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Wedding (or lack of) and toxic PIL

(18 Posts)
PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 14:05:19

I could do with some advice and would like to know if anyone has done anything similar. I suppose there are various issues but here goes -

Dp and I want to get married. We really do not want a big 'do' at all, at first we were just going to go abroad and get married on holiday, just us and dd, but unfortunately lack of funds mean this won't be happening now.
So we thought about having a registry office wedding then a meal afterwards with family and some friends, all done by 5pm. However this became a bit of a headache trying to plan, for various reasons, and eventually Dp suggested just going and getting married, just us, dd and maybe 1 friend each as witnesses.

So my mum and sister would be fine with this. However, dps mother is quite toxic (from reading other mn threads) and when I suggested him looking up the definition of 'toxic parents' after their last big falling out he was taken aback by how well it described her.

For a bit of context I'll give some examples of some things she and fil have done. Like other threads it's often lots of little things that add up, rather than one big thing.
She will sit and talk AT you for hours if you let her, and will pretty much glaze over as soon as I or Dp starts talking. You can't really have a conversation with her if that makes sense.
When my dad died she treated his funeral like a social event. She grabbed me outside the church and was laughing at how they'd used her mothers disabled badge to park nearby hmm when my dads coffin was there waiting to go to the crem. Then used it as an opportunity and socialise with everyone there, she was in her element.
When a year or so later she said how she thinks it's terrible that people use disabled badges to work where they like, I challenged her on this and reminded her of the funeral. Was told she would never do that and she blamed fil (whoever very challenges her and who just accepted the blame).

I'm not going to post loads more, there's a lot but I'd be typing forever!

Anyway, my point are this -
First - When dp first told his family ages ago we were thinking of getting married (no plans at all at the time!) the first thing she said was "oh I suppose you won't want me there" and stormed off in a huff. Dp did tell her we didn't know what we'd be doing but I now have a feeling us buggering off and getting married without telling anyone could cause a bust up.
Second - pil are going to give us some money to do some much needed work in our home. I do not want to accept it. Dp however feels he has no choice - if he doesn't it's like snubbing them, if he does I feel it gives them some control over us. So I'm worried about repercussions when (not if) we accept this money.

Ok, I hope this makes sense and would really appreciate any words of wisdom from anyone who has been through similar.

megandmogatthezoo Thu 01-Oct-15 14:41:11

Have the wedding you want.
Don't accept any money from them.

She can only control your lives if you let her.

RiceCrispieTreats Thu 01-Oct-15 14:50:32

Never accept money from controlling people.

And regarding your wedding plans: she'd find a way to get offended and cause a scene whatever wedding scenario you go for, so go ahead and have the wedding you want and then deal with whatever consequences there are.

But yeah, don't accept money from them. It comes with MASSIVE and permanent emotional strings attached - it's not worth it. They'll see is as a justification to interfere in your life and browbeat you, and you'll never hear the end of it.

Meerka Thu 01-Oct-15 14:56:30

Don't accept the money. The strings will cost more than the pounds. She's not going to be happy unless you do accept it - and her strings - from what you say. But better that she is a little unhappy now than you two get beaten over the head with it later.

PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 15:10:09

I knew you would say that about not accepting the money grin and I completely agree. It's dp that I need to convince. The last time we discussed it we ended up arguing, and we hardly ever argue. In fact I think we only really argue about his parents hmm

He basically thinks if he refuses it it will cause a big fall out. He's not seeing that if we accept it, it will still cause some kind of big fall out long term.

It's funny though because the money is for a new bathroom, and mil is already suggesting (read, demanding) what sort of bathroom we get.

Phil live a long way away and I do think that dp thinks as long as he can get through a couple of visits a year with them it's all fine.

I think we will do the wedding we want. The plan is to tell them (and my mum) we'll be getting married, just us, some time next year. Do would rather do this than spring it on them after we're married. Dp is planning on telling them this when we see them later this month, so maybe we'll hold off accepting any money before then and then if it all kicks off he might see that accepting anything from them is a bad idea?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Oct-15 15:23:36

Have the wedding you and he both want.

You must not accept the money from his mother; it will be used by her to simply further obligate you both. Your man is wrong, you do have a choice. He is also very much I think in a FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) state when it comes to his mother.

He needs to properly address the question re his mother now. What also needs to be considered here is the real possibility that he will not be ever able to stand up for himself and by turn you when it comes to her. He may well become as much of a problem as his mother is purely because he is unable to separate himself from her and see his own self as a person in his own right.

Another bone of contention going forward may be children. His mother was not a good parent to him and such people as well make for being toxic grandparents.

I would read Toxic Inlaws written by Susan Forward to further understand the overall dynamics.

RiceCrispieTreats Thu 01-Oct-15 15:44:51

It's funny though because the money is for a new bathroom, and mil is already suggesting (read, demanding) what sort of bathroom we get.

That's entirely predictable.

It always surprises me how, after years of experience, the adult children of controlling parents still think it's better to placate the bully in the short term, even though they should know by now that it always leads to even more bullying in the long term.

PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 16:16:43

Attila FOG - wow, yes! Not heard of that before, but very accurate I would say. The times he has stood up for me before (like when dd was small, I had very bad anxiety which mil was worsening by just generally flapping around me and endless talking. Dp asked her - nicely - to give it a rest and she stormed out and didn't return for 2 hours. Then when she did she was calling dp unreasonable)
Also she upset me last time we visited. Dp said he was fed up and decided to talk to her about it, but rang fil first to tell him he wanted to discuss it with mil. To pre warn fil I guess...
Anyway fil said ok, but then never rang dp back about it, and dp never ended up talking about it with mil. So fil enables her behaviour I suppose?

Yes re: her being a grandparent to dd. it's almost funny, she will harp on about how much she misses dd but will then sit and ignore her for hours whilst she (mil) is holding court talking at us. I suppose I should feel grateful they live so far away. Thanks for the book recommendation too smile

Rice I'm always amazed dp can't see it. It's so obvious to me, surely he knows deep down there will be problems later on?!

PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 16:18:03

Hoops, I meant to add after the brackets 'the time he has stood up for me before..... It has not ended well'

PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 16:18:38

Aaahh, *oops, not hoops! Stupid iPad!

Wishful80smontage Thu 01-Oct-15 16:23:32

Yy to having the wedding you want- I've got in law problems and posted a very similar thread recently mil kicked off had epic meltdown it went ahead anyway she sulked but it didn't spoil the day. I limit time I spend with her now- you cannot please toxic people so don't try.
Do not accept the money OP.

PonyoLovesHam Thu 01-Oct-15 20:56:40

Thanks wishful I try and limit the time I have to spen with mil too now. It annoys me that I let it annoy me iyswim, I wish I could rise above it.

Might have to update about the money once dp has spoken to them...

Aussiebean Fri 02-Oct-15 13:04:17

My toxic mother gave us money for the wedding.

We didn't spend it in case the demands started and we were ready to give it back if needed
If you dh feels he must take it. Keep it ready to give straight back when the demands start

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Fri 02-Oct-15 16:07:25

The way you deal with it is, have the wedding you want. let MIL kick off. Probably then she won't lend you any money, so the other problem is solved too.

PonyoLovesHam Sun 18-Oct-15 20:19:30

Sorry, I abandoned my own thread :/

Aussie, that is what I think we should do. Did you end up giving your mother the money back?

MyFavourite that's sort of what I'm hoping will happen.

Pil are coming to visit next weekend so I will update afterwards. What is really bothering me is how much energy I spend thinking about pil, especially mil and all the horrible things she has done over the years. Then I get really angry, and I wish I knew how to not even get to that stage in the first place, it annoys me that I'm spending so much thought and energy on it if that makes sense.

Aussiebean Sun 18-Oct-15 22:00:04

No we didn't in the end... But mainly because we have her no input into the wedding. I remember her having a go at my brother for inviting my aunt and uncle on my dads side.

So we did not discuss anything with her. She got an invite and that's it. And when I say didn't ask her advice on anything, I mean nothing. Not even the place mats. (We didn't have place mats, we had a bbq with no seating plan, but you get the idea)

She had a lot of my head space to, because i would have preferred to not invite her. But my sil's Ganges up together and kept her occupied and away from me. So it worked and it was a lovely day.

If she threatens not to come just say 'oh that's a shame, you will be missed, let us know if you change your mind. '

That was my speech that I had in my head.

Aussiebean Sun 18-Oct-15 22:02:41

Oh and my dh decided that if she asked where the money went, we would say the honeymoon. Therefore she couldn't complain about the actual day and what we had spent 'her' money on. But then she could tell all her friends how great she was.

cozietoesie Mon 19-Oct-15 01:27:19

I doubt whether she could resist the opportunity to control you by giving you money regardless of the wedding you had - it will just come with a different story if you go to a registry office without her. ( You'll get the brave martyred bit.)

Have a great day when you do get married - the money can be a separate battle.

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