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parents, DH and ME(26 Posts)
God such a mess. Back story is my difficult relationship with DM. She is a bit of a narcissist and DF is her enabler. I have my boundaries now as as a 40 something grown up with 2 kids. We live 100mls away and when they visit they come to a B and B. However they are getting frail and they are my parents.....I still want contact and so do my kids.
A few years ago my DH had a big row with them on the back of a cumulation of events. He overreacted but he had a point is my view. Things have never been the same. DH really can't stand them but has had to put up with them as they are my parents. When thy visit, usually once every 2 months, he waits to say hello then goes out. He plays sports so goes off to do that. I think my parents expect him to be there but have never said much about it. We pretend all is well but they know he dislikes them I think.
Anyway we all spent xmas together. Bad idea. It was in neutral ground in a cottage but really didn't work. I was fine. DH got very irritated. Now some of the things I can see but he is so angry and bitter about Xmas it's out of proportion. Examples: DM plated up dinners, when DH went for seconds, she grabbed the food off him and served him a small portion, wouldn't let him help with dinner but then announced he could wash up. They didn't really help with the kids despite saying they would. DF used DP's towel to dry his feet at the pool, I assume accidentally but was a bit short with DP when he pointed this out.....all quite minor things I think. For DH who already has a tricky relationship with them and of course no attachment, they are big things. He says he felt marginalised and treated like a child.
Added problem is DH is IMO sensitive bordering on paranoid. He really needs his own thread! He bears grudges about stuff from30 years ago! He sees slights I think when none exist. He is socially arkward and can't negotiate social situations well. Often thinks people are talking about him behind his back. It's bloody hard work with him too.
So parents coming to visit next week. Dreading it. I told DH and he has told me not to expect him to paste on a smile and pretend all is well. He will go out. My parents will 'wonder' why he hasn't stayed to say hello. Dh will be sulky. I will be caught in the middle. I feel responsible for his behaviour. Addressing my parents behaviour is pointless. I have had over 40 years of it. DH doesn't want to play along and I guess I know he shouldn't have to. If he doesn't join in the charade it will be me that suffers. Charade it is too I guess.........there are so many issues re my parents that are unresolved and I just keep a lid on it as I know it won't help to address any of it at this point.
I think DH should be more supportive.
So that's me, caught between them. Difficult parents who treat me like a child and take over our house v sulky paranoid DH. Wtf do I do?????
Hmmm. In your DH's position I think is be going out too.
Others may disagree, but I think he's entitled to spend time with who he likes. It's not as if he hasn't tried with them.
I don't see my MIL at all, haven't done for years (FIL died 20 years ago) it helps that we live in different countries, but I have no desire to see her so I'm with your husband, I'd go out as well
You recognise that your parents have issues, but you still want to have a relationship with them, that's fine, but it's unfair to expect your husband to join in
Sorry but it's sounds like your dh has a dw problem. Which I what I would post if you have posted from your dhs position.
The 'there no point addressing them' would get my goat.
I have issues with my mil and my dh totally gets it. He heads her off. He has spoken to her, she has reduced the behaviour so he puts a stop to it the minute she starts. He accepts it's either that, or I wont go with him to visit. We usually go together as they live 3 hours drive away, so we don't see them often.
You aren't responsible for his actions and how he wants to handle them coming over. Why would you feel responsible for his actions towards your parents, but not for your parents towards him?
You can't dictate to him about how he wants to deal with it, since you aren't willing to tackle your parents.
You are right......I am a coward and don't stand up to themHave found it is pointless though.
Your comments are helpful everyone.
Visiting every two months is too much in this situation. I think you need to reassess your boundaries. Do you even want to see them that much?
Perhaps your husband has difficulty understanding why they need to stay so frequently, especially when you say that you have a difficult relationship with them, so not just him. And It sounds like there's good reason for your husband not to get on with them. I'd hate people I didn't get on with staying in my house. And I'd feel hurt if my partner continued to invite those people.
Sorry, but I'm with your DH, too. Why wouldn't you back him? Your parents seem to have no boundaries where he and his stuff are concerned and you, on the face of it, don't seem to understand his point of view at all. Your mother took stuff from his plate at Christmas? Your father used his towel? It all sounds disrespectful. He's not stopping you having a relationship with them, it's just that he doesn't want to be a part of it. I know it's hard, but I really think you need to consider what he's had to endure over the years.
Personally I think you should be more supportive of your DH's point of view. They are obviously very disrespectful of him and you think it's pointless to address this?
It may be pointless in the sense that they are unlikely to change their ways, but there is certainly a point in you validating your DH's point of view.
I don't blame him for going out. It's his home and I wouldn't stay in if people I didn't like, and who didn't have a good relationship with me, were coming over.
You keep bringing people in to his home that treat him badly.
If you want to see these people, then do it elsewhere.
My parents will 'wonder' why he hasn't stayed to say hello. DH will be sulky. I will be caught in the middle. I feel responsible for his behaviour. Addressing my parents behaviour is pointless.
Well it sounds like a nightmare and I would be even less accommodating than your DH. No one tells anyone the truth, you just keep spending lots of uncomfortable, unhappy time together.
I would rearrange so at least half if not all the visits take place at your parents' house (given you yourself don't enjoy them, why not cut the number of visits down?). If they ask why your DH is not there, tell them. Accept that family holidays with them is too much since they aren't nice to you or your husband. Don't let your children see you and DH letting your parents get away with treating you with disdain.
I do agree that if your dh really can't stand people he shouldn't have to spend time with them.
However, he sounds difficult in the extreme. Is he paranoid with everyone or just your parents? Because if it's all the time, your problems go deeper than Christmas dinner...
I too think you should go to them, why should your DH have to go out for them to visit?
The food thing at Christmas would have boiled my piss in your DH's shoes, I really don't think that is a minor thing-you really should support him more.
Visiting every two months is too much in this situation.
^This. Things will get easier if you have to do this less.
Well, if you know your parents are hard work, tell your dp you totally understand why he wants to go out and that you would do the same but feel obliged to see them. Then he feels he's been listened to and you have been able to explain how you feel.
I don't think he's being paranoid if they take over your house, dish out food to him and not let him eat what he wants, and wipe feet on his towel...that is all done to undermine him. He's doing the right thing going out. Tell him you agree that it's right. Maybe organise a visit to a local restaurant rather than them coming to your house?
Given your H's history with your parents and by your own admission Christmas wasn't great, why on earth would you want him to stay? You don't want support, you want him to act as a buffer to shield you from some of their crap and whilst shielding you, you also expect him to keep his mouth shut and repeatedly go back for more - YABVU.
They are your parents, you shouldn't expect him to deal with the fall out of your poorly policed boundaries. You should count your blessings that he makes himself scarce because I wouldn't let such a deliberately obnoxious pair over my threshold.
I also think you should go and visit your parents on your own. You've decided to accept certain behaviours from your family, I don't think your DH should have to.
Yes I agree with PP. Life is too short to have to tolerate this kind of shite - your DH is well within his rights to avoid them.
Agree you should visit them on your own - do you ever do that?
I feel really sorry for your husband. He shouldn't have to put up with that crap from your parents. And he must find it very hurtful that you don't support him. You say you've put boundaries in place but it doesn't sound like it - there may be some but they're not good enough. I think you need to work a lot harder at supporting your husband and standing up to your parents. If you're not prepared to stand up to them you need to stop inviting them into your home (which is also your husband's home) and stop spending important days like Christmas with them.
Have you ever read "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward? You might also consider posting on the Stately Homes thread.
I agree with PP's that you need to support your DH.
You have to deal with your parents, you can't absolve them
Of blame and expect DH to carry it all.
Your relationship with your DH is hopefully one that will Continue after your parents pass, whilst I don't suggest you choose one over the other there will come a time when he is all you have, and currently you are placing him so far down the pecking order that he's not going to want to be your support when the inevitable happens.
It's a morbid thought but certainly one you should consider.
You CHOSE him, champion him and stand up for him.
What is your relationship like with his parents?
I'm Sure you wouldn't like this situation if it was reversed.
I'm sorry it's so strained but you really can alleviate a lot of the stress by telling your parents how their behaviour affects your WHOLE family.
The point of standing up to your parents is not to get them to change, they won't as you well know. It is to show your DH that if someone mistreats him you will stand up for him. The Xmas things were not small. They were huge. And you minimised it. You should have stormed his plate to the kitchen and piled it high with food for him after your DM forcibly withheld food from him.
Sorry OP. I think your DH has every right to feel awkward in your parents presence. He's taking himself off when they arrive to protect himself from the way they make him feel; that's perfectly ok I think.
My DH's parents use subtle behaviours to show they have no consideration or respect for me. Your DM not letting your DH fill his own plate reminds me of my MIL always forgetting to make me a drink when I go to their house or leaving me last and taking ages to make me a glass of juice (I don't drink tea or coffee). One day I was really thirsty so helped myself to a glass and water from the tap... she glared at me as if I was an imposter. Power and controlling behaviour can wind you down terribly over the years. As MILS behaviour is so subtle DH tends to label me as sensitive yet she is intentionally alienating me and being. and disrespectful
You know yourself whether your DM is intentionally making your DH feel this way, be honest with yourself and then be honest with them.
my DH has not spoken up for me where his parents are concerned so I now speak up for myself. It has created a resentment between DH and I for both of us. You can't change the way they make your DH feel and for him it's very very real.
sorry you're in such a crappy position but please know that your parents have put you here not your DH. Wishing you lots of luck xxx
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