Quite a lot of AIBU's in one go. Sorry(54 Posts)
Just had our first counselling session. Big can of worms opened up as expected.
The main issue is, his family really piss me off. They're so bossy and domineering I hate being undermined by them.
If I tell my dh that something's been said or done that annoys me, he sees red and I'm deemed a trouble maker.
The whole session today was him defending his family.
So I have a few questions:
AIBU to ask to be put before his family as his wife? He said he would never do that and that he will never choose.
I asked that he gets involved if I have a concern or a problem with something that's been said or done. He said it's up to me. Is that normal?
He said he'll speak up if he thinks it's something that needs speaking up about but that I'm a bit too over sensitive so won't pull them up on everything. Is he BU?
I've decided if we stay married I won't stay at their house again, it's too much hassle. Is that BU?
Apparently they're treading on egg shells around me now as they think I have some kind of anxiety disorder and they're terrified they'll upset me.
It's driving me nuts!
Hope some of you can help, I can't see how counselling can solve this but I'm giving it another go next week.
Really hard one because he can't win can. In general I expect my hubby to stand up for me / be on my side. However when it comes to his family I try not to make him choose.
Not impressed with him putting all the blame on you.
I think you are right just to distance yourself from them. I mean why stay there if you don't have too. Let him handle things with his family and keep your distance if that would make you feel better.
I would always expect my DH to put me first as I would do for him
Of course it won't be easy for him but to dismiss your concerns like that is not ok
He says he's not choosing between you but it seems very much like he is choosing and it's not you
No yanbu, you are his wife, you should be his first priority.
I agree, thanks for your help. Hopefully the counsellor will pull him up on a few things..or are they supposed to just sit there and say nothing like he did today?
I wouldn't expect my dh to choose between me and his family.
I wouldn't expect him to "side" with me in a dispute just because I held one opinion. I married a man with a mind of his own, and a family of his own. I'd expect him to be able to make a judgement on his own too.
Of course, without knowing all the ins and outs of each situation, it's difficult for any stranger on the internet to know if you are being a "trouble maker" or "over sensitive" or whatever, or if he is being blind to really poor treatment of you. We'll never know - even if we heard his family describe the same situation from their pov.
Presumably, he loves you, and his loves his family too, so maybe his judgement isn't biased one way or another?
He said he'll speak up if he thinks it's something that needs speaking up about but that I'm a bit too over sensitive so won't pull them up on everything. This is the nub. If you have real, fundamental issues with what you both find acceptable, there will always be issues. DH and I have issues in both our families but they range from 90% in both that we find acceptable and 10% we don't. We challenge the 10% in both we feel we need to. If you think 90% of what his family does is unacceptable and he feels 10%, there is going to be an ongoing problem.
What are the behaviours, specifically, that you feel need to be addressed?
Hard to say without knowing any of the backstory regarding his family and your relationship with them and how unreasonable you/they are or are not being. If his family are very toxic then none of what you say sounds unreasonable, but then if they are a normal family who you simply disagree with then some of it may be unreasonable.
Assuming your behaviour is normal and theirs is constantly toxic or unreasonable then I don't think YABU to ask your DH to put you before his family when you are responding to something they have done/said in a reasonable way or where they have acted unreasonable. I also don't think YABU in asking him to sometimes become involved when there is a problem between you and the family and to expect him to stand up for you when the family are acting in a controlling or otherwise harmful way towards you. I think that if the family are causing you that much grief it's reasonable for you to decide not to stay with them again.
That said, if in any of this you are acting in an unreasonable way I wouldn't expect him to put them first just because you are his wife. With no back story it's hard to know whether your husband and his family are trying to put the fault of their unreasonable behaviour on you by saying you're 'over-sensitive' or whether you really are over-sensitive. If some of the issues you are getting upset about are minor your husband is not being unreasonable to say he won't pull up his family on every little thing. I would expect him to support you and intervene by talking to them regarding major issues but over minor issues I would agree with him that sometimes it needs to be up to you.
I guess really it's hard to say whether his reactions are reasonable without knowing anything of your behaviour and problems with his family or their behaviour and problems with you and thus being able to gauge whether it is them, you or both who is being unreasonable.
His family act very above us, I believe his family are extremely controlling and he knows no different so I'm an obstacle in their life as I don't agree with the way they are as a family. For instance, a holiday was booked by the IL's for us all to go together as a 'treat' but it was completely unsuitable for the dc's and when I asked Dh to get some more information about it he was too scared as he's appear ungrateful. It was so stressful I had a full on panic attack.
Smaller examples are when I told sil not to give our baby dd a whole grape as she might choke and sil just said 'it's Fine' and gave it to her anyway. I asked for them not to leave crisps and olives out at Christmas as dd was crawling and putting things in her mouth and again they said its fine and left them there. I know they're just small things but it happens a lot and it's the way they just undermine me like that.
The mil is so anxious around me it's all really tense which makes me worse!
From these details
YABU to ask to be chosen before his family in every or any situation where he doesn't have the fact and doesn't agree with you
Imagine your child being asked to do that. It isn't realistic or fair.
If you have an issue, it is your issue tbh. You can discuss it with him and ask him for support but he doesn't have to give it or wade in on your behalf
If you make and throw balls he shouldn't be forced to play. YABU to expect this from him
You can stay where you want Yanbu
Your sensitivity or his lack of sensitivity is work that you might do together.
Your perception and his and your ability to communicate might need work
Your expectations of what role a husband 'should' play seems somewhat different than his and this will need a discussion
IME counsellors don't really chastise people or keep score on your behalf
Usually saying very little is a hard won skill.
Usually I will tell Dh I'm upset and he has spoken up twice if I recall. At least it shows he can do it. But he thinks I'm being very over the top needing a particular room in the house if we stay over there (I have ibs so prefer the upstairs room near the bathroom) - he brought this up at counselling as if I'm a real diva! He also made out that all the problems I have with his family are because of my anxiety but the anxiety is caused by this, it's not the reason for this iyswim..
Well, going on the examples given -
Having a panic attack at the thought of asking your in-laws about arrangements for a holiday does seem to indicate some issues with anxiety. I don't understand (if you feel you aren't over anxious) why you wouldn't be able to phone up and ask a few details and explain any particular concern?
The grape thing is just a parenting difference - not something to end a marriage over
I think you were rude to ask them not to leave things about, if that is their tradition when they are hosting, tbh. When mine were toddling / crawling, I felt it was our responsibility as parents to keep a close eye, not expect the whole world to be adjusted for us - it's a crisp, if she had got hold of one, not some form of acid.
Sorry, not what you want to hear, I@m sure, but you did ask.....
Ronaldmcdonald, thank you. The help here is fantastic, it's helping a lot to see other peoples perspectives.
Backforgood, it does help, I actually like being told I'm bu as it makes me think maybe it's not so bad as I think it is!
I had a panic attack over the holiday thing because it built up to such a bloody 'thing' and it needn't have been. My sil was furious when Dh asked for the dates to be changed - she hadn't even checked when we were free. When I heard it was on the top floor of an old apartment I felt worried. I asked Dh to find out if there were facilities for dd as she was only 2. He was too scared. I just felt the whole thing was a mess from start to finish. If sil had asked us first where we'd like to stay or what facilities we needed is have been happier.
Asking for a particular room in the house does sound a bit 'diva' if I'm being totally honest. If you are in someone else's house I think it's pretty rude to dictate which room (I have IBS and it wouldn't occur to me, tbh).
The grape thing would piss me off. I didn't cut them for DD but had someone asked me not to give them to their child I would totally respect that. The petty undermining of parenting choices with 'it's fine' is extremely irritating.
The panic attack over hols I really don't get though. You do sound unusually anxious?
It sounds as though you need to manage your relationship with them and not rely on your DH to do so. For example with the holiday, you could have called with the questions. You can't really expect your DH to always share your concerns or act like a mediator between you and his family.
It shouldn't really feel like he has to pick sides or write a priority list. Sometimes he'll agree with you and speak out (as you've said he has) and sometimes he won't agree with you. That's ok too.
I'm responding to what you've written but I'm unsure if you're just touching the surface and there are bigger issues. You mention your anxiety and say it's caused by the situations. Have you been diagnosed with anxiety? Do you have treatment for it? I'm struggling because there is an uneasiness about your posts that makes me think there may be bigger problems than which bedroom you sleep in and whether or not they put out crisps (for what it's worth if you're the guest then you watch your DC, you don't ask them to change the snacks to suit your DC).
Your counsellor may speak next week or he may not. There are different approaches to counselling but don't be afraid to change counsellor if this one isn't working for you, or to ask for individual sessions if you're feeling you're both getting entrenched into certain positions regarding his family. Who suggested counselling?
The counselling was my idea as Dh left last week after another row over his mum upsetting me.i overheard her talking about me and asked if we could discuss it together but she started crying and Dh got really angry with me. I said I would consider us separating otherwise. I think today was about establishing what our problems were and the real session begins next week so it'll be interesting to see what happens.
Maybe I do have deeper rooted problems but I don't know what they are! I've always just foud his family so close and authoritative I took a dislike to them all straight away. My family are laid back, we talk about problems openly.. With dh's family they're scared of conflict and prefer to pretend nothing's wrong. Dh is fiercely defensive of them.
Sorry I wasn't implying you had deep-rooted problems! I was just wondering if the anxiety was a medical diagnosis and solely related to your dh's family, and also if there was more going on between you and dh.
You were sounding a bit unreasonable with the examples you gave but sometimes, if the dynamics in a relationship are manipulative then you can sound unreasonable over small issues because you've been conditioned into ignoring the elephant in the room.
From your last post, it sounds as though the elephant in the room is that your DH left because you did try to have an honest conversation with his dm. That makes him seem UR not you.
His family seem to have an interesting approach to conflict: his dm cries and your dh leaves. They're shutting down any challenges which is incredibly manipulative.
If I were you, I'd ask for an individual session with the counsellor not because I think you have 'problems' but because I think you might find it more beneficial than having an hour rehashing the same old arguments with your DH in front of an audience.
A good marriage counselor is meant to facilitate communication and help you two solve your own problems together, and to learn how to talk to each other again without making personal attacks so you can talk about the problems. Not take sides, and a good counselor won't. He also shouldn't be allowing your DH to be criticizing and attacking you like that either.
ADHD you're exactly right but a bad one will allow one party to feel constantly attacked and will not intervene under the pretext of impartiality.
ADHD you're exactly right but a bad one will allow one party to feel constantly attacked and will not intervene under the pretext of impartiality.
Agreed. That's why I said the counselor shouldn't be allowing her DH to keep laying blame on her like that.
You should never go away from a session feeling shitty. If you are, you might want to get a different counselor.
Let's just hope they were assessing the situation before deciding what to do since it was the first one.
Got to be honest you sound like a bit of a diva and I can see why they are anxious around you. Your examples are mildly irritating and easily resolved.
The thing is you say you took an instant dislike to all of them, that's not fair or normal.
You married into another family they will do things differently. Your family aren't "right" and his aren't "wrong" they are just different and you need to learn to be flexible and communicate and accept some differences and focus on the only things you can't ignore. So from your examples - olives and crisps just watch your DC, grape where it was actually dangerous say "no SIL it's not safe please do not give her one not cut up again".
"The grape thing is just a parenting difference..."
Bollocks is it. DS1 nearly choked on half a grape (I cut them) because he sucked it backwards side on, iyswim - so it blocked his throat the same as a whole grape would have done. After that, I quartered them. Whole grapes are dangerous to babies without teeth/skills to chew them and your SIL shouldn't have been so blasé about it.
I think that you do have a problem with your DH being spineless against his family and I hope that the counselling will help with that. But he is obviously in a difficult position as well because his family do things very differently from you and yours, and he can't just change the way his entire family are just to fit what you expect. However, I do believe that you should expect some support from him, not for him to expect you to bow to his family's wishes all the time either!
Good luck with it.
The grape thing is just a parenting difference
No it isnt. It is literally a matter of life and death. I regularly have this out with family and friends who think its is ok to hand my dcs a punet of grapes. Ffs!
Thankfully my dh is both very loyal (better than me really in this regard)
And he has looked into the risks himself so always backs me up.
Never give a child grapes that are left whole.
The man who is in charge of our life support training says he still wont give them to his 8yo based on his knowledge and experience of resulting deaths from choking.
Reading between the lines i would say they sound controlling. And that would piss me off too.
You might be a little tiny bit over reactionary about some things. But when ppl are trying to exert control over you and push you into accepting choices for your children that you are not happy with then anxiety is very likely. No?
Counselling might help you work together but you're not going to get the backing up from the counsellor that you seem to be looking for.
I think you are BU to expect your DH to be on your side if he thinks you are in the wrong.
You have said you disliked them from the start which seems very unreasonable.
You are not BU about the holiday, though, but you seem to object to so many things that he feels torn.
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