eepster -- my situation is similar, and as a result I don't see MIL much, or SIL, who were very rude, condescending, underhanded, and sneering toward me for the first 3/4 of our marriage. We've been together about 12 years. I started standing up to them in a more direct way when my oldest child was young, because they were trying to undermine me as a parent, and doing things to get to me thru my child whenever we visited them. They backed down a little once I started being more direct and firm with them. They don't like it at all and think I'm very rude and crazy. : ) So, the way that I deal with them now is to only see them rarely -- we see MIL every couple of months, only for the day, and we see SIL maybe once or twice per year, for a few hours. My husband, however, pretends that nothing's really wrong, and he doesn't admit that this is the reason we don't see them much. He just says he's "busy", or we're busy, and comes up with reasons that we can't stay with them when we visit. MIL lives 2.5 hours from us, in a senior apartment. FIL passed away 9 or 10 years ago. She doesn't live with us or stay with us for extended periods because our marriage couldn't take the chronic stress and tension of having her here. SIL lives a plane ride away, but when we "visit", we do not stay with her. I stopped staying with her about 6 years ago when I put my food down with my husband. We stay at a hotel and my husband gives the excuse that we're vacationing, and we do the beach and such. We see SIL maybe once or twice during the week that we're in her town. I find that she doesn't get super rude unless we're with her for more than like 3 hours straight, or more than 1 or 2x that week. So we'll have dinner with them or something & visit a little and that's it. She starts to get rude toward the end and then it's time to skate outta there. She is upset that we don't stay with her, but doesn't seem to see it as a result of her tx of me. And dh doesn't tell her directly. I think she does realize, though, because she doesn't ask him. I think she knows that if she asked him, he would have to defend me and he would have to be more direct with her about why we don't see her much.
It's sad because my kids see my family A LOT MORE. We live near my family. It's not stressful to live near my family because I know how to set limits with them, and they don't intrude. We have a good relationship with my side of the family. Except that my husband is jealous because my mom does things with my kids and his mom doesn't. Even when we visit his mother, she doesn't ever want to do any child-centered activities with us. She wants them to sit quietly or listen to her lecture or give advice. She wants us to sit and pay attention to her, and center activities around her, and prevail over the group. Since they are little, this is hard for them and they start to raise hell and get into things. Then she yells at them and then I get irritated and end up taking them to McD's playplace or someplace nearby while dh stays and visits with her. My dh does admit to me that it upsets him that his mom doesn't seem to want to play with them or go on outings with us to parks, arcades, chuck e cheese, or even shopping or out to dinner when we visit her. It's like she doesn't want to be seen with us or something, besides not wanting to do anything child-centered. He gets very hurt, but he doesn't tell her in so many words.
veggiemom -- my ILs had many of the same preconcieved notions about white people. My MIL (and my late FIL) speaks English, but she would much rather speak KOrean, understandably. My husband only speaks Korean to his mom (not his sister), and he feels that he doesn't speak very good Korean. He doesn't speak it to our children, ever, unfortunately. I know a few words and phrases and words for food in Korean but that's it. I admire you for speaking Chinese and I'm sure your ILs love that. My MIL and FIL told me to call them 'mother and father' in Korean from the beginning, which I do. It's been a very hard road with MIL, and it's strange to call her mother when she can't stand me, but i do it. My kids call her Harlmoni.