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Dreading il visit(69 Posts)
We live abroad, 7.5 hour flight from dh's parents. They are coming to visit again to see our 6 month old ds. They will be staying in a nearby hotel. They have been out once just after he was born. Spending time with them is awkward, strained, painful, sit in silence at dinner etc. dh says they've always been like that and is not just me but I wonder...
Last time they were here, 3 weeks after I'd given birth to their first gc, they totally blanked me and ds while dh page the car. I said morning loudly to them and waked towards them with massive pram and newborn ds inside and they both blanked me and just stared at our car. Across the car park which dh was parking.
Mil makes frequent little comments to me such as:
Slagging off Carole vorderman saying how much she hates her. Couple of hours later I teased dh about something and mil says "oh, who're you? Carole vorderman?"
Sitting at il dining table eating breakfast ,minding my own business when il cat bites me on the foot. I jump and reach down to my foot saying" Ow il cat just bit me". Complete silence then mil says "well cats are a good judge of character"
Eating dinner in silence as usual and completely out of the blue mil says "I remember when mrember was allergic to girls with long hair". Many more little remarks which all add up.
Mil upon seeing an Indian wedding " I expect we're the wrong colour to go to that wedding". My sil is indian and my nephews are mixed race.
Fil first thing he said to me when he first saw me and we picked them up, 3 weeks after son was born "oh, I didn't expect you would be here, ember".
It's all in the tone of how it's said, none of these things are said in a jovial, jokey manner. The last straw for me was when they refused to take my dads suit back to Lahr with them as a favour. My mum was going to meet them at the gate and take it off them but they refused. Fil said "we've got our own bags to carry, ember"
Me and dh had a huge row about them, this was in jan 2014. I threw him out he stayed in a Novotel in town. I know I have a dh problem as he won't stand up for me and let's them say and do these things.
The last horrendous thing is fil sent my dh a birthday letter along with a bit of paper with a poem on it which he had read at his own mothers funeral. No idea why he sent this to dh for his birthday but dh's parents do and say many inexplicable things. When I turned the piece of paper over, fil had written on it:
the title of the poem
As read by (fil)
At the funeral of (my son's full name)
I got such a shock seeing that written down with my son's name, my whole stomach flipped and I gasped, I felt sick and shouted oh god whys he written that. Dh snatched he paper from me saying, written what? Dh's face fell when he saw it and he said well ds obviously written that by mistake...but why? Dh won't speak o his dad about it.
I feel sick at the thought of having to spend time with these people but they are dh's parents. I can't live he rest of our lives with this anger, anxiety and sadness every time we have to see them. What can I do? Dh refuses to speak to them in case he upsets them but doesn't mind them upsetting me
Oh my God.
I am so sorry OP, they sound unhinged.
How blunt have you been with him?
Have you said "DH, why on earth are you so loath to upset your parents but have absolutely no problem with me being upset?"
I had to ask it a few times, but my DH did eventually listen. He later said he just went cold and sort of La La La'd his way through what I was saying. It took him a while to recognise the weird things he grew up with as actually being weird. He is fully on the ball now, has been for years, yet every now and then he has a moment...
It can be really hard to overcome the conditioning of an odd childhood. Your DH probably just expects you to deal with it as he has been brought up to... he really won't recognise it all as abusive, unpleasant etc.
Be patient, be firm, be blunt!
Blanche, I've said that to him many times he says I don't know why I don't say anything. He says he feels anxious as he's "waiting the whole time for them to say something stupid". I've said it him, why can't you say something at the time? Instead after one of these bombshells we all sit in silence.
Usually I'm lost for words as I'm still thinking why would you say that it/how could you do that. I infuriate myself as I also become this introverted person who lets them get away with it so I'm just as bad I suppose. I would never let other people treat me like this so why do I allow them?
We've been together 10 years! Something has to change, we both need to grow a pair...
'The last horrendous thing is fil sent my dh a birthday letter along with a bit of paper with a poem on it which he had read at his own mothers funeral. No idea why he sent this to dh for his birthday but dh's parents do and say many inexplicable things. When I turned the piece of paper over, fil had written on it:
the title of the poem
As read by (fil)
At the funeral of (my son's full name)'
I have read (and contributed) some seriously messed up stuff on family threads in the past few years but I have never read anything as demented as this. That's actually sick. Do you have any clue at all OP what the point of this rotten little stunt was? I would be fascinated to know. Do they actually get a kick out of scaring and horrifying people? Because you know for damn sure that it was not a mistake.
You're right - something seriously has to change. They sound utterly bizarre and seriously disturbing.
I have no IDE lotta. Dh and me talked about it again tonight. Apparently that poem was framed and hung up in il house for almost 20 years. Fil took it out of the frame and wrote that horrible thing on the back then posted it to dh for his birthday. Dh still tonight said fil obv. Didn't mean to write that, he doesn't wish for our son to die. I said but why haven't you confronted him about it??? If my dad had done something like that I would be like, oh my god dad WHY did you write that??? Dh says he's really worried about his dad writing it, worried it's early dementia etc. I still am just repulsed by it. It makes my skin crawl and me want to cry just thinking of it...
I would call them out:
I said hello, didn't you hear me?
Excuse me, what exactly did you mean by that?
That's a terrible thing to say, I think it's time you went back to your hotel if you can't be civil.
And to dh, did you find your manners yourself? Cos you clearly couldn't have been taught any by this pair.
I'd also say at the end of the trip that they weren't welcome back until they behave like normal people, as you don't want your do picking up bad habits from exposure to their rudeness.
Don't wait for your h to deal with this, he's too scared of them. You have nothing to lose, they hate you already so you can be the fall guy.
I would never, ever allow anyone who said that about my son and the funeral within a million miles of me. Tell them that too.
Keep your son away from them and make their trip pointless.
Don't go out with them, don't pick them up, don't answer the door, Be out all day, dh can be with them on his own.
Dh said that poem (which was apparently about a small boy in Africa can't really remember the actual poem) was about the relationship between a child and a par ent and was meant to be a "nice thing". He has no idea why fil wrote that but will not confront him about it.
Perhaps you should not allow them to pass your threshold until he does.
That would probably be my solution. I would find that all too much to cope with.
I threw out the bit of paper because I didn't want it anywhere near my son. My dh was angry with me because I threw it in the rubbish (outside bin). Dh was angry because that bit of paper was hung up in their house in a frame for so long and it was sentimental.. He even said again tonight he thought he showed great restraint in not being too angry with me for throwing. It out. I said I cannot believe his first instinct is to defend his father instead of being repulsed by what his father wrote and not wanting to defend his own son.
Have you said that last but out loud to him?
He may have treasured memories of it, hung on a wall for all to read.
You have a horrible memory of it, one where your FIL appears to be planning your DSs funeral!
I think that he wrote the wrong name by mistake. He meant to write his mother's name. Dh could be right about dementia- or perhaps it was just a brain fart moment. It must have been a horrible shock to read it, but it's hard to fathom a reason for it to be deliberate.
They do sound odd. I do Robert if you might be taking some of it a bit too personally though. I'm not saying they don't sound infuriating, just be careful not to start seeing slights everywhere.
They sound horrible. And I am sorry your DH won't stand up to them. I echo advice already given - pull them up on it!
The stock MN phrase "did you mean to be so rude?" works well, as does "excuse me? did you just say <repeat here> to me?".
And yes I'd make myself (and the baby) rather scarce in the circumstances... The poem thing is very odd indeed.
OH! Anticipating his response: Why are you being so horrible/unreasonable etc?
You simply ask, why was your father being so cruel and why aren't you protecting your own family?
But you may have to consider this very carefully. Is your DH salvegable? I always knew mine was, which made it easier to keep on with him. If you suspect yours may never see his way clear of this then you are going to have to make other decisions.
Yes I have, Blanche. At the time and again tonight.
Michelle, I've also said that to dh that everything they do and say I take personally but how am I supposed to take it when they blatantly blank me and ds? How should I take these comments which are not said lightly or with a laugh and a ha ha elbow? Mil never looks at me when she says them, they are mumbled almost as an aside but with sufficient force so we can all hear them. Dh first instinct is to defend his parents although he knows and will admit to me that they are wrong. He still will not call them out on it.
Brio and Blanche I know I have to speak up, I can't understand why I haven't. I used to think it was out of respect for the fact that they are dhs parents yet they seem to have no respect for me. I am also always waiting, looking at dh waiting for him to stand up for me as they are his parents but he never does.
That has to be a painful position to be in, Ember.
If he just isn't able to move on it then you have a few choices, including: putting up with it, accepting that this is how it will always be; telling your DH that you find it all too unnerving and he can deal with them on his own, all the time every time; walking away from it altogether.
And many other measures in between.
What do you want to happen? Or is this just the place you have come to to have a damn good vent? I'll shut up and help you e-scream if that is the case
How should I take these comments which are not said lightly or with a laugh and a ha ha elbow?
"Excuse me, you may not be aware of this, but you're acting like a massive, massive cunt. Did you have special training or is it something you've developed as a natural talent?"
I am the proverbial confrontational bitch who likes throwing a bomb into bitchy conversations, though. If you want to stay married, maybe tone it down a tiny bit. Go for "obnoxious twat" - but you'll be thinking "massive cunt".
If it's the comments are mumbled, then I would simply do this
Pardon, what did you say...because I heard you say X and if I am correct then how incredibly rude/nasty/vile
They are your DH parents, let him entertain them, collect them from the airport etc.
If your DH tries to make you feel guilty, I would call him out on it. Tell him you will no longer put yourself in a position where you will be ignored and treated so appallingly in your own home etc.
I want dh to call them on their words/actions as and when they happen. Not agreed behind their backs after the fact that they are rude, odd etc. I want him to stand up for me. I want to be myself around them and Nit stand for their behaviour and I want my dh to be himself around them. I want to not think of my dh as weak or cowardly and for him to defend his wife and child.
I do not want to even see them again which I said to my tonight. I hate thinking of them having any contract with my son. It makes me feel Ill.
You have a DH problem here. He should face them, insist they treat you respectfully, or the visit is over then and there. It doesn't matter if they just arrived; they can go to their hotel. OK - he finds it hard to talk back to them, and he "freezes" inside when they do this awful stuff; then he needs counselling to make himself stronger and figure out normal boundaries. They have done a real number on him, but he is not standing up for you, and he needs to; they are his family.
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