Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Difficult MIL now asking DH to contact her in secret because she thinks I'm stopping him from talking to her(30 Posts)
Posted before about difficult relationship with PILs over many years, which has resulted in my going NC with them.
This means that they have not seen our DS in almost five years, since he was 21 months old.
And DH sees them very rarely. He would like a better relationship with them but he knows from past experience that it's never going to happen. He's spent all his life being told that he cannot upset his mother or she will have a mental breakdown.
They've had more 'second' chances than they have ever deserved. They are too set in their ways, can't see that they've done anything wrong, and take no responsibility for their actions.
In order not to drip feed, just some of the incidents that led to my cutting contact were:
Years of manipulation, tears and tantrums if they were not getting their own way, DH being treated like a naughty child, events being re-written to suit their own warped version of events.
Too much to really list here, I haven't even covered the half of it, but the worst of it is as follows.
Finally came to a head after we lost two babies in the space of eleven months. Three days after we lost our first child, MIL was asking me if it still hurts to give birth if your baby is dead. When we lost our premature daughter, who was perfect in every way, just very small, MIL asked if she was born with all of her face. She threw her photographs in a box of rubbish, they have tampered with our children's grave. She was vile and cruel at every opportunity and I ended up ill and depressed because of her. She made the worst time of our lives even worse, mainly whenever she could get me alone to say and do the worst of it.
When DS was about nine months old MIL was sitting in a chair and as he crawled passed her she leaned forward and picked him up by his neck to lift him onto her knee, then told DH I was lying about that.
They finally disowned DH at Christmas in 2010 when we went to visit his sister for two hours, because they thought we should have gone to visit them instead. This visit provoked a whole evening of abusive phone calls, during which they complained about the Christmas presents we gave to them, called me names, told DH he was a tiny part of their lives that was over now, and generally just ranted and raved about what terrible, selfish people we are.
That was the last time I saw them. That Christmas was meant to be trying to rebuild our relationship, we'd been to them for Christmas dinner as a peacemaking effort, but FIL didn't speak to me for the entire time we were in their house. Then a couple of days later when we visited his sister, all hell broke lose.
After they disowned DH, they didn't contact him for over ten weeks, then they sent a letter blaming me for everything, there were a number of abusive telephone calls, a blackmail attempt that I had to contact the police about, and a final last ditch attempt to lie to DH about me turning up at their house with a strange man to verbally abuse them. Obviously that was not true.
They also spent several months stalking me, following me when I went out, sitting outside the house in the car just watching us, telephoning up to twenty times in an hour, lots of crying and complaining to the rest of the family if we left our house and didn't visit theirs, even if we were only going to the local shop or something. If that trip to the shop didn't include at least an hour long visit to them they were offended and angry.
We moved house to escape all this, but as recently as this summer they were parking outside the new house watching for us, under the guise of bringing presents to try and 'encourage' us to talk to them.
Anyway, that was it for me. I cut contact and refused to allow them to see DS, because I couldn't trust them to see him without me after the picking him up by his neck.
DH still saw them occasionally, which was his choice. It was more than I would have liked, and less than they would have liked, and he said they were miserable when he did visit, so nobody was really happy with this.
In December 2011 they told DH his brother had a hereditary blood disorder which might kill him, or mean he spent his life on medication.
They wouldn't tell us what that hereditary disorder was called, and although we were worried for BIL, we were also worried that DH and his other siblings might have the disease, that DS might have it, and that the disease was the reason we lost one of our children. Our first son was an unexplained stillbirth, something which also happened to DH's cousin's first child, so the hereditary disorder could have explained both losses.
It was a lie. PIL's made it up, partly to explain why BIL was in hospital (accidental overdose of amphetamines and alcohol) and partly because they wanted to do something spiteful to us at Christmas because we hadn't been to see them.
By the time we found that out, we'd got DS booked in for blood tests because we were scared that after losing our first two children, we might have to face losing him as well.
We were terrified, it ruined Christmas and New Year, which is what PILs wanted, and DS could have been subjected to unnecessary tests for no reason. The relief we felt when we found out it was all a lie didn't make up for the stress of having worried about it for weeks. That one lie was a bigger cruelty than anything else that went on before.
Anyway, the point of this post is that now DH has stopped visiting them. He doesn't want to go, he says they are never happy to see him. All they do is complain about me and cry, and it upsets him, and they argue because he sticks up for me, and it's not worth it.
MIL seems to have realised DH isn't calling much or visiting at all, and as usual she's decided that this is my fault.
She's started to send him messages begging him to call her, usually managing to have a dig at me, and this week has told DH that he can call her in secret and it will be just between the two of them. Nobody needs to know and that way he won't have any trouble caused for him. I'm assuming she means by me.
The worst of it is, he works away and she contacts him when she knows he's at least 200 miles away from home. I don't know how she thinks I could know about him calling her or stop him from that far away. Or why she think's I'd want to.
I've always left his contact with them up to him, and have only asked that he doesn't talk about me or pass on any pictures of DS (because they use them to cause trouble for us when they get them).
They are not fit to be his grandparents, they've put him at risk of harm on more than one occasion by their behaviour and their lies. I don't want them getting hold of photographs they can use to pretend they give a damn about DS. If they could make us think he might have a hereditary disease that could kill him, knowing the hell we went through grieving for his brother and sister, they are capable of anything and not fit to be near him or have his photograph.
But I've never stopped DH from replying to their calls or messages if he wants to, just asked that he keeps me and DS out of it.
I'm not sure why I'm posting really, except that I am unhappy she wants DH to lie to me, or at least keep a secret from me, for her benefit. Things like this are like a poison to a relationship and I don't like it. They've tried to split us up so many times now, that anything like this sets me on edge. They don't think how DS might feel if we split up, what his life might be like, and they don't care.
I also find it a bit creepy. She's behaving like a mistress, not a mother, wanting secret texts and messages behind my back.
I don't expect him to tell me every time he sends her a message, but that fact that she's made a point of asking him not to tell me sets me on edge. That's what bothers me. If I found out he'd sent a message and not told me, I wouldn't mind, but because she's actually asking him to keep them secret from me is weird and that's the bit bothering me.
She even finished the last message by telling him to delete it so I wouldn't find it and cause trouble for them.
He did tell me, and I love him for being so supportive of me in the face of all the problems they have caused for us, but I think she just keeps finding new lines to cross.
I suppose I'm asking if this would bother anybody else, the "it can be between us, our secret" bit.
As I said, if he sent a message because he wanted to, and didn't think to mention it to me, I wouldn't care if I found out.
But I do care that he's been specifically asked to keep their messages secret and the implication that it's because I am somehow preventing him from replying and that I would cause trouble for him if I found out.
It's not true, it's another made up nonsense from her, but I know she's telling everyone all about how he has to call her in secret because of his awful wife, and it's bothering me because it's not true.
It would bother me that after all of that my dh would still have any sort of a relationship with them.
It bothers me too Mermaid but it's not always that easy to walk away, especially after his childhood being told he's responsible for her mental state, and I don't want to forbid him from contacting them.
It takes a long time for the children of abusive, toxic people to give up on the idea that one day the horrible parent will turn into a loving parent and make everything all right. Your H is still hoping that his parents are not quite as vile as they actually are.
By the sound of it you are ultimately going to need police/court back up to keep these people away from you and your DC, but it might be a while before your H is prepared to go that far. GOod luck.
I think the time has come for you DH to go NC because their poison is still continuing to drip into your lives. Either that or he goes OTT with MIL laughing in her face and telling her to stop being stupid and the he doesn't actually want to see her that much because she continues to be so horrid...
0dfod thank you. I had a look at that thread but since they're not my parents I wasn't sure if posting there was the right place.
I wish DH could walk away, but when I think how far he's come from when I first met him, I know he's trying his best to move on from his past.
It's hard for him, but at least he is supporting me in my decision, and he's realising how draining a relationship with them is, realising it's not his fault or mine.
I haven't had to walk away from my parents though, so I don't feel I can ask him or tell him to do the same.
SolidGold thank you, I think you are spot on. He hates that his parents have done so much to us, but he wants to believe they can change and things can be different. He knows it won't happen, but he wants it to anyway.
Random I'm not sure he'll ever laugh at her or tell her that. I've seen them beat him down from a grown man in a very difficult job to a naughty child ashamed of himself for upsetting his mother. He's had years of this, it's how they brought him up and it took me years to convince him he wasn't to blame for it. I still don't think he's entirely convinced.
Oh good lord of course the weird 'we can have secrets' fuckwittery should bother you. But it's designed to bother you, to undermine you, to set a wedge between you and DH.
So DH needs to say 'Hygge does not and has never sought to control my communication with you so there is no need for any secrecy thanks'
I remember your previous posts and they are monstrous.
I've read a lot of toxic MIL threads on here over the years. I think this is possibly the worst. I can't believe your husband would want to speak to people who damaged his child's grave, or people who have treated you so utterly appallingly during your most vulnerable moments. I understand it's hard to break free from dysfunctional relationships but I'm struggling to see anything positive they're bringing to his life.
I'd try to get him some really decent counselling if you can. And do post on stately homes. He people there will be able to help you.
OP you sound as though you've coped very wisely with these vile people so far; no pressure on your DH to go NC, removing yourself from their orbit and so on. I fear your DH must be feeling a lot of anguish and, like PP, the best thing for him would probably be to cut them out of his life. Could you get him to read Toxic Parents to understand more fully their behaviour and how he can extricate himself?
In answer to your main question, the secrecy suggestion is objectionable, but hardly surprising from a woman who's behaved so outrageously in the past.
I don't know what they bring to his life really.
The weird thing is, during the early years I went from feeling able to refuse them to going along with everything to just keep the peace.
It took losing the babies and the behaviour that came after to really wake me up again, but those middle years were weird because they would do something awful that the whole family seemed to just absorb, in an elephant in the room kind of way. We would barely bat an eyelid because from PILs it was noting out of the ordinary.
And then I'd mention it to someone outside the family and they'd be shocked and I'd have a reminder that this wasn't normal after all. I think it's the same for DH, it would take someone from outside to comment to make him realise, because the family won't accept there is a problem.
I was too close to it, keeping the peace, letting things go for DH's sake or to avoid an argument, and so I can see now why it's so hard for him. If it started to seem normal to me, how much harder must it be for him to accept that his parents are awful and not worth seeing?
He's had this since he was born, it took moving away and a lot of years to get him to admit they were not like normal people. And it took a losing the children and the subsequent cruelty to really get him moving away from them.
I think counselling would help, but he's been brought up to not see that any of this is an issue and I don't think he'd go for it.
He did tell me, and I love him for being so supportive of me in the face of all the problems they have caused for us, but I think she just keeps finding new lines to cross
He did tell me
I think you need to concentrate on this.
They try to govern him, to control him utterly and they have failed. They specifically told him not to do something and he did it. He told you. Despite all his conditioning.
He may need support but this is a man who, despite the appalling, manipulative and even evil pressure they put on him, is choosing you. He's a good 'un.
I think myself you need to keep hold of that and keep pointing out, calmly, what they are asking him to do; to lie to you, his wife and mother of his baby. That the track record of their actions is highly destructive. That he is an adult, so are they and that he is not responsible for her mental health; she is.
You are extremely sensitive to them (very understandably, given what damaging enemies they have been) but right now it will be more helpful to focus on your husband and you two as a unit. If you see them as actively enemies, accept that and focus less on them and on him, perhaps that would be a more rewarding way forward.
Have you read Toxic Parents and Toxic Inlaws by Susan Forward? very helpful.
They are just trying to get your attention because you've gone NC with them and they no longer have a direct route. They're desperate and they're hoping soliciting sympathy from others, will guilt you into acquiescence.
It's unlikely that anybody who knows them don't know what they're like, so their quest for sympathy might get the intended response to their faces but most probabl, you'll have their sympathies.
You and you're H know the truth and that's all that matters, gnore their desperation and maintain NC.
There isn't much point people judging the DH. It's easy to criticise when it's not you.
OP, I think the best thing you can do is only worry about what you can control.
Posted too soon.
Don't tell him what to say. Do point out that they haven't changed, and that it's sad, and that it proves you were right to disengage.
Hygge I'm NC with my PILs and my MIL has pulled very similar stunts to this. DH has now also gone nc. On one occasion I relented and offered her an an avenue of communication, I dearly wish now that I hadn't done that. It was an act of mercy that was throw back in our faces. People still to this day make appeals on their behalf saying PILs are 'heartbroken' and 'devastated', my response is simply that they cannot possibly know the full story because if they did they would not ask us to resume contact.
The tack you're taking with your DH is right - I was nc with mine for two years before DH took his own big leap - he will be less likely to waver and be under their control in the future if he takes the decision himself. Our lives have been transformed since DH went nc, I'm sorry to say that but they brought nothing to our lives but misery and turmoil.
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your babies and I'm sorry that you had to listen to those awful things. I think you have to ask your DH what he thinks of what you've had to listen to, and what he thinks MIL is trying to achieve with her latest approach. Well done you on holding firm, you will be a good example o him when he is ready.
I am trying to focus on the fact that he has spoken to me about the messages, and he is supporting me in my decision.
We've had a chaotic weekend really, very busy as we were part of a big family gathering on the only weekend we could all meet before Christmas, but we managed to have a short talk when he told me PILs have passed on some Christmas things for SIL to give to us.
We've already told PILs we don't want anything from them. They seem to have this idea that presents will make everything better.
However their idea of better really means allow them back into our lives so they can continue just as before. It's the same with the word sorry. To them it's not an apology, or an expression of regret, or a promise to change their ways. It's a magic word they think they can say to force people to stop being difficult, so that PILs can continue to behave badly. And then justify it with "Well we said sorry so why is she still upset? It's not us, it's her, because we said sorry."
Anyway, they are the same with presents, they seem to think that if they send a present they can somehow buy us off. They actually sent that in a letter recently. "We've bought you these presents, so can we now come to your house for an hour?"
It's hard to describe what it's like, and I suppose a lot of people would find me ungrateful for saying that, but anything they give us is not done through love or anything like that. Presents are a kind of blackmail token with them. "We gave you this, now we want that in return" kind of thing.
Anyway, when DH told me his sister has some presents to pass on I said we would have to send them back, because I don't feel comfortable refusing to see them but accepting a gift. Even if I don't benefit from the gift, or keep it myself, if they think I've kept it then that's not right. It makes me look and feel bad to keep a gift from someone I don't want to even speak to any more. I feel it's wrong.
And I reminded DH that we had told them not to send any more gifts. The last lot went to charity.
And he said "they're not going to stop sending gifts because they want to make everything right."
And I said "they're not going to make anything right by ignoring what we've said and doing what they want anyway. That just shows they haven't listened to a word we've said or changed their ways at all. If they wanted to make things right they wouldn't keep forcing their way on us."
And then we were interrupted, and now he's gone to work for the week, so we haven't been able to talk about it any more.
But I know the "make everything right" comment has come from MIL. Those are her words, along with "we've really tried with Hygge" and "they just cut us off overnight" (when it took about three years really).
So he's still at least in part buying into her reasoning, which I know is part of his upbringing and the way they brainwashed him into thinking she's this wonderful parent and grandparent and it's everyone else who makes her unhappy.
But I am trying to remember that no matter what, he does recognise how awful they can be and he is choosing to stay away of his own accord. She might think it's me stopping him, but I know and he knows that it's not. Especially as he's away at work and half the time I don't even know if she's contacted him or not. And he is telling me things despite her attempt to stop him. So that's good, and I'm trying to not let the rest of it get to me.
Thank you all again for your kind words and good advice. I will update because there's sure to be more to this. Christmas is always an eventful time where they are concerned.
Your poor DH (and very much poor you). He needs to realise that he cannot help his mother's mental health - that ship sailed long ago, probably long before he was born. She is, to use an approved medical term, totally batshit and nothing he can do is going to make her any better. Your DH can only choose how far he engages with the craziness. Were she confined in a psychiatric hospital I expect he would still want to visit her, and he would be admired for it; but in that case there would be open acknowledgement that she is ill and he'd know just how seriously to take what she says. As she is out in society and seemingly functioning like normal folk, and because it passed for normal in his formative years, it's much harder to draw that line. But the main point, so much easier to say than to take to heart, is that he is not responsible for whether she has a breakdown (assuming anyone could tell the difference). She almost certainly would not, but there may be a toddler-style tantrum. I'd suspect it's FIL's peace at issue, rather than MIL's well-being.
Omg, I thought my I. Laws were bad, but they are a whole new ball game !
God OP they sound beyond vile. I just want to reach out and hug you- how they could put you and dh through all that when you were grieving sick
I can relate to the withholding medical info even though it means unnecessary tests- my father did that to me a few years ago and it turned my stomach but I was a adult- for them to do that to a child?! Evil.
You are absolutely doing the right thing being nc that is keeping you and dc safe- I think you need legal advice about formalising things but you need to keep them away from you.
I really think you dh should be nc- if he needs counselling to achieve this then that's the way forward. The fact he's told you shows that mil control over him is waning her 'secret' is out- you need to tell him now that you and the dc need his support now and he needs to stop speaking to her altogether.
He really does OP- they're beyond toxic I think they are twisted.
I remember your thread re them messing with your DD's grave.
I am still furious on your behalf. Sick fuckers.
This is just another game she's playing and she'll continue to try and fuck with your heads until she is dead.
Your poor DH. Has he considered some serious counselling? This is so far from normal.
for your butt
There's a book called Toxic Parents, I think, which people recommend often. Have you come across it? It may help.
They are dreadful people, and I feel so sad for your dh. He seems to have come out of a decent chap though, so he's done really well. A lot of it is down to you, too.
It's not surprising he can't let go completely. There is always that little nagging hope behind everything. He does need counselling, and maybe reading the book, recognising things in it, will help him to change his kind about counselling.
Join the discussion
Please login first.