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Relationship with IL, complicated by Bil being abusive

(19 Posts)
Bigpaintinglittlepainting Mon 22-Jun-20 06:34:37

Hi I’m coming on here to get some perspective and outside views on this situation I’ve had with my in-laws spanning the whole of mine and Dh’s relationship. I guess this is why I feel like it’s the time to put my foot down but will listen to others opinion on it.

We have been together 11 years and in that time had a pretty steady relationship with dh’s parents, saw them during holidays, birthdays, Christmas, Easter etc and I would have said we were fairly close. They have our dc overnight once a year and have helped us choosing a home etc.

Over the years Bil has had a lot of drama, his own doing and I believe he has borderline personality disorder and a narcissist, my mum is one too and I recognise some traits which are similar. The in laws used to talk to us about him but over the years they have buried their heads in the sand and now we have to just accept him for who he is, and meet up at family occasions and ignore it. We went on a holiday all together where he was really verbally nasty to his wife and me, due to the accumulation of events over the years and pretty open nastiness I said to dh this is it. I never want to see him again and you need to talk to your mum and dad.

He has avoided this and only recently started to talk to them, basically their line is they are not excluding him from family life and that’s that. So should I suck it up and ignore him or not condone his behaviour and speak up ?

Dh is torn, if I put my foot down I make it difficult for him, he’s gradually talking to his parents about how scared he is of his brother but their line is they he’s family and they’re not prepared to not him invite him round when we are there. Mil in particular is insistent that she invites all the family over at the same time, we can’t go over without him there as that’s excluding him.

So please your thoughts? I find his behaviour very triggering as it reminds me of my mum who I am low contact with, I get terrible flight or fight feelings around him, I’m feeling it now just typing this out. But I feel awful for dh because his mum and dad mean a lot to him, they have never protected him from his brother and he’s trying to do that himself now but they are making it so difficult.

OP’s posts: |
Ragwort Mon 22-Jun-20 06:41:43

Why do you have to visit at your parents house? Can't they come to you! If they say 'are you inviting BIL as well, just say 'no'. If they then refuse to visit you that's their decision.

Is you DH willing to 'put up' with your DB for the sake of his family, he could visit without you ... but if he doesn't want to he will have to learn to stay firm.

Ragwort Mon 22-Jun-20 06:42:19

Sorry meant ILs house - not your parents.

Porridgeoat Mon 22-Jun-20 06:43:51

Could you leave as soon as he starts being abusive? Every time without discussion. Not ideal I know

Or make surprise visits to parents so that he’s not there and you were just popping in in passing or wanted to drop something off.

Or maybe you could have a discussion with his parents and explain hes triggering for you as his behaviour is just like your mums and you need to minimise contact to cope.

ThatLockdownLyfe Mon 22-Jun-20 06:45:44

Well you can't control BIL and you can't control PIL. PIL are enabling BIL.

It's up to you how far you engage with them. They're not going to change and they're not going to see reason on this.

Work out what boundaries you and DH want to set and then stick to them.

If you continue interacting with BIL then you need assertiveness techniques for in the moment when he does or says something off colour. "What do you mean?" is a good one if there's witnesses.

Porridgeoat Mon 22-Jun-20 06:46:59

Or be clear with the parents that you won’t be in the same building as him and let the reality of that kick in over a year or so.

They can always visit you also

MingeofDeath Mon 22-Jun-20 06:49:38

Why is your DH scared of him?

TimeIhadaNameChange Mon 22-Jun-20 07:09:52

I wouldn't want my children around then add they can't promise to protect them from BIL. Therefore their relationship with your children will suffer and they will lose out. It's their choice.

Bigpaintinglittlepainting Mon 22-Jun-20 07:49:27

Thank you all, some very good suggestions.

Some of which we have put into practice over the years, including just inviting in-laws to ours. We have told them about how he makes us feel particularly dh, but they just ask us what should they do ? Exclude him From the family and do it’s not been very productive as they basically want us to fall in line so it’s like a big happy family.

Dh is fearful of him as he’s so unpredictable, he can be over the top nice, very hot headed. He’s very snide towards dh and makes comments to him about him having it easy etc as long as he’s not challenged I don’t think he would be physically abusive to dh although that has happened in the past.

My big issue is that the next time we meet up I’m going to have to ignore that fact that Bil and sil have split up and Bil is living in the family home, sil moved out and she bought that place with the proceeds of her sale. He was living at home till he lived with her. Obviously he is on the mortgage and paid towards it it just bothers me that she’s had to leave her house with their daughter.

If I challenge what he says it will blow up and I will look like a trouble maker to dh’s parents. I thought that this time apart from them would make Dh’s parents see we were really serious about not putting up with him but they seem set as ever and dh is afraid that he will lose his relationship with them over something that has been going on for his whole life.

OP’s posts: |
TheRainbowCollection Mon 22-Jun-20 08:18:20

I think if you are hoping to make your parents in law cut him out or not invite him to family events, you're on to a loser. He's their son and it's just not going to happen, however much of a shit he is.

It sounds like you see them on their own by then coming to yours and you dropping in on them so the only thing to address is family gatherings.

If they invite you over and you know your BIL is going to be there, your only options are to go and grit your teeth (and have a "one-in-every-family" word with your children about his behaviour if needs be), or politely decline the invitation without making a big deal of it. Your husband can choose to go without you or not, as he likes.

That's it, really. Is it fair? Certainly not. In an ideal world you'd all get along and be able to have nice, big, happy family events but you can't.

Presumably your BIL isn't around when your PIL are taking care of children alone but if he is you can of course think about whether you want that to continue as well or whether you'd be better off having it be a day out or something.

Bigpaintinglittlepainting Mon 22-Jun-20 08:40:41

TheRainbowCollection You’ve hit the nail on the head there and that’s largely how I’ve navigated the situation.

I don’t why I can’t carry on like that, largely ignoring his behaviour. I guess I just feel morally I can’t turn a blind eye anymore and I was saying to Dh at what point do your parents listen to you, we’re in our forties now are we still going to be kowtowing to them when we’re 50?

I feel like dh and me just need to have the conversation about whether we only see his parents at our house from now on and see how they react. I imagine that they will invite us over and there an argument might happen if we politely decline.

Thank you all for helping me work through this, its so difficult mainly because I don’t like any of them ! The in-laws are pretty closeted people with bigoted views and I struggle dealing with them without all the drama of Bil .

OP’s posts: |
TheRainbowCollection Mon 22-Jun-20 09:19:10

Yes, it's very hard and I expect you're right that there may be an (attempt at) an argument of you start declining to visit when he's there, even if you're not explicit about the reason.

The only thing I can suggest is not being drawn into discussion beyond the following sorts of things: "you know how we feel. This is our decision to avoid unpleasantness. I don't think we'll get anywhere by all discussing it further. Of course I appreciate it's a difficult situation for you. I'm sorry you feel that way. It will be lovely to see you here if you'd like to come on [date]".

I think they key is you and your husband discussing, as you say, and then being really settled, happy and firm in your decisions. Then it's a real exercise in 'rising above it' and not getting into any emotional discussion about your decisions, or any discussion at all, really, no matter how much you feel you want to shake sense into them. Dealing with it when you have to, then putting the situation in a box the rest of the time and not giving it headspace. The prize for your self-control is getting to live your life exactly as you want to and not having to endure you BIL's company anymore! Hope it goes as well as can be expected.

Bigpaintinglittlepainting Mon 22-Jun-20 09:29:35

TheRainbowCollection Thank you so much for your post, it’s really laid it out clearly and reasonably, I feel confident that dh can do that.

It’s so hard for me to make decisions on this because of my difficult relationship with my mother and what is normal and what is not. I think dh is finally realised that his parents have been a big problem in this using him to placate his brother and now he’s not going to do it they are confused.

Thank you again for your very helpful advice

OP’s posts: |
Andwoooshtheyweregone Mon 22-Jun-20 09:42:49

I think you don’t really like his mum and dad and that’s why maybe your pushing this issue?

It’s sounds like such a tough situation, I can see your side and the PILs side. He’s their son I’d find it hard to exclude one of my children even if they weren’t be nice. I think you need to stop giving him so much room in your head. He really has no power over you, anything he says really doesn’t matter. If you don’t respect his opinions then don’t give them any heed.

Also it’s not any of your business that he’s in the family home, you can’t let that annoy you! He wants to get under your skin- don’t let him sent you camp in your head!

TheFaerieQueene Mon 22-Jun-20 09:49:18

If your PIL decide to align themselves with their arsehole son, that is up to them, but they eventually lose their decent son and his family. Tbh if the PIL don’t see the error if their ways now, you really aren’t going to get very far discussing the issue.
From now on, they visit you or they don’t see you.

Howyiz Mon 22-Jun-20 10:02:32

As others have said, invite your in laws to your house and when invited to theirs let your dh go alone.
You know what the dynamics of the relationship are, you won't change that. You will only put your dp and your in laws into an even worse position.
YOU have decided you will no longer accept this but you can't force others to do what you want them to do.

PAND0RA Mon 22-Jun-20 10:12:06

@TheRainbowCollection gives excellent advice here.

Just go low contact with them.

Stop discussing BIL with them.

Only see them at your house or neutral venue.

Politely decline invitations to family events at there house, or your DH can go alone. As you have children , it’s very easy to make them the excuse eg your DC have a party / sports event / prior engagement with your family / friends.

You don’t have to kowtow to them, just disengage.

Bigpaintinglittlepainting Mon 22-Jun-20 11:41:55

Thank you everyone, it’s really helping me take a more reasoned line on everything.

In doing this I am trying not to get involved and let him into our lives and argue about him. It’s true I cannot change them or him and I need to work on disengaging and getting dh to take a set back from trying to solve the situation. There is no solution that doesn’t make someone upset.

OP’s posts: |
PAND0RA Mon 22-Jun-20 12:04:52

I’d just work on disengaging yourself if I were you. Your Dh needs to work out what he wants to do for himself.

It’s Likely that once you tell him what you are going to do and stick to it, he will see the benefits and think again about his own involvement.

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