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To think that my parents in law are actually quite manipulative and just a little bit cruel.

(41 Posts)
JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 19:35:34

Over the last year or so I have removed myself from dealing with my PIL as my FIL has managed to perfect making me feel very unhappy. I'm not heartless however and have simply removed myself from thinking about them or facilitating any arrangements regarding visits etc. During their last visit I found myself weeping bitterly and decided that I had to take a step back. They are unable to communicate, have perfected passive-aggression and are very hostile when ever I have tried to clear the air. I rather think that they haven't ever particularly liked me but plenty of people do so I try not to take it to heart.

My husband and children have been just fine in organising plane trips up to the IL's and seem to have a nice time when they go. My dh asked my IL's not to come at Christmas as he would be working flat out as would I. Since then, my PIL seem to have been punishing my husband. When he calls them they don't pick up his messages or when they do call back it is when they know he will be working a busy shift and will be unable to talk for long.

We recently saw my husbands grandmother whilst on holiday and she commented that my PIL were very upset that they 'never get to see the children.' I would be upset too if that were actually the case. Today my dh managed to catch his mum on the phone and she blurted out that she couldn't talk for long as she was just about to leave to 'visit a friend'. Something made me email my SIL who lives an hour and a half away from us and she confirmed that my PIL were staying with her for a week and then taking her children away on holiday.

I have arranged with my SIL that I will meet her on Sunday to have lunch with the whole family. That way the IL's get to visit with my children. The children are over the moon and my dh was very moved that I will take the children for him as he is totally committed for the next two weeks and cannot come himself. I am really not looking forward to seeing them but I am capable of just getting on with it for the sake of my family.

I am, however, seething. I cannot express how angry I am that my PIL are absolutely fine with making my dh feel like a terrible son when they will be within easy driving distance for a whole week of the summer holidays. I think they get more satisfaction from telling 'woe is me' stories than from actually seeing the kids. I find it inexplicable, inexcusable and very, very unkind on behalf of my lovely, soft hearted dh. He's had a tough year and I just want to scream on his behalf.

Any advice on ridding myself of this awful anger would be very gratefully accepted.

hotbot Wed 13-Aug-08 19:42:54

have you talked to sil about this at all?
this kind of anger never goes away with people like this, as you have removed yourself from their manipulations

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 19:51:01

My SIL is a clever woman, she finds them annoying too but like me, thinks of the children. Our FIL is a very odd man, demanding and judgemental of others (he's a magistrate) and yet curiously boorish. He has terrible table manners (actually sounds like a pig) and he refuses to bathe more than once a week. I've recently read a bit about autism and it wouldn't surprise me if he was somewhere on the very high functioning scale. It would explain a lot.

hotbot Wed 13-Aug-08 19:53:26

at least you have sil to know its not you. tbh they sound like they are used to getting their own way and really dont like it that you have left them to it.
you can choose your friends........
can you do what sil does?

largeginandtonic Wed 13-Aug-08 19:56:32

Think you are coping admirably in what is a very difficult situation. No advice really just a well done you.

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 19:59:53

It's more the fact that they are within driving distance of seeing their Grandchidren but choose not to as it ruins their 'we never see them' line that irks. My dh takes the children up to them as often as he can but it is £500 a pop. They don't travel down here as it is 'too far'. hmm It seems that they do travel down here, they just don't tell my dh. It's just beyond my understanding.

whatdayisit Wed 13-Aug-08 20:00:55

Really, your DH can't meet them even for a meal, at all during the week they will be nearby? Fully understand why he wouldn't want to mind, seeing as they didn't tell him they were coming.

A lot of what you say sounds just like my in-laws and we haven't seen them for 4 years, so well done you for keeping the family together. I tried and failed badly, it seemed the more effort I made, the worse it got. In hindsight, I think that may be because they wanted it to be DH that made the effort, which is why I wonder about him not seeing them when they are staying with SIL.

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 20:02:15

Thank you LargeG&T. I haven't coped well in the past I'm afraid. Lots of lost sleep and heartburn.

I'm really trying to keep in mind that most people just want to be happy and they do what they do to bring themselves closer to their version of happiness. I'm just unable to compute this time!

hotbot Wed 13-Aug-08 20:04:57

judge, you wont understand them as you are nothing like them thank goodness!!!!!
enjoy yuor family, it is them that are missing out and as other posters have said well done you for being so nice about it

Dropdeadfred Wed 13-Aug-08 20:05:05

I would ask them outright why they hadn;t mentioned their visit...?

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 20:07:21

At any other time he would see them. We own a shop and this week have lost staff due to theft. We open 6.30am to 10.30pm and he is doing all of those hours. If it were life or death of course he would shut up shop. We can usually plan for visits easily, it's just a particularly difficult time due to staffing.

Dh has made all the arrangements for the last year or so but I do know what you mean and agree, it would be better if it had nothing to do with me at all.

twoluvlykids Wed 13-Aug-08 20:11:03

i haven't seen in laws for 2 1/2 yrs,dh takes dc to see them.i stay rings sometimes & asks me about the weather etc,pil never rings in case i pick up the phone,mil rings 1st,asks to speak to dc,then passes phone to him.i don't think i should make to effort to make amends,but some of my relatives do. think it's admirable of you to arrange a meal with them,but i wouldn't do it myself.i can understand how hurt you must feel.

Minniethemoocher Wed 13-Aug-08 20:11:33

My Mil is truly dreadful. She hasn't spoken to me (in a passive aggressive way) since I told her that I was 12 weeks pregnant with DC No.2. Obviously disapproves, for some reason, maybe because of my age (44!) maybe because she chose to have an only child, I don't know the reason why.

She phones DH regularly, at times when she knows that I will be out.

I organised a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her birthday, from DH, myself and her grandchild, didn't even get a mention that she had received them let alone a thank you.

She has said such horrible, nasty things to me over the years, that I will never feel anything but dislike of her.

We arranged to go to visit for the weekend, she cancelled at the last minute because one of her dogs was ill....

She never buys DD a spontaneous present,but sends money every Christmas and for her birthday.

Last year, she booked a meal out for her birthday at a restaurant that didn't allow children and told me that it wasn't possible for me to take DD. DH went to visit for the weekend, I stayed home with DD. I longed for him to say that if his wife and child couldn't go, then neither would he. sad

She told me how disappointed she was the my DD was a girl!!! angry

Her attitude towards me causes endless rows with DH, who just cannot see her for what she is.

Sorry just wanted to get it off my chest.

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 20:12:08

Dropdeadfred, that is what I want to do but I can't picture it without me getting really cross and when I'm cross, I cry. blush

I think I will say something like 'you know it's really easy for us to get to Bristol, give us a ring next time.'

I have this overwhelming urge to bite someone. [/scaring myself now]

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 20:13:59

Oh Minnie. It's just wretched isn't it.

thelittlestbadger Wed 13-Aug-08 20:14:38

YANBU but bear in mind that your ILs will probably much prefer not seeing the DCs and whinging about it than putting in any effort at all, even to be civil. It is very hard on your DH but at least his sister will support him and it is your PILs loss.

twoluvlykids Wed 13-Aug-08 20:15:22

it's hard,but then my dh hasn't seen my parents for 11 years!!!!

but my father is a total b**ard

silverfrog Wed 13-Aug-08 20:15:52

Oooh, Judge, are you related to me?

My PIL do similar "we never see the grandchildren" crap with their friends, when the reality is that they do not really want us to visit.

They have a huge (6 bedroomed) house, but have arranged it so that they have only one spare room, and that has twin beds in it hmm

half their grandchildren are too young to visit without parents, so where would we all fit?, and the other half, who could stay ontheir own are never goingto as they don't really know PIL due to years of not being able to stay there while growing up.

They also do the same "couldn't possibly travel that far" excse, and then we find out they are with BIL for a week or so (an hour from us)

Just recently they did travel down for a family event, and were supposed to be staying with us. I had a private bet with dh that they would cancel (we only have one bathroom - disgraceful doncha know wink), and sure enough, 2 days before they were due they finally told us they weren't staying, and had the cheek to claim that they ha never planned to.

Nevermind that I have a SN child who had been prepared for their visit (autistic, so explaining that something we had been telling her for weeks was going to happen was now NOT going to happen was interesting), and had planned and catered for said stay.

They couldn't stay with us because they could only get one night at the kennels for their dogs, apparently.

we went to family event, to find they were staying with BIL for 5 days hmm

Obviously, they just didn't want to see us.

They have, however, always played divide and rue with dh and his brothers - one brother is always "favourite", and the other 2 don't get a look in for a period of time, and then, all of a sudden it swings back (usually when said son has got fed up of their manipulations grin) and another son is chosen to be favourite for a while.

I know we are out of favour at the moment, because for dd1's birthday last week they sent a postcard, addressed to dh, with a PS to say Happy Birthday!

whatdayisit Wed 13-Aug-08 20:30:38

There really is something about PIL's and "we never see the grandchildren" isn't there? When we did see my in-laws they complained that my parents saw more of the DGC's than they did (which wasn't true as I bent over backwards to make sure it was "fair") but if we asked them to babysit it was "we're only wanted when we're needed"

I think a lot of what people complain about is their own guilty conscience coming out. i.e. they know deep down that it's their ault they don't see the DGC's, so almost "need" to have someone else to blame and a DIL is an easy target.

I think what you're doing is fantastic Judge. I hope your DH has a massive treat planned for you to help you get over it afterwards smile

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 20:44:19

Horrible but sadly a bit reassuring to hear such similar stories. I do agree with the 'divide and conquer' line. My dh used to work for a travel company and we were favoured with their presence a lot then! Now my SIL has a house in Spain, they are very popular.grin Poor SIL. Actually, I'm lucky to have two very good SIL, we all find the PIL odd.

gastronaught Wed 13-Aug-08 21:06:02

can you not work in the shop instead of dh, then not only will he be golden boy for a while, you will not habve to visit with pil.

JudgeNutmeg Wed 13-Aug-08 21:17:05

No I'm afraid I can't. I have never worked there, have no idea how to work any of the systems or do the ordering. It would be a bit like expecting a Dr's wife to know how to stitch up a wound. Normally we have plenty of staff to step in, it really just is very unfortunate that we have a spate of staff theft combined with holidays and sick leave.

I'm hoping that one our staff, currrently on the sick, recovers quickly. [crosses everything]

LittleBella Wed 13-Aug-08 21:35:52

They sound like vile, vile people.

I recommend you get your DH a copy of this to read. Toxic Parents

blueskythinker Wed 13-Aug-08 21:50:49

Poor you. Well I think you have touched a nerve, and the best way to deal with the passive aggression is not to let them know it has bothered you. Easy to say I know.

I think the best approach you can adopt is to remain ethereal and above it all. Smile and don't get drawn into anything in a completely serene detached kind of way (you may have to practice in front of a mirror, lots of times beforehand, saying 'I am serene and detached' over and over again like a loonygrin)

Take comfort in the fact, that if they are this bad, everyone else will think they are twats, even if they don't say so.

Let them moan to all and sundry - who cares. Try to get them out of your head - by letting them in you are giving them power.

Minniethemoocher Wed 13-Aug-08 22:29:50

I do get cross with myself sometimes for allowing my MIL to get under my skin, some days I CAN stand back from it all, other days her behaviour does really get to me.

I do practice the "serene and detached" approach, for the sake of DD I don't want her to pick up on the fact that her Grandmother is a complete old hag!

But I do feel sad that I don't have a better relationship with my MIL....

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