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MIL forgot to cook my dinner!(361 Posts)
DH, DS, DD, & I went to PILs' house for the day.
There's a back story and it hasn't been the easiest relationship but we're all making an effort for the children.
Anyway, MIL served up food for the children and as I was helping the kids with their food she served up food for the adults. She served up food for my BIL & his wife, DH's Dad, my DH, and herself.
DH said "what about Nanna" and she laughed and said she'd forgotten but I could have an extra slice of pizza later (for tea - I didn't! ).
Is it possible she could've forgotten my dinner? I usually know how many people I'm catering for.
What passive aggressive message is she trying to send me?
Personally, I can't see how only one person can go NC in a situation like this. If the OP did, then her DH would simply be exposed to bile on steroids everytime he visited his parents. Every visit, the OP would be sitting at home imagining how much more lies and venom her DH has had poured in his ear, as she awaits his return. It's hard to imagine a more corrosive and divisive way to live.
My DH wouldn't have stood for that. We would have been gone.
There's not a cultural difference. We are both white British.
We had another chat in the car (kids asleep) and I asked him if he realised the implications of me stopping all contact with his parents. That they wouldn't be welcome in our house and I wouldn't allow the children to be exposed to them - I used his niece/SIL as an example of why. I said they'd play the victim and make me out to be evil and just using the children against them and his relatives would all believe it.
He completely supports me.
We didn't talk about him going NC.
I do own a copy of the Toxic In-Laws book (hidden on my kindle so the ILs wouldn't have seen it).
I think I'll get DH the Toxic Parents book and hopefully that will open his eyes a bit more to the extent of their manipulative behaviours.
I'm attempting to read through of all the replies properly today on the drive home while the children are snoozing.
I don't want to tag people as I don't want to miss anyone out. There's so many people with great advice and support. I really appreciate it.
I hope you persuade your DH to have counselling either by himself or with you. Do you already have the toxic parents book for him to read?
he didn't have a developmental delay due to abuse
He could well have, actually. Difficulty expressing his feelings, difficulty setting boundaries, arrested emotional development, problems regulating emotions and self soothing. But equally he could have escaped that.
Anyway, I wasn’t having a pop at you @Nanna; I think you’re doing brilliantly and are so patient and supportive of your DH.
I would have got up, taken my children and gone home, if it wasn't possible to go home i'd have taken them to a cafe or pub for lunch then gone home. No way would I EVER have put up with that level of fucking abuse from MiL. And that would have been the end of any future effort made.
I think there's a risk inherent in relationships with children of narcissistic parents that the dynamic of bringing a stranger "into the family" suddenly raises the risk that the lifetime of lies NPs have built up for their kids could be blown apart in a moment. That makes the incoming partner a threat to be eliminated by whatever means possible.
Sounds like you reacted in the best possible way, yesterday. If you'd made any kind of a fuss I can guarantee that she'd have turned on the waterworks and made herself the victim in all this.
I feel for your DP. I come from a similar background (though not nearly as bad) and it is incredibly hard realising that the parents who love you treat you so badly.
Sorry. When I said his childhood was trivial compared to some children I encounter, I didn't mean I was creating a hierarchy of abuse and denying the impact it has had.
I meant that DH wasn't malnourished, he had access to education, he wasn't physically or sexually assaulted, he didn't have a developmental delay due to abuse, he had access to medical care. He would never have raised any safeguarding concerns.
I'm not undermining the impact of emotional abuse, not at all.
I didn't articulate myself well.
@Mummyoflittledragon has it spot on. I used to feel guilty about having “only” been emotionally abused as if there is a hierarchy of bad abuse and ok abuse. In some ways emotional abuse is more damaging in that it is insidious, deniable, there are no visible marks, people minimise it, your abusive parents gaslight you into blaming yourself, and so on. It’s much more difficult to spot in children and teenagers and therefore the victim is trapped in what often seems like a perfect home.
If you are beaten and whipped or if you are sexually abused, nobody says “Can’t you make it up with your parent?” “You only get one Mum” etc. They do say that to people who have “only” been emotionally abused which adds to the guilt of the victim.
@NannaNoodleman this struck me: they sucked us back in with health scares and good behaviour.
This is classic narcissistic hoovering. Absolutely textbook. Your PILs will have disowned your DH as a threat, assuming he would come running back and apologise and change your DS’s surname. A narcissist is confused when their victim calls their bluff so they go away and regroup. In an effort to regain control, they start hoovering.
When your DH has had counselling and can see what tactics your ILs use, he will be able to ignore the hoovering. I regularly get attempts at hoovering by my abusive parents and you have to stay very strong and not get sucked back in.
OP, you couldnbe writing about my DH and his in-laws. I used to get angrwy at him, but now I support him however he wants. He is now trying to go LC/NC and I found myself trying to keep the contact going when he wanted out. He like you said missed out on the nurturing and love and they still are surprised when he succeeds and tell him he can’t cope/won’t amount to anything. But they think they are awesome parents. They think making it clear they don’t like me will have him leaving me and going to live with them. Bastards.
Very interesting to read all the varying viewpoints & personal experiences.
I’m wondering if your MiL’s behaviour towards you is less about you personally & more about bullying & undermining your DH. It presumably gives her some sense of power that she can treat her DS’ wife with complete disrespect but her DS doesn’t call out the behaviour & there are no consequences. It’s an extension of him not having the skills to stand up for himself, never mind his wife.
In such a dysfunctional family, your MiL is presumably a master manipulator & enjoys the control. It’s another layer of control over her adult DS to be obnoxious to his wife & watch him do nothing about it because he’s afraid to stand up for his wife for fear he might be disowned again.
I hope your DH is getting the help he needs & I agree with all posters advising that your children should not be exposed to this level of toxic dysfunction.
Best of luck with everything.
Gosh, OP, this is a horrid situation.
I wouldn’t be angry with your DH, he has been raised by these wicked people and won’t have the ability to react - but that is not his fault.
I would take DH out of this and treat this as a situation between you and your PIL. In your situation I would restrict contact, including your DC, to the sharing of photos only on a regular basis - I would probably do this by post to avoid any response. You are maintaining contact but in such a way that you and your DC are not being subjected to any emotional abuse. You could of course write to explain why you are now taking this step, but I don’t think it will achieve anything and personally wouldn’t bother - this is an almost perfect example of when actions speak louder than words!
I think it’s important to support your DH, counselling may help, but I dare say raising his own family and having his eyes opened to how other families behave would have been overwhelming for him. If he wants to continue seeing his parents, I would suggest he does this on neutral territory, with you for support if this acceptable to you both but without your DC. This chain of behaviour has to be broken and your DC therefore cannot be exposed to it. Good luck
I understand exactly how you feel. It took my dh years and years to see how my mother, brother and sil were with me. My dh totally believed I was the issue because they hid the abuse from him so well. They’d snipe and snipe at me until I exploded (name calling, brother threatening to punch me / beat me up, both defining me etc) and he was incredulous because he was unaware of the whole thing. I couldn’t then explain to my dh what they’d said because it was just so confusing. Or if I did explain it would be the last thing they had said. He then saw this one comment as triggering my disproportionate, “crazy” reaction (I truly went crazy sometimes). In isolation of course it was. But it was the absolute last straw and off the back of years of abuse. (My father wasn’t around for any of it and a long time dead and buried.)
In consequence I believed him and them and he also by default then became another of my abusers. My mother, brother and his wife were therefore able to continue to use me as their narcissistic supply and abuse me in my own home a thousand miles away by a dh, who
when I tried to explain thought I should learn to behave when around them. It nearly cost me my marriage. They must have been very happy my marriage was troubled, which then gave them a) more right to abuse me as I wasn’t protected and b) more ammunition that they were everything right about the world and me everything wrong.
Gosh reading that back is so awful. This lasted over a decade btw.
It took me a long long time for the penny to drop that I wasn’t the issue and even longer for my dh to get it as I picked the situation apart and could tell him blow by blow what had actually been said. And even longer for me to challenge any comment. I never managed with my brother and his wife. I’m too afraid of them. She has psychopathic traits and he has been violent with me even recently and I’m disabled and chronically ill. Nc was the only answer there.
It isn’t useful to create a hierarchy of what type of abuse is worse and comparing who was subjected to the worst abuse. For then there is always someone, whose suffering may / will have been greater. I have read pretty extensively about the different types of abuse. Emotional abuse can have more of a devastating affect on a person than physical abuse. I have read accounts of survivors of both have recounting the physical abuse being easier to bear.
I didn’t suffer much physical abuse although I was forced to witness my brother and dog being being beaten, which made me both withdraw and be terribly good as a child. I also didn’t have a concept of unconditional love until I was an adult. I can tell you exactly when my mother stopped giving me any semblance of unconditional love as well. I was 5 about months old... about the time a baby starts showing their likes and dislikes - I was weaned well before this age. I know this because of my reaction and feelings when my dd reaches 5 months and explored this through therapy. Even now thinking about those feelings, I’m feeling terrible fear coupled with absolute rage. 5 months was the age I stopped being the live girl doll she so craved and so she rejected me.
I wasn’t starved half to death or beaten to within an inch of my life or had my basic needs neglected but I would definitely not describe my abuse as “trivial”. I don’t find this type of comparison useful as every child’s reaction to a situation is different and some have more resources than others or access to outsiders, who give them self worth, which I didn’t have. So what if a lot of what I suffered from my mother would today be considered low level abuse. What I suffered from my brother on the traffic light system was a red. And my mother let it all happen whilst barely intervening. Even without the sexual stuff from him (he didn’t touch me it was to destroy me), the vile taunts or the violence, temporary imprisonment and regular suffocation he subjected me to, I still suffered greatly. I had no one to turn to and no loving grandparent or trusted aunt to confide in.
The assertion that a child traditionally gets the father’s name is incorrect. Traditionally they get the mothers name. It’s just the mother usually takes the husbands name in marriage. This has not happened in ops case and she has for reasons other than tradition nonetheless upheld tradition. Regardless of all this her in laws are absolute arseholes for going nc about a surname.
@NannaNoodleman what a horrible situation. But you and your dh sound lovely and so good for each other.
I wonder if you can help your dh by playing down a bit the nc idea? It doesn't have to be a dramatic thing, just take it situation by situation. When they next invite you all you can weigh it up, continue to agree rhat you and the dc won't go and he can see how he feels. He could then just say to them no that doesn't work for us. It doesn't have to be something where he actively tells them you are all going nc. He might find it easier just to let things slide til they eventually realise it's years since you all visited or made contact.
I understand your DH still wanting to have a relationship with his parents. He must have made this clear when they 'disowned' him. However, being the manipulators they are, they have him hook, line and sinker and so know that they can treat you like shit without your DH saying anything to them for fear of being disowned again.
You are obviously very supportive of your DH and his needs. You sound like you also understand his need to maintain a relationship with his parents.
But you absolutely do NOT have to have any relationship with them whatsoever and your children do not either. Your children must not see you treated like that ever again.
And if that comes at a price then so be it. Children are much better off without toxic grandparents. Does your husband support you in not wanting the children to see the grandparents?
If your DH really wants to visit, perhaps agree to go for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Make sure you stop to have lunch beforehand or eat a picnic with the DCs in summer.
NC is harsh if your DH does not want this, but you can limit how much time you are prepared to spend with them.
The whole day sounds grim. 2 children not allowed to eat with the adults. Adults eating on their laps in the living room. Mil dishing up everyone's dinner anyway instead of allowing people to serve themselves. Pasta for lunch and pizza for tea - they've hardly gone to a lot of effort for one of your biannual visits.
Honestly, if your husband wants to go NC with his parents, no conversation or explanation with them is needed. He just quietly 'slips away' from them by not answering his phone/blocking them.
As far as the DB 'flying monkey' and various 'scares', you (or rather he) tells his brother that they are NOT going to discuss their parents.
I know, easier said than done etc etc. But it's really the only way. It's easier to chop off a limb quickly with a sharp axe than it is to hack it off slowly with a rusty ice pick.
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