The Realization

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The Realization

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Wed May 16, 2018 9:06 am

From another thread:
djs wrote:I thought about how long I had "put up" with this type of behavior and family atmosphere for dh's sake and told myself NEVER AGAIN! There is a problem with his family that I don't have control of but neither will I subject myself to it.

Well said, djs!
If I had my wish, the newbies here would really read this statement and understand that sooner or later if you have toxic ILs, you WILL come to this realization. Whether it is sooner or later will determine how much time you waste trying to exercise some sort of control over these people.

I'm not saying that everyone should just automatically cut them all off, but maybe find ways to marginalize the time and effort we spend on them. Reduce the emotional price we invest in them as our 'second family' and look at them as necessary acquaintances, like coworkers. If we wouldn't spend an hour in line to buy or ship a coworker a gift, then we won't do that for the ILs either. Making this choice insures they will comment on it and complain about us. They will say we don't like them or that we are standoffish. Fine-own it.

Give back to them what they give us. Time, effort, respect, friendship...or NOT.
No gratitude for what we do equals no more effort on our part. Your SO can make up the difference or he/she can come to the same realization about their FOO that we have by the same means. If we are always the ones who make the gestures that are ignored or criticized, how can a SO ever see what their FOO is like?

Over time, I created decent boundaries with my PILs, but there was no abiding my DH's ESIBs. I regretted the efforts I made for them, but I know now that I had to try to do as much as my personality and natural generosity would require. When it became obvious that anything I had done for them was in vain and they hated me anyway, my efforts were finished. In their case that meant they had to be cut off, because all of their contact revolved around me doing things for them or giving thing$ to them. DH came to the same realization just weeks later when he was forced to be the one handling the contact after I went dark. When he finally told them no, he discovered their true feelings for him, as well.

We wasted lots of time feeling guilty about cutting them off, but that was our mistake. There is absolutely nothing wrong with avoiding people who despise you, regardless of who they are or who they are related to.

--What realizations did you reach that made the biggest difference in handling, then feeling better about your IL situation?
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Re: The Realization

Postby IrishLass » Wed May 16, 2018 9:43 am

That my FIL and his “clan” were never, ever going to accept our DS (he has aspergers) or myself. DH actually came to that conclusion first. I tried a couple times after it, but DH and I ultimately went NC. FIL’s clan sends DH a birthday card every year and every year it is unopened and thrown in the trash.

It is freeing, but sad too. There are just some people in this world who want nothing but misery. Let them have it, leave me and mine to be happy.
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Re: The Realization

Postby KeeperOfPrecious » Wed May 16, 2018 10:14 am

Great read, this is awesome. I’ve recently discovered this myself, that it’s ok to remove myself from my toxic MIL. Not only am I finished JADE’ing my life away (this was my first indication I had a problem) but I am also tired of my DH gaslighting for his family’s sake. The combination is a perfect mix for my removal.

My MIL methodically, patiently and well calculated took her time earning my trust. We became friends, we shared details only friends share. It wasn’t overnight, she took time, lots of time and learned to “speak my language” to build that confidence. She earned “the boot” after she took my trust, twisted it and shared with others, and used it all against me. She used me and then disposed of me hoping her shared information would drive a wedge in the family. She failed miserably and has no remorse. End of story, we are done.
Last edited by KeeperOfPrecious on Thu May 17, 2018 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Realization

Postby Nevermore » Wed May 16, 2018 10:40 am

I took forever to come to this realization. 22 years. Sure, I had skirted the issue of NC for years, stepped back from time to time, but I continued to let myself be sucked in. When I look back on it now, I can see that they did nothing but criticize me from the get go. They overstepped their boundaries with my kids. They complained that we didn't visit enough. They complained that I didn't call enough (they never called me, but MIL says she can't be blamed because she isn't good at keeping in touch. WTH?). They managed to erode my self worth to the point that I thought I must be wrong. Maybe I didn't really know how to raise my kids. Maybe I really should shake off the exhaustion of a 6 day work week to make the long drive every other week to see them. Then I realized that DH and I had to do all the leg work in the relationship. The road and the phone work both ways. It wasn't until my DH passed away that I was able to see it all clearly. I was again accosted with the accusations of not wanting to be part of the faaamilyy. I told them that I was not responsible for whatever dysfunction existed in their relationships with my husband. It wasn't my job to make sure he wanted to see them. I did not control his behavior or his feelings. Now I am walking away. They won't come after me because they never cared about me. I will not be sucked back in to a relationship on their terms only.
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Re: The Realization

Postby momjeans » Wed May 16, 2018 11:23 am

rubycrownedkinglet wrote:What realizations did you reach that made the biggest difference in handling, then feeling better about your IL situation?


The biggest realization for me was that my in-laws were damaged long before I ever met my DH.

Runner-up to that realization was something someone pointed-out to me: That my MIL’s unswerving dedication to making my life miserable was/is what keeps her clock ticking. I was like, “Whoa. You’re right!”

That some people, like my MIL (and sometimes my FIL), need to manufacture a villain so they can feel like a hero in their own story. And with these realizations, I began the process of understanding that my in-laws would most likely never have a sudden revelation of self-awareness and stop this stuff. That they are incapable of having any sort of real relationship with anyone. That while they may mellow with age and time, they are always going to be somewhat like this.

It took sharing my story with handfuls of neutral people IRL to come to the realization and confirm that people acting-out so the "happy family" exterior prevailed over any internal conflicts or problems was indeed not normal adult behavior. That my MIL threw temper tantrums because I did not bend, playing into her narrative, was not normal adult behavior.

The more I learned, the process of disengagement became easier.
Not my family. Not my flying monkeys.
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Re: The Realization

Postby KeeperOfPrecious » Thu May 17, 2018 10:58 am

@momjeans

Very well said. You summed up my experience with my IL’s in a nutshell. Something I need to work on lol ... I’m still raw and passionate about what’s transpired, so all my posts kind of give too much detail. I’m working on that haha. But yes, I’ve always said those words too, my MIL was tragically flawed long before I came into the picture. She’s so fixated on me for all the wrong reasons. No more winding up her clock, absent, completely out. I handed her off to my DH, she’s his disaster clean up, not mine. I’m just here to be married and enjoy my life. She has her own husband and life...

Great post, and awesome answer.

Check out the revised version above :lol: :lol: :lol: .
Cut lots out.
Last edited by KeeperOfPrecious on Thu May 17, 2018 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Realization

Postby Yacky » Thu May 17, 2018 11:21 am

Love this post! I think what I learned was that these people had made up their minds before they met me that they were not going to be supportive. They were not going to grant my husband "permission" to become an adult who is capable of making his own choices in life (or at least they were not going to show any respect for them).

BUT as time went on, I realized they did this with my SIL and BIL as well. They have emotionally stunted them and have never given them the respect they deserve as ADULTS. They only toss out crumbs of momentary approval as carrots before they draw them back again so SIL and BIL will continue to bend heaven and earth to get their parent's approval, respect, appreciation, and unconditional love (which will never come).

These people are severely dysfunctional (and likely on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum). They are toxic to everyone around them and are supremely miserable.

I've discovered that anything I've ever done/tried (or DH has ever done/tried) was useless, because it's not about US, it's all about THEM. This is all about THEIR dysfunction, and the sooner we realize that they are DEDICATED to continuing on with their dysfunction, the sooner we can disengage more and more over time and focus more on our lives with our spouses and children (if applicable).

It's fun (and healthy!!!) to come on here and vent about their regular dose of crap, but then we need to take a deep breath and go on with our days. We can't keep renting so much emotional space to these people who clearly are never going to love or accept us.
~~ Some people really need a great big high-five....to the face....with a baseball bat ~~
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Re: The Realization

Postby KeeperOfPrecious » Thu May 17, 2018 11:27 am

@Yacky

You said it!! I agree. It’s taking me a little time to get over the MIL and her “stuff”. It’s still fresh. Each day gets easier and this site helps me get it all out. I enjoy the encouraging words like you posted. Thank you for being here :D

The devil himself is impressed with her handiwork.
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Re: The Realization

Postby Photomama16 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:49 pm

My realizations-
That DH’s family, a lot of them, thrive off drama. When there isn’t drama brewing, someone finds a way to start some. They all talk back and forth, and that I needed to remove all of them to stop the constant flow of BS into my life.
That they were a dysfunctional mess LONG before DH and I got together, and that he and I were NOT the cause of all the fractures in the family.
That YES, I can have an opinion about the way my kids are being treated, and yes I can (and did) lay down the law.
And that it is much easier to deal with small doses of them, on our terms, which is why we moved across the country from them.
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Re: The Realization

Postby jigglypuff » Thu May 17, 2018 11:43 pm

You gave some great advice Ruby and I hope newcomers heed it.

I think I made the mistake of investing too much into my ILs early on. I don't have much family and my naive, young, lonely self thought that I could find that with my ILs. I also wanted to make DH happy and at the time I thought he was just close with his family which later revealed to be enmeshment, not closeness. I saw red flags early on but I didn't know any better. I had no one around to give me advice. I had to figure it all out on my own. I took so much crap from the Ils and I've never been that kind of person to allow others to abuse or steamroll me. So I ended up angry at myself for allowing it and for a long time I felt I lost myself in all of the emotions and drama. It was terrible.

I'm not saying that everyone should just automatically cut them all off, but maybe find ways to marginalize the time and effort we spend on them. Reduce the emotional price we invest in them as our 'second family' and look at them as necessary acquaintances, like coworkers. If we wouldn't spend an hour in line to buy or ship a coworker a gift, then we won't do that for the ILs either. Making this choice insures they will comment on it and complain about us. They will say we don't like them or that we are standoffish. Fine-own it.


I tried this and that's when the ILs got even nastier with me. So in my case, the only option was a complete cutoff. I think when it comes to certain families, you have no other choice. It's either that or be completely miserable. It was either a full cut off or I was going to get divorced. Either way, I had to free myself and save my sanity.
'As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am... That you're not here to ruin it for me'
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Re: The Realization

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Sun May 20, 2018 8:26 am

jigglypuff wrote:So in my case, the only option was a complete cutoff. I think when it comes to certain families, you have no other choice. It's either that or be completely miserable. It was either a full cut off or I was going to get divorced. Either way, I had to free myself and save my sanity.

I totally agree that so many of the situations we deal with (and people for that matter) are hopeless. We have to choose to be the ones who catch the crap or the ones that leave, because there will be crap slung, regardless of what we do. We can't control or help those people and letting go of any hope of any relationship with them is the only sane option.

To all:
It's so difficult when our SO doesn't go along and doesn't see the ILs for what they really are. How did your SO see the light? Did he or she have their own revelation or did they need for you to give them a nudge?

Or...Are they still drinking the family KoolAid? How do you maintain a CO with your ILs when your SO continues to communicate with them?
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Re: The Realization

Postby KeeperOfPrecious » Sun May 20, 2018 10:24 am

To all:
It's so difficult when our SO doesn't go along and doesn't see the ILs for what they really are. How did your SO see the light? Did he or she have their own revelation or did they need for you to give them a nudge?

Or...Are they still drinking the family KoolAid? How do you maintain a CO with your ILs when your SO continues to communicate with them?
[/quote]



My DH is someone who sees the beauty in everyone. He would like to think others are just as open minded and thoughtful as he is. He loves his M, A and C, all three who are strongly jealous of our marriage. They cuddle around and hold on to him tight like he’s the golden child in their closed group circle. I’m only a “choice” he made and nothing more to them. They’d like to make me go away. Upon meeting this C and A for the first time, my DH made it clear to both that they are NOT to start any shenanigans. Who does that? Seriously, it’s sad to me that he needs to keep them in line and not pull any stunts. So they both agree.
At lunch, the A can’t help herself, she throws out a question that’s difficult for anyone to answer, she’s asks me, “what are YOUR specialties”? My specialties? Wow, nothing like getting hit with an unusual question that can only be answered and picked apart two ways. It’s simply psychological warfare. It didn’t help that I had walls up so high that didn’t give myself the opportunity to try and answer it, I knew I would not be able to give the answer that best suited me without it getting analyzed and shredded. I’m either going to be conceited or bland. No win answer, it’s a stealthy shenanigan that flys under DH radar, I’ll be doing myself disservice no matter the answer. She’s secretly showing DH what others see in me and maybe he will too. Pretty crafty. I dodged it, the server came with our food and the subject changed. So, now I’m on to them.

Getting to your question, I had the opportunity to “listen in” while DH and I left those two FM’s in the car while we went in for a round of coffee for everyone. When I had a moment alone, I was able to play back and hear what they’ve said since they had the chance to chat about us in privacy for a moment. My DH can see the instant change in me, i was ready to be finished with this meeting the IL’s luncheon and head back home.

It’s taken me a few weeks to reveal what I had done, I told DH that those two DO NOT like me and I gave him examples followed by my proof. He was very upset at what I had done, he didn’t want to hear it. He trusted that it was bad and he couldn’t bring himself to hear words coming from their mouths, the same two he has so much love for and great childhood memories of. I didn’t play it back, he couldn’t bear it, and he had me delete it, which I have. So although I have spared him having to actually listen to it, he now knows that I’ve heard it, it’s affected me to the point of making me sick, he’s got enough to know that they aren’t who they are playing to be. They aren’t loving, accepting and thoughtful of our marriage. So now, I look forward to how he handles them in the future. This was my “nudge” I believe it also took care of the gaslighting that makes me crazy. No more “you misunderstood them, and they didn’t mean it that way.” Hopefully that’s wiped out. He doesn’t know what I know and he knows this lol

The devil himself is impressed with her handiwork.
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Re: The Realization

Postby Hiddenjem » Sun May 20, 2018 9:20 pm

I realized that nothing I could do or say would result in Dh's female parent to want to get to know me or accept me. I even gave birth three times and produced two males that will be the only ones to carry on their family name. I accepted the best that it would ever be with her was avoiding each other without appearing to do so.

I also had to accept that one of Dh's sisters and husband is into using people. Once I said no, she and her spouse won't speak to me. It works out well!

Dh had to quit being such a people pleaser. He predicted that sister and husband would not speak to us anymore and was upset with me at first. He used to be the family peace maker. Then, he realized that being used is worse than being ignored.
"I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
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Re: The Realization

Postby merlina » Tue May 22, 2018 6:35 am

Every post on this thread holds a piece of my story! And yes the realization came way too late as far as I'm concerned and it has done damage to my marriage. It certainly is time to stop. But life throws curve balls. Three months ago my FIL died. My DH got the 4am call he was failing and should have family with him. We were nearest as ever. We picked up MIL and spent the next hours (4 of them) enduring not the most peaceful of passings. He was an intemperate man. I held my MIL while she cried- went through the good things she had done for him and sat with his body while DH and MIL made all the necessary arrangements. Two weeks later SIL decides to take over funeral. She and MIL decide blood relatives only in the car to follow the hearse. Since both SIL and BIL are either divorced or separated that would just be me excluded then!

To be fair to DH he said no way. He and I went with our lovely niece and partner. Haven't seen any of the grisly crew since! :wink: So just remember everyone out there THEY WILL NEVER QUIT!
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Re: The Realization

Postby Melody » Tue May 22, 2018 8:36 am

It is so sad that people can so shallow and disgusting. IrishLass I find your situation particularly upsetting. And now that I think about it, I may be relating with a new realization. Who doesn't give a child a chance- especially your OWN grandchild? WTF? My friend/neighbor's son has autism (pretty severe) but he is the nicest kid to anyone who gets to know him.

My son is very close friends with my husband's cousin's son (they are more like brother/sister). The son has some issues (he was instituationalized for a few months - which was kept a secret from most family. My son was given the phone number). But again NICE kid - wouldn't hurt a fly.

Meanwhile, I've heard DH's brother complain to no end about this poor kid not being "social" enough. And GASP - if someone doesn't play sports - which is apparently the only important thing in life.

What I started out to write was my two big realizations were (and I know so many of you can relate) if I knew then what I know now about my in-laws is when they say to "jump" DON'T FRIGGIN ASK HOW HIGH AND THEN ATTEMPT TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE!!!! THEY WON'T CARE AND WILL SET THE BAR HIGHER NEXT TIME and call it a "fail" no matter what! In fact, "you first!" Or just "NO!" works too! (No, I will not baptize MY child in your faith because you "threatened" to not spend every weekend in YOUR church with us. In fact, you've made ME see the light! Halleluja!).

My second realization is from what my husband said about "Everyone wants to be heard.". It took a while for me to figure out, but just let stepmonster blab and ask questions as if she actually knows what she's blabbing about. How fun to watch someone back themselves into a corner with ignorance galore! LOL!
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