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How often?

Started by pam1, October 25, 2010, 09:23:20 am

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pam1

Quote from: Laurie on October 25, 2010, 11:28:55 am
Does you husband feel the same as you?  Would he be comfortable applying the 'we' into all the  decisions instead of you feeling like it's your decision alone?

I read the number counts you gave 36 weekends and many weekdays as well.  I'd have to sell my house and move :)  It has to be hard to find time for yourselves as a couple.


DH....I don't know what to say about DH.  He says that it's crazy and outrageous and he doesn't like the way they treat him at times and especially the drama over childish things.  He really dislikes the favoritism between his siblings and how the favored siblings and MIL control the holidays/events with their wishes.  But OTOH, his actions don't show this.  It is extremely difficult for him to say no or set boundaries.  It's becoming clearer every day to me that he doesn't know what boundaries are, much less good boundaries.  My therapist has said that it sounds like he was just never allowed to have his own.  After the fact, he will become extremely upset with himself and his parents but he doesn't have the awareness of before to clearly see the situation and how it will likely play out.  Bottom line, it's a struggle and a major one for him.

And he refuses to go to therapy now.  So we went the past few months without the therapist trying out our boundaries together -- doesn't work so well in our situation.  He's able to follow through, he's able to say no to an extent....but when the "machine" (my word for the manipulations, guilts, triangulated communication) goes into effect he has trouble handling it.  And unfortunately, I'm the one who it affects 90% of the time. 

So now I'm in therapy just for me and the therapist has said in our type of situation, I just have to set my own boundaries.  I can't rely on couple boundaries.  I can't deal with the drama and the guilt trips.....so the only way for us to survive this and me not driving DH away and DH not pushing me away for his family...is for me to separate our boundaries from my own boundaries and just truck on. 

DH seems to like this which bothers me.  I think he wants to be able to say Pam doesn't want/isn't willing and have that as his excuse.  Before when it was "we" decisions, he couldn't argue back, he couldn't hang up the phone...it paralyzed him.  Now since I've told him the my boundaries thing...he is excited, he will say just tell me what you want, babe!  And you know, I'm uneasy about this.  But at this point, I can't live like this any longer.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

pam1

Thank you so much everyone for your replies!  It is so helpful to read all of this.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

justus

When things were OK with my FOO, I saw my Ps at least once a week. Mom wanted us for dinner every Sunday, but that was unrealistic for us because we had three very active kids as well as being active in our community ourselves. I talked to my Mom at least once a week, and my siblings every couple of weeks. I was comfortable with this. As Mom became more and more jealous of DH, she started becoming very difficult to deal with. We saw them less and less, and I seldom spoke to Mom. When I did, I gave her very little information because she would use anything personal I told her against me.

When SD lived with us, MIL called her several times a week and DH about once a month. When SD moved out, she called a couple of times a year on holidays or to give us bad news. Since SD has moved closer to MIL, we hear from her even less than that. DH calls her even less than she calls him. DH goes to visit them every couple of years and the PILs used to come her every couple of years. I doubt they will make it this way again since SD isn't here. It makes DH feel unimportant. I do remind him that the phone line goes both ways, but I guess it isn't important for him to call his Mom.

When SD and DD lived here as adults, we saw them at least once a week and talked to them a couple of times a week. We had a family dinner night, at their request and we often watched GD a couple of times a week. Occasionally, SD would invite us over for dinner on the weekend. They seemed happy with that. Since we both have experienced extreme enmeshment with our Moms (when DH lived closer to his family his M expected a lot from him) we tend to follow our children's lead. We are comfortable with whatever they want. Now that everyone lives all over the U.S. we talk to them at least every other week. I tend to talk to DD more often because she is away by herself and so I worry about her more. I talk to DS about every three weeks. This seems to be what is good for him and I have gotten used to it. DS wants less, while the girls want more. *shrug*

LaurieS

I hear exactly what you are saying Pam.  My own son is so non-confrontational that  I can see him making some of the same decisions as your dh.  How does your therapist help you to deal with him/dh and keep your own marriage balanced.  I can see how you are working towards keeping your own boundaries intact but at some point will you not hit a breaking point with your dh?

miss_priss

I have to ask the same question as Laurie...

It sounds like DH is taking the easy way out.  This way he doesn't have to be the bad guy and can pin it all on you.  Sounds like a lifetime of "conditioning" and "coaching" to me, maybe he feels like it's too late for an "old dog to learn new tricks."  He sounds very comfortable with YOU setting the boundaries for yourself, but I agree....by design, there has to be a breaking point where you will become frustrated that he's making YOU call the shots, instead of him being forced to have a backbone and set some boundaries. 

IMHO, it's not YOUR job alone to set boundaries for HIS FOO.     

pam1

Laurie & Miss Priss, I just don't know sometimes.  I've hit many breaking points and it seems like DH waits until I get there to make any type of change.  Actually, today he did some stepping up on his own which I'm proud of, so maybe change is coming?  But at the same time, you wouldn't believe some of the actual things that have happened concerning his FOO and their wants over my needs and his confusion and inability to handle them.  So we can get two steps forward and one step back.

And while I think this way, DH will typically say that he is working on it and he thinks its getting better.  Right now, I'm looking at 5 of our next 7 weekends getting booked with his FOO and he's not aware of that.  Completely oblivious.  He knew that out of the next 3 upcoming weekends that the last 2 weekends of that his FOO wants us at their events, but then MIL starts in on him that she hasn't seen us in 2 weeks and she wants to see us this weekend.  So he went and scheduled something with them this weekend to get her off his back.  And it's the only day he has off work. 

I don't know how we are able to look at this so differently but there it is.  I mentioned to him all the upcoming stuff and he will say I don't have to go...but with our work schedules, when do I get to see my husband? 

So, it's hard to say.  It seems like it's been a roller coaster.  As far as my therapist, she says right now she wants me to practice something called radical acceptance.  She said that it typically means to accept something as big as a terminal illness or something along those lines.  Even though this is not the same thing as getting a diagnosis, it's similar in theme in that it is a huge life adjustment.  So for now, I've been following her advice and working on it. 



People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

luise.volta

Radical acceptance...hummm. I wonder if that's the same as having things be the way are? Because that's the way they are. Sometimes I think running away sounds great.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

LaurieS

 RADICAL ACCEPTANCE  ... I'm assuming that you are being told this as a means of self-preservation.  You're a better and more stable person then I.

I would buy or make a wall size calendar and mark all In-law obligations in blue, then together I would attempt to schedule in together time in code red.. maybe then he'll see how upside down this situation has become. 

I would not be above speaking with the mil at this point either, I'd stay in the 'we' frame of mind while  hanging his butt on not being able to 'man up' and protect his relationship with you.  God my dh hits the ceiling when I tell him it's time to man up.  Would it help to cart this calendar like the noose that it's become over to your MIL as well?  Or what if you carried a day planner and filled it with things you want to do and then when she suggest yet another family event, you can whip it out and say oh sorry but see we had plans on that day.

Of course your therapist is probably right :) 


pam1

Yes, it's about self-preservation and marriage-preservation. 

Those are good suggestions, Laurie.  I wonder if seeing it written down would make a difference.  DH does like to communicate by writing rather than talking.  That could really work, thank you!

There is no talking to my MIL.  She stonewalls me or pretends like I didn't just say anything.  I've tried, believe me.  And then she would go back to DH and try to persuade him.  It just isn't worth it, imo.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

LaurieS

Quote from: pam1 on October 26, 2010, 11:43:14 am
It just isn't worth it, imo.
Sounds like he is worth it

luise.volta

Ah, therein lies the problem.  ???
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

miss_priss

The calendar is a GREAT idea, color coded is even better, if you can keep up with it! 

I don't know Pam, I honestly would not commit, myself, to ALL of their events.  If it were me, I'd probably make an appearance at every-other event.  I'd start making plans for myself, plans for a spa day, plans with the girls, plans with my own FOO, plans to volunteer, plans to do things YOU enjoy.  I don't think you should be, nor should you feel, obligated to devote all or most your free time to his FOO.  Let him go on his own, maybe he'll start to miss you. 

justus

I like the calendar idea. Using a red marker, you could schedule in couple time which he dare not schedule anything with his family during that time, and train him to say to his mommy that he cannot commit to anything until he checks the calendar and checks with you.

barelythere

Quote from: justus on October 26, 2010, 01:48:16 pm
I like the calendar idea. Using a red marker, you could schedule in couple time which he dare not schedule anything with his family during that time, and train him to say to his mommy that he cannot commit to anything until he checks the calendar and checks with you.


This calendar idea would not work for my son.  Her FOOey's are not to be disobeyed.  This would totally work with his parents but not for hers.  She is unable to say to her "Mommy" the word no.

LaurieS

BT, then that is a issue that she needs to get a grip on.  Sometimes you've got to bite the bullet and do the hard things in life if it's important to you.