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I feel trapped by my in laws...help?!(212 Posts)
I really don't know where to start, it's a very long and boring story so I'll try and be brief.
My dp (fiancé) is an only child, I mention this as I feel it's relevant to my pil's behaviour.
He's 27 and I'm 21, we have a daughter (their only granddaughter, alspo relevant). I fell pregnant unexpectadly and pil were very unhappy, I won't go into details but it resulted in my mil dragging me into a field whilst I balled my eyes out and she cried and begged me to abort my child whilst fil grilled DP at home. Previous to this dp's relationship was strained with his parents, apparently ever since he left home they had been a total mess, very controlling and manipulative, the first time I met them dps mother cried and screamed at him (for not seeing her in a month) accusing him of changing, not caring and being a failure (so odd) she cried and stormed up and down the stairs whilst dps dad shouted at him for upsetting his mother.
I should've run for the hills.
They have continued to try (I must admit due to my naivety and perhaps me being a bit immature and trying to please mil, they have succeeded) at manipulating dp and I to "do as we are told" and we have spent 3 years walking on egg shells around them.
I'm exhausted by it all and right now just want to run away.
I came across a load of emails from fil (to do) who basically accused me of depriving our child of being spoilt by her grandparents and of a normal life by asking them to stop buying her gifts every week, to keep gifts to trips out, quality time with them and obviously presents from birthday and Xmas and Easter if they wish (they can shower her in as much love and attention as they wish but I don't want to bring up a child spoiled by materialistic things) I always thought they liked me (they've always expressed that dp grates on them but never me) but they accused me of "despising the way they lived because they have money" etc (they think everyone who isn't as rich as them is jealous of them) mil constantly bangs on about it and told dp I need to "man up and put ss first".
Now, I'm furious, because all this was hidden from me, they really layed into Me and my family basically saying they want "access" to dd etc and that my own mother has no problems with "acsess" but she sees dd the same amount, if not less than them.
They constantly put dp down, he shrinks into a scares child around them and it's depressing to watch, all they do is tell him he's a failure, that he's fat, that ime fat and nag and nag about our parenting ect (I think we are pretty amazing parents, we make some mistakes with not sticking to our guns with dd when she throws paddys but not bad parents)
I'm ranting now, there's just so much to this I feel I can't write it all down. Mil has now started coming over uninvited so I can't even hide from them anymore and I'm just devastated ive got this for the rest of their lives.
What an earth do I do?
There is a whole load of stuff going on here to with your DP and how he deals with his very difficult parents, and other much more well versed posters will help you with that, but for the coming over uninvited?
When you open the door say "oh, thats a shame we were just popping out to the shops/park/visit friends/timbucktoo. Next time call ahead so you dont have a wasted trip". And pick up DC and leave. And do it every time she comes over.
Though to be honest given their behavious they would no longer be welcome in my home anyway, and I would be wanting my DP to advise them of this!
You and dp need to work out a strategy* and stick to it together.
You are perfectly within your rights to tell MIL at the doorstep that her coming over uninvited upsets your routine and could she please wait to be invited - and then don't let her in.
They sound awful.
*telling them to FO and then go no contact is my first thought tbh - are there any plusses to continuing a relationship with them?
I just know if I did that to mil, told her I don't like her coming over uninvited that dp would get a load of emotional abuse of the both of them. He's hust petrified of the fall out and has only just started to manage to say "no" to them, even over the most simple things like "no we ant day for dinner", it still makes him uncomfortable because he knows that eventually they will explode.
The only and I mean only plus side to maintaining contact is that dd adores them both. But I do worry as she gets older if she doesn't live up to their expectations and ask "how high" when they ask her to jump they will manipulate her like they do dp.
I must admit this situation is screaming "Go NC" very loudly at me. No use feeling remorseful about what you have or haven't done in the past, everyone is allowed to make mistakes, draw a line and get on with the rest of your lives. I agree with Thingummy though, that you and DP will have to be tight as a unit to withstand their onslaught.
They will manipulate her. Sorry
You and your dp need to present a united front and it sounds like you're doing that, which is half the battle. Why don't you, together, read through some of the older threads on here you can access by searching for 'pil' and similar? You'll see a lot of people in exactly the same situation.
She's eroding your boundaries and making you miserable. You need to find ways of getting those boundaries back up. That can mean being firm with them, lowering contact, or just plain old doing what you need to do, letting her have a tantrum and sticking to your guns.
You can support your dp by thinking through the scenarios. So what if she explodes? What will your action be then ? (Answer, a dignified silence, no physical harm will come to you.)
I'm sure many wiser than me have more advice - sounds like an awful situation for you.
So here's the thing, unless dp chooses and says " I don't want to see them anymore" I really don't see how the no contact thing would work. Seems silly but I lost my dad when I was 10 and I feel so sad that if things don't gev sorted, somehow that dp might not see his parents anymore.
Obviously he could still see them if I don't want to anymore but what about our wedding? What about the fact they'll be on dps back 24/7 bullying him about how unreasonable I am, and then what's worse what if iabu and should just suck it up and be the bigger person??
When your DD is older, say 8 or 9, do you want her to see the way her GPs treat her dad? What happens when she starts to speak back to them? Will they start on her too?
You sound like you have your head screwed on but you need to think of your immediate family. Your DP sounds like he would defiantely benefit from counselling - can he access any through his work if he wont go to the doctor?
But everyone else os right, the only way to improve this situation in the longer term is to go NC. Have you looked at the "Stately Homes" thread? There are a lot of very kmowledgable posters there that might help - even get your husband to read some of the materials that are posted on it.
Good god, they tried to bully you into an abortion, while dp was bullied by his father!
For that reason a line you BOTH should be NC with them. Keep your dd say from them and don't answer the door if these people come over uninvited. Yes your dp will struggle the first few times they confront him, but he has you now, he's not alone and he's not a child.
Therapy would help him greatly.
Please don't project the loss of your dad onto these people here, they are vile, and toxic, they will destroy you, your dp and your child. Trust me. That is ALWAY how this kinda shit goes down.
I currently have no with my mil due to her not listening to me about her blue eyed boy being a nightmare to live with and we split for three months due to him taking steroids. She is stubborn and I think narcissist.
The day my hubby came home she cried cause she will miss him?
She's deliberately out things on fb about dying for her grandsons but hardly bothers with them?
We used to be friends but now seen her in a different light, I've agreed with dh now he's home and we are. Asking a go of things with no steroids included may I add. He can deal with arrangement s regarding the kids when she asks to see them as I got sick and tired of her letting them down before we split causing arguments between us.
How I think now- I'm well rid of the stress tbh. She's tried her best to come inbetween us since he came home but I'm not rising.
Eventually dh will see this himself! He even says now "you know what my mums like, it's her fault idf she doesn't bother and the boys will see that for themselves" but won't say jack to her? I don't my boys hurt but she is causing the trouble not me.
He may snap one day and this may make them change their attitudes to you all? I hope it does in my case.
Don't listen to their crap just stay out of it and if he speaks of his parents act cool about it. Your not creating the problems, they are!!!!
Thanks everyone for your responses.
Just had a bit of a rowl with dp, I read out some of the "toxic in law" chapters to him and he got all upset/angry. Think it hit home.
He's sayinf it's not he's fault and he's been conditioned to behave a certain way with them which is true but I pointed out 2 years ago that they were controlling and manipluative and he has let them interfere in our lives and happiness too long, I feel he should perhaps sle some responsibility for not protecting us as a family from their vile behaviour.
How do I go about not seeing these people? As far as they are aware everything is fine and dandy as me and dp are just towing the line, trying to keep them happy and shut!
We haven't "fallen out" in ages so I can't just say "that's it I'm not having anything to do with you"
Do I owe them an explaination??
I'd say that if you didn't answer the door, that'd probably do it...
If nothing is going on now, then no need to take any action, but you can say you're going out and it's not convenient for her to visit right then, if that is what you'd prefer. By saying you have a lot of stuff on atm, and it might be an idea to give you a buzz to check etc. that might cause a kick off, but you are well within bounds of normality to manage your time.
In fact the longer you leave it for it to sink in to dp the better, so he can start processing and coming to terms with it... but he needs to read that book and see how and if anything resonates. There's an inlaw book too btw.
Be gentle with Dh. It's a big shock to realise this has been happening all his life. Don't fall out over it if you can, you will need to support him so that you can present a united front. You need to let him know that no, his upbringing is absolutely not his fault, but that your future starts right here. You love him, you love your little family. You know it's incredibly tough for him etc...Now that he's aware, he needs to stand by you and you by him as you set those boundaries back up.
It will be difficult for him, but you can do it. Together.
You don't owe them an explanation. I think you start treating them like slightly naughty toddlers, laying down firm boundaries. If they come round unannounced, you're on your way out. If they go off on one, you blankly stare and use the "how rude, did you mean to say that?" Type responses. If they shout, you politely say, "I think you're getting very emotional. I'm leaving now, we can talk about this when you're calmer."
Refuse to engage emotionally.
Good luck. I'd go smother your poor Dh with love if I were you, I bet this has been a tough day emotionally for him.
Is conaider moving and cutting contact your dp will never be free of them u less he just fucks off and cuts them off
This is one of the worst PiL stories I have seen on here.
The sad thing is that these parents will never, ever change how they treat you or your poor, poor husband.
I would give him the toxic parents book to read and see if he could go no contact.
I think that's what he needs to do to ensure his MH isn't affected though I suspect he is deeply scarred by his experiences.
My heart goes out to him.
Your DH needs some support to realise for himself how toxic his parents are and why that burden cannot possibly be passed to your daughter.
The daughter they wanted you to abort as a form of control over their son and now want to equally use as leverage in terms of access and parenting manipulation.
He needs to understand it's not just about him and more and as a parent he needs to break the cycle to protect your daughter. You will support him in this but he ultimately needs to reset the boundaries of the relationship with his parents - to the point of non contact temporarily or even permanently if they cannot respect your family unit- which now "trumps" his parental unit.
They are horrible! You can cut down on contact by doing as rollmeover suggested - always be about to go out when MIL appears. It's a bit of a pain, but fresh air and exercise etc, you know.
Your dp is in a very very difficult position. He may understand that they're manipulative and so on, but it's normal to him. He's grown up with them, they're what he knows. It's going to take him a while to really see what they are like, and it will be very hard for him.
Talk to each other. Talk to each other a lot. In the meantime, try to keep your dd protected and away from them, certainly don't leave her alone with them.
You "stop engaging". This means:
- You don't "toe the line" you do what you want to do, without regard to their advice.
- You send any e-mail to a folder or separate e-mail account. Don't read it until you're strong enough.
- Consider seeing a counselor to help you both deal with it.
- Don't go over to theirs. If they invite you over, you have other plans or you do it on your terms (see next point).
- Over special occasions, like birthdays etc, do it on your terms. Do it somewhere where you can leave, your home is your sanctuary.
- If they have a key to your house, change the locks. Keep the doors locked (even when inside).
- If they come over uninvited, "We're busy at the moment. You should have called." Or don't answer the door. Keep the doors locked.
It's a lot easier to write rather than do though. You have to try and emotionally disengage as well. This will mean remembering THEY are the ones being irrational. THEY are the ones that are the reason that you're having to do this. You are protecting your child as well as your own emotional stability.
All that said, you asked about the wedding. Do you really want them there? I know you want "his parents" there, but I wonder if that's more the ideal rather than the reality of who they are. My in-laws came, must say I don't look back on my wedding day with much fondness, which is incredibly sad :S
Definetly a relationship heading for total NC is the only way forward here.
From what i read from your op, i don't think there is any other way around it, as any sort of contact is pointless if there is nothing to be gained.
I have gone nc with my ils and it wasn't easy for a long time, but a year or so down the line you will reap the benefits, as will your dh.
The stress, the strain, the guilt, the worry is all gone and we & our kids are happy stable individuals without the influences if extreme narsaccists in our lifes
The thing is, we've been in this exact same place so many times before. I think it was this time last year his mother called him up once again balling her eyes out and dp put her on loud speaker so I could hear (she didn't know and wouldn't have done this is she did because she knows if see through it) but she was "devastated" that we had plans and she couldn't take ss for the entire weekend alone (ss had never spent more than 12 hours away from us at this point and wasn't sleeping well at all) she was sobbing and it was plain for anyone to see she was trying to emotionally blackmail dp into doing what she wanted, "you don't love me anymore, so you" type thing. Lasted an hour!
This was after months and months of little digs, nasty comments and attempts to control ever spare minute of our time and dp was so close to cutting them out, then they started the "behaving" routine, the "normal parents" routine. I've read part of that "toxic in laws book" and my pil are critics & engulfers for sure, that and total control freaks. Anyway, it was all forgotten and the pattern repeated itself on some bigger some smalles scales up until now and dp gets really upset when I try and show him these books, don't think he likes the fact they sound like they are written about his parents, I get this is hard but it's been a well known fact to him and to me for at least 2 years now. And he's fallen for their "nice guy" tricks that drag him back into the loop when they've stepped well over the line, he's desperate for "normal parents".
He has said he will go to counselling, but he has said he would because of them twice in the past and never has. He says it will cost him a load of money and he's "sick of picking up their mess"
Ss is meant to be dd*, fat fingers/shitty autocorrect
Also, mil has emailed me informing me that she will be over on Thursday to "tackle our garden" with fil.
First thing that fucks me off about this is, it's my garden and I can pull my own weeds out in my own time thanks and the second thing, dp isn't here, he's at work, why are they coming over and meddling in my life? It's not like my own mum messages dp when I'm at work "on my way over to give your house a clean". Why do I have to put up with them?
I think he needs to cut the phone calls short -' sorry Mum, I've got to go now ' and make an excuse. He shouldn't have to listen to that rubbish for an hour.
Email your MIL and tell her the garden is fine as it is, thank you and you have plans for Thursday.
Email them back and say NO, you don't want them coming over to do the garden, and mean it.
Say you know they men well, but it's your garden and it feel intrusive for them to suggest it. Point out that as it is your garden, if you decide to leave it to go wild, that's your prerogative.
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