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Feeling humiliated and frustrated re my relationship w Dh after FIL's death - Page 2

post #21 of 37

So sorry.... I know grief is powerful, but it is horrible how your husband and SMIL is treating you.  I can't even imagine.


Then on top of it... the therapist????  I am pretty sure the therapist is supposed to be a neutral 3rd party.  You should find someone you both are happy with.  I hope he is able to deal with his grief and start to communicate with you.... he is being so hurtful.... 

post #22 of 37
Originally Posted by es1967 View Post

Well, last night we went to our first session w a therapist.  I've never been to a therapist before and came out of there feeling very uneasy and stressed.

I felt like I spilled out my issues and she on several occasion's told me I was wrong.  DH has seen her once in the past so I felt like

she sided w him rather than looking at both sides of the situation.  For me I wanted to talk about the SMIL situation and DH wanted to talk about

disagreements 5-6 yrs ago.  Our disagreements stemmed mostly from different parenting styles.  Co sleeping , vaccines the whole bit.

So, to anyone who has been to counseling is that what therapists do?  Side w the one they think is right.  I've never been so I have no idea.  The therapist is also very mainstream so she had no understanding of issues like co lseeping, vaccines etc etc.  I'd like to find someone else.   Also what credentials do I seek out?  I've heard of another therapist and just realized thru her online pic that she attends my yoga classes- she is a "psyhchotherapist"  M.A.      Would that be a bad thing to use someone that attends the same yoga class once in a while? 

Thanks for any advice. 

Last night therapist is a LCSW,ACSW,PA


Yeah, this therapist does not sound right at all. 


Keep looking for the right therapist for you..  A good therapist will NOT take sides and will work with both of you to resolve the issues. I don't know if going to the same yoga class as a therapist as a problem. It wouldn't be for me. But would it be a problem for your DH? 

post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 

A few things she said :


By still co sleeping w my 7 yr old I am causing irreversible damage to DS.  I said some people would disagree with that.  She said

all her colleagues would agree w her.  DS is very secure and I am sure will want to get into his own bed soon.  One of the reasons

DS is still co sleeeping is that his bedroom is right next to a hallway utility room that holds 40 smart meters.  After reading about the dangers of just one meter I was concerned b/c we have 40!!!  We live in a condo. They affect children and elderly most.   Dh does not think this is worrisome so he said he would sleep there.. I would rather be safe than sorry when it come to DS.  I have been trying to get them removed but its difficult to make people understand.  Its like having 40 cellphones by your bed! I have no proof but need to go w my gut feeling.   DH also works until 11 pm every night.  I am a very light sleeper and him coming in so late disturbs me.  Therapist also did not like the fact that I have never left DS and went away on vacation without him.  This may be weird to some but I am an older mom and cherish every moment w him.  He is already not wanting to spend as much time w me.  He prefers time with dad and loves spending time w his Grandmother.

Anyways, I know DH was so happy to hear all this and made me look bad.  I do know that my son is an awesome well adjusted 

kid.  I do want to set a good example and am not opposed to DS having his own bed.  But would want to do it slowly.

The problem w DH and I is that our parenting styles are so mismatched.  I guess all this has bothered DH and has not said anything for the past few years so now w his fathers death all this has come out.  I don't know if SMIL was involved but she

will do anything to make me look bad.  

Therapist did not agree w me that DH's hours make it impossible for us to connect.  He works late nights 6 nights per week.

He is a workaholic like his father.   He has refused to take a vacation for 3 years which I also find a problem.   She disagreed. 

post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Shakti77 View Post


Yeah, this therapist does not sound right at all. 


Keep looking for the right therapist for you..  A good therapist will NOT take sides and will work with both of you to resolve the issues. I don't know if going to the same yoga class as a therapist as a problem. It wouldn't be for me. But would it be a problem for your DH? 

I was thinking I would not say anything to him that I have seen her in Yoga.  I have never spoken w her before.  She comes very seldom.

If he likes her credentials he would not care. 

post #25 of 37
Originally Posted by es1967 View Post

Therapist did not agree w me that DH's hours make it impossible for us to connect.  He works late nights 6 nights per week.

He is a workaholic like his father.   He has refused to take a vacation for 3 years which I also find a problem.   She disagreed. 

What!?!?!  How could anybody claim that those types of work hours could not cause a problem?

post #26 of 37
Thread Starter 

Yes, shocking to me that a therapist would say this too.  Sounds like my DH paid her to say what he wanted.  LOL!

post #27 of 37
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this! Hugs!!

I've experienced a lot of similar fights and frustrations with my DH and his mom. My FIL died suddenly a year and a half ago. I could write books on all of my hurts and the things I've learned and realized. I'll try to summarize a few key thoughts:
-- any therapist worth seeing won't agree to see a couple after already forming a relationship with one of the spouses. DH and I have three therapists: individual and a marriage counselor.
-- if it comes up, do NOT go to group therapy with SMIL. You aren't the one with the problem. She is and your DH is the one that has to deal with her IF he wants to keep the relationship. Not you!
-- it sounds to me like your DH is a mess right now. He's grieving, probably dealing with anger/resentment toward his dad, feeling guilty for being angry/resentful, too sad to struggle against SMIL, and on and on. He absolutely needs time to grieve some and deal with the things he's feeling. I totally agree on therapy but maybe right now is too early?? He's not going to be very open to tackling personal issues or a toxic relationship with SMIL who he's been appeasing his whole life. This was my personal experience.
-- I also agree to keep you and DS away from SMIL. If it were me, I'd hold firm on it no matter what. No discussion, just no. She's crazy and will do anything to hurt you and your marriage. Protect your son from her! No more unsupervised contact with SMIL!
-- remind DH that you've given him support to spend the holiday with his secondary family. You and DS, his primary family will be at safe MIL's house when he's finished. I agree this will come every holiday every year unless you work something out, but now probably isn't the time for that. I would just get through this year and reassess next year. It's normal, I think, for DH to cling to the closest reminders of his dad, even though it's obviously hurtful to you.
-- my DH and I have temporarily cut all contact with his mom as a consequence (not punishment) of her very ugly behavior. That's now. Years ago, he spent Christmas with her and I went with my family and it caused tons of conflict. Point is, DH eventually learned to trust me more than his toxic mom. He eventually chose me and the health of our family over her. We are much happier and united now. It took 5-6 years total and the last 2 of not contacting her after her ugliness. It's possible that you're starting into this right now. PM me if you'd like more details on my own experience, but it started similarly to yours.
-- my MIL has borderline personality disorder. Look it up and see if it fits your toxic MIL. If you think it does, broach it IN COUNSELING down the road. If you hammer DH with it now, it'll fall on deaf ears and might just make you look vindictive, which is how toxic MIL is portraying you (wrongly, of course!)

Ok, that's all I can think of right now. Stay strong in your resolve and boundaries. Don't accept the cash gift. The boundaries are the best way to get control back from toxic MIL. Just be there if DH comes to you, but maybe try to give him space. MIL will try to manipulate, but let her for now. She'll win the battle but you'll win the war, which is far more important! And she'll show her true colors eventually. Then, DH will decide he's had enough and the hurtful eulogy, etc., will be distant memories. :-)
post #28 of 37
And definitely dump that joke of a therapist! She sounds like a weirdo. You sound like a GREAT mother!
post #29 of 37

I think perhaps I'm in the minority but it looks to me that you have a lot of reasons for things.  For not seeing FIL, not liking the therapist, continuing to co sleep when it is obviously not making your DH very happy.   If you aren't open to the idea that you MAY HAVE (not saying you did but there are always 2 sides) done something to contribute to the problems then I don't think any therapy is going to help.  I wouldn't go blaming all this on your SMIL either. She couldn't physically stop you from going. I agree that your DH should really have stood up but honestly it sounds a lot more like very hurt feelings (that you didn't visit and the like) and grief driving some really bad and obnoxious behavior on your DH and SMIL's parts.

post #30 of 37

Trust your instincts.  I wouldn't go back to her.  SW stands for Social Worker (usually).  It sounds like she could cause more harm than good to your marriage.


I would see a therapist (probably a licensed family therapist who has an interest in attachment parenting) on your own who understands Cluster B personality disorders (PD's), (which includes borderline PD and Narcissistic PD) and then feel out if she may be a good fit for H.   I don't think it really matters if she goes to your yoga class or not (unless it makes you feel uncomfortable and less likely to open up).  She would be professionally bound (if licensed) by an oath of confidentiality and would need to maintain a professional polite distance outside of therapy.  Not all therapists are adequately trained to deal with navigating issues with people with PD's, and they can inappropriately try to be 'fair' and 'neutral' and overlook power imbalance that might exist in the marriage.  Those therapists can actually cause more harm than good (if the marriage is actually defined by some power imbalance).  Power imbalance is a bit of a tricky thing to define - but basically it results in one partner's needs taking priority over the other, and any inisistence on equal power is met by resistance of the other (often in the form of passive aggression that's not always noticed, but is 'felt').  It may or may not be going on in your marriage....but I throw that term out there for your reflection.  It really sounds like your H is having difficulty supporting you and understanding your needs.


It sounds like your H is possibly the child of a possibly narcissist father, who remarried an equally narcissistic (or borderline) woman.  Parenting by 2 narcissists could have created some narcissistic traits in him - which tend to present themselves more during times of stress.  I would strongly encourage exploring this on your own in counselling, before agreeing to any more joint sessions.  It's hard to say from reading what I've read if your H has narcissistic traits, or if he is more of a people pleaser (because narcissistic people are inherently people pleasers - admiration from others gives them narcissistic supply - and they crave it like a drug.  so if H happened to be narcissistic himself and happened to get more admiration and validation from his SM than from you - he would choose her).  If H has traits of true empathy (not the fake kind designed to make him look good) behind his people pleasing, there is hope...if you can stick to the topic of SMIL in therapy and not let him sidestep the issue.   If you come to see that H could be a narcissist himself and lacks the ability to put himself in your shoes (empathy), then the prognosis for a resolution is pretty poor unfortunately.


The Parents as Partners forum is a good place to explore this issue too....and offers a little more privacy- access is only given after a certain amount of time and posts on MDC (I think 60 days? It  can help protect your privacy in case H discovers you are posting on MDC and is reading your posts - as long as you are sure to log out, and know that he has not signed up for membership.  As far as I can tell, that forum is not viewable to the general public who don't have MDC membership).


I admire so much that you are standing your ground with SMIL.  Cutting out toxic people from one's life is key to personal growth.  Don't let H sidestep the real issue at hand, which is his putting SMIL's needs ahead of yours.

Edited by Alpenglow - 11/24/13 at 2:39pm
post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thanks Alpenglow and everyone else for your replies.   MDC has been such a wonderful support for me over the years for so many things.  Yes DH is most definitely a people pleaser.   Although, he treated me badly in this situation w SMIL usually he is a kind and loving person.    SMIL is a cruel,evil and controlling person.  I started reading the book "In sheep's Clothing" and am so very thankful to the PP for suggesting it.   Just wish I would have read it sooner!!   One thing I have always remembered is Maya Angelou's saying and that "If someone shows you their colors believe them".  The book confirms this belief.  SMIL is the classic character disordered individual the author speaks about. She takes pleasure in causing other people hurt and pain for her own benefit.    I love the book and hope the DH will read it b/c maybe this would let him see what she has been doing to him all these years.  SMIL wants her way and will do nothing to stop at getting it even if she has to run over people.    I am definitely done w SMIL but I am hoping DH will respect my wishes re DS not being a part of her life.  I'm just waiting for XMAS.  She trys to buy DS w useless presents and I am not sure if I should allow any presents from her.  I want to say no and stand firm  As I read these type of people have no morals and do not think about the consequences.  They are very manipulative.  It really hits the nail on the head.  They love people pleasers like DH.  As the book explains there is no changing these type of individuals and not to over analyze and rationalize their behaviour.  Had I read this book and had this knowledge earlier I would have stood strong and not allowed her to treat me this way for all these years.  Anyways, I have been wondering if I should tell DS about SMIL.  Not details of course but be honest that she has done some very hurtful things and that'we are not going to be seeing her anymore.  She has yelled at him so loudly and rudely that he ran away sobbing for something as silly as taking a piece of pasta from the dish.    Anyways, DH and I had a talk about therapy and how I did not feel like the therapist should have given her opinions and sided w him.  He obviously disagreed  that she was giving her professional opinion.  I got angry b/c I am tired of people always complaining and not being happy!  We have a great life and why create problems.  I guess this is my denial there is nothing wrong? I do agree that there comes a time when DS should sleep in his own bed and I really wish that there would have been an easy solution in our circumstances.  Also, I wonder how does one reconcile the differences of say being for vaccines or against them. We have been debating this for years w n solution.   One believes in co-sleeping and the other does not.   I adopted these parenting views when I became a parent not before that I could have predicted it.    SO, I wonder is it ok for me to see a therapist alone.  The pp said it is not so I am unsure what to do.    Also want to comment on scsigirls comment.  I did  see FIL at holidays and so forth.  He was not so sick during the past 2 yrs.  It happened in 2 wks and I asked to go w DH but he said no.  Not once did he ask me to go.

The only person bothered was SMIL b/c she just needed to create unhappiness for DH and myself.  I wish I did have confidence in the therapist we saw but her opinions conflict w all issues relating to AP.    

post #32 of 37
First off stand firm on no contact with this woman and that definitely includes presents. She will only use it to further manipulate your DH with the line "sure I'm banned, but my money is good enough" to induce guilt. Don't give her the ammunition.
Im going to speak from the child's perspective. My father's sister and her husband sound just like your SMIL. The description of your DH being reamed out over something trivial hit so close to home. These... people would come to our house, eat and drink the refreshments my parents provided and CRITICIZE everything! They've called my dad a moron for not putting out shot glasses for god's sake. They'd yell and scream and always, ALWAYS tear my dad down. I'd hide if I knew they were coming. My dad was the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever met. He always wanted to keep the peace. My mom asked, then pleaded, then begged but he never stood up to them. Once they pulled one of these scenes after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my mm finally broke and said "what the hell is wrong with you?! The man is seriously ill. If you don't like something, keep it to yourself or there's the door!!" We didn't really see them much after that and my dad passed away not long after. I love the kind man he was but oh how I wish just once he stood up for himself and his family. Because I haven't really seen it, it took a LONG time (like mid 20's) for me to learn to stand up for myself. I was a people pleaser too for a long time. My DH is similar - gentle, forgiving and it takes a LOT to anger him. But he stands up for us to his parents. I think I love that most of all.
Don't discount the effect this is having on your DS.
post #33 of 37

Yes, please refuse to see this therapist. I wouldn't go see her again! Ever! 


If you think you need to see one on your own, sure, do find a therapist to work out your issues and get support. 


Find a family therapist - somebody with a C.Psyc or M.Psyc degree... Your current therapist's qualifications makes her a social worker, not experienced with therapy sessions. Even if it does, if it doesn't work for one of the persons participating in therapy, you need to move on.


Glad the book helped! Your DH, even if he reads it, might not get the same thing what you got from it. You need to be a victim of Passive aggression to understand what's going on around you. Right now, he's not the victim of SMIL's passive aggression, you are. So, you are seeing it for what it is. 


Do what feels right for you. 


If you think the therapist from your yoga session might be right, go for one a consultation with your husband.. 

post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 

Want to get opinions on what I should say to DS- to tell him that he will no longer be seeing SMIL.  Figured I would phrase it in a way that he understands- SMIL has done some very mean things- no details.  The reason I want to do this is b/c I fear that when she realizes that we are no longer going to have contact that she may try to pick him up from school etc etc.  I just do not trust her.  Or is it better to leave as is and not say anything to him.  He will ask so I am thinking I will have to tell him anyways.  Not sure what DH will say b/c he is clinging on to the relationship with her,  Ahhhh.  All this craziness. 

post #35 of 37

I would probably not have a discussion with ds about it at this point (it might anger your dh and result in accusations of you being controlling.....not at all suggesting that is the case - it could be how he perceives it though, and not help your marriage).  Instead I would just go about doing what you need to do, without discussing it (so it happens, but doesn't become an overt issue yet).  I would focus on getting a good marital counsellor and try to address it that way first.  Maybe let it go for a bit while your dh grieves.  But SMIL is definitely an issue and I agree it is best to cut off contact with her or have very very clear boundaries (that if crossed result in her being cut off?)

post #36 of 37

Another great book is Toxic In -Laws by Susan Forward. I got that book out of the library. I had a huge revelation on my situation about why my MIL actions had traumatized me so much after about 9 months of therapy. Weeks later I picked up the book and by page 20 she identified the same reason that I had come to conclusion to after 9months of talking to a professional.

post #37 of 37

I hope things are getting better for you mama. I agree that I wouldn't say anything to DS about this at all just because DH could get defensive about it and you don't need that right now. As far as the school issue this isn't a problem. Just let the school know that she is NOT to pick your child up for any reason what so ever and make sure to remove her from any contact lists at the school (if she's currently on there). She can't get your child from the school if she isn't on that list or else you could sue her for kidnapping and the school for conspiracy. Been done this road before so get that done and I hope you can relax. Good luck.

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