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My in-laws are awful and I mean awful, how do other people get on with theirs and am I being unreasonable?

(44 Posts)
louise301 Thu 03-Jul-08 13:27:20

Used to have reasonable relationship with myin-laws all the time I put up and shut up as it were but ever since I've had my baby have been standing up to them more. So many examples but to give you an idea: father-in-law would frequently take me aside in front of husband and have a go at me about something, most memorable occasion was at a wedding where he told me off about stopping my driving lessons! Refused to shake my dads hand when my dad went to greet him after not seeing him for a while. Had a go at my 80 year grandad who wasnt able to help move a wardrobe because of his age... they exclude my dad (because hes iranian) and my brothers from christmas cards they send, addressing it only to my mum. Frequently bully my husband until hes a nervous wreck and once screamed at us because we asked if they could help do the flowers for our wedding (they own their own garden nursery). Screamed at my husband when our 6 month baby was in hospital because they didnt 'update' him enough on what was going on. So many examples. They have now moved to France and are using our house as a base for visits back to the UK. Next visit is in a couple of weeks and I am dreading it. Asked them if they could stay in hotel because our daughter sleeps in our spare room and we dont have sofa bed etc they said no. They're staying 4 nights and will expect to be waited on hand and foot. My point really (after rambling on!) is what can I do? My husbands already said they can stay but surely its not reasonable to have to wait on 2 rude adults who are so tight with money (despite being quite well off and owning a 7 bedroomed house in france)they spend hours shopping in tesco lookin for a £1 t-shirt for their only grandaughter. I'm thinking of being so unpolite when they stay they wont ask to stay again.... Sorry for this rambling message, really just wanted to vent!

Ivegotaheadache Thu 03-Jul-08 14:02:02

When they are screaming at you why on earth don't you tell them to p* off?

You're an adult and it's ridiculous that you would put up with something like that.
If they can't change refuse to see them.

If you really can't get out of them coming to stay, use this trip as a chance to stand up for yourself.

If they lose the plot, who cares. Are they really the sort of people you want around you anyway?

And what happens when your dd grows up and witnesses this awful behaviour?

Tbh, the fact that they are racist and treat your dad like that would be enough for me to never see them in my life.
How does your dad feel when his daughter allows others to treat him in this way?

And you do allow, by not taking a stand.

7monthsplus Thu 03-Jul-08 14:07:15

well.. my mil has been doing odd things since we met. then with the arrival of DD we both decided to be assertive as we dont want dd to see us like that. so the other day I left dd (10 weeks old) with her daddy and asked her granny if she wanted to go for a walk with them (I have been accussed of being too close to her by mIL in front of HV at 8 week check) thought this would be nice. she told me when I got back that she has told my dd that she is not as pretty as her children were aand then did it again telling dd to her face that she was not so pretty!! I was so shocked! DD went there the next day and said I was crying about this as it was horrid. she said it was a joke and if I could not understand that I was not the person she thought i was.. then dh told her all the things that have upset me as to prove that this last one was the icing on the cake.. (she has cut back and taken plants out of the garden, took some of my clothes and is a bully at times)
now she is ignoring me and dh is upset as she has not spoken to dd at all.. we wanted her to see how dd cant get the joke and it is not nice not to cut her off..
I cant win. thing is she is the only granny DD has and we wanted her to modify the things she does .. not say that is it.. she has said if she cant be herself she wont come!

grr

cocolepew Thu 03-Jul-08 14:11:50

I would tell them to fuck off, really, they sound vile. You should be taking this kind of abuse from them. You and your family are grown-ups - stand up to them, and get her DH a backbone.
.

cocolepew Thu 03-Jul-08 14:12:43

Just read that back and it sounds a bit harsh, sorry blush

WigWamBam Thu 03-Jul-08 14:19:16

Why did you ask them if they could stay in a hotel? It's your home; tell them what you expect them to do. "Sorry, we are using the spare bedroom, but I will book you into a hotel". Keep saying "no" in as civil a manner as you can muster. There is no need to be impolite to them - you only put yourself down to their level if you are rude.

Without wishing to sound rude to your dh, if you are to keep having a relationship with them (although heaven knows why you would want to) he needs to develop a bit of backbone. He should be supporting you in this, and insisting that they treat you both with more respect.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 03-Jul-08 14:20:07

Get your DH to grow a pair and tell them sorry, the house is full, they will have to stay in a B&B. If they are rude to you tell them calmly that you won't be spoken to like that and leave the room/restaurant/house if necessary. Tell DH that he must support you in this and if he doesn't explain that it is a big problem that won't be ignored.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 03-Jul-08 14:22:59

The longer that both of you do not stand up to them properly the more they will walk all over you.

Being impolite to them won't make a blind bit of difference as they're likely to be immune to such things; you both need to stand up to them, particularly your husband as doubtless he has been conditioned to "accept" their toxic behaviours.

Both your H and you need to be united and his parents should be told that your plans have changed and they can no longer stay in your house. Would suggest you both read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward.

Anne76 Thu 03-Jul-08 14:27:08

Poor you - sounds horrible.

Could you not arrange to go visit your family with your DD while they are here?

Your DH might not be so willing to say they can stay if he has to deal with it all on his own... and then at least you don't have to deal with their rudeness.

Unfortunately, being unpolite to them probably wouldn't work... might just make them worse & make them feel "justified" in their (disgusting) behaviour.

NewlyMarried Thu 03-Jul-08 14:30:01

Join the club, my inlaws are a pain in the ass too. Well FIL is totally cool but MIL treats her son like a dog treats a bone and treats me like I'm lower than a snakes belly. She also is extremely offensive to my family.

I think you need to not ask them about not staying at your house, you need to TELL them they can't stay! It's your house and you deserve respect from guests which you CHOOSE to INVITE to stay.

Honestly, you need to put your foot down, it will be VERY hard and there will be a lot of mud slinging, tears, guilt tripping and stamping of feet but you must do it or you will have years of this to look forward to.

If you read my other post you will see some of the excellent advice i have been given on here: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/7/558767

Believe me it's hard to stand up to them. You need the support of your husband and you need to be united. Agree what you will say before you speak to them and if they ask you something, stop, speak to your hubby and get back to them on it.

They need to see you as a couple with equal say. They don't have to like you but they have to respect you or face consequences. Make a wall that they can't penetrate unless they back down and stop treating u like crap.

I bet you are glad they live in France!

Another thing is, you are the mum now and you should be able to have your day just like your MIL did. This is your time, be selfish and don't let them suck the goodness out of it all.

Don't argue with ur hubby about it. Remember this is a problem NOT between you two, but is a problem you BOTH have with someone else. You wouldn't accept this behaviour from anyone else in your life so don't take it from them. Your marriage comes first, put down your boundaries and don't let these people sh*t on your cornflakes!! In Laws make me MAD as you can probably tell!!!!!

Good luck!!!

louise301 Thu 03-Jul-08 14:42:36

Having read all the responses I am wondering why I have tolerated them being so awful to me and my family for so long. To be honest, think I was worried about making it worse for my DH. Have tried to be nice to them and tolerate them for the sake of not upsetting my DH. DH is scared of his dad who is a bully and very backward in his ideas (thinks women should be chained to the sink, doesnt even know how to turn on the washing machine for gods sake). To avoid making waves have just let them walk all over us. I regret not saying anything to father in law after he refused to shake my dads hand (didnt witness it, heard it second hand, my dad didnt tell me, didnt want to cause a row) that was totally unacceptable of me. Its ridiculous and my dh and I are eduated people and not victims! DH did say we'd book them into a hotel but they screamed poverty saying they couldnt possibly even stay in a cheap travel inn. DH did stand up to them more last visit which led to his dad ringing us up and screaming at us down the phone. Do not want my dd to have to witness such behaviour so am going to be strong from now on. This will be their last visit, despite them telling us they want free board and lodgings for a week at christmas they can go and stay elsewhere, maybe with their own daughter! But as some posters have said, this is causing problems between me and my DH have told DH cannot be married to him if we have to keep putting up with his parents and in particular the way they treat me- father in law rang couple of months back, I was in the bath, he rang my mother demanding to know where I was and why wasnt I at home!!!!

Jux Thu 03-Jul-08 14:46:39

But you don't have a spare bedroom do you? It's your lo's room.

If they have to stay make sure it is full of toys and little girl stuff so they're not very comfortable. OR put a mattress on the floor somewhere for them "awfully sorry but we haven't got a spare room..."

edamdepompadour Thu 03-Jul-08 14:48:54

Right, if they scream at you on the phone, put the phone down. Get call screening so you can see if it's them ringing and don't answer if they are in a mood/it's not convenient.

Don't put them up again - if they plead poverty, that's their problem, not yours (and you say they also have a daughter - why can't they stay with her?).

If you do have to see them, be calm, firm and assertive. I don't know how old your dd is (slightly confused by your OP) but if you have any experience of toddlers, use the same techniques you use on them. If they are unreasonable, say 'no' politely, if they start to kick off, walk away and say 'we can't discuss this while you are in a state, we'll talk when you have calmed down'. Or rather than walk away, ask them to leave!

swiftyknickers Thu 03-Jul-08 14:52:13

phone them and TELL them they cant stay as you dont have the room. prepare for thr convo by finding a local hotel, b + b and the cost and give them the info and be as sweet as pie. If they start shouting tell them it's non-negotiable and put the phone down

Freckle Thu 03-Jul-08 14:53:39

If your dh won't agree to them staying in a hotel because he's already said they can stay at yours, why don't you take dd and go and stay with your parents for the entire duration of their stay??

louise301 Thu 03-Jul-08 14:56:34

Mother in law stayed with us on her own for 3 nights recently and witnessed first hand how difficult it is for us in the evenings getting our dh to sleep- shes 3 and going through a phase of getting in and out of bed, hysterics etc All pretty normal stuff but thought this would sway them to stay in hotel. I thought the prospect of them getting zero sleep and enduring hour long tantrums in the evening would swing it but their tightness won!

I really admire everyone whos responded, you all sound so strong, confident and brave! I dont know why I, a normally confident person, have allowed them to treat me like this. I think its because I just assumed that it would be unacceptable of me to tell my in-laws that they cant stay in my house. On prevous visits I've left them to it while I've visited a friend for a couple of hours. This led to my mother in law ringing after the visit crying saying she didnt think it was acceptable for me to go out when they visit (anyone would think I'd gone out with another man to the pub or something, ridiculous).

Thanks for the advice everyone, what I'm hearing is that even though they're my inlaws they dont have the right to treat me like this and theres nothing wrong with telling them to sod off and stay with their daughter or their numerous other relatives in the UK.

edamdepompadour Thu 03-Jul-08 15:16:38

Yup, that's the message, Louise, sock it to them!

NewlyMarried Thu 03-Jul-08 15:16:49

No one is stronger or more confident than you! I think it's more a case that people have went past the stage you're at just now, where they cant take it anymore and HAVE to do something about it and by that time it's like bombs waiting to go off.

Regarding you going out when they visited! How rude of them to treat you like crap in the first place, but worse is that they expect you to be there and take it! No, no, no! They sound very manipulative to the extreme. They are a lot less afraid of expressing their feelings than you have been! You obviously have much better manners than them and have gave them a fair crack of the whip.

I know I'm very direct and like the majority of people on here I don't have much tolerance for people that are essentially bullies. Be as nice as you can but be direct about it. Give them black and white, no grey areas that can be misunderstood.

Winetimeisfinetime Thu 03-Jul-08 15:30:53

I'm afraid that the racist behaviour they they have displayed towards your dad and the Iranian side of your family would be a deal breaker for me - not to mention their other unreasonable behaiour.

Alexa808 Thu 03-Jul-08 17:28:17

Ha, another one...tossers, the pair of them.
I could tell you stories of my FIl and his GF. My Dad is of mixed Asian heritage (Pakistani/Persian) and I was called a Paki by GF behind my back. Had she done it in my face she wouldn't live to tell.

Some of the MNs here have witnessed my thread when I was worried about my upcoming nuptials and them attending. It was all quite civil during the day itself but very strained smiles, etc. My father just ignored her.

My Dh has really had my back and had a big shoot out with his father and the GF. Things have gone downhill from then but at least they're letting us be. Oh and the fact we've moved 8000 miles away has helped to break away.

You know it's really, really sad to see my DHs relationship with his Dad and his brothers crack and disappear into the abyss. I feel for him and I wish it would be different but it isn't and the constant abuse, nagging and bitching got too much for us to bear. winetime is right: racist remarks are a total no go. Excluding him like this is pathetic and bullying.

You are an adult, you should stand up to them and tell them to sod off. Tell them that 'unfortunately' it is not convenient for you and your family to have them use your house as a B&B. I also think your DH should pull his weight and tell them to go where the pepper grows as we say in Germany wink He should stand up to them and tell them he's a father in his own right with his own family to protect and will not tolerate any swearing, abuse, etc. Better for your DD not to be exposed to those rude and racist pigs.

Rosaline Thu 03-Jul-08 22:17:15

Total sympathy for view, as you will find from all PIL victims on MN. And more great advice offered from newlymarried!

I almost cheered when I read those wonderful words in your post "they now live in France". You really have to be so thankful for this, I would be over the moon if my ILs did this and even subtly suggested it to my MIL a few years back as she speaks fluent French and a number of her friends and relatives have moved out there, but she didn't take me up on my kind suggestion sadly (despite my inducement of how great it would be for us and the children to spend our summer hols out there with her- as if!!)

Anyway, there is no room in your house for them as it is your DD's bedroom. So no choice but local b&b for them or another relative. And if you can't get away with that this time, just go out as much as possible when they are there.

goldenpeach Fri 04-Jul-08 20:03:35

Just wondered, have you ever invited yourselves over there to France? I second the mnetter who says, go and stay somewhere else while they are at your place. Can you go and stay with your dad? I would flee like the wind. You are just a nice person, not a victim - they are taking advantage of your generosity. If they plead poverty again, why don't you suggest sweetly they can downsize their house in France and free some income for holidays? Grr, I'm angry on your behalf.

GirlySquare Fri 04-Jul-08 21:06:25

Agree with goldenpeach, you are a strong, generous person and pil's are taking advantage.

We had similar problem with dp's parents. Eventually dp realised that whilst I'm around mil can't have free accomodation, free transport and taxi service, free meals and so on. We agreed best policy was to sweetly and calmly say sorry no room, we're going away that weekend etc. etc. It worked, sadly as a result dp's parents rarely see dsd and dd - their loss.

It's a great idea for you to go to your parents whilst il's are staying and let your dh cope with them on his own. Go for it and give yourself a break.

Ivegotaheadache Sat 05-Jul-08 08:56:45

Telling PIL how you really feel is very difficult, but it's not been made easier for you by your dh's reaction to the problems.
He seems to find it difficult to stand up to them, from what I've read in your posts.
And over the years you've sort of 'learnt' that they are not to be challenged.

And don't think that everyone else is so strong that we just tell our PIL to behave!
I've endured years of very strange behaviour from my MIL, but was unable to say anything because it's very hard to say anything to PIL.

But I've learnt how best to handle her adn if she does things that I really think are out of order, I'll tell her in a tactful way (well, I think it's tactful anyway!).
It's not easy as nothing is her fault anyway. It's all us.

So at the beginning, just do a few things to quietly make a stand if it makes you feel better, than to rush in and unload years of frustration all in one go.
They will notice even the small change in you, and it will make you feel miles better.

Grrlscout Sat 05-Jul-08 13:15:36

I'm all in favour of confronting bigotry and general obnoxiousness when you see it, but I don't know if it would really help in this situation. I wonder if they respect you and DH enough to actually have any criticism register. You need to start showing them that you can exclude them successfully before they'll respect the threat that you'll do so.

They're family, but it doesn't mean that you or your husband need to pretend they aren't what they are. I have a good friend who's coping with inlaws similar to yours, with an added crosscultural element to complicate matters. It's her father in law who's the problem, really, especially when he's had a drink - her MIL, though complicit, is just less obnoxious. My friend would fume... she'd explain... she'd try to make it into a joke... keep her cool... nothing would change. Four years later, they just had enough. They didn't confront his folks - at first. They just didn't allow them to stay in their house and started limiting their time with his folks. When FIL made a racist comment, they didn't say "you're a bigot, that's obnoxious, get out" - they just said "well, it's obvious we're all tired - time for you to go now" Didn't matter it was 3PM - they'd get up and start getting everyone their coats.

It took 6 months or so of this for the boundaries to be firmly established. And the dad started to hold his tongue and behave himself, as he'd figured out that him being a bigot or baiting for a fight meant he'd be ejected from the house. My friend and her husband are perfectly polite to him - no shouting, no fighting, just firm and polite "time to leave now". He rants and raves to his son and friends about my friend and her political correctness gone mad, but he behaves himself when he's in her house.

Maybe someday, he'll stop being a bigot and a general idiot. Maybe not. For now, my friend and her husband have peace and quiet and their inlaws respect their boundaries. They don't have to worry about toxic attitudes being transmitted to their kids.

This only works because the MIL is smart enough to know what's going on and to pressure her husband to behave himself so she can have a proper visit with her son's family. If your in-laws are spoiling for a fight and aren't clever enough to figure out why they're being excluded, then you need to tell them. But if they know that you'll actually not let them get away with their behaviour, they're just more bound to actually listen to you.

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