Need help, advice and prayers... a VERY long rant


#1

My husband and I are looking for some help and advice on what to do in the situation me and my husband are facing. Please allow me to give you some information first. It is a long story, and will probably take more than one post, so please be so kind as to bear with me. Plus, I do need the vent. We have been having a lot of issues with my parents-in-law during the last 4 years. We need advice on what to do and how to behave from now on.
My husband is the oldest of two, and has been through a lot during his childhood. He was raised by his two grandmothers during the first 9-10 yrs. of his life, as his parents were both not very interested in him. DH would spend a few years with one of his grandmas, then a few with the other, with an occasional period of a few months, up to a year, with his parents. His parents would visit him on weekends sometimes, and bring him toys, as to not feel guilty for not raising him themselves. They had a very rocky marriage, and, without getting into too much detail, my FIL did not behave as a husband and a father for quite a long time, up until DH was in his late teens. When DH was 9, his brother, my BIL, was born, and became the favorite child. I have no idea what the reason for this was, it was probably a combination of reasons, esp. the fact that my MIL could not get pregnant for a number of years, so when she finally had BIL, she totally spoiled him. MIL and FIL behaved diferently towards him and DH, bought different food for them (e.g., the chapest possible salami for DH vs. expensive ham for his brother), or would buy food especially for my BIL, food which DH was not allowed to eat (e.g., a jar of olives, etc.), BIL was allowed to do anything he pleases, in arguments with DH, everything was always DH’s fault, according to their parents, etc. All of this continued for quite some time, and has been witnessed by all of DH’s relatives – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
When DH was admitted to university, his parents seemed to have changed the way they treat him, at least in part. They still adored his brother, constantly telling my BIL how clever, bright and unique he is, he was never wrong about a single thing, was allowed to nag on people, drive them nuts if he pleases, etc., but at least they treated DH better and things seemed normal. When DH and I got married, my parents-in-law seemed to be happy, and at first would help us, visit their granddaughter, our daughter, whom we named after my MIL, etc. Soon after that we came to live and work in Canada, and they would come and visit us. About five years after we got married, however, things changed.
In 2005, my BIL came to Canada to study. During his first year a lot happened (which could have been expected, having in mind the way he was raised, his parents had been warned about that from the grandparents and other relatives, but would not listen). First, BIL got into drugs. We had the administrator of our building call us, and tell us how she’d seen him come home, zig-zagging and unable to keep his balance. There are cameras in the building, so she even had a proof of this. We were quite worried, tried to intervene, talked to my PIL, etc. They, however, called BIL, who told them that he does not do drugs, and the believed him!! Second, BIL quit college, and was constantly complaining how difficult it is, etc. Third, he was going to be evicted from his apratment, as it was terribly dirty and full of pizza boxes and other stuff, and when there was a fire inspection, the inspector said that all of this is very dangerous, and he was quite right. DH went right away and helped his brother clean up. DH said that the place had not been cleaned in months, the floor was as dirty as possible, there were piles of dirty clothes, boxes, dirty dishes, the bathroom floor was covered with water, etc. And, last and most important, BIL told us and his parents that he’s gay, and later married his partner.
Now, through all this, my PIL were shocked at first, but MIL always finds a reason to excuse BIL’s behaviour. She and FIL have never thought that homosexuality is normal (even though they are atheists), but their younger son is more important for them than everything, so they just accepted it. MIL again find a reason to excuse BIL and everything he had done, and, instead, started looking for problems in our family.


#2

That summer, in 2006, during their visit, she started stirring up trouble. She was rude, complaining about everything and doing nothing. I was pregnant with our second, with bleeding, on medication to prevent a miscarriage, and was supposed to be on bed rest. I was not, as someone had to take care for our oldest daughter, and as we were moving, so I had packing to do. DH and FIL did most of the work around the move, with my help, while MIL was sitting outside, smoking and reading magazines. Then, however, she went to help my BIL and his “husband”, who were also moving, as his “husband” is vegan and hates meat, so she had to clean their place and wash their fridge and make sure there’s no meat, blood, etc. left. No help for us from her, even though they stayed with us the whole time (except a day or two when she cleaned my BIL’s place), a month or so. And she was always complaining that we’re ordering food – well, I was supposed to be on bed rest, we were moving, and MIL didn’t cook – so we had to eat something! She was trying to change our rules at home, the way we feed our daughter, and was plain out rude – e.g., our daughter ate something in her stroller, and there was a stain, so my MIL and FIL yelled at us about that, and said that it was as dirty as “a gipsy’s a**” (please excuse the racist language, but that’s exactly what they said).
We were so relieved to have them gone after that!! However, wishing to follow God’s commandment, we invited them to come for the birth of our second daughter in Jan. ’07. MIL had to come in advance, to help us take care for our daughter, as I had complications and had to stay in hospital for 10 days before the labour started, and DH had to work. MIL helped us a lot then, and we really appreciate it. However, again, she and FIL were not quite nice, MIL was looking for trouble where there weren’t any, and, as each and every time they come, would go right away to see BIL, no matter what, as soon as he’d call. BIL, however, only sees them 2-3 times each time they come, and rarely calls or answers the messages they leave him. Still, MIL always behaves as if everything is perfectly fine with BIL, while DH and I have, according to her, quite a lot of problems. We’ve had our share of arguments, but we love each other very much, as well as our kids. That particular time, I remember one example which makes it very obvious, what kind of people MIL and FIL are. After DD2 was born, maybe about a week or so, DH was at work, and my PIL took DD1 for a walk. The day before, my FIL had made meatballs. Being alone with the baby, and still not feeling well enough to do much around the house, I found the last three meatballs left, and ate them (stupid me). Later, MIL made a huge issue out of this with DH, as, according to her, I was supposed to call her and ask her IF I could eat those meatballs!! They expected that there would be something to eat when they get home, they said!! Can you imagine? They always say that they come “to help us”, but then don’t, and just argue for ridiculous reasons!!
Again, wanting to be as kind as possible (please have in mind that MIL thinks she’s never wrong, so she and FIL never, ever apologize for anyting they do), we had MIL and FIL come and stay with us, again, in the summer of ’08. Again, they stayed for about a month, with no help, no shopping, on our expense, and they can affor it, FIL was a diplomat for a few years and has a very good pension. I was 19-weeks pregnant with baby #3. The day after they came, I had and ultrasund scheduled, during which I was told that the baby’s heart had stopped at about 16 weeks. DH and I spent the next two days in hospital, and the first 24 hrs. after that I was supposed to be at home, on bed rest. I wasn’t, as there were things to be picked up around the house, laundry to be done, etc. MIL does not do these things, she just plays with the kids. The second or third day after we lost our baby, MIL yelled at me for not cooking!! For the first time, I yelled back. I was so overwhelmed by everything I’d been through, and my hormones were all upside down, and DH and I couldn’t even cry and mourn the loss of our baby, as MIL did not think it was a baby at all, and was actually quite relieved that we had lost it (she thinks two kids are more than enough). MIL behvaed as if I had hurt her feelings – now, how insolent must someone be to behave that way?? She wanted to leave, but, unfortunately, was not able to find a seat on any flight. The next few weeks she was either not talking to me, or constantly arguing with me about anything and everything, preferably when DH wasn’t there, so that she could then misrepresent what had happened, and try to turn DH against me. Thank God, DH loves me and does not believe a thing she says. She wanted to constantly choose DD’s clothes (I did not let her, and she got mad), bought a ton of presents for DD1, but nothing for DD2 (DD1 actually told her grandma that she should buy the same things for her sister as well), tried to tell me how to dress DD1 for her first day of school (I decided what she’d wear), etc. The last few days before she and FIL left, neither of them spoke to me, or looked at me, and they left without even saying good-bye, but did not miss the opportunity to tell my husband that he should divorce me. DH told them that he will never leave me and the kids (God bless him for this!). MIL and FIL did not call us when they arrived back home, and DH has to call his grandma and make sure they’re OK.


#3

After that time, I wrote my PIL an e-mail with our conditions, under which they will be able to see us and the kids. Among them were: They will only see the kids when we’re there; next time they come, they should stay with BIL, as, obviously, according to them, everything’s perfect there (DH told them the same thing before they left); If they buy something for DD1, they have to buy something for DD2 as well; Told MIL to stop buying DD1, who was only 5 at the time, nail polish, kids’ makeup, and that we’ll decide if the clothes she’s buying are suitable (she get things that are too revealing and do not correspond to our understanding of how a girl should be dressed), etc. It turned out that MIL showed this e-mail to all of her friends, without telling them, of course, the reason why I wrote it.
Anyway, this year MIL and FIL were planning to come for about a month. Ever since that infamous visit in ’08, MIL and FIL were both saying that they will not be staying with us, but would rent an appartment (they can afford it). However, last weeks they called DH and happily told him that they were not able to find a place to stay (DH also wasn’t, and he tried realy hard to find one, as you can imagine), so they were coming to stay with us! DH, quite politely, asked them if it was not possible for them to stay with BIL. This made MIL as mad as you can imagine. She argued with DH, insulted him and me, said terrible things about us, tried, again, to tell him to leave me, and, a few days later, wrote DH a nasty e-mail. In it, she wrote that all of her friends had seen the letter I’d sent her, and that all of her friends were unanimous that “only someone mentally ill can write this” (this was written in All Caps, Bold). In the end, DH called his brother, who said he was able to find a motel for their parents, and they’d go there. They’ve arived yesterday, did not call at all (again, DH called BIL to make sure they arrived safely), and behave as we have offended them as much as possible. They’ll call one of these days, to come and pick up some stuff they have at our house (MIL is a shop-a-holic, and always shops too much when here), and will probably try to argue more with us. None of them has seen our son, but obviously that’s less important than showing us, how offended they are.

So, after the loooooooong rant, my questions are: How much is too much? When does “do not judge” and “honour your father and mother” become less important than keeping yourself and your family safe from these people’s menatal and psychological abuse? What would you do in this situation? What advice can you give us? DH and I are both sick and tired of all of this, and don’t want to take it anymore.
Any help and prayers will be appreciated!


#4

Just wanted to add: I’m sure everyone can see that, yes, unfortunately, I do get angry with my PIL. Please excuse me for that. Just to clarify: we do NOT hate them, but we do get hurt and angry when they behave like that. We have tried reasoning, talking, explaining, etc. We pray for them and BIL. And we just need some advice on how to behave, what to do or avoid, how to honor them without letting them interfere and try to separate us.


#5

In situations like these, prayer always leads me to perceive that there is only one choice that helps me to be a more loving person. If one choice is leading you to become a more angry person, then perhaps another choice is necessary.

I will keep you in my prayers.


#6

[quote="pepin1980, post:3, topic:202167"]
After that time, I wrote my PIL an e-mail with our conditions, under which they will be able to see us and the kids. Among them were: They will only see the kids when we’re there; next time they come, they should stay with BIL, as, obviously, according to them, everything’s perfect there (DH told them the same thing before they left); If they buy something for DD1, they have to buy something for DD2 as well; Told MIL to stop buying DD1, who was only 5 at the time, nail polish, kids’ makeup, and that we’ll decide if the clothes she’s buying are suitable (she get things that are too revealing and do not correspond to our understanding of how a girl should be dressed), etc. It turned out that MIL showed this e-mail to all of her friends, without telling them, of course, the reason why I wrote it.
Anyway, this year MIL and FIL were planning to come for about a month. Ever since that infamous visit in ’08, MIL and FIL were both saying that they will not be staying with us, but would rent an appartment (they can afford it). However, last weeks they called DH and happily told him that they were not able to find a place to stay (DH also wasn’t, and he tried realy hard to find one, as you can imagine), so they were coming to stay with us! DH, quite politely, asked them if it was not possible for them to stay with BIL. This made MIL as mad as you can imagine. She argued with DH, insulted him and me, said terrible things about us, tried, again, to tell him to leave me, and, a few days later, wrote DH a nasty e-mail. In it, she wrote that all of her friends had seen the letter I’d sent her, and that all of her friends were unanimous that “only someone mentally ill can write this” (this was written in All Caps, Bold). In the end, DH called his brother, who said he was able to find a motel for their parents, and they’d go there. They’ve arived yesterday, did not call at all (again, DH called BIL to make sure they arrived safely), and behave as we have offended them as much as possible. They’ll call one of these days, to come and pick up some stuff they have at our house (MIL is a shop-a-holic, and always shops too much when here), and will probably try to argue more with us. None of them has seen our son, but obviously that’s less important than showing us, how offended they are.

So, after the loooooooong rant, my questions are: How much is too much? When does “do not judge” and “honour your father and mother” become less important than keeping yourself and your family safe from these people’s menatal and psychological abuse? What would you do in this situation? What advice can you give us? DH and I are both sick and tired of all of this, and don’t want to take it anymore.
Any help and prayers will be appreciated!

[/quote]

When was too much? Way, way before you even entered the picture. When does honouring your father and mother become less important? At the exact moment you need to keep yourself and your family safe. And from what you describe, I truly am concerned for you and your family.

Though my situation is not near the extent you have experienced, my MIL can be quite manipulative and controlling and I too tried, and tried and tried to do right by her, because I thought it was the right thing to do. When we began to see how it was effecting our daughter, the same games of manipulation were being played, we had to make the very, very difficult choice to set some very, very firm boundaries. We too said they could not see DD unless we are present. It has been their choice to cut off communication from time to time, but the window (and I do say window because its not an open door) is always there to see and be with their granddaughter under our supervision. Its not our responsibility to have a functioning relationship with the PIL if they refuse to meet us half way. There has to be responsibility on both ends, there has to be awareness on both ends. And you have gone well beyond all that would be expected of you as a good Christian DIL IMO.

The best advice I can give, you two have to be a united team, set the firm boundaries that are reasonable but protect your family, and never waver. Until they can accept your terms and boundaries, no contact. Always leave the window open, if they are willing to rebuild the trust, then you take it in tiny steps. But don't go back to the way you were relating to them.

You have my prayers.


#7

Honoring your father and mother does not mean they get carte blanche to abuse you. It is kind of like dealing with a president or prime minister. You respect the dignity of the office God has given them, you see to it that they are treated with the dignity that their office deserves, even if they themselves do not do justice to it. It does not mean the person can do no wrong.

The phrase “do not judge” does not mean that you pretend a person who is offensive is not offensive. “Do not judge” means only that you are willing to believe that unacceptable behavior may be best they can do or is not meant to be as hurtful to you as it is, under whatever circumstances they are under, and that those who sin against us are in no more need of mercy than any of us are. Whatever others do, we hope that they may be given mercy, that Heaven will deal kindly with their mistakes. We are commanded to measure out to others the measure we hope to be measured out to ourselves. If we are mature enough to expect that our behavior will have reasonable consequences, though, that we must earn the trust and friendship of others, and so on, then it is not wrong to expect the same of others. You have to love everyone, even your enemies. You don’t have to be friends with someone who is determined to be your enemy, not even your parents. Everything is possible with God, but God doesn’t expect us to clap our hands and make pigs fly.

Remember that just after the Lord said “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you” (Matt. 7:1-2), he went on shortly to also say, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matt. 7:6) Clearly, judging that your chances of success in communicating the truth to someone is slim to none not only acceptable, but prudent. If your MIL is only going to tear you to pieces, you may ethically avoid giving her that opportunity.

IMHO, it is best if we don’t conduct any important emotional business by letter, and especially never via e-mail…love and admiration letters being the exception. If you can’t say the difficult things in person, let them go unsaid. I have learned this the very, very hard way.

Please talk to your pastor or confessor. This isn’t a rant problem. This is a sorrowful cross to bear, for both you and your entire family, and a thorny situation. Seeking ongoing guidance would be a good way to go.


#8

I am sorry for your pain. I completely understand and will keep you in my prayers. . . Some of the questions you asked, such as how long does commandment #5 pertain are questions that, most likely an answer from the board won't really put to rest.

I know that from personal experience.

If you can find a priest, I would ask him. Once we're asking someone else the question, we usually know the answer ourselves. . . but hearing it from the right source can make all the difference in the world.

There are many ways of honoring your parents, such as being the parent we are called to be now. First. - just something I heard;);)


#9

catholicanalysis.blogspot.com/2005/01/good-resolution-no-more-verbal-abuse.html


#10

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read our story and reply! We really appreciate it!
PatriceA, we are trying to set firm boudaries - this is what is causing this current problem. We did tell PIL that they can always see the children while they are here, whenever they want, as long as they behave respectfully towards us and do not try to argue with us. I suppose this is why they did not call - trying to show us that they do not want to have any boundaries to follow. The window is there, it's just waiting for them to care enough to call...
Kennywood, we'll definitely try to find a good priest to talk to!! Despite everything they've done, I still feel bad sometimes about the whole situation.
We were just hoping to have a normal family relationship with them. During the first 4.5-5 yrs. of our marriage, we would get together for holidays, birthdays, etc. Even when we started living in different parts of the world, or on different continents, we'd get together - we'd stay with them, or they'd come to visit, - and everything was OK, no problems before everything that happened with BIL. I also come from an abusive family (my mom was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive), and was so happy to finally be a part of a normal family!! So now it hurts even more that things have changed so much. I do understand that MIL must hurt a LOT because of BIL, but this does not justify the way she behaves towards us.
Lukelion, thanks for the link, it was very useful.
EasterJoy, we also believe that "do not judge" has its limits. We try to follow the "hate the sin, love the sinner" way, though it is hard sometimes. We simply think that having a normal family and avoiding verbal and psychological abuse is part of this - if PIL stay with us, there would be far more occasions to sin - both for them and for us, - than if they stay someplace else.
phoooiee, thanks a lot for your prayers!! All prayers are deeply appreciated!! :tada:


#11

[quote="pepin1980, post:10, topic:202167"]
EasterJoy, we also believe that "do not judge" has its limits. We try to follow the "hate the sin, love the sinner" way, though it is hard sometimes. We simply think that having a normal family and avoiding verbal and psychological abuse is part of this - if PIL stay with us, there would be far more occasions to sin - both for them and for us, - than if they stay someplace else.

[/quote]

I totally agree. I think it helps to have your pastor or confessor confirm that your definition of "hate the sin, love the sinner" is on target. It gives you courage to let go of self-doubt a bit, and to do what you have to do. What you have to do is going to be very difficult, even when you're doing absolutely the right thing. It helps to have an ally to confirm that you are on good ground and doing the will of God.


#12

Just an update: FIL called today. He spoke with DH, and wanted to meet. They were talking about when and where to meet, when FIL told DH that they actually want us to leave them the kids. DH said we won't leave the kids with them (we have no idea, what they are going to tell them, plus DD2 has an allergy, and PIL don't know what foods to avoid, etc.), but we could meet. FIL said that they are not keen on seeing me. DH told FIL that I'm the kids' mother, so if they want to see us, they'll see us all together. FIL just said OK and "Good-bye" and hung up. They'll probably call again in a week or so, and we'll see how it goes then...
God bless DH for not allowing them to come between us and try to separate us!! :)


#13

Yay for you! Yay for your family!

Now you have a moment to collect yourselves and let things calm down, I hope. In the interim, pray for them and for your own family, for their healing.

Your husband is blessed to have you!

Good luck!:):


#14

[quote="Kennywood, post:13, topic:202167"]
Yay for you! Yay for your family!

Now you have a moment to collect yourselves and let things calm down, I hope. In the interim, pray for them and for your own family, for their healing.

Your husband is blessed to have you!

Good luck!:):

[/quote]

Thank you, Kennywood! Unfortunately, things did not turn out as we thought. Tonight we received another nasty e-mail, from my FIL to DH (thought both DH and I believe that MIL has been sitting right by FIL's side and telling him what to write, or correcting what he has written, as she usually does). The letter started with something like "You are obviously not assessing the situation correctly, so let me explain it to you", then went on to say that PIL wanted to meet DH and the kids as often as possible during their stay here. They are ready, they wrote, to come to our place and stay for an hour or two, to free us from their luggage (the one that's been sitting here for a few years now), trying all the while so hard not to irritate me. FIL went on to say that he did not oppose DH's choice of wife, but simply does not want to spend more time with me for a number of reasons, including because he had no idea, when and what meanings I was going to put into their words and actions (BTW, they are the ones doing that, esp. MIL). According to FIL, this was the reason for them not to be staying with us (the way I interpret their actions and words, that is), and obviously there are some hereditary things that cannot be changed (FIL is implying that, because my mother is also very manipulative, just like MIL, then I'm also manipulating DH; MIL wrote DH in her previous e-mail that I was manipulating and controlling him). So they were ready to meet him and the kids, to go out with them, and could come to our place for and hour or two, but it would be good if they could pick up the girls after that and go out with them, so that they do not upset them (and the reason for upsetting them will, of course, be me, as they think that I'm the one who gets irritated at them, not that they have done anything wrong). Etc. and so on....
So what would you do? DH (as we usually try to be nice) replied that there are no such hereditary things, etc., and that they can come and see the kids, and we can all go out together, or meet someplace, as long as there is enough desire for normal behaviour.
What do you think? How should we go on? We did pray for them, and for ourselves, and hope that, with God's help, everything will work out... But I'm not so sure that they will ever change, even if DH and I stand together. On the other hand, they've traveled a long way to see their grandkids, so if they want to meet us all (no way we're letting them spend time with the kids alone) and say they'll behave normally, should we do it?
TIA for all help, replies and prayers!!


#15

Hmm. I am so sorry that you are in this situation. I have an inkling of what you're feeling, because I am in a similar situation, although much much less severe. I especially relate to the manipulating of stories to tell friends and family how bad you are. I have a lot of trouble with this aspect of it, because there really is no way to come to agreement with a person who won't consider reason, and who makes up their own reality.

I don't know what you should do, but this is what I would probably do in your situation. I would agree to meet with them in whatever way they want, but always within your guidelines. Don't compromise on the main point of supervised access. Always remember your duty to your children to protect them, but also remember that if it's possible you should allow them access to their grandparents. Try to maintain your calm, don't rise to their attacks, and keep them at arm's length. Give them as little as possible to hold against you, and if they still say bad things, then let them. Also, don't say bad things about them in front of your children - that's for your kids to work out.

My husband's parents have done some similar things, and we have moved away from them, partly to reduce their influence on the kids. They are not bad people, but they want to control us and our kids and they can be very nasty. My husband really desires their approval, and they are very reluctant to praise him in any way. They boast about him behind his back, but criticise him to his face. I've had to ease up over the years, and trust them to have my kids' best interests at heart. I lose a few battles to win the war.


#16

Your situation sounds eerily more and more like our situation with DH's parents. DH also received an email similar to the one your husband received, targeting me. It is hard for me to give you advice because we chose a very severe route, but it had gotten to the point we had no choice. It was either continue to let the PIL manipulate us and continue to drive a wedge between me and DH and me and our DD, or we fortify our united front and make some very hard decisions. DH has very, very little contact with his parents, DH's decision. We have presented what we think were reasonable solutions to PIL's demands such as meeting at neutral places like restaurants, visitation with dd under our supervision, but no more sleepovers or even spending all the holidays with them like they use to demand.

Those solutions were not taken very well by the PIL, it angered them to be honest. But so what, we are not responsible for their reactions if we think we have offered a reasonable solution to their demands. They have to be responsible for their own emotions and feelings, we refused to be held accountable for the PIL getting upset if their demands or wishes were no longer being met. We are always open to working on rebuilding our relationship with them, but we were no longer going to be the only ones that gave in constantly.

Sadly, they have yet to meet us half way. One example: DD use to have the occasional sleepover at the PIL. She herself had said there were times she was uncomfortable doing that. It seemed like for awhile the PIL were acting reasonable so we did consider maybe letting them have some time alone with DD, but we suggested a weekend afternoon instead of jumping right into a sleepover after all that had happened. They said it had to be a whole sleepover or nothing, and haven't called us in a couple of months. That's their decision to react that way, not ours.

I think the thing that bothers me the most in your OP was their reaction when you needed to be on bedrest when you were pregnant and the other situations when your health should have been the priority. That just stands out to me like a red flag.

Ultimately of course, you have to decide how much you and your DH are willing to go. Me and my DH knew the situation was adversely affecting our marriage and our DD and we had to make the very difficult decision to be heavy handed with the PIL until they can respect our marriage and act reasonable. We always do so though with the hope things will work out someday, but the sacrifices we seemed to be making to please his PIL were just not worth it to us.


#17

I just read OP's posts. This situation is similar to the one my niece-in-law found herself in with regard to her in-laws. (This niece is dh's brother's daughter. She was ventilating about it when they vacationed with us.)

After a week of vacationing, tossing around ideas on how to solve or mitigate the problem, they went with the nuclear option, as it were. They told the in-laws jointly, and put it in writing as a follow-up e-mail, that if they persisted in their behavior and manipulation (using the kids) and disrespect (of the niece-in-law), they were limiting their contact to once a year.

It was difficult and at first, the in-laws didn't believe they were serious and continued in their pernicious behavior. But they held fast, and her husband stayed solidly with his wife and refused to let his parents drive a wedge between them.

It's been 4 years now and things are actually looking up a bit. They had a very pleasant and civil get-together over Memorial Day. I'm not saying this works for everyone but it did for them. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

I'll be praying for you guys.


#18

PatriceA and admonsta, I’m sorry that you are in a similar situation!! It’s mot the severity of the situation that is most important (though it definitely is quite unpleasant), but the fact that someone thinks that they have the right to treat people anyway they like, to try and separate husband and wife, and that their demands must always be met, no matter what. The total disrespect, nagging, insulting, with the added gossiping of completely incorrect or misrepresented information can always cause quite a lot of problems.
Beachcomber, this sounds like a good idea, if PIL live nearby. Ours live on a different continent (thank God!), so they see the kids once a year anyway, sometimes - once every two years, but they do try and make the most out of their stay - the most in nagging, insulting and arguing, that is.
DH and I were able to meet our confessor today, and talk to him. He thinks we should keep doing what we’re already doing - stand together, and not let them see the kids unsupervised, and not let them see only DH and the kids. So this is what we decided to do for now. PIL will be coming tomorrow morning to pick up their stuff, and we will be very civilized, try not to respond to them if they start to argue, offer them a nice lunch, etc. They wrote that they do not intend to see us again during their stay here (though that might change, you never know), because they do not want to spend any more time with me.
One more time, thanks to everyone who replied, and I’ll try to keep you updated on how things are going! Many, many thanks for all the prayers!! :slight_smile:


#19

Sometime the best thing you can do for your family is to stay away from toxic relatives and pray for them.


#20

The commandment to honor one's father and mother does not now nor has it ever meant, "Subject your children to crazy people with uncertain morals."

You tried. You went way and above in trying. But your kids need stability, faith, hope, love and the protection of their innocence, and your in-laws don't cut it. You don't have to see them. You can speak respectfully of them, send them birthday cards and Christmas gifts, and when they get old and sick, supply financial support, power of attorney and visits (adults only!) to the hospital or nursing home. You can pray for them. But you can also protect the sanctity of your home and your innocent children from their negative influence.

From now on, meet them only in public places where there is less likely to be a scene and only on very special occasions (DD graduates high school, yes. First day of spring, no). Don't go to their home and don't invite them to yours, not even for a meal. You can go on a picnic and bring the food or eat at a restaurant or meet them at the circus or whatever.

If your mil sends inappropriate clothing for your daughter, say, "I'm sorry, but that brand just isn't the right fit. We had to exchange it for something else. Here are the brands that fit our daughters best, if you ever want to purchase clothing for them again." Then give her a list.

If they send something for DD#1 and not DD#2, telephone them and say, "Thanks so much for sending something for DD#1. I'm afraid your gift for DD#2 must have gotten lost in the mail or something, because it didn't show up. I thought you'd probably want to track that down. In the meantime, we've hidden DD#1's gift so that the girls don't think you are being unfair. When DD#2s, gift arrives, we'll give both the girls their presents. They will be so excited!"

Never argue. It doesn't do any good. Think of one short sentence to say for every possible situation, and then repeat it over and over again. Tape the list inside a kitchen cupboard if you need to. If you keep saying the same thing over and over again, they'll give up. Honest. I had to do this with my mom and it works like a charm, as long as you say the same exact thing very politely without any change of emotion.

Example: they want to stay at your house when the visit. Say, "Oh, I wouldn't dream of making you sleep on that tired old mattress when I know you'd be so much more comfortable at a motel."

Example: they say something about your BIL being wonderful when he's really not. Say, "I know you think the world of him."

Example: mil wants to argue with you about DD's clothing. Say, "I know you never had daughters and you must feel like it's a lot of fun to dress them up according to your tastes, but what they wear is my responsibility."


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