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Topic : Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Number of Replies: 2467
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:13:41 am
Author : dataimport
Love them, tolerate them, or despise them? Dealing with the in-laws can be stressful to a marriage. Share your stories and coping strategies.

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July 23, 2005, 4:58 pm CDT

Controlling inlaws.

Hey everybody,

I've been with my partner since i was 16, i'm now 23 and we share a 20 month old son together.

My future inlaws, although live in the u.s.a and we are currently in Australia, are very controlling. I have never felt comfortable around them and they have always disaproved of me. They are very well off people, and their life revollves around spending money. They fund my 24 year old partners education and because of this they hold it over his head, and he das to do everything they say or they threaten to cut it off and he still has 2.5 years left to go.

On a recent trip to see them i put in 100 percent effort to get along wtih them, and on day 5 they totally cracked up because they felt i was disrespectfull for spending the nights with my father and not them. I am a compromising person and i despretly wanted to get along with them but telling me i'm disrespecful for going to my dads at night because he works all day and only gets home late at night, and i he wanted to see his grandchild, and i wanted to see him. This is not a compromise, it doesn't matter that i spend from 8am to 7pm with them, they always expect more.

They then started to use my partners education against ME!! Saying that i will benefit from his education and that i owe them!

this is all in a nut shell of course, so many things have been said aobut me, and i spend nearly every day crying on this holiday becuase they refuse to just be adults and get along.  THen i get stuck in the middle becuase my partners wants us to all get along and he expects me to break my back for them just so everybody will be happy, but i'm not wiling to do that when it invovles me sacrifising time with my dad, whom i only see every few years.

I was only letting them see my son,  because only two months ago they decideed to ackowlege him, before that they didn't accept my child, and never spoke about him. NOw they expect me to be greatful that they have decided to play some interest in him.

Gosh i could wrote a novel over all this.

This is all in a nut shell of course, there is soo much more between the lines.

Thanks for letting me get it all out, would love to hear about other inlaw problems.

Fiona

 
July 24, 2005, 7:22 pm CDT

Hi Fiona

Hey everybody,

I've been with my partner since i was 16, i'm now 23 and we share a 20 month old son together.

My future inlaws, although live in the u.s.a and we are currently in Australia, are very controlling. I have never felt comfortable around them and they have always disaproved of me. They are very well off people, and their life revollves around spending money. They fund my 24 year old partners education and because of this they hold it over his head, and he das to do everything they say or they threaten to cut it off and he still has 2.5 years left to go.

On a recent trip to see them i put in 100 percent effort to get along wtih them, and on day 5 they totally cracked up because they felt i was disrespectfull for spending the nights with my father and not them. I am a compromising person and i despretly wanted to get along with them but telling me i'm disrespecful for going to my dads at night because he works all day and only gets home late at night, and i he wanted to see his grandchild, and i wanted to see him. This is not a compromise, it doesn't matter that i spend from 8am to 7pm with them, they always expect more.

They then started to use my partners education against ME!! Saying that i will benefit from his education and that i owe them!

this is all in a nut shell of course, so many things have been said aobut me, and i spend nearly every day crying on this holiday becuase they refuse to just be adults and get along. THen i get stuck in the middle becuase my partners wants us to all get along and he expects me to break my back for them just so everybody will be happy, but i'm not wiling to do that when it invovles me sacrifising time with my dad, whom i only see every few years.

I was only letting them see my son, because only two months ago they decideed to ackowlege him, before that they didn't accept my child, and never spoke about him. NOw they expect me to be greatful that they have decided to play some interest in him.

Gosh i could wrote a novel over all this.

This is all in a nut shell of course, there is soo much more between the lines.

Thanks for letting me get it all out, would love to hear about other inlaw problems.

Fiona

I  could write the book on controlling inlaws.  I, too, have been dealing with this situation for a long time- about 20 years actually.  It started from when I first met my hubby and went from bad to worse to flat out impossible.

 

Not to make light of this difficult situation, but your one consolation is that they are not living close to you.  Mine are in the same town and have even stalked my honey and I in the past.  (Long story involving a camping trip, a tent and an unplanned visit on their part!  UGGGGHHH!)  Anyway, I have often wondered if we should just leave town, but then we would be leaving behind all our other family and friends.

 

But as to these constant threats about cutting off the tuition money, what if they do?  Again, I am not being flip.  Consider what this would mean.  Is there some way you could pull this off without their financial assistance?  Yes, it would mean sacrifices, but what young family isn't struggling to make ends meet in one way or another?  Of course having your little one would make you more cautious in this regard, but you also have to think about your own self-esteem and what your values are.  To me, my own self worth is more valuable than money and I would turn down a whole bunch of it if having the dollars compromised that.  Money can't buy happiness, love or companionship. 

 

Also, though, and I know this may earn me a lot of angry replies but I still say this, it is a parent's financial obligation to educate their child.  Period.  And I only say this in the case where the parents are able to do so, not if it would mean financial hardship of course, but you say the inlaws are well-heeled money wise.  In this day and age an education isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.  How dare his parents hold this over his head in this manner?  To me that isn't love.  That's trying to hold your grown children emotional hostages while you run their lives, which is totally inappropriate.  Not to mention that they are putting a huge wedge between the two of you.  It's that old "divide and conquer" strategy, I believe.

 

Let me qualify this though- if your partner was skipping off all his classes, earning D's or majoring in the party lifestyle and just plain bombing out, I would say his folks are justified in threatening to cut him off.  But if he is being responsible and not taking their financial support for granted, then their attitude seems untoward.  Perhaps they are a really enmeshed family and your partner "escaped" to Down Under for just that reason???

 

About the inlaws lack of acceptance- it is not their place to accept you or not.  Their son CHOSE YOU for his partner.  They either accept that, or they do not have a place in your lives.  Your husband needs to have this understood and should no matter what the consequences.  I am not saying to be right at all costs, but I just feel that as Dr. Phil is always reminding us on his shows, it is a partner's responsibility to make sure that their family treats the partner with respect.  They may not be close friends, but they do have to be civil.  Your hubby can do this in small ways that do not necessarily rock the boat or he can just flat out confront them with it and hope for the best. 

 

Either way, this will continue to be an issue between the two of you and your child will be dragged into it as well- kids can always sense tension in the household, make no mistake.  I wish my husband had dealt with it at an earlier stage instead of taking the ignoring it approach.  This has now resulted in a total split with the family, with almost no one on his side remaining neutral.  Finally, after a few years, he and the kids are able to visit occasionally with his kin, but the relationship will never be what it was.

 

So Fiona, really search your heart and make sure you tell your honey all you are feeling.  Both of you have to make a decision about what is best to do and it shouldn't be based on his fear of his controlling parents.  You are grown-ups with your own family unit now and cannot successfully live your lives on someone else's terms.  Sooner or later, the piper must be paid.  It's up to you when.

 

Good luck.

SB

 
July 26, 2005, 6:49 pm CDT

Thankyou for reply SB

Quote From: freyler

Hey everybody,

I've been with my partner since i was 16, i'm now 23 and we share a 20 month old son together.

My future inlaws, although live in the u.s.a and we are currently in Australia, are very controlling. I have never felt comfortable around them and they have always disaproved of me. They are very well off people, and their life revollves around spending money. They fund my 24 year old partners education and because of this they hold it over his head, and he das to do everything they say or they threaten to cut it off and he still has 2.5 years left to go.

On a recent trip to see them i put in 100 percent effort to get along wtih them, and on day 5 they totally cracked up because they felt i was disrespectfull for spending the nights with my father and not them. I am a compromising person and i despretly wanted to get along with them but telling me i'm disrespecful for going to my dads at night because he works all day and only gets home late at night, and i he wanted to see his grandchild, and i wanted to see him. This is not a compromise, it doesn't matter that i spend from 8am to 7pm with them, they always expect more.

They then started to use my partners education against ME!! Saying that i will benefit from his education and that i owe them!

this is all in a nut shell of course, so many things have been said aobut me, and i spend nearly every day crying on this holiday becuase they refuse to just be adults and get along. THen i get stuck in the middle becuase my partners wants us to all get along and he expects me to break my back for them just so everybody will be happy, but i'm not wiling to do that when it invovles me sacrifising time with my dad, whom i only see every few years.

I was only letting them see my son, because only two months ago they decideed to ackowlege him, before that they didn't accept my child, and never spoke about him. NOw they expect me to be greatful that they have decided to play some interest in him.

Gosh i could wrote a novel over all this.

This is all in a nut shell of course, there is soo much more between the lines.

Thanks for letting me get it all out, would love to hear about other inlaw problems.

Fiona

Dear Sb,

   Thankyou for your support, i suspect many people in this world are suffering from the same emotions when having to confront the inlaws. I think some people will think that you can just ignore them and the problem will go away but i beleive this is not the case. Yes i am advantaged (somedays i actully thank the lord for the distance) by living in a different country, but even so they make a huge impact on our lives, cause many disruptions, tension and arguments between my partner and myself. However, this is only temporarily, when my partner has graduated in 2.5 years we have the option to move back to his home country. He misses his siblings and is very close to them. The two older sister have cut their parents out of their lives becuase of similar problems, something they never wanted to do, but had no choice, i know it upsets them greatly. But i'm sure it can only be a complete disaster my moving there, but how could i keep my partner from his siblings?

I can't help but feel in the middle, they brainwash my partner into think ridiculious things, something my partner said the other day i feel was actully from his parents but i can't be sure. He said, if i really loved him then i would keep trying becuase it means so much to him. But how much can one person try? They don't seem to beleive in meeting half way or compromising, and they always thing they are RIGHT.

I know they have very bad communication, and my partner doesn't communicate well either,over the years of being with him i've tried to help him to communicate better but when he is with his parents this all goes down the drain.

When we do not have any involvment or input from his parents we get along very well. When we get a phone call, or they ask him to do  something, or say something about me, then we start fighting.

Can you throw a relationship away with a child invovled becuase of the inlaws??

That seems like such a huge thing to do, but it's definently crossed my mind.

 

Thankyou for your understanding and reply, it's great to let it all blurt out and have sombody listen.

Fiona

 
July 27, 2005, 8:45 am CDT

Hi Fiona.....

Quote From: freyler

Hey everybody,

I've been with my partner since i was 16, i'm now 23 and we share a 20 month old son together.

My future inlaws, although live in the u.s.a and we are currently in Australia, are very controlling. I have never felt comfortable around them and they have always disaproved of me. They are very well off people, and their life revollves around spending money. They fund my 24 year old partners education and because of this they hold it over his head, and he das to do everything they say or they threaten to cut it off and he still has 2.5 years left to go.

On a recent trip to see them i put in 100 percent effort to get along wtih them, and on day 5 they totally cracked up because they felt i was disrespectfull for spending the nights with my father and not them. I am a compromising person and i despretly wanted to get along with them but telling me i'm disrespecful for going to my dads at night because he works all day and only gets home late at night, and i he wanted to see his grandchild, and i wanted to see him. This is not a compromise, it doesn't matter that i spend from 8am to 7pm with them, they always expect more.

They then started to use my partners education against ME!! Saying that i will benefit from his education and that i owe them!

this is all in a nut shell of course, so many things have been said aobut me, and i spend nearly every day crying on this holiday becuase they refuse to just be adults and get along. THen i get stuck in the middle becuase my partners wants us to all get along and he expects me to break my back for them just so everybody will be happy, but i'm not wiling to do that when it invovles me sacrifising time with my dad, whom i only see every few years.

I was only letting them see my son, because only two months ago they decideed to ackowlege him, before that they didn't accept my child, and never spoke about him. NOw they expect me to be greatful that they have decided to play some interest in him.

Gosh i could wrote a novel over all this.

This is all in a nut shell of course, there is soo much more between the lines.

Thanks for letting me get it all out, would love to hear about other inlaw problems.

Fiona

This must be so frustrating for you!! I agree with you that ignoring the problem does not make it go away or make it better. You will never be able to change their actions or reactions, so the only thing left for you to do is change YOUR reactions... What did you do when his parents were saying to you that they thought it was disrespectful of you to go visit your father? Whatever your reaction was, think about it, analyze it, and ask yourself if you could have done something different. These are people who think that they are always right, so no matter what you do, it won't be the right thing; therefore, you really have to have confidence that what your reaction is, or what you say or do, is the right thing. What would be best is if you could say back to them, in a clear, even, and non-defensive tone of voice, that you think family is important- meaning ALL family, that includes your father, and you can't give up a visit to him, and perhaps you can throw in a "sorry you feel that way" to them, and let them know that they are not going to keep you from your father. You were NOT disrespectful by visiting your dad, please know this. You are up against a pair of beasts!! One more piece of advice: get the book, "toxic in-laws" by Susan Forward..you wont regret it! It changed my life. Good luck.
 
July 27, 2005, 10:44 pm CDT

Forgiving my Morther-in-law

The whole situation happened about a year ago. My husband and I went through a really bad time and almost split up. He has a really bad temper and things got a little bad for a really short time before I stood up and took action. We worked on getting things together and we are now doing great. We just had another baby together and we thought that the past was behind us. My mother-in-law stayed with us for a couple of weeks after our daughter was born. A situation happened that made my mother-in-law think that I was encouraging fear in my son against his dad. This situation was something that she didn't know the whole story. She also accused me of isolating my husband. I got really upset, not only from these accusations, but since I was still pumped up with a bunch of hormones after having my daughter. My mother-in-law got upset with me and is now blaming me for everything. My husband is on my side and is going to be by my side. He thinks she is blowing things up and she needs to settle down and let us live our lives. What happened before was between us and we both got through it.  My husband, in the mean time, is also standing up to her and telling her how he feels (which she blames on me as well)

 

Other family that has known her for years, has told me that this whole situation has nothing to do with me. I am just the closest thing that she could blame. That she is just upset with loosing control over her son.

 

But my problem is....how do I get over this anger and hurt that she has caused me? I get so upset when I just hear her name!! I have so many emotions running through me...anger, frustrated, hurt, sadness. How do I deal with this so that I could be around her again. So I could look at her and just smile without ripping her into pieces? How can I just put this behind me and say "let her think whatever about me. My husband is standing next to me. Why do I need you love and kindness?"

 

Help!!!

 

Mammagoddess

 

 
July 28, 2005, 6:40 am CDT

Previous discussion w/b4time & shawbehan

Shawbehan -   Your points were well taken and we are more than you realized.  In answer to your question, am I concerned the tough love approach towards the parents will hurt the children... No, in fact, I believe the children will be hurt if it's not done.  b4time expressed my thoughts exactly.  It's not about being right, not about an inattentive DIL (she doesn't have any consideration or respect for her MIL but knew the children were in excellent hands with their grandmother), and b4time can't bury a hatchet that's in their hands.  By paying the short term price of not seeing the children for awhile/less often, she's going for the long term benefit of having a valuable role in their lives for all the years to come.  If this problem is not resolved, she'll never be treated any better and most likely this will be another family who cuts all ties so she'll lose her grandchildren.  I agree with you on the boundaries issue... however, when the boat has a hole in it, it doesn't matter how it got there.  It needs to be plugged.  Also agree that there's adult children/spouses who aren't selfish/callous towards parents... but it doesn't help those who are dealing with this  "common" issue.  And I believe children should be the priority (but who would say otherwise, so goes the saying, "actions speak louder than words").  Appreciate your two cents worth.     :)

 

b4time - The definition of insanity brought back memories... we're on the same page.  Glad your feeling better about yourself and your situation.  Good to know there'll be positive results here.  :)  

 
July 28, 2005, 7:21 am CDT

MIL trying to control son's 1st birthday

My Mil thinks that it's ok to serve alcohol at my son's 1st birthday party and I don't. When she asked me why I didn't think it was ok, I told her that it was because it was my son's party. She rolled her eyes and scoffed! I was so mad!  My husband and I also planned on serving only hamburgers & hotdogs at the party, and MIL thinks that we need to have pork chops as well! She thinks that the "adults" will want "something else." and that "hjamburgers & hotdogs are fine for the kids" Who does she think she is?? When did it become her party anyways? What I'm wondering is if I should put my foot down on this and tell her that there is not to be any alcohol served and that all we are cooking is hamburgers & hotdogs and thats it or should I just let it go?

 
July 28, 2005, 7:34 am CDT

Shawbehan

That was meant to be "we agree more than you realized".  And being a DIL who is not shocked at anything due to the experiences with my ILs, I have a lot of empathy for other DILs.  I'm also a MIL now, so between the insight I've received in that role and from this forum, I've gotten a view from the other side of the fence... doesn't look a whole lot better.  None of us are victims.  If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem.        :)
 
July 28, 2005, 7:53 am CDT

angry!

My husband has worked with his father in his fathers bussiness ever since he was a teen. He is now in his 30's. We have children. We have been married for almost 7 years now and for the last 6 years, we have never received a tax refund. My husbands gross pay is 600.00/week. His father holds out 100.00/week for child support that my husband owes and 100.00/week for taxes. His bring home pay is 400.00/week. His father claims him as a partner in his bussiness (even though he really isnt). He does this for tax purposes only. His father holds these taxes out of my husbands check but we never get a refund. The tax accountant said that my husbands refund is being rolled over to pay his social security that he owes. (now keep in mind his father holds this money out of my husbands check). So therefore we are not entitled to a refund, we have to pay! my husband told his father last year that he had better send in his taxes so we can get a refund for this year. But guess what? We have to pay again! (actually, we just dont get a refund). Shouldnt his father have to pay us our refund himself since he held the money out of his check? My husband is not a partner with his dad in his dads bussiness. My husband has never received any profits of the money made. His dad does this for his own tax purposes! I feel we are being cheated out of our refund by his father. This year my husband is doing his own bussiness and he has his own employees that he has to pay. He is no longer working for his dad. BUT...his dad is planning on claiming my husband again NEXT year as his partner. He cant do this! My husband is scared to say anything to his dad for some reason. But I am tired of it. We are entitled to unearned income due to the kids, but dont get it because of his father claiming my husband as his partner when he really isnt! How can I get my husband to "open" his eyes as to what is going on, before I decide to leave him because of it? His parents dont have anything to do with us.  They are such control freaks over my husband. They use my husband to their own gain. How can I stop this?

 

Harobe, glad to see you back! The inlaws came down about 3 weeks ago but did not get out of the truck. They had to get something from my husband. Our kids were walking right in front of the truck and my mil said hey to my son but my son just looked at her and kept on walking. Our daughter was right next to my son and she didnt even say anything to her. I was outside too and the kids were walking to me but mil acted as though she didnt see me, she just kept her head down. It has been 10 months since they spoke to me or even seen the kids. I am tired of them. I am tired and angry especially about the income tax refund! These people dont care about us.

 
July 28, 2005, 11:30 am CDT

Dear "jb7ctx"...

Quote From: jb7ctx

My husband has worked with his father in his fathers bussiness ever since he was a teen. He is now in his 30's. We have children. We have been married for almost 7 years now and for the last 6 years, we have never received a tax refund. My husbands gross pay is 600.00/week. His father holds out 100.00/week for child support that my husband owes and 100.00/week for taxes. His bring home pay is 400.00/week. His father claims him as a partner in his bussiness (even though he really isnt). He does this for tax purposes only. His father holds these taxes out of my husbands check but we never get a refund. The tax accountant said that my husbands refund is being rolled over to pay his social security that he owes. (now keep in mind his father holds this money out of my husbands check). So therefore we are not entitled to a refund, we have to pay! my husband told his father last year that he had better send in his taxes so we can get a refund for this year. But guess what? We have to pay again! (actually, we just dont get a refund). Shouldnt his father have to pay us our refund himself since he held the money out of his check? My husband is not a partner with his dad in his dads bussiness. My husband has never received any profits of the money made. His dad does this for his own tax purposes! I feel we are being cheated out of our refund by his father. This year my husband is doing his own bussiness and he has his own employees that he has to pay. He is no longer working for his dad. BUT...his dad is planning on claiming my husband again NEXT year as his partner. He cant do this! My husband is scared to say anything to his dad for some reason. But I am tired of it. We are entitled to unearned income due to the kids, but dont get it because of his father claiming my husband as his partner when he really isnt! How can I get my husband to "open" his eyes as to what is going on, before I decide to leave him because of it? His parents dont have anything to do with us.  They are such control freaks over my husband. They use my husband to their own gain. How can I stop this?

 

Harobe, glad to see you back! The inlaws came down about 3 weeks ago but did not get out of the truck. They had to get something from my husband. Our kids were walking right in front of the truck and my mil said hey to my son but my son just looked at her and kept on walking. Our daughter was right next to my son and she didnt even say anything to her. I was outside too and the kids were walking to me but mil acted as though she didnt see me, she just kept her head down. It has been 10 months since they spoke to me or even seen the kids. I am tired of them. I am tired and angry especially about the income tax refund! These people dont care about us.

Oh I would be just as mad, irritated, etc., as you are about all this tax stuff!! This is totally stupid that his father thinks he can get away with this...BUT...you and I know why his father thinks he can get away with this-- its because your husband allows him to. Its unbelievable that this man would actually take money away from his son, practicaly taking food out of his own grandchildren's lives, and think nothing of it. It is unbelievable that your husband is just going to keep allowing this to happen. Your husband isn't working for his father at all at this point, yet his father has said that he is still going to keep this charade going for tax fraud? My only advice is for him (your hubby) to let his father know that he can't do that because he has to file his own taxes and his employee's taxes, and it will get his father in trouble if he does still file that your husband is his partner. I can't imagine what your husband is so "scared" of regarding his parents...it sounds like they are totaly uninvolved in your lives, what does he have to lose? He will be gaining self respect, and that is something you can't put a price tag on, you know?

 

You always have such good advice for others regarding problems with thier in-laws here on this message board. Can you pretend, just for a few moments, that your posting was someone else's and ask yourself what advice you would give that woman?  I wish you the best, keep your chin up.

Jen

 
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