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Another thread about inlaws!

(41 Posts)
Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 13:51:16

So the back story is this.

I've always been a very agreeable person. Someone who avoids conflict at every opportunity and probably puts up with too much at times.

Before becoming pregnant with DS1, I had a reasonably okay relationship with my inlaws. I was quite young to fall pregnant but happily married and with plenty of income between DH & I. The problems began when we didn't choose Dh's sister for godmother. Let's just say my inlaws were furious about the situation. Being the nod and agree type, I apologised profusely for the fact we had chosen my sibling instead. The next thing that started happening was mil buying us things for the baby. She bought us bedroom furniture for the baby, she picked it out online and said she'd buy us it. It wasn't to my taste and I felt a bit upset that she wasn't giving me a say but I tried to appreciate the fact she was trying to do us a favour. We could have afforded to buy our own but I didn't want to insult her. My mum took us out to buy the baby's pram and a few other bits and pieces and when we told FIL, he said that they had already bought us a pram and loads of other things but he'd just take it all back. That turned out to be a lie.

Then once baby arrived, they kept trying to force me to leave him with them. They didn't like the fact he was breastfed and needed his mum. I even heard MIL almost in tears about the fact she wanted him on her own and FIL was saying that "their time will come". MIL would frequently come over when I was holding DS and just lift him right out of my arms which really started to bug me.

Fast forward a year and as soon as DS was on the move, the interfering began. If I told DS not to touch something, they'd wait until I was out the room to take him over to said item. If I gave DS a timeout or anything, they'd be in the background saying "why are you giving him a timeout" and then shaking their heads and tutting. (For the record, I have a very calm, relaxed parenting technique and will use timeouts in a positive way to give DS time to think about a situation. He will sit for a minute and then we'll have a cuddle and a chat. We use them at times when DS is just a little hyper and he's always happy to go for a timeout, takes himself over to the timeout area himself etc).

Basically, as time has progressed I've become less agreeable. These are just a few examples but basically I'm completely fed up. If we spend a day out together. It's constant comments like "oh you poor thing you're hands are freezing, mummy needs to pop something warmer on you" on a summers day. "Oh you'll be far too hot with all those layers on" in the winter.

Once I put DS in the pushchair and he started crying not wanting to go in. They were both standing saying "we never had that with our boys, they never ever cried like that".

I've now got a second child and I just can't bare to be around my inlaws. It's just constant. I'm treated basically as if I'm just a vessel to carry their grandchildren. They don't respect me as a human or as a parent.
I've recently been diagnosed with a serious health condition and the only question they had for me was, "is this genetic?" Literally no care for me at all.

I don't want to be around them anymore. I can even feel my blood boil as soon as DH is on the phone to them. I just don't know how to maintain this relationship. DH and I have tried telling them but they just disregard it and carry on sad

MyheartbelongstoG Mon 06-Feb-17 13:57:41

I had this, it never gets any better.

Just ha be one uncomfortable conversation with them laying down the law.

I told my ex mil to fuck right off. She deserved it.

Last straw for me was when she sucked chocolate in her mouth then passed it to my son.

She had no boundaries.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 14:05:59

You do not maintain the relationship; there is no law that says you have to spend any time with toxic relations like this. Doing so will also show your children that it is ok for them to walk all over you unchallenged. Your children need positive role models, not those who disrespect their parents, particularly their mother, at all and any given opportunity.

Like in all these types of situations your DH is key here. What has he thought of all these events?. What if anything has he suggested here? Does he want to still see his parents and sister?

What sort of a relationship does he have with his parents and sister these days?. How does your DH get along with his brother as well?

They've already imposed their collective will on you re a godparent and nursery furniture. They will continue to do so as well, such people do not change. You therefore need to firm up your all too low boundaries with regards to your inlaws because you (and in turn your DH) are being completely walked over. His mother sounds like she wants to be mummy again and her H enables her behaviours. He acts as her hatchet man here really and acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Those are also very good reasons to stay well away from his parents.

Being nice and reasonable to them at all has really put you in their firing line; you likely come from an emotionally healthy family where this type of dysfunction is thankfully unknown. Your DH has not been so lucky here at all. Such people really do see kindness as weakness. Also you did not get along with them at all really prior to having children; they just made you think that you did.

People like his parents never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.

Is he able to stick up for you and your son or does he still seek their approval and/or is in a fear, obligation and guilt state with regards to them?

I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the dynamics.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:11:53

It all came to a head and DH explained everything and how we were feeling. His mum said she needed time to think and then didn't speak to him for a month. Now carries on as if the conversation never happened. I have never left my children with them and I don't ever want to because they will not respect my parenting methods and won't do the things I ask of them if my children were in their care. Am I within my rights or being unfair to not allow them one on one time?

xStefx Mon 06-Feb-17 14:16:44

My mother in law is what you would describe as a bossy woman, ive caught her out lying a few times too. She didn't like me as I took her eldest boy away (that's what she thinks) as he still lived with her when he was 32 when he met me.

I tried 3 years of the "nice, suck it up" approach, then oneday had a fuck full and really let rip. Yes we fell out for a few weeks, but now we actually have a better relationship and i can honestly say i enjoy her company now (limited of course).

Once she realised i was having none of it and could stick up for myself along with the fact that i was the access to her grandchild, she started being fair and had more respect for me.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 14:25:24

You are well within your rights not to allow them one on one time. They are clearly not emotionally healthy people to be at all around and they simply want to make everything about them and what they want.

You do not have to maintain a relationship with them at all, also you would not have tolerated any of this from a friend let alone your inlaws.

TheMysteriousJackelope Mon 06-Feb-17 14:27:39

If someone deliberately undermines your and your DH's parenting methods and does things with your children that you have asked them specifically not to do then of course it is OK to not leave your children on their own with them. They are the ones being unfair, not you. It would be easier for them to go along with how you discipline your DC as it will be less confusing for your children and it is what you know from experience will work. I don't understand why they don't tbh, they must have no respect for their son as a parent as well as you.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:31:32

You've hit the nail on the head Jackelope

When they undermine our parenting, they make things harder for my DS. He's the one who is left confused by the rules which only leads to more time outs. Oh I was worried you'd all say that I'm being unreasonable. i would never want to come between my children & their grandparents but you're helping me to see that itsvyhe grandparents who are creating the divide.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:31:33

You've hit the nail on the head Jackelope

When they undermine our parenting, they make things harder for my DS. He's the one who is left confused by the rules which only leads to more time outs. Oh I was worried you'd all say that I'm being unreasonable. i would never want to come between my children & their grandparents but you're helping me to see that itsvyhe grandparents who are creating the divide.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 14:35:53

These people are not healthy to be around; your wanting to stay away from them is not at all unreasonable. Not all grandparents are nice and loving by any means.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:40:09

The thing is, they're nice to the children, if that makes sense! Even if they blatantly hate me. That's what makes this all harder.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:40:53

I know that by disrespecting me, that's not in the children's best interest but to any outsider, they'd appear to be nice grandparents on the surface.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 14:49:55

They are not nice to your children because they are not being nice to you as their mother.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 06-Feb-17 15:03:50

I'm glad their we-know-best attitude didn't put you off having DC2! You have said what needed to be said, and she might pretend that chat never happened, but MIL knows.

I expect second time round you are more confident so don't let anyone take your baby out of your arms this time. (The cheek of it!).

Does SIL have her own family yet, possibly if/when she does, it will dispel some of the unwanted pressure and attention.

MIL and FIL brought DH up, fair enough. They didn't become all-knowing experts. For some grandparents or extended family, a new family means unlimited access.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 15:06:47

The worst time she took DS out of my arms was a minute before the bells at New Year (when he was weeks old). Of course she knew I would have wanted to cuddle him at the bells but she just took him right out of my arms. I wish I'd asked for him back but I was quite taken aback at the time.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 15:07:25

They have no other grandchildren. I think you're right that this makes things harder on us.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 06-Feb-17 15:08:31

PS What bad luck with the diagnosis, I hope you manage to avoid stress. (!) Is there anyone on MN health pages with the same condition, a local support group or online forum?

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 15:49:01

Thanks donkey. It's been a life long condition that they haven't been able to diagnose until now. It's extremely rare and not well understood. I'm just pleased I have an idea of what it is now. Stress is thought to be an agrevator though, so situations like these don't help sad

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 17:38:37

So what should I do now? Try to minimise time spent with them?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 17:40:29

I would not spend any time with them.

What does your DH think of his parents?. He is key here.

Sung Mon 06-Feb-17 17:53:37

I would definitely avoid spending time with them.

My inlaws are pretty awful too (in a more covert way) - wish I had fully figured this out years ago. The ONLY saving grace with it all is that DH sees it all too (he did warn me...but even he was surprised at how they were once GC came along).

I am now at the point where I avoid them as much as I can (so does DH but he is the one that fields any contact) - I don't answer the phone when they ring, I don't have any email or social media contact, I don't invite them round or nudge DH to see them (I used to). They are in full hoovering mode that the moment, which is taking some effort.

I agree that what your DH thinks is key.

What are your own parents like? Have you shared any of this with them?

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 18:50:18

The situation is such that my inlaws live a number of hours away. On the one hand, it's a good thing but on the other hand, the time we spend with them is far too intense, given the way they are. They'll come up and stay for like 5/6 days at a time.

My own parents are a bit of a tale of two halves. Amazing dad, nightmare mum. They are still together but my dad is just putting up with the situation rather than leaving. My mum is a very bitter lady who has been emotionally abusive to her children. My dad on the other hand is such a wonderful man and I'll always have to put up with my mum to have a relationship with my dad.

When I met DH, his parents really liked me but what I realise now is they liked the fact that I would go along with whatever they said, a bit of a doormat really. That became apparent when DC's came along.

My husband sees it all and knows how his parents are. He picks up on most things at the time but I feel that he lets them away with too much. He feels as though he's handling the situation as best he can. I know that his parents love him and would be devastated if contact stopped. They have never really respected the fact he's a grown man though, if that makes sense. Hence the fact he is also being undermined by them all the time.

His parents have bad relationships with all of their siblings due to various fallings out and as someone said up the thread, they never take any responsibility in the part they play in these issues. They just cut ties.

They would cut ties with me if it weren't for the fact they wouldn't see their grandchildren. It's all so fake and I just can't stand it sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-Feb-17 19:11:14

weepingwillow,

re your comment:-

"My husband sees it all and knows how his parents are. He picks up on most things at the time but I feel that he lets them away with too much. He feels as though he's handling the situation as best he can. I know that his parents love him and would be devastated if contact stopped. They have never really respected the fact he's a grown man though, if that makes sense. Hence the fact he is also being undermined by them all the time".

It sounds like your DH is in a FOG state with regards to his parents. FOG stands for fear, obligation and guilt. There are books out there that he can read on parents like his; would he be at all willing to read these?. It is not his fault or yours for that matter that they are like this.

You assume wrongly that his parents love him and that they would be devastated if contact stops. They seem very quick to cut ties with those who transgress their wants so they would not be devastated at all. Their actions are not at all loving ones but smack instead of wanting absolute power and control over their son and his family unit. They still see him as a child and thus incapable; controlling behaviours like this are rooted in abuse.

He is really not handling the situation as best as he can due to FOG and his own inertia surrounding his parents. He is still seeking their approval and is failing to protect his own family unit from these people. He probably hopes and thinks on some level that they will someday or somehow change. That is not going to happen.

"His parents have bad relationships with all of their siblings due to various fallings out and as someone said up the thread, they never take any responsibility in the part they play in these issues. They just cut ties".

Not surprised to read any of that re his siblings; it seems like your DH is the last one amongst them who actually bothers with them. It will do you both a huge favour going forward if you were able to cut ties with them as well. They were not good parents to him and they are not decent grandparent figures to your children either.

Re your comment re your own parents:-

"My mum is a very bitter lady who has been emotionally abusive to her children. My dad on the other hand is such a wonderful man and I'll always have to put up with my mum to have a relationship with my dad".

Stay away from your mother at all costs and do not expose your children to her. Your dad for his own reasons has decided to stay with your mother which is and has been an unfortunate choice for you in particular. He has acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He gets what he wants out of this relationship (he may be weak and needs someone like your mother to idolise) but he has failed to fully protect you from her.

You do not have to put up with your mother to have a relationship with your dad. Would he be willing and or able to meet you without his wife present?.

SandyY2K Mon 06-Feb-17 19:25:06

Am I within my rights or being unfair to not allow them one on one time?

As she's blatantly disrespected you, then you have every right to not let your DS be alone with them.

Weepingwillow90 Mon 06-Feb-17 19:29:07

Thank you for your in depth post. It's very insighful. I didn't fully explain my previous message, it's my husband's aunties and uncles that his parents have bad relationships with. His brother and sister still have a relationship with his parents. They actually think their parents are great but it's all quite warped. They wouldnt dare disrespect their mum or call her our on any of her behaviours. It's like she thinks the deserves a level of respect from everyone around her but she doesn't need to reciprocate that level of respect. Not long ago MIL stopped talking to her 35 year old niece because she had stopped addressing her as "auntie" which she found extremely disrespectful.

There are massive issues on my side of the family. It's just so complex. My mum has never treated me well but she is also abuse to my dad and his life wouldn't be worth living if he met me without her there. They also live far away which is another issue. I couldn't face not being there for him because without him, my childhood would have been horrendous. He always took us for days out, picnics, to the park in every spare minute he had. He did his best (without actually leaving her) to protect us from my mum. We are the only source of happiness in his life and I don't want to take that away from him. The guilt would be awful and I'd miss him too much.

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