I Hate My Inlaws!

Nightmare for all.

Posted on Wed, May. 20, 2020 at 10:23 pm

My husband and I have been together for 3 years and married for seven months. My mother in law is a helicopter parent and grandparent. My DH was married briefly to a woman he met as a soldier (ie he was a meal ticket). He her because she became pregnant the night they met and he wasn’t willing to have a child he didn’t know fending for herself etc. We’re also fairly conservative and catholic, so the guilt got the best of him. ;) after a deployment and his mother and wife’s refusal to allow him to re-enlist he moved his little family from where he was based down south to his parents home in the northern Midwest. He and his wife and their little girl lived with his two parents and two brothers for another year or so before his wife stole his car and ran off with their baby. He was already a huge disappointment for having gotten a woman he didn’t know pregnant before marriage, and soon to become the first person in their family to divorce. His maternal grandparents helped pay for the divorce and mommy dearest was a big help in the custody case with testimony of spousal abuse from the wife, and her years of experience as a stay at home mom and part time nursery school teacher etc which aided in DH winning Primary custody. (It was also very helpful that wife is a pathological liar with borderline personality traits and a hefty dose of narcissism.)
DH and his little girl spent three or four years at his parents and ex-wife stayed down south to start another family and to take their daughter for about 10 weeks a year spread out over the course of the year. As DH and little lived with his parents mommy dearest assumed the role of “mother” which was to undermine almost every single parenting decision DH or ex-wife ever tried to make together, or apart. The family HATED ex-wife at that point.
Years go by and DH tolerates his mother’s imposition on his parenting abilities because it was easier to comply and he needed the help as a single dad. Eventually we met, and started something. I was a relatively successful and financially stable single mother of two with a single family home of my own, a car and gainful employment as well as a very tight knit family - though I have never relied on my family for financial help, babysitting help etc. As things progressed, while little was down south with ex-wife my DH introduced me to his parents and spent the summer with me and my kids as our relationship blossomed. When Little came home we introduced the kids and things progressed naturally. My daughter and Little have the same birthday (off by one year), and became inseparable immediately. Eventually we all shared the home I owned prior to my relationship with DH. I never had an opportunity to become close with his mother. We have literally nothing in common. I was raised by my mother, who was a single mother of four, who worked and overcame the statistic that she would be relatively destitute without a man to help. And then I lead an eerily similar life with my two kids and my career. Mommy dearest was skeptical, judgmental and frankly pretty rude when I was around her. I kept my distance but was always polite and patient. Our first “family” Christmas my two children and I were omitted from the guest list for one of the family gatherings - though we were all living together in my home, the parents and grandparents asked that just my DH (then BF) and his little attend. Admittedly I was offended. I had opened my home, my daughter had sacrificed her privacy by sharing a room with Little, I provided as much if not more to Little financially than ex-wife and my own family accepted DH and Little as family right away without question. At a larger family christmas on DH’s side of the family within a day or two of the private affair, mommy dearest came up to me with having had a little too much wine and slurred on and on about how she raised Little, how DH was “absent” (he worked as a security guard for a state building... his hours were odd and it’s been said that she was constantly “offering” to take Little, etc) and how she was the only person who could ever know Little because of their “bond”.
Fast forward, eventually DH and I became engaged and expectant. Mommy dearest continued to care for Little exclusively after school until one of us was off work to get her. My son was a student at the nursery school where she worked (absolutely zero “family discount” - it’s relevant later) and our girls were thick as thieves with unavoidable “sister” moments here and there but by all accounts very close. Everything should have been cause for celebration. Shortly before our wedding we announced the pregnancy to our families. My family was thrilled. His family was rude. On our wedding day my family paid for everything (I’m the bride - traditionally it’s expected but they never offered anything whatsoever) and mommy dearest couldn’t even bring herself to smile for the photographer. (We had 22 people at our wedding including ourselves and our three children. She was unavoidable and subsequently extremely visible as the mother of the groom...)
After the wedding things were challenging for Little as the household dynamic continued to evolve. My kids were fine but the Little was struggling with being a sibling, one of three, and not the center of attention anymore. She had gone from being one child with five adults living in a home to being a middle child of three with only two adults in the home, and every day after school her grandma, mommy dearest, was manipulating Little into emotional meltdowns over the “abandonment” of her by her mother down south, and the “rapid change” etc. Some of which I agree was a change and needed attention. We got Little into therapy where she was empowered to see things with a more positive approach as opposed to being in a victim mentality, and the abandonment thing disappeared once she realized she had no memories of her parents being together - and that every day after school she was being fed bogus memories to cling to by her grandmother. The woman that hated the ex wife to start with. The grandmother operates at her highest level by coddling, babying, consoling and emotionally manipulating a girl of 5-7 years old... that’s when she feels the most validated and did so on a very regular basis. When DH confronted her, or asked her to stop facilitating excessive or unnecessary communication with ex wife outside of their custody agreement because of the obvious negative affect on the child, mommy dearest would disregard and continue to undermine him, as she always had while he was in her home.
Meanwhile I continued to grow in size as our little baby grew inside. MIL offered a baby shower which I felt obligated to agree to. The more I thought about it the less I wanted to have her host. She was rude, as was her elderly mother at the news of the baby. She asked for Little to be overly involved but didn’t include my other children (at the time a very well established pattern we asked to break repeatedly) and seemed to have no interest in my guests and asked me to limit my invites so she could have her friends and family attend. I literally only have a handful of girlfriends (5 at most) a mom and two sisters... Eventually I wrote to her and asked her to stop planning. I blamed arrangements with my ex and anxiety as obstacles but in reality I was pissed she was excluding my children, mainly my *other* daughter (as at this point Little was very much my daughter as well) and the fact that they had been so rude at the wedding and upon hearing news of the pending arrival. MIL also always had a tendency of making everything center squarely around Little and it disrupted our entire family dynamic, fed Little’s unhealthy expectations for constant entertainment/attention (she was resentful when she wasn’t being treated as the center of the universe and it was literally not possible to maintain that in our home) and constantly made the other children feel grossly inadequate.
Once baby was due, I informed DH I didn’t want visitors at the hospital. The pregnancy had been long and I was in the middle of a difficult patch with Little who was journaling that she hated me, hated my children and wanted to live with her Mimi and papa (MIL/FIL) consistently. She was also very very emotional and though her mother (ex-wife) and I had tried to be friendly, once DH made her aware he intended to marry me she got hostile and insisted that I would never be acknowledged etc and impressed onto Little very adamantly that she would be Littles **only** mother - as impossible as that is from 3000 miles away and 3/12 months a year max.
Baby was born and I was pressured into having MIL and FIL at the hospital the day he was here. They also insisted they take all three older kids for the night, which turned into “for the weekend” though my family was ready and willing to take them.
I did not take maternity leave. I had worked from home/“in the field” the entire pregnancy with a start up biomedical company and wasn’t offered leave. I had our baby on a Friday early morning, and went “back to work” the following Monday. Entirely from home, but still.
Since the arrival of the new baby, I was attacked for not posting enough photos of Little. A week before the girls shared bday I shared a fb “memory” of my daughter from when she was four, mentioning i couldn’t believe she would be 9 this year. The family was in uproar that I would share a photo of my biological daughter, of whom I have photos of when she was four, the week of the girls bday and not post a photo of Little to offset the unfair social media exposure regardless of the fact that many time I have posted photos of Little solo in praise or celebration of her for whatever it may have been. As a matter of fact, any time I posted a photo of one of my biological children any distant or immediate relative may take liberty to post a photo of Little in the comments of the photo and did on several occasions with a caption about Little-solo.
Eventually, I felt attacked and removed the family from my social media as a way to set a boundary for myself. The demand that the attention be on one of now FOUR children incessantly was affecting too much.
As a result, I was promptly attacked by DH’s elderly maternal grandmother via email. The emails went back and forth between DH and his grandma. I emailed ONE long explanation of how I treat the children as individuals, but with equal and fair attention, and never once mentioned my feelings of rejection, my feelings of rejection toward my children, the baby announcement reaction, the wedding sourpuss, the fact that MIL called me to tell me to quit my job so I can make time to be a better mother (true story) etc. Simply that I love all of the kids the same. That DH and I love each other and that we would stop at nothing to make sure everyone was happy and healthy in our blended family.
The email was ignored but six weeks later another email, this time specifically attacking me for MANY things, over the course of MANY occasions came through. Quarantine was well underway at this point and I had already accepted the validation of my feelings of rejection. I had turned to facilitating distance learning, working from home, and nurturing my relationship with Little without any interruptions or impositions as comfort. With a 9 year old girl, 8 year old girl (sometimes referees to as “the Regina George’s”), 4 year old boy, newborn boy, my husband and 6-8 weeks Little and I turned our relationship around ENTIRELY. No negativity from MIL, constant healthy communication and a few parenting/mental health books that Little and I went through together and we have an amazing relationship that is so fulfilling. She is a new child with happy days, resilience and no interest in prolonged pity parties she used to be victim of. She and I packed a care package for her mother down south and sent it for Mother’s Day, etc. (I didn’t sign or add anything as I’m still not allowed to “exist”...)
With the submittal of a rambling manifesto Of hate directed specifically at me, DH finally said enough was enough and he wouldn’t continue to engage in anything anymore.
Come to find out after hating the ex wife for so long, his mother has been teaming up with her to interfere with my relationship with Little and since the grandma-removal (mil) she was no longer able to continue to pressure Little into being the victim of unfortunate circumstance. Little and her mother speak on ft twice a day and message on average 30+ times a day. It’s safe to say the most damning influence was the MIL.
Since the ugly emails, DH and I have gone to therapy and read a number of books on how to try to set better boundaries for MIL. it was decided that we would write some boundaries that only he would communicate with his parents. They have been demanding to see Little for weeks (without ever asking about it acknowledging our now new son since he was born three months ago) but with her progress it didn’t feel it would be best for her, and everyone else in our home to be put right back into what we feel is a toxic environment. We specifically built boundaries around grandparents leaving parenting to dad (DH) and enjoying being grandparents. Essentially simplifying their role for Little and for themselves to the point where it should be easy and fun for everyone.
The response was blame, insults, and refusal. DH said those were the boundaries plain and simple, which sparked a threat to seek legal action against him.

Long story short my in laws are insane. Little is happy and healthier than ever. Literally. Her emotional and mental state is incredible. Her ability to recover from her resentment with communication and safe, healthy reassurance has been awe inspiring. I’m so proud of her. And I’m so proud to be her mother. I love my husband, and all four of our children. But I f’ing hate his family.

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