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Told by DH to phone his mother at least once a week and make peace with his sister

(69 Posts)
Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:07:42

There is a long background to this. I have had no contact with my family for 20 yrs. Abusive father, mentally ill siblings, terrible destructive upbringing that has left a big big mark on me. Known husband for 15 yrs and his family were welcoming but FIL (now dead) was at times a bully. He would not put the heating on when the house was freezing because he was not cold. He was at times spiteful and mean to me. Nothing was ever said or done by MIL or my DH. I lost count of the number of times we would leave their house and be told "he will not change, you need to be the bigger person". Needless to say it has over the yrs had a damaging effect on our marriage.
Last yr FIL died very very suddenly. I was very upset, for all his unpleasantness to me we talked a lot on the phone and he could be nice - Jekyl and Hyde.
DH's sister last summer flew off the handle after a small remark was made about something her husband had done and she screamed in my face. there were a couple of incidents after that of her really nasty to me. Her husband is a narcisstic sh8t who her family hate and she took it out on me. Of course his mother blamed me for the whole thing and as ever in his famiy it has been brushed under the carpet and I am expected to speak to her pretty much every week (skype) and see her once or twice a year and act as if nothing has happened.

I feel like I am and have been the punchbag for the problems in his supposedly normal family and I am done with it. I resent being told to phone is mother every weekday because she is alone. I phone once a week and I speak to her for a few minutes and then the children speak to her. We skype at the weekend and it is now the case that his sister is always there.
I do not want any more to do with her. i appreciate she has her problems but her behaviour crossed the line. DH attitude is I need to mend bridges because I do not want his mothers opinion of me to go downhill.

I see my responsibility as to be civil to her when I see her and no more. i do not interfere with him speaking to his sister or our children having a pretty much non existent relationship with her (speaking on skype for five mins).

My DH says all he wants is for his mother to be happy, for her not to see discord between her children (my husband cannot stand his BIL and now they do not speak to one another).

Not once in 15 yrs have any of them ever thought what it is like to have no family of yr own and always be an outsider in someone else's family. It is always about them and obviously now his father has died all the focus is on his mother. i do not want to be in this sh8t anymore.

neonrainbow Mon 11-Jan-16 08:10:39

So he doesnt have to talk to his bil but you have to talk to your sil? Has he ever stood up for you?

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:16:32

No not once. He was at his mothers before Xmas and he tried to make conversation with BIL who completely blanked him. of course nothing has ever been said to SIL about the sh8tty, selfish behaviour of her husband who attends every time and has his malign presence spoiling everything. His sister has always been seen as "poor little jane" so anything she does that is rude, thoughtless is instantly excused by his mother. His mother will not have a word said against Jane and my husband will never (and has never) had a word said against his mother, the closest thing to a saint walking on this earth.

Dragonsdaughter Mon 11-Jan-16 08:24:36

His mother his problem.He needs to facilitate contact with the children not you. Her opinion of you is her problem not yours. Line in the sand time.

TotalConfucius Mon 11-Jan-16 08:27:09

I can't really see where your DH's problem is. Your para where you describe your responsibilities seems entirely acceptable to me - even desirable, since going any further than 'civil' could possibly tip into 'nastiness'. So I think he should accept 'civil'.
If you are speaking on the phone to his mother for a few minutes in the week, and doing a 'walk through' with a cheery wave during the Skype conversation (which presumably he co-ordinates) then you are doing well.
I have pretty much the same relationship with my in-laws these days as MIL tends to load all her problems onto me given the chance (I am a coper type of person) and then explode and shout when solutions are presented. So I have taken a step back. However, the difference here is that I 100% have DH's support in this. If I thought it necessary to break off all contact, I know exactly where DH's loyalties lie, so I can relax and never ask for that.
I think your DH needs to accept that - forgive the awful overused phrase - it is what it is.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 11-Jan-16 08:27:56

Not your problem. Well your DH is your problem but not the rest of it.

AnyFucker Mon 11-Jan-16 08:28:30

You don't have to do what your husband tells you to.

Not for any reason.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:29:03

Thank you dragon. His has positioned it that his opinion of me will be influenced by his mothers opinion of me. However that is nothing new. i knew from the very beginning that his parents approval was paramount. So i only have myself to blame as to that extent he is being consistent.
If anything were ever said to his mother, i know what her very (nasty) response would be " we made you welcome, we have had you here every Xmas, we have done a lot for you" and I acknowledge all of that. But it has come at a price.

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 11-Jan-16 08:30:58

I bet your DH has subconsciously decided that if only you'd do your bit then everything would be fine. I doubt that this is true from your description. In fact, I'll bet that you could bust a gut trying to be lovely to them all but that the situation would still be shitty and somehow it would now be all your fault for not trying hard enough. This is a no-win situation for you, you realise.

How do you feel about that?

LaContessaDiPlump Mon 11-Jan-16 08:32:06

His has positioned it that his opinion of me will be influenced by his mothers opinion of me.


Fuck that shit!!!

LizzieMacQueen Mon 11-Jan-16 08:35:06

It seems a shame when you are already estranged from your own family that your heading towards an estrangement with your DH's family too.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:35:46

Thank you. Total you are absolutely right. i need to step back for my own sanity. I cannot stand to be around BIL - i did not stand up at the age of 15 to a father who had his fist inches from my face and said " if you don't shut uo I will shut you up" in order to put up with that sh@t now. I cannot be around someone like that. I will no longer be the scapegoat for the crap is his family.

lacontessa yes my husband is my problem.
I am too emotional, stuff gets to me too easily. If i can state my position in a calm way then that can only help.
But his mother is the queen of two faced - she will be polite to anyone even if she does not like them - it is all about appearances. So when we are there in the summer, she will expect me to go to sil's house for the afternoon with her, DH and children and she will not like it when i do not go and then Dh will not like it because his mother is upset.

My feelings have always been at the bottom of his list of prorities.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:37:26

lizzie you are right, but what do you think should be done about it? I am estranged from my family for very good reasons (parents are now dead).

So I just suck it up?

expatinscotland Mon 11-Jan-16 08:39:36

I'd tell him his mother and sister are his problems. He doesn't get to tell me what to do or how to act, especially as he doesn't speak to his BIL himself and that if he doesn't start changing his attitude, he can do it alone.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 11-Jan-16 08:40:56

my husband will never (and has never) had a word said against his mother, the closest thing to a saint walking on this earth.

What would happen if you said "no, I'm not doing it?"

Blunt question: are you prepared to leave him, if need be?

You're not going to get anywhere with him unless he is deeply shaken. Maybe there's a chance then. Not that likely though.

The picture you're painting here is of a domineering man (your husband - who the hell is he to demand you ring his female family?) who expects you to swallow every insult thrown at you. You're also lowest in status in the extended family, I'm afraid.

His sister sounds cowed and the family pet almost, what with the 'poor little jane'. Except that she can actually be aggressive, can't she? and took it out on the person least able to defend herself. She also married a narcissistic shit .... your FIL could be that, too, couldn't he? There's a pattern here. The women are pretty subject to the men and then they take it out on the lowest member of the food chain.

Your children have a very bad example in their father's family of how men behave and how women behave. I think you need to try to change how things are done now before this becomes their own example for how to treat families.

Btw it might not be a coincidence that you've ended up with a domineering man from a really quite dysfunctional family. The Freedom Programme is supposed to be very good and might very well be worth doing.

DoreenLethal Mon 11-Jan-16 08:44:54

Dh will not like it because his mother is upset

Oh dear. Poor bean. I am sure he will get over it. Or not.

If it is a deal breaker then surely he can leave home and go back to mummy?

PennyHasNoSurname Mon 11-Jan-16 08:46:40

I dont even speak to my own mother daily, with whom I am very close. No way would I to be dictated to me who I must call and how frequently.

As is the case for most of these threads, you have a DH problem rather than a MIL/SIL problem.

Bar leaving him im not quite sure what to suggest tbh.

MadamCroquette Mon 11-Jan-16 08:48:46

Bloody hell. His mum is a saint, his family's needs are paramount – but he doesn't have to be the one to speak to them and get his kids to speak to them!? Why the hell not? You don't have to do this. I'd be saying "She is your mum and they are your kids. So you speak to her every day and do the skype call. Because keeping your mum happy is your job, not mine." Lazy twat, how dare he make it your job?

Just. Say. No. "No, I'm not doing this any more, it's your job." If he makes a fuss, ask him how it can possibly be more your job than his when he's her own son? He can't make you do this and if you split up over it, well at least there'll be a silver lining in that you won't have to deal with his family any more.

liinyo Mon 11-Jan-16 08:49:56

You were estranged from your family of origin (for what sound like very good reasons). Now they are gone you are moving towards becoming estranged from your in-laws. There might be a pattern emerging here. Could it be that your experiences with your FOI have (over) sensitised you to the point that you cannot cope with any behaviour that triggers unwelcome memories and emotions? If so, some counselling might help you work through unresolved anger and resentment and enable you to live more comfortably with the conflict and ambivalence that are inevitable in any family group.

Also, take it easy your MIL. what you see as two-faced might be her doing the best she can to try and keep different factions in contact.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 08:57:36

I will say that his virtual paranoia about his mom's feelings stems from FIL's death. It was very sudden, shook everyone up and now my husband speaks to his mother almost every day. Her feelings are paramount. I understand his desire to help her, protect her, but as with all of these things, it all has a long history.
I can tell a funny story which summed his dad up, we were at their house the summer before he died. The food was always lovely and i was seen as being greedy, eating more than i should. FIL plated up and said " i have given you lots of fish MIL because you deserve it" guess how much fish i got and how much mashed potato? Of course DH swears it was not done on purpose.

Years ago DH and I (before married) went on a really nice holiday. I hate having my photo taken but we got someone to take our photo - MIL said "you do look smug".

That is the sort of sh8t i put up with.

Now I am the first to say that my behaviour has not been impeccable - i found it very hard to act assertively in the face of this stuff so I would be sullen or withdrawn and just not able to deal with it without it upsetting me hugely.

MadamCroquette Mon 11-Jan-16 08:59:06

I think you're leaping to conclusions a bit there liinyo. I'm estranged from my parents. I also find my MIL extremely difficult and don't have a close relationship with her.

Bt there could be other explanations for that than that it's some kind of pattern centred on me. For example, it could be that as someone from a very dysfunctional family, I was drawn to DP who also has a difficult family (though not as bad).

It's also not impossible that both families are really appalling and should be disengaged from. It certainly sounds like it from OP's description.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Mon 11-Jan-16 09:00:09

liinyo you are totally right, of course there is a pattern. However there is also a lot of shitty behaviour on the part of members of his family that I would defy anyone without my family history to deal with well.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 11-Jan-16 09:00:49

His has positioned it that his opinion of me will be influenced by his mothers opinion of me.

Fuck that.

what a spineless wimp he is.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 11-Jan-16 09:02:05

what would happen if you simply said No to him?

MadamCroquette Mon 11-Jan-16 09:02:15

On the flip side, having a difficult family yourself can make you more likely to take shit from a partner's family, not less likely, as you may have been programmed into putting yourself last and feeling like you don't matter.

You may be "oversensitive" to their behaviour in that you find it very upsetting, but also find it hard to say no. But in the situation you've described OP, you are fully justified in saying no.

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