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to expect my husband to stand up for me against in-laws???

(74 Posts)
fedup3 Mon 20-Apr-09 14:07:21

Hi everyone, hoping for a bit of advice here. I have a husband that i love very much
but at the moment i am sooo fed up, hurt and angry as he won't stand up for me against his family!!!
We are married for 4 years, and currently have three children, 2years and new twins.
Before we got married we all got on very well. With hindsight there were signs that his mother is a very stupid woman but they didnt have much impact on my life so i ignored her. For example if my husband was working on a saturday and i was off, you could be sure of a snidy remark...but i would point out that we worked the same number of days and earned the same money,our timetable was simply different!!
The real problems started after the birth of my first child. She would march into the house and take my baby of me, saying i had him all the time!! As if a mother has to justify time spent with her new baby!!! She would make comments about me being a first time mother, about being lucky to have her son to make my dinner (when infact i had made it, i simply asked him to pass it to me!!) and she had a real problem that i was off on maternity leave.
After every visit i was left really upset and hurt because i wanted soo much for us all to get along and i was proud of my new baby. She however couldnt help making constant digs.It is hard to explain to anyone what exactly she does...its a million little things ....almost like death by papercuts!!
As time passed she became even worse but i still put up with her for my husbands sake. ...its his mother my friends would tell me. So i agreed to give her one more chance and my husband was grateful. we all went to visit her home and it was the worst day of all. she ignored me and kept saying the baby looked looks nothing like HER (MEANING ME) and made it very clear she wasnt interested in me just the baby. My husband witnessed all this and said nothing. When we got to the car i burst into tears and told him i never wanted to see them again. He wouldnt say anything to her but i didnt see her for a whole year. He continued to visit her home and brought the baby with him several times a week and if had to go out on the weekend we let them watch the baby. I believe i was more than reasonable allowing this amount of contact but i did it for my husbabnd even though it was extremely difficult for me.
She should have had what she wanted, regular contact with the child and me out of her life. However give an inch and she wants a mile. She causes friction between myself and my husband even on xmas day...demanding my husband and child be in her house!!
Recently i have had twins. we informed his parents and i heard nothing from them the whole pregnancy, even when i was in hospital with threatened miscarriage. It was a difficult pregnancy and the twins arrived two months early.
They were place in neonatal intensive care for a month. The night they were born his parents visited the babies in the neonatal unit and didnt come to the ward to see me. My husband thought this was acceptable as i hadnt wanted any contact with them. But again i was proud of my babies and just wished we were a normal family and they would congratulate me sincerely. I found this extremely hurtful.
My husband and myself were delighted with our new arrivals and wanted him to be able to share that joy with his parents so i stupidly let them back in my life. It wasnt very long before she started (only a couple of days infact). i started going out when she comes over and busying myself with housework so i dont have to listen to her. i always think back...what did i do wrong,,but i believe nothing i do is going to make her happy. Except disappearing and leaving my children to her!! if!!
This weekend the babies were baptised. His family was invited against my better judgement and i even agreed that his parents could have the babies overnight whilst myself and my husband had our first night out since their arrival. It was a disaster.
His family all attended the service and didnt speak to me. We had arranged to take everyone to a local hotel, including the children as it was their day. His mother approached us in the car saying to my husband she would take the babies now. He kept saying no we re going to the hotel first(i said nothing). She wasnt very pleased having to humour us. None of the rest of his family even turned up...i imagine a show of solidarity against me. I was so fed up i told my husband to just tell his parents to go with the babies. They left with my new babies and didnt even come over to myself to say they were off or let me say goodbye. She won again... i have no doubt they had their own christening party with my children iback at their own home. She probably planned it all along.
My husband was shocked (dont know why) at his familys behaviour and that night i felt really soory for him. However the next day he collected the children and the stupid bitch was acting like nothing i am so angry. He said nothing to her and lets her behave any waqy she wishes.
YES she is his mother, but she has no right to treat me the way she does. I am my childrens mother and she would need to respect that!!
Any suggestions as to what i should do next??? i cant count on my husbands support and am so angrey im thinking of leaving him!!!

bohemianbint Mon 20-Apr-09 14:12:45

YANBU, he needs to stop letting this happen. No way would I have let her have my babies overnight under these circumstances.

I hope you and your husband can work through this and you can make him see the damage he is causing by standing by and doing nothing. Maybe try counselling?

Tortington Mon 20-Apr-09 14:13:07

you have the power homey - you have the dh - you have the babies. just avoid her. when she rings your dh for a visit - tell your dh that you would love to...but sadly you had something else arranged.

just dont entertain her.

mumblechum Mon 20-Apr-09 14:14:43

I think your husband needs to grow a pair, frankly.

Horton Mon 20-Apr-09 14:21:50

I can't understand why you'd let her just go off with your new babies.

But no, YANBU to expect your husband to stick up for you and tell his mum where to get off.

Pacita Mon 20-Apr-09 14:22:52

Have a good talk with your husband. the only reason this woman thinks she can behave this way is because your husband lets her. If he makes it crystal clear that she cannot under any circumstances interfere with his family (which is you and the kids) or be disrespectful to you, she will have no choice but to comply if she wants to see her son and grandchildren. It is in your bloke's hands, methinks.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 14:23:24

sorry but my DH is like that, he'll defend his family first, always at their defence over my opinion of what I really think of them. Sadly you just have to accept that is how he is, if you want to move on in life.

Look at it this way you get the best of both worlds. You get your inlaws babysitting your kids, so that you can go off and have a night out occasionally (from your post you've stated they don't mind babysitting so you can both have a break - not all grandparents like doing this) and secondly you don't have to have ANY contact with his mum if you don't wish to (utter bliss).

Another thing to point out, it could be that there's a complete personality clash!! it does actually happen between people. I don't get on with FIL so I only see him about once a year (usually by chance if he happens to be at home, if we are dropping by with something, but usually I'm 'doing housework' so I don't really have to see him - can't explain, it's a long story!).

It could be that his mother just doesn't really like you. My FIL feels that way about me, even though I've never done anything to upset him. I wouldn't p*ss on him if he was on fire, so to me the feeling is mutual and life goes on.

You really just have to accept the way things are, but if you can't accept it then things are just going to get worse. Don't beat yourself up about your MIL.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 14:28:06

I would also like to add that the inlaws are the main reason DH and myself argue. if it wasn't for them, we've have a completely quiet and non-argumentative life with one another.

Inlaws are a real pain in the botangry

mrsboogie Mon 20-Apr-09 14:33:07

You have got this all the wrong way round, you have the children, they are YOUR children, you should hold the power (if power wielding were necessary) and if she wants to see them she should be told to behave herself. You sure have a mountain to climb to reverse this disgraceful situation now.

If you really feel that it is placing an intolerable strain on your marriage then you need to make that clear to your husband. If you are going to give him an ultimatum you'd better mean it though and be prepared to follow through on it.

If I were you I would tell him you have had all you can take and you won't be responsible if the marriage breaks up because of her attitude and his failure to support you. If you can get him to support you I would then write her a letter and lay down the law - in the nicest possible language so that she can't show it to anyone and accuse you of being nasty agggessive etc.

Say that you feel things have got off on the wrong foot, you don't knwo why but there seems to be a barrier between yourself and your DH's family, and as the mother of her grandchildren you feel it incumbent upon you to address this before any sort of breakdown in relations occurs. You would have if your children had to grow up without knowing their grandparents etc but as things stand you do not feel welcome, that you don't want your kids to grow up wondering why their mother isn't respected, are not prepared to continue being treated this way and are even prepared to consider moving away to see if that would improve things.

If you split with your husband you could move away - it wouldn't hurt to remind all of them of that fact. This wouldn't be very nice behaviour normally but you are being driven to it.

JetLi Mon 20-Apr-09 14:41:07

YANBU - I have quite a hellish MIL although not nearly as bad as yours chuck. After many years of trying to build bridges and generally putting myself out for her, I am now firmly in the "Sod Her" camp, and my intention is that this will still apply after our baby arrives.
And my secret is that I long ago stopped expecting DP to stick up for me and now quite cheerfully wade in myself when she starts getting nasty or arsey - I feel much better about it all because I get to say my piece. I have to say as well that because I now give as good as I get, she does seem to be mellowing a teeny tiny bit. And after seeing me pull on the boxing gloves a couple of times, DP definitely sticks up for me a lot more now too, so much improvement all round.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 14:44:36

All you need to do is just put a barrier up, let them look after the kids for you so you get a break.

It is possible to still get on well with your DH AND avoid your inlaws. I've done now for a year and I enjoy having my days to myself (when DH takes DS away - peace and quiet!). It means you don't have to see your inlaws.

I think talking about divorce/seperation is a bit extreme considering the MIL seems to lack in social skills, and refuses to speak to you.
As long as your DC get to see their grandparents, there's no damage done. The inlaws obv love your DC, that's clear enough from your post.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 14:47:00

JetLi, that's a good approach. If you have the ability to speak up it does help. I'm quite forthright with my MIL, didn't get on that well with her to begin with, but being upfront has definately helped the relationship and I also speak up for myself (DH isnt' always around when she visits to see DS). We actually have a very good relationship now.

CatchaStar Mon 20-Apr-09 14:47:29

mrsboogie made some very good points in her post, op.

Personally, I would stop contact between them and my children until they can learn to act like civilised adults. If this woman is that openly horrid to you and your dh is not prepared to back you, then stop their contact until she can learn to grow up.

I would not only be having strong words with him, I'd be having them with her as well. You don't have to be rude or anything, be as nice as you can. But tell them both in no uncertain terms that her attitude towards you awful and until that can change, you don't feel that she is a good influence for your children to be around. Say that you don't think it's appropriate for your young children to be placed in the care of people who are blatently rude and disrespectful to their mother.

It's not about 'getting back' at your mil by stopping contact, your not using them as a tool. But I would certainly be worried if it were my children spending time with someone like her when she is so horrid to you. Children are very perceptive and they do pick up on these things. Do you want your mil's attitude rubbing off on them? This is what I would be mostly concerned about. You don't allow a child to look after your children, and that is exactly how she is behaving - like a child.

As for your dh, as another poster said, he needs to grow a pair. I'm sorry this has you so worked up, to me it reads like she feels a little jealous, perhaps even threatened by you. That means you hold the winning cards fedup3, don't let this silly woman get to you. Put your foot down.

messymissy Mon 20-Apr-09 14:49:23

fedup3, what a lot to contend with. sounds very much like my mil - they were all over me like a rash when i was pregnant, trying everso hard to be nice, and as soon as dd arrived, i became surplus to requirements - they will talk about me like i am not there, try to take photos of dd and complain to each other that 'she is in the way' meaning me!! I tried to ignore it and it is as you say, death by 1000 paper cuts, there is never one big thing to complain about just the relentless sniping and so on, so i can really really sympathise. My dp does nothing about it either - he has never cut the apron strings and will do anything his mum says.

i have found that with people like this, the more you try and hope that they will be who and what you want them to be, the more disappointed you will be when they carry on in their own sweet way. They are treating you badly as you know, you have managed to stay away from them for a year - wow -

you know the answer really = they are never going to be the inlaws you want, so

you have to learn to ignore it and have as little to do with them as possible, and limit as much as you can the access they have to your children - do you really want your children to be around people who treat you like that? just cos they are family doesnt make it right. DONT let them baby sit again.

or confront it and hope your husband will back you up

or - my preferred option - move as far a way as you can!

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 14:55:22

sorry I don't agree with that. just because the inlaws are not nice to OP, doesn't mean they aren't nice to the grandchildren.

My inlaws are great with DS, yet FIL just doesn't like me. Doesn't mean he's a crap grandparent. We just don't get along, full stop. Their attitude is perfectly fine with DS, and I have no issues with him visiting. It works in my favour most of the time.

Avoidance really is your best bet though. Or if you do feel brave enough, confront them (but that can make matters worse in some cases).

mrsboogie Mon 20-Apr-09 15:32:15

Oh yeah - forgot to say - she, the MiL is jealous because you took her son away and jealous that you are the mother of his children. You hear a lot about this - women who are a bit too possessive of their sons and make the DiL's life a misery because of it. Bonkers.

It's all very well saying avoid them and taking advantage of the opportunities for "you time" presented by them visiting the Ils without you BUT when you are treated as if you don't exist at your own children's Baptism and God knows what other interferance and undermining of her postion wil go on as the children get older...

I would just bite the bullet and decide to take no more crap and demand respect if it was me. The situation couldn't get any worse really could it? You are not some breeding sow but the mother of their grandchildren and should be respected as such.

solidgoldshaggingbunnies Mon 20-Apr-09 15:38:33

The trouble with demanding that people 'repect' you is that it always makes you look like a tosser. No matter how rude and horrible they are being, if you ask for respect thy will despise you even more.
The best way to deal with these people is the way to deal with all bullies: rise above it. Be politely indifferent to their rudeness, maybe a littl gently patronizing when you can, and don't worry about them. Their opinions of you do not matter. It;s their loss if they don't like you.

jellybeans Mon 20-Apr-09 15:50:11

I have been there exactly and know how it feels, it sucks.

My DH stands up to her now after many years, we had to go to counselling to make him realise how toxic IL were and how far up MIL arse he was. It was only when he realised we would split up if he didn';t put us first, that DH stood up to them.

Basically, MIL has to accept you are a family. If she 'gets' DH and your DC while being rude/ignoring you, then she is excluding you and your DH is allowing this. What sort of message is that to your DC? Thst it is alright to treat people like crap and just take what you want? If she wants to see DC she has to make an effort to get on/be civil to you. (My MIL does now and we actually 'get on') The only way she should see you for now is as A FAMILY, all of you. When she is less toxic then great she can have the kids on her own.

Trust me, this works, things are great now for us after MIL refusing to acknowledge me etc and snatching my babies, she now chats to me etc as she has been forced to comprimise and treat DH like a grown man with his OWN FAMILY and not pretend it's just him and his kids.

Good luck.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 15:50:53

well said, solidgold. confronting the MIL would actually just make it worse, she would probably just resent the OP even more than she does just now. It does make you come across as a tad high and mighty if you try and demand that they like you. As I said previously, it could just be that MIL and DIL clash in personality. As simple as that. It does happen.

ignoring the behaviour is ideal. I'm in a similar situation (so have experience of this)but have found my approach to ignoring FIL works out perfectly. DS gets to see all grandparents, and I always get time to myself regularly without having to see them. Nice

mrsboogie Mon 20-Apr-09 15:52:25

better to look like a tosser than to be invisible no? I wouldn't care whether they despised me or not - they would be obliged to keep a civil tongue in their head if they wanted to see my children and they would not be marching into the house grabbing babies and making snarky comments about me having a day off work. They would be old to eff off out of it and not to darken my door until they knew how to behave.

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 15:55:22

tbh, ILs who are like this aren't worth wasting breath on. if they are rude and bolshy, then let them get on with it. just not around you. keeping out their lives makes them see that you can cope without them, that you have more important issues going on than their snide remarks. they are the ones that miss out on half the stuff, not you.
invisible works a treat actually. why would people want to spend time in their lives with ILs who are rude???

HappyBump Mon 20-Apr-09 16:00:29

Could you point out to your husband that "his family" is actually *you and your children* and that in every situation you should come first.

His parents, brothers, sisters, neices, nephews, etc are obviously still his family too but you are the priority.

After a few situations with my MIL (not really as bad as yours - poor you, I am sorry), I sat down and explained that to my DH that we got married to be a family and that I should in no way take second place and that he never takes second place in my life then things became a lot easier.

jellybeans Mon 20-Apr-09 16:01:03

'As long as your DC get to see their grandparents'

I disagree, seeing Gkids is a priveledge not a right. Just cos someone is related does not mean they are fit to babysit, they may be totally toxic. Don't need to stop the OP Gparents seeing the kids, just make sure she sees the whole family together. Eventually, hopefully, she will see she has to be civil to have a closer relationship with OPs kids. OPs kids will not want to see Gparents who hate their mummy for no reason anyway as they grow, I have seen this with friends. At the moment the toxic ILs are getting everything they want, it should stop asap although the DH will prob rather fight his wife than his mum if he is as scared as my DH was of his momma hmm.

solidgoldshaggingbunnies Mon 20-Apr-09 16:01:36

People are not actually obliged to like you, just because you have married one of their relatives. If you don't get on, why not keep your distance instead of whining and stamping your foot, which will get you nowhere?

ahfeckit Mon 20-Apr-09 16:03:19

solid, that's the point I've been trying to make here aswell. the MIL isn't obliged to like the OP just because she's married her son. some people just don't get along, it's as simple as that.

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