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Help me understand in laws

(24 Posts)
Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:05:54

I'm curious if anyone has any insight on this as there seems to be quite a lot of knowledge on abuse and dysfunctional families on here.
I'm trying to figure out my h's family. He won't hear a bad word said against them and denies that anything bad happened, however his dad has had an affair, his mum lives separately from his dad (different country for work) but they're still married, one sibling is morbidly obese and a neglectful parent and verging on having a drink problem, another sibling has severe mental health problems (potentially schizophrenia although undiagnosed as no mental health services where they live, not UK) and last sibling who is baby of family is a big stoner layabout. Compared to siblings, h is doing pretty well but we struggle to have a healthy relationship and his communication is poor, he can be quite passive aggressive.
Any insights into what might be the history there? Surely these problems among 4 siblings can't have just appeared out of nowhere.

pictish Tue 16-Feb-16 22:10:06


MooPointCowsOpinion Tue 16-Feb-16 22:13:42

You're being extremely critical. Is there a reason you would like to uncover some deep secret in his family or is it just for your own personal satisfaction?

Families are usually weird, especially when they're not your own. Stop criticising his.

LineyReborn Tue 16-Feb-16 22:15:06

If he has survived that, he's doing well.

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:22:42

I agree he is doing well!
Didn't mean to sound critical. I guess it affects me because he often puts his family first and I can't understand why he doesn't see that we (me and kids) should now be his priority especially when they do not put him first. This makes me really angry and I suppose it becomes criticism of them.

pictish Tue 16-Feb-16 22:24:49

I know! Show me a family that isn't peppered with oddities and issues! Apart from your own family OP, which must surely be the depiction of familial perfection.

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:29:36

Ok I think I've put my point across badly here. I come from an abusive family myself and I've dedicated years to distancing myself and changing behaviour of mine that has come from my family, hence why I'm trying to understand my in laws too and my h's behaviour on that basis.

pictish Tue 16-Feb-16 22:30:08

So what...are you looking for something to pin it on and put him off with?

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:32:22

Is it unheard of to try and get a picture of what your spouse has grown up with in order to understand them better?

eurochick Tue 16-Feb-16 22:35:01

How on earth is MN going to be able to provide that? I'm just not sure what you are looking for from this thread.

JeremyZackHunt Tue 16-Feb-16 22:36:07

So presumably they're all in massive denial, led by the parents. If they don't look at the 'problems' then they aren't there and they're one big happy family. Everything is fine, la, la, la.

If you want a picture of what it was like growing up for him, then ask him!

Sansfards Tue 16-Feb-16 22:38:28

I understood what you were asking for and I'm surprised no one is being supportive.
I have no answer but I understand why you want to get to the bottom of it. I'm also trying to make sense of my own upbringing in the hope that I can break the cycle and do my best for my own family. Good luck

LineyReborn Tue 16-Feb-16 22:43:07

Like Sansfards says, it is possible and probable for a person from this kind of upbringing to be stuck in a cycle.

It might not even be consciously done.

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:44:14

Thank you sansfards! I was questioning my own motives for a minute there but I guess maybe without experiencing the trying to break the cycle thing, it's hard to understand.
I have asked him, I got nothing.
I suppose what I'm looking for, which I'm unlikely to get, is some kind of definitive answer ie those all sound like adult-child-of-alcoholic problems or that sounds like there was abuse in their childhood etc.

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 22:49:55

I'm also wondering - how can I help him to break out of the cycle (which really does have to happen if we don't want to repeat it with our own kids) and can moving away, starting afresh, having less contact with relatives help?

Sansfards Tue 16-Feb-16 23:01:15

You're welcome! I've done a terrible job of explaining what I meant, I'm very different from my siblings so I feel the cycle has been sort of "broken" naturally which shows that even under the same roof, kids can have very different outcomes for what looks like the same upbringing.
If he won't talk about the past maybe it isn't as big a factor as you think? I've no idea but I hope someone knowledgable about this sort of thing will come along with ideas to help you get him to open up anyway?

whitehandledkitchenknife Tue 16-Feb-16 23:06:01

Mamaka - try the 'Stately Homes" thread.

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 23:06:02

Sansfards - interesting about you feeling the cycle has been broken naturally. My h is also very different to his siblings and so far outcomes have been very different too.
Maybe I am making it into a bigger factor than it is. I'm not sure to be honest as he has the tendency to go into denial over other things too. Denial has a very powerful hold doesn't it!

Mamaka Tue 16-Feb-16 23:13:38

Thank you whitehandled, that looks like the right thread for my question!

MummaB123 Tue 16-Feb-16 23:20:06

Feeling for you OP. Not sure what you've said to sm deserve such abuse! My DH comes from a very complex family, and I guess for someone not being in this situation, they may not understand your desire to know the background. I can't really comment on what may have made your DHs family the way they are, but it sounds as though he is doing really well. FWIW my DH is undergoing counselling (again) for an abusive childhood, and if I didn't know the ins and outs, it would make our marriage quite difficult.

RiceCrispieTreats Wed 17-Feb-16 07:01:45

I think I understand where you're coming from, OP.

You say you've shed denial about your own dysfunctional upbringing and have chosen to distance yourself from your FOO. Beware, however, expecting the same thing from your DP: his path is his own to tread. He may not want to shed his own denial, nor can you engineer it. And trying to will only increase friction in your couple.

I've had a similar problem, and ended up leaving the guy, because it drove me mad that he let his FOO walk all over him, and moreover, all over me. I knew he could see the truth of it if he wanted, as I had done. However, I eventually had to accept that he simply didn't want to.

There's no magic wand for getting other people to see the light.

Mamaka Wed 17-Feb-16 09:50:41

Thank you so much for helpful comments. It's been a good reminder that he is choosing his own way of dealing with life and I can't force him out of denial. I suppose I can choose my own reactions to his interaction with his family though and I'm going to try and distance myself so as not to get tangled up in it all.
Thanks again flowers

MooPointCowsOpinion Wed 17-Feb-16 10:14:03

I think really what you're asking is how can you deal with the situation, not wanting his family to interfere with your parenting and marriage.

I don't necessarily think my DH was brought up in a loving safe environment, and I find his family completely barking sometimes. I used to find it very upsetting dealing with them. However, once I passed the responsibility of dealing with them to DH, things got a lot better. I don't get involved in organising plans, I tell them to just speak to him as he 'knows our plans better' yeah ok.

It had the added bonus of meaning we see them less, because he's too laid back to ever commit to any plans, and all their frustration goes his way and not mine.

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