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Started by fangle, March 19, 2013, 05:22:19 am

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Estrangement from ILs - What I have lost/What I have gained
-My new family (MIL, FIL)
-DH and my relationship with BILs and SILs and their children is now strained as all communication used to be strictly monitored through MIL/FIL (This is also true for all AILs and UILs)
-My dignity took a battering when I allowed abuse from MIL/FIL and also when they would treat me like a child if I raised the issue with them
-I allowed myself to get upset when MIL/FIL sent repeated letters to me or DH outlining what was wrong with me and what was expected of me in the future

-Even stronger relationship with my DH
-Dignity for myself
-Self awareness to stand up for myself and not allow others negativity into my life
-I found a wonderful website where I have found comfort and support, right here!  Thank you, Ladies!

I won't speak for my DH regarding what he has Lost or Gained, although I will say that he was the 'driver' of the estrangement as they are his parents and therefore he feels that is his responsibility to make a decision like that - as it would be my decision if it were my parents etc.  We did talk about it though.  I do feel very sad for him and the way he has been treated.  He has gone out of his way to try and reconcile gracefully and respectfully.  It would be senseless to continue.  He knew this before I learnt the hard way, you ladies have made it much easier.

As for our relationship with DHs siblings, their children and his other family - it is strained.  Everything has gone through his parents before.  It was quite controlled.  Has anyone got any advice on how to approach a reconnection with these family members.  We live in the same country and could visit maybe once a year but it is long distance.  How much contact is too much? etc.

Thank you in advance for your guidance, Wise Women! xo


That's a great list fangle and thoughtful.  I always try to see the positive in a negative situation.  It helps me work through the issues.  (P.S.  I am a major list maker of Pros and Cons)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Fangle, are you closer to one or the other in-laws that maybe you could talk to.  Maybe they have the same problem/s as you.  If so, maybe y'all could find some common ground with the others so that you can at least have some sort of relationship with them without the parents.  Sounds like you are willing, but you know your stopping point and I commend you for that. 


Thank you both.  Pooh, I love lists!  Fafe - the issue here is that I would never want to interfere with a relationship between MIL/FIL and my BILs and SILs.  I think that would be disrespectful of me.  We do have common ground.  I adore their children.  I adore them.  They are lovely people.  There is just this tinge of awkwardness to the whole situation that is very unsettling.  They all live in the same city and Territory as MIL/FIL and DH and I live in a different town and State, all in the same Country, though.  MIL/FIL have reacted very badly to DH and even my last ditch attempts to try and get them to calm down towards us and when DH decided that enough was enough they completely lost the plot.  I have no idea whether they have been whispering in anyone's ears or not, they certainly haven't said nice things to us and at one point would not stop calling over and over and over within minutes until we had to turn our phone off.  I guess I'm just a little cautious because of what I KNOW has happened in the past when whispers have been started from MIL/FIL to BILs and SILs and I have been feeling a little unsure.  I don't want to upset anybody and I would never want to be pulled into a conversation where BIL or SIL would want to talk about the estrangement because I refuse to speak ill of their parents/ILs to them because it is not my place.  I guess I am just a little confused.....  Ah well... 


I understand.  It's awful that people just cannot get along.  I have been pretty lucky in having had 2 sets of IL's that were pretty normal and never tried to impose themselves on us.  I have 3 children of my own, 2 who are married and have their own families.  One of the first things I told my new DIL, is if I give you advice, just smile, say thank you and then go do what you want to.  My two boys live a long way from me and I don't get to see them but maybe once or twice a year.  The only time I have ever said to them - you have to come home is when your grandparents pass away.  You do not have to come when I die, but I expect you to be there for them.  My DH turned 70 this past weekend and both of them made the trip - even though it was for just a couple of days.  I appreciate the fact that they came and would have been disappointed for DH if they had not.  We do see our DD and her family at least once every couple of weeks, I wish for more time, but I know they have their own lives and another set of parents to spend time with. 

I wish that you can find some peace with your situation.  Life is too short to live it miserable.  Find yourself some happiness, however it may be. 


F - Good for you for creating solidarity with DH and backing him in his course of action. Where the rest are concerned, that may need to be their call, as long as they know your door is open. They may feel that connecting further with you is disloyal...and/or they may fear their controlling elders and simply back down out of habit. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I never would have thought of the list, but now that I have seen it, I intend to do the same, and from hopefully non biased approach.

What a great idea, sometimes you need to step away from the issue and see other options, and having the ability to come to this forum has been a ray of sunshine to me, provided hope and the knowledge that I am not alone in all this.

Thank each and everyone of you.


Thank you FAFE - If only.  I hope that it works out with my BILs and SILs too.  Thank you Luise - what a good point.  I hadn't thought of it that way.  Thank you Lady Star - I am glad that you are happy here, I am too.  I love lists.  I find them good for perspective.

I have read a lot about estrangements from parents points of view and the hurt is immeasurable in these people.  When I was reading about it, I felt shame that perhaps I had done something wrong by allowing my DH to do this with his parents.  It took a while to realise that 1. It is not my decision, 2.  They are not behaving like most parents, 3.  We actually did try everything we could to make sure that this didn't happen.  It was a losing battle, they were not willing and we were banging our heads against the wall.  We were not the norm, unfortunately.  I feel very sorry for the majority of estranged parents, especially after the reading that I have done and I have a special place in my heart for them now.  I know that sounds like a huge irony, and I hope not offensive.  xo


I find that when I make lists, I can actually be more honest with myself and come up with the positives.  When I don't, I just seem to concentrate on the negatives.  What's that saying?  Can't see the forest for the trees....I'm a lumberjack :)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I just don't understand the thinking behind extended family members getting involved in family spats.  Now if you had physically assaulted your ILs or stole from them or vandalized their property or circulated vicious rumors about them or used their house to operate a meth lab, then I could understand sibs/cousins/aunts/uncles joining in the fray.  But if it's just a case of the AC/DIL/SIL  and the Parents/MIL/FIL thinking each other is rude, or they favor the other side of the family or don't visit/call enough or don't send thank yous or don't allow enough time with the GC - you know, hurtful behavior but not illegal - I say bystanders should stay bystanders.  If my parents were on the outs with one of my sibs, I would try to stay out of it.  I would visit with them separately, not share stories about them with the other, and in general try to ignore the estrangement but not  to the degree of putting anyone in an awkward situation.  If a big event was coming up (wedding, graduation, baptism) I'd invite both and explain that the other was invited too.  They could each decide if they had the maturity to behave politely.  As my DH and I got more and more on the outs with my MIL/FIL, I tried this with his sibs and surviving grandparents.  With the grandparents, I managed to maintain a cordial relationship.  With his sibs, well, after several years of being ignored, I gave up. 

Anyway, in your situation I think I'd approach BIL/SILs as separate entities and not bring up MIL/FIL.  If you want to visit them, make the suggestion.  If you want to invite them to visit you, do so.  Send them birthday and Christmas cards.  Send an occasional text or email.  If they respond favorably, great.  If they ignore you, oh well.  If they try to draw you into an argument about the situation with MIL/FIL just respond with "I don't want to go into all that."  If they tell you they won't have anything to do with you until you have atoned for your numerous and most grievous sins, tell them "Thanks for sharing" and move on.  At least you tried. 

Good Luck!


Thank you Herbalescapes, that is such wonderful advice.  I don't think that they are 'taking sides', but might fear stepping outside the boundaries, if you know what I mean.  I would never do anything or say anything about this situation to them as it is not my place to undermine their relationship with their parents/ILs, and I am just not that type of person.  I think that would be completely disrespectful.  I am all for family cohesion, believe it or not.  I feel the same way as most of the people on the estrangement sites in that I have had to walk away from abuse and relatives who come in and out of our lives and ignore us for perceived wrong doings.  It was a strange situation where child/parent roles appeared reversed.  I have a great affinity for parents who are estranged after spending so much time doing so much reading about the situation.  I would never do anything to rock the boat with BILs/SILs relationship towards MIL/FIL.  I feel that there is just a strong line of control that is not allowed to be crossed.  If someone has 'wronged' MIL/FIL (real or perceived) communication with those people must be treated with such caution as it is usually overseen. (Going on past experience)  xo