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Need MIL Perspective

Started by BitterDIL, October 24, 2010, 06:30:56 pm

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HI, I'm a DIL looking for  MIL perspective.  Been married nearly 20 years to the DS with 2 kids.  We have a happy home, are financially sound, kids are healthy and doing well.  I come from a similar background as DS, college educated, parents married over 40 years.  But am a different race.  MIL/FIL and most of rest of family didn't attend wedding and didn't speak to me for nearly 10 years.  We're speaking now, but I still harbor a lot of resentment against them.  They're living near enough now that they come to visit often.  I never tell them no when they want to stay with us.  I cook, go along with whatever they want to do.  Learned not to voice an opinion around them.

Never got an apology or any acknowledgement of their behavior towards me.  If you are a MIL who has done this, can you tell me why and what was going through your head? 


Every person has a different answer, I'm sure. I never shut out a DIL but I have experienced being shut out for no reason I was aware of by two of them. I haven't experienced being of a different race but I think the DILs who did that were from a another planet! I'm not bitter. I knew it was about them not me....I just felt cheated of the good times that never happened. They didn't know me long enough to have any idea who I was. They both hated their mothers and I got dropped into the much-despised "mom category."

The horrible thing about being angry, hurt and/or bitter is that it hurts the person experiencing it more than those who are unkind.

Good for you for weathering the storm and I'm so sorry you had to. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi Bitter,

Although I have not experienced the exact situation you have, I am assuming since you brought it up in your post that you believe the problem with the IL stem from the fact that you are a different race then their son. I now believe that all of us on this earth belong the same race, human, it was not always the way I felt when it came to my children.  In my generation and in my husband's Italian  family, it was perfectly acceptable to be friends with anyone but when it came to marriage it reverted back to keeping with your own race .  My middle daughter for whatever reason seemed to be far ahead of the rest of us and race, skin color etc never influenced who she dated or had a relationship with, which we now realize is the w ay it should be. But for a few years, she heard from her grandparents, aunts, uncles brother and sisters that she would be so much happier if she just met a nice Italian guy.
She became involved with a guy from a different race and  although I never stated this was the reason I wish she ended it, I can now honestly admit that was a definate part of my opinion.  Of course she did not listen to me and the relationship grew and she got pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl.   The relationship ended but she has a beautiful daughter that we all love.  When I get to see her , and care for her there are things that I am totally clueless about but we struggle thru and things have been great ever since. We have often talked about my intital feelings and although she doesn't agree with them, she does understand my reaction a bit better and is glad that I could admit it and move ahead.

The reason I tell you this is to point out that sometimes when a family is raised like that, it is extremely hard for them to accept that their kids are of a different belief. They tend to believe that their son or daughter and their grandchildren will live a harder life one that is somewhat less acceptable by society etc. That might explain their initial response however after 20 years, I think they need to join the here and now.  If you are harboring a resentment towards them, maybe it is time since you have somewhat of ar elationship to them to sit and calmly have a conversation with them about your feelings. .  You might not like the answers they give but at least you will better understand their point of view.  Perhaps it has nothing to do with you, perhaps it has to do with a problem they have with their son or something else.

Life is too short to go thru it, feeling as you do.  It is apparent that you and hub have built a nice family and home for you all  and there is no reason why your feelings should be any less important then anyone else. .Somehow I doubt you will get an apology but perhaps a better understanding would put your mind at ease.   Best wishes


Who knows, fear, anger, disappointment, prejudices... your guess is as good as anyone else as to why your husbands family behaved in the manner they chose.  You said that your in-laws did not speak to you for 10 years, did they remain close to their son during that time frame? 

You have two children now, how do your in-laws interact with them?  Are they loving, accepting, and supportive of their biracial grandchildren?

The ongoing resentment is understandable if you have not been able to discuss your past feelings.  You did not state how your in-laws perceive your relationship with them at this time. Are they aware that you have not been able to gloss over the past and move on. Is it possible that they are ashamed of their past behavior and can not broach the subject out of fear of opening the dam?

If you are now comfortable with your in-laws I would possibly speak with one or the other and calmly explain to them how you felt for so long.  The apology may never come but if they can acknowledge how this affected you and they have truly changed and love  being a part of your family then it's up to you alone to decide if you can get past the resentment you've bottled up for so long.


Welcome BitterDIL, and boy does it sound like you have a reason to be!  I can not relate with your issue but will reinterate what Luise said.  You have to find a way to forgive them for yourself, not them.  The bitterness will eat you alive and do nothing to them. 

Easier said than done.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell



How did you guys start speaking again?

A ten year cut off and not attending your wedding b/c you're a different race would be a hard thing for your side (DH and you) to overcome, I'd imagine.  Did they even apologize to DH?  I'm not sure that even with an apology, that I would want to be around them at this point.  And to be frank, they don't sound so pleasant now either.

What does your DH think?

IMO, I wouldn't be cooking/cleaning/shutting up for them lol.  They are DH's parents and it's your home.  Just because they decided to grace you with their presence doesn't mean you need to behave like a servant. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


They are very good with the kids.  Loving and the kids love them back.  That's pretty much the only reason why I've decided to go along with the game of pretending like nothing happened.  The kids have no idea about my feelings for MIL and FIL.  DH had a difficult time when they cut us off.  That's another reason why.  They never apologized to him.  Also never said anything racially motivated to me.  I'm not positive that race is the reason, but I thought I should give a complete picture of the situation.  All of their initial hatred was targeted at my character.  DH tried for years to re-engage wit them and they finally relented, which is how we started speaking again.  First with DH, then they started including me.  Now that they live closer, my family stopped coming for holidays b/c they don't want to spend holidays with the people who were so hateful to me.  To tell the truth, I don't want to either, but I have to for DH and the kids.  I feel like this situation will never get better for me.  MIL/FIL are extremely uncomfortable with confrontation.  As I write this, I know I will never talk to them about how they made me feel, but I just wanted to see if anyone out there to boycotted a wedding or cut a child off could give me some perspective on why and if you regret that decision?


October 25, 2010, 11:46:47 am #7 Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 12:14:47 pm by Laurie
I jumped to the conclusion that race was a larger issue between your in-laws and yourself thus my question about their relationship with your children.

I know with my parents and in-laws they have both accepted the approach of burying what they do not want to see.  I've always accepted this as their method of preservation and as I look back over my whole life, I've done a few things that are even now painful to recall, and yes I too have shoved them under the heaviest boulder I could find and hope that no one ever finds them. Worse yet, the thought that I could have to face and accept this behavior as my own.

The important thing is that change is taking place...it's obvious that your love for your husband and children is strong enough for you to work with his family.  The fact that you realize that they can not handle any confrontation and you still choose to take the high road I think speaks volumes of your character.  Do your in-laws regret the decisions of their past, I hope so because it' the only way they  will be a part of your future.


Dear Bitter DIL,

You don't sound bitter.  You sound like a very mature woman who can rise above the low class behaviors of your in-laws. That is a very difficult thing, given how you have been treated.  You are placing your children first: they want a relationship with their grandparents, and you, unselfishly, are allowing them to have it, their needs first, your feelings second.  I think you are terrific. 

I don't think you can expect an apology from people who are so insensitive in the first place. 

But I would definitely make a strong our-time-only for your family at the holidays.  I would give them much separate time with you and your grandchildren.  I read an article about Meredith Vierra, the TV star, and she offered that she and her husband swap holidays.  One year, they spend Christmas with her folks, Thanksgiving with his, and vice versa.  I thought this was a great idea, and proposed it to my son and DIL, and of course was immediately shot down that there would be no separation on holidays, her family from ours.  I think you can stand your ground with your in-laws; they want to be back in your life, and you are accepting that, but you aren't going to shut your family out in any way.  Be firm about the amount of holiday time they can spend with you, making sure your family gets equal time.

I can well understand why your family does not wish to be around them.  We reached that point with my DIL's smothering family.  I would respect that.  Holidays for your parents shouldn't be spent in the uncomfortable presence of people who for ten years insulted their daughter.

As for boycotting a wedding, well, I came close in a negative revenge fantasy, but in the end we went.  I think each person would have a different reason for doing that.  In our case, it was the fact that the wedding, like so many family events, was being used as a stage to insure that everyone present knew we were the inferior family.  I never really thought of not going, except in my imagination.  We went and accepted all we knew would come.  I'm glad we went, and I don't think boycotting a wedding is a good way to bring a family together.  We decided on the high road, to rise above it, to go and ignore what was going on.  That in the end was the most suitable response.

You will never regret your response to your inlaws.  Each time I have responded with bitterness and low class behavior to someone who has hurt me, I have regretted it.  Each time I've acted as you are, I rest easy.  Our anger recedes when people  act against us, but our own behavior stays with us for the rest of our lives.

I am so glad to see you on this list.  You have a marvelous ability to rise above your situation. Please write again.



What a powerful statement:  Each time I have responded with bitterness and low class behavior to someone who has hurt me, I have regretted it. I don't have anything to add. Sending love...

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


October 25, 2010, 02:51:42 pm #10 Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 02:56:19 pm by cremebrulee
Whenever I resorted to bitterness out of anger, the anger came out and I was someone I disliked...and think it's alwasy important to remember, no matter how badly I want to strike back verbally, I know, I'm going to feel much worse about it afterwards....deep down, it's not what the person did, it's how badly we react to it....that is most upsetting....that we allow them to bring out the worst in us? 

it is human to want to stike back when someone hurts us, and perhaps one of the great lessons in life, but the less we say out of anger/hurt, the better off we are....because we don't like ourselves very much afterwards.  You can never take words back...



Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


You are all very wise. It's always better to take the high road, I think. Not always easy, and it's oh so tempting sometimes to get in there and wrangle! But it's self-defeating in the long run.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb