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Would appreciate feedback on letter to my FIL - Page 2

post #21 of 33

Just want to add that you should include in your letter that you and dh would much rather talk about a problem than have a misunderstanding between you all. Also want to add that while you might not really respect your FIL, the tone of your letter, voice and attitude has to be a respectful tone or he simply will not listen to you.

post #22 of 33
Wait till after the counseling for dh to talk to his parents. In fact, if you're not going to be seeing them for awhile, wait till after quite a bit of counseling - counseling which has addressed this whole dynamic in your marriage. This is now striking me as less an in-law issue than a marital one.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Wait till after the counseling for dh to talk to his parents. In fact, if you're not going to be seeing them for awhile, wait till after quite a bit of counseling - counseling which has addressed this whole dynamic in your marriage. This is now striking me as less an in-law issue than a marital one.


I totally agree with this. The problem isn't your inlaws, it's your husband.

 

It really doesn't matter how crazy the inlaws are in the person you are married to is sane and healthy and sets boundaries. Being very clear with your DH about how the situation is effecting you and giving him opportunities to learn and grow is the next step, but at some point, you can decide how you are willing to spend the rest of your life.

 

You are allowing your DH to treat you like dirt. You really do have the power to put a stop to the whole situation. I suspect that at some deep level, you feel that this is what you really deserve, and that once you desolve those feels, this situation will change in some way. You've put up with this nonsense for a long, long time, even before you were married. You went into your marriage knowing it would be like this. There is a reason in there that really is about you. Figuring out that reason and letting it go is part of your answer. You can change, and when you do, your situation will change (either on it's own or because you force the change, or because you just leave)

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytimes2 View Post
So, the issue is DH agreed to call his parents, but he wants to do it alone. I would like to be there. I think he will spend all of the conversation basically trying to make them feel better and apologizing rather than dealing with stuff. I do not want to be a control freak, but I also think it would be good for our marriage to "do this together" with him on the phone and me just sitting nearby, without necessarily letting the IL's know that I am there. He thinks this is lying to them, and is having a problem with not outright telling them that I am there.


First, I should say that you should wait until after your counseling session before DH calls his parents. 

 

That said, I wanted to address the above quote. I don't think it's in any way deceptive to not mention that another member of the household is in the room while you're on the phone. I mean, you live there -- it should be a given that there's a chance that you can hear your DH's half of the conversation. Does your DH typically hole up in a room by himself when he speaks to his parents on the phone? 

 

 

post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 

Limabean--That is what I think too. My husband is (looking for the right words here) "very sensitive" when it comes to his parents. I want to say "childlike," actually. He feels that he needs to explicitly warn them that I am nearby, or he will be not fully disclosing the situation to them ("lying to them" his words). Really should not be a big deal, IMO. I doubt it would even come up, unless he brings it up. But this is par for course with DH, always walking on eggshells with his parents. I believe he still doesn't intend to set boundaries with them, but is going to set me up again as the problem...that their behavior is hurting my delicate feelings, instead of their behavior is just plain hurtful. Of course, the first message will be easier for them to hear, and he will still be their perfect son who would never criticize them. I think this is the real reason he doesn't want me around for the call. Therapy...here we come!!

post #26 of 33

I have also wanted/ still want to be in the room for these kinds of phone calls, etc and it's verrry tricky, I must say. My husband is new to confrontation and boundary setting with his parents, and I never quite feel that he's doing it in the thorough way I would like. I perceive that their manipulations and distractions do still impact him, and that he sometimes loses the force of his own message. 

 

BUT.

But #1 - The alternative, having me at his elbow, mentally editing him in the moment or retrospectively ("Here's what you should have said..."), is similar to what they do to him - it's infantalizing, and condescending. He feels it and our marriage suffers.

But #2 -  The alternative also takes the issues back into my lap instead of leaving them in his realm.

But #2 - This is a process! Marriage is a process, evolving relationships with our wacky and often hurtful parents is a process. So he doesn't set perfect boundaries right from the start. It's ok because he is, actually, amazingly, really and truly learning how to do so. He is more skillful and perceptive and well-boundaried all the time.

 

It's so great you're heading back into therapy. Good luck staying out of the way as he really starts to process what his family has dumped on him. Staying out of the way is SO HARD!!! ...for me, anyway...

post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks LCBMAX, I found your post very helpful. I wish I could think that things would improve and DH would start to take responsibility for dealing with his parents. I have to say, I don't hold much hope for things changing in this way though. I guess that is why I wrote that letter. If anyone was going to stand up for me, it was going to be me or no one. And I can't continue fighting my husband on this issue. I won't spend the rest of my life revisiting/explaining/advocating the reasons for why i don't want to go visit the IL's tomorrow, which is how it has been.

 

I have come to the conclusion that although this type of (in-law) situation is not uncommon, if there was a "spectrum," we would be on the severe side of it. If we were really united, I think we could handle this, no problem. But we aren't, and he is saying things he doesn't mean or believe to try and keep us together. I am trying to be understanding of his experience, but finding it difficult, after so many years.

 

I think a lot of what Linda on the Move had to say is what I have been feeling for some time, although I wouldn't say that I thought I deserved to be treated poorly, at least not consciously. Hence, the arguments and anger and trying to change our reality...but I am feeling that I am coming to a certain understanding. This is just the way he is. He is not a bad person, but he and I may be better off apart. Unfortunately, everything that has happened between us has deeply affected how I feel about him, and I am having a lot of trouble imagining getting those feelings back. I am struggling with whether or not to proceed with the therapy in the face of how I am feeling. At this point, it just feels like delaying the inevitable. Sorry this post is such a downer. greensad.gif Started off with a letter, and now look where I am...

post #28 of 33
Depending on what the therapist says (since I agree the call should be after)...could you and your DH sit down and write a "script" for his call with his parents? Basically create a liat of talking points because it will help him "keep on message". Since he is new at setting boundaries he could easily get gas lighted by his parents.

I know it helps me to organize my thoughts when arguing because I get upset and it is easy to twist things around.
post #29 of 33


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytimes2 View Post

Thanks LCBMAX, I found your post very helpful. I wish I could think that things would improve and DH would start to take responsibility for dealing with his parents. I have to say, I don't hold much hope for things changing in this way though. I guess that is why I wrote that letter. If anyone was going to stand up for me, it was going to be me or no one. And I can't continue fighting my husband on this issue. I won't spend the rest of my life revisiting/explaining/advocating the reasons for why i don't want to go visit the IL's tomorrow, which is how it has been.

 

I have come to the conclusion that although this type of (in-law) situation is not uncommon, if there was a "spectrum," we would be on the severe side of it. If we were really united, I think we could handle this, no problem. But we aren't, and he is saying things he doesn't mean or believe to try and keep us together. I am trying to be understanding of his experience, but finding it difficult, after so many years.

 

I think a lot of what Linda on the Move had to say is what I have been feeling for some time, although I wouldn't say that I thought I deserved to be treated poorly, at least not consciously. Hence, the arguments and anger and trying to change our reality...but I am feeling that I am coming to a certain understanding. This is just the way he is. He is not a bad person, but he and I may be better off apart. Unfortunately, everything that has happened between us has deeply affected how I feel about him, and I am having a lot of trouble imagining getting those feelings back. I am struggling with whether or not to proceed with the therapy in the face of how I am feeling. At this point, it just feels like delaying the inevitable. Sorry this post is such a downer. greensad.gif Started off with a letter, and now look where I am...



I had a realization recently, which is that I will never, ever, go to "marriage" or "couples" counseling again. We spent all kind of money on that stuff, and yes, it did extract some results. Anymore though, I'm not willing to drag others through their own personal therapy. I am resentful that I had to sit in counseling just to watch a "stranger" get through to him, things that I had been saying for years. I do individual counseling only now. If I have children with a dude who doesn't hold me on high, I've got to get to therapy to figure out how that happened, and immediately change my own MO. If he wants to do the same, so be it, maybe it will all work out. But "Marriage" counseling, makes the problems equal and subordinates my own humanity to the nebulous non-entity that is "the relationship". While I've appreciated each counselor that we went to, I see in hindsight that I was waiting for a therapist to tell me to get out, in front of him, so he would maybe mitigate his doucheyness while we split it up. Instead, I ended up sitting through several awkward sessions of the counselor trying to get us to dwell and backtrack to promises we had made each other years previous. Like I said, subordinating my real-time, clock-ticking life to the Hallmark card BS that Partner and I had been too young and ignorant to eschew. Ugh.

 

Maybe marriage counseling is OK,  in the context of all individuals also getting active help with their own baggage. If your husband wants to stay stuck in the mud, but you eventually manage to drag him through, that drains you in ways that are permanent. Those months/years could have been spent on earning a degree, starting a business, fostering a puppy, renovating a house, learning Chinese, whatever. I don't mean to be a downer, either, and I'm certainly not saying I know better than you how to proceed. But it was kind of a breakthrough I had about couples/ individual therapy, and I thought I'd share.

post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AttunedMama View Post

 

Maybe marriage counseling is OK,  in the context of all individuals also getting active help with their own baggage


Oh yeah, these are some good points (if OP doesn't mind the thread flowing in this direction!) And perhaps one reason that couple's counseling and husband's boundary setting are going so well at our house is that we both also have individual therapists.... Not perhaps. Certainly.

 

post #31 of 33

OP--I read and responded in your other thread too, but wanted to say I am really glad you're giving a new therapist a shot.  The biggest problem is definitely your DH needing to learn its okay to set boundaries.  Unlike most of the other posters though, I would actually hang on to the letter.  I wouldn't send it today, but the information from your other thread and the fact that your DH has a history of not stepping up to set the boundaries, would make me want to keep it just in case.  I am really really hoping something clicks for him in therapy and he starts understanding that boundaries are healthy.  If not, I would consider at some point taking it upon myself though to set the boundaries through the letter if he decides he is not going to.  You do have the right to set boundaries.  This is your family and your kids.  So what if your in-laws think its more of the same "antics".  I don't honestly see how things could get a lot worse... Boundaries are healthy.  No matter who is setting them.  Yes, better for them to come from your husband, but its okay to come from you too if he is unwilling.  Is your therapist considering one-on-one with your husband?  Because honestly the problem is more his lack of boundaries than your marriage.  Obviously your marriage is dramatically impacted, but the true issue lays with him and he is going to be the one who has to make the biggest changes.  Sometimes marriage therapists focus too much on compromise when compromise is not appropriate.  The benefit to one-on-one therapy is that there will be a greater focus on him instead of your relationship with him.  I'm not saying there shouldn't be some compromise on your part.  I am just hoping your therapist "gets" the root issue.  Good luck!!

post #32 of 33

I tried to edit to add... I am really truly sorry you're feeling so down about your marriage.  I don't know exactly how you feel, but I have been in a similar situation in which I really started to dislike DH for not stepping up to his family for me. I felt like he was betraying me.  It was hard to have fun and be a family when we were constantly fighting about when we were going to have to see in-laws again and how to deal with them.  *All of that* can change, and it did for me. It is normal and natural to feel how you are feeling about your relationship.  He is not doing what he should be by putting your family's needs ahead of his desire to meet his parents ridiculous demands and accept their childish and hurtful behavior.  That would be the one good thing about marriage therapy...to really hopefully have him understand the impact on you.  Beyond that though, he needs to figure out how to set boundaries with his parents and why he's so uncomfortable doing so.  Good luck!  Things can get better... there really is hope. 

post #33 of 33

i wouldn't write a letter, most people know what is happening and choose to be stubborn, like my MIL. I myself just let it go and if she does anything I don't like I let her know to her face. Men honestly don't remember details of certain events and this could turn into a confusing situation leading both sides to mis interpret future events, like playing with fire. There are children involved now, so it'd be best to focus on your job as a mother and be a good example and not make yourself appear to be someone with too much time on their hands, which i know isn't true, but people forget what it's like to have kids.

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