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Sigh... Inlaws. (may I vent please?)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Lately, it feels like they hate my guts. Seriously.

I was scared to have children, because of how the ILs treat my DH's cousin (who also practices AP), and now those fears have been validated.

We took over 2 months off after DD was born—partially so we could spend time with the ILs when they'd come to see their first and only grandchld, but they never came. Instead they were angry we didn't drive 5 hours up and stay in their tiny claustrophobic house with them over Easter (DD was only 1 month old).

We directly asked them about coming to visit us (note - they are able-bodied retirees...some retirees stay busy...they don't...just watch TV and listen to Rush Limba all the time). They hemmed and hawed. They made the excuse they didn't want someone to be in their house to petsit their 5 precious cats. That's fine except they expect us to visit them all the time when we have to hire a petsitter to watch our 2 cats—one of whom has kidney disease.

So they finally decided to come down when DD was 3 MONTHS OLD. By this time, DH and I had maxed out our vacation time, but we managed to arrange more time off for them anyhow. Only my MIL and GPsIL came (FIL has yet to even meet his GD...who is 6 months old now ). By this time, our house was very cluttered (I had cleaned it before DD's birth in anticipation of visitors...but you know how it is with a newborn). We also didn't have much space to accommodate the grandparents (we had only expected DH's parents). Initially, his mother said they'd stay in a hotel. 2 days before they came down, she told him they couldn't find a hotel (BS) and asked if they could just stay with us instead.

So I did a bunch of research to find a nice place for them to stay. We arranged (and paid) to put the grandparents and MIL (who wanted to be close to them as they are very old and fragile) in a beautiful B&B that was very close by. We could tell MIL was annoyed by this, but we were glad we made this decision. She didn't like me BFing and wanted me to stay banished in the bedroom while visiting OUR home the whole time (DH put his foot down to that ).

After they left to go home, MIL sent a very short email to both of us saying we spent too much money for the B&B (even we made it clear it was a gift) and she put half the money for the B&B in DH's account. To some people, this may seem like she was simply trying to be nice. She wasn't. It created a lot of tension between us. DH was furious with his parents. He had asked them to remove their names from this bank account before we got married and was under the impression they did. I was angry at him he didn't make sure they were off it.

Nope. Not only had they kept their names on, but they were regularly viewing how much he put in and took out. We found this out when he had the account closed and a week later his mother called in a panic bc she couldn't access it anymore.

Two months later, DH's grandmother got into a car accident. I had us packed up and ready to go down (I even arranged time off of work), but DH put a hold on it for over a month bc he has issues at work and felt it was too tense for us to go down right then. GMIL is now out of the hospital, and DH plans to go alone while I stay here with DD and watch the house (I can't take anymore time off).

Well, yesterday I spoke with my MIL briefly yesterday. I could tell she is blaming me for us not visiting by now.

I'm terrified to go up to visit them for Thanksgiving (we rotate Tday and Xmas...we used to go up for both, but my parents got neglected so DH and I agreed to rotate holidays for both families). I just know they will attack our parenting. DH agreed we'll stay in a hotel instead of the clausterphobic house, but I know they will hate me for that too.

I don't know what to do. I am trying to come to terms that there may be nothing I can do, either, as his family has boundary issues, and it's DH's place—not mine—not set those boundaries (he's finally admitted it's an issue and is working on it).

It's still really annoying. :
post #2 of 19
So we're married to the same person with the same inlaws, right?

IF you go at Thanksgiving, stay in a hotel and have an agreed upon exit plan. If they do X we leave immediately. It is the only way you are going to get through it. And wear your baby - that was the secret for me and DS getting through those first few visits with them. Then they didn't want to see us anymore so it wasn't an issue.

Just limit contact, which doesn't sound very hard to do.
post #3 of 19
Yeah. No matter what dh says book the hotel yourself! I learned the hard way the first time we visited the inlaws with a child (dd1 was almost two years old, though). He'd insisted he'd taken care of hotel arrangements. He had never even picked up a phone but he didn't' want to insult his parents. There never was any hotel. He was more afraid of their wrath than mine. I haven't been back since.

What you need to start doing though, is working in holidays where you say, "Now that we are a family we are spending this Christmas, Thanksgiving... with just the three of us." This is a great way to make sure your parents or his do not feel trumped by the other set and to actually have a relaxing holiday. They aren't supposed to be about stress.
post #4 of 19
This is why I've met my inlaws once. One horrible time ever and I need never do it again! :
post #5 of 19
You're lucky in one regard: that your DH appears to be very supportive of you. That's huge, and will help get you through this. You guys are doing everything right: setting clear boundaries early (like with arranging the B&B), not letting them walk all over you (like with BFing in your own home), taking action when you realize they're overstepping (like with the bank account). Just continue doing those things. Yes, your MIL will be upset and probably blame you, but over the years she'll have to come to accept it, especially since your DH is so firmly planted on your side.

The adjustment period following the first baby's birth can be very awkward and uncomfortable -- you and your DH are taking the reins in some regards, and that can be scary and upsetting to some parents/ILs. It's kind of like the young adult lion challenging the leader of the pride, you know? But it has to be done, and you guys are doing it right -- you're not being rude, but you're making it clear that you call the shots when it comes to your (nuclear) family.
post #6 of 19
Sorry about the inlaws -hugs- but I agree with PP, be the Mama Lion and roar as loud as you feel you need to to ensure the well being of your little family!
post #7 of 19
Keep enforcing those boundaries, thank your dh for his continued efforts and support and limit contact (especially since you can now focus on your family spending holidays just the 3 of you). I've been down this road and while mil may be pissed at you, please realize that there is nothing you could ever do that *would* make her happy and hopefully she'll eventually accept that it is what it is.
post #8 of 19
I am so glad DH is being supportive, that makes a HUGE difference. Keep your distance and good luck at Thanksgiving.
post #9 of 19
Keep up with the boundaries. It sounds like you are both showing a united front, and other then keeping at it, there isn't much else to do. It is beyond frustrating, that I know, but for some reason, IL issues seem to be the more persistent of all issues out there... :P
post #10 of 19
I'm sorry they are blaming you for everything, but very glad that you and DH are on the same side and sticking with your boundaries. Keep it up as while they will probably still be mad sometimes, they will likely get used to it and maybe even stop reacting as poorly since they will expect your response.

I also agree that saying you want to spend time with just your immediate family for a holiday is totally fine too if you do want to do that. I plan to at least set aside some time to just have holidays with my immediate family now that I have a little girl on the way, we may still go visit say for Christmas, but we'll also have our own Christmas at home and some holidays we may not be able to visit for at all.
post #11 of 19
It sounds to me like they were miserable before you were ever in the picture, and now they have you to "pick on". Although, I am a little perplexed about the banking situation---if it was your husband's bank account, then he should have been the one to get them off the account...........and not "let it go".............how long have you two been married? Don't you have a joint bank account?

Why are you bending over backwards for them? A "relationship" goes both ways, and both sides have to make an effort toward making it work. It certainly sounds like they aren't, and you are beating yourself up over trying to make them happy (which, by the way, you never will!!!).

You must give them a choice: "You can come and visit us during this time we have off. If you choose not to, then I'm sorry you won't come. But please let us know what you plan on doing." Don't let this whole thing turn into a game and a control issue, because that's what it is, you know. If your husband is having trouble making decisions and standing his ground, then you need to do it and not worry if your IL's "hate you" or not. It sounds like they are used to getting their way, are very controlling and manipulative, and your husband falls for it hook, line and sinker. But, you don't have to.

If you are terrified to go there for Thanksgiving, then don't go. Holidays are not for being terrified. They are supposed to be enjoyable. And, be honest about it!! Tell them that YOU are now a mother---and YOU have responsibilities---and YOU have to go to work and take care of a little one----and you need your rest too!! If they can't make the effort to get out of their house and come to see you, then why are you going crazy to get to see them? If they don't want to see their GC, then oh well. They will only make your child miserable anyway, it sounds like to me.

If your GP's are so "old and fragile" then maybe they shouldn't be driving? Just a thought. It appears to me like your husband didn't want to go there to begin with, even though your GM was in an accident.........so why are you jumping around, packing up and getting ready to go down there? If it is/was a fatal condition, then that's a different story.

It sounds to me like their M.O. is trying to control and manipulate everything to their convenience and liking---and, guess what? Life isn't like that. They had their family, and raised them how they wanted to raise them. now it's your turn, and if they don't like how you are raising your children, then tough s**t. If they want to use their "methods", then they can adopt a kid. The simple fact that she called in a "panic" when the bank account was closed is an obvious example of the loss of control and her "panic" over losing it when she can no longer access and monitor the account!!! That was her only method of "control" since her son got married and is now not with them anymore.

They want you to dance around them and when they say "JUMP!", they want you to ask "How high?" Forget it. Like when they said they were coming to your house, and then showing up with the GP's is nothing short of disrespectful and rude! Getting them a room at the B&B was smart----except I would have made them pay for it!! When she asked you if they could stay at your house I would have said "NO". That was NOT the agreement from the beginning. If they don't want to "play by the rules", so to speak, then guess what? You don't play at all.

When you go visit them, why do you have to stay or get a hotel? 5 hours is not that far---start out in the morning, visit them for the day, have dinner and then drive home after dinner and you'll be home by 11pm. Why prolong the agony? This way, you don't need cat-sitters or house-sitters or anything. This way, they get to see you and it is not a horrible thing for you----you can do anything for a day!! And, don't forget---you are a person too. You deserve respect too. And, this is YOUR CHILD. You have your own life to live, you shouldn't be worrying about making them happy----it sounds like they are just miserable old Republicans anyway (sorry, didn't mean to bring up politics, but you DID mention Rush Limbaugh!!!) and nothing you do will make them happy.

I say quit trying to pacify them and stop worrying about if they "hate" you or not. They don't hate you---they are just miserable old wretches who are miserable with their own lives. Make rules, make decisions, and stand your ground---and don't worry about them. Now is the time for YOU to be happy!! And you must do whatever necessary to make yourself happy---if that includes avoiding the IL's, then so be it.
post #12 of 19
With all that you wrote, and everything you posted about your in-laws, I just have one observation: your MIL has the problem, not you, and it's not your job (or your dh's) to fix it. Period. If she's unhappy with you, it's because of her own whacked out expectations and it's NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Don't go where you don't want to go, and keep being consistent.
post #13 of 19
We must have the same in-laws! Right down to the whole bank account thing (except WE found out when we pulled a credit report for my husband and found an overdraft protection account on it from them. *sigh*)

If you are truly terrified to go for Thanksgiving, I'd tell them that you are staying home this year since you are your own family unit now. I'm really sorry you are going through this. I wouldn't wish in-laws like mine on anyone.
post #14 of 19
You have your own child now?
we rotate Tday and Xmas...we used to go up for both, but my parents got neglected so DH and I agreed to rotate holidays for both families
I'd rotate inviting them one year going the next. They now have the number of a really nice B&B to stay at.

Time to start your own (healthier) family traditions..
post #15 of 19
We had a really hard time with these type of in-laws too. My FIL hated me. My MIL tried to just be the go between, although she would talk behind my back. My Dh worked for them. His father managed his money even for months after we were married. It was HORRIBLE.

I didn't take it personally, and you shouldn't either. My DH was my FIL's LIFE before and after his second marriage. They were and are still very close. I knew he hated me, but it was because his son got married, not because of any flaws on my part. I was nice and respectful to him, and he would never talk to me. I didn't notice that he didn't talk to me directly, until he STARTED talking to me 3 yrs into our marriage. Part of this time was out of state, when we moved away. Boy, that didn't go well.

But, when we moved back, he got spiritual and all (is devout catholic, but this was a revival in him), and he asked for my forgiveness. Now, I never prayed for this miracle, that my FIL whom EVERYONE adored and respected, would accept me and care for me. I knew it just wouldn't happen, but he was good to the kids. This was a miracle out of no where, and I thought he must have been dying of cancer. I asked my DH if he would tell him if he was dying. He assured me that his health was great. It is a long story, how it all worked out. And, we were very blessed by all of this, especially me. Since, FIL tried to rekindle things with MIL, who has since run away with her 1st husband, he has really dived into our relationship, his relationship with the kids, and has healthier boundaries with his grown son.

So, I know it is tough right now. I know that you are all getting to know each other. Your DH is doing very well, and being supportive. That is a GREAT start. My husband knew his stepmother wasn't all that great, but his father, apron strings held strong too long. Dh did finally come around, to make his marriage work, mostly due to his FATHER's intervention and his father admitting the mistakes he made with both marriages, and told DH not to let his marriage be ruined. LOL It was a good thing.

It can happen. Things will get better. They may not get to a point where holidays are a joy, and visits are fondly remembered, but over time, it should get easier. You will all get a little older, and mellow out a little. Or, you may never see any commonalities, and just tolerate each other for the children's sake until the children are grown. I hope it gets better for you. Although things are much improved over here, it isn't 100%. We never see MIL when we have FIL over or we go to see him for a holiday. It is so sad. We do see DH's siblings, and FIL, and he is a VERY GOOD MAN. Kymberli
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you all for the support, understanding, and awesome advice!

Yeah, it's been a battle of the boundaries for us. Folks say having a child can add a lot of stress to your marriage. It has for us, but I think having DD has improved our relationship. It forced me to grow a spine and DH to open his eyes about things we have been in denial about for the 5 years we've been married (10 years we've been together).

That said, we will go up for T-Day. DH is an only child. He may not be close to his family (he has always sort of hid his personal life from them), but he loves them al ot. He talks so much about happy times he's had there as a child, and has dreams of our daughter bonding with her grandparents. He also LOVES his grandparents. They are in their 80s and 90s and they will soon not be around. I can't in good conscious take that away from him... If he decided to end things, that's his choice...though I know him enough to know it would hurt him.

I had to make the painful choice of ending my relationship with my own father. He is genuinely sick and abusive... I feared keeping him in my life would negatively impact my little clan (husband and child), and I didn't want the sick cycle of abuse in our family to continue. Even so, it's been very painful to do...like someone cut a hole in my heart. He's abusive, but there were wonderful parts to him that I love and miss very much... It's like losing someone to death...only it's your choice. Anyhow, I can't ever force someone to make a shitty decision like that.

And I've spoken a lot of negative about my ILs, but they are (well, used to be) good people. I'm not saying that bc I have some sort of Patty Hurst Syndrome or because I'm in denial... I've known them for nearly 10 years... They really changed... Yeah, there were boundary issues with DH (which DH accepted), but neither of them were so...um...evil until a couple years ago. It's really gotten the worst this past year (before DD was born).

We have our theories. DH's father is 70 years old. He's always been a little out there (I think he could have Aspergers), but he's been getting worse over the years...particularly this year... We both suspect he could have something like Alzheimer's, but DH's mother (and father) is hiding it from us. It's kind of scary. We want them so badly to open up to us so we can help them...but DH is very non-confrontational—plus he's terrified to find out it may be true. and it is not my place to go there with them (and believe me I really WANT to, but right now it'd make things so much worse).

Originally Posted by DianeMarie View Post
When you go visit them, why do you have to stay or get a hotel? 5 hours is not that far---start out in the morning, visit them for the day, have dinner and then drive home after dinner and you'll be home by 11pm. Why prolong the agony? This way, you don't need cat-sitters or house-sitters or anything. This way, they get to see you and it is not a horrible thing for you----you can do anything for a day!! And, don't forget---you are a person too. You deserve respect too. And, this is YOUR CHILD. You have your own life to live, you shouldn't be worrying about making them happy----it sounds like they are just miserable old Republicans anyway (sorry, didn't mean to bring up politics, but you DID mention Rush Limbaugh!!!) and nothing you do will make them happy.
LOL! I agree with most everything you said, except the commute part. 5 hours is quite a drive—especially with the baby and our dogs in the car. It's hard enough to drive 5 hours in one day...to do 10 just to visit someone would be crazy for us.

But honestly, we don't mind staying at a hotel for a couple days. It'd be a nice little perk for us - a jacuzzi and free cable (we don't have cable at home) while having our own space in the evening...kind of like a relaxing vacation. Luckily, nice rooms are really cheap where DH's family lives.
post #17 of 19
Five hours is a long time for me too. And I love hotels for the same reason! In all seriously, though, eventually you should consider doing some just the three of you holidays.
post #18 of 19
RE a pp, when we had a 6 hour drive and a 6 month old we actually split the trip in two and stayed overnight in a hotel. Many of us do not have babies who will accept sitting in the carseat for that long. To drive 10 hours just for dinner is crazy.
post #19 of 19
You can't win for loosing, so you and Dh may as well please yourselves over when and where you visit. You want a hotel, get a hotel, at least you'll get some sleep that way.
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