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Please talk to me about your relationships with PIL after DC...

(19 Posts)
Ychyfi Mon 03-Nov-14 08:36:21

Did they deteriorate and did they ever get back on track again? If so, how long did it take and did a bt of space help or was it more a matter of faking it until you made it? I am struggling at the moment with PIL and also with DH's reaction to the situation. He absolutely refuses to contemplate that PIL might ever be wrong or that their behaviour might be inappropriate. The combination of these two things is having a serious impact on our marriage and I wondered if this was just something that everyone went through. ..? Thanks very much in advance.

Quitelikely Mon 03-Nov-14 09:48:44

Can I ask what it is they are doing that's causing you to be upset Op

Ychyfi Mon 03-Nov-14 12:14:31

It's a range of things, most of which have been going on for a while, but when it was just DH and I, it was easier to accommodate somebody else's unusual ideas. Now we have DD, there's just not the leeway in our lives that there used to be to do this and so it's become more of a problem.

The main problem, I guess, is that I feel they have no respect for our privacy or autonomy in our own space, and they genuinely believe that they have the right to decide what goes on in our house. As examples, they think it's perfectly normal to turn up unannounced and let themselves in to our house and wander around, or to invite large numbers of extended family to come for dinner at our house without asking us whether that's ok, or to propose huge parties at our house. When DD was a newborn, they moved in with us for a couple of months for various reasons (despite my not being happy with this arrangement. I told DH that I couldn't cope with it, especially as he had injured himself and couldn't do any housework or babycare for 6 weeks. He said that he knew I was at breaking point, but he wasn't willing to ask them to move out.). FIL quite openly dislikes babies and disapproves of breastfeeding and made his views very clear indeed, such that I spent most evenings upstairs in our bedroom on our own, feeding DD, or wondering around the countryside so as to avoid going home. Recently, they expressed some pretty shocking racist views in front of DD and when I said to DH that that wasn't ok and they couldn't do that again in front of DD, FIL said that we were being too touchy and, essentially, that he would say what he wanted in our house.

DH is a good man and I love him very much, but he genuinely doesn't see that any of these things are a problem. He would swear that black was white if his family told him to. I feel that it's not reasonable for his parents to continue to take priority over what's best for DD and our family but he disagrees and I feel that we've reached a point where I don't know where to go from here. We have been arguing over this for months now. I am absolutely exhausted from having to fight for every tiny bit of reasonableness.

Is this normal after you have DC? Is it perhaps that I'm hormonal and these things are actually perfectly reasonable behaviour by PIL, or maybe because it's because I'm feeling over-protective of my new family? Does everyone feel like this and do things settle down? And if so, when?

Castlemilk Mon 03-Nov-14 12:24:07

Jesus Christ!

Um, I honestly think what I would do right now is wait for the responses you get to this thread, print it out, sit your DH down and make him read it, and then say - 'Here it is, in words of one syllable. If you do not grow up, realise you are an adult with your own family and that I am the other adult in the family, with equal power and deserving of equal respect, then we will split up. Right now, you are still a child who is allowing your parents to continue to parent you like one, and thus they trample all over our lives, our marriage, and my boundaries. I won't be able to take it much longer - I'd rather start again with an adult man elsewhere, and have a proper family where I'm not treated with utter disrespect. What do you want to do?

WhereIsMYJonathanSmith Mon 03-Nov-14 12:26:59


Reading that makes me feel so mad. It is crazy. No way is that acceptable behaviour.

Wow. I would be hot footing it down to my nearest solicitor and CAB to find out about getting a divorce!

Good luck OP.

Mammanat222 Mon 03-Nov-14 12:28:22

Sorry but none of this is normal or acceptable behaviour?

They moved in with you after baby was born? for a few months shock
They let themselves in with keys when they come round - often unannounced?
They invite other people to your home? And propose parties at your home?
Your FIL doesn't like BF'ing so you feel you have to accommodate him and in doing so you will leave your own house?

Sounds fucking awful and this is before the racist views!!!!

I am assuming this is on-going though and that they have always had issues with boundaries?

I'd personally be taking my key back, setting a few new ground rules (no visiting without at least a text first, no inviting other people round) and I would also tell FIL to leave when I wanted to feed the baby.

I would also be giving husband a strong talking to as well, as he needs to be supporting you.

BarbarianMum Mon 03-Nov-14 12:30:23

I think you know they are not being reasonable. Neither is your dh, by the way.

As you say, having a child hasn't actually changed them, just brought the problem (that your dh prioritises their feelings over yours) into sharp focus.

Now things can go one of two ways. Either you give in and spend a lifetime being walked all over, or you make it clear to your husband that the two of you need to agree some boundaries and stick to them. If he won't do that then I'm sorry OP but your future as a married couple looks pretty bleak sad

This is quite a common scenario though so I'm sure lots of people with experience will be along with advice shortly. Personally, I found having children brought me closer to my in-laws but they were lovely to begin with.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 03-Nov-14 12:31:22

Another man brainwashed into spinelessness by overbearing parents.

Which is sad in itself, but unacceptable for a partner and children since he is putting his fear of standing up to his parents above yours and DD's wellbeing and happiness.

Not ok.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 03-Nov-14 12:32:11

No its not something that everyone goes through at all. However, people who marry into basically families that are emotionally and inherently unhealthy like your PILs are and without boundaries would recognise what you are writing all too well. It is NOT your fault your ILs are the ways they are, their own families did that lot of damage themselves to them.

You must have firm and consistent boundaries and stick to them to the letter; if you do not want them in your home for weeks on end you're going to have to tell them that they must stay somewhere else and not use your residence as a hotel. Its your home and it needs to remain such.
Your boundaries currently are too low and must be raised immediately.

People who marry into such families as you have do tend to notice more problems when children are born. That's pretty much par for the course.

It does not necessarily get better over time either because his parents are this dysfunctional and unhealthy to be around at all. You cannot deal with them and its the self same deal for your child. You must not keep exposing her to such awful influences like these inlaws. You would not put up with any of this from a friend, family are no different.

Your H is also a real problem here because his inertia is really hurting his family unit i.e. you and your child.

Your DH is totally conditioned by his awful parents to put them first with the result that you are your child are stone last on his priority list. Your H is not a bad person but he is mired in fear, obligation and guilt with regards to his parents and they have done him an awful lot of damage with the results you are seeing all too clearly now. He simply is unable and unwilling to stand up to his parents, they've basically infantilised him and he is still seeking their approval even as an adult. That situation re him may not change either. He has to want to admit to himself that his parents are not the nice people he still so wants them to be.

I sincerely hope you and your DH can ultimately present a united front because they will destroy your own family unit otherwise.

I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward so that you further understand the power and control dynamics present here. Your DH certainly needs to read "Toxic Parents" written by the same author.

SweetErmengarde Mon 03-Nov-14 12:34:46

I was going to post about my relatively mild issues of PIL seesawing between trying to take the baby over and not bothering with him at all in favour of another child in the family (issues hopefully now resolving....18 months down the line!), but thenI saw your second post.

Your PIL are batshit loco and your DH clearly has deeply entrenched habits or normalising and enabling their nonsense.

I would be telling him that there comes a time when the family you build (you and DC)must take priority over your family of origin and unless he starts supporting you, you will walk and keep your DC far away from these loons.

Disclaimer: I am a bitch, so you may want to put it more politely than that.

Castlemilk Mon 03-Nov-14 12:40:43

Oh, and second bit of advice - especially if The Chat has no effect - you say

'Two choices. We move a long way away, or we divorce. What do you prefer?'

May seem flippant - it's not. This will, as it is now, utterly destroy your marriage.

WipsGlitter Mon 03-Nov-14 12:46:27

No, it's not normal. Nor, in my book, is giving your PiL keys to you house. Change the locks asap.

Let them moving in go, it happened, don't let it happen again. Ditto the breastfeeding upstairs; just don't do it again.

If they propose a party; say no.

captainmummy Mon 03-Nov-14 12:49:03

I feel that it's not reasonable for his parents to continue to take priority over what's best for DD and our family but he disagrees - and that is your problem. you can see it. His parents should not come first, now that you are a family of your own.

Agree with Castle ^ Two choices. And stick to them. you might 'love him' but this situation will swiftly erode that. It won't be long before you see him as a spineless, gutless, ball-less mummies-boy who can't put you or his own daughter first.

There is no other way, other than being strong and determined. It's a hard road, but it's the only way, and worth it.

evalyn Mon 03-Nov-14 13:05:00

The situation you describe, Ychyfi, is neither usual nor in the slightest way acceptable.

1.Your PIL need your permission to enter your home. Get your keys back or your locks changed. If they come unannounced and/or at an inconvenient time, tell them you're not letting them in; get a security chain if necessary.

2. If PIL upset you in your home, tell them to leave. If in their home, you leave. Don't let them visit again/don't visit again until they have apologised in a suitable manner, acceptable to you.

3. You didn't marry them, you married their child. If he, in his turn, doesn't back you up in what is effectively a war between you, his partner, and them, his parents, an ultimatum is in order; either he backs you against them, or he slings his hook. (You can't go on the way you describe anyway; either things change or your marriage ends, it really is that simple.)

No compromise would seem possible given how really awful your PIL's behaviour has been. Sheesh! And good luck!

chaosagain Mon 03-Nov-14 13:09:37

MIL has keys to our house. She doesn't use them unless she needs to and always calls before coming over. They're healthy normal boundaries. Your PIL sound like a nightmare. You are not being unreasonable in any way.

What sounds even worse is that your H doesn't see it. And won't see it so far. He needs to wake up to this one or you are in trouble as a partnership.

Does your H have siblings? How do they deal with the PILs?

Mammanat222 Mon 03-Nov-14 13:16:33

Yep my Mum and MIL both have keys to our house and have never used them in all the years they've had them (barring my Mum coming round to feed our cat when we've been away, as we've very kindly asked her to do so)

If either of them ever let themselves in once without my permission they'd have the keys taken away.

I don't however think it's unusual for in-laws or parents to have a set of keys your house though? Most aren't insane like the OP's PIL?

Monny Mon 03-Nov-14 13:36:04

Hmm, sounds like your in-laws and DH were cut from the same cloth as mine. If my in-laws said clouds were made of banana it would become a fact.

I have spent more years than I care to mention wondering 'Why my DH doesn't see their bad behaviour as bad?'. Then one day I realised that asking 'why?' wasn't helping me. So I changed it to 'DH doesn't see their behaviour as bad and it's hurting me. Fact.' This changed my attitude to it a bit.

Also, if your in-laws are living in your marriage, even if they are a million miles away, they can still be incredibly toxic and can add the toxic burden of guilt on to DH's shoulders for having gone so far. Believe me, that's not a winner (I didn't even make him move but have still been a marked woman, loo)

NamechangeNeededNow Mon 03-Nov-14 14:01:56

I think my 'relationship' with DH's mother is beyond repair. Not that we were ever close as she lives many miles away over an ocean, but she is the elephant in the room in me and my husband's relationship.

Not sure if it was having children that did it but the issues have largely been around her involvement in our lives since children came on the scene in that, when she is here, she seems more petulant, controlling and awful. This is a pattern she has repeated with her other son and I am watching with interest now that son no 3 has had a baby.

When I was preparing for my labour I had to have several heated conversations with DH about what I wanted RE visiting after the birth etc. DH seemed unable to see anything from my point of view and what MIL wanted seemed to take on more importance. I think, as is often the case in these situations, the problem can be with your own DH as much as it is with your in-laws.

Incidentally FIL (They are divorced) is lovely and has become more involved in our lives but in a less intrusive way. I would happily give up my own bed for him but not for my MIL.

Please let this name change work!

Roastbeefandyorkshires Mon 03-Nov-14 14:28:46

Yes, I was in a very similar situation when ds1 was born. I could not understand how things suddenly changed for the worse and how MIL and SIL suddenly became over-involved and over bearing.

DH could not understand why it upset me so much and to this day can still not comprehend it. Only last week we had a massive falling out over why they can't come around unannounced and uninvited.

I established firm boundaries a year in, which has not gone down well with DH or the Inlaws, but has helped me gain some control over the situation.
I got on well with them prior to this but now the damage to the relationship is irreparable.sad

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