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How can we work through this?

(10 Posts)
Poogles Wed 05-Oct-11 15:56:06

Will try & keep this brief, but need advice on how I can try and save my marriage. Had another massive row with DH last night and are no longer speaking. Row was about his parents & how they treat me & DS's. There have been a number of occasions over the years where his parents have really hurt me with the way they treat me, what they say to me and their selfish behaviour.

Each time they have upset me, I have bitten my tongue & not risen to it but have afterwards asked DH to talk to his parents as I felt it would be better coming from him and we could smooth things over better. I really thought that maybe it was done without realising rather than maliciously. DH NEVER said anything to them.

Anyway, things came to a head a few weeks ago and I asked DH to speak to his parents and told him that on this occasion if he didn't, I would and that he should not expect me to hold back. He did speak to them (or so he says). They then went on holiday for 2 weeks. I told DH that I wanted an apology from them & an acceptance that there behviour on this particular issue was wrong. They are now back from their holiday and DH expects me to carry on as normal and that nothing should be mentioned.

I know this probably sounds quite trivial, and compared to some of the things others are going through it is, but I feel that I come second in my marriage to his parents and have reached breaking point. I had a very bad childhood and still suffer from self esteem issues so the way DH's parents treat me coupled with the way I feel like I come second to them in my marriage is not doing me any good.

Whilst I love DH and don't want to split, I can't see a way forward. DH knows how his parents make me feel at times and his defence of them is that it is the way they are and I should accept it. Whilst DH prioritises his parents feelings over mine, I can't see this marriage surviving and would rather end it before we get to the stage of being bitter & nasty and destroying DS's.

I just feel like bursting into tears the whole time and am dreading having to go home. I feel like an idiot even considering walking away from this marriage - DH is a good man, we have a good life, nice house, 2 gorgeous DS's, but I don't know how long I can go on with my self confidence being chipped away at (it took me years of self-loathing and harming to get to where I am today and I don't want to go back. I want to be a good Mum for my boys). Advice needed please - even if it is a kick up the backside!

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 05-Oct-11 16:05:26

I feel that I come second in my marriage to his parents

That's curious phrasing - it could be read as if you're married to his parents! Which, of course, you're not. You're married to your DH and his parents can only play as much part in your marriage as you and he allow them to.

In what way do your ILs mistreat you and what did they do recently that requires an apology from them?

Poogles Wed 05-Oct-11 16:56:07

I know they can only play what role we allow them but DH will not stand up to them and takes their opinion/wishes above mine.

Recent issue erupted over Xmas. We alternate year with them, year with my family. 2 years ago we were menat to be with them but at a few weeks notice got told that we couldn't go anymore as BIL was now going. Told DH wasn't happy about being blown out at short notice - DS1 had been really looking forward to seeing GP (they live 200 miles away - thank God grin). Sucked it up & diodnt say anything. My family all had plans so we spent Xmas just the 4 of us which was bliss! Last year we planned Xmas with my family. MIL didn't mention Xmas until a few weeks before when BIL had said they were not going and I got the guilt trip about how I'm stopping them seeing the DS, it was their Xmas with the boys, they never get to see the boys at Xmas, I'm breaking MIL heart (you get the picture) and I was a bad mother (I haven't seen my abusive mother since I . Could have said something but instead asked DH to so there wasn't the emotion involved - I went to my room in tears as MIL can be nasty & cutting in what & how she says things. This year we ask them to come to us for Xmas. They say they don't know what they are doing. Couple of weeks ago BIL tells us MIL & FIL are going to them for Xmas. After last year's guilt trip (when I wasn't even in the wrong), I was furious and told DH to speak to them. He says he has and that MIL has now decided that as BIL will have a 3 month old baby in the house, they will come and stay at ours as it is more convenient. I know this all sound spetty but it feels like the straw that broke the camel's back.

I told DH that I wanted an apology for the way MIL carried on last year and for her to accept that I have not gone out of my way to prevent her seeing DS's. Am I expecting too much?

oldwomaninashoe Wed 05-Oct-11 17:08:09

I think you are blowing this all way out of proportion. I don't think you should rely on your Dh to "talk" to them, he probably feels uncomfortable "telling his parents off"

If you do not like what MILhas said /done tell her, very politely but firmly.

Your DH can deal with any fall out.

Don't let this issue overwelm your DC's lives and your marriage. If you break up your marriage over this I'm sure the in-laws will blame you.

It really shouldn't be an issue, try taking control, and letting her know very firmly what you will and will not accept without losing your temper or getting emotional.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 05-Oct-11 17:42:54

O FGS! You've been nursing a grudge all year about what happened last Christmas???!!!!

You're right - it is petty and it seems to me that you've been clutching at straws trying to find one to break the camel's back.

It also seems to me that you may be re-enacting your abusive childhood by seeing your PILs as the adults who crushed your self-esteem and responding accordingly.

But you're an adult too now. Other people can only have power over you and hurt you if you let them. Similarly, you can point blank refuse to go on any guilt trips that you won't enjoy - just let the bus leave without you on board.

It sounds as if the PILs are trying to divide their time equally between their (presumably) 2 ds this year. If you don't want the PILs to spend time with you or stay in your home this Christmas, simply cut through the crap and say so.

FTR, in some families it just ain't Christmas without a good ol' argy bargy about who stays where with who - stick a smile on your face, enter into the spirit of the festive season, and be grateful it only comes once a year grin

ChitChattingWithKids Wed 05-Oct-11 17:48:38

For heaven's sakes, why are you being so bloody timid and not saying anything to them????!!!! Are you seriously considering quitting on a marriage rather than just saying something back to the ILs?

When they make a comment, say something back STRAIGHT AWAY. If you hold onto it it becomes a bigger deal than it needs to be. Grow a back bone and stand up for yourself. If they criticise you, say 'Don't call/insinuate that I'm a bad mother'. If you can't decide what you want to do for X then don't expect us to hang around waiting for you to make up/change your mind at the last minute'.

If you say something and THEN it erupts, well then you have every right to be pissed off and expect your DH to stand up for you, but why the hell should he do it all????

Poogles Wed 05-Oct-11 18:15:43

You're right - I do need to grow a pair and stand up for myself!! It isn't just about Christmas, I have just had enough of being put down. I'm not really one for confrontation though.

My big issue if I am honest is that MIL will question choices with the DS, saying I can't possibly know how to be a mother given my childhood. It hurts.

The thing with DH is that he let's her say this which makes me question if he loves me and if not do we have a future?

I'm being a big girls blouse I know but have left it to DH to talk to his parents as mil has the power to make me feel so upset & fil has little respect for women's opinions unless they agree with his own.

Thanks all - knew I'd get the straight talking I needed!!

ChitChattingWithKids Wed 05-Oct-11 18:35:04

Well if she tells you that you don't know how to be a good mother just reply with 'Oh, I don't know, I see good examples of both what to do and what not to do around me all the time' and look very pointedly at her. [griin]!

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 05-Oct-11 19:01:04

The thing with DH is that he let's her say this MIL is not your DH's ventriloquist's dummy and he can't control her words.

Plus he spent 18 or more years with his family and he probably learned that it was expedient to just let his dps sound off - and then do his own thing. He's used to them, and maybe doesn't fully realise that they're toxic.

Unless he expects you to ALWAYS do whatever his dps say/want , of course you have a future.

mil has the power to make me feel so upset Always remember that she only has as much or as little power as you allow her to have.

If you don't feel up to telling the woman to can it when she says anything that you feel is hurtful, just watch her words take shape and float through the air - straight past you. Don't respond, just smile and change the subject.

If she asks why you haven't answered her/responded to her remarks, simply say that she's entitled to her views but that you choose not to share them.

Frankly, as ILs go, they don't sound untypical - she's as nutty as a fruitcake and he's a chavinistic old git. If you can't laugh at them, humour them and carry on doing things the way you want to, and living your life without fear of, or reference to, them.

Kayano Wed 05-Oct-11 19:24:15

Tbh, you don't tell a child off for something they did hours ago, you deal with it at the time.

You certainly don't wait til people come back from a 2 week holiday and then bring up stuff that happen ages ago! You need to deal with year issues and the relevant time IMO.

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