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I am NC with PIL -affecting relationship with DH

(61 Posts)
peaz Wed 02-Dec-15 10:29:56

I am NC with PIL for what I believe to be a completely valid reason. DH supports it, and although they have said to him that I am invited to dinner etc (They don't want NC and have said that they wish to make amends) I don't want this.

There has been a couple of occasions where he has forgotten to do something and it falls to me to pick up the slack- buy a birthday card for MIL and get DS2 to call MIL on his birthday. I had to get the card (which made me sick) and when DS2 gets home from school I have to call MIL as DH will be working late. I have said I will do this, but can he remember these things in future. He flipped. Told me I don't have to speak to her- just press the buttons and let DS2 speak. That it was unfair on him, he was going through a living hell, he is in an awful position.

I don't want to be accused of dripfeeding but this isn't AIBU so I will explain why I am NC but please do not tell me IABU.

My brother had a heart attack a few months ago. It was late at night and my DH and DM drove to his house (2 hours away). DH called his mum and asked her to come up in the morning to look after DSs so that I could go to be my DB. I then texted her and asked her to give me a call when they were en route (45 mins away) so that I could be ready to go. I didn't hear back but it was late, and to be honest there was no need to respond to that. But perhaps a 'OK, I am sorry to hear about DB. I hope he is OK' or something.

Anyway, sadly my DB didn't make it. It was and still is a huge shock. We were very close and he was a wonderful, incredible guy. My DH called his mum to tell her, and I am unsure of the conversation but she knew. All I know is that she asked us to make sure we came back the following day as she had to pick up here other GKs from school. The next morning I get a reply to my text- "ok". Nothing else.

So they turn up, and say hi but nothing else. We leave pretty soon after (DH had travelled back during the early hours so that I wasn't alone). That night I called to see how the DS's were and she waffled (as she does). Again, didn't ask/say anything relating to my DB or DSIL, DN or DM.

The following day we came home, DM with us. As soon as we walked through the door MIL sprung up and ran to us telling us how DS2 soiled his pants and said I would be angry with him. That was it. We went into the house, sat at the table with them- they were playing a game with DS1- and said nothing. DM made a drink, MIL stayed at the table with DS1 and FIL and they said NOTHING.

They made excuses and went soon after. DM and I were upset, DH was livid. We heard nothing for days and then DH decided to call them. Their reasons were- they didn't want to say anything in front of DS1 (We hadn't told him). So - no text, no call, no cursory touch of a hand, nothing when she ran to the door and DSs were out of earshot, no card?
She didn't think they had to get a card- these people send EASTER cards.
They didn't know what to say- So saying nothing is better?
We didn't say anything so they felt uncomfortable- I don't even know what to say to that.
They didn't call to find out how DS1 was when we told him (DS2 is too young), or to find out how his party went (4 days after. DH asked if they would come up and help out with it and they said they didn't want to be in the way...).

Since this happened they spoke to people about how they will never see they DG again (that was never ever said, much less implied) and they were on the phone straight away to their DD who then told her husband who in turn sent a barrage of abusive texts to DH and then to me. They know we are NC with their daughter and her husband.

About a month ago they spoke to him about how they regret what they did, "but its too late now". And he agrees. So its too late to do anything so I should just ignore it happened and move on? These people are supposed to support me at the very least but also support their son who had lost a great friend. They wish things were different. So DH tells me, and I am struggling hugely with this. They also said they want to get me a Christmas present (strange how there was no birthday present...) but don't want to get it thrown back in their face so could he check with me first. So I will be the bitch if I don't want to accept their olive branch?

So now.

I had to get MIL a birthday card. A bit rich, considering the lack of a condolence card. And now I have to get DS2 to call her so she can wish him a happy birthday.

I don't want to but I said I will. I also asked DH to remember to do these things. And he flipped, saying that this is hard on him too, he is in a living hell, he hates this, it is unfair on him. I have done NOTHING wrong. Nothing. Yet I have agreed to do things for him, for them. They turn on the sob story waterworks and he feels for them. He tells me and I tell him that I am not interested. I get the backlash.

This will break us. I know it will. I am completely heartbroken over the loss of my brother, and I don't have the energy to fight for this. I don't see why I should fight for this.

Can anyone help? I just want my DH to leave all talk of his parents at the door. I want him to remember to do things that involves them without my input. He wants an easy life with them even if it means me feeling unhappy.

I am aware of this mammoth message but I am lost, I really am. I just want NC with them and for DH to understand it.

middlings Wed 02-Dec-15 10:39:19

First of all peaz, I am sorry for your loss. What a horrific shock you've had and I'm sure it will take a very long time for you to heal and get used to the new "normal". thanks

From what you've written (and there may be a longer back story with your PIL that you're not disclosing) but just reading what you've written, I think there's a possibility that you're projecting your grief onto this situation. What's happened is dreadful, and your PIL handled it dreadfully which must have been incredibly distressing, but as they've apologised and extended, as you put it, an olive branch, is it worth being NC over. We all make mistakes - none of us are perfect and it sounds as if they've acknowledged theirs.

From what you've written, I feel for your DH. Not only has he lost a close friend, but is now caught in a row, not of his making, where his parents are trying to apologise, and you're not open to that. It must be very tough for him.

Obviously, it's hard to look at this over the internet from one post, but I do wonder whether or not it's time to consider letting them in a little? If nothing else, carrying this level of anger can't be good for you.

bjrce Wed 02-Dec-15 10:49:36

I do think what they did must have been very hurtful to you under the circumstances. I am sorry for your loss.
However I don't believe they did it intentionly or to cause you pain. They just didn't think. Some people are like this, they are so wrapped up in their own little world's because it doesn't effect them, they don't ask. I do think you going NC with them for this reason is way over the top. They don't sound like bad people. You giving your dh abuse because you had to make a phone call is pathetic. You appear to enjoy the drama, even though you will deny it. Think of your dh and dc. The gp seem upset about NC with them because of the GC.
You need to start thinking of other people here and not just yourself. Be the bigger person. If you continue with this option of NC you are just creating a huge amount of pain and drama for a long time to come. Is that what you want?

peaz Wed 02-Dec-15 10:50:17

Hi middlings

Thanks for your reply, it was a huge OP to so have read it alone takes some doing!

My anger only manifests itself when DH brings up the subject of his parents. If they want to sort it out then contacting him in tears, being all upset, and then him speaking to me about it- that isn't going to work with me. They are hurt.

They have a history about making it all about them, they have done it before and that is what is happening again. All I want to do is have NC with them, for them to not mention me to my DH so that DH doesn't feel that he has to beg me to forgive them when I am simply not ready to. That makes me look like the bad guy. The apology coming from DH does not wash with me.

They don't want me to get angry, to throw it back in their face. So apologise from afar, and if Peaz gets angry well, the anger is taken by DH and if they fight well, so be it. And if she accepts our apology then great- she will be the first to make contact. Win-win.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Wed 02-Dec-15 10:50:23

I understand that this is a very hard time for you and I'm so sorry for you loss.

However I think you need to understand that your DH probably doesn't understand why you are NC and I don't think you can force that. I think the best you can do is accept each other's positions (and you do need to accept his too) as a starting point and work from there.

I'm going to be totally honest now and say that from what you have written NC does seem over the top, so I do have sympathy for your DH too.

middlings Wed 02-Dec-15 10:57:49

All I want to do is have NC with them, for them to not mention me to my DH so that DH doesn't feel that he has to beg me to forgive them when I am simply not ready to. That makes me look like the bad guy. The apology coming from DH does not wash with me.

Honestly peaz? What you've written above is quite contradictory. You want to be NC (which means you won't talk to them) but you won't listen to an apology from your DH as that's not appropriate.

I hear what you're saying about them having form for this (and often that is the case - this is the straw that broke the camel's etc) but in fairness, you're putting your DH in between a rock and a hard place. You can't really not accept an apology from them at one remove unless you give them the opportunity to apologise in person, and it sounds like you won't. From what you've written, DH isn't the bad guy here either.

SlaggyIsland Wed 02-Dec-15 11:00:11

I actually understand your position OP. Your grief at losing your brother must be immense. If I lost one of my brothers and my inlaws appeared not to care at all, and then instead of apologising proceeded to make it all about them, I wouldn't want to talk to them either.
I think your DH should realise that you are going through an awful grieving process and not push the issue. Much further down the line, when you are less raw, who knows?
But their non-apology is appalling. A sorry-but is not a sorry.
And I'm very very sorry for the loss of your brother.

KittyWindbag Wed 02-Dec-15 11:01:33

Dear Peaz. I can't imagine how dreadful you must feel and I understand fully why you chose to initially go NC, I would have done the same.

However, if you want to move forward and not let this anger crystallize and become the overriding emotion in your marriage and your life I think you need to gradually begin to let the PIL back in. I know you find their crying and phone calls to DH frustrating given the circumstances, but to me it shows that they are truly sorry for what they did.

I believe it will take a long time and may not begin now as you're still raw. But try to consider the possibility of giving them another chance. I think in time you'll be glad you did.

lighteningirl Wed 02-Dec-15 11:06:18

Another here who thinks you are projecting your grief I am so sorry for your loss and so sorry pil handled it badly but unfortunately you are now doing the same. You need to get some counselling and stop blaming them for handling a difficult situation in the wrong way. It's actually your dh and dc that will suffer if you continue on this path of righteous anger.

minsmum Wed 02-Dec-15 11:07:32

I am in the same position. When my dm was diagnosed with terminal cancer my sil didn't contact me. I nursed her for a year and in all that time she avoided me speaking only to dh. Then when my dm died I had no acknowledgement of it from any of my dh's family. I have supported her through so much it was a real kick in the teeth. It's easier for me in many ways as we don't see her very often now as she has no current problems and at the moment my dh agrees with my decision so I just avoid the phone calls.
With Christmas coming up the pressure to talk to her at the very least will build and I feel sick just thinking about it.
I don't know what to advise I just wanted you to know you are not on your own with this problem.

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Wed 02-Dec-15 11:08:23

Sorry for your loss peaz flowers

At two months everything will still be so raw for you, so I can understand why you really don't want them in your airspace right now. Have you considered bereavement counselling? it may be helpful to be able to vent/work through your feelings with someone who isn't involved, especially as your DH is stuck in the middle.

StrictlyMumDancing Wed 02-Dec-15 11:11:37

peaz I do suspect that your grief is being placed on them, but I understand, I really do. My family is broken because of something similar. Its not really about what they did or didn't do at that time directly relating to contacting you, its about the fact that at a time when you need to focus on yourself they were and are turning it into something about them. And then when its pointed out to them that they've let you down, they've twisted it into an attack on them. Which then meant at a time when you were most vulnerable, you were opened to a barrage of abuse.

You need to grieve. Your DH needs to accept that they have and are continuing to cause a blockage to this. Can you try to explain to him that right now it needs to be about you and your hurt, and not about their them and their perceived slights. That maybe he needs to get them to fully understand that whilst you grieve with distance from them. And maybe then you may find yourself able to have a relationship with them in the future - one with massive boundaries I suspect.

Floralnomad Wed 02-Dec-15 11:24:19

I don't even want to question your reasons for going NC , or the validity of them if that's how you feel that's how you feel . I went NC with my Inlaws about 18 yrs ago after a whole series of incidents which finally culminated in my DH telling them just how I felt ( at my insistence ) and they blew a fuse and decided not to speak to me again - no loss to me . My DH and DC have remained in contact although now the DC are older (22,16) that is very limited ,I carry on as before I buy all the birthday cards / presents , when FIL died I organised our flowers ( I even went to the hospital to speak to the dr about his treatment when he was ill because I'm medically minded and my DH wasn't coping) - doing those things doesn't bother me I work very pt and it makes DHs life easier without me actually having to speak to the old crow - win win . What I'm trying to say is pick your battles ,particularly if you have a DH that supports your decision to go NC .

QuickSticks Wed 02-Dec-15 11:27:03

Firstly, I'm so very sorry for your loss, the pain you are feeling must be incredibly raw flowers

May I ask what your relationship was like with PIL beforehand? Was it mutually warm, approachable, friendly? Perhaps you could slowly, and at your pace, introduce only absolutely necessary contact, ie: christmas and birthdays, and practice a cool and reserved indifference while in their company?

HackAttack Wed 02-Dec-15 11:30:02

I've been on the other end of a similar situation and I really urge you not to put this pressure on your husband. My mother went NC with my grandparents and the onus would put on me to maintain the separation. The abuse and guilt tripping I have endured on both sides has made me seriously depressed at times.

You might not ever be close to them ever again but asking your husband to maintain such a firm gap where family ties exist is not possible and not fair.

It sounds like you've had a horrible time, don't make it ruin another part of your life.

Hatethis22 Wed 02-Dec-15 11:39:09

I'm sorry for your loss.

'A living hell' would suggest your DH is either very melodramatic or is struggling. From what you've said the ILs are difficult people who are probably pressuring him. Talk to him. Listen to him. You haven't done anything wrong but neither has he.

PurpleHairAndPearls Wed 02-Dec-15 11:41:10

I'm very sorry about the loss of your brother. It must have been terrible and I understand why you were upset with PIL.

However I also have a lot of sympathy for your DH. Being very honest, yes, the PIL were thoughtless and passive but it doesn't sound as they deliberately set out to hurt you, they hurt you by the lack of action if that makes sense. I don't think total NC is a proportionate reaction and I wonder if you will feel differently in a few months. Your DH is caught in the middle and as you have young DC this will be very difficult and a huge strain on your marriage over the next years.

The way I would play it is perhaps to explain to your DH you need some time and peace to grieve for your DH and you will revisit your NC decision within a certain timescale - maybe 3/6 months. I would also accept your DH and DC will have contact with PIL. Then when you are feeling more able, meet with them to clear the air, accept their apology and move on. Your life has had a huge upheaval and you are grieving - give it time and I wonder if you can see the benefits of you and your DC having a better relationship with them.

I do understand. I am NC with my MIL but because of serious damage she has inflicted on DH (and me to a much lesser extent) in the past. She doesn't see her GC but this was more to protect them when they were younger. Years on I almost feel sorry for her as she missed out on so much but it was her deliberate actions that caused harm and I couldn't risk my DC. I feel very sorry for my DH that he, in effect, doesn't have a mother and if I could change the situation, I would, in a heartbeat.

The more people that love your DC the better and GP can have a wonderful role in their GCs' lives. If your PIL are thoughtless and a bit selfish rather than evil and abusive, it might be worth weighing up the "greater good". I hope it works out for you all.

robinofsherwood Wed 02-Dec-15 11:44:26

I don't think you're wrong for being nc. Personally, my first reaction would be to forget the card and phone call. If he's not grateful he can deal with it himself.

However, you're both grieving and could end up escalating this until there is no way out. Do your pil deserve that level of influence?

It sounds like the nc is because you now dislike them (with reason) rather than further contact being harmful? If that's the case could you consider having a social relationship? My relationship with my MIL was like that for many years, after she did something i couldn't forgive (she's redeemed herself somewhat recently). I treated her like a work colleague I didn't like but had to get on with. My husband knew how i felt and appreciated it.

Hatethis22 Wed 02-Dec-15 11:56:42

Not asking once about my mother's health was the straw that broke the camel's back with my relationship with my sister in law. She has always been very self centred.I had listened to her stresses and worries, cooked and cleaned for her when she wasn't coping, taken an interest in her latest career change and done everything I could to support her. My mother had cancer and had to go through an op and chemo and she never opened her mouth. Never sent a text. Nothing. I was splitting my time between staying with my mother and dashing back home for a week. I was furious and totally distanced myself from her.

What turned it into official NC for me was when she phoned my DH to have a rant at him about how selfish he was. He was in bits. For his sake I phoned to talk to her and basically got a self pitying rant about how everything was everyone else's fault and everyone was totally self centred and didn't think about her. She's still, years on, never even asked DH about my mother's health.

She has told people I'm NC with her because of a row about money?!? Sometimes one thing is enough.

Hatethis22 Wed 02-Dec-15 11:58:07

The OP has said that the DC and the DH are in contact with the ILs

merrygoround51 Wed 02-Dec-15 12:05:22

Firstly I am sorry for your loss, I know the shock of losing a loved one suddenly and I also know the hurt that is caused when others do not respond in a caring way.

Secondly, this whole NC thing has gotten out of control, particularly on Mumsnet. NC (although sometimes necessary) is drastic and doesn't deal with relevant issues.

Your IL's were insensitive and hurtful, that is a reason to be wary of them and maybe keep some distance but it is not the reason to go NC, which is hell for your DH.

He was right to flip at you about the card, that kind of family pressure is unbearable.
If I were you I would have social contact and keep my distance, refusing to make amends puts is childish.

cailindana Wed 02-Dec-15 12:22:11

Separate things out. Firstly, why should you buy a card for your DH's parents? I don't buy presents or cards for my DH's family, and he doesn't buy for my family. If one of us was really stuck then ok we'd help out but neither of us expects the other one to take responsibility for each others' families.
The fact that he expects you to sort his family out when they've treated you so badly is going well beyond acceptable I think. They were very very thoughtless and from what you said they're very manipulative. I think you're right to just not engage with them. The fact that your DH then loses his shit because you won't deal with things that he should be dealing with must be infuriating.

Just tell your DH you feel how you feel and it's not going to change at least not for the time being and if he wants his parents to talk to the kids or receive cards he must sort it out. You're not his secretary.

MrRobot Wed 02-Dec-15 12:23:57

I'm sorry for your loss.

Like it or not they are your DH's parents and you going NC with them is obviously going to affect him, I don't know what you thought would happen but you're being unrealistic to expect DH to leave the subject at the door. Yes the PIL's cocked up but is it really worth going NC and potentially resulting in a divorce?

cailindana Wed 02-Dec-15 12:26:02

I'm surprised that everyone is saying 'think how this will affect your DH.' Are his feelings the only feelings that are important? Why should the OP be taking care only of her DH's feelings, when he doesn't seem all that bothered about her feelings?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Wed 02-Dec-15 12:31:26

No-one's suggesting the OP only takes care of her DH's feelings. Just that an NC reaction seems, from the information given, to be disproportionate.

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