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Am I right to disown dbil & wife - had enough of them upsetting dh

(31 Posts)
lonevoiceinthedark Sat 27-Dec-08 09:14:01

Dh and I have been together 24 years, his brother and wife have been together 10. Dh's family is very small, just the brothers and three old dears. Dbil lives 40 miles away. We have 2 dc, both born before or during the early years of dbil's relationship.
All their married life they have rather pointed ignored us, we have only been invited to their house one Boxing Day and been over for a cup of tea a handful of times (always at our instigation). They had trouble conceiving their ds and would have no contact with us throughout, even though we were very sympathetic and wanted to support them. At Xmas/birthdays we receive gushing cards with messages, 'loads of love', 'we must see you'. But no invites. The brothers speak on the phone every couple of months (usually us ringing them) and if dh makes an invitation, dbil says he will speak to wife but it's never mentioned again.
When their ds was born just over a year ago we were over the moon for them, were up to the hospital with cigars for both sides of the family, visited them when baby came home, made a huge fuss for baby's first Christmas. I also made a point of being very supportive to sil about the way she wanted to bring up her baby - no interfering sil here. Hoped and prayed this was the start of a new sort of relationship. Nothing.
Saw dbil in April when I took it upon myself to visit his new restaurant. Managed to see my dn for a few minutes although it felt like I was breaking into their house to do so. Dh took me to the restaurant for lunch in the summer and when we asked if we might pop in to see the baby were refused.
I again 'broke into the house' in August so my dc could see their cousin. I thought the visit went well and I expressed my wish to come and see the baby for his birthday and could I make his cake (I love making first birthday cakes). My sil made an odd remark 'why - do you make a fuss about their first birthday?' to which both me and mil said 'yes, you do!'. When the birthday came we were put off, we could not go to the house, they would not come to us, they would not meet for an hour at mil's. We were blanked. Later saw pictures of baby with his first birthday cake supplied by my sil's mother (nasty one too). Baby saw all of her family and my mil, but not us. Dh tried to talk to his brother about how we feel at this stage, but with no effect.
Now Xmas has come and gone with another gushing card and a Xmas day phonecall, but dh has not seen his brother or his dn. On Xmas day they had her parents, her sister, her bil, my mil and her sister to lunch. We've not even received the offer of a cup of tea on a lesser day.
Dh was so upset last night after mil (with her usual aplomb) showed her Xmas Day photos.
Everyone there, not us.
I am so angry. I want to smash his family's heads together. He is a brilliant bloke, we have done nothing to deserve this (and believe me we have spent hours analysing our behaviour to make sure of this).
I know I can't do the smashing. And I don't want to commit dh to having nothing to do with them.
But I have to do something - I feel I am going to say to mil and bil (if he should phone) that I personally want nothing to do with bil and his wife as it is too difficult to stand by and watch them hurt someone I love. I don't want to hear any news about them, and I don't want to speak to them.
I have to do something!
Sorry this is so long. Been wandering around tidying up for two hours, and this has been on my mind constantly.

Ronaldinhio Sat 27-Dec-08 09:20:37

I'm so sorry that your Christmas is marred by this every year and that your relationship is like this.

Either arrange a meeting and tell them honestly, as difficult as that might seem, how you feel to try to move things forward or accept that familial ties do not equal friendship or relationship in this case.

It's really difficult and potentially hurtful either way but it does sound like a resolution one way or another would make this easier in the the long run.

Lulumamaloveslatkes Sat 27-Dec-08 09:22:41

they clearly don;t want a relationship on the same level as you want it, and you clearly can;t force people to like you/ want to spend more time with you. some people are just not good at close relationships

they must be happy with seeing you infrequently, so you either settle for that or not

i think disowning them because they don;t include you as much as you want is cutting off your nose to spite your face

you come across as really quite forceful and determined to see the family and baby when you want. and perhaps that does not suit them

you want to be heavily involved and they don;t want you to and maybe some of the exclusion comes down to the fact that they don;t like the way you have behaved towards them?

disowning them is a step too far , perhaps saying to them you feel sad and a little disappointed you don;t spend more time together and you would like to see more of each other?

i take it you actually enjoy their company, rather than feeling that you should all be obliged to spend time together ,simply because you are family?

lonevoiceinthedark Sat 27-Dec-08 09:35:08

Thank you both.
Lulu, it's not that I am determined to see then when I want. I would go anywhere, at any time to see them. If we make an open invitation 'let us know a date that suits' we never hear anything back. I have come over as quite forceful in my post. I think that is my (understandable?) anger at dh's hurt. He doesn't deserve this. In reality, I am constantly thinking before I speak to ensure that I don't come across that way.
I have a large family (quite dysfunctional but full of love), so we have a varied family life of get-togethers at everyone's convenience. Dh has numerous bil and older nephews on my side but they are not his Brother.
We have so wanted to spend time with them, and to watch the dcs play/network/build up their relationships for the future.
Bil and I were quite close prior to his marriage. Maybe I just need to accept that I am not as well liked as I was.
Feel so sad, especially for dn as there are no children on his mum's side and will not be. If this carries on I can foresee him in the future wondering about his two cousins who were once mentioned by his Dad but whom he has no memory of.

Lulumamaloveslatkes Sat 27-Dec-08 09:37:08

i think ,sadly, you need to accept they don;t wnat the same level of involvement as you.

you won;t gain anything by cutting them out

you have to talk !

perhaps when the DCs are older they will spend more time together, if they have one much wanted and longed for baby, they might be reluctant to share him with the rest of the fami;y

lonevoiceinthedark Sat 27-Dec-08 09:40:43

Ronaldinhio, your last line is exactly how I am feeling - I don't want to do another year with this odd situation.
I wish they would just say 'we don't like you, we don't like your dc, so we don't want to see you' OR (in a dream world) 'We just didn't realise how much we were hurting him, come round Sunday morning for a bacon sarnie'.
Dh is half convinced (said in jest, but I know that man well enough to know there's a seed been planted) that they don't want ds (who is disabled) around because he's 'not quite normal'.
Can you imagine how hurtful that must be, to think that.
Yes, resolution is needed, either way.

Ronaldinhio Sat 27-Dec-08 09:49:01

Honestly I would doubt that it had anything to do with ds being disabled except perhaps that they aren't equipped to appropriately deal with him or his disability and are therefore embarassed by their own crapness.

This happened in our family when my cousin was born with SF. A wheelchair turned a large number of my aunties into numpties until there was a family pow wow about it.

Some people are completely involved or become completely involved in their own family ie dh, dw & dc to the exclusion of all others.

How bloody rotten though especaiily to feel like that about your own family and your ds

lonevoiceinthedark Sat 27-Dec-08 10:11:38

I myself don't - cannot - believe this is the reason. Also, these are not horrible people, they are nice 'proper' people, with a proper social conscience (I think!)
But I am sure these theories go round and round in dh's head and it hurts that he would even let it whizz through.
Maybe I could get one of my sisters to sit with the dc early next week and dh and I could ring bil and ask to meet them for a drink and a chat on neutral territory (mil could perhaps babysit the baby). Try to have a grown-up discussion about whether there is a problem.

Tortington Sat 27-Dec-08 10:18:29

just leave them to it - you don't have to disown them as they don't really want to see you anyway, so leave then to their platitudes.

arse to 'em

SleighGirl Sat 27-Dec-08 10:23:19

I wonder if the SIL has a very strong matriachal family and therefore you are utterly expendable. Does she run the show to speak at home so to speak? Therefore she wants to spend time with her family and doesn't care 2 hoots about you because you are his family & your MIL is mearly tolerated otherwise your dbil would really do his nut and put his foot down?

I notice in many posts on MN that women seem to be the ones to have everything to do with their family whilst the in laws are just something to be tolerated?

lisad123 Sat 27-Dec-08 10:25:47

I wouldnt cut them out, especially as your dh has so little family. I think you will have to accept the fact that they dont want a close relationship. Men/brothers in general arent great at keeping close relationships ime tbh. We dont see dh family at all (their choice) and so he has only his nan. He was very upset to see a pic of his DN &DN at his nans the other day as he saw what he was missing.
Maybe yuour SIL is a very shy, private person and finds relationships hard.

Dont let them get to you, your dh sounds lovely btw

lonevoiceinthedark Sat 27-Dec-08 10:29:25

He is lovely.

Thank you Custy. Have decided to have a 'world - kiss my arse it's gold plated' day now.
I will keep me trap shut when I see mil tonight, and think about this again tomorrow.
After all, tomorrow is another day, and dd has found a dried up prawn under the table and is prodding it to see if its still alive. That might be fun.
Thank you all.

sunnygirl1412 Sat 27-Dec-08 17:58:51

Lonevoice - could you write them a letter, explaining how their behaviour looks to you and dh, and how it's making you feel. Tell them that it really hurts your dh when he and his family are the only ones left out of family gatherings at important occasions like the baby's first birthday and christmas.

Writing a letter will allow you to ensure that you say everything that you want to say, in the best way possible, so that they can truly understand what their behaviour is doing to you and your dh.

Be as positive as you can - talk about how you want the family to have good relationships and how you'd love your dc's to be your dn's friend as he grows up. Make it clear, as you've done here, that you are more than willing to be flexible and fit in with their family because you know how tiring life is with your first baby.

You could send a copy of the letter to your MIL, so that she can see it at the same time - and then the ball is in their court and you will have done the best you can to re-establish contact.

Greatfun Sat 27-Dec-08 20:30:50

I think the 4 of you need to speak. Sounds like it is just you and DH being excluded rather than the whole of your DHs family. I would tell them how you feel and that you'd lije to see more of them but havent always fekt the feeling is reciprocated. Even if it diesnt get the result you are after if you go about it in the righ way (Ie. It doesnt turn into an argument) the worse that can happen is that the situataion stays the same but you have tried to change that. I feel for you as its not nice. Its easy to say forget it but its very hurtful when these things happen. At least by speaking to them you can say you tried. Fingers crossed for you.

Greatfun Sat 27-Dec-08 20:31:38

Excuse typos. Am tired blush

compo Sat 27-Dec-08 20:36:07

do they come if you invite them to your kid's parties?

pantomimEDAMe Sat 27-Dec-08 20:36:17

It's a shame your BIL doesn't want to see his brother very often. But you can't make them spend time with you. And you do sound VERY pushy - forcing your way in to the house in August and feeling put out because you didn't get to make the birthday cake.

crokky Sat 27-Dec-08 20:38:17

Have only read OP, but I would approach MIL and ask her directly what the problem is and say that your DH is hurt.

If you have no luck with that, just leave BIL and SIL alone - there is no need for a grand gesture to cut off contact - it is already effectively cut off. Just don't bother with anything anymore with them.

There must be a problem somewhere and MIL seems likely to know what it might be.

ShinyPinkShoes Sat 27-Dec-08 20:39:03

Might a very carefully worded letter be an effective way of at least opening up communication?

compo Sat 27-Dec-08 20:40:37

tbh it sounds to me as if SIL doesnt like you or dh as you used to get on well with BIL before he married

solidgoldstuffingballs Sat 27-Dec-08 20:44:35

I think you need to back right off. It's up to your DH to speak to them if he wants to make changes - you are not his owner/manager and it is not your job to sort out his relationships with his family.

It's one of those annoying-but-true things that the more one person pushes for contact, the more the reluctant parties resist and run away: they probably feel a bit stalked by you. Just accept that they don't want to be close, be civil, send birthday cards or whatever, and leave initiating contact up to them.

DandyLioness Sun 28-Dec-08 00:05:39

Message withdrawn

lonevoiceinthedark Sun 28-Dec-08 09:07:57

Thanks for all your comments.

Panto, the 'breaking into the house' was actually tongue in cheek. Smashing the door in was always preceded by a polite phone call asking if the dcs and I might pop in for a cup of tea and to see the baby (and then driving 40 miles to do so). Sorry, I have a rather dry way of putting things sometimes (partly to disguise hurt I think).

Re the 'forceful' comments, without flouncing in my defence I would say I have put an awful lot of thought into not being forceful.
I consciously put aside the fact that I had a very different relationship with dbil in the fifteen years before he married, and consciously began a 'new' sort of relationship with him as part of a couple.

I don't have a problem with the birthday cake, I asked 2 months in advance if I could make it when the position was that my SIL's family were not around for the b'day and added the proviso 'if you're not doing it yourselves' as they are in the catering trade. More the fact than we were dropped from seeing the baby (but everyone else could).

It was never my intention to limit dh's contact with his family - my OP states 'I personally'. It's not for me to dictate to dh, I just don't want to sit and listen to MIL going on and on about people that I cannot connect with (and also, obviously find it hurtful that the dc have to listen as well and wonder why they never see their cousin).
Last night we went out with MIL and my dd asked 'what did Father Christmas bring to X?'. A crying shame that dd and X haven't been able to play with their toys together this Xmas.

Will NOT be using MIL as some sort of go-between in this at all.

Solidgold, quite happy to back off, don't need to be adored by the world at large, but would like the hypocritical comments in cards 'hope to see you very soon' 'we must catch up' 'really hope we can meet over the festive season' stop. If that stopped then my dc might stop asking when we are going to see Uncle * and Aunty % and Baby X.
That last comment is in this year's Xmas card. Dh 'fesses that when he rang them Xmas night his db whispered that he might bring the baby to see us in a couple of weeks when his wife is working. Curiouser and curiouser.

SleighGirl Sun 28-Dec-08 15:44:40

It's really sad, I think your SIL has a big issue about you & your dh or similar and dbil hasn't been able to stand up to her over it, I reckon.

Perhaps she is jealous, has "issues" or is just a control freak!

Hopefully dbil will continue to do his best to make sure you get to see dn at least occasionally.

SleighGirl Sun 28-Dec-08 15:45:43

Perhaps your dh can arrange to see his db for lads nights out without any other family around so at least they get to support each other & spend time together.

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