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silent treatment from PILs

(150 Posts)
sphinxster Wed 02-Dec-15 16:38:18

DS is 2 months old and DH has told his parents that we have registered him and given him both of our surnames (I didn't change my name after marriage). Since they found this out they haven't responded to any messages or pictures we've sent them of DS, up until this news they couldn't get enough of their grandchild.

I don't want to be a drip feeder but I also don't want to post a long, irrelevant TMI post!

If it's relevant: They are very old fashioned, and our relationship hasn't been great but always peaceful. We live overseas so most of our contact with them is via a free messaging service. This is their first grandchild. They had a bit of a bitch and a whine when we asked them not to visit for a few weeks when DS was born because I thought having ILs in the house with a new baby would be too stressful (didn't say that to them though). We have invited them for Christmas and they don't want to visit until February.

I don't want to fall out with them, I want them to have a good relationship with DS.

I know they're pissed off because this is how they behave when they're pissed off.

What can I do/say to make this better?... They are being massively unreasonable but I can't be arsed to fight, I just want a peaceful life!

Any advice?

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

Nothing. They are behaving childishly so you treat them accordingly. YOu ignore bad behaviour and reward good behaviour.

You have DS to deal with and that is enough for now. What does DH have to say about PILS giving you the silent treatment? I hope he is supportive?

YOu say you don't want to fight but you don't have to. Just ignore them and pretend you hadn't noticed when they suddenly behave as if nothing happened - you do have a 2 month old DS so I am sure you are too busy to notice how pathetic they are being?

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Wed 02-Dec-15 17:17:27

I think the only thing you can do is ignore and pretend you haven't noticed, and keep channels of communication open. Hopefully they will calm down and come to the conclusion that their relationship with you and their grandson is more important than their feelings over his surname.

I think if you confront them, you risk making it an even bigger deal.

Pancakeflipper Wed 02-Dec-15 17:17:45

Don't worry about it. Tell your partner to sort it out. You cannot make these happy unless you do exactly what they want.

DartmoorDoughnut Wed 02-Dec-15 17:21:14

I'd just ignore them OP, you aren't fighting by ignoring them you just aren't apologising for your choices, - which you shouldn't do btw! - they'll come around once they realise that by acting like children they're missing out on your DS.

Congratulations btw! flowers

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 02-Dec-15 17:26:00

Do nothing.

They've made themselves unhappy by being ridiculous over perfectly normal decisions you and DH have made.

You wait for them to get over whatever mad ideas they've got, to decide you've been punished enough and get back in contact.

Then your DH decides if he wants to demand an apology for their disrespect towards his new family (assuming they don't apologise when they deign to talk to you again).

Above all don't cave. No begging and pleading them for contact: the silent treatment is always pure power play.

tribpot Wed 02-Dec-15 17:40:34

Agree with everyone else. There is nothing to be gained by trying to appease them - it's not their decision what surname you and your DH choose to give your child. If they really want to go into silent mode over this, that's their choice and is the ultimate in cutting their nose off to spite their faces. It's not like your ds is missing out on quality grandparent time aged 2 months, whereas they are missing out on time they will never get back. Bloody idiots.

More than that, backing down now (although I'm not sure how you can short of promising to change ds' name by deed poll to remove your surname) is a tactical error. They need to understand from the get-go that only you and your DH get to make decisions about your ds.

sphinxster Wed 02-Dec-15 17:46:23

Thank you for the good advice, and it's also reassuring to hear that we're not being the unreasonable ones!!

I'd happily ignore them, they don't add anything to my life (except having my DH), but it's upsetting my DH.

He is very supportive, he knows they're being childish but they're still his parents.

Thank goodness the apple fell far away from the tree and carried on rolling!!!

Joysmum Wed 02-Dec-15 18:06:44

Of course it's upsetting your DH, but that's up to him and his plate to to sort out, not you. No matter how much you want to fix things thus isn't your fault so there is nothing you can, or should do.

tribpot Wed 02-Dec-15 20:19:22

Quite. It shouldn't be a case of him supporting you - you haven't done something wrong! He can choose to be upset by the actions of his parents, he can choose to act on his feelings and confront them. Or he can choose to let it wash over him. His problem, not yours.

sphinxster Wed 02-Dec-15 21:13:33

Thanks everyone!

I was thinking of texting them a polite, kind, to the point message...

I'm so sorry you're upset by DS's surname. DH and I wanted him to take both of our surnames, I know this isn't the traditional way but it was important to us. Please don't let it affect your relationship with DS, you're his grandparents whatever his name is.

In my head I've ended it 'so stop being so childish you small minded petty brats'

Any thoughts?

Nanny0gg Wed 02-Dec-15 21:18:14

Have they actually met him yet?

abbsismyhero Wed 02-Dec-15 21:21:07

i would ignore and stop updating them wait for them to contact you then continue as if nothing happened

Marilynsbigsister Wed 02-Dec-15 21:32:05

Do not engage. This is your DH problem to address if he chooses to. Stay out of it, you are busy enough and don't need in-laws tantrumming all over the place because you aren't doing things the way they would like. As others have said, treat them just as you would a naughty child. Ignore bad behaviour, reward good.

wallywobbles Wed 02-Dec-15 21:35:40

Honestly given time they'll get over it. Similar in my family. Now it's water under the bridge as worse things have come to pass and they forget about it and stop attaching importance to it.

Sparkletastic Wed 02-Dec-15 21:37:19

Don't send that message

tribpot Wed 02-Dec-15 21:38:29

Absolutely not. If anyone should text, it should be DH. At the moment you appear to be taking full responsibility for this decision, both from his parents and from DH himself (hence why he is 'being supportive' of you, because apparently this is all on you).

If any message goes it needs to reinforce the fact that this was a joint decision, that DH is completely happy with it and that it was his choice, not something he did to pacify you.

However, in reality no-one should text. It simply rewards their bad behaviour by making you chase after them. It gives them the upper hand as if they are right and you (both) have done something wrong, for which you must make amends. It will set the tone of your entire relationship going forward. Your DH must know this, I refuse to believe this is the first time they've pulled this trick.

Let them stew. They are grown ups. If they want to say 'we are upset by your name choice, as it isn't our tradition' they are fully able to do so.

sphinxster Wed 02-Dec-15 21:44:28

No, they haven't met him because they threw a previous tantrum when we requested they didn't come out straight after the birth!!! hmm

We live overseas and they were talking about booking their flight so we asked them to leave it a little while so we could have some time to adjust. DS was born early and had a few complications and spent a week in ICU, while he was in ICU they sent a passive aggressive message about 'we would come and support you if we hadn't been stopped from visiting'. We extended the olive branch and invited them for his first Christmas but they said no, they'll come in a few months... I'm painting them in a lovely light!!!

I think they're quite immature and feel that being asked not to come straight after the birth is pushing them out (which isn't the case at all, it's difficult having house guests for long periods at the best of times) and saying no to Christmas is sour grapes because my parents are here.

Anyway, I want them to know they're not being pushed out and that they are important in DS's life, in the hope that a bit of reassurance will stop these silly tantrums.

sphinxster Wed 02-Dec-15 21:49:01

You are all right. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

DH is going to message them tomorrow to say that ignoring us because they're upset is unreasonable and reacting so badly to DS taking his mother's name is insulting.

tribpot Wed 02-Dec-15 22:17:57

Anyway, I want them to know they're not being pushed out and that they are important in DS's life, in the hope that a bit of reassurance will stop these silly tantrums.

It really won't, you know. It will simply let them know that their behaviour is working. I'm glad at least that if someone is going to reply it is DH.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Dec-15 22:29:59

Do not send them that message you wrote yourself earlier on.

Your wish for them to have a good relationship with your child will likely go unfulfilled. This is because his parents are not good people at heart and remain totally unreasonable. They cannot respect boundaries and want to ignore these.

Also they were not good parents to him so will be poor grandparent role models to your child. It will do your son no favours whatsoever for him to keep on seeing his grandparents continually disrespect his mum and dad. Your job amongst many here is to keep him away from such malign influences.

You want to be reasonable and likely as well come from a nice normal and emotionally healthy family. This is good but being nice to such people like his parents does not work because they see that as weakness to attack you with. They will never play nice nor by the rules.

Its also not your sole job to supposedly make things better; they have caused this to arise by their very actions (which smack also of power and control).

I sincerely hope that your DH can stand firm in the face of such toxic crap from his parents. His primary loyalty is after all to you and his own family unit now, not them. Personally I would not send any message to them, their bad behaviour must not be at all rewarded.

You cannot apply normal social mores to such people mainly because they themselves have no concept of these. The "normal" rules do not apply here. There is really nothing to gain from trying to appease such people; they will also keep moving the goalposts.

Such people as well never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.

My guess is that at some point one of them will have some previously unknown health scare.

I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" by Susan Forward to further understand the dynamics.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 02-Dec-15 22:56:48

Let's pretend everyone involved is actually a normal person. In that case, it would actually be rude of DH to send a text at all.

They have made it clear they don't want contact with you. They have not raised with you any problems they wish to discuss. At all. Not a single thing.

They know your phone number, your email, your address. If they wanted to talk to you they would. Respect their wishes to not talk. of course they are batshit and actually want you to crawl to them so don't

LuluJakey1 Thu 03-Dec-15 06:56:45

I would not text them or phone them or anything. Just leave them to it. They will contact you. You give them power to continue the situation if you contact them. If you leave it, they have to act like adults or bugger everything up- and then it can only be their own fault.

Congratulations on your baby!

Iggi999 Thu 03-Dec-15 07:04:05

Don't fight, just ignore till they are ready to come round. I know from threads on here that people can get massively offended at not being allowed to visit a baby straight away, so that isn't just your in laws I'm afraid. Especially if your parents came sooner.
The name thing is none of their business, were they equally annoyed that you kept your own name? Probably! It's not like they have to call the baby by his full name every day.
If they live so far away, how do you even really notice they are pissed off with you? Just get on with your life, and if they choose to get in touch to make visit plans I would let them (at least this time) and maybe they will wise up a bit when they meet the lo.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 03-Dec-15 07:07:46

Carry on with normal life and send pictures but don't grovel. This is how they've chosen to react. You're not a pair of naughty children to be admonished!

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