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Anyone else have a less then supportive family and/or in-laws?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I hope its ok I start a ranting thread... :)

 

Our only family anywhere near us is my FIL, he is really demeaning and belittling to us generally speaking, has a horrible temper which can pop up literally at any moment and is also very absent and totally unsupporting (emotionally, socially, financially, babysitting etc) in our lives. He makes a point of, unintentionally or not, being pretty disrespectful to me and/or my decisions about my life, he has issues with me being 'an american' and issues with the fact I am a mother and I have a career at the same time. . . when he gets upset and DH someone triggers him, he will throw insults at us for days to weeks. ...

 

My parents are much more balanced emotionally and socially but are totally unhelpful with DS. When we leave him with them it can only be for a very short time (say an hour max) my dad will teach him stupid things (for example, to drink water then spit it as far as he can, we are still trying to break DS of this while at meals etc). When we leave from visits we joke about how we have to wean DS from my parents because they give him everything and anything and without limits, then they teach him horrible 'skills'

 

I grew up (perhaps naively) thinking that when I had kids I would, in some form or another have some supportive family and friends around us to be our village and here I am realizing we are very much alone. I guess I am trying to find ways to put closure to my feelings about being alone in this process but have not had any luck yet dealing with, for lack of a better word, my anger toward my expectations vs. my reality. This is even true to some extent around my husbands parenting skills with DS, specifically with the way he sets limits.

 

Has anyone else experienced similar feelings which have cropped up since having kids? How have you managed to process them or find ways to make peace with them?

post #2 of 10

We definitely had a shift in expectations after kids came. To be honest, I thought my parents would be great with the kids, but not particularly helpful, while I thought that the in-laws (or at least mother in law) would be uber helpful and super attuned to the kids. 

 

So, as it turns out, my parents are way more helpful than I thought in terms of babysitting and such (though, it didn't start out that way) Our kids adore them, and my parents are on cloud nine whenever they spend time with them. 

 

His parents have been sort of awful. They came here for 1 month when DD was 6 weeks old, gave her a cold, expected to be cooked for, cleaned for, driven around, entertained, and for me to be their emotional punching bag when DH wasn't around. Its totally not what I expected. Basically everytime they come here (they live in a different country) they expect to be on vacation, yet they never actually pay much attention to our family. Rather, we are just the diversion when there is no more shopping to be done or there is nobody else to visit with (which is rare, given how large of a family they have here)

 

Its really bizarre given that DH is their only verbal, normally functioning child, and our kids are the only grandkids they will ever have. We have tried to be proactive about just going to their house instead, since things seem to flow a lot better (we can integrate into their lives, they are incapable of integrating into ours) but they are so emotionally abusive to DH that now he never wants to stay in their house again. 

 

This past winter was pretty miserable as FIL got diagnosed with cancer, and decided he wanted treatment here. It was a wise decision for him personally, yet he'd refused to stay established with a doctor here since it was too much bother, so it was a circus trying to get his treatment set up. They came to live with us indefinitely, which turned out to be 6 weeks, and we ended up dealing with all sorts of family issues. After getting a surgery date, he went back to his country for a few weeks, and DH made it clear that they needed to live somewhere else when they returned (they still have a house here, but would never consider living "on their own"). Even with them not in the house, I say that stress is "only a phone call away" with them in the country. They have come 3 times in 6 weeks to visit the grandkids, and they are staying 1.5 miles away.

 

So yeah, I get you. 

 

The only silver lining is that its interesting to see what issues come to light now that we have kids, and I understand my DH sooooo much better now. Things that he has said about the past and his childhood that never made sense I now totally understand. The emotional crap that has gotten dredged up has been miserable, but it has also been a huge growth opportunity for DH, and has made him confront and deal with issues that had long been buried. Painful, yet there's been some real positive growth.

post #3 of 10

I quite literally have no one... perhaps I shouldn't say that. My grandparents are most involved, we are living with them and I am finding it very difficult the differences in parenting. My grandma is and has always been a hard ass, guilt tripping, manipulator. She doesn't think I'm hard enough on some of my kids and too hard on others... it's frustrating to say the least. I've tried saying stuff but it's met with a lot of anger and upset so I've learned to just keep quiet, to keep the peace.

My parents and my husband's are not involved with our kids at all. In fact, MIL and FIL have NO idea I'm even pregnant... they live not even 30 minutes away from us, so it's not like we're 100s of miles apart. The last two times I announced a pregnancy (or didn't... just became apparent) MIL had something negative to say. We don't need that. So we'll just show up for Thanksgiving dinner with an extra baby, lol. That's how frequently we see them. My parents only know anything because I have them on my facebook... if I had my way I'd probably deal with them the same as MIL.

 

It's really sad when my family has never been happy or excited for any of the lives we have created together. It's sad when people who have met my kids a few times and are meeting me for the first time shower me with love and congratulations in abundance when my own family can not. (not really sad... but sad that in order to feel that giddy excitement from someone I have to look outside my family for it) Sad that neither of are parents know much of anything about any of our kids and apparently don't care to know, either.

I told hubby last night that I'm almost tempted to move somewhere else and create my own family/tribe to belong to.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
I told hubby last night that I'm almost tempted to move somewhere else and create my own family/tribe to belong to.

 

I think thats the major romantic notion I have with moving somewhere else- it would mean we were really on our own, instead of everyone in DH family assuming FIL is helping us so much. It just feels like an insult that DH never really speaks the truth, at least if we lived somewhere else people would realize we were literally alone without me having to be the one to speak up.

 

 

Quote:
His parents have been sort of awful. They came here for 1 month when DD was 6 weeks old, gave her a cold, expected to be cooked for, cleaned for, driven around, entertained, and for me to be their emotional punching bag when DH wasn't around. Its totally not what I expected. Basically everytime they come here (they live in a different country) they expect to be on vacation, yet they never actually pay much attention to our family.

 

This is my FIL in a nutshell. We cook, clean, grocery shop and watch his son and he essentially expects that. When/if we are invited on vacation with him we are basically his maids/cook/nanny/etc. its really horrible.

post #5 of 10

We are sort of in the same boat.  My in laws are not helpful at all.  MIL has good intentions, but she is so incredibly scattered that I honestly don't trust her to babysit for more than an hour or two in MY home.  Forget leaving my daughter in her home or God forbid ever letting her DRIVE.  For crying out loud, MIL doesn't know how to strap DD into her high chair, I don't think she will be able to safely strap her into her carseat. There is no way she will be capable of caring for two children at once.

 

There are also huge emotional problems there.  She expects that when she comes to visit us that we will race around to make sure she is comfortable and entertained.  She did this from the day we brought DD home from the hospital.  She talks about things like when she will have DD overnight, and I just nod, thinking that will NEVER happen.  She is really out of touch with reality and it's been hard for my husband to confront some of the massive deficits in the way she parented him.

 

FIL is borderline elderly and barely holds DD.  He wants to contribute how he can, which seems to be financially from time to time, but is totally absent emotionally and physically when it comes to help. We haven't asked, but he hasn't offered.

 

My mom passed away last September, and she was the one who gave us the most support.  It was sudden and unexpected and we are still reeling from the loss. 

 

My dad is a nice guy, but we aren't that close and I don't really feel comfortable having him babysit.

 

DH and I have talked about moving across the country frequently.  I think that the attraction is the idea that we can change the emotional isolation we feel from an amorphous concept to an objective fact.  We are pretty much alone here, we might as well just be truly alone and stop thinking that maybe it will change some day.  

 

Right now it's not so bad, but there have been times that I was desperate to leave everything here behind and run away. 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
I think that the attraction is the idea that we can change the emotional isolation we feel from an amorphous concept to an objective fact.  We are pretty much alone here, we might as well just be truly alone and stop thinking that maybe it will change some day.

 

took the words out of my mouth..

 

how have any of you managed to find peace with these situations/ILS family etc...?
 

post #7 of 10

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithappened View Post

how have any of you managed to find peace with these situations/ILS family etc...?

 

 

I have a therapist and that helps a lot.  My husband is amazingly supportive, that helps even more.  And I try to just express my frustration and move on. We need to seek support outside of our families and we have dragged our feet on this. We haven't had a date night since our anniversary a year an a half ago when my mom babysat.  It is time to find a support system that we pay for and just accept that we do not have the kind of family structure we wish we did. Beyond that, I just don't know.  It makes me very sad sometimes, particularly when the fact that the one grandparent my daughter had who was truly supportive was taken from us for no reason.  It's hard not to compare you know?  Like I know my mom would have done anything to help us with childcare while the other three grandparents can't be bothered (or trusted), yet SHE is the one who isn't here.  I have a lot of WTF moments like that, but it won't ever change, so it will only drive me nuts in the long run unless I make peace with the family we have.

 

I wish it was an option to explain the situation to the various family members and have them recognize it and change their behaviors.  Unfortunately, that is simply not an option with either MIL or FIL.  They both have profoundly narcissistic personality traits and if you confront them on anything (even if you present it kindly) they will utterly refuse to acknowledge that there is anything at all in their lives that they should change. They would likely suggest that WE don't do enough for THEM. So yeah, not really an option.  I try to appreciate them for what they CAN contribute (FIL = financial support, MIL = at least wants to visit DD once a week).  I'm not going to say that I don't get very frustrated and resentful sometimes, but I find that just trying to accept them with their significant limitations is the best thing I can do. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
We haven't had a date night since our anniversary a year an a half ago when my mom babysat.  It is time to find a support system that we pay for and just accept that we do not have the kind of family structure we wish we did.

 

Its so sad to hear you say this, I thought it was just my DH and I in this boat. I really need to make finding paid help, esp. in the evenings, a priority.

 

Quote:
They would likely suggest that WE don't do enough for THEM.

 

This is my FIL in a nutshell. We actually do babysit for him, we cook and grocery shop for him, and he never in the slightest way helps us-  his narcissism is horribly painful. He is financially insanely well off (many houses, cars, physcian etc) and if we even borrow a hundred dollars (to cover say groceries for a week) and do not pay it back within a week he loses it. I think what is even harder to watch is my DH's BIL (FIL son from his second marriage) is given everything and anything he wants while we really struggle. Last year my FIL actually got angry at us because we didn't get BIL a 'more expensive birthday gift' and this is coming from a man who has never given us anything for any holiday ever.. none of it makes sense.. woah sorry.. that was a rant.

 

Do you live near your families? Or is it a distance thing?

 

post #9 of 10

We are about 30 minutes from everyone.  So, far enough that it's not convenient for them to just pop over, but certainly close enough to be helpful if they wanted to.

post #10 of 10

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stTimeMama4-4-10 View Post
They would likely suggest that WE don't do enough for THEM. 

 I'm not going to say that I don't get very frustrated and resentful sometimes, but I find that just trying to accept them with their significant limitations is the best thing I can do. 

 

Exactly that. I think that DH was hoping that maybe his parents would give to our kids what he never felt like he got in his relationship with his parents, and that expectation made things even harder. But now, we are to the point of simply accepting things the way they are. 

 

Also, setting limits and boundaries on behavior. Not letting them guilt us into feeling bad for their decisions, etc. But, that's hard, because there are a lot of old behavior patterns to break. 

 

Also, we are right there with you with them always expecting more from us. My DH manages all their matters in the US - that is, managing all aspects of them renting out their house, their taxes, their bills, their bank accounts, their medicare, their medications, doctors appointments, fetching things and mailing it to them.... and the list goes on. And still, they have the audacity to both complain about basically everything DH does, and then outright say that we don't do enough for them. Its never enough, and so now DH is starting to drop responsibilities, and push some of it back on them.

 

 

Really, I guess what it comes down to is acknowledging that you can't change other people. You can only change your expectations, your ways of relating, and your own actions. Its pretty empowering though, when you start to take positive action in rotten relationships, even if that means limiting the relationship. 

 

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