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How to cope when ILs ignore 1 parent

Started by stilltrying2010, November 26, 2010, 07:00:28 am

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THis is what I am struggling with.  My DH's Foo ignore me totally.  They usually call my DHs cell phone, not our home phone.  We do not hear from them EXCEPT on special occassions at which point they will speak to DH and perhaps our DD. Just wondering if this is acceptable behavior.  They will speak to me if: they REALLY need something & DH isnt home, MIL has "fresh family news" (aka gossip) that she needs to share, they want DH to do something that he doesn't so they will try to get me to get him to do it.

As the person being ignored it feels pretty crappy.  I should add that I am pregnant now so a little more emotional but it is a consistent pattern.  Some might pint out that they are making an effort (calling on special occassions) however, THEIR special occassions are not shared with us (we live across the country).  Both SILs sons  has religious ceremonies this year (confirmation/1st communion) that no one bothered to tell us about - even MIL.  Of course when something is going on with our DD MIL tells SIL so she always looks the role of involved loving aunt while we like shmucks.  I have tried maintaining a relationship - calling for no reason (if I call MIL she goes on and on about SILs kids -sometimes not even asking about ours, SIL talks about her kids & herself - last time convo was when her son was 8 -he's now 17!), I send all the note cards, thanks yous, and nothing matters.

When DH spoke to ILs for turkey day he spoke to MIL FIL then DD spoke to MIL (and later DD said she talked to SIL & cousins).  Not a questions was asked about me (as I was sitting right there & heard my DH talking). 

Seriously wanting opinions am I being a brat?   Am I an ""insecure DIL"?   Am I self-absorbed to want them to have a relationship with me?  I hate the holidays for this very reason... sadness about these people seems to taint my joy.  I know I am allowing that.  I know I need to accept it and the why of things or right-ness shouldn't matter but it hurts.

I guess we'll repeat at christmas and then again when our new baby is born. They will all come to be the "loving, doting family" that totally ignores the mother.


To me it looks like this is about them, not you. You aren't going to be treated differently if this is the way they are and it's OK with DH. You are willing to have a warmer more mature relationship but they aren't. You can't do anything about that, that I know of. DH is probably going to continue to put up with it...he's used to it and it's familiar. I would turn away from their rejection and being snubbed and focus elsewhere. They probably aren't going to change. It's unfair and you deserve so much better...but/and that's how it is.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Stilltrying... Have you not spoken with your husband concerning the odd behavior of his family.  Is it possible that he thinks you prefer the lack of direct communication?   I'd start with him and at the very least make him see what is going on.. you know these guys, sometimes you have to almost club them before they blink and take note. In my opinion, you are not being overly sensitive, they are being overly rude.


thanks for responding. 
Luise -Just wanted to say that I really think that this is who they are - they care about "their own" blood relatives.  When MIL & her DH v isited we had already agreed to watch a friends children (ages 6  & 8) when they were here.  MIL & sFIL didn't speak to either girl the entire day - not even how old are you or anything.  Just in their own bubble.
Laurie - my DH & I have spoken about this NUMEROUS times (hence why I am here).   Truthfullly, I think there is resentment on my DHs part towards his mother and that their relationship is strained, although that is not acknowledged my the mother.  Once I handmade a beautiful wall hanging for MIL with all the names, birthdays of GC.  SHe showed it off to everyone (according to another SIL) and then thanked my DH.  Umm, I made the thing & she never spoke of it to me.  After that I "trained' DH that if someone thanks him for something I have done to say "here, I'll let you tell her".  It forced them to acknowledge the things I had done.  (if its some generic card i would care but something clearly from me really spun me up!)  I think my DH wants to be respectful because she is his DM but ends up pulling away because he is angry/upset - although he never tells her about it or why.  HOw can anything change under these circumstances?
Anna - I don't even feel like the mother of the gc more like the uterus that held her gc. lol.  I am sure MIL wishes her relationship with her son WAS better but seriously both parents speak ENDLESSLY about his sister.  I used to play a little game when we visited ILs. I would compliment the stebsiblings kids or just talk about some accomplishment of theirs & MIL would reply with Well SILs son x or y.  I don't know if they are aware of it but it certainly it apparent to us & the stepsiblings.

I have to admit from reading other posts I DO try to take my DHs side never really thinking that there are 2 sides to every story... so that is something I am working on.  DH will have to work on resolving his hurts and anger.

anyways, thanks for replying.


Thinking of you, ST2010. It doesn't sound as if your ILs are going to change, so you will have to continue taking care of yourself. I like your strategy of having DH direct their thanks to you personally. I hope things improve for you all.

I'm guilty of texting/calling my DS rather than my DIL because I had a feeling she didn't want to hear from me. Thanks to your post I've decided to text to both if it's regarding something that affects them as a couple. Our DIL let it be known awhile back that she didn't like us (we had a hunch but then she actually said the words aloud) so I'd been hesitant to contact her. Lately things have been better; I do think she's trying and I should acknowledge that.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


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


StillTrying, I feel your pain.  It's kind of similar here.  My opinions are never sought out and I'm never asked if something is ok.  I'm simply not a consideration.  I don't have much advice other than try to shift your perspective into more of a not expecting it sort of mode.  They aren't the kind of people capable of being in a good relationship with you.  It's not that they won't...they just can't.  They aren't capable.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


December 02, 2010, 04:23:41 pm #7 Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 04:26:01 pm by stilltrying2010
QuoteIt's not that they won't...they just can't.  They aren't capable

wow - re-read that & saved it.   great way of seeing the situation. thank you!

Pen - I don't usually want to talk to my MIL but to be disregarded is its own kind of hurt.  Glad you are at least going to put it out there for your DIL.


Thanks, StillTrying. It's scary because she's expressed her dislike of us. My MO is to curl up and avoid people who don't like me. I'm afraid what I say, even if it's just a polite generality, will be turned around and used against me. (Intimidated much?)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


You can count on it, Pen. That's their MO! :(
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


December 03, 2010, 04:44:42 am #10 Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 04:47:28 am by stilltrying2010
QuoteMy MO is to curl up and avoid people who don't like me

me too.  I have "slack off" this yr with contacting DHs FOO to acknowledge them for their special days resorting to email
"Happy Birthday GSIL! Hope you enjoy your day!". Non-threatening
And guess who just friended me on facebook?! GSIL - the person I struggle to be in the same room with/have a conversation with ONCE EVERY 2 YRS!!
By conversation I mean 2 people sharing ideas instead of her going on and on and on about her children's accomplishments (not to say they arent great kids)... but yeah, I want her invovled in my life now (after 6 yrs of this)  ::).  I am not a serial poster on FB, letting the world know my every thought/movement I more use it to send private msgs to close & old freinds, see pictures so she isnt going to gleen (?is that a wd?) any new info about us from there... guilt will make me accept her but I'm not sure what the reason or point is.


I would not friend her on facebook.  Let her find her own friends.

I would also stop sending birthday cards ... let your husband do it if he wants to.

I used to write both our mothers every week, at least, before internet, and would include drawings the kids had made, papers from school, anything to help them feel connected to the children.

My MIL never thanked me for doing that.  When she wrote, she would want to hear from my husband, not from me, anything i sent her was irrelevant.

So i stopped.


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