Help to stop feeling entitled and then "let down" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I have wonderful families. We have had so much help from each side over the years and I am so very grateful and do try very hard not to ask for anything. My side lets us stay at their house and use their car every summer (we live overseas) and DH's side has visited us in Japan many times and his mother came for our last two babies for 2 months each to help when they where born. (My husband travels a lot and I really appreciated the fact that she was there to help with the older kids when he had to leave).

 

My problem is that DH's side also has this weird co-dependant thing going with his sister-they do so much for his sister, then MIL tells me all about it and tries to promise things that will "make it even" (which I think is ridiculous) and then backs out a lot. Most of the time I don't care, but I am having a hard time with a few of the promises that I really wanted to happen that didn't. blush.gif Mentally I know that they don't owe us anything, but emotionally it is hard to get excited about something that was entirely their idea that suddenly doesn't happen, IYKWIM?

 

One thing was help with a downpayment on a house. Totally their idea, SIL got help with her divorce and a large inheritance had just come thru and that was their idea to make things "fair". My DH and I don't really agree with taking that kind of money from family, and took a long time to accept the offer. We discussed this with them for almost a year, got far enough along to looking into houses and getting pre-approved for a mortgage before they backed out and said "we would rather save our money to bail you out when you fail". That hit DH pretty hard and was honestly hard for me to hear as it was all their idea in the first place. But again, I understand that they are in charge of their money and should spend it as they see fit.

 

Most recently, we are again moving to another country overseas and MIL had planned on flying back home with me, three kids and brand new baby (due this week). We have planned this all summer, but two weeks ago my husband accepted another job which means a move to Germany biggrinbounce.gif When DH started talking about this new job, I started mentally preparing for his mom to back out--but until two days ago she was still gun-hu about going with us. During this, FIL got all excited about going over with DH to buy a car and help us find a house and all the crazy stuff that has to happen when you move overseas  and I was feeling very, very grateful to have family that understood how hard it is to set up shop in a new country. (MIL and FIL have moved overseas themselves three times, so they totally should understand all that needs to be done)

 

Now they have both backed out. FIL says he didn't realize DH would have to work right away and thought they could hang out and tourist all day instead dealing with all the details (but he was talking about all the things he was going to set up for us a week previous at a party we had)dizzy.gif And MIL has been trying to get me to tell her not to come as it will be so much easier if I do it myself? She has been literally saying "you don't want me to come with you, it will be so much easier than the flight I was going to help you on". This after we looked at flights and she knows that I will be doing 2-3 flights with four kids by myself as opposed to the one flight she had signed up for initially. I feel good about the fact that I finally calmly told her "you are not going to get me to say that 2 or 3 flights with customs/layovers and unfamiliar airports are going to be easier than the one flight I have done a number of times by myself. You are an adult and do not have to come if you don't want to". They are both officially not coming, and using the fact that we will be staying in a hotel (which they also can stay in as they have military benefits) as the new excuse. These people are also loaded, so money would not be an issue.

 

I know the flights are going to be hard, but I have faith that the kids and I will manage because we have to--and I think that in a month or so when I have recovered from pregnancy/birth I will be more able to chase any kid that needs to be chased and just function better over all. I am just a little raw right now, my DH is incredibly hurt that his parents have done their back-out thing yet again when he really wanted and needed the help also.

 

So total novel later, I know we are in a weird place as the things they offer tend to be big things. Of the four times they have offered something, they have come thru two of the times. I think if we lived near them we wouldn't feel so incredibly let down as we would probably have other options for help (say they promised to babysit, then backed down). This big stuff gets me though as I really would like the help and can't get it from anyone else, but do understand that they don't owe it to us. My parents have a young child still and are working and really can't just take off to help us move--although my mom did offer after this last debacle. The difference is that I would never accept her help as she is still parenting and working and they are not.

 

Help me let go, and still have a relationship with my inlaws and support DH to have one. He is kind of done with them right now, and that makes me very sad. The inlaws have a long history of controlling their kids via money, and actually tried to get my DH to not marry me but cutting him off financially (he was still finishing college when we married). The fact that we don't NEED their money I think throws them off, but I really would like their support when they come thru--just don't like feeling horrible when they plan things and decide not to at the last minute. My kids love them and they are good grandparents.

 

Any advice, anything we should say to make this better???

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#2 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to add, that after I wrote all this I realized that what I really want is help from my in laws via time, and that may be much harder for them to give than the money they have.

 

I think that even though I am really not jealous of the money the spend on their other child and her kids, I am deeply jealous of the time they spend helping them versus they time they spend helping us. They still do help us a lot, MIL has gone above and beyond what my own mom has to help, but I still have a hard time seeing what she does for her own daughter and then thinking about what we really could benefit from her help that she offers, but then it doesn't pan out.

 

I think we are at an impasse as we really don't want or need X-amount of money to make things "even" but we could really use actual actions at times, yet I know those are harder to follow thru on. I know if we offered to pay for their trip they would feel obligated to go, but my DH is pretty angry about the fact that we would have to pay to get their help, when they help his sister monetarily and with their time constantly.

 

I think this is a mess at this point

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#3 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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Yikes. hug.gif I don't really know what to say, except to perhaps assume at this point that anything they offer will fall through... so don't count on it or plan around it (but you can still be pleasantly surprised & appreciative if they do pull through...) I'd be inclined to go so far as to refuse any help they offer -- just because I get really upset when things don't go according to plan, so it would be easier for me personally to just not have any outside help to begin with.

Also, if they are as wonderful as you say they are, could you talk to them about this? Not in a manipulative way but just openly & honestly explain how this makes you feel? If you are worried about it being manipulative you could wait 'til after your move to discuss it...

I'm sorry I don't have anything more helpful to say. It sounds like you are in a stressful situation & it's so rough that they keep backing out when you don't have any other options or local support...

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#4 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Yikes. hug.gif I don't really know what to say, except to perhaps assume at this point that anything they offer will fall through... so don't count on it or plan around it (but you can still be pleasantly surprised & appreciative if they do pull through...) I'd be inclined to go so far as to refuse any help they offer -- just because I get really upset when things don't go according to plan, so it would be easier for me personally to just not have any outside help to begin with.
 

 

Thanks for responding! I think this is very good advice, I lean towards this but want to be able to do it without feeling bitter and I am not there yet.

 

MIL and I built a really neat relationship these past few years, we talked everyday on the phone and visited each other as much as possible, but I am suspecting now that was because FIL was working out of state and didn't have much say in what she did. When MIL is alone we have no problems, but when we all go somewhere together things get weird.

 

I think talking to them sounds like a good idea, but honestly FIL's money issues are so confusing to me that I would not even know where to begin. He is deeply odd about both money and food, and when you travel to visit there is often a lot of both going on. The ever present calculator comes out at bill time and lengthy discussions of just how many pieces of pizza my kids ate or bites of salad I had from SIL's plate to make sure they don't pay for any of our meal. Yet they pay for SIL's family as a given? It makes me feel very awkward to be honest, but what would I say? They don't owe us a meal, it's just really weird to me that this is how it works with my in laws. If FIL buys anything (or thinks he did) when they visit us at my parents he doesn't leave until he has eaten all of whatever it is. Pizza, pie, fruit, whatever, it has to be eaten in the morning because he bought it.

 

These where petty examples, but kind of shows the mentality and huge amount of record keeping that goes on. The only area FIL is generous with is gifts for my husband, and over the past years they seem to be either things that he knows I have expressly said that I don't want him to have or things there is no way for me to use (two guns for example when we live in a country you can't have guns) and a super expensive commuter bike that I can't ride. So now we have two guns, one in my parents safe and another I assume with them and he got to get the fun of trying to piss me off? Neither has ever been fired. It's so weird to me that he does stuff like that--and the thing is he has been like this toward me since before we met (I met the in laws at our rehearsal dinner). It can't be personal, which makes it even more frustrating in a way as I would like to work on it, but don't see a way to.

 

blahblah.gif Anyway the more I think about it I really mainly have FIL issues, and unfortunately have a MIL who just caves to whatever he wants to do. I am sad, because I don't think I will be able to have a real relationship with her anymore as FIL is now back in the picture full time and I do get too stressed out when he "makes" her cancel her plans or promises--or just when I have to sit around tabulating how many hot dogs my kids ate at the picnicROTFLMAO.gifMy husband is sad though, and this is his father so I do need to get to a place where I don't need to avoid him--I really don't see FIL changing his odd ways, and he is really good at playing with my kids. Families are tough to navigate sometimes.

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#5 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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Oh man, he sounds completely wacko. Very bizarre. I don't get that at all.

Maybe you can at least preempt him a bit... So if you go to a restaurant together, let the waitress know immediately that you'll be needing separate checks. Bring food for your own family if you go on a picnic together... Sheesh this guy is looney....

My inlaws do a lot of things for my SIL that they don't do for us... they are always buying things for her & her kid (even new cars etc.) but she is a young mom (unplanned pregnancy), she & her BF don't always get along, she didn't get a chance to finish college, she lives right near them, etc. so I guess those things really factor into it. Any chance something like that is at play with your inlaws??? I don't feel hurt because I know SIL needs the help & support while we are doing OK (stressed & struggling at times, but we really have our feet on the ground)... Oh and I've never gotten a birthday gift from them, but they buy DH nice $100+ gifts for his bday... The one thing that really hurt me was them taking a "family picture" of all their kids & my DS but not including me in it. I think sometimes inlaws are just weird about some things. I don't know.

I wonder if you could just talk to them about YOUR feelings, don't get into how they spend their money and their weird issues, maybe just focus on feeling let down when they don't follow through with their promises or seem to favor SIL?

Do you think it's a control thing for FIL, or a money thing? Did he live through the Depression or something?

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#6 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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Holy cow do I ever recognize my in-laws in your post.  Almost word for word, right down to the helping of the one sibling, offering and then withdrawing gifts and assistance, and being resentful that your DH doesn't need their financial help.  But In our case, the in-laws were not nice at all and there was no warm relationship.  

 

With my ILs, they absolutely loved the fact that two of the kids were general screw-ups and constantly needed their help.  They thrived to being able to control them via money.  Sounds crazy to say but they, through their parenting, set those kids up to fail in life.  (My DH was raised in a different household)  I remember one time when my ILs dangled a trip to Disney in front of my BIL, his GF and her young daughter.  The day before it was scheduled, they made up some BS excuse to cancel.   It was one of their lowest behavoirs and they had some pretty low ones.

 

It probably is not personal against you but in a way, your relationship with his son and the fact that you two don't need the ILs makes you and the kids part of his target. 

 

I have seen some fantastically bizzare and disturbing behaviors from toxic people and money and food do seem to be BIG methods of control.  Probably has something to do with linking money and food with security and/or the lack of security in one's current or former life.

 

If your DH is done with them, follow his lead.  This is one of those cases where they are showing you their true nature and don't expect anything more from them.  What is the saying I see often?  When someone shows you who they are, believe them?

 

Educating yourself on co-dependent relationships will shed some like (more like a spotlight) on their behavior.


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#7 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 09:16 AM
 
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For some reason I can't edit - I didn't mean to imply by being "done" you should cut them off.  Hopefully you and your DH can find a health way to handle the situation.  The Toxic Parents/ILs books get recommended on the forum over and over again and they might be useful in providing tools to manage your situation.


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#8 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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My dad sounds like your FIL.  Frankly, it's an illness.  It's helpful to me anyway to realize that he is sick, while he may seem controlling, really he is out of control and can't help himself.  Though since I am their child, then often want to make extravagant gifts, and DH and I are always burdened with how to refuse graciously.

 

I can guarantee you that your FIL makes your SIL's life hell for accepting those gifts.  Probably he's done a huge amount of damage to her (and she's done even more damage to herself by accepting).  Look at all promises and offers as poison--because they are.  They're chains of control and domination.  If you'd gotten that downpayment, you would be made to regret it.

 

I would NOT interfere with your DH's peace of mind and try to be controlling yourself and forcing a relationship where space and time are needed.  You need to let go of your fantasy about your ILs.  As much as you think they're great grandparents, you're going to have to be EXTREMELY vigilant that you immediately step in to protect your children WHEN they start to use material manipulation and scorekeeping with your kids.  Don't fool yourself, they will do that eventually, because they do not know any other way of bonding, truly, other than dominating and making dependent.

 

It doesn't mean that you can't have a relationship and the kids can't enjoy them.  But you're never going to have your fantasy of a nice, normal, uncomplicated relationship.  I'm really sorry.  I know how painful that is (I live it every day with my parents).  But you need to get your head clear, don't create a rift between yourself and your DH by trying to force a relationship beyond what he wants right now.  He's more hurt than you are, he's had to live with these people and deal with their bs and abuse (because it is abuse) his whole life.  Be really careful about intruding on him trying to set safe boundaries for himself because it doesn't jive with what you wish it could be like, KWIM?

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#9 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dad sounds like your FIL.  Frankly, it's an illness.  It's helpful to me anyway to realize that he is sick, while he may seem controlling, really he is out of control and can't help himself.  

 

I very much agree, there is clearly something wrong with FIL and he doesn't seem to be able to help himself. I guess I find it odd that MIL never seems to notice, and even DH seemed to think he was totally normal until this last big letdown. I wonder if they have just seen him act like that for so long?

 

I can guarantee you that your FIL makes your SIL's life hell for accepting those gifts.  Probably he's done a huge amount of damage to her (and she's done even more damage to herself by accepting).  Look at all promises and offers as poison--because they are.  They're chains of control and domination.  If you'd gotten that downpayment, you would be made to regret it.

 

I fully agree as does DH, we are both so glad they backed out--but we were hurt by the way they did it.

 

I would NOT interfere with your DH's peace of mind and try to be controlling yourself and forcing a relationship where space and time are needed. 

 

DH is actually visiting his parents with my kids at this very moment. I stayed behind as I just can't deal with them right now and used the fact that it's a long trip and I am due in a week as an excuse. DH still wants a relationship with them, just doesn't want to ever take help from them again or talk to them about the problem. I don't agree with the just "ignore the hurt" route, but they are his parents and his feelings that were hurt mostly so I am just letting DH do his thing.

 

You need to let go of your fantasy about your ILs.  As much as you think they're great grandparents, you're going to have to be EXTREMELY vigilant that you immediately step in to protect your children WHEN they start to use material manipulation and scorekeeping with your kids.  Don't fool yourself, they will do that eventually, because they do not know any other way of bonding, truly, other than dominating and making dependent.

 

This makes me feel very creepy, and I would hate to see this come to pass. My DH knows that he is not to leave the kids alone with FIL as there have been some very unsafe things he has done in the past, but I don't trust DH to stand up to his dad if he gets out of line in front of him.

 

 

It doesn't mean that you can't have a relationship and the kids can't enjoy them.  But you're never going to have your fantasy of a nice, normal, uncomplicated relationship.  I'm really sorry.  I know how painful that is (I live it every day with my parents).  But you need to get your head clear, don't create a rift between yourself and your DH by trying to force a relationship beyond what he wants right now.  He's more hurt than you are, he's had to live with these people and deal with their bs and abuse (because it is abuse) his whole life.  Be really careful about intruding on him trying to set safe boundaries for himself because it doesn't jive with what you wish it could be like, KWIM?

 

Like I said, DH still wants the superficial "we go there because they are my parents" type of relationship and I won't interfere with that. I think that's a sucky way to have parents, but maybe that is all that can be in this case. It's not for me to fix.



 



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Holy cow do I ever recognize my in-laws in your post.  Almost word for word, right down to the helping of the one sibling, offering and then withdrawing gifts and assistance, and being resentful that your DH doesn't need their financial help.  But In our case, the in-laws were not nice at all and there was no warm relationship.  

 

With my ILs, they absolutely loved the fact that two of the kids were general screw-ups and constantly needed their help.  They thrived to being able to control them via money.  

If your DH is done with them, follow his lead.  This is one of those cases where they are showing you their true nature and don't expect anything more from them.  What is the saying I see often?  When someone shows you who they are, believe them?

 

Educating yourself on co-dependent relationships will shed some like (more like a spotlight) on their behavior.

 

I think this is also a good area to focus on as I really don't understand MIL's actions when FIL is around--she's like a totally different person, and I guess don't like the person she turns into when he is there. I would really like to get some idea of why they work the way they do, so that I can start to expect her actions instead of always being surprised by what she does and says.


It is so weird to me that so many of you also have dealt with people like this. I truly thought he was one-of-a-kind, so I didn't know where to begin to try to figure out how to navigate a relationship with someone like FIL.

 

My husband is still very hurt, but would never just write them off completely. I will be looking into some of the book recommendations

 



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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

 she is a young mom (unplanned pregnancy), she & her BF don't always get along, she didn't get a chance to finish college, she lives right near them, etc. so I guess those things really factor into it. Any chance something like that is at play with your inlaws??? I don't feel hurt because I know SIL needs the help & support while we are doing OK

This is spot on. SIL was a somewhat single parent and they really stepped in as a kind of spousal role because she needed it and liked it. At the same time they also do her college homework dizzy.gif so they are kind of hyper-parenting at the same time. I am really not jealous of these aspects of their relationship.
 

 

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#10 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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When you grow up in a sick family, it's often easy to ignore minor things.  (backing out of a visit may be a 'normal', minor thing, to be honest)  I really am grateful to have a normal spouse with a normal family, because seeing his reaction of shock and/or anger and/or disgust (in private) at some aspects of my parents' behavior that didn't even register with me (it wasn't over the top enough, but it was decidedly sick and abnormal) was really helpful in both validating my pain/fear/bewilderment as a child, and to occasionally teach me what was appropriate and what wasn't.

 

Of course your MIL is going to act like nothing happened, and alter her behavior when she's in a different dynamic (having FIL around).  It's a coping skill, frankly.  I don't give her a pass (though again, having been raised in a sick environment, perhaps I'm overly harsh), though.

 

You don't really need to understand the whys and hows (thank goodness that you *can't*!) to avoid being surprised by the behavior that she's exhibited over and over again to you;  you just have to remember and choose to not be surprised, operate under realistic (rather than wishful) assumptions, and always have a back up plan.

 

 

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#11 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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<<DH still wants a relationship with them, just doesn't want to ever take help from them again or talk to them about the problem. I don't agree with the just "ignore the hurt" route, but they are his parents and his feelings that were hurt mostly so I am just letting DH do his thing.>>

 

First, I'm sorry you have really crazy in-laws.

 

Second, I'm the one with crazy parents in my marriage and I understand where your DH is coming from. I can't comment on whether he is "just ignoring the hurt," but it is possible to have a casual relationship with someone and not discuss the deep, real issues. I do this with my family of origin (my sister, too). They are all too nuts to have a real conversation about the problems (I've tried in the past, it's pointless). I cut them off for a while, which I found kinda of draining. So now I carefully see them sometimes, talk them once in a blue moon, and set VERY solid boundaries to protect myself and my family.

 

Getting resolution, being able to move on, etc is mostly in one's own head. We can get there with or without the offending party understanding what they've done wrong. Once we are really clear on what sort of person we are dealing with and what sort of behavior we can expect, we can protect ourselves from the worst blows by staying ruthlessly honest with ourselves. It's not ignoring the hurt; but it's not requiring or expecting the other person to be different than they have been for our entire life.

 

To own the fact that one's parents are complete pieces of sh*t that will never be there for you and don't actually care if you live or die is a little...... intense.

 

It's more pleasant to just to take what little they offer in companionship, and let the rest go.

 

And make it up by being good to our own kids.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 15 Old 07-21-2011, 10:20 PM
 
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first of all, be thankful that this is not YOUR family. it could be worse, you could have a mother who cow tows to your father's every irrational demand, and thinks nothing of it.

 

and i get that it's hard to see a sibling (albiet your SIL, again, easier for you than if it were your own sister) getting preferential treatment. BUT i would hasten to point out that they are paying her way BECAUSE THEY FEEL SORRY FOR HER. they don't respect her. they do respect you guys. my advice would be to not only keep it that way, but ratchet it up a notch, and altogether quit expecting any help at all. the fact that she calls daily and dotes on her grandchildren is more than enough. be grateful for that. 

 

throw your in laws a real curve ball: pick up the entire restaurant bill. "this one's on us." see what happens. he will be so flabbergasted. it should be fun and worth the expense. (and payback for the guns.) then, you just know, Even Steven will have to pick up the tab for you guys *entirely* one of these days.

 

you have it right: don't expect any help from family. don't take down payments, or even free babysitting IF it comes with strings attached. they told you exactly what's up with the statement that they want to save their money to bail you out when you fail. it's an insult only if you choose to believe that you could fail far enough that they have to bail you out. otherwise, it's a challenge to never fall to the level of your SIL, and have to take their charity.

 

you can let go of this by simply letting go of it. 

 

ps: i'm just an armchair psychologist, but i would guess that FIL faced some financial trauma himself as a child or a young man. hence the religious attention to cost and dividing up fairly. that's a character flaw of his, it doesn't have to affect you. just expect it and if you must it, try to understand that at this point in his life he probably can't change his ways.

 

best of luck!


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#13 of 15 Old 07-22-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sarafi 


It is so weird to me that so many of you also have dealt with people like this. I truly thought he was one-of-a-kind, so I didn't know where to begin to try to figure out how to navigate a relationship with someone like FIL.

 

My husband is still very hurt, but would never just write them off completely. I will be looking into some of the book recommendations

  

 

I was blind-sided by my ILs.  Growing up, I knew families operate and relate in different ways, there is always someone in the family that is a little wacky, difficult or whatever.  My own father had a very difficult personality and my parent's didn't have what one would describe as a healthy relationship but I NEVER experienced the toxic disfunction exhibited by my ILs.  They put on a good face at first than they let their true colors show.  DH said that he was so scared that I would leave after they started treating me like "one of the family." 

 

OP - you mentioned not trusting your DH to stand up to his father and that is a valid fear.  FIL has conditioned everyone in the family to let him get away with his bad behavior.  If your DH wants to pull back, let him.  So many partners/wives on this forum could only wish their spouse would willingly put up boundaries with their parents.   

 

Tigerchild's posts are so true and well-presented.   I also agree that they will start their tricks on your kids at some point, probably once they are past the "grammy and grandp are so great stage" is when you will see FIL start picking on them, pointing out their "flaws", he will start saying stuff like "they are so spoiled, they don't appreciate, blah, blah, blah...." 

 

I also agree with her statement about not pushing it with your DH.  His family is wacked and he knows it.  Don't unintentionally make him feel worse by pointing it out to him or trying to solve their problems for him.  I made this mistake with my DH.  I had the best of intentions in trying to make the relationship work but all it did was shine a spotlight on just how bad the entire situation was, ripping open the emotional wounds over and over again.  Along those lines, your MIL absolutely knows your FIL is damaged.  Her switcheroo personality around him is her coping and protection mechanism.  Codependancy takes more than one person to make it work.

 

 

 

 


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#14 of 15 Old 07-22-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sarafi View Post

My husband and I have wonderful families. We have had so much help from each side over the years and I am so very grateful and do try very hard not to ask for anything.



Sarafi, I just wanted to point this out to you, because if you truly, *truly* want to be free of the toxicity, you must look truthfully and unflinchingly at your own denial and clinging to fantasy.

 

This was the first sentence of your first post.  Following, you describe a sick FIL, a sick MIL (because frankly, only someone sick would allow their partner to do that to their children both when they were minors and continuing on into adulthood).  You describe how these people have done the usual over and over again (including the fact that you NEVER want your FIL to be alone with the kids!) while expressing hurt and shock that they behave exactly how they always behave.

 

If you want to be able to deal with these people and keep your sanity AND not make any stupid decisions (like "Oh, I'll trust them just this once to keep the kids for the weekend, they're good grandparents (lately)!") then you have to let go of what you really really want and look at the reality, and make peace with that reality.

 

The truth is, your DH did not and does not have a wonderful family of origin, and unless something spectacular happens he *never* will.  Your MIL is not healthy, as much as you like her;  she is dangerous if you have the fantasy glasses on.  Your FIL is easy to target/fixate on, but frankly, if you can laugh at the money thing and never accept or expect a dime, he is probably as much or more manageable (because HE is not the one feeding you the bullshit lines, it sounds like it's MIL who's the BSer, you just like her more, and she's socially adept.  THis is actually pretty common, believe it or not).

 

Until you can truly see and accept these folks for who they are, I don't think you will be able to put up adequate boundaries, you'll always be reactionary and hurt because your expectations are way way WAY out of line for what these people are capable of. 

 

Letting unrealistic expectations go is painful in the process, and yes, it's very annoying and sometimes we all just want to stomp our feet and say "It's not fair!" (because it's true, it's not fair!)...but the freedom that comes from that is life changing.  It might not be as life changing for you (unless you too have parents who are ill or don't know how to relate to you, it's just that they're "better" than your inlaws) if you come from a normal family;  but if your DH can manage this it is awesome.  And better for you to get in the habit of practicing it--as time goes on, bitterness creeps in unless you can let go and just understand that people are the way they are and it's your problem if you refuse to acknowledge that.  It does take time and practice (I've had about 20 years of it, and I'm still far from perfect!).

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#15 of 15 Old 07-23-2011, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sarafi, I just wanted to point this out to you, because if you truly, *truly* want to be free of the toxicity, you must look truthfully and unflinchingly at your own denial and clinging to fantasy.

 

I guess this is where I am having a problem. The fantasy...really want it to be true. Like I said, I was not in the position to gradually get to know them, and a lot of the shocking "why would they do that???" stuff initially I wrote off to the fact that they were dealing with a recently pregnant single daughter and I think the dread that they would have to support a son and new wife as well. This was never an option--I have worked since I was fifteen and would not have even thought of trying for a "free ride", but I could kind of understand their fear as they did not know that at the time.

 

DH and I have been married 10+ years, during which either the in-laws, and then later DH and I have lived in different countries and have had only sporadic superficial type visits. MIL and I had gotten closer when her mother was dying (GMIL and I were very close and we really bonded over that) and the two times MIL came to help when we had new babies. Both of those babies were born when FIL was effectively out of the picture as he chose to work in another state from MIL so I didn't really ever get to know him, or even what MIL was like when FIL was around. If that makes sense?

 

 Your MIL is not healthy, as much as you like her;  she is dangerous if you have the fantasy glasses on.  Your FIL is easy to target/fixate on, but frankly, if you can laugh at the money thing and never accept or expect a dime, he is probably as much or more manageable (because HE is not the one feeding you the bullshit lines, it sounds like it's MIL who's the BSer, you just like her more, and she's socially adept.  THis is actually pretty common, believe it or not).

 

This is the part that I am truly having a hard time with. FIL is so clearly over-the-top weird that I cannot fathom why MIL puts up with it. I hate to make him seem like "the bad guy" as he does have good qualities. Clearly MIL is getting something out of the relationship, but it hurts to think that she was acting so very false for the past four years or so. I have heard her in person say one thing and minutes later insist the complete opposite was true just because FIL came in the room (with no embarrassment or awkwardness on her part--just a complete 180 in opinion). I need to accept that she has some kind of weird double life going on and I know it, but still hate it.

 

 (unless you too have parents who are ill or don't know how to relate to you, it's just that they're "better" than your in laws) if you come from a normal family;

 

ROTFLMAO.gifya no. My own dear daddy (whom I do love dearly, but would not choose as a friend) is a terrible racist, and just an angry person in general. He likes to ask me "what breed" that person might be on TV and gets irate over small or even imagined things and then never forgives people.

 

The difference is that my mother calls him out and I don't feel the least bit sorry in chewing him out on racism/hatefulness in front of him. I don't have the whole "this is normal, what's your problem?" vibe from my side of the family which I find crazy-making on DH's side .What my DDad does is so far out of the acceptable norm that speaking up feels normal, yet I don't seem to be able to do it with FIL's weird money/food issues that are more easily ignored, if that makes sense?

 

For the record I, and my sisters have tried to talk to my father many times, and he improves for a bit but then slips back and claims that he is "trying to be funny". 

 

My mama has her own issues as well, but does try not to hurt anyone else. So no, my parents are not perfect either.

 

 

I think the difference is that my parents do all that they can to help us (we live here for free each summer and have lived here for seven months this year for medical reasons), whereas DH's parents help sporadically when they get something out of it or it's convenient (MIL was bored and really wanted to visit the country we were living in and we paid for everything other than her plane ticket) but then also promise things that they then yank away for the sole purpose (it seems) to toy with us.

 

 

  but if your DH can manage this it is awesome.  And better for you to get in the habit of practicing it--as time goes on, bitterness creeps in unless you can let go and just understand that people are the way they are and it's your problem if you refuse to acknowledge that.  It does take time and practice (I've had about 20 years of it, and I'm still far from perfect!).


Arggh, families are not easy IME.  DH has expressed the desire to just not come back to the states next year in order to avoid this whole mess. I think he is ready to cut off both sides of the family, and get the idea that he needs to do both, not just his. Not my favorite idea but a decent plan, except we have to come back for at least one month, probably two for surgery and follow up on on eldest. I just don't think the whole "ya parents suck, lets avoid them for now" is feasible. The Children's hospital we are using in only hours from my parents, so it would be a pretty big snub to refuse to visit them, not to mention the fact that he isn't thinking about the fact that his parents would know we are here as well.

 

Like I said, I am due to deliver next week and my husband will leave for work during that time. I, and the kids will need to stay long enough to get passports/birth certificate, etc. so I think I will look into starting some counseling on my own while I wait for all of that. Maybe that will help me at least get somethings clear in my own head about what I should be expecting out of extended family relationships. And maybe that will help me know what to say to my DH, as he is currently all over the board with his family and mine.

 

We have had a very stressful yeargreensad.gif

 

 

Very likely I do want more than anyone can give--given that we live overseas--and a very superficial "hey, visit for a short bit when you are on holiday" is what I should expect from both my family and his. My parents get burnt out after we stay too long, and this year has definitely been a long stay. I really do latch on to the promise of help when it is offered, as it is so rarely offered or available give our circumstances. I just wish we could all have real friendships and relationships at this point in our lives.

 

So much to think about, and I am truly grateful for all who have responded to this thread!

 

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