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Just awful PILs and need advice

(52 Posts)
anotherPILthreadsorry Fri 21-Feb-14 16:33:35

Hi all

first of all I have name changed for this but I promise I am a regular. Secondly I am sorry to whinge about my parents in law but need some outside perspective on these issues.

DH and I have been married for a couple of years and I am 30 weeks pregnant with our first child. We are both educated professionals and modern thinking, lefty liberal types. This is relevant!

My parents are very right-on and similar to me and DH. They also live near to where we live (we live near to where we work- which is where we met) so we see them alot more than PILs. My mum came from a broadly middle class home and my dad from a very working class family that he distanced himself from. Again, this is relevant. I have a sister who does the same job as me and DH and who we are close to.

DHs family are quite different. They live about 50 miles away from us and resent that we don't live closer. They are very working class and suspicious of education and the way we live. They don't understand why DH went to university and comment on this often. From the get go it was clear that they thought me and my family were snobs and will loudly comment on things like newspapers in our homes, having a lot of books around etc. They both worked in unskilled jobs all their lives and pride themselves on being salt of the earth types. I am not a class warrior though and this isn't the major issue, although it is certainly a contributory factor to our ongoing disharmony.

DH has a younger sister and she has recently become engaged to her boyfriend of a year. She is around 10 years younger than me, and 7ish years younger than DH and massively spoilt. PILs lavish all their attention, energy and any money they have on her at the expensive of DH, who they just don't appear to love as much. This is the major issue with my PILs. The fiance of the sister is a dickhead- racist, masoginistic, sexist- just an absolute pig, but my PILs can't get enough of him. FIL in particular thinks the sun shines out of his arse.

This has all come to a head now because when we married- small ceremony, nice day, no white dress- FIL refused to attend DHs stag do. No explanation, just said he wouldn't go to the best man who was organising. It was deeply embarrassing for my DH who really wanted his dad there and asked him several times to reconsider. Now FIL is going on the sister fiances stag do and gloating about how brilliant it is going to be and how he's going to get tanked up and have an amazing time. He is going on about it so much that it can't not be a wind up aimed at DH- he's posting about it all over Facebook and doing a countdown etc. At the weekend when we saw them he was going on about it again, and I said (very politely, but firmly) that he shouldn't be going on about the upcoming stag as it was hurting my DHs feelings as he hadn't gone on his stag, despite being asked more than once.

This ended up with both PILs and DHs sister saying that no wonder he hadn't gone as it wasn't a "proper" stag because we didn't have a "proper" wedding. SILs fiance then went off on a rant about how a "proper" wedding needs a white dress, church and diamond engagement ring- all things I didn't have (and chose not to have!) and that we were wrong to pull FIL up on his having not gone to DHs stag.

I didn't say anymore but I am fuming. This is far from the first horrible inequal treatment of my DH and his sister that I have witnessed but it seems the worst yet. I really don't want to see them anymore but I am aware that I am very pregnant and hormonal.

Can I have some impartial opinions, please?

Thanks all and sorry for the essay.

Hawkmoth Fri 21-Feb-14 16:37:05

I think you should count yourself lucky at the widening gulf between you. Your DH may need supporting over the rejection, but sounds like you're better off at a distance.

morchoxplz Fri 21-Feb-14 16:55:46

Support your DS but keep out of further discussions on the subject. Really sad for him but focus on the new arrival and the joy it will bring you as a couple. It's their loss.

arthriticfingers Fri 21-Feb-14 17:06:24

Can I speak out in defense of my class by saying that we, the working class, have as many total eejits (and perfectly nice people) as the trendy middle class.
I really feel for your H sad - but this is not a question of class.
The problem is that his family, including the new arrival, who, unsurprisingly, has fitted in perfectly, are complete tossers absolutely awful.
Nothing you can do except keep your great distance, be sympathetic to your H and build your new family.

Quitelikely Fri 21-Feb-14 17:15:50

Maybe they feel threatened by your intelligence etc sounds silly but probably true.

There is nothing your dh can do. I see this all the time where parents shut out one child just because they aren't living their life how they think they should be, even if that's a happy life.

Pathetic really. Try not to use your emotional energy on them. I've been there and believe me it will just eat away at you. Also if they say anything nasty or awful just smile nicely and nod.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 21-Feb-14 17:18:30

it all sounds like very small stuff

when you are in it, it feels massive but really it isn't anything

your pil spoil their youngest female child ...normal
you are closer to your parents...normal
your fil decided not to go on your husbands stag...actually most people i know don't have their parents on their stag
they wanted you to have a different wedding than you did...normal
you are different from them and they are pass remarkable...normal

honestly, honestly compared to very many families you have simply no problems at all
you are full of pregnancy hormones and that doesn't make things easier

accept them and their foibles, they will not change, you can onkly change your reaction to them.
Imagine that one day you might be the terribly uncool or lower classed parents in the equation with your beloved child inexplicably moving further and further away...heartbreaking, eh?

LoonvanBoon Fri 21-Feb-14 17:21:01

I agree with hawkmoth & think it's a shame you don't live even further away from your PIL.

I don't see this as a class issue, though. I'm from a working class family, but my parents were proud that I was the first one to go to university, & would never have commented negatively on there being books around in my house!

I've never felt the need to distance myself from the rest of my working class relatives, either - why is it significant that your dad did? Nearly all of my extended family (on my side, not DH's) still do unskilled jobs but they're not at all racist or misogynistic. They're decent people. I think you're putting way too much emphasis on the different class backgrounds.

The fact is that your FIL just sounds like an unpleasant man. Presumably he likes his soon-to-be SIL because they're two of a kind & share the same kind of offensive views. What's your MIL like? Can you focus on your relationship with her & just ignore the FIL, or is she just as bad?

Sorry your DH is obviously disappointed & feels let down by his parents, but it doesn't sound like his FIL is capable of being the dad he wants. I don't know why your DH wanted his dad at his stag do - didn't realize it was particularly common for parents to attend anyway. Perhaps your DH's stag do wasn't all about getting "tanked up"? Perhaps your FIL doesn't feel at ease with your DH's friends? Either way, I doubt your FIL is going to change his basic personality - hopefully you can support your DH in coming to terms with that.

arthriticfingers Fri 21-Feb-14 17:22:41

Quitelikely confused Of course, now, we, the working class, iz very fik

Ragwort Fri 21-Feb-14 17:28:19

I think you are massively over thinking this - so what, your FIL prefers the way his future son-in-law is planning his stag do rather than the one his own son had. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter and your DH is being a bit petulant over the fact that his Dad didn't go to his stag do. Just learn to smile and nod, say 'hope you have a lovely time' and leave it at that. Is your DH invited to this stag do?

HumphreyCobbler Fri 21-Feb-14 17:30:14

I think the FIL is being deliberately hurtful. He should have gone to the stag do his SON had planned with good grace, so what if he prefers the way that this son-in-law is doing things?

hamptoncourt Fri 21-Feb-14 17:34:23

OP just put as much physical and emotional distance as you can between your family and ILS.

See them less often, for shorter times. Don't tell them anything personal. Detach as much as you can. Don't answer the phone if it is them and you don't feel up to it.

Oh, and keep the toxic bastards away from your baby as much as you can. No doubt your parenting skills are about to be called seriously into question, and if you think their criticisms have hurt up until now, you are in for a Big Shock when they start laying that shit on you.

Good luck.

trufflehunterthebadger Fri 21-Feb-14 17:35:00

Your PILs sound vile. I would relish the opportunity to distance yourselves if possible.

mamafridi Fri 21-Feb-14 17:35:24

I feel for you. Families can be a minefield of injustices and latent favouritism. You don't specify if this is an ongoing problem or whether it started when you and H began your relationship, but all I can say from my own experience, is that this will unfortunately continue and possibly worsen when you and then eventually your sil have children and the favouritism will move to the next generation and this is when it really becomes heartbreaking.
My advice would be to keep your distance as much as possible. and when there are family get togethers such as weddings to keep it friendly but distant iyswim. It's a horrible situation to be in but at least you are close to your family and now you will have your own family and that's what's the most important thing in all this.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 21-Feb-14 17:35:57

Its not you, its them.

Its not your fault either his parents are this way. Its not a class issue so much as a family one.

Seems that his sister is favoured (and perhaps always has been) and your DH is the scapegoat. They do not like him because in their eyes he rebelled against them by going to uni for one thing. He threatens their inherent dysfunctional set up.

I would also remove yourselves from FB if you are on it.

Detach and ignore such people who really do bring nothing positive into your lives. They will not change, you can only change how you react to them. If they cannot or will not behave decently and crow on FB, they do not get to see any of you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 21-Feb-14 17:37:29

If they are too difficult for you to deal with, they will certainly act the same when it comes to your as yet unborn child. They could well use that child to get back at you as his/her parents. I would think very carefully about his parents and any future relationship you have with them going forward because they will not change.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 21-Feb-14 17:43:00

I know it is not the most important point, but what kind of twats criticize you for having books?

Cabrinha Fri 21-Feb-14 17:43:31

They sound awful, but just accept they're different (and crap) and stop over analysing the class and education thing. They're just arseholes.

Enjoy the distance!

HumphreyCobbler Fri 21-Feb-14 17:46:01

i thought the class and education thing was brought up because that is what the PILS criticize about the OP and her DH?

CoolCadbury Fri 21-Feb-14 17:56:24

It sounds like your DH will never be "good enough" for his parents. Support him in keeping his contact if he wants to but you yourself need to detach and keep contact to a minimum. Nod and smile but disengage in any meaningful conversation.

I agree with the poster above who said that it will get worse when sil has her children, the favouritism over the next generation could be crushing.

rainbowsmiles Fri 21-Feb-14 17:57:45

Thing is they aren't going to change. They like people like them and feel insecure around people like you.

The fil probably didn't go to stag do out of insecurity issues. They have this strange view that university types will look down on them or they will feel inferior. If he is an alfa type male he would not put himself in that position.

Just be thankful they don't want to see much of you. Don't try and fix or think you can change them.

I went no contact for years but it was a bit nastier than your situation. Just zone them out and don't give them head space.

And who cares what they think about weddings or anything else.

Stop making any effort.

anotherPILthreadsorry Fri 21-Feb-14 17:59:56

Thanks all for your advice so far.

I'm glad a lot of you agree I'm not being mad. Yes, I mentioned the class thing because that seems to be their issue with us. Not the other way around. My dad distanced himself from his own wc family due to abuse so not because their were wc. I want to add that I and my family are in no way posh- just educated and forward thinking.

I do think they are just arseholes. Unfortunately MIL is an absolute doormat so no relationship with her whatsoever.

Sorry to drip feed but should have mentioned in OP that FIL specifically wanted details of DHs stag so he and his brother (DHs uncle) could come along. It was only after all organised that he dropped out which makes it even worse- it wasn't that DH wanted him there especially it was that he made such a fuss about it to begin with. I do think FIL is deliberately going on about sister in laws fiancés stag to be hurtful- I don't think it's a case of it not being deliberate.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 21-Feb-14 18:01:22


that was a really unhelpful commentary regarding the way these people might grandparent
the OP should take each and every situation on its own merits, on the day.

arthriticfingers Fri 21-Feb-14 18:02:35

Humphry because class is irrelevant; the stick any toxic family use to beat their victims is just that - a stick to beat them with - it doesn't matter what it is - what matters is that they beat their victim.
Toxicity knows no class barriers.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 21-Feb-14 18:06:40

er yes, I know that

I was just pointing out that the PILs are the ones with the class issues when the op seemed to be criticized for bringing it up.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 21-Feb-14 18:07:52

Try not to be too influenced by your father having to distance himself from his WC parents, this is a different situation - I know that that might sound obvious

Try to engage further with his mum and you never know you might find some common ground.
Be straightforward with your FIL if he is being an idiot and then move on. Eventually he will alter his behaviour when he sees that he is getting nowhere.

Some people are difficult arseholes but fantastic grandparents. My mother is a perfect example of this. She was ridiculously poor as a mother and was a nightmare MIL but she truly is an exceptional GM. I have no understanding why this is the case and that is given many many hours of psych training etc.

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