anything I need to know?' sort of way, after he has seen them. He will occasionally get down about his relationship with them (which has never been good) and tell me spontaneously what they have been saying.

I don't mind the digs about minor issues much, it's when they try to control the big things that annoys me. They have had an extremely tough life, and as a result are incredibly risk averse. For example, we plan to buy a house next year (which we can absolutely afford to do, without their help), and they want us to rent forever.

AcrossthePond55 Wed 24-Aug-16 14:51:34

Oh dear. Then you need to stop asking. You're making a stick for your own back.

I understand your DH's need to 'vent' about his relationship with them and your desire to help him. But it would be better if he took the initiative to deal with his parents rather than just have the both of you be upset.

Is there a possibility you could tell him that you don't want to hear about the specific things but that he if wants to talk about the problem in general terms without him getting into specific criticisms you'll be happy to let him blow off steam?

shovetheholly Wed 24-Aug-16 15:32:18

I wonder if it would help to throw a lot of distance into the relationship. Get your DH to pull back, just don't tell them anything significant. Stop trying to include them in your thinking processes. Then buy the house and announce it as a 'Tada!'

If they would be offended that you hadn't consulted them, that's a sure sign they're over-invested in this.

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