Passive agressive inlaws(24 Posts)
Hi all. I'm looking for advice on how to handle my inlaws. They live in Ireland and disapproved of my husband leaving home/going to uni/working abroad/marrying an English girl. Basically they are small time traditional Irish folk and expected him to stay at home and never leave. He's instead married me, an English girl and we have two young children. His father has never visited us in 5 years, his mother and sister only a couple of times. They expect us to traipse back over to Ireland to visit them. They never say this but are passive agressive - they don't visit and dont call. We've tried to make them Skype so they can see the children and interact with thrm but they've done it once (after much persuasion) and it's never been talked of agsin. Basically I feel they blank my husband so he feels guilty about living abroad. The fact they don't seem to support his life here at all puts so much pressure on our marriage. I've been unable to travel for the last 18 months (hypermesis in pregnancy, miscarriages, newborn baby) and my husband blames me for the fact we haven't seen his family for all this time- he went home once without me during this. I come from a close family and can't understand why they haven't come to visit us during this time. We have a newborn daughter amd his father still doesn't even think of visiting - they expect us to go over there with her. She was very ill during her first few weeks so this isn't even possible for ages. He didn't meet our other daughter until she 5 months old when we felt able to travel with her. I might add we can't even stay at their house when we visit as its too small and they never ever offer to help out with the children when we are there or babysit.
I'm at my wits end - I feel like we've just lost one half of the family. My husband misses thrm a lot but it's not practical and too stressful for us to keep making all the effort with none from them. He refuses to say anything to them. Am I being unreasonable to expect them to visit and help out occasionally? How can I stop them putting so much pressure on my husband to move back? It's done in such a passive agressive way it makes it so hard to address - I never speak to them myself as our only contact is when my husband phones them weekly. Our girls don't know their grandparents at all and this saddens me. Thanks in advance!
Oh I should add we live in the uk. And it's not money - they can well afford to visit. They just choose to be uninvolved.
I'd treat them with exactly the same regard as they treat you. Sorry that you're in this situation OP my in laws are just as unpleasant
Your husband shouldn't be blaming you for their lack of interest in him or his family. You and your children are his immediate family now, not them. Pull him up every time he blames you.
Don't hold out any hope that they are going to have a change of heart and come over to visit and help out, they have no interest in their son or grandchildren, if they did they'd make the effort to see them.
It's not compulsory for children to have a relationship with their grandparents. It's not automatically good for them either.
Thank you for your comments. Emily - sorry you have rubbish inlaws too. I just can't understand what people get out of acting so cold. The annoying thing is as well if we were in Ireland they'd be all over us - though still we'd be doing most the work going round to theirs etc. Yes my husband shouldn't be blaming me for their actions but we constantly argue about it as he expects us to hop on plane even if we've got a sick baby/puking 7 times a day as its the only way he can have a relationship with them. Grrr inlaws! I think I'd almost rather the over involved type! At least then you'd know they care!
I have exactly the same issue OP but my in laws only live 2 hours away! It makes me angry.
They will not come to the house at all. MIL claims she's allergic to dogs (we have one very elderly dog) which I know for a fact is untrue as they had dogs themselves for over 20 years. She blames a dog allergy for her asthma but never mind the fact that she has chain smoked for years and still does. FIL says he cannot leave her alone even though he goes out to work so basically unless we arrange to meet in a pub they don't see their GC. I went along with this for a few years but every time we met they showed very little interest and just talked about themselves the whole time. I've now put my foot down and said no more pub visits, with two children under 3 it doesn't work and very little is gained from it except getting stressed and bored. This makes me look like the unreasonable one to my DH but so be it. I'm not playing the game anymore. PIL are very PA too, they occasionally phone up and whine about how they haven't seen the kids but won't ever make an effort to arrange anything or come over. When we make the effort we just get the above experience.
This Christmas I've said they to DH they have an open invitation to come to our house but I won't be meeting up in some pub.
DH gets grumpy and says 'well they won't get to see them then' which then makes me feel bad. But over the years Ive realised he's actually angry with them but can't express it very well so it's easier to be grumpy with me.
I've got to the point where I've got to think of what's best for the kids rather than trying to be a people pleaser. The rest is up to them.
Thanks bambam so sorry to here you have this too. No way I would be dragging two young children to a pub each time either. It's hard isn't it cos when you put your foot down and say no 'we as a family are not doing this' you do seem unreasonable and like you aren't encourage your partner and children to see his family when in reality you'd love a nice normal working relationship!
I think you've hit the nail on the head - my husband prob gets upset too but can't voice this to me. He acts like he isn't hurt by it but he must be and easier to take it out on me rather than them!
Ps well done on Christmas - I'm still currently caving and saying maybe to my husband that we would go over to theirs (even tho it would involve flying with a 5/6 month old who may have blood clotting issues and an unruly 3 year old and then staying in a self catering house and then traipsing round to theirs for dinner every day (we never do anything else as it takes us all day to get the kids and stuff ready to go for lunch/dinner each day for an hour or two - and they wouldn't consider meeting us out anywhere).
What's the worst that can happen if you don't go over for Christmas?
I know what you mean when you say you'd rather had a normal relationship with them. We've just had a baby and they put £20 in a card rather than getting in the car and coming over to see her
They'll start whining soon that they haven't seen her and want us to meet in a pub somewhere so they can. It's coming but I've already said no to DH. I'm not going down this route again. They have an open invitation to our house and I will make them feel very welcome. There's no real reason for them not to. They are both early 70s btw not elderly or anything.
We don't have the option of going to their house as it would be very unsafe for the kids. Stuff everywhere, not cleaned and constant chain smoking. They never open the windows so it hits you when you walk in. You come away stinking of smoke and feeling nauseous. DH thankfully has made the decision not to visit their house, he refuses to let the kids go there. When he was little he was hospitalised with respiratory problems due to his mums smoking and it's a big elephant in the room that's never been discussed.
We've had some very frank and open discussions that are quite painful for DH so I think deep down he really understands why I've got to this point. I think that is the only thing you can do tbh.
If your child has blood clotting issues will they be allowed to fly?
stop making an effort with them! People ultimately do what they want - if they are not coming to visit it's simply because they don't want to - for whatever reason. stop bending to accommodate them - if they want to speak with you, let them call, if they want to see you, they can come visit! Stop trying to force a relationship with them
They don't seem to care about how you feel or how their actions are affecting you, so why should you care about how they feel about you? I've had a flipping nightmare with similar people since having DS to the extent I no longer give a flying f**k about what they think of me, it's quite liberating, and life is MUCH easier as we only do things now to suit ourselves and not to suit needy people (who would never be happy regardless of what we did)
bambam congrats on your new baby. We didn't even get card! His dad simply did nothing - his mum and sis visited baby once in the hospital once when she was very sick (we thought she might die) and not since.
Toast - think you are right I need to let it go and accept the relationship I want isn't going to happen. I feel so sad for DH and DC though. Luckily my family are lovely and very involved!
Don't risk your daughter's health to please them - it's their problem not yours.
To roll out the old MN cliche you don't have an IL problem you have a DH problem.
It's best to let go and be grateful you live in another country, if they were close to you they'd be causing even more problems. People like this expect your world to revolve around them.
Your husband has no right to blame you for his family not bothering to visit. They don't care. That's their responsiblity. Nothing to do with you. You need to shoot him down and tell him straight every time he tries to take their behaviour out on you.
Whatever you do, don't ruin Christmas by visiting them. It would be a nightmare.
I think it's interesting that your DN blames you for his parents reaction to him marrying you (an English woman). He chose to live in another country to the one where he was born. His parents choose not to visit. We're they like that with him before you were around?
This is a question of established parent child dynamics and how he needs to change them now he is an adult himself and has a family of his own. There is a balance to be found, but he can't blame you it not being what he wants because there are 3 other adults with you in this situation, and 2 children whose best interests should be looked after IMO.
Ps Dr said baby can fly but tbh we'd still be nervous.
Omg - yes they were like this with him before I arrived on scene. Expected him to visit the whole time, were unsupportive of him going to uni etc. I agree it's for him to change the dynamic but he doesn't seem to want/be able to. In the meantime our DC and me suffer.
Oh that's hard, I'm sorry it's affecting you and your kids. Me and my wife had a long chat about her parents and mine and what our lines were when we had kids, because our little unit has to come first, not them Don't get me wrong, we love both sets of parents and want them to see the kids, but needed to renegotiate how it worked and it did involve more travelling from the parents and less for us, because travelling with kids is hard!
It'll probably change more as they get older. Point is for your DH, that he is not responsible for his parents reaction to him living abroad and having an English wife, it's their circus and their monkeys.
From your point of view, how frequently does he/you want to see his parents and for them to see the kids, and how much of it is he/you prepared to do the legwork/travelling for, and crucially does that work for your financial circumstances, timw, energy levels etc? (You've probably already thought of all this, sorry if you have).
For a simple example, if you guys want to see his family once a month, but you can only travel for half of those times and his parents won't travel, then everyone has to accept that his family will only see yours for half of the time you want. Key point is that is their lookout, not yours. Does he understand that or not?
That's tough. But he is an adult and has made conscious choices to marry you and live abroad. That is not your fault or responsibility so its unfair to take it out on you. However as I said it's the easiest option for him so unless challenged that is what he will go with.
Sounds like there is a deep rooted pattern of behaviour that he's going to have to address. My DH is going to do some individual counselling to tackle his underlying anger with his parents but it has taken 10 years to get to this point of being open about it all. There are days when the Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) kicks in.
I genuinely feel that if DH were a kid today he would have been taken in to care it's hard to play happy families with people who treated someone you love very deeply like that.
OP - I am a MiL and BTW you sound a lovely DiL
You can't force family relationships, I would step back and allow your DH to make all the arrangements. His parents, his decisions. I too think there is a lot of other back stuff which colours his actions and words.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.