Author Topic: mothers-in-law, please help  (Read 2829 times)

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ivetriedforyears

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mothers-in-law, please help
« on: October 08, 2010, 11:32:25 AM »
I have been married to my husband for 20 years.  While everyone in my husband's family somewhat pretends that they like /love me, My husband and I have always felt that they resented me because they were concerned that I might become the first person in my husband's life above his original family.  the first 10 or so years, He and I both put them first above our own marriage.  They were treated as the main family and I was an addition to it.  I tried to do everything as they did it: we spent all holidays with them, I cooked their favorite meals and carried on their traditions, went on 2 week family vacations with them.  I came from a very sad childhood experience so was happy to have a family.  Even when I tried to fit into their family culture, they treated me as an outsider and a threat.  I guess they could see how much their son/brother loved me.  They made snide remarks about the way I did things differently (as if that was bad) and had outbursts if my husband and I ever prioritized our marriage over them.  My husband has been afraid to stand up to them all (mother, father, and four sisters) for 20 years.  My husband has even talked about me behind my back to prove allegiance to them.  The last ten years have been about giving up on trying to please them, not joining them on vacations, and being with them as little as possible.  Who wants to be around people who are bullying, insulting, and are never satisfied?  You never get the payoff and neither did my husband when he tried to do it their way.

we have since had two children which they have paid little attention to (as they are not originals to the family and are proof that we are a separate entity) yet, they are upset that they were never able to sleep at their house due to the unsafe playpen that they bought for them to sleep in at their house (with one leg missing) and never so much as a new toy or cookie.  I told them after the twin babies could pull up on the playpen bars that it was unsafe to sleep in it.  My inlaws asked why they couldn't sleep on the bed with pillows around.  Needless to say, we slept at my mother's house while visiting who borrowed 2 cribs for them.
In addition, we parent our children differently than the previous generation (right or wrong).  So they can't acknowledge what kind, intelligent, and well behaved children they are
My husband has recently gone through counseling (after 20 years of marriage) since this HAD become a possible DIVORCE situation.  So much hurt and betrayal. 

before their last visit to our home (last week), my husband was hoping that they had changed......so that he could possibly get the love and acceptance from them and our marriage.  As usual, his mother insulted my beautiful home(it should not be a priority to spend money on the home), the nutmeg in the wild mushroom lasagna that I prepared for them, and the hotel that we found for them 5 minutes away as well as my interests and priorities.  (our home is small and we only have a pullout).  They have stayed with us many times and treated me like their personal servant (one that does not speak English and cannot hear their nasty criticisms).  He had a firm talk with his mother about being a gracious guest in our home this time. FINALLY!!!  She denied meaning anything by them but he pointed out how she passive aggressively picks me apart with each visit. needless to say, she was able to control the behavior that she was not doing the latter nights of their visits. if it causes difficulty in his marriage to have them around, why would he want to?
 

He has learned that leaving and cleaving is what a man is expected to do and that choosing one's family over his wife is detrimental to his marriage.  This does not mean disrespecting his parents and not caring for them, but putting his marriage first.  Unfortunately for them, their behavior has obtained the opposite effect for them with hard feelings toward them from him and me.  We try to show interest in them but truly, the desire is no longer there!  Sad!

In the meantime, he and I rebuild our relationship, determine our boundaries, and prepare our two boys to face the world and to build a future happy life, and build a new family for themselves.  Hopefully, they will let us in now and then to observe THEIR idea of a happy family.

By the way, these are nice people above.......just not to me!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 11:39:31 AM by ivetriedforyears »

Offline luise.volta

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2010, 11:44:00 AM »
What tough (though familiar) story. And it is doubly sad at the end. Nice to others...not to you. Heartbreaking. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

ivetriedforyears

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2010, 01:59:59 PM »
Thank you Luise!  I have read your posts.  You are a wise and compassionate woman.  Peace to you and yours.

barelythere

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2010, 02:04:11 PM »
Thank you Luise!  I have read your posts.  You are a wise and compassionate woman.  Peace to you and yours.

Dear IveTried,
You deserve far better than you are getting from your husband and his family.

Offline Nana

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 06:28:17 PM »
Ivetried:

Good that you are working in your relationship (husband and you).  Sometimes ä man got to do what a man's gotta do.  You tried too hard....did not work...you did just right.  Our first priority should always be our immediate family (husband and children).  It would be wonderful if all got along well but life is life....and sometimes it is just impossible to accomplish this bond. 

Your husband's family is a very possessive family and they wanted their way.  Sorry for them....here everyone loses.   

Just move on with your life....we cant always have what we want.  Such is life.


Wishing you the best

Love
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

free_at_last

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2010, 06:40:25 AM »
I wish I knew what to tell you....I'm a DIL that knows how it hurts to never be accepted by her husband's family in spite of years of trying (it was 20 years for us, too, at that point my husband decided we were done trying with them, he cut them off a year and a half ago).  I hope your situation ends better than mine did.  Good luck.

cremebrulee

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 07:31:34 AM »
the only advice I have is to stay positive and be who you are...don't change to please others and hopefully they will someday understand....it's really tough sailing, b/c we do so want to be liked...and sometimes, it's really hard to know what to do or how to be...so, keep on staying positive, sounds like you've taken a step forward....hugs, Creme

ivetriedforyears

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 07:44:25 AM »
Thanks to Nana, barely there, and free at last!  I appreciate the support........REALLY!!!  I've been all alone in this for so many years--even without the support of my husband.  When I finally told him how I had put up a protective wall between him and myself and was not sure if I loved him anymore........after 20 years of beating my head against a wall trying to make him see.......he finally woke up!  With counseling, apologies from him, and forgiveness from me, we have been able to mostly repair the damage.  The pain will always be with me but I have been able to move on in my marriage.

You are all right.....there is nothing that can be done.  the problem (that is mine to deal with) is my husband's counselor said that is important to demonstrate love for his parents on his own terms--and that they will act out less.  They just left after visiting us.  I am left feeling used and abused and questioning myself.  they don't question themselves at ALL!   I guess it takes a lot to prepare meals and be kind and generous to those who dislike you for no reason of your doing.  we don't have to see them often--thank goodness.  The injustice of it all is some times too much to bare after all the years of abuse and then BLAME.  They are an original family of 7 and a tough crowd!


Naturally, I would love to vindicate myself.  My husband wanted to send them a video promoting her Book--MIL Manual by Susan Lieberman  http://motherinlawsmanual.com/  The video portion is at the bottom left.  Kind and gentle explanation of why many IL's relationships are difficult.
I must say (having two boys/future husbands), the role of mother to adult children looks hard.  I will definitely get this book for the future (my twins are only 10).  Tell me what you think?

ivetriedforyears

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 07:50:22 AM »
Dear Creme Brulee,

A) I love your name!  B) I don't know how to reply to individual posts.  C)  Thanks for the hugs and kind words!!!!! D) read above.E)  It's funny.....am in my 40's and it is becoming impossible to be anybody other than myself!  great thing about age....."we may be wrinkled on the outside but we become smooth on our insides"!

Best,
Ivetried
« Last Edit: October 09, 2010, 07:59:01 AM by ivetriedforyears »

barelythere

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 07:59:32 AM »
Thanks to Nana, barely there, and free at last!  I appreciate the support........REALLY!!!  I've been all alone in this for so many years--even without the support of my husband.  When I finally told him how I had put up a protective wall between him and myself and was not sure if I loved him anymore........after 20 years of beating my head against a wall trying to make him see.......he finally woke up!  With counseling, apologies from him, and forgiveness from me, we have been able to mostly repair the damage.  The pain will always be with me but I have been able to move on in my marriage.

You are all right.....there is nothing that can be done.  the problem (that is mine to deal with) is my husband's counselor said that is important to demonstrate love for his parents on his own terms--and that they will act out less.  They just left after visiting us.  I am left feeling used and abused and questioning myself.  they don't question themselves at ALL!   I guess it takes a lot to prepare meals and be kind and generous to those who dislike you for no reason of your doing.  we don't have to see them often--thank goodness.  The injustice of it all is some times too much to bare after all the years of abuse and then BLAME.  They are an original family of 7 and a tough crowd!


Naturally, I would love to vindicate myself.  My husband wanted to send them a video promoting her Book--MIL Manual by Susan Lieberman  http://motherinlawsmanual.com/  The video portion is at the bottom left.  Kind and gentle explanation of why many IL's relationships are difficult.
I must say (having two boys/future husbands), the role of mother to adult children looks hard.  I will definitely get this book for the future (my twins are only 10).  Tell me what you think?

Dear IveTried,
You've had a rough, rough go of it for sure.  I want you to know that you can learn so much with this knowledge.  You will know what not to do and what TO do when your boys grow up and get married.  You are indeed blessed.

You won't be caught off guard allowing each situation to spin out of control with hurt feelings on your part or hers for that matter.  You will know to put your DIL first, put her first. Put your son last, he is only as happy as she is.  Don't let her abuse you but do not let little things she does, no matter how odd and aimed at you they are, drive your son away because it will drive him away, even if you're in the right.

It's not too early for you to learn.  Very hard to do but paramount to being able to ride the tide of the potential tsunami that might come.  Not all DIL/MIL relationships are bad.  Some Mothers of sons take whatever happens in stride and  just go along.   

ivetriedforyears

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 08:41:04 AM »
Thanks Barely there!  That is a very positive way to look at my bad experience as a "what not to do"  manual for being a MIL!!  Great advice!  "If mama's happy, everyone's happy" also applies to wives!  In our parenting classes they often tell us to remember ------QTIP.....Quit Taking It Personally regarding our children's backtalk etc..  We have to set boundaries for what we will and will not tolerate but their behavior is part of their development toward independence.  So is adulthood......a journey toward self reliance.  I am working toward a masters degree so that I have something fulfilling and compelling to do in my 50's and 60's---after the boys are gone!

How was your birthday dinner?  wasn't that you?

barelythere

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 09:18:14 AM »
Thanks Barely there!  That is a very positive way to look at my bad experience as a "what not to do"  manual for being a MIL!!  Great advice!  "If mama's happy, everyone's happy" also applies to wives!  In our parenting classes they often tell us to remember ------QTIP.....Quit Taking It Personally regarding our children's backtalk etc..  We have to set boundaries for what we will and will not tolerate but their behavior is part of their development toward independence.  So is adulthood......a journey toward self reliance.  I am working toward a masters degree so that I have something fulfilling and compelling to do in my 50's and 60's---after the boys are gone!

How was your birthday dinner?  wasn't that you?

Yes, my birthday dinner was great...I did whatever was necessary to make DIL happy and feeling like she was the most important person in the world.  She is when you have sons.   Yes, it is a journey toward self reliance.  You do want to be part of their lives, though.  Make sure you are!  She is the key.

ivetriedforyears

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2010, 10:07:13 AM »
Sage advice!  Thank you!  Glad it worked out!  Hope you felt like it was your day.....because it was!  Sometime I wonder why life is so complicated.......poor design! ;)

take care!


miss_priss

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 12:44:48 PM »
Ivetried - You'll find a lot of DILs here with similar issues.  As much as we'd love to believe that the perfect MIL/DIL relationship is possible, sometimes it just isn't and it could happen for a number of reasons.  I agree, it sounds like you went "above & beyond" to make sure that his family was still a vital part of his life after marriage, kudos to you, but it sounds like maybe they got accustomed to being the #1 priority, and when you and DH started to put your own nuclear family first (which is what you should be doing), they didn't handle the "loss" very well.  And of course, they will blame you for that (thus the snide comments and ungrateful attitudes when they visit).  Afterall, they never had this problem until YOU started to have an issue. 

Your DH is in a bad spot, but I hope he will stick to his guns.  He certainly should maintain a close relationship with his FOO.  But the closest relationship and #1 priority MUST be you and the children.  If FOO can't handle that, then "tough cookie."

20 years....WOW.  You have the patience of a saint.  It took me about 3 years before I realized I would never be able to make my MIL and other IL's happy, I quit trying and just started to be myself again.  LOL, they didn't like that either because my "true self" didn't let MIL get away with nasty under-her-breath comments.  I'd kindly ask her to repeat herself so we could all hear and participate in her thoughts.  When she wouldn't repeat herself, I would repeat them for her and ask her if I'd understood her correctly.  Call it smart, call it what you will....but it broke MIL of making nasty comments in our home.  Anywhere else I let it roll off, but not in my home. 

Couples counseling can go miles in helping couples be able to salvage relationships, even if it does nothing but strenghthen communication skills.  DH is, again, in a difficult spot.  He may even need counseling alone, just to help him distinguish the different directions and their potential pro's & con's.  It may also help him be a better husband to the wife whom it sounds like has really taken a beating for him. 

Just don't be anyone's punching bag.  No matter what the circumstances are, no one has the right to treat you that way.  Blessings to you dear.     

   

catchingup

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Re: mothers-in-law, please help
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 02:10:12 PM »
"Ivetriedforyears" When I read your post and similar posts about the abuse handed out by MIL's and family I BOIL.

My MIL is dead and gone and I have only one regret and that is that I did not nip her abuse in the bud by answering her back on certain issues.I did eventually tell her a thing or two but when I think of the awful verbal abuse--and I mean passive aggressive-- she handed out to me I dont know why I did not tell her to "Go to Hell"

A sergeant major in WW11 --I leave the rest to your imagination.