Need some family perspective(27 Posts)
This is long, but I'll try and keep it brief. I just need somewhere to write this down because it's eating me up inside.
Me and DH have two DS. DS1 is coming up to 3 and has been on the ASD pathway since he was very small. Formal Diagnosis made a few months ago.
DS2 is 5 months old.
My worries and anxiety lie with DH's mother. So I guess this is a MIL thread.
She has yet to meet DS2. She's only met DS1 a handful of times. She doesn't like me, for reasons unknown. Hasn't liked me since before children were even involved (have known DH since we were 11)
There's been some failed attempt at plans since DS2 was born, her not turning up, her trying to make plans on the days we've already got plans, and vice versa.
During this time, she's met up with DH four times 'to talk' during these talks, DH tells her how much it hurts that she doesn't seem interested in our children, but is telling his Sister how upset she is that she's not involved. Afterwards there's promises to be better etc
We can't go visit her and her house is extremely unsafe for DS1 (open fire etc) and it'd cause so many meltdowns and anxiety on all our parts.
DH's Sister is forever on his back about making plans with their Mum, she gets quite angry but can't seem to understand that it's not all DH's fault, and that their Mum is in the wrong too sometimes. She didn't call or respond to DH's texts/calls on Christmas Day, didn't ask how our children's day went, absolutely nothing.
This now brings us to last Friday night.
Day before my birthday (which MIL knows)
Me and DH have been out together in the daytime whilst DS1 was at nursery and DS2 was with my Mum. It was a lovely day. The evening plan was to have DS2 to stay the night at my Mums, and us settle DS1 at home (my Mums house isn't safe enough for DS1 to spend time there without us)
My brother was then going to come and babysit for an hour whilst me and DH went to the local pub. Pretty unheard of and I was really excited about it!
We arrive home at 5:30pm, DS1 is exhausted and DH was planning on bathing him and putting him straight to bed. When we pull up, MIL is on the doorstep with presents. We haven't heard from her since NYE so this was quite a shock.
I say: 'Oh hello! Erm, DS2 isn't here right now, he's at my Mums because we were going out for my birthday but..'
And before I could even get in the front door, she'd flung the presents at DH and walked off shouting 'Fine!!' With her hands in the air. We both shouted for her to come back but she didn't.
My Mum literally lives around the corner, we would have easily been able to organise MIL seeing him even she'd even given us a chance to finish our sentence. She didn't even give me time to get in the house and get her Christmas presents.
DH caught up with her at the train station, by this time DS1 was in full meltdown mode from the shouting and DH leaving so abruptly meaning he didn't even begin to settle down till 7pm. So it was 8pm before he got to bed (2 hours later than it should have been)
Me and DH were exhausted and just on edge after all that, so didn't end up going out at all. DH said when he spoke to her at the station she told him she'd tried to ring but he didn't answer (his phone had died) so he asked why she didn't just call me (I've given her my number countless times so that she could make plans through me. She's never once phoned or answered any of my texts) she refused to reply to that.
She wouldn't come back to the house and just got on the train and left. There's been no contact since.
I just don't know what to do. DH doesn't want to talk about it, SIL is on my back about getting DH to phone their Mum, DH has told her to stop countless times, but it falls on deaf ears. I've stopped asking DH to call or text her, because right now I'm trying not to care. The times she has visited in the past she's completely ignored me in my own home.
It's making me so anxious though, I don't like there being tension in the family, and somehow I feel this is all my fault. DH assures me it's not, but I can't help feel that if it wasn't for me and our DC's, he'd still have a good relationship with his mother. Which is the way I'm pretty sure MIL feels
I feel sorry for her over Friday night, it must have been upsetting, but at the same time she didn't even give us a chance to explain.
AIBU for worrying about this relationship? Or shall I just pretend this isn't happening and see how it pans out?
Sorry this is so long
She sounds totally unreasonable. Is it possible for you to speak to her, the two of you and find out just what her problem is?
sj257 I've tried, she's just not interested in talking to me at all. When DS1 was 6 months old, she actually invited DH ONLY to his birthday meal that she was planning. His brothers and sisters and their partners were all there, but not me and DS.
I confronted her after that but she refused to speak to me. DH regrets going, but at the time was still looking at her through rose tinted glasses.
The next time she throws a fit, LET HER.
Not only did she ambush you, which is rude enough in itself, given everything else, but the effect on DS1 was catastrophic and you and DH have a responsibility to ensure this isn't allowed to happen. I hope that you can arrange for that drink out another time. Make sure you get something planned, sounds like you BOTH need a break and some time to yourselves.
As for SIL... Tell her to speak to her mother and to leave you out of it. Everyone knows where you are and if they are able to actually speak to you in your own home, they are more than welcome. SIL needs to find a new hobby.
Your H family is addicted to drama. sidestep the lot of them and refuse to engage.
Practise shrugging and just let them get on with it.
You need to research the books Toxic Parents and Toxic Inlaws, they are brilliant and will really open your eyes to how the situation is utterly not of your making
Thank you Hissy
I sometimes feel so insanely guilty about the whole thing. But after Friday I did actually get quite angry at her, I've spent the last 4 years trying to see it from her point of view (that I 'stole' her little boy away from her)
Won't don't talk to BIL after him calling me a liar when I had a miscarriage, the day he found out about it he announced on Facebook that he was 'Congratulating his brother on his new baby' I was devastated. When confronted he told me I was lying about the whole thing.
It's been exhausting.
I wish I could just say goodbye to the lot of them, but when she's not harping on about her Mum, me and SIL get on really well, and she's genuinely interested in our DC's lives.
On another note, it's not as if I don't want to include DH's family, as we visit his Dad and Step Mum every single week for lunch, and it's a wonderful time. They understand DS and their house is safe. Win win!
You need to withdraw from mil and sil and just don't take calls or contact in any way. If your dh wants a relationship with them that's his business.
Don't feel guilty she sounds bat shit crazy and it's no business of sil what you do anyway.
Service would I be unreasonable to of course be okay with DH having a relationship with MIL but not our DC's? I can't figure out whether this a knee jerk reaction that I'm feeling or something I truly want to go through with.
Right now, I have no desire to see her or to try and accommodate her seeing our DC. I don't know whether that'd be really unfair though.
Hi OP-yes she definitely sounds batshit! I think you always have to look at things from the perspective of considering your DCs welfare. If you and DH feel that they would benefit from a relationship with her then perhaps your DH could take them to see her or meet up at SIL's or something. You are under no obligation to see her though and I wouldn't if I were you. Perhaps if your DH tried to arrange to meet his DM with your DCs and SIL, if his DM cancelled or changed plans your SIL might see how difficult it is to arrange things and back off a bit. Your BIL sounds like a spiteful bastard.
If SIL starts up about her mother and you get on with sil aside from this, then she'll get it when you ask her to NOT bring that subject up and to agree to disagree on this matter.
Stop the drama by not allowing them to cause it.
If the problem were with you, you'd not have been able to forge the good relationship and situations you have with your FIL.
Put this into perspective, it's not you that's causing any of this.
My SIL lives abroad, she's just been home a lot over Christmas, so that's sadly not possible
I feel so relieved hearing this isn't my fault. DH tells me all the time, but he's supposed to do that haha
Id feel like a spiteful bitch if I said she couldn't see the DC's, I'd feel like I was playing the part that she's made me out to be. But I don't think I care anymore...I truly don't think she deserves to have a relationship with them when all it would involve is me and DH bending over backwards to accommodate her. (She has a hobby that she's obsessed with, so any visit has had to take place at really unpractical times in the past)
I think you need to stop trying so hard and step away massively. Apart from anything else your ds (presumably) needs consistency which is something she will not provide. Protect your dc from this madness, she obviously couldn't give a shit so you need to do whatever you can to keep her away
Ahhhhh. Is the problem that you are closer to FIL and Step-MIL? Could she be feeling pushed out but unable to articulate it in any sensible way? Could she be blaming you for her DS seeing step-MIL so often?
Toastie you've probably hit the nail right on the head to be honest. Even though they've been divorced for 20 years, and Step Mum and FIL have two DC's together, I don't think she's ever quite gotten over it.
She didn't facilitate a proper relationship for DH and his father. DH blamed a lot on FIL until DS was born when they actually talked it all out and realised a lot of their problems stemmed from MIL.
You're probably right, she's probably annoyed we see them so much...but during the time we see them, she's doing her hobby anyway, so it's not as if we could even offer alternate weekends!
And MIL definitely portrayed Step-MIl as the 'Evil Step Mother', she must feel quite betrayed that DH now has a better relationship with his Step Mother than her. I understand that I guess, it must hurt. I just don't know what to do, last year I would have done anything to try and help, now I'm feeling less inclined which is making me feel incredibly guilty.
There isn't anything you CAN do about it. This isn't your fault. If her behaviour stems from fil/step-mil then it was way, way before your time.
Even if she has had a difficult past, her actions now are fucking up her future.
OMG, your ds2 is five months old and she is yet to see her!!!!! That's just crazy. I was mad when my in laws didn't see my child until he was three weeks! I'm guessing there is more to this story. Personally I would walk away and not waste brain time on it. She has created this mess, not you.
I don't think you can do anything to help other than leave lines of communication open. Maybe your DH can remind his mum how much he loves her if the root of this is jealously over step-MIL.
I know it'll be hard if my DC prefer their step-mum when they're adults. I can hope we love each other enough to make the effort to spend time together. But I wouldn't behave the way your MIL is - she seems to be setting you up to fail and for her to be the victim. Her behaviour wasn't reasonable if she turned up and expected you all to be there and ready to entertain her without any warning.
SIL just messaged me. Apparently MIL is devastated about last Friday, apparently we all need to grow up and but our feelings aside so that the DC's can have a relationship.
I'm also apparently making excuses about not bringing DS1 to MIL when I say it's an unsafe environment
The place has an open fire that's lit all year round, and even in our home it's a struggle to keep him safe when he has a meltdown, only today did he nearly strangle himself on the one blind string I forgot to cut
I'm so I angry. How can supposed family members make it seem we're using our child's SEN as an excuse? I don't know what to do now
Your MIL is a acting like an immature, self-centred baby.
I'd have DH tell her you're not interested in her theatrics and lies any more, and her 'for show' efforts like showing up unannounced only to stomp off in a snit hoping you'd all come grovelling. You are done.
If she wants a relationship with her DC, she's going to have to be polite to you, her son's wife, she's going to have to be more reasonable and agreeable about times and places that are on offer, and she's going to have to work with the DC she has, not the DC she wants (in regards to the fact that your son can't be safe at her house right now). She's not being treated as the lesser grandparent; you can point out your own mum can't have him out your house either at the present for the same reasons.
If she truly wants a relationship, she'll stop the games and the lying and the rudeness, and get on with it. I suspect she doesn't, but who knows...maybe she'll surprise you.
Agree with Ewe
Also think you need to tell SIL that you are happy to have a relationship with her but mil is off the table when it comes to conversations. Unless she agrees, or if you dislike SIL, delete and block and let dh handle it
Remember what I said? Steer sil away from dragging you both into mil drama.
Please ask her to just text her about stuff to do with you and sil related stuff as you don't want her to be dragged into something she hasn't for any blame for.
I'm now ignoring SIL. She's just said her and MIL know I'm the reason for the breakdown of relationship between DH and MIL. She said she can't 'think of any other reason...'
I just replied that maybe one day DH would enlighten her and MIL about his reasons, and I wasn't getting drawn into this anymore. We've left it at that.
How do I get rid of this horrible nagging feeling that this is all my fault?
DH and MIL did have a good relationship on the surface, but she was also neglectful in her duty of care towards him throughout his whole teen years. It was my parents who funded him joining with cinema trips and days out with our friends. (Not like she didn't have the money btw, she just never gave any to him)
She turned a blind eye to all his mental health problems, from the age of 14 it was me and my family that tried to help him.
It's taken DH years to overcome his anxiety, especially surrounding money, I'm so proud of what he's become, but the minute his Mother is around, he gets so nervous again
You will never be able to change her relationship with him, which doesn't sound too healthy anyway. You are probably best mentally distancing yourself from it. Sounds like they are hell bent on blaming you and they will never change their mind on that.
Plus relationships change and it sounds like the Sil and MIL don't like the fact that their relationship with their son/brother has changed now he has his own family, so they are blaming that on you. Sounds like they need to grow up to be honest.
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