Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
parents in law advice(235 Posts)
I have been with my partner for 4 years and we have a 1.5 year old together.
To put a long story short his parents are heavily involved in our relationship and have been since day 1, although now it's causing major problems. When I fell pregnant we stil lived at home, they suggested they buy a house and we would pay them 'rent'. At first I went with the idea but after seeing their behaviour I felt it wasn't something I wasnt comfortable with so we decided to rent and do it ourselves. We rented a small flat and for the first while it was fine, until we had our little boy it became far too cramped. We found the heating didn't work well and was constantly getting damp as it was an old property. We became pretty miserable in there tbh. His parents then resurfaced with an idea that they could buy a house jointly with my partner, I wasn't keen for this because we had agreed when the time came myself and my partner would buy ourselves. After some discussion they assured me that after a year they would come off the mortgage and I would go on it, I felt a bit funny about it but went ahead nonetheless. Now the whole time since we moved out (May 2014) they really started to show their colours. I thought us moving in together would make them back off but it became worse. Even worse once our son was born. His mother would make comments about our house how it wasn't clean enough constantly. She would clean it and I mean clean the shower, toilets etc if we went our and left her with the baby. This caused friction and on numerous occasions we fell out. Things came to a head when we moved into our new property and we had a big falling out, but it was put right quickly and I felt it had done some good. Anyway as time went on she started to slip back into her old ways. It came to a year since the purchase of the house and thats when I found out the hard way I would be nothing to do with the house ever. This angered me so much because they had lied to me, I also felt stupid I had believed them and not looked into anything and had been so naive. Anyway again this ended in a huge argument between me and his parents to the point I threw them out the house. Their involvement in our relationship has become unbearable. They constantly put things into my partners head and as he has always heavily relied on them throughout his life he still seems to do so now even tho he has been moved out near 2 years. They have stopped us getting joint bank accounts, stopped us from speaking to certain people they see as 'nasty' his mother constantly undermines me in my house takes over the cleaning as if she is a cleaner and undermines my parenting. Now I'm not an ungrateful person but this is crossing a line. They constantly make digs at the house, how we live, what we spend our money on. She will open my partners mail and feel the need to deal with it herself. They have told me I will never stop them seeing their son (I never said that!) this has caused a major issue in our relationship, I can't stand to be around his parents. He won't fall out with them (not what I'm asking anyway) and for our sons sake I need to tolerate them being round. I need him to stand up for himself and tell them to back off but he won't do it. It's going to split us up. It has gotten to the point my family are now involved in this too. Any advice? Thanks.
Oh heck. This sounds difficult for you. PIL issues are often pointed out to be a partner issue.
If I was in your shoes I would tell your partner exactly how unhappy I am. Tell him how his DPs are affecting our family life and that if he didn't tell them to back off then I would leave and his DM can knock herself out cleaning.
It must be horrible for you.
He knows exactly how I feel, his defence is 'shes just trying to help'. I don't think he understands the difference between help and interference tho. As it stands I'm having nothing to do with them, he and my son are welcome to but as for me no. It annoys me more that when i was pregnant he stood up for me a lot. She wasn't as interfering, more nasty. Its such a nightmare I would love to get along with them it's just made so difficult!
Give him a chance to grow a backbone, knowing that the stakes are to lose you.
He may disappoint. If you cave too, then you're in for a lifetime of this I'm afraid.
But I would lay it out to him that you need him to be a partner to you, or no have you in his life at all. And be willing to follow through.
Standing up to his parents goes against everything this man believes in. It will be near impossible for him to do, so only a real jolt may work. Give him that jolt, and a chance to show that he is willing to change.
But I grant you that it is a long shot.
Because we have so much to lose and we love each other I want to wait around and see if things will change. But this has been going on for 4 years and only getting worse and worse.
At the weekend I qwasas pretty adamant me and my son were leaving, he begged us not to and promised we could talk to them which is what we did Sunday evening when it went all pear shaped and I threw them out. He says he'll stand by me but I don't see it. According to his dad he's 'petrified of me'. I couldnt help but laugh because it is in fact them he's scared of. As soon as he hears of them coming over he's running about cleaning up, getting in a panic. Hes always asking not to mention things he's spent his money on, even certain people he has been seeing his mother disapproves of he will beg me not to let on he has been seeing them. I find it hard to believe he is petrified of me. He knows I'm close to leaving but feel like he just wants me to glaze over this all and I just can't.
The writing was on the wall really re his parents from the very beginning, there were red flags that were ignored or minimised.
You do not and should not at all tolerate his parents for your son's sake; all that will teach your son is that it is ok for nasty grandparents to walk over his mother and father. If they are too difficult for you to deal with its the same deal for him as well. He needs to be protected from such malign influences.
Her so called help is anything but; her interference in your lives extends to her opening his mail (how is that possible?) and preventing you from opening a joint bank account. How can that in any way be seen as her ""helping"?.
Your man may never be able to stand up for his own self; he has had a lifetime of this and of being controlled by them. His inertia when it comes to his parents is basically hurting you as well as he. He will not change and would have acted in the same ways with his parents regardless of whom he met.
Is this really what you want to teach your son about relationships, think of your own future within this very carefully.
So they promised to come off the mortgage after a year whereby you would then go on it but they´ve broken their promise?? And what reasons did they give for such appalling behaviour? What does your OH have to say about that then?
I doubt very much they ever intended you to replace them on the mortgage, it was all an elaborate plan to gain control over you both so that they can interfere and manipulate you all til their hearts´ content. They sound nasty, sneaky and devious. Extremely toxic and dysfunctional too!
Someone will be along with more knowledge and experience of toxic families but it seems they´re following a script here. As is your OH cos he sounds firmly in the FOG, Fear Obligation Guilt, whereby he minimizes everything they do and fails to appreciate your feelings on this.
What do your family say about this? I´ll bet they´re incredulous that people can behave in such a way. There´s a lot of literature on this type of abuse, Toxic Inlaws/Parents are 2 popular titles.
But stand firm, stick up for yourself and don´t back down. Major boundaries need to be in place but you need your husband´s support. Otherwise he´s gonna lose you if he carries on justifying/minimizing things as they stand. I don´t blame you for being livid with it all.
Because we have so much to lose and we love each other I want to wait around and see if things will change.
The above sounds like the "sunken costs fallacy" (with reference to so much to lose) and that basically causes people to keep on making poor relationship decisions.
The past investment is “sunk” into the endeavour and cannot be recouped. It is gone. Ongoing investment will not resuscitate what is gone when the investment is a bad one.
People get bogged down by focusing on their sunk costs.
There are two ways to understand this process, both involving avoidance. One is an avoidance of disappointment or loss when something doesn’t work out. When a relationship doesn’t succeed, especially after a long period, especially after many shared experiences and especially after developing a hope that the relationship would be a good one, it is a loss. It is a loss of what might have been and an acknowledgement that a part of one’s life has been devoted to this endeavour.
Another angle to evaluate is that focus on “sunk cost” creates a distraction from one’s inner truth. The sentence often goes like, “I’ve already invested to much, so I can’t notice my thoughts and feelings that are telling me to end or change this relationship.”
This is a type of insidious defense against noticing yourself. You enter into a neglectful relationship with yourself which divorces you from your inner thoughts and the quiet feelings that might guide you in your life. In other words, thinking about what already has been may prevent you from deciding what you want your life to be.
Why do you thin that things will change; there is no indication that they will do so. His parents will not have an epiphany and apologise. Daily life has got a lot worse and will continue to be so. People like his parents never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions and your man's inertia when it comes to them will continue to hurt him as well as you and your son.
Its a difficult one re my son. My grandparents on my dad's side were in a similar situation, they ended up cutting contact with my grandpa's parents and my dad wasn't allowed to see his granny which to this day he is still bitter about. He is constantly trying to get everyone to see this isn't good for DS and he should have everyone in his life that care about him, but I definitely see your point because I have thought this myself how they could manipulate his mind once he's older, really they are capable of anything.
My partner just can't seem to stand up to them. I don't understand why he can't. Their argument is if he isn't bothered with their involvement why am I, they have brainwashed him all his life to make this seem normal.
In regards to the house nothing was e we written down, so they just denied ever saying I would be put on. During our argument they said i will never be on it and now have even less chance anyway. My parents are willing to have us all sit down and try to sort this out but they are far from reasonable people I don't see it working.
Yes I know you realise now in hindsight that you were naive re the house. Would you ever have gone ahead with it if they hadn´t lured you in ( cos it blatently was a trap as you probably see now. They were maneouvering you into the position where they wanted you. ) with the promise that they would remove themselves after a year? Like that was ever going to happen! You said you felt ¨funny¨ about that but went ahead anyway. Well that was your intuition telling you it wasn´t right!
And what has the time frame of a year got to do with anything anyway?
Your OH sounds shit scared of them from what you say and they sound totally domineering. You appear to have more backbone than him! I suggest you buy Toxic Parents for him asap and Toxic Inlaws for yourself would be very useful, cos this isn´t gonna change overnight. Your OH needs to be enlightened as to their warped and unreasonable behaviour and how this has effected him his whole life. He doesn´t have the self-awareness at the moment and needs informed.
It´s good your parents are involved and are supportive of you but as you say, your inlaws are not reasonable and don´t see their behaviour as unreasonable. BTW your inlaws have no legal right to see your child so I would go low contact ( NC is preferable tho ) and not be around ( taking your child with you ) if they come over to see their son ( I would preferably bar them from coming and insist he meets them elsewhere but you can hardly insist upon that now! ), I would just avoid them period. I wouldn´t want my child exposed to this. Look how your OH turned out! Do you want their bad influence to screw up your little one like it has him? They have no good intentions. None at all.
op I have banned my mil from the house. I had my bags ready to go with dd and Dh finally supported that decision. It's made life so much easier on one hand but in the other hand it's still festering away.
My mil puts her grandchildren right in the middle of all her shit and makes them feel incredibly uncomfortable and that is somthing that is not happening with my dd, so that's another future fight I'm going to have.
I think your dp has to start protecting you and your DC now and if he can't then I'd leave. It's a horrid situation I put up with it for four years till we had 'the big fall out' and I forced Dh to stick up for me or I was out.
It's not enough that "he knows you're close to leaving." You need to spell it out to him that you ARE leaving, because he is not being a partner to you, UNLESS he stands up to his parents on your behalf, and you both move out to a place of your own where they are not welcome (or whatever terms you are willing to live with; only you know what those are).
And then you need to follow through.
Remember, he's been programmed to comply with them. Only a real shock to the system may get him to reconsider his priorities.
"I don't understand why he can't stand up to them"
Because to him, this is unthinkable. A major transgression. With consequences akin to death: the removal of affection by a parent, which IS death to an infant - because it's been since that age that he's been conditioned to think like this. This stuff goes deep, and he may well never be capable of standing up for himself, or you and DS
Thanks everyone for your response.
Does anyone know how I can go about getting him to understand where I'm coming from? Whenever we try to talk about it it ends in a massive argument. He hates hearing anything bad about them. Or is my only option to leave?
He can't hear what he doesn't want to hear. There is no magic wand for making other people see the light.
All you can do is choose your own path, and stick to it.
His choices are his own.
OP, you have been, and are still being treated appalingly by your ILs and your DP.
One thing that worked for me when I had a blockage in a relationship was writing to my (then) DP. I spelt out to him the impact his
lack of was having on me and our DD legally. How I was vulnerable financially and regarding accommodation. How I had no control over my own future, and how he was belittling and disrespecting me. I found out the legal position I would be in if he died or if we split acrimoniously. I made it very clear the bottom line I was prepared to accept. I made sure he realised I was not bluffing about the actions I would take if he did not rectify the situation. He sorted things, and was full of apology and remorse at taking me for granted and for sticking his head in the sand in the hope things would 'sort themselves' or I would eventually shut up about it.
I don't know if this would work for you as he is under so much influence from his parents. But I would strongly recommend you find out your legal position and lay it on the line that you are prepared to leave him if he will not give you an equal, 50/50 footing in your relationship. ie without his parents having any input.
You could try couple's counselling. Choose carefully. Of course, if he doesn't want to listen, there is nothing you can do to make him understand your point of view. But there is a small chance he might listen to a counsellor, who is a professional third party. He might not, and in that case you have to be prepared to walk away.
I suggest you read Toxic In-laws ASAP.
But please do tell him how their behaviour makes you feel, using only "I" statements, and no "you should.. "
I'll bet he has plenty of empathy, so speaking of your own feelings and your own experience may be something he's willing to listen to.
He won't hear a word against his parents, though, and will be very agitated at any suggestion of crossing them.
Are you paying mortgage towards the house? I'm guessing you're not married so in the event of a split you'd have very little to walk away with while he'd have the house. You're in a potentially very vulnerable financial position to your dp, and that's not good. What would happen to you and ds if he's hit by a bus tomorrow and his parents own your home? Not to mention why is a loving father and partner ok with this? (Because he's been so emotionally dominated and infiltrated by his parents, but put that to him)
One option is continuing the relationship but having a place of your own that his parents can't touch. He can visit, he can stay, he can move in, but you won't live anywhere his parents have a stake in. That house is his and their problem. Tough, tough boundaries are going to be needed.
I do not think you would be able to do this alone and certainly not without he actually talking to a therapist and I cannot see him doing that. As RiceCrispieTreats has correctly surmised he going at all against his parents is unthinkable.
He has had a lifetime of such conditioning at their hands and this is very hard to break. Do not forget he has really been trained here to serve them.
I do not think he will ever be free of their malign control and influence (he would have acted the same regardless of whom he met); for instance he seemingly says nothing when his mother opens his letters for him.
(And his parents never set foot in that place of your own. No entry.)
What was their reasons for not putting your name on the house? You really need your DH's support with this whole situation or its never going to get better. He sounds terrified of them and they will never be nice with you until he starts sticking up for you and himself.
If this was me I'd make sure any keys they had to your house were taken off them and agree to visiting times and boundaries i.e. no cleaning your house!
The only way to really be out of their power is for you and your husband to buy your own house together. I don't own a house myself so im not sure about the regulations etc but is there any way your husband can sell his half of the house or simply just sign it over to them?
Google FOG (Fear Obligation Guilt) this is where your DH is.
I would also get him the book HERE and and read it together.
I don't think you can make him see anything. HE has to do that for himself but he won't.
I really do think a cold hard dose of reality is called for.
You can't keep threatening to leave you need to follow through.
He needs to understand what he will be losing when you go.
Even if it's just for a trial week or month (I'd make it a month)
You need to be with people who love and care for you right now to get your head around the situation.
Can you move in with your parents for a while?
It might just focus his mind!
My partner had the deposit for the house which is their reasoning to protect him I guess. They don't say that but its obvious. I paid all the legal fees, I pay all the utility bills. We aren't married so I don't think I stand a chance. I paid almost £3000 in fees, I've spent money on fixtures in the house also. He could sell the house I'm sure but that is something I know he'll never agree to. I could move back to my parents on a short term basis but really as a last resort.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.