My DH and I have been together for over a decade, and over that time I've gone from thinking his family was eccentric to realizing they are toxic. They are passive aggressive, emotionally manipulating, FIL's a narcissist and misogynist, MIL's codependent and sees nothing wrong with that. It hasn't been until recently that my DH has been able to accept that this is true, because in their hearts they do everything out of love for us (their version of it) and so he's excused and defended them his whole life.
I was doing ok with keeping fairly distant from them and not getting overly worked up about their behavior before my kids were born. Then I had my first child, and I saw my in-laws in a new light. I realized that my kids are going to grow up seeing me treated in this condescending way, being marginalized and looked down on and pushed aside and hushed up. That is unacceptable to me. It's the opposite of the values I am trying to teach them. To make matters worse, FIL has started being rude to my kids, too, in that back-handed way that makes it hard to confront him about it.
So finally, after all this time, earlier this year I put my foot down and stood up for myself and my kids, in their name. I told FIL that the kids and I can't be around him anymore unless he agreed to be more polite to us and start working on those (and several other) ways he acts towards us. The result was an epic, months-long temper tantrum, where he's somehow twisted this into me being abusive and him being a victim. The sad part is that the kids haven't asked for him once during this absence. Meanwhile, I've been bombarded by irrational and hurtful emails from all the in-laws for months that has been really stressful and draining to me. (I've since stopped reacting to the emails.) DH is being 100% supportive of my actions, but is really struggling. He feels the pull of that dysfunctional, codependent dynamic and is having a really hard time resisting. I'm proud that he's finally taking a stand, and is doing so with me. Unfortunately, his parents' health is spiraling downhill (FIL has heart issues) and they aren't trying to make themselves better, and I'm sure their addictions aren't helping any of that.
Here's my problem: I am so scared that if FIL passes away before there is a resolution to this, that my DH will resent me forever for taking that last period of time with his father away from him. We've talked about it, he logically knows that this is his dad's choice and he agrees with me, but he acknowledges he'd still probably feel some resentment about it if something happened to his dad. It's their old emotional manipulation, still at work. Having them be my in-laws makes this so much more complicated.
Has anyone been through a similar situation, where you were the one who drew the boundary on unhealthy in-laws? How did your DP come to terms with it? Thanks for any support or insight, this is getting really difficult in the holiday season. :(