Anyone else dislike their entire family in law? (especially their mother in law?) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 06-04-2015, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Anyone else dislike their entire family in law? (especially their mother in law?)

I have been trying to be positive but I am having a really hard time with this and it is making it hard to be happy. I have been with my husband for about 4 years and we are 16 weeks pregnant. I cannot stand my MIL. She is the most materialistic person I have ever met. She cares about her things and her looks and never asks us questions about us. She talks about herself and her things. I grew up with the best mom in the world who was the most selfless person I knew, a stay at home mom, very religious and frugal. It wouldn't be so hard but we see his family at least once a week, sometimes more (we live within 5 minutes of them). We found out we are pregnant and she cannot stop talking about herself (I'm going to be a grandma, at work they call me grandma B, me me me). She hasn't asked me once how I'm feeling or anything. She has VERY strong opinions and makes sure I know it. One time I planned a surprise birthday party for my husband with over 20 of our friends and she made me move the date because she wanted to do something that day.. His dad is very self centered too and only talks about sports. He only has one sister who is getting married to a guy covered in tattoos/piercings from head to toe. I love my husband and we don't have any problems but I have been very depressed about this lately. I am LDS and trying to be more religious and teach my kids good values and I feel like having her as a grandma will make my kids spoiled and self centered. She wants to be very involved and see us all the time, especially when the baby comes. She bought baby boy stuff before we knew the gender and it turns out we're having a girl. My husband knows I have some issues with her but he doesn't know how bad it is or how much it is affecting me. I was fine dealing with it when it was just me that had to put up with it lately but I feel horrible lately thinking that my kids will have them as a family in law. I have always wanted a big family in law who is happy and cheerful and cares about each other and I love my mother in law and it kills me that I don't have that. I feel so bad for my kids and don't want her to have an influence on them. Please help! I try talking to other people about it but no one fully understands.
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#2 of 31 Old 06-04-2015, 10:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alyssa Cole Beseris View Post
My husband knows I have some issues with her but he doesn't know how bad it is or how much it is affecting me.

Why aren't you being honest with your husband? Unless there is something horrible about him (he's an addict, he beats you etc.) the best thing you can do for your baby is to develop a solid, honest, nurturing relationship with him. If you can't, then get into marriage counseling very quickly, because having a new baby *may* make what ever the problem is between you guys much much worse, and much harder to just ignore.


Can you guys move away from the in-laws? I've never had in-laws because my DH's parents both passed away, but my family of origin is completely nuts. We live half a continent away from them, which really works for me, and minimizes their impact on my kids. I do understand not wanting crazy people to be crazy at and toward one's kids, and I do understand grieving the lack of extended family for one's children. Holidays are just the 4 of us, which isn't how I pictured it. None the less, my kids are happy and well adjusted. Our family is pretty awesome, and that's enough.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband knows that I have some problems with his mom but we don't talk about it a lot because I feel like it is unreasonable when I say it out loud to him "Your mom is very selfish and materialistic..." She is very pushy in an indirect way. For example, I told her I was going to try and be a stay at home mom and she did not approve. She was cooking in the kitchen and as soon as I told her she turned around and finished cooking and was silent and looked mad.

I would LOVE to move away but we live very close to my family too and I wouldn't want to move away from them.
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#4 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 09:41 AM
 
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I think a lot of times MIL will not let go of their sons. It's crappy.

I think her reaction about your wanting to be a SAHM is probably because 1) she doesn't value it, and 2) She thinks in a culturally jacked up way, "Oh great..now my poor baby boy will have to provide for the family"

Guess what? Some people like traditional roles, and value them and it works for them. Guess what? Men of yesterday were not pampered little grown up baby boys and did well to provide for their family, as humbly done as it may be..it was an honor. Now, we've largely trained our males to be grown up video game, free time addicted boys.

I believe in respecting ones family. At the same time, your husband's responsibility is first to his wife, not his mama. Sometimes that's very difficult to learn, and it's a real shame that MIL sometimes put that choice before their sons.

I have 7 sons at the moment, and I've learned a ton from my own MIL about how I will respect my DIL's when the time comes, and how to approach things, and respect her and her decisions, whether I agree or not. Once your son marries, they are not "your baby" anymore.

Sounds like you need to be open and honest, and put up some REAL clear boundaries before baby comes. Your husband must be 100% on board in supporting those and communicating those to her, as it is not all your job...or else you are in for some real issues.

Best wishes and congratulations on your pregnancy!

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#5 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 10:14 AM
 
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So sorry you are going through this. One thing to keep in mind is that it's very unlikely that your child will be spoiled and self-centered just because one of her grandmas is. You and your husband will be her primary influences, and it sounds like your family is also going to be around a lot too. And if you are active LDS, that will likely help your kids get exposure to a lot of other adults and kids who are faith- and service-oriented. (I am not LDS but have friends who are, and I've been really impressed by much of how their church experiences have influenced them.)

I could not agree more with MFQ's suggestion to set up clear boundaries. Especially as a SAHM, it will be easy for your MIL to make frequent visits, including unannounced ones. If that's unacceptable, make it clear up front to your husband, and make sure he makes it clear to your MIL. And although you should of course be honest with your husband, you don't have to frame it entirely as being a negative thing about his mom; you can focus more about how situations affect you: what you want and need and what makes you comfortable.

ETA: On the topic of moving, is there any way to move within the same area so that you're still close to your family but are more than 5 minutes away from your MIL? I found that my in-town relatives visted WAY, WAY less when we lived 20 minutes away from them than when we lived 5 minutes away. (It may not be possible or worth doing; just an idea.)

Congratulations to you, and good luck!
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#6 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 10:51 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Alyssa Cole Beseris;18816073I feel like it is unreasonable when I say it out loud to him "Your mom is very selfish and materialistic...".[/QUOTE]

That's sort of just name calling. Focus on YOUR feelings and needs, not on her flaws. My Dh and I follow a model called "non-violent communication." Here is a link to some stuff on it:
http://www.cnvc.org/learn/nvc-foundations


The idea is that you state what feeling you experienced, and what you need. For example, "Today when I told your mom that I plan to be a SAHM and she went quiet and stopped talking to me, I felt hurt and lonely. I need a sense of connection, of understanding." Getting away from blaming and judgment helps in finding ways to really hear each other, and to finding solutions that actually work.


I also agree that boundary setting is going to be very important, and that it works best for a couple if they each set the boundaries with their own family of origin. So, this is your DH's job. The two of you need to decide what the boundaries will be, and then he sets them.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 11:13 AM
 
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I have to agree with the PP who suggested moving a little further away. Not that you should have to up and move over this issue, but it does seem true that a 15 minute driving distance is enough to make self centered people forget you exist
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#8 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 11:30 AM
 
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Moving helps..but creates entirely new issues for which new boundaries must be set.

For example, my MIL. She lives in another state. She would never admit any of this, but she has no respect for me. So, she communicates only with my husband. She never contacts the kids via phone/letter/email. Nada.

So, when she shows up for a visit and gushes about how much she loves being a grandma, it's nauseating. My husband had to tell her that she can't come and stay for 16 days..that doesn't build a relationship. Continuous involvement, no matter how minimal does. So then she dislikes me even more. I'm sure for her it's a "now your wife doesn't want me to visit" thing. She probably would never admit to herself that it's her DIL AND her SON who decided that.

She asks the kids pointed questions about homeschooling, and gives us a hard time about having a lot of children, but then pretends that she just loves it when she uses it to brag to others about "all her grandkids and how smart they are" When I had the twins she didn't call for 3 weeks. However, she did schedule a trip to come and see them when they were still new and cute and a novelty. She didn't end up coming.

I think she has never had anyone stand up to her, because she's rather intimidating, and she's a professor. I'm not intimidated by her..especially since for the better part of two decades I've been respectful of her all the time. I have nothing to be ashamed of there. Years ago, I stood up to her to tell her that it's not OK to come and visit us for several days when my baby is four days old, because we are not close and do not talk, and it's MY time with MY baby and MY family to bond and rest. Since then, things have gotten more "ignore me and only talk to my husband". Rude.

There are many more things, and I've probably said too much as I think this is pretty much a private issue. While I am far from perfect, I am also a very nice person, and quite hospitable. She just is used to running the show, and doesn't respect that her son and I have a marriage where I am a gatekeeper of what goes on here..my kids need their schedules and routines, and we would love a respectful visit, as well as continued interest, rather than bonzai long visits that screw up the kids and things we value.

I have often told my husband it would be easier to take if they lived in the same town. At least she'd be integrated with stuff like holidays and kids birthdays..making the "Aren't I such a wonderful grandma" self edifying dramatic act a little easier to stomach.
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#9 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 11:37 AM
 
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I hope no one thinks I'm trying to trivialize any of these quite serious issues, but the discussion of moving reminded me of this, so I thought I'd post it for some levity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vltq8wwWhA4

In all seriousness, though, when people are difficult, there are different issues being close vs. far; it's just a matter of which sets of issues concern you more.

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#10 of 31 Old 06-05-2015, 11:39 AM
 
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LOL! I love it!

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#11 of 31 Old 06-08-2015, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the input everyone!!

I love being able to talk to women going through the same thing or are knowledgable about it.

I am only 22 years old and am just really worried and stressing out. Since this post, my MIL has done some other things that bother me:

-Made a comment about how Mormons are ridiculous because they don't like being around people when they drink alcohol (she drinks probably every single day).
-Bought baby girl stuff for her (probably $100 worth or more of clothes). While this is sweet, it is also before I had the chance to buy her anything and it shows how materialistic she is. I wish she would show her love and ask how things are going or if we need help, etc. instead of buying things.
-We see his parents at least 1-2 a week sometimes more and I just don't want to be around them that much.. it is hard though because we see my family the same amount and I don't want to cut out how much we see my family.

I didn't realize how true the saying "you marry the whole family" truly is.
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#12 of 31 Old 06-08-2015, 04:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alyssa Cole Beseris View Post
Since this post, my MIL has done some other things that bother me:

-Made a comment about how Mormons are ridiculous because they don't like being around people when they drink alcohol (she drinks probably every single day).
I could be way off-base, but this sounds to me like she might be being a bit defensive and afraid that you're judging her for her drinking. Even if that's true, though, you should NOT have to put up with that kind of comment. Can you talk to your husband about it? (Though if my MIL made a similar comment to me, I'd probably say something directly to her.)

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-Bought baby girl stuff for her (probably $100 worth or more of clothes). While this is sweet, it is also before I had the chance to buy her anything and it shows how materialistic she is. I wish she would show her love and ask how things are going or if we need help, etc. instead of buying things.
I totally get how this could be irritating, but I think it's important to remember that people show their love in different ways, and it's very common to do it through gift-giving. If she gives you things that you don't want, gently let her know that you appreciate it but you would rather have X, or that you appreciate it but it's not something you can use, or whatever. If she keeps giving them, say thank you and then feel free to give them away or sell them. Just my two cents.

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We see his parents at least 1-2 a week sometimes more and I just don't want to be around them that much.. it is hard though because we see my family the same amount and I don't want to cut out how much we see my family.
That is hard. I do think when you are a new mom, you might get some more confidence (and/or leeway from people) to be a bit more forceful about what you want and need. When I was nursing constantly and sleep-deprived, I was for the most part not willing to be around anyone (even people I like) outside of a specific circle (basically a couple of my own biological family members and a couple of close friends). I felt free to say, "I'm afraid I'm just not up for a visit today" to one person and accept a visit from another. They might have thought I was being rude, but I kind of doubt it, and also I had no mental energy to care.

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#13 of 31 Old 06-08-2015, 06:51 PM
 
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-We see his parents at least 1-2 a week sometimes more and I just don't want to be around them that much.. it is hard though because we see my family the same amount and I don't want to cut out how much we see my family.


And how did it go when you were honest (without being blamy or name calling) with your husband?


What is going on with your MIL isn't nearly as important as the communication between you and your spouse.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 31 Old 06-09-2015, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The last we talked about it is when his parents got a gym pass to the gym we go to, I told him that I love his mom but don't want to be around her a lot and it is hard when she is forceful/pushy and especially when we have such different opinions on things. Because at the gym him and his dad will go lift weights and I'm stuck with his mom on a treadmill, which will make me go to the gym less because I don't want to be in that situation.

I told him that and he got kind of defensive but understood and knows I don't want to spend one on one time with her, etc. I get both sides though, he doesn't see her pushiness and just see's her being nice and buying our kids stuff, and since my husband isn't LDS he doesn't notice the comments she makes about my religion.

It's hard, thanks for talking guys it is really helping! I think once the baby is here I will be able to speak my mind more and let her know when something isn't okay. For example, I don't want my baby/kids around alcohol and think it is okay for me to feel like that. Also I am afraid my kids will like her more than my mom because of the money she has and things she buys them... so many fears I am trying to be excited about being pregnant but just keep seeing problems
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#15 of 31 Old 06-09-2015, 04:30 PM
 
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I think once the baby is here I will be able to speak my mind more and let her know when something isn't okay. For example, I don't want my baby/kids around alcohol and think it is okay for me to feel like that.


a baby isn't going to make any of this easier.


You married someone from another faith who doesn't notice when his mother puts down your faith?


You have marriage problems. You are pretending that the problem is your MIL. It isn't. It's the communication and caring between you and your spouse. You and your DH don't have to feel the same way about everything, but you do have to CARE about what the other feels and is experiencing or you don't have future.


Wake up. Start talking to your husband. Today. This isn't going to get better on its own. If you guys aren't able to talk about this, get into counseling. Marriage counseling saved my marriage because we learned how to work through things together. Just staying quiet, being miserable, and hoping things magically get better isn't a long term plan.
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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 31 Old 06-09-2015, 09:57 PM
 
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I just wanted to chime in here and say that I agree with those who said it's important to lay the boundaries now. LOM and MFQ have helped me with my MIL issues on here, which have been very difficult at times. I tried very hard for almost three years to be nice and not difficult and to let things slide, all it did was result in me being crapped on all the time. Finally I stood up for myself and FIL seems to have developed a new respect for me, though MIL unfortunately still hates me. I've come to accept that MIL will never love/accept me and i just have to let that go! It's liberating! I think part of the issue is that my mom was pretty mean growing up and i really wanted a nice mom and when i met MIL i thought she'd be perfect as she seemed like the perfect 50's housewife. But, not surprisingly, there was a big catch, which was that i become a wallflower and allow everyone to walk all over me, and i just couldn't do it. I'm much happier now.

As for moving, if it came down to it i would move to the moon for my family. Thankfully it won't come to that and we're very happy here. I do think having family around (his, mine all live far), is worth some suffering on my part for the children's sake. The question is how much/how often.

My friend said that there's an old German saying that you should never be able to see the smoke from your mother in law's chimney.
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#17 of 31 Old 06-10-2015, 01:47 PM
 
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The last wedding I was at, I just looked at that young smiling bride and thought, "oh honey, just wait..."

You MIL sounds like a typical wacko of the 'someone please pay attention to me, even if it's negative' variety. My apologies. Trust me, you are not alone. My MIL faked her own death in my bathroom for attention once (yes really).

You sound way too enmeshed with DH's family. How does your DH feel about his mother? Does she drive him nuts, or is he kinda blind to it? It would be better if she drove him crazy too. My DH is at the point where he can barely tolerate his mother, so he always agrees with me when I share my interpretation of her behaviors.

Start setting boundaries now. If DH doesn't see it, start pointing out examples (as calmly as possible) now. Once the baby is here, you will be too tired to have any patience for her ridiculousness.

Quote:
I feel horrible lately thinking that my kids will have them as a family in law. I have always wanted a big family in law who is happy and cheerful and cares about each other
Yea, you might find this on a lifetime special, or a dramatic comedy with Meryl Streep, but otherwise it doesn't exist. Sorry.
Just know you are not alone. We are ALL there with you, in one way or another.
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#18 of 31 Old 06-16-2015, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone! Your advice is so helpful and I love being able to vent about it.

It is sad I can't be 100% excited about this pregnancy because I just keep thinking of all the problems that might and probably will happen. I posted something on social media about how our daughter will be blessed in my religion and she has been kind of cold shouldering me since..

Husband isn't my religion but he is fine raising our family LDS.
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#19 of 31 Old 06-17-2015, 07:46 AM
 
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Another voice chiming in to say you and your husband need to be on the same team, period. I would use up my entire inventory of "likes" agreeing with the posts above stressing the importance of this.

Some random practical implementation thoughts, with apologies for the file dump:

- You both should have a phrase like "I'll have to get back to you about that" coming out of your mouths as if you were one of those pull-string dolls -- it's a lifesaver and has bought me time to decide how or whether to respond to toxic relatives about requests, commands, opinions, commitments, etc.

- It doesn't matter if they're only five minutes away. And this isn't a kickball game where you owe them the same number of turns your family has. You live your boundaries. If you don't want to see them, then don't. If they show up anyway, don't open the door, or if you do, don't let them in (to give my MIL credit, the one time she showed up unannounced and I said I wanted her to call first was her last surprise visit). Screen their calls, have their emails go to a separate folder to read later, whatever it takes. Hide their feed on FB. Don't discuss personal situations with them; they are your decisions, and you don't owe them input. @MyFillingQuiver used the phrase "gate-keeper" -- be one.

- Your kids will not like her more because she buys them things. My MIL was a heavy gift-giver throughout my kids' childhoods (up to a dozen toys and / or books per special occasion for each of them). But she was so condescending that they stopped wanting to have anything to do with her. They refused her offer to fund their undergraduate educations at private (expensive, arterial flow of tuition money) colleges because they saw right through her. They have asked us not to give her their addresses. Sometimes people give gifts as a form of attention-seeking or control, but you will model not buying into that, and your children will see.

- You live your boundaries, Part II. If you don't want your child around alcohol, or whatever else, you have the right to enforce that. You take yourself and your child out of the situation. Leave the room or the building. If your husband can't or won't leave, either take the car or take a separate car.

- Which leads me back to: Your DH and you need to be a team, a unit. He needs to be the husband and father she had a responsibility to raise him to be, whether she wants that or not. It will mean his letting go of needing her to be his mother, because it doesn't sound like she can -- not if she's disrespecting his wife. My MIL stopped feeling like my problem once my husband let go of hoping to make her happy. Make no mistake, it's been very sad and difficult for him. He also says he feels better than he ever did in his life. He's grieving and angry, but finally feels as though he has healthy ways to tend himself -- and he finally feels that he has a right to that. It's hard, really hard, but he says and behaves as though his life is infinitely better. Your DH will need a set of brass ones, because the toughest thing to do is look in a mirror and do something about what you see.

And because I cannot love this book enough:


Toxic Parents, by Susan Forward. She also wrote Toxic InLaws, appropos of nothing, of course. :-)

Finally, congratulations, and wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy!
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#20 of 31 Old 06-17-2015, 07:57 AM
 
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I love how @mariamadly touches on your MIL not being favored for being "the big buyer" for you child(ren).

I have a similar experience. Though my MIL is quite wealthy, she is ultra cheap. Since I know money is really important to her, I made it clear that we would prefer VERY SMALL gifts, or even a group gift. We have 10 children and therefore are very DOWN TO EARTH folks, and I hate the idea of people dreading the holidays or a birthday because "oh those folks have so many to buy for". Nope, get us a popcorn tin for $4..we're good, OK? We are not materialistic, and are blessed to be able to buy what our children need..NOT your responsibility.

Anyway, my older children used to really look forward to grandma's visits, etc. However, after years of no phone calls when my parents are very involved with the kids, within our boundaries, the older children pretty much don't like her. What feels "good" about this in all the negativity, is that I didn't have to poison them to get there. They are smart, and they develop their own relationships..since they never hear from her, and only see her on these extensive bombarding trips, they see through her facade.

I see my younger children anticipating her visits with enthusiasm. I always help them get excited about her visit, but inside I'm very guarded, as I know without some HUGE change I'm not expecting, grandma will become this phony lady they have to show respect for when she comes and disrupts their lives..all along she will know nothing about them, or maintain any desire for contact between visits.

The gifts she sends out of obligation do nothing to forge a relationship like a little bit of contact and interest would do!
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#21 of 31 Old 06-17-2015, 08:49 AM
 
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It is sad I can't be 100% excited about this pregnancy because I just keep thinking of all the problems that might and probably will happen. I posted something on social media about how our daughter will be blessed in my religion and she has been kind of cold shouldering me since..

Husband isn't my religion but he is fine raising our family LDS.

Try to focus on all the wonderful things. Make a list. You are expecting your first child with your husband, which is an amazing and wonderful thing. It sounds like the pregnancy is going well, which is such a huge blessing. There really are so many wonderful things about where you are right now in your life.


Is your husband 100% on board with the "no drinking around the baby" issue? Considering your situation, I think it will help a great deal if he is the enforcer on this one.


Also, it sounds like may be you and your husband where attracted to each other because of some of your differences. I think it is lovely that he is happy to raise the child in your religion -- that is really a wonderful compliment to you, your character, and the fact that he sees your faith as a fundamental part of who you are and what makes you special and lovable.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Try to focus on all the wonderful things. Make a list. You are expecting your first child with your husband, which is an amazing and wonderful thing. It sounds like the pregnancy is going well, which is such a huge blessing. There really are so many wonderful things about where you are right now in your life.


Is your husband 100% on board with the "no drinking around the baby" issue? Considering your situation, I think it will help a great deal if he is the enforcer on this one.


Also, it sounds like may be you and your husband where attracted to each other because of some of your differences. I think it is lovely that he is happy to raise the child in your religion -- that is really a wonderful compliment to you, your character, and the fact that he sees your faith as a fundamental part of who you are and what makes you special and lovable.
So much this post, especially the bolded.

The advice you're getting may sound as though it's focused on the negative, but what we're trying to do -- at least my read on it -- is encourage you to establish a way of living that guards and nurtures your joy.
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#23 of 31 Old 06-17-2015, 07:06 PM
 
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Hi.

I see this problem from lots of angles, and I hope I can give you my two cents worth.

AS A CHILD -

I was the oldest of nine and there was lots of arguing all of the time. My mom seemed to feed on the rancor. My Father was old to me, but he was the youngest in his large family and he married late and started the family late, so my Aunt and Uncles on that side were all much older than my mom, so they saw her as a little girl with little sense. My mom constantly told my Uncles and my Aunt off rudely. My mom's mother was a little nutty and her father was very ill with diabetes the entire time I knew him; I ended up caring for them in their last three years as they died - my Father was as old as they were and he never got along with them. I promised myself that a line would be drawn to keep my children out of this poisonous stew of human disagreements.

It was not easy.

AS A MARRIED ADULT WITH CHILDREN

My MIL was an alcoholic and proud of it. My FIL catered to her quietly. When my DH and I had been married nine years, my MIL died of lung cancer as she was a heavy smoker too, and I ended up caring for my FIL in my home while I had three children under the age of four. Suddenly, my SIL was flying in to visit each weekend - she never so much as called or sent a Christmas before, but there she was, suddenly, every weekend; I suspected that she did not trust me with her father or with his $. I treated my SIL graciously, made a big dinner each Friday which is what I did anyway; her children, my DH's niece and nephew, were rude to me and hated my children - and they showed it by ignoring them, and my children could sense it, so I kept them busy and away when they came with her. After three years of this, I sent my FIL packing to be with her since it was too much to care for FIL and the children. My SIL cared for him for another six years and he then died. I helped her by calling family members in the area to let them know.

When my husband died, I never heard from my SIL. She knew he was on his deathbed and she never called. I have left it that way. This is the way I like it.

My husband has a brother, who has come and stayed for a month or so. He is a pleasant, low-key kind of person, and I have always welcomed him into my home. He worked at MIU for the Maharishi.

AS A WIDOW AND MIL

Now, I am an MIL. I see lots of things I do not care for - as my DIL stopped breastfeeding after four months because she went back to work. They have three dogs and bought another house. I say nothing. Those things are her call and she will live with the outcome. She cares for my grandson well and with love, and my son loves her and she makes him happy, so what else could I really ask for? They have asked me questions about child spacing and I gave them my sage advice, and they did not follow my advice, but this is their decision to make.

As for gifts, I told my children to give me a gift of their time. I have enough things to dust. In turn, I will give them the gift of the time I have left in this life. That is something no $ can buy. With the internet, it is easy to keep in touch.

So my advice is to be open, listen, and do what you want. This is your baby. This is your husband. This is your marriage. Smile and remind your MIL of that. I am glad that you go to the gym with her - I went to the gym with my SIL a few times, but not recently. Do not let her ruin the time you have with your baby. Make sure your husband protects you too when you are recovering from the delivery. You will be low then, so make sure your hubby has your back. The problem is your husband needs to stand by YOU.

Since you are raising them in your faith, LDS, later when you take your children to the Temple for whatever dedication ceremony you have, TELL your MIL and FIL of any traditions that they need to be aware of so that they can join in the solemnity of the time. Let them know what they can and cannot do and take charge and make sure your husband stands by you. As for materialism, your husband needs to tell his mother to curb it, but if she gives lots of gifts, take them graciously and when she leaves, set them aside, or put them away before the baby notices it - this is not going to be easy, but keep a few of the gifts and give the rest away. Do not let your child get attached to them.

Your home, your rules. I hope your husband really understands the values of the LDS faith. Details!

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#24 of 31 Old 06-18-2015, 02:03 AM
 
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Applejuice, thank you for presenting both face of the coin, you as a child and as a grandmother, i'm going to be able to learn from that ....Thanks again ...
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#25 of 31 Old 06-18-2015, 07:01 AM
 
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also wanted to add :

i totally relate with this :
I have always wanted a big family in law who is happy and cheerful and cares about each other and I love my mother in law and it kills me that I don't have that. I feel so bad for my kids and don't want her to have an influence on them.
=> ... it took me about 5 or 6 years to understand i was in;
and in the end i had some sort of counselling sessions, some in group settings about parenting, some one-to-one over the years to help me get through what was for me a "mourning period" of what i was hoping for from the in-laws, ... which could'nt realistically happen ....

As it turned out in time, we've been faced with some sort of mental illnesses, some of it diagnosed and treated, some of it not yet diagnosed and still creating a lot of hurt all around ....

So, what i learned in time i very close to the advice you were given above ...
for exemple:
Try to focus on all the wonderful things. Make a list. You are expecting your first child with your husband, which is an amazing and wonderful thing. It sounds like the pregnancy is going well, which is such a huge blessing. There really are so many wonderful things about where you are right now in your life.

also :
You LIVE your boundaries, Part II. If you don't want your child around alcohol, or whatever else, you have the right to enforce that. You take yourself and your child out of the situation. Leave the room or the building. If your husband can't or won't leave, either take the car or take a separate car.
i've now accepted that i've tried explaining things gently for a few years, then i got upset and was more straightforward in my talking ... and it still wouldn't move towards something acceptable to me .... SO now, i just ACT. .... Sad thing is ... my husband is happy about it, it saves him having to talk to his family (& i now realise that he's quite happy to have married a foreigner & his choosing to live "not in their country" was NOT because of the weather - the excuse he jockingly gives "socially" - ... but more as a "way out" from some difficult psychological situation ...

this too :
Don't discuss personal situations with them; they are your decisions, and you don't owe them input. @MyFillingQuiver used the phrase "gate-keeper" -- be one.
... but then i was only able to do this once i had gone through my "mourning period" ... these two books "Toxic parents" and "Toxic in-laws" ... they won't solve your problem (... LOL as i thought they would when i read them about 8 years ago, i thought, i read that & i'm done .... not quite.... ) but they definitely will help you
1 - realise you are not alone in that situation
2- you are entitled to all the hurt feelings you are feeling (whatever whomever says ... what they want ...) [ added later : it is important to feel validated about one's hurt feelings ..... before being able to "let go" & forgiving and forgetting people who create hurtful situations ... is not about them, it's all about you, try not to waste your time and physical and mental energy on situations or people that only create negativity around you - try to concentrate your energy on your spouse and your children and on what is good out of life ... time passes so quickly ... ] ... it's probably not 100% your fault BUT help can only come from how YOU deal with the situation .... MIL may change, maybe, .... but unlikely, so you need to work out what you can change about the situation (setting boundaries as suggested above, focusing on the joy already present in your life ....etc ...) so that whatever happens around you doesn't upset you so much ....
OF course, being pregnant doesn't help, every woman is different in
the way that hormonal changes will impact her at different stages of her life ...

15 years ago a kind soul told me about in-laws issues "it's easier after the third child" .... it didn't help me at the time ... but i realise now (my 3rd child is 8 !!!) ... that it turned out so ... In-laws realised that i wasn't going to do exactly what they thought i should be doing, that i could stand up for myself after all and explain in details why i needed boundaries and which boundaries etc ... and that my children didn't turn up growing 3 heads in spite of me being so different from the "ideal person they had imagined" for their son ....

... and when you are in the gym, do you have to be stuck on the treadmill alonside your MIL ? Aren't there many other machines to explore there ? good luck with taking care of yourself in this difficult situation you are in ...

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#26 of 31 Old 07-05-2015, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another voice chiming in to say you and your husband need to be on the same team, period. I would use up my entire inventory of "likes" agreeing with the posts above stressing the importance of this.

Some random practical implementation thoughts, with apologies for the file dump:

- You both should have a phrase like "I'll have to get back to you about that" coming out of your mouths as if you were one of those pull-string dolls -- it's a lifesaver and has bought me time to decide how or whether to respond to toxic relatives about requests, commands, opinions, commitments, etc.

- It doesn't matter if they're only five minutes away. And this isn't a kickball game where you owe them the same number of turns your family has. You live your boundaries. If you don't want to see them, then don't. If they show up anyway, don't open the door, or if you do, don't let them in (to give my MIL credit, the one time she showed up unannounced and I said I wanted her to call first was her last surprise visit). Screen their calls, have their emails go to a separate folder to read later, whatever it takes. Hide their feed on FB. Don't discuss personal situations with them; they are your decisions, and you don't owe them input. @MyFillingQuiver used the phrase "gate-keeper" -- be one.

- Your kids will not like her more because she buys them things. My MIL was a heavy gift-giver throughout my kids' childhoods (up to a dozen toys and / or books per special occasion for each of them). But she was so condescending that they stopped wanting to have anything to do with her. They refused her offer to fund their undergraduate educations at private (expensive, arterial flow of tuition money) colleges because they saw right through her. They have asked us not to give her their addresses. Sometimes people give gifts as a form of attention-seeking or control, but you will model not buying into that, and your children will see.

- You live your boundaries, Part II. If you don't want your child around alcohol, or whatever else, you have the right to enforce that. You take yourself and your child out of the situation. Leave the room or the building. If your husband can't or won't leave, either take the car or take a separate car.

- Which leads me back to: Your DH and you need to be a team, a unit. He needs to be the husband and father she had a responsibility to raise him to be, whether she wants that or not. It will mean his letting go of needing her to be his mother, because it doesn't sound like she can -- not if she's disrespecting his wife. My MIL stopped feeling like my problem once my husband let go of hoping to make her happy. Make no mistake, it's been very sad and difficult for him. He also says he feels better than he ever did in his life. He's grieving and angry, but finally feels as though he has healthy ways to tend himself -- and he finally feels that he has a right to that. It's hard, really hard, but he says and behaves as though his life is infinitely better. Your DH will need a set of brass ones, because the toughest thing to do is look in a mirror and do something about what you see.

And because I cannot love this book enough: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...irensgetwithth Toxic Parents, by Susan Forward. She also wrote Toxic InLaws, appropos of nothing, of course. :-)

Finally, congratulations, and wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy!
Thank you SO SO much! This has been the most helpful thing I have read so far!

I love how you made me realize they are my kids and it is up to me and we don't owe her anything. If I don't want to be close with them, it sucks and wish things were different but if it is making me unhappy I don't have to be put in that situation. Wow, thanks again!

Also I will need to get that book!
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#27 of 31 Old 07-05-2015, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love how @mariamadly touches on your MIL not being favored for being "the big buyer" for you child(ren).

I have a similar experience. Though my MIL is quite wealthy, she is ultra cheap. Since I know money is really important to her, I made it clear that we would prefer VERY SMALL gifts, or even a group gift. We have 10 children and therefore are very DOWN TO EARTH folks, and I hate the idea of people dreading the holidays or a birthday because "oh those folks have so many to buy for". Nope, get us a popcorn tin for $4..we're good, OK? We are not materialistic, and are blessed to be able to buy what our children need..NOT your responsibility.

Anyway, my older children used to really look forward to grandma's visits, etc. However, after years of no phone calls when my parents are very involved with the kids, within our boundaries, the older children pretty much don't like her. What feels "good" about this in all the negativity, is that I didn't have to poison them to get there. They are smart, and they develop their own relationships..since they never hear from her, and only see her on these extensive bombarding trips, they see through her facade.

I see my younger children anticipating her visits with enthusiasm. I always help them get excited about her visit, but inside I'm very guarded, as I know without some HUGE change I'm not expecting, grandma will become this phony lady they have to show respect for when she comes and disrupts their lives..all along she will know nothing about them, or maintain any desire for contact between visits.

The gifts she sends out of obligation do nothing to forge a relationship like a little bit of contact and interest would do!
Thank you! This is very helpful and I appreciate so much frugality and living within your means.

My situation is a little different because she only has 2 kids and wants to be VERY involved. But it is the more involvement of throwing parties and having people rave over their things, and giving gifts, and paying for things when others can't etc. I wish she wanted to be less involved but she wants to see us all the time and don't want to be around her much when baby comes because She will spoil them too much and buy their love and I don't want her ways to rub off on my children or make them love things
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#28 of 31 Old 07-05-2015, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Try to focus on all the wonderful things. Make a list. You are expecting your first child with your husband, which is an amazing and wonderful thing. It sounds like the pregnancy is going well, which is such a huge blessing. There really are so many wonderful things about where you are right now in your life.


Is your husband 100% on board with the "no drinking around the baby" issue? Considering your situation, I think it will help a great deal if he is the enforcer on this one.


Also, it sounds like may be you and your husband where attracted to each other because of some of your differences. I think it is lovely that he is happy to raise the child in your religion -- that is really a wonderful compliment to you, your character, and the fact that he sees your faith as a fundamental part of who you are and what makes you special and lovable.
Thank you so much, I never thought of it that way before but that is true.

I think some of the reason he was so attracted to me is because I am very different from his mother. I am affectionate, unselfish, religious and frugal.

His mom shows him she loves him by buying him things and is kind of sad to see how he was raised without much affection.

His parents know I am uncomfortable around drinking but they drink all the time and don't really care and I don't say anything to cause drama but when that baby is here I will leave everytime.
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#29 of 31 Old 07-05-2015, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi.

I see this problem from lots of angles, and I hope I can give you my two cents worth.

AS A CHILD -

I was the oldest of nine and there was lots of arguing all of the time. My mom seemed to feed on the rancor. My Father was old to me, but he was the youngest in his large family and he married late and started the family late, so my Aunt and Uncles on that side were all much older than my mom, so they saw her as a little girl with little sense. My mom constantly told my Uncles and my Aunt off rudely. My mom's mother was a little nutty and her father was very ill with diabetes the entire time I knew him; I ended up caring for them in their last three years as they died - my Father was as old as they were and he never got along with them. I promised myself that a line would be drawn to keep my children out of this poisonous stew of human disagreements.

It was not easy.

AS A MARRIED ADULT WITH CHILDREN

My MIL was an alcoholic and proud of it. My FIL catered to her quietly. When my DH and I had been married nine years, my MIL died of lung cancer as she was a heavy smoker too, and I ended up caring for my FIL in my home while I had three children under the age of four. Suddenly, my SIL was flying in to visit each weekend - she never so much as called or sent a Christmas before, but there she was, suddenly, every weekend; I suspected that she did not trust me with her father or with his $. I treated my SIL graciously, made a big dinner each Friday which is what I did anyway; her children, my DH's niece and nephew, were rude to me and hated my children - and they showed it by ignoring them, and my children could sense it, so I kept them busy and away when they came with her. After three years of this, I sent my FIL packing to be with her since it was too much to care for FIL and the children. My SIL cared for him for another six years and he then died. I helped her by calling family members in the area to let them know.

When my husband died, I never heard from my SIL. She knew he was on his deathbed and she never called. I have left it that way. This is the way I like it.

My husband has a brother, who has come and stayed for a month or so. He is a pleasant, low-key kind of person, and I have always welcomed him into my home. He worked at MIU for the Maharishi.

AS A WIDOW AND MIL

Now, I am an MIL. I see lots of things I do not care for - as my DIL stopped breastfeeding after four months because she went back to work. They have three dogs and bought another house. I say nothing. Those things are her call and she will live with the outcome. She cares for my grandson well and with love, and my son loves her and she makes him happy, so what else could I really ask for? They have asked me questions about child spacing and I gave them my sage advice, and they did not follow my advice, but this is their decision to make.

As for gifts, I told my children to give me a gift of their time. I have enough things to dust. In turn, I will give them the gift of the time I have left in this life. That is something no $ can buy. With the internet, it is easy to keep in touch.

So my advice is to be open, listen, and do what you want. This is your baby. This is your husband. This is your marriage. Smile and remind your MIL of that. I am glad that you go to the gym with her - I went to the gym with my SIL a few times, but not recently. Do not let her ruin the time you have with your baby. Make sure your husband protects you too when you are recovering from the delivery. You will be low then, so make sure your hubby has your back. The problem is your husband needs to stand by YOU.

Since you are raising them in your faith, LDS, later when you take your children to the Temple for whatever dedication ceremony you have, TELL your MIL and FIL of any traditions that they need to be aware of so that they can join in the solemnity of the time. Let them know what they can and cannot do and take charge and make sure your husband stands by you. As for materialism, your husband needs to tell his mother to curb it, but if she gives lots of gifts, take them graciously and when she leaves, set them aside, or put them away before the baby notices it - this is not going to be easy, but keep a few of the gifts and give the rest away. Do not let your child get attached to them.

Your home, your rules. I hope your husband really understands the values of the LDS faith. Details!
Another thing that bothers me is I took my husband to the Oregon Coast for the first time and he didn't appreciate the beauty. Oregon is a very laid back vacation and is more sight seeing than anything else and I 100% blame his mom for having influenced him to be interested in big/flashy materialistic things.

We are really tight on money right now and he needed to buy his parents a suvioner from our vacation and spent $40. I just don't get why it is that big of a deal that they NEED something. Like they wouldn't think we were thinking of them if we didnt' bring something back? I just don't get it.

We also went to our friends house last weekend and his mom kept asking how nice it was and how well off her parents were. Just bothers me so much because to me that doesn't matter at all and she cared so much.

Another thing that happened is we went to Vegas with some friends and some friends went to bed early around 10 and everyone else stayed up till 2 drinking and partying. And she said "Oh, they went to bed because they didn't want to have fun or be around the drinking". People have a right to be uncomfortable around drinking.

Anyways sorry for the rant and thanks again everyone! Reading all your messages really give me great advice on how to best go about the situation!

YOU ARE ALL AMAZING.
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#30 of 31 Old 07-05-2015, 10:49 PM
 
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Your MIL sounds like my mom. I'm no psychologist, but when I felt there was something off with the way my mom is so obsessed with youth, appearances and what everyone thinks I discovered narcisstic personality disorder. Be very careful. Research it but don't think you can diagnose her with her knowledge or think she will be okay in getting help. Narcissists do not and refuse to believe there is anything wrong with themselves. They will go into a rage. You do not want to see a narcisstic rage. Trust me, it's over the top dramatic.
You MIL thinks she wants to spend time with her grandkids right now, but once she experiences a tantrum she will not want to deal with again. Kind of makes you wonder how they were able to raise their own kids. My mom has admitted to letting me cry until I fell back asleep at night without checking on me. She told me it was something she read in a Dr. Spock book to prevent spoiling babies. Go figure. Don't expect your MIL to take your babe over night until she is able to sleep through the night, too. Everyone get's into the giving mood with a newborn. Newborn's cannot possibly receive too many things and they don't understand what is for boys or what is for girls. I'm sure what your MIL is still usable for your baby. Maybe try not to wait to be asked how you're doing when you talk with your MIL. Just tell her out of the blue. See what she says.


I can't stand my ex-inlaws. I felt I wasn't allowed to speak to them. Everytime. My ex's dad would cut me off if I wanted to say something. Then they would complain to their son that I wasn't talking to them. They would agree to watch Dawn occassionaly, but they would watch those gory, violent crime drama's all evening with Dawn around. I never liked that. You would think that devoted Christians would shield a young child away from garbage like that. Nope. Just put on a show where some guy gets eyes gouged out. They would watch this stuff while eating dinner. How do people watch that stuff. Then they would get all huffy if I suggested a comedy show when we're there for supper. ugh. They would have an issue with me taking Dawn to places like the Children's Museum and other fun places. They never liked my parents, or whole family for that matter. They never accepted my mom's invitation to come over for supper. They never invited my mom over. Instead they told me that my mom should ask them if she can come over. My mom isn't the type to invite herself over to anyone's place and that is weird to be expected to do. My ex-inlaws would always criticize my shift hours. Me ex's dad has said to me "why would you want a job with such dumb hours?" This was while we had to stay with them while I was looking for work, looking for an apartment and had 3 months of daycare to look for a job. Not exactly in a position to be picky with hours. And then they would make an offer to help pick up Dawn in the evening from daycare if I needed them too, but when that was needed they complained about it. If they didn't want to do it then why make the offer? They accused me of forcing their son to work crazy hours and taking all his money. It's called supporting a family and I never forced him to work at any type of job. That was all him. But of course, I'm the evil one. My ex has been aware of how is parents treat me and was never happy about it. At least we get along.
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