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Seriously thinking about NC with DH's side of the family

(468 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 02:46:50

This is going to be long but think I need to post the background

I've posted previously about SIL's wedding. I have 3 DCs - age 3, 2 and 13 weeks. The oldest have just turned 3 and 2 respectively so still small.

SIL is getting married about 150 miles away on a week day. We have been told no DCs at the wedding. Mil has a difficult family background and her half-brothers children will be going however - albeit they are older than ours. I susir t ultimately that SIL will also permit her friends to bring small babies. I understand that it is SIL's wedding but I find it pretty hurtful that our children (who are actually her closest relatives) are to be excluded.

My parents are extremely supportive of us and will normally drop anything to help us out. Mil has form for being very difficult and has been very unhelpful at difficult times - eg looked after putt DS on the day of my grandmother's funeral (250 miles away) but refused to rearrange plans so I had to get out cleaner to come and look after DS (then 1 year old) as she had to leave at 5pm. The whole thing was horribly stressful and I still find it very upsetting to think about.

My parents normally drop everything to help us but normally go on holiday with friends around the date of SIL's wedding. They therefore told me immediately that they may be able to look after our DCs but that - in this instance - they actually won't cancel their holiday if the group of friends can only manage that date (they are all retired so tend to go quite last minute to get the best deal) and we should therefore get a plan B. I immediately highlighted this to DH and his response was - (massively fucking entitled) oh it's my sister's wedding. Surely they won't go away. I said they very well could and he should highlight this to his family now as we may not have any childcare and ultimately I wouldn't be able to go. Plus, I could very well still be feeding youngest DC. Really the only option would be to take someone to look after the DCs on site and I didn't even know if that would be feasible. But I was highlighting it now so that there were no amateur dramatics near the wedding if I couldn't go

Communication within DH's family is pretty piss poor so nothing was done.

At the weekend, SIL, MIL and FIL came ti visit and stay the night. SIL said something in passing about my parents looking after the DC and I said that actually they maybe away and there wasn't really a plan B. I said that I could perhaps ask my DS's key worker from nursery to travel to the wedding and look after the DCs but we would need to get him accommodation. And, in any event, I was uncomfortable about being away from my youngest DC even if I could get someone look after all DC at our house.

SIL told me that there were no rooms left at the hotel but if I got the key worker, he could perhaps stay at a local B&B. That she was having to lay £150 a head per guest and she wanted me to be able to relax and enjoy myself and also keep costs down - hence why our DCs weren't invited. I said that the best solution maybe to ask the key worker. And, if I did, would SIL like the DCs to be brought to the church (waiting outside during the ceremony) for a few photos as they would be in the area. Totally up to her obviously but thought she might like it. She said yes, but she was banning children from the church. I said I quite understood as FIL's brother's children had made a terrible racket during ours in the church (MIL insisted they were invited) and you could even hear the noise on the wedding video. MIL said she couldn't remember that but I said (nicely) that it was on the video. I also said that if my parents were looking after the DCs, they had also offered to bring them to the church (to wait outside) and take them home (a big thing as a huge drive) after if she wanted photos.

So - it was all perfectly pleasant and I thought the childcare issue was clear. More importantly, there was actually communication like normal people. DH then went to work in the morning and the DCs and I went out with SIL and the PILs for brunch - all perfectly pleasant. Nothing else said. I was slightly nervous about going out as the PILs had been invited to visit DC3 a few days after she was born and had been very late (with no communication). I was upstairs feeding the baby and DH had said something to MIL about it. She had started shouting and bawling at DH saying it was my fault confused and I was manipulating them and being very rude about me. I decided the best thing to do was pretend I hadn't heard and gloss over things. But, again, everything perfectly pleasant at brunch

DH then arrives home and asks me what I had been saying to his sister? I explained the position about childcare and said that I had highlighted this to him already but his approach seemed to have been that my parents would have to just cancel their holiday. That wasn't very constructive so I had highlighted things to SIL so she could make ab informed choice about allowing the DCs to attend in the vicinity and be looked after off site (pretty pissing annoying that DH could have mentioned it earlier so we could have got a room for them and carers at the hotel but now we couldn't) as ultimately if we couldn't get appropriate childcare, I wouldn't be able to go and with a wedding of 60 people, that would be noticeable.

DH then says that obviously I had a chip on my shoulder about FIL's neice making a racket during our wedding confused and that my parents were manipulating things by refusing to cancel their holiday (the irony after my grandmother's funeral and various other times that they have dropped everything and driven 300 miles to help us out after the PILs have let us down!). I susir t he had spoken to MIL on the way home.

I am absolutely fed up with this. I am fed up of rather than everyone talking civilly about things (as I tried to do) and resolve problems in good time, MIL then approaches DH behind my back. If she or SIL had a problem, why not discuss it with me at the time or the next day? I am fed up (and I think this is the crux of it) if DH not simply explaining that all I am trying to do is sort out childcare for the DCs (as basically he seems to have opted out of it and my parents - his indentured servants obviously - are to drop everything AGAIN to help out). Why is DH not able to actually support me (his wife) and make it clear - politely - to his family that if you have your wedding hundreds of miles away and don't invite your very young nieces and nephews, then yes, childcare will be an issue and that is not bring "difficult". It's a matter of fact. And, actually, if your "keeping costs down" banning your brothers children whilst letting others attend is actually pretty fucking hurtful

I actually don't know what to do. I've said tinDH that I think that actually everyone should just be honest and communicate clearly with each other now. So if he thinks my patents are "selfish"
and "manipulative" (the breath taking cheek!) he should say to their faces. Further, I will contact SIL and MIL and ask them if they need me to clarify anything about what we discussed. Further, another option is for me to not attend and look after the DCs which I think maybe the best option all round

I'm actually so so sick of this. I don't want to see the PILs again and I don't particularly want to see SIL again.

Should I contact them? Should I just decline the wedding invitation? I want to make it clear why

I also need to sort out the DH issue too

YokoUhOh Mon 22-Feb-16 03:05:52

Decline the wedding invitation, send DH instead. And tell him to stay there until he's made the decision to support his immediate family.

Life is too short for toxic families. I've recently taken the decision to cut contact down to a minimum with DH's parents, they can't be trusted to behave. Your DH can choose to see his horrendous family, you can choose not to inflict them and their dramas on your lovely DC, who are the most important people in this situation.

Good luck!

Jenijena Mon 22-Feb-16 03:07:47

I think your last line is the most telling.

Blacksheep78 Mon 22-Feb-16 03:08:38

If my DS's were not invited to an event before they were old enough to stay home alone, then I declined the invitation. End of story.

You have tried everything to be considerate of everybody's feelings and to be a responsible parent. If his family have a problem with that, leave him to deal with it.

YokoUhOh Mon 22-Feb-16 03:12:00

Gobbolino were you on the Nov 2012 thread? I think maybe your first DC was born just after my DS. I'm only just getting round to number 2! I complained a bit on that board about PIL!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 03:16:32

yoko. That's interesting. Is your DH supportive of you not seeing them?

I can seriously ultimately see this ending in divorce for us. I feel totally undermined and unsupported and I am fed up of my lovely parents who have done so much for us being verbally abused behind their backs

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 03:16:52

I was yoko!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 03:18:04

Sorry.....I'm rambling now bit I don't know whether the best thing tondo is simply decline the invite and not say anything further or to decline it and politely and firmly say why

JohnThomas69 Mon 22-Feb-16 03:19:01

Lots of people have weddings that are adults only. You make one exception and it upsets multiple others. I wonder how this post would compare alongside a thread from the brides point of view

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 03:20:40

I quite understand that it's child free

My point is - I have no childcare but seem to be expected to lock my DCs in s cupboard and attend or force my "selfish" parents to cancel their holiday

But my bigger issue is that I feel completely unsupported and undermined by my DH

steelbutterfly Mon 22-Feb-16 03:25:41

You poor thing. You feel unsupported because you are. Don't go to the wedding. DH can go alone. It sounds as if you will never please them no matter what you do. They sound awful, really exhausting. Sorry not much advice but you have my sympathy! DH sounds like he needs to shape up.

YokoUhOh Mon 22-Feb-16 03:27:58

I've just told DH after the last catastrophic visit that we see them for lunch at a neutral halfway house very infrequently. He is on board as he knows he's being treated poorly by them, but he finds it hard. He's insisting on helping them move house fine but he's on his own.

In the short term, send him to the wedding alone. Longer term, you need to be completely honest about how much you need him onside, what with three little ones to care for. His family are in no way the priority in this situation, and he needs to see this (and be on board).

YokoUhOh Mon 22-Feb-16 03:30:43

steel makes a good point about 'credit in the bank' (sorry to paraphrase): however much you bend over backwards, it will never be enough for these people, so you might as well save your energy.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:03:28

yoko - you're lucky DH is on board. I feel like I'm fighting on two fronts at the moment. Really cannot cope with another 30 odd years of this.

tribpot Mon 22-Feb-16 07:17:29

I don't understand why you entertained such a long and convoluted discussion about how you might bend over backwards in order to arrive at a solution which suited only your SIL. The attitude towards your parents is shockingly disrespectful. Of course they can't cancel their holiday - it's their bloody holiday. They have lives of their own to lead. Why on earth did you suggest your children could be left outside the church in order to appear as props in her wedding photos? Sod that for a game of soldiers.

Don't contact MIL and SIL and ask if they want further clarification on the discussion you had previously. Don't 'make sure they know' why the invitation has been declined. Just decline it and say nothing. If you provoke a row you will just end up with even more stress to deal with.

Whilst you were entertaining your inlaws this weekend, where was your DH? He obviously wasn't present during the discussion with SIL and MIL, which is how they were able to relay a distorted version of the conversation to him. Why were you entertaining his family? I see no benefit in you having any conversation with them in future which he doesn't witness.

You and your parents have been pushovers for long enough.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:32:00

He was sitting on the other side of the room when I spoke to them.

I suggested the children came to the church for photos as I was trying to be helpful and nice as SIL's big day etc etc.

I'm very aware that (rightly or wrongly) not going to the wedding will be seen as the "nuclear" option and me being "difficult" and I therefore want it to be explicitly clear - WE HAVE NO CHILDCARE. Plus I am fed up of speaking to MIL/SIL to try and resolve (nicely) some other fuck up (eg DH texted mil to say we would meet them at a restaurant. Mil apparently didn't get the text and they turned up at our house. Thought we weren't answering the door. This was apparently MY fault?! Although I had nothing to do with the text convo and helpfully booked the restaurant for DH in plenty of time and gave him the details to pass on). Thinking all is well and they then go behind MY back to speak to DH with sine distorted version of events. He then flies off the handle.

I come from quite a nice, normal family. Both my parents got on very well with their respective PILs. It was very nice growing up in that kind of environment. I feel like I've been thrown into some deeply dysfunctional cess pit and I'm floundering. We have DC and I'm conscious that what I do could affect their relationships with DH's side of the family (who aren't bothered enough about them to invite them to the wedding or check that their parents have suitable childcare though).

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:35:26


You come from a nice and emotionally healthy family, unfortunately (and that is an understatement) your DH was not so lucky and has been raised in an emotionally unhealthy and dysfunctional family unit.

Decline the wedding invitation and say nothing more to either MIL or SIL (who is out of the same rotten mould as her mother). If DH still wants to go to this wedding then he needs to attend on his own.

Whatever you do will not be good enough for these people; they will always find something to moan about.

You also have a DH problem which also stems from how he behaves/kowtows to his parents, particularly his mother. He is still seeking her approval even now. It would not surprise me at all if you were to write that his mother has no friends, such people do not and for good reason.

What's his dad i.e. your FIL like?. Is he a weak man who basically acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life?.

He is very mired in FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) with regards to his family of origin. This is his "normal" for him, he has had a lifetime of conditioning at their hands. He is also a mouthpiece for his mother. Its not an excuse for his actions at all but those are one of many reasons why he is behaving like this. What he fails to realise is that his own inertia when it comes to his parents is simply hurting him as well as his own family unit now. I do wonder whether he will actually put his own family of origin first; he may not ever be able to do that so you will ultimately have to put you and your children first. Keeping yourself and your children well away from his side of the family is a given now.

I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward if you have not done that already as well as post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread. Their counsel may also be of help to you.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:40:43

^You also have a DH problem which also stems from how he behaves/kowtows to his parents, particularly his mother. He is still seeking her approval even now. It would not surprise me at all if you were to write that his mother has no friends, such people do not and for good reason.

What's his dad i.e. your FIL like?. Is he a weak man who basically acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life?.^

Scary, scary insight. Bloody hell attila.

The no friends thing makes things a lot harder as we are required to pitch up for any family celebrations. Eg they insisted (we paid for ourselves and subbed them big style) that we went on a cruise with them for their wedding anniversary couldn't have a party like normal people as no friends to ask.

It's pretty depressing to think that this is what DH is going to be like for ever

tribpot Mon 22-Feb-16 07:42:29

You're going to be blamed whatever you say to them - you can see that from the ludicrous text situation. You're going to get no credit for any 'helpful and nice' thing you offer. So just stop.

They don't want your children at the wedding. So DH goes without you. End of.

It's your DH's problem to manage the relationships between his parents and his children. He doesn't seem to be losing much sleep over them not going to this wedding - I suggest you do likewise.

QuiteLikely5 Mon 22-Feb-16 07:47:22

It's interesting how your dh expects things of your own parents that he doesn't expect from his own.

They sound thoroughly unpleasant.

I would go to the wedding and book family accomodation for one night.

Plaster a fake smile on and leave as soon as you can.

Your dh is an extension of these stupid people.

Keep contact with them to a minimum as rarely will anything positive come from it.

Well done for standing your ground with them.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:48:39

attila - I've just down loaded the book

trib - would you keep seeing the PILs? Go out when they come? What?

My parents get on very well with DH (hence why what he has said is even more hurtful). I and they are worried that if I don't see the PILs etc, then DH is going to insist on similar with them

Perhaps it might seem incredible but apart from this, we do actually have s good marriage. The issue here is that DH is incapable of acting rationally.

I cannot have a situation where my parents do not see the DC hence why my attitude so far has been to try a placate. The only other viable option would be divorce

tribpot Mon 22-Feb-16 07:49:40

I would go to the wedding and book family accomodation for one night.

But where are the children to be during the wedding, QuiteLikely? They're not invited.

MaybeDoctor Mon 22-Feb-16 07:52:35

The idea of taking the children for the photographs is peculiar - if they don't want them at the wedding, why should they grace the photos? Don't put your children through a long drive and lots of hanging around to please someone who didn't want them there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 22-Feb-16 07:53:31

Have seen this type of scenario before from both my own experiences of DHs family of origin (not quite as extreme as your DHs family but not all that communicative, secretive and dysfunctional all the same) and other people who write about a family that have a narcissist mother at its centre. This is the sort of power plays they pull. People like his mother always want to be at the very centre of both drama and attention, everyone else become bit part players.

Thought FIL was as I described; he is a weak bystander here. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles; think about what roles these people are playing out here including your DH.

Am I surprised to read that they have no friends - not a bit of it. My MIL and late FIL are/were friendless too and there's good reason why that is the case. They did not want them and basically use people for their own ends.

All you can do for your own self is to raise your current too low boundaries; this has basically enabled his family to ride roughshod over you and in turn your own parents.

tribpot Mon 22-Feb-16 07:55:18

You're not preventing the dc from seeing his parents. You don't have to be present to facilitate that.

I personally wouldn't be having them round to the house, it sounds as if you are spending a lot of time on 'servicing' this relationship? The cruise story is astounding!

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