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Anyone ever gone to counselling due to mad/bad inlaws?

(44 Posts)
poozlepants Tue 16-Oct-12 12:11:09

I am seriously considering it. I have had 20 odd years of dealing with people who are at best indifferent to me but MIL is now being downright rude to me and it is stressing me out. We are in one of these situations where SIL is the golden child but spoilt. PIL's who think she is all shades of wonderful though she rules mostly by tantrums, manipulation and lies. DH is the quiet, clever one who gets no credit and I'm his annoying wife who is there to give gifts and to do birthday parties, family events , mothers days, fathers days but basically treated as the maid of all works not a family member.
Things have escalated since grandchildren have come along- the competitiveness and the bitchiness has risen to all new high and MIL is so enamoured of being bessie mates with SIL that me and my DS are getting treated with absolute contempt. Even my own mother who spent a lifetime dealing with weird inlaws thinks they are beyond the pale.
DH won't enage. Won't stand up for me, or DS or himself. He spent a lifetime dealing with it by ignoring it and not letting it get to him. I get angry with him for not manning up but if I'm honest I don't think we couldn't afford the psychiatrist's bills if he started.
It has taken me a long time but I am scared that I am actually starting to hate them. I don't want to because life will be intolerable if I do but I need a way to deal with them. Has anyone else had counselling? What sort of counselling do I need? Would they laugh at me? I feel stupid as I have had my own family issues in the past but have eventually dealt with them successfully without help. I do know my main problem is that I am a doormat and a people pleaser but is hard to change.

pictish Tue 16-Oct-12 12:15:34

It's not counselling you need (although it certainly won't do any harm) - it's to get shot of these cruddy people out of your sphere. Leave your dh to deal with them, and personally remove yourself from the ir company whenever possible.

You can't make them change, but you can decide what YOU will, or will not, tolerate.

If they treat you badly, then they serve no purpose in your life. It is your right to say no thanks and bodyswerve.

poozlepants Tue 16-Oct-12 12:19:57

I do know that but I think in the past I thought if I was nice to them they would come to appreciate me. I realise now that it is never going to happen. I invited them for tea at the weekend and MIL has just managed to snidey remarks again on the phone when we were talking about the operation I had last week. So I think I'll have tea and then make an excuse and leave for a few hours until they go. They don't want to see me anyway.

brass Tue 16-Oct-12 12:20:50

stop being a maid.

keep contact with them to a bare minimum.

let DH deal with his family on his own if he will not support you.

brass Tue 16-Oct-12 12:22:06

why make the tea?

cancel, something came up.

pictish Tue 16-Oct-12 12:27:14

Poozle my fil and his wife don't particularly like me. They treat me with casual disdain.
I gave up trying to win them over a good while ago, and just cut them out of my concerns. Dh talks to them, if they see the kids (rare) dh facilitates it. If I find myself in their company, I respond to anything they say to me politely, venture nothing of myself, and then I remove myself as soon as the opportunity arises.

Just mentally pick them up in a pair of tweezers, and deposit them outside your give-a-fuckosity.

struggling100 Tue 16-Oct-12 12:46:50

Gah, your inlaws sound horrible. But yes, I do think a counsellor could help you to handle the ways in which they are horrible, and learn to set things up differently.

Why are you allowing them to treat you like a doormat? What have you got to lose by refusing to do the parties, family events, mother's days etc. etc.? Why are you not sticking up for yourself in these situations (not in an aggressive way, but in a strong but firm way)? These are issues that you might want to explore with a therapist, who will help you to develop some techniques you can use for being and staying firm about how you want to be treated.

Only you can set the boundaries that you need. These people need to learn to respect you, but only you can insist that they do this.

Miggsie Tue 16-Oct-12 12:52:25

People like this don't change, it is pointless trying to engage with them as rational beings as they aren't.

Only go to counselling if you find a specialist one who knows about abusive families and only if you need help to tell them to get stuffed. Would they consider, even for one moment to go into counselling about you? No.
In fact if you died I doubt they'd bother showing up to your funeral, particularly if SIL was having her toe nails painted or something.

And they will never ever appreciate your DH or you. Because they are dreadful self obsessed people.

You really need to just cut them out of your life, you can't win with people like this.

Susan Forward has written "Toxic in laws" which is well worth a read.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-Oct-12 13:01:03

Counselling to solely give you the means to deal with such people is a wasted effort. If you have counselling for your own self it is to talk openly about your relationship with these dysfunctional people. They are and have never been reasonable emotionally healthy human beings. These people never apologise nor ever take any responsibility for their actions.

Cutting them off from your life is a way forward for you. You would not let a friend treat you like this, family are truly no different in that regard.

pinotnoirprincess Tue 16-Oct-12 13:12:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 13:28:45

"I do know that but I think in the past I thought if I was nice to them they would come to appreciate me. I realise now that it is never going to happen. "

If you're at level of understanding, I don't think you need counselling really. What you need are two strategies. One for not going out of your way to be nice... without actually being hostile. Another for how you put the phone down cut the conversation dead the minute 'snidey remarks' begin

IA71 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:32:30

The only problem with not seeing them is that then your husband and children will see them on their own and that is probably what your ILs want anyway. Its difficult to know what is best to do. I know that I wouldn't want to be left out of stuff happening with my children.

kiwigirl42 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:47:47

indifference is a wonderful place to be, especially when you are used to burning up emotional energy worrying about other peoples actions.

I have a few relatives/ in-laws I am indifferent to now. Its great! I always try to be nice and helpful if required but otherwise I stay out of the way, don't engage and learn the skill of indifference - go to a counsellor for a few sessions if required

CailinDana Tue 16-Oct-12 13:54:49

If my DH let people treat me like this and just didn't stand up for me, or my children, it would destroy my respect for him entirely. There is no way you should have to put up with this while your DH stands back and lets it happen. I'm sympathetic with his inability to deal with them, but if that's the case then he needs to just cut them out completely. Letting people abuse your wife is just not acceptable.

pinotnoirprincess Tue 16-Oct-12 14:14:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pinotnoirprincess Tue 16-Oct-12 14:27:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

poozlepants Tue 16-Oct-12 14:45:36

Thanks for all your replies. I do try to stand up for myself but they are incredibly thick skinned and never ever wrong.
In the past I was able to be indifferent as it didn't really bother me but now I feel bad for my son. After their last visit he said " Granny really loves x (SIL's Dc) doesn't she. She doesn't like me anymore" He's only just 4. I was horrified and told him of course she did (even though I don't believe it) but he was so matter of fact- he really didn't care.
I have managed to do the not give a shit thing with SIL and it is liberating. We think she may suffer from some sort of narcissistic thing her behaviour is so extreme and irrational but she is directly affecting our relationship with her parents.
MY DH has no real emotional attachement to them but family events in the past have meant that he feels he cannot cut ties. In the last few years he and his Dad have achieved a certain rapport and I don't really want to ruin that for him. DS also loves what little time his grandfather has for him and as my Dad is dead I don't want to take that away from him.
I am going to work on the not being nice without being hostile.

The only little bit of comfort I have is that MIL thinks SIL is going to look after her in her old age. She is quite frankly deluded. Then she will be relying on my good will which is quite frankly diminishing by the second. Maybe I'll become an evil DIL. Mwah hah hah.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 14:46:37

I remember when my appalling exFIL spectacularly died feeling obliged for some bizarre reason to send a condolence card. I struggled over the wording before finally settling on 'He'll be sadly missed by all who knew him.... ' Not missed by me, however smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 14:52:42

"now I feel bad for my son"

Your DS sounds like a smart cookie to have clocked the different treatment and I'd be quite opimistic about a child that treated it as a matter-of-fact rather than something to be upset about. He will be the GC that doesn't bother with the grannies the minute he has a choice in the matter and it will be entirely their loss.

Lindt70Percent Tue 16-Oct-12 14:53:17

I agree with Cog's advice too. We used to go to huge amounts of efforts when MIL came to stay. We bought all her favourite foods, her favourite brand of tea, baked cakes, special meals etc. Then we realised that the more effort we made the more she seemed to enjoy picking it all apart - we'd bought the wrong type of marmalade etc. We also noticed that when we went to hers she just went her merry way and didn't try to accommodate us at all.

We decided to stop trying to please her. At the time we thought that if we stopped trying then it would be less upsetting when she picked everything apart. What actually happened was that she became less picky, more appreciative and she also tried to do nice things for us when we visited her.

Every now and then H will say something about buying something she'd particularly like and then we stop ourselves.

We also stopped asking her what she'd like to do and started telling her what was happening instead.

I'm so glad I haven't got a SIL to deal with as well!

brass Tue 16-Oct-12 15:17:45

I went to some effort some years ago (baked a cake and everything for a birthday or mother's day - can't remember which) but MIL and GMIL were SO rude I promised myself that was the last time. They basically ambushed me as soon as they got over the threshold and wanted to know if I knew how lucky I was to have a MIL like her etc.

Have no idea what that was all about but they didn't shut up until I said it was a two way street and that surely I was as good a DIL as she was a MIL.

Meal invites withdrawn she then invited herself over a couple of times cheekily so I took charge (unphased) and instructed her to bring wine and pudding. And I didn't go to any special bother just a quick mid week supper.

pinotnoirprincess Tue 16-Oct-12 15:32:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CailinDana Tue 16-Oct-12 15:37:15

Sorry if this comes across as harsh pinot but I think the "men don't pick up on these things" bullshit is total nonsense. Your word that they are hurting you should be enough, he shouldn't need to them to eviscerate you in order for him to take notice. My ILs have said things to me that DH has seen as totally innocuous but when I explained to him why I found them hurtful he totally accepted it, because I am his wife and I am important to him. If I said "Your dad said something rude" and he just responded "Oh it was nothing," or "I didn't notice it" all I would think is that he just wasn't bothered about how I was treated at all, that if I was suffering then it didn't matter to him.

I consider my DH to be responsible for how I am treated by his family. Him standing back and just letting me be hurt by them does not wash with me. At all. If that then was transferring onto my children, I would have absolutely no qualms about telling them to get lost. Standing back and allowing a person you love to be treated badly is terrible.

sassyandsixty Tue 16-Oct-12 15:51:30

I wish I'd done the tuning out thing with my bossy, opinionated, always-right MIL 20-30 years ago - ended up shouting at her in public, which she just turned round and blamed it on my hormones. Never took any responsibility for her own behaviour. She was never wrong. Now she is a pathetic old nonogenarian in an old people's home, sitting watching TV all day and I am nice to her of course. Carry on tuning out is my advice. I never learnt.

poozlepants Tue 16-Oct-12 16:14:44

We moved closer to my mother who is fantastic with DS and he really loves her. She was a rubbish emotionally distant mother but it turns out she is a fantastic granny who is great with her grandkids and loves looking after them. I have been totally surprised and it is lovely really. MIL is jealous of their bond yet doesn't want to put he time in with him.
Tuning out- that's what DH does. He has 20 odd years more practice than me.
I've also realised recently MIL has never has a long sustained relationship with another adult female. She lived too far from her inlaws to have any dealings with them. She tends to pick up friends be really pally with them for a couple of years and then drop them like a stone. Any one who she has remained in contact with it is them making the effort and not her and she's always really scathing about them. She hasn't any real loyalty to any of them and I suppose neither to me.
I really appreciate evryones replies I feel much better as I've bottled it up a bit as I'm boring my mother and DH will not talk about it at all. Annoyingly his advice is a lot mos tof you lot.

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