AIBU To want nothing more to do with MIL/DH family(147 Posts)
Name changed as I'm about to lay it all out there.
I refused to have MIL round for DGCs significant birthday.
DS1 recently got into an accident while on a playdate, nothing life threatening, but serious enough to need a trip to a&e then a subsequent visit to hospital and surgery. The whole process has been harrowing, this was DS1 first surgery, coupled with the fact that the damage is something DS1 will have to deal with for the rest of his life. The whole situation left us (DH and I) physically and mentally exhausted, the previous weeks had already been stressful and busy (the day before the accident we'd thrown a birthday party for DS2).
During this whole period DH contacted MIL keeping her abreast of the situation, she called once maybe twice to 'check in'. I am low C bordering on NC with my family and have been for the entirety of our relationship, it was just DH and I ferrying DS1 to and fro from a&e and hospital appointments while still handling the responsibilities of work, university and general childcare for DS2. DH spoke to MIL on the day of DS surgery, told her DS1 was going to need surgery under general anaesthetic and was met with "I would offer to come but I've got a funeral to go to, how are you going to to get home?" (we do not drive and the funeral was for her friends brother.)
DH had planned on asking her if she could pick us up but after her response told her he'd ask a friend or take an uber, which she accepted.
A week later DS1 had a significant birthday, and MIL called to ask what we planned on doing as she was "going to make the effort to come celebrate his birthday with him." I was upset at this, as DH relayed it as MIL being thoughtful.... After the week we had just had, no offer of help and hardly any contact with DS1(DH had to ask MIL to speak to him), the word "effort" set me off.
It brought up feelings of resentment I've had towards DH side of the family and with a few days until DS1 birthday I couldn't/wouldn't sit around entertaining them on the day. I feel terrible for DH as he naturally wanted his mother there but I didn't think we could have them around without incident. I put my foot down and he told her he'd arrange another time for her to come and see DC. She got upset and said she felt like she had to make an appointment to come and see her grandchildren and it shouldn't be that way.
His side hardly see our children and are very lackluster when they do, DS2 refuses to go to them and DS1 is usually ignored when they do come round, one or two sentences are exchanged then they settle into a debate amongst themselves (MIL, DH and his siblings) or watch something wildly inappropriate for children on TV. (this happens EVERY single time!)
Their lack of effort has been on going, DH and I met in our teens and had DS1 early, we've been together for 15 years but the amount of effort has been consistently low. We were 19 and 20 when we had DS1. We've done everything by ourselves... left to find a place to live with no help or advice, left to go to the labour ward by ourselves, had to buy everything we needed by ourselves... more recently missing birthdays never doing anything with the children and many other little things have probably left me a 'bit' bitter.
We used to make our way every weekend to MIL House for 3/4 years as DH wanted DC1 to have a relationship with his side, but their lack of engagement with DC1and little sly comments eventually made me sour and I pulled away and stopped going, only attending when necessary. DH did have a word with MIL and she did eventually notice that DH was also pulling away so in the last year or two has suddenly wanted to come round a little more often (but DH and I also think this is due to tension in her own home as the two have coincided).
Their lack of support and the lack of concern shown recently has left me unwilling to accommodate them anymore, I was trying for the sake of DH but this last incident has left me wanting to go NC. DH and kids can obviously see MIL and the rest of his family whenever they want but I don't want to entertain them in our home. I cook and clean and do all that I can to make sure they are comfortable when they come round but I'm no longer feeling inclined to put in all the effort needed to host them.
This has become a bone of contention between DH and I. He does not believe their lack of support has been that terrible. He feels it, but expects it as that is what he grew up with. Dh believes I am judging her by my own standards and not everyone is able to give as much. But I can't help but feel like this kind of lackluster support is not normal, especially when we had DC1. Am I wrong and is he right?
Sorry for the long post, It'd be great to hear opinions on whether I've expected far too much from MIL and any advice on how to handle my feelings would be a bonus situation like this?
Thanks in advance!
In what way @ssd? Happy to hear your opinion
While it is really great to get help and support with young families you cant expect it as a given and TBH for many families I would imagine it IS normal to have to muddle through without help.
My in-laws are equally bad. No actual interest shown or support given but when they want to get involved we're expected to drop everything.
I think your plan sounds fine. You're not stopping them from seeing anyone else, just disengaging yourself. I am planning similar. We are seeing the in-laws next week and for once I am not helping the conversation along or making the kids talk to them.
Look after yourself
I’m really sorry about what happened to your DS, how scary for you all. However, other than MIL not being super involved I’m not sure that anything you’ve described warrants going no contact... maybe I’m missing something but it seems like a bit of an overreaction. I would question why you’ve been doing all the cooking and cleaning to ‘host’ though, shouldn’t your DH be helping especially as it’s his family? Surely there’s a middle ground here like seeing them every so often for the sake of your DH and get him to do the cooking and cleaning for their visits.
I can understand your frustration at the lack of interaction with your DC, it is frustrating, I have that issue with my in laws. You just have to smile and fake it for the sake of your DC, they will appreciate the effort eventually.
The rest, such as finding your own place to live, buying all you need etc, that is your job as a grown up and you can't expect anyone to do that for you.
You are already NC/LC with one side of the family, and now you want to exclude the other set of grandparents?
I think you need to think very long and hard about your motivation for doing this. Is it really in your DC’s best interest that they should have no grandparents at all? Or are you dong this to control your DH’s relationship with his family?
Perhaps you also need to think about forgiveness and acceptance. You seem to have taken various things as deliberate attempts to slight you. Your refusal to have MIL for DS’s birthday seems a complete overreaction, and rather immature. Real life is messy, people make mistakes. That doesn’t mean the only option is to cut people out of your lives.
To the specific example you gave (MIL not offering a lift because she had a funeral), if you wanted a lift, you should have SAID SO. Your behaviour comes across as textbook passive aggressive. And don’t diss MIL for attending a funeral. It is important, and proper, to support friends who are losing a relative. It matters hugely to the people you are supporting.
It does sound like you over analyse everything your DHs family say or do to the point that I guess whatever they do you will have a problem with. They might not be perfect but I really can’t see any justification with going NC with them. I sense that although you seem to imply you’re ok for your DH and DCs to have a relationship with them, that you will make it very difficult for them to do so. Are you sure you’re not harbouring resentment that as you are very low contact with your own family, that you are unhappy that he has a relationship with his? It will be very isolating for your DCs if they don’t have a relationship with either side of the family growing up.
This is mumsnet, you should be lucky if your in-laws throw a piece of old stale bread your way. Everyone around here, has had careers, 12 kids, running a house, an incredible body just with their own hard work.
I think, your in-laws suck. I’d feel rejected too if I was below their friends brother’s dog.
So how's your relationship with your side of the family, OP? You talk about having to do everything by yourselves. Presumably your DM and family helped out?
Sorry but I don't really understand why MIL was told she couldn't come over for DC's birthday? What was wrong with the way that she said it?
I'm also not sure what kind of help you expected with all the stuff that you've listed. My parents have never bought us anything, gifted us any money or run errands for us or generally helped out with anything. I still love them and want them to be a part of their DGC's lives. It's great if your parents will do all that stuff but I don't think it's mandatory.
I'm not trying to minimise what you've said here, I just wonder if maybe there's more to this that you're telling us because from what I've read here your MIL hasn't done anything wrong other than be less helpful than you would hope for, which isn't really a good enough reason to make it difficult for her to see her GC.
Hmmm I can see what you're saying but some people just aren't very hands on with kids. My in laws are much more hands on and excited to see my kids than my own family - but I know my own family love them just as much. Not everyone's good at communicating or playing with kids but it doesn't mean they don't love them. I think banning your MIL from the house would be a very extreme step to take and would cause a lot of heartache and difficulty for your husband. You can certainly step back from it all and let your husband do all the hard work when they visit but I personally wouldn't ban them over this.
It seems a big overreaction not to allow them to attend ds’s birthday. They weren’t a great support but they don’t seem to be abusive or cruel, just uninvolved and a bit absent.
How does your ds feel about you not allowing his gp’s to attend his birthday? I’m guessing he’s mid teens so he must have an opinion on it.
If you carry on like this you will lose the little support they do offer. They obviously mean a lot to your dh so I’d just suck it up.
I don’t think that yabu to back off. Your MIL doesn’t engage with your children so why continue to force a relationship.
She’s the adult in the situation and should be trying to be part of their lives but clearly isn’t.
Thank you appreciate all the comments!
@livelove This is exactly why I put it here, I don't have anyone in RL to talk to about it... I don't want to have my issues with my own family influence his.
I'm NC with mine due to abuse not simply because I wanted to. @boris
@boris no effort was made to see DS1 or call and speak to him during the whole horrible mess ... it was not seen as proper to support her son... no attempt to come by after or before the funeral.
How old is your DC1?
I am reading play date / significant birthday and I'm confused.
As for going NC? Really?
I'd be quite interested to hear why you are NC with your own family (wonder if this is clouding your judgement?).
IMO when someone is n/lc with both sides of the family the problem usually sits far closer to home.
TBH short of abuse there is very little valid reason to go NC with people, and the more people you cut out, the less likely that it’s them who is the problem.
And while we obviously hope for help from extended family, the truth is that your children aren’t as important to them as they are to you. It’s good when they do help, but sometimes there will be times when they can’t. And that doesn’t make them wrong. Refusing to have them in your home afterwards however does make you petty and spiteful.
And to be absolutely blunt, if I was in a relationship with someone who was NC with their own family and they then started seeking to do the same with mine alarm bells would ring for me about who they really are.
I really do understand OP and in your MIL sounds hard work..I'm hearing your frustration that she talked about making an effort after not bothering with your DS when he really needed it. You absolutely can withdraw yourself. Dont cook, clean or host for MIL. Reiterate a lot that she can visit GDCs whenever she likes, she just needs to let you (or DH perhaps)know. The comment about making an apt is just to make herself feel better about not having spent time with them so then she can say you make it difficult. My MIL tries this a lot so I use the broken record approach of saying the door is always open for you to visit. I would let the dust settle and see you feel but you really can't decide for DH what he wants to do. That's up to him. If he doesn't want to go low or no contact then he can see MIL without you.
@About, you wrote During this whole period DH contacted MIL keeping her abreast of the situation, she called once maybe twice to 'check in'.
So clearly, by your own account, MIL did think it proper to support her son, and did in fact check on him.
As for supporting DS1 by calling him directly, I think your expectations are too high. I wouldn’t have expected my GPs to have that sort of relationship with me, nor would I expect it between my DCs and their GPs.
I never understand why people have children then expect others to provide for them. Your'e grown ups so finding somewhere to live, buying baby equipment etc is down to you. Your choices, your responsibility.
She is your DHs mother, banning her from your home isn't going to do much for your marriage.
@blackcat, I use the broken record approach of saying the door is always open for you to visit
Don’t you think this is making things difficult on purpose? Many people (myself included) would never show up to a house uninvited. So saying your door is always open, if you are not specifically inviting them on any specific dates, is completely meaningless.
I'm in a very similar boat with my ILs. After many years of being accommodating, respectful and giving them all the consideration I could muster I finally threw my hands up and went NC. DHs family, DHs problem. I'm only vocal about it currently as my kids are young and "family" is not an excuse to get away with being a half assed toxic presence in my DCs lives. You sound very rational in your thought process and I don't think it's too much to ask of her. She is your DHs mother! A grandparent to your DC
My Psychologist told me the best way to manage is to focus on my own behaviour. Set up MY boundaries, respect and follow my own beliefs and feelings. I can only control how I behave in response to the ILs actions. For example ILs are no longer welcome in my home (my safe space) and my husband has to supervise any further contact. If he wants more then he needs to repair his own relationship with his parents instead of using ours as a bandaid.
Your feelings are valid and don't let them be thrown under the rug because they're "family".
Didn't realise thinking grandma would want to speak to DGC to ask how he's feeling, was expecting much. Duly noted @boris
Your mil sucks. However, allowing inappropriate programmes that your dh, siblings and mother all watch whilst ignoring the dc is something you should have stopped. Why do his sibs have to come round at the same time?
Your dh needs to step up and decide if he is supporting you. It might be horrible if he doesn’t.
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