Well, I can't stand my inlaws. They are catholic, which is besides the point except they try to push it here and there. I would NEVER leave them for 5 minutes alone iwth the kids, the one time I did they had both kids strapped in to the stroller wiht a loaf of bread to take them to the duck park WHILE I was getting our things ready to go to my moms (they obviously are not deaf and knew our plans)
I know they look for any chance to prove they are better than I am, etc. I relaly do try to give them the benefit of the doubt but I'm not stupid, I know the are a bit manipulative.
However, I try to not let this cloud my head. It is hard whne they visit, fortunately just twice a year but I also realize how much they love my kids to pieces, and really just want a part of our lives. I keep my mouth shut. I have had a heart felt talk with them and explained that sometimes I feel a bit "stepped in front of" and offended, on and on.....in a nice way of course and tried not to offend. This really cleared things up, and I also told them how much I appreciate everything they do, bla bla, but it would really help all of our relationships if we could respect eachother, and more importantly respect DH and I and our beliefs as far as our children. This has helped a lot, they still have tendencies but when I really look at it from their shoes and with a loving mind, I don't think they man harm. They are different from us.
I have a grandma who basically disowned us all because my parents didn't raise us Catholic. I knwo what that feels like and I wouldn't want that for my kids. No matter what we think grandparents are important for kids if they are alive and love them (not counting the obvious abusive behavior or soemthing extreme...but you get my point)
And about "standing up to someone"....I think that is over rated. I don't think teaching kids to just be nice and not cause a fight over something not worth it is a bad thing. I mean I could totally go off for ever on them, so could DH. I am better at talking about these things that DH is, and I know he is a bit uncomfortable with it. I don't see it as "not standing up for you wife, etc" it's just easier for me to, since I am the one with the problem and can better relay my feelings. Though he is perfectly willing and has when needed.
Moral of the story
. We could all benefit from being a little gentle about things, and when it comes to inlaws simply asking "I'd like to have a talk about some things that are bothering me...." may go farther than you think.