Help Dealing with Inlaws Situation

When my husband and I married, I understood that there was a great strain between he and his family - specifically, his mother. Like the nieve young woman I was, I tried to fix it (I had known my husband since I was 12 and thought I understood)- needless to say this was not the best of ideas. But, some form of tenuous peace ensued and we tried to include them on the wedding -we even tried to give them some responsibilities and found we were glad we didn’t give them more. For the next years, we sent gifts, did cards, sent flowers and even e-mailed some (oh we were on the other side of the country in the Navy at this time ). This tenuous peace continued until his brother, about 5 years later decided to get married. The woman came in and wanted to find out why we wern’t all closer. I gave her my take on things when she asked and even tried to warn her about his mother having some psychological problems. I didn’t want her to experience the pain I went through upon having to deal with the MIL. I shared this with her confidentially and some time later, she went to the MIL and told her nearly everything I said. A nasty letter ensued from his mother - I mean vile - dredging up things from a decade ago that concerned my husband and then tried to come up with some lovely stuff concerning me. Needless to say it didn’t go over well and after multiple fights, we stopped speaking, sending anything - talking, gifts, e-mail, etc.
The Sister in law told us we needed family that we’d be sorry that we were selfish for telling them we wanted nothing to do with them. I don’t know how she expected us to act after betraying our trust.
Then she begged me to reconsider some months later - that they were pregnant. I was shocked because they were all about a five year plan before having kids and less than a year after getting married she got pregnant. She got mad that I wasn’t exstatic and then harsh words ensued and my husband and I decided we did not need this. Not to mention we were told that if we could not do things the way they wanted them done (including making up with the MIL it seemed)than they didn’t know if we could be trusted around their child (we hadn’t planned to anyway)- but my husband took this as an ultimatum and said - that’s too bad but I’ve made the decision so please just leave us alone.
Everything is hunky dory for the past year - not hearing from them, not having to deal with any **** from them - and we blocked their e-mail addresses - (we did have one outside family member that could get in touch with us if something major like a death happened).
Anyway, the SIL tries e-mailing me under another name and she says she’s sorry. I tell her that until she explains to her husband how things got twisted around by her (mainpulated more like it) - than I would not keep the talking going. But also, if my husband told me to stop having contact since it was his side, I would abide by his wishes. She said she was angry that we dismissed their child and I said how were we supposed to have contact with a child without you two there - then we’re told that they wanted our children to play together (here she was fishing to see if we had had a child - they said they couldn’t keep a secret regarding pregnancy or a child so we decided not to tell them). Anyway, isn’t it best just to let this go - and hope that they just go back to their lives? In the last e-mail, I wished her and her family health and happiness and I was sorry but I just didn’t think this could work.
We don’t have to stay in touch with these relatives do we? I mean, we can’t stay in touch with his mom because she really does have psychological problems that she won’t get help for and any time we’re around her it’s been uncomfortable and become a situation we didn’t like. I mean she used to beat my husband when he was younger. He got away from it as soon as possible and went in the Navy as a Nuke.
Anyway, I know it says honor your father and mother but there has to be a point at which that just can’t be done any more. We do still pray for them but we have no desire to stay in touch in less she gets the psychological help she needs.
And as far as brothers and sister in laws go, I don’t see any passages saying that you have to keep in touch with them. We’re not trying to be mean - just to keep our sanity where they’re concerned and I think the only way we can do that is not to deal with them at all.

It sounds all very painful and difficult, and I’m sad for you that things have turned out so badly.
I realise it has become very complicated and that there are real hurts and injuries all around. I realise your parents in law aren’t a wife’s dream. And I think it’s a wonderful blessing that you pray for these people.

As you say, your mother in law may have some personality problems, but I guess the lesson for us all regarding your initial response to our future sister in law, is not to share bad stuff from the past, or to give confidences about the difficulties of the past. Honour your father and mother wasn’t in operation her. We aren’t commanded to honour father and mother if they’re nice or good to us, just “Honour thy father and thy mother”, and your husband’s became yours with marriage. [You were great about the cards and kind messages early on, though]

You weren’t obliged to share the unlovely truth just because the new woman in your brother-in-laws wife demanded it. Christian charity demanded that you but to just make a simple statement like. “It’s just the way it worked out, rather than trying to justify the rift.” What you did was gossip at your future sister-in-law’s invitation, and this brought your mother-in-law’s vitriolic…but offended, natually…letter to you trying to vindicate herself by verbally bashing you. In both case each were reacting aginst the other’s lack of kindness. Your sister-in-law, with the ammunition you gave her, went on to do the same, shared gossip. If you hadn’t she couldn’t have, which doesn’t absolve her of lack of charity
There’s an awful lot of scar tissue in your family relationships, the legacy of knifing slips in charity all around.
That you reacted less than lovingly about the wonderful news of your nephew or niece’s conception was somewhat deflating and unloving, and it was their business if they didn’t stick to the original five year plan for children. It’s their choice, and changing their mind, or welcoming their surprise gift of a child, is entirely up to them, and should be rejoiced in even if they had changed plans. Of course you sister-in-law was hurt when you were so judgemental and cold about their baby! You wrote, " I was shocked because they were all about a five year plan before having kids and less than a year after getting married she got pregnant. She got mad that I wasn’t exstatic and then harsh words ensued" Ouch, the news so dear to their heart, but your heart was hard!

Dear Ryecroft, you see them all as difficult, but may it not be that you can also be difficult? You have anger and unforgiveness and it’s very harmful and stressful to you. Even when you sister in law has tried to restore relationship you have thought the worst of her, judged her, and rejected her overtures. It’s unclear whether so much mutual wounding can be overcome, but blame isn’t all one-sided. I do hope that mutual charity is abble to get a foothold and grow. There doesn’t just need to be relationship healing in this family, but much personal healing.

It is most difficult for me to have to respond truthfully when I only ever want to be kind. I am sad that I found myself writing a post that in being truthful may only hurt you more, if you are unable to see the truth of what I write, it will only be that you feel that ever a stranger is wounding you. I do hope you dont see it that way.

Not so. Jesus doesn’t exempt us from charity to our brothers and sisters, anyone. Jesus even says “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be children of your Father in heaven, for He causes the sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and His rain to fall on honest and dishonest persons alike…You must therefore be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:43-48]

“Since the Father loved us so much that He sent You to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away, we too should love one another.” [John 4:10-11] “By such love, everyone will know that we are Your disciples.” “Anyone who says ‘I love God’, and hates his brother is a liar, since a person who does not love the brother that he can see, cannot love God whom he has never seen.” [1 letter of John 4:20-21] “Do not let your love be pretence, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as brothers should, and have a profound respect for each other…If any of the saints are in need you must share with them; and you must make hospitality your special care.” [Romans 12:9-13]

“Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye’…Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter in your brother’s eye.” [Luke 6: 39-42] “Do not judge others and you will not yourself be judged. Grant pardon and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure.” [Luke 6:36-38]

“Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You; or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and make You welcome; naked and clothe You; sick or in prison and go to see You?” Jesus replies “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” “In so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least, you neglected to do it to me.” [Matthew 25:37-40, 45-46]

If we cannot love our family with Christ’s love, how can we love anyone?

I think you can love and respect them without putting yourself in the direct line of fire. It’s lucky that you live far away so you don’t have to deal with face-to-face situations often.

What I would do is send a card periodically – maybe once a month, every other month. That way you’re still honoring the relationship without being involved in the drama. You said there was one family member that could reach you to keep you informed of major happenings.

I thank you for all of your advice - but I do need to clear a few things up that I should have to begin with. This is my husbands side - I really don’t feel it’s my place to do anything with his family when he is telling me not to. He tells me/asks me to do so few things that I am not one to want to go against.
Also, it wasn’t for the sake of gossip that I told the new Sister-in-law what I told her. This woman has some VERY REAL psychological problems for which she will not get help. I did not want her to have to go through the same crud we did.

Everytime we have let our guard down and tried communication, it has wound up being a nasty e-mailing fight and on the phone. We felt compelled and almost got a cease and desist order on them. Some of the best peace we have had is with regards to the past year where we have not had to deal with ANY of them - and I know my husband wants to keep this peace.

As far as the pregnancy goes, when I heard the words that she pretty much planned this without talking to her husband - made it look like a b.c. screw up - I have no idea why she told me - it’s not right to get pregnant on the sly - I don’t care what religion you are. And no I"m not trying to gossip here - I’m trying to explain - I don’t know any of you - but this is what made the shock that much more well, shocking.

It doesn’t seem to me that there is anything in the Good Book that says that we should have to stay in touch - if anything, I keep thinking of “if your right hand offends thee than cut it off…” - and that’s what my husband feels he’s done. There comes a point when I believe you just have to get on with your lives andtry to forget about all of the crud that has happened.

My husband (and I must include myself here) doesn’t want them to know when we’re pregnant and have children. I mean there’s no way we would let that woman around our children. And even if we were to make up with his brother and sister in law, than we wouldn’t be able to bring any children over to play because the SIL would not be able to keep it to herself - she would run to the MIL to tell her - which in turn would hurt her - believe it or not - whatever hurts she believes has occured to her we don’t want to add to.

On the one hand I feel like I should maybe try but on the otherhand, I can look at the -mails and remember how nasty it can and will get. The main letter that made things worse wasn’t just about what I told the SIL - this had been planned for some time. Then when my husband asked questions about stuff she put in it she either couldn’t remember why or said she didn’t know why.

I am not a hateful person nor is my husband but we don’t want anymore drama and as I mentioned the past year without an contact has been wonderfully peaceful. This is my husbands decision to make because it is his side - at least that’s what I belive. Also my parents have taken him in and consider him their son.
I’m just trying to have peace with this.

One other thing, we do not hate them - infact at times we feel sorry for them. But again, I don’t belive this is my call to make as this is his side of the family. I would be fairly ticked if my husband tried to make a decision regarding my side of the family.
My mom always taught me once shame on them twice shame on you - and I understand that in this situation, completely.

Interesting that you quote Matthew 5:30. That follows the Beattitudes and this passage that tells us how to get along with our brothers and sisters:

You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’

22 But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. 23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

Since it is your husband’s family, he’s the one that should decide. It sounds like he’s made his decision and it is up to you to honor it – so many times in the forums we see where the husband will not stand up to his family or take control. Kudos to your husband for doing so. I think you need to be supportive of his decision. If in the future he feels the need to reconnect, then you should support him then, too.

We all have two families – the one we’re born with and the one we make. At least your husband is getting a second chance of a great family with you and any future kiddos y’all may have.

I’m probably going to get roasted for this, but, Trishie, you are waaaaaaaaaay off the mark.

Have you stopped to consider that these people the OP are dealing with are evil? Sure, mental problems are a strong possibility, but so is evil; especially the SIL. Look at the situation: the SIL, set up the pretense of being a peacemaker and instead used the information she gleaned from the OP to create even more strife. She has had protracted arguments and has used manipulative tactics on everyone around her, including her husband. The MIL was so abusive in the past that the OP’s husband ran as soon as her possibly could and really hasn’t stopped running.

Aren’t we supposed to stay away from evil? If as the OP says there is a neutral party who will notify them in case of something major (death) then they should stay as far away from this evilness as possible. And especially when they have children; would you deliberately expose your children to evil? :eek:

Stay away from the evil. It will only lead to trouble and heartbreak.

Also, how can you have a relationship or even a converstaion with someone who you can trust no farther than you can throw her? We’ve kept everything they’ve told us in confidence - and believe me if we wanted to hurt them, we could have broken that confidence. We have never even held it over their heads. But she’s wanting me to act like none of the past ever happened - that she didn’t betray myself and my husband not just once but multiple times. I told her that if my husband didn’t tell me I had to stop talking with her that I might try - but to understand that I don’t see any conversations going beyond the weather and the red sox. Again once shame on them twice shame on you.
I also told her that if she even wanted this that she needed to clear up the things she said to her husband regarding me that were misrepresentative, and untrue. Because of her, and her manipulation of the facts, I was looked at as being untrustworthy in her husbands eyes - normally I wouldn’t care but this is my husband’s brother so if some kind of miracle occurs and we do wind up talking civily, then I don’t feel I can move forward. I told her this with the first e-mail she sent me beggin to have me back in her life and apologizing. And for all her apologizing, the one thing I"ve told her would help restore some trust, she has refused to do. I admit, it would be difficult (if I had) to go to my husband and say I lied about my sister in law - or even I led you to the wrong conclusion about what she was doing or saying. Would you seriously try to go forward in this situation without having that cleared?

I, too, have to wonder why you felt it was your place to rush in and “rescue” this SIL from your MIL. You may want to take a look at how you could have brought some of this upon yourself with co-dependent actions. Whether you meant to or not, you accomplished to stir up the very drama you seemingly wished to avoid. I understand the impulse you had to do so, believe me! My answer to her questions would have had to be, “We have had some difficulties in that relationship, but it really is not your concern. I hope that you seek to have a relationship and make your own assessments.”

Now that your husband has accomplished peace and quiet, you are now asking if you should reboot it all back? Let your husband know about the email and tell him it is in his hands and that you are weak and unsure and feel drawn to answer them. I know this POV is hard to hear. This is the only thing you have control over in this scenario, so try to feel empowered by letting go.

Kudos to your dh. My dh had to make the same hard decision with his mother. It was difficult especially since they adopted his daughter butwe still see her and that is all that counts. She is coming very quickly to find a lot of the truths about her grandparents without our input at all. It had gotten to the point where even our Priest was understanding of the actions my dh took and his father is an Eucharistic Minister in the same Parish and his Mother is the choir director. It was hard but it took much strain off of our relationship to be rid of a force that wanted to divide it. Remember that what God binds no man shall break.

God bless,

Ryecroft, if your MIL can’t be trusted with your children, you are right to stay away. I would say that you do not have the right (let alone the need) to risk their well-being in an effort to reconcile with her. I feel strongly about this! (I once asked a group of friends to tell me if they saw me getting involved with an abusive man. I wound up having to have police protection against “Mr. Psychotic,” and still have some mental scars. Turned out, one of these friends knew he had gone to jail more than once for beating his wife and didn’t tell me, because she “thought he might have changed.” Grr. For that, she risked my life.)

If your SIL has taken sides with MIL, in an effort to stay “in” with her, poor thing. She’ll pay down the road, I’m sure. When she does, you might want to open your arms to her.

Trishie is right about praying for them, though. It will do you a world of good, and might even help them. I speak from experience!

God bless you,


Ok, here’s the question…

Does anybody care that Ryecroft’s side of the story isn’t the only one? :shrug: I find this very funny that I come on here looking to see if I can find any family - I just found this site a few days ago and was considering posting on a few forums - but instead I find myself and my MIL spoken about by perfect strangers as evil and mentally ill. Let me tell you we are not. We are both regular people who attend Mass regularly and attend programs, classes, and as many Holy Days as possible. Oh, and to further my credibility I work for a Catholic (Franciscan) retreat center, teach first grade Sunday School, and assist in NFP classes, family life classes, bible study classes, and anything else we are asked to do. Our MIL is a regular sponsor for RCIA as well as a Secular Franciscan herself.

So if we are evil, what else can we do?! :confused:

“Boy when you little scamps get together, you’re worse than a sewing circle!”

Mrs. Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

Peace and Good

Are you going to look up every thread she has been on and post this?

You came on here looking for family? I think you came on here looking for trouble! I’m starting to really understand now what kind of problems she has with her in-laws!! She came on here asking for help and those that she was seeking advice about have hunted her down. I feel really badly for her. Have you already informed everyone else in the family about this?


I agree.

to the SIL - we don’t know both sides of the OP story just as we don’t really know if you are really the OP’s SIL.

You have told us how involved you are in the Catholic Faith, I pray for you and your family forgive (if that is what is needed) and to refrain from gossip.

Hello All,

As I have previously stated, I do a lot of work in family life, NFP, CCD, and other programs. I was seeking Catholic places (forums, web sites etc) for the people I work with to use as references for questions they may have or to see how other Catholics think about various issues and doctrines. As I’ve been going along, I put in the names that I know friends and family use to see if they were on the sites.

Yes, I probably could have asked them if they were on, but since I was on anyway, I thought it might be neat to see who was on. I had NO IDEA that Ryecroft would be on here. I looked to see what kinds of postings she had and knew it was her by the content of some of the postings. Yes, this posting and the other posting about our family are older, but since I have just come to them, I just now have the chance to defend myself and our MIL.

Now, I am NOT going to go into any of the “issues” here. That would make me a hypocrite, and it would be inappropriate anyway. However, I am going to say that not all of what Ryecroft has presented here is accurate or fair. She is presenting her side of things and how she feels about it, but she is only one person in the family and there are many more involved. I don’t feel it is right to discuss things about people who first of all have no idea that you’re discussing them or their supposed issues with total strangers, Catholic or not, and second of all aren’t present to defend themselves.

I don’t think of Ryecroft as a bad person at all. She is very intelligent, well educated, very generous and giving. She has a loving husband and I am very happy for her. Yes, there are issues in every family, ours included. But running to total strangers and complaining that I “betrayed their confidence” and spread gossip and rumors and our MIL did this and that, is spreading gossip and rumors herself. A lot of what she has said about us is hurtful and untrue.

One can state emphatically that forums like this are anonamous. However I present to you that if I can find her on here in a few days, others may well do the same. We have a lot of family and friends who may or may not be on this forum. If they do what I did and find her and read what she has written, all kinds of conclusions may be made that are based on untruths. Reputations are hard to repair, especially when they are made based on lies.

I am just saying that if there is dirty laundry in a family, it needs to stay in the family, in the priests office, or the confessional.

Also, as far as some of the responses that were made, please think about the fact that there are always 3 sides to every situation. Side A, Side B, and the truth.

-Peace and Good

SIL: quit cyberstalking. You just happened to find a post from half a year ago? Sounds like you went through her post history.

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