Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Good morning,
I am continuing to deal with long-standing issues involving my inlaws and my wife's relationship with them and me. The issues involve their lack of respet for me, and controlling behavoir towards me and my family. This has gone on pretty much since day one, and has had peaks of escalation that lead to me being physically retrained by one of them while attempting to remove myself from what was turning into a volitile situation at their home. The aforementioned incident lead to me refusing to visit with them for the better part of 6 months before I received a rather insincere email from one of them denying their involvement in the fray, and looking to simply move on.

Having said all this, plans are being made to get people together at the in-laws for thanksgiving dinner this weekend. Plans have gone back and forth with changes to expectations, times, etc almost daily. Our family's needs have semingly been last on everyone's list (as has frequently been the case), and is again leaving me feel disrespected and increasingly stressed as this evolves. As they're 2 hours from our location, visits usually encompass a couple of days and nights at their place.

After a minor blowout with my wife this morning (minor such that we both work from home, and are peacefully co-existing, and in contrast to other blowouts we've had), I have decided to remove myself from the proceedings. My wife has suggested that the headaches and stress I experience when visiting them are self perpetuated, and that I'm being melo-dramatic (a drama queen (DQ)) about it all. My thought is that removing myself from the equation is for the greater good.

Am I takin appropriate steps to preserve my own well-being and take a stand on what I need, or am I being a DQ?:scratchhead:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,310 Posts
Just on the basis of one of them being physically aggressive with you (not in self-defense, but just to prevent you from leaving), I would say you are totally okay by not going.

If I were you, I would let it be known that if any guy puts his hands on you his runs the risk of wearing his balls for a hat. It probably is not your preference, but if you are seen as soft enough for someone to dare doing that you need to man up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
The longer the visit, the more the stress.

Any chance either you or both you and your wife could make Thanksgiving into a 1 day event? (I routinely drive 1.5 hours to see my in-laws and then come back in the same day.) If not, can you talk your wife into spinning it into a mini-vacation? You spend the day with her family, but then go to a bed & breakfast/ spa to spend the night and do some sightseeing/ vegging out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
@DTO - I would have dearly love to have provided the culprit with new head attire save for the fact that the person in question is my mother-in-law. Following the incident, I removed myself from further dealings with them (both in-laws) for about 6 months - didn't visit them, made sure I wasnt home if/when they came by, etc. I decided to reinsert myself into the equation again after receiving an email from her just before Christmas that stated "I could tell you I'm sorry" but went on to say that her recollection of what transpired was very different than mine, and that things didn't happen that way, or in some parts, didn't happen at all. This did not offer the remorse or apology I expected and felt I deserved, but felt it more important to be part of the larger family for the sake of my children (grandparents were very important and special to me growing up - as my mother passed early in life, the remaining 3 grandparents are that much more valuable to the kids).

I did go up for thanksgiving this past weekend, though a much abbreviated visit per your suggestion Couleur! Even doing so had side-effects, including near immediate criticism that we weren't there earlier in the day (we stopped to help a motorist who had crashed on the highway) or even the day before. As one might imagine, this set a bit of a tone for the balance of the visit.

What broke it completely apart was finding a photo of mother-in-law sitting at the computer with her son, composing the aforementioned email to me (photo was even labelled as such!).

Several aspects of this hit me right in the gut...

1) evidently, dirty laundry within the family is being shared with others, and may be being used to rally support for one side. This has happened with other occurrances in the past. I resent the notion that such a personal issue has been laid out wide open within the family, yet the matter cannot be addressed with me in a respectful, adult manner.

2) why take a picture? Is the whole scenario so sensational that it warrants this?

3) finding that this is what has gone on behind my back simply opens up a deep wound that was no where near being healed.

4) all that said, my immediate feeling was simply overwhelming disappointment.

Yes, there are many underlying issues in all of this, but the base truths are that there is little respect being shown by them, which in turn has brought about considerable distrust and general resentment.

All of this has reached a breaking point for me - that being can I continue to be a part of the bigger picture when this is what continues to happen, and how all of this leaves me feeling when removing myself from this seems to be the remaining course of action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
I'm sorry to hear that your (shortened) visit was still so stressful.

I guess the best thing that I can say is that the next time you are invited to the ILs you can decline and briefly explain that you will not continue to visit a home where you are disrespected.

You'd need to have the wife on board to make sure that the threat of not seeing daughter/ grandkids carried the most weight. How does she respond to the situation? Did she stand up for you when she saw the photo?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,287 Posts
The wife married you and should stand by YOUR side first and foremost before her parents. She no longer "belongs" to them (it's what they perceive of her, she belongs to them hence the behaviors toward the person who "took" her from them).

There is no respect because they perceive you as a threat to what they believe belongs to them - your wife.

Ultimatum for both your wife and in laws. For the wife - you married me, you chose me, it's time to stand by me. If not, go home to your parents.

For the in laws - your daughter married me, she chose me and if you can't respect that we don't see you, you don't see us. Including the grand children. Air out personal private issues again in an immature way - you don't see us, you don't see the grandchildren. My family, my rules.

Can you tell I've had to deal with this very issue with in laws before. My SIL and FIL are NPD - rather disconcerting to deal with not one but two NPD'ers (narcissistic personality disorder) let alone one. Sounds like you mother in law may very well be an NPD'er or have traits of such.

I haven't spoken to FIL (father in law) in over 4 or 5 yrs now. I don't put up with BS from no one whether it's an in law or my own parents. I chose my husband, this is my family and my house - don't like my rules, go home and play in your own sand box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
960 Posts
I do think people need to check out their inlaws before getting married, because they will be a part of your family. That said, people get together, and there are many disfunctional families around Thanksgiving. Sometimes people get nasty over a few drinks. I always get a kick out of these solutions.

Jane's Friends, Jane you have far too passive. You need to set some ground rules for Bob, and tell him what is and is not acceptable.

Bob's Friends And you let her tell you what to do. That's the problem, you are an enabler by constantly showing her that her overbearing conduct is tolerated, you allow it to continue. I would have put her in her place years ago.

In practical terms, normal people try to avoid or manage conflict.
For example, I know one family member who will try to generate a political argument, and taunt someone of the opposite party. The other one is smart enough to move out of the room.

My advice, try to avoid the people you don't like, tolerate it, try to get out reasonably early, and recognize this is part of the family that's part of your marriage.

Couleur makes a lot of sense, "The longer the visit, the more the stress. Any chance either you or both you and your wife could make Thanksgiving into a 1 day event? (I routinely drive 1.5 hours to see my in-laws and then come back in the same day.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
While the situation sounds extremely stressful, cut offs are never a good solution. In law jokes are there for a reason - we all have our stories. However two goals are essential for marital health.
1. Each person is responsible for their own families, and spouses should attempt to provide support, and find a way to not get hooked
2. If the visit is that helpful, you need to identify triggers that create stress. Remember, the only person you can change is you. This can be an opportunity for growth. We talk about this in the "Couple's Survival Workbook", DrDavidCOlsen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Good morning,
thank you to all for your insights & perspectives - much appreciated!

@Couleur - I calmly brought up the photo on the drive home. Wife was sorry that I found it, and apologized for the fact that it was taken in the first place. I conveyed my aforementioned disappointment, unfortunately her response quickly turned to rationale for all aspects of this. Her suggestions included the notion that MIL was seeking help in composing something that wouldn't offend or further insult me. Ironically, the opposite has seemingly happened. She had no trouble choosing her words when aggressivly confronting me face-to-face. It would also appear that this was an attempt to sweep the matter under the rug and carry on as though little had happened in order to ensure that her plans for Christmas (only a few weeks after the letter was sent/received) were not affected by all of this.

To date, my wife has not made any effort to address this with her parents. In fact, she has long held the position that it is my responsibility to do so myself despite the fact that she has much stronger, long-standing relationship with them, and should be able to act as a liaison in such instances.

@CantePe - I have long tried to address the exact perspective you've presented. Unfortunately, it has not been received by the involved parties. to the contrary, it has been met with contradiction, excuses, attempts at justification and even flat out denial that such problems exist. All of this further compounds the feeling of general disrespect and disregard for what is needed to address and resolve any of this. Ergo, the need to distance myself from the conflict and toxic environment until something changes. That said, I have made considerable changes and sacrifices over the years to accommodate her family as best I can. I blindly expected that they would make a similar effort, and that peace and harmony would lie in happy compromise. So far, the gap between us closed solely by virtue of the distance I have come.

@Schofield25 - thank you for your thoughts!

@Bobby5000 - There were occurrences and warning signs that arose even before we got married, and a couple of blatant ones during the course of planning the wedding (suffice to say that post-phoning or even calling off the wedding because of their actions was warranted). I did not take such action as I saw that my life with the woman I loved was more important than the actions of those who saw fit to try and thwart it. I do completely agree with you and Couleur - the longer the visit, the higher the stress (compounded by their want for us to come and spend all the time they would like us to afford). This past thanksgiving was a 1 day, 1 night event preceded by a flurry of emails telling us what the plan was (no consultation), and provoking an unhealthy level of stress and resentment even before we go there. This escalated to the point that I had to pull off the highway while enroute in order to take a few minutes to decompress and carry on again.

@Dr. D - I've ordered a copy of your book as I'm interested in learning of additional ways to deal with all of this. Agreed - I can't change them and cut-off is not a good solution. Guess my questions is what to do when all other options have been exhausted. They will continue to behave as they have, and this will further impact my wife and children (that's the breaking point for me - when the cons outweigh the pros).

Is it worth trying to table any/all of this in a last-ditch effort to salvage what's left of the relationship with them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I'm sorry, I'm lost.

Do you have some kind of binding contract with the in-laws forcing your family to spend the holiday with them?

Is there any reason why you and your wife and kids couldn't spend Thanksgiving at home in peace and quiet while building LOVING memories?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I have the same issue with a mother in law.

Her presence in our marriage largely contributed to our seperation. We are trying to reconcile now, and i have laid down the law. It wasn't just that that caused our seperation, but it has contributed. So that being said, it's not the entire problem.

I will not be where I do not feel comfortable.

We moved out of state, and she is talking about moving up here in a year or so.

I have explained to my hub that if she continues to pry and cause problems, I will leave again. If she moves here, I will move again.

I have also explained to her that out relationship is not her business.

She calls me, and says she loves me, but I am not her daughter, not do I even care to be around her.

She says she is coming up for christmas, and I have compromised on this. I have said, if she stays for more than a week, I am going to visit my Dad.

Other than that, I refuse to be put into any other circumstances that I do not feel comfortable with on her behalf.

In the beginning, while we were getting back together, I just left if she was there so I didn't have to see her at all.

It has come to the point now though, that I will not be run out of my own house so that he can have a relationship with his mother.

The only reason I ever deal with her now is if she wants to talk to the children.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
The wife married you and should stand by YOUR side first and foremost before her parents. She no longer "belongs" to them (it's what they perceive of her, she belongs to them hence the behaviors toward the person who "took" her from them).

There is no respect because they perceive you as a threat to what they believe belongs to them - your wife.

Ultimatum for both your wife and in laws. For the wife - you married me, you chose me, it's time to stand by me. If not, go home to your parents.

For the in laws - your daughter married me, she chose me and if you can't respect that we don't see you, you don't see us. Including the grand children. Air out personal private issues again in an immature way - you don't see us, you don't see the grandchildren. My family, my rules.

Can you tell I've had to deal with this very issue with in laws before. My SIL and FIL are NPD - rather disconcerting to deal with not one but two NPD'ers (narcissistic personality disorder) let alone one. Sounds like you mother in law may very well be an NPD'er or have traits of such.

I haven't spoken to FIL (father in law) in over 4 or 5 yrs now. I don't put up with BS from no one whether it's an in law or my own parents. I chose my husband, this is my family and my house - don't like my rules, go home and play in your own sand box.
:smthumbup::smthumbup::smthumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Hi,
thanks to all who have offered perspective and shared personal experiences related to this challenge.

Last weekend, another situation arose, resulting in yet another conflict between the involved parties. Wife received a call from MIL mid-day Friday asking if they could come for pizza/movie night (same day) and stay the night. This is the first time EVER that they have invited themselves over without there being a a specific motive (ie. new baby, new house, or them being enroute to something/somewhere else). Understandably, wife was concerned, thinking they might be coming over to impart some bad news (as FIL had been for 2 MRI's earlier in the week). After helping wife compose herself before responding (she was quite upset by the prospect of bad news), I took the balance of the day off work and set about to getting things done to accommodate the inlaws (cleaning, cooking, groceries, etc.).

They arrived in time for dinner, and advised that there was no ulterior motive for visiting other than to visit. (uh...ok...what took ya so long?). Over breakfast the next morning, was discussing a current career opportunity (I'm currently self-employed with a good contract in place). While explaining details of the potential gig, MIL saw fit to comment "So, a real job?" Gobsmacked (yet again!) by her comment, I simply couldn't find the right response.

They left after breakfast, at which point i brought up the discussion with wife (apparently she wasn't privy to it when it happened). She immediately began to conjure rationale as to why the comment was made, and/or what was really intended. She then texted MIL seeking clarification. MIL responded and said she didn't recall saying any such thing, but had meant to say that it was a real job in the context of having a benefits package, corporate structure,etc. (I have no idea how something could be implied if you don't recall having said anything in the first place).

I had hoped to get a hone call from MIL to resolve the matter, but that didn't come. Further more, wife went on to say that MIL has realized that she has said/done things that were offensive, disrespectful and/or hurtful, but has chosen not to offer an apology as she doesn't want to say the wrong thing. ?? I've never heard of an apology being the wrong thing to say to anyone at any time. To me, this simply shows a lack of respect for me, and that her feelings are more important that those of people she has wronged.

With the holidays approaching, my levels of anxiety and stress are rising in anticipation of time with them. I proposed the idea of going out for dinner with them at a neutral location so as to try and open some sort of dialogue with them. W initially agreed, but has since backed away as she's not comfortable with it.

I'm open to suggestions and ideas as to how to broach matters with the inlaws - things cannot continue the way they are, and I need to be the catalyst that prompts change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
960 Posts
I don't know Chiron, I find you and the mother-in-law, pretty similiar: both intense people, not willing to let things go, confrontational, and the daughter your wife, tries to be patient and conciliatory.

I feel bad for your wife. At some point, she may not be able to take this constant conflict. If you love her, then I would try to maintain a cordial relationship with the inlaws, limit your contact, and not be looking for problems, or bringing them up. (somehow i think you will reject this advice and believe your problem is you have not been tough enough, are getting pushed around, and need to be more assertive).
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top