Getting along with inlaws


#1

As a Catholic I am struggling to find the answer of what to do. My in laws (MIL and SIL) are very harsh and hurtful. I have only been married for a few years and we have a wonderful one year old son. We are trying to raise him being good examples. The only advise I have been given is to not talk to them. When they talk to me, email me, or call me, it always ends up them hurting me. I grew up in a very loving family so I do not know how to be in a family who act this way. I do not want my son learning these actions or seeing how they hurt me. They also have very different life styles and are Catholic in name alone. As a mother I want to shelter my child and show him by example how to be Catholic. I am praying about this problem. I would love catholic advise.


#2

How are they mean to you?

Do they undermine your relationship with either your husband or your child?

Do they make you feel like an outsider(unwelcome in the family)?

Sometimes there are practical solutions for dealing with certain personality types that can help you with your in-laws, but I’d have to know how they are mean to you in order to make a suggestion.


#3

[quote="nicole1983, post:1, topic:228748"]
As a Catholic I am struggling to find the answer of what to do. My in laws (MIL and SIL) are very harsh and hurtful. I have only been married for a few years and we have a wonderful one year old son. We are trying to raise him being good examples. The only advise I have been given is to not talk to them. When they talk to me, email me, or call me, it always ends up them hurting me. I grew up in a very loving family so I do not know how to be in a family who act this way. I do not want my son learning these actions or seeing how they hurt me. They also have very different life styles and are Catholic in name alone. As a mother I want to shelter my child and show him by example how to be Catholic. I am praying about this problem. I would love catholic advise.

[/quote]

My father used to tell me to "kill them with love".

Love them as images of Christ and show your son what that entails, for good or bad, and pray that they may come to the fullness of faith.


#4

They are your husband’s mother and sister. Let him be the one to have primary contact with them. If they are out of line, ask your husband to stick up for you or take care of the situation. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk to them, because you should be able to have polite, civilized conversations with them, BUT when it comes to e-mails and phone calls, you can screen your calls then let your husband call them back, forward him the e-mails, etc. Be sweet, be nice and discuss the weather or other non-controversial topics with them a lot. Change the subject as neccesary whenever they bring up topics that cause you to get upset.

“Nicole, why didn’t you return my phone call?” “I asked hubby to call you back. Can you believe how beautiful the snow is? Junior was playing outside just yesterday making a snowman with a carrot nose. Blah, blah, blah.” :snowing:

You get the idea. Polite. Respectful. Limited. You married their son/brother so let him maintain his relationship with him family if he wishes. If they subject you to things that upset you, don’t engage in those conversations–back away and ask your husband to step in. Pray for them and forgive them.


#5

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:4, topic:228748"]
They are your husband's mother and sister. Let him be the one to have primary contact with them. If they are out of line, ask your husband to stick up for you or take care of the situation. I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk to them, because you should be able to have polite, civilized conversations with them, BUT when it comes to e-mails and phone calls, you can screen your calls then let your husband call them back, forward him the e-mails, etc. Be sweet, be nice and discuss the weather or other non-controversial topics with them a lot. Change the subject as neccesary whenever they bring up topics that cause you to get upset.

"Nicole, why didn't you return my phone call?" "I asked hubby to call you back. Can you believe how beautiful the snow is? Junior was playing outside just yesterday making a snowman with a carrot nose. Blah, blah, blah." :snowing:

You get the idea. Polite. Respectful. Limited. You married their son/brother so let him maintain his relationship with him family if he wishes. If they subject you to things that upset you, don't engage in those conversations--back away and ask your husband to step in. Pray for them and forgive them.

[/quote]

Great advice!!! I will just add, you might be forgiving them often Matthew 18:21-22 :gopray:


#6

I used to think this was the way to go, but I have to disagree with this advice as a generalization. In this case, it might have some relevance, but we have to be certain that the DIL has actually made it clear that she’s been hurt and is not backing down about what her feelings are and how she expects to be treated. The reason I’m not sure that you’re saying that is that you think that when someone is facing the natural consequences of their behavior that you have to pretend that those consequences are all in their imagination. I don’t think that is respectful. I think that’s passive-aggressive.

I have come to realize that the way to deal with people who say things that you think are hurtful is to say, “You may not have meant anything by it, but that hurt my feelings.”

Now, if they argue with you–it is amazing how many people think that whether or not someone else finds them annoying is a debatable point!–you don’t have to get into that. Unless they are trying to figure out what it was that was offensive, so as not to repeat their error, do not feel any need to defend yourself. At that point, you can say, “You know, the kinds of treatment I’m willing to accept from other people is not up for debate. Having a discussion is one thing, but it you’re going to argue with me about what kind of behavior I find acceptable, maybe we need to just agree not to have a lot of contact. This is not negotiable.”

After you have openly told them that your boundaries are not negotiable, you won’t have to explain why you don’t answer the phone when they call. If they ask, “Nicole, why didn’t you call me back?”, you can say, “I didn’t call you back because when I let you know what kind of behavior I find acceptable on a phone, you wouldn’t accept it. I was quite serious: those are the terms. If you don’t accept them, I can accept that this is your stand, you have that choice, but I’m not getting on the phone with you. If no one else on the planet has a problem with you, then by all means, talk to them. It’s pretty much that simple.”

This way, you won’t have to put your spouse in the position of being the go-between for two adult women. They may not like it, they may get passive-aggressive on you, but your husband doesn’t need to step in. They can take their medicine. If they go to him, all he needs to say is, “At our house, when you have a problem with an adult, you talk to the person you have the problem with. I’m a brother and a husband in all of this, but only a fool tries to referee in the affairs of adults. I’d like to think you didn’t raise a fool, Mother.”

As for your son, if you and your husband mutually agree on what you will allow your son to be exposed to, and you tell them what kind of talk you allow your son to be around (your husband, being one of the dogs in this fight, can deliver that news), you don’t have to explain when they are inappropriate and you elect to take your son and leave. If your husband won’t agree about that, then the issue you have is with your husband, not the in-laws.

If the OP cannot be direct, then she has to take the consequences of being a passive-aggressive herself. That’s one way of coping with the world. I agree with the mental-health people who say it isn’t healthy, but OTOH, there are a lot of people who choose it.

Now…having said that, I will qualify with the sensible objection that you, Gardenswithkids, will surely make: EasterJoy, there are people who will shred you behind your back if you are that direct with them.

I will concede that point. If you are dealing with someone who has demonstrated that she is vindictive and will attack you directly or indirectly if you deal with her directly, then by all means, feel free to do everything you can to stay off her radar. There are people in this world that I would call situational sociopaths, for want of a better term. They aren’t truly sociopaths, they do have the capacity for empathy, but they will still punish people who cross them, and they’re really nasty about it. It can go so far as cutting off their own noses to spite their faces; they can even harm children in their thirst to get even. Yes, people who have truly earned that kind of a reputation do not deserve to be dealt with directly, not until they’ve demonstrated in some way that they’ve changed their stripes. You don’t have to make yourself cannon fodder for someone like that.

This is not about being unforgiving. It is about insisting on a minimum standard of respect, for yourself no more or less than for anyone else. Our children see what kind of boundaries we have, how we enforce those boundaries, how we go about accepting the person but not the behavior when those boundaries are violated, and how we confine ourselves to controlling that which is ours to control. That is more important than worrying about how other people act.


#7

My MIL would complain about ever watching the baby so I found new baby sitters. He has not stayed with her in two months. She complains if we ever ask for help with anything. When we went to her house for christmas she asked us when we were leaving. It is hard to talk To her without her complaining. She thinks she can give our baby any food even if we say no. She say " grandma can do what she wants"

My SIL writes to me or talks to me snotty so when I get upset she can make up a story about how I am mad for no reason.

I am trying to distance myself from my husbands family to stay sane. I do not want to leave my baby for baby sitting with my MIL.

I feel like maybe prayer and loving them from afar is all I can do right now. Any good tips? Thank you.

Also baby's birthday is coming up. What do I do? Just celebrate with my husband?


#8

[quote="nicole1983, post:7, topic:228748"]
My MIL would complain about ever watching the baby so I found new baby sitters. He has not stayed with her in two months. She complains if we ever ask for help with anything. When we went to her house for christmas she asked us when we were leaving. It is hard to talk To her without her complaining. She thinks she can give our baby any food even if we say no. She say " grandma can do what she wants"

My SIL writes to me or talks to me snotty so when I get upset she can make up a story about how I am mad for no reason.

I am trying to distance myself from my husbands family to stay sane. I do not want to leave my baby for baby sitting with my MIL.

I feel like maybe prayer and loving them from afar is all I can do right now. Any good tips? Thank you.

Also baby's birthday is coming up. What do I do? Just celebrate with my husband?

[/quote]

The situation reminds me of the lines from Fiddler on the Roof:
Man: **Rabbi, is there a blessing for the Tzar?
**Rabbi:
A blessing for the Tzar? Why yes, of course: "God bless and keep the Tzar....far away from us!!"

Love them from afar? Yes. The farther, the better....and keep your son away from them, too.

Your mother is directly aggressive towards you, and so is your SIL, even though they may try to keep from doing it openly around others. They've done everything they can to alienate you, and done it with impunity. Take the hint, before one of them gets a frying pan and hits you.


#9

Be very careful about what you decide to do. don't do anything without first asking Jesus if it is what He wants. Backing off and trying to stay away from them could just fuel the fire. It could get much uglier and difficult to reconcile. I saw this happen in my husband's family. It caused so much pain to so many people for many years. Your child deserves to have a relationship with his relatives If they aren't hurting the child, then I would try to keep a relationship with them. Your mother-in-law sounds like she is unhappy or depressed. I agree with the person who said "kill them with love". Don't play any of the "games" they play or get involved with their arguments. Accept that that is the way they are, so you know what to expect when you visit them.

You might also have to take the high road. They might sling arrows at you. Just smile and continue to be kind. There is a possibility that your husband will be passive towards this situation. What man wants to get involved in the squabbles of 3 woman? NONE.

You might also have to deal with grandma showering your child with horrible food choices! That's ok. Don't create a power struggle over it. Having sweets at grandma's will eventually be one of the things your child will remember ( when he is old enough) about his Grandma and will remember it fondly. If it is only on occasional or weekly visits, unless your child is a diabetic or other problem, it won't hurt that much. If her personality is as acidic as you say, he might not have many other good memories to hold on to.

Remember the commandment: Honor thy mother and father. Unconditionally.


#10

[quote="coco2, post:9, topic:228748"]
Be very careful about what you decide to do. don't do anything without first asking Jesus if it is what He wants. Backing off and trying to stay away from them could just fuel the fire. It could get much uglier and difficult to reconcile. I saw this happen in my husband's family. It caused so much pain to so many people for many years. Your child deserves to have a relationship with his relatives If they aren't hurting the child, then I would try to keep a relationship with them. Your mother-in-law sounds like she is unhappy or depressed. I agree with the person who said "kill them with love". Don't play any of the "games" they play or get involved with their arguments. Accept that that is the way they are, so you know what to expect when you visit them.

You might also have to take the high road. They might sling arrows at you. Just smile and continue to be kind. There is a possibility that your husband will be passive towards this situation. What man wants to get involved in the squabbles of 3 woman? NONE.

You might also have to deal with grandma showering your child with horrible food choices! That's ok. Don't create a power struggle over it. Having sweets at grandma's will eventually be one of the things your child will remember ( when he is old enough) about his Grandma and will remember it fondly. If it is only on occasional or weekly visits, unless your child is a diabetic or other problem, it won't hurt that much. If her personality is as acidic as you say, he might not have many other good memories to hold on to.

Remember the commandment: Honor thy mother and father. Unconditionally.

[/quote]

The Lord told the disciples that if a town didn't receive them, they could leave the town and shake its dust from their feet in protest. Stray sweets from Grandma are one thing, but when anyone is allowed to be disrespectful to a child's mother, it hurts the child. It is better to stay away from Grandma entirely than for a child to see his mom put down by his grandmother while his father does nothing to defend her.

The OP should not badmouth her in-laws, in front of her child or anywhere else, but it is in no way disrespectful to insist on being treated with dignity. *"If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" *John 18:23.


#11

I still say honor the commandment. There are no conditions attached to it. My husband is from a very large Italian family. Passions run wild, and everyone is very vocal. I wasn't used to this, nor was another in-law. One other daughter-in-law chose to remove her family from the situation. I chose to grin and bear it. What harm and chaos the other decision brought upon everyone in the family! Try to pick out the good points of the people involved. If there are no good points, pray for them and try to love them anyway.

OP - Ignore inappropriate behavior, which means don't react to it. A sense of humor would also be helpful ( which is how my husband and I deal with this situation). Ask God to intervene, and he will, but it doesn't happen quickly. I could EASILY have refused to take my children to see their grandma because she criticized me on a regular basis. My husband refused to try to stop his mom from this behavior. Why? After knowing her for 26 years he already knew where that would go...nowhere or worse places. This hurt me for many years, but I just picked up my cross and carried it. Now....about 30 years later, we have a fairly good relationship.

My advice would be to pick up your cross OP, carry it, offer up any pain in reparation for your sins or the salvation of your family. Just keep following the Lord's commands! Don't separate the family unless there is physical/sexual/or severe emotional problems!

Easter Joy: I think Jesus was talking about shaking the dust off their sandals because the towns didn't accept the message of Jesus, which seems quite different from family squabbles and personality clashes. Jesus message is to love and forgive.


#12

One other question.

What is your husband doing about this? HE needs to step up and defend you. Tell the rest of his family that they cannot treat you like this. By insulting you they are insulting him "The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, for she was taken out of man. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Gen 2:23-24)

I dont envy your situation... I just pray that whoever my wife ends up being does not get this treatment from my family... I would not hesitate to excise them from our lives... But I tend to be a bit over protective, especially of women...


#13

Nicole: When you say that you are always getting hurt, could you give us an example. what types of things are they saying to you? Some people are just more sensitive than others; and might take what someone says differently than another would.


#14

[quote="EasterJoy, post:10, topic:228748"]
The Lord told the disciples that if a town didn't receive them, they could leave the town and shake its dust from their feet in protest. Stray sweets from Grandma are one thing, but when anyone is allowed to be disrespectful to a child's mother, it hurts the child. It is better to stay away from Grandma entirely than for a child to see his mom put down by his grandmother while his father does nothing to defend her.

[/quote]

As the "child" in this situation, I have to agree. I know that my grandmother is old, lonely, and in pain, but she has always been cruel. I do not like to see her or speak to her. Even the little happy memories I have of her do not help. I can't like anyone who makes my mom cry on a weekly basis. :mad: Much better to love from afar.
I don't know if that helps you at all- just remember that kids are more aware than you'd think, and they'll know at a young age that something is off between their mother and grandmother.


#15

[quote="coco2, post:13, topic:228748"]
Nicole: When you say that you are always getting hurt, could you give us an example. what types of things are they saying to you? Some people are just more sensitive than others; and might take what someone says differently than another would.

[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing.

For myself, I have tried to always live as drama-free if possible. Sometimes this requires that I be deliberately...well... obtuse. What I mean is, if someone says something to me that is PROBABLY not nice, that could mean one thing, or maybe another, I will deliberately decide to interpret it in the least offensive way.

Sometimes, if someone is directly insulting, it's impossible to do this. However, I find that most times, I can choose not to interpret it that way. My SIL, on the other hand, always goes RIGHT there, to the most hurtful interpretations of what people say and do. As a result, her feelings are hurt ALOT and she has hard feelings toward a lot of people. She admits she is very sensitive. I try to tell her, holding a grudge against people only hurts YOU. It's like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Mostly, the mean people don't care if you are mad at them!

Of course, EasterJoy has some fantastic points, and if there was no denying the intentions of the person, I would agree with her advice.

Can you give us more details about SIL, other than just her tone?


#16

[quote="nicole1983, post:7, topic:228748"]
My MIL would complain about ever watching the baby so I found new baby sitters. He has not stayed with her in two months. She complains if we ever ask for help with anything. When we went to her house for christmas she asked us when we were leaving. It is hard to talk To her without her complaining. *She thinks she can give our baby any food even if we say no. She say " grandma can do what she wants"
*

My SIL writes to me or talks to me snotty so when I get upset she can make up a story about how I am mad for no reason.

I am trying to distance myself from my husbands family to stay sane. I do not want to leave my baby for baby sitting with my MIL.

I feel like maybe prayer and loving them from afar is all I can do right now. Any good tips? Thank you.

Also baby's birthday is coming up. What do I do? Just celebrate with my husband?

[/quote]

These statements should make you sit up and take notice!!! You are very right to protect yourself and your child from this woman!! When anyone says things like this, they usually mean, "I DO WHAT I WANT AND NO ONE STOPS ME" and children can be used as pawns to hurt others. DO NOT allow this woman to have your child without supervision. I repeat: DO NOT allow this woman to have your child without supervision. At least, she will do things that will be subversive of your parenting. At most, she could be actively neglectful or abusive. Please take this sentiment seriously! People like this CANNOT be trusted. Just because she is the baby's grandmother does NOT mean "I can do what I want." OMG.


#17

[quote="nicole1983, post:7, topic:228748"]
My MIL would complain about ever watching the baby so I found new baby sitters. He has not stayed with her in two months. She complains if we ever ask for help with anything. When we went to her house for christmas she asked us when we were leaving. It is hard to talk To her without her complaining. She thinks she can give our baby any food even if we say no. She say " grandma can do what she wants"

[/quote]

you need to get her on your side. I would suspect both of these people know you don't like them and are reacting badly because of it.

If you mother in law doesn't like to be imposed upon then it is an easy fix. But you can stroke her ego by calling her and asking her advice. Don't get into an argument, just let her tell you her opinion and let her talk. Thank her and conclude your conversation. Don't ever mention whether or not you take her advice. If she asks say you haven't had time to try it but appreciate her helpfulness.

She will soon be on your side and then be very supportive of your wants because you've been supportive of her.


#18

I will try to keep this short.

OP, I've LIVED in your shoes from 2 view points. And I agree 100% with EasterJoy.

It' does NOT get better... It gets worse with time. Abusers abuse as often as they can whenever they can.

My Grandmother was a horror story with my mother. I watched that for 20 years. I was her favorite grandchild. She was terrible to my little sister. This effected our relationship for years. UNTIL we were adults to realize we were pitted against each other as children. GRANDMAS do NOT have the right to destroy! Period, the end!

My MIL and SIl are insanely jealous. They were rude off the charts on our wedding day. I have witnesses who were like :eek::eek::eek: Because they are so often and regularly rude, they have forgotten to do it in private... They often have witnesses as of late!

I could list event after event for you... but it's your thread, and I'm trying to stay in a good mood!


#19

[quote="EasterJoy, post:6, topic:228748"]
I used to think this was the way to go, but I have to disagree with this advice as a generalization. In this case, it might have some relevance, but we have to be certain that the DIL has actually made it clear that she's been hurt and is not backing down about what her feelings are and how she expects to be treated. The reason I'm not sure that you're saying that is that you think that when someone is facing the natural consequences of their behavior that you have to pretend that those consequences are all in their imagination. I don't think that is respectful. I think that's passive-aggressive.

I have come to realize that the way to deal with people who say things that you think are hurtful is to say, "You may not have meant anything by it, but that hurt my feelings."

Now, if they argue with you...
..If the OP cannot be direct, then she has to take the consequences of being a passive-aggressive herself. ....

[/quote]

Please enlighten me because I am genuinely perplexed.*** What*** exactly is passive-aggressive about what I suggested?

I have no problem being direct, but I also use diplomacy. Dealing with my MIL directly has never proven very effective for me.

Not every DIL and MIL will have the kind of relationship that Ruth and Naomi shared in the Bible.


#20

[quote="vsedriver, post:17, topic:228748"]
you need to get her on your side. I would suspect both of these people know you don't like them and are reacting badly because of it.

If you mother in law doesn't like to be imposed upon then it is an easy fix. But you can stroke her ego by calling her and asking her advice. Don't get into an argument, just let her tell you her opinion and let her talk. Thank her and conclude your conversation. Don't ever mention whether or not you take her advice. If she asks say you haven't had time to try it but appreciate her helpfulness.

She will soon be on your side and then be very supportive of your wants because you've been supportive of her.

[/quote]

excellent advice!


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