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Looking for in laws advice;not getting along


adee07
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My husband was my brother's best friend as kids, so our parents know each other well. My husbands parents also became close with my aunt&uncle...I'll just state that lots of drama/gossip happened which led to everything always being my parents vs inlaws/aunt/uncle. I'm giving this background because I feel my inlaws (mainly mother&sisters in law) have always had judgement against me due to their feelings/issues with my parents (even tho I never had an issue with anyone).  

In recent years, things have gotten worse in my relationship with my in laws (my own parents are pretty uninvolved with them at his point). My MIL has made rude comments to me along lines of not being a part of their family (this happened the weekend after we were married 4.5yrs ago) and acted VERY possessive of my husband (her only son,has 2 daughters).  Anytime we had gone out to eat etc. my MIL would always get this high pitched lovey voice like "omg hi honey come sit by your mom, my amazing son" and she'd hardly acknowledge me. I've just kinda taken it these yrs because it was just weird& I wasn't sure what to even say.  My husband began to notice how she'd act& tried to not enable her acting this way. 

3 yrs ago, we had our daughter & 5months later, my FIL was diagnosed with brain cancer. This was a VERY difficult time. He was on deaths door for months.I have medical background& tried to be there every step of the way even tho I was having my own health issues& trying to raise my first (preemie) baby&he was at a hospital an hour away from us. Thankfully, he's currently in remission. Point of this section was just to note that I truly feel like I try to be there for them; I've always been a sensitive person, taking on other's feelings/problems to try and help. My own mother even organized a trip from WI to Mississippi and DROVE them because at that time, we weren't sure how much time my FIL would have to live & they wanted to spend time at a place they loved.

Regarding my daughter, my in laws basically have refused to ever come to OUR house (they live 5mins away)to see her&they refuse to do activities with us like the park etc.(but then get mad if we do things with others). They expect us to bring her to them every single time. Their house is a toddler death trap. Cactus plants, wobbly shelves, breakable things EVERYWHERE. Stone fireplace. We spend the time constantly chasing our daughter around keeping her out of things while they just sit on couches&relax/talk. They hardly ever interacted with her. Its like they didn't understand how to treat her. We (husband and I) got to a point where we were sick & tired of always having to go to them&then watch them have no interest in her..We stopped going all the time&have been met with "you're keeping her from us" messages too many times to count. We've told them many times they're welcome to stop over anytime they'd like to see her (but they don't). 

More recently (October), they weren't going to come to my daughter's birthday because they wanted to go to church. We were upset as she's their ONLY grandchild& has 1 birthday per yr &they complain they don't see her. After my husband stated this to them, they decided to come. At the party, my daughter, being 3, threw a nice big tantrum. It was stressful, we were trying to calm her/get her away from the situation. My MIL thought that was a good time to say in front of everyone "my kids NEVER acted that way...and if they did *makes slapping motion with hand*" ....I was so worked up already that I shot back at her "I dont believe for one second that your kids never acted out&also, we don't use physical punishment" and we exchanged a few more brief comments before it got quiet/awkward in front of everyone.

 The next day, I was still very upset (feels like I finally broke when it comes to the inlaws). I made a social media post (I know,never good idea) just stating facts about toddlers learning to process emotions/psychology etc &topped it off with something like "if you aren't an active role in my childs life, I don't need your judgement."  My MIL text my husband right away with nonsense about "Well i must be a terrible mother then" etc. I told him I'd text her since I was the one who made the post. I REALLY tried. Spent a good while figuring out respectful way to word my message, explaining where I was coming from,why i was upset about the things she's said&the way she's acted. I repeated twice that I'd NEVER call her a bad mother&that everyone is entitled to their opinions etc. She responded with NOTHING. Literally ignored me. My husband text her that evening asking if she got my message&she said yes,then started going off on him again. He answered by saying it was very disrespectful to not even acknowledge me etc and so then she sent me "thank you for your message"...I didn't say anything else. Of course I don't think all this was just about the birthday, this has been years of slowly building tension.

Since this happened we haven't talked/seen them. They didn't bother to ask about our daughters Halloween, it was her first time dressing up/ trick or treating. Didn't bother to send her a Halloween card or drop off candy or whatever. Haven't asked about her very first swim lessons that started 4 wks ago...Just haven't even asked about her. It's so hard to get the message across while typing on the internet, but really they've all just been so lazy when it comes to my daughter. They don't bother to see her/ask about her, but then the few times we see them (sisters in law included, ages 22 and 30) THEN they act like they know her so well etc and it's maddening the way I feel when they don't even ask about her, but then when they finally do pay attention to her, I get pissed because it's just whenever they decide to feel like it/when it's easy for them. It makes me feel like a nut! I should note here too that they've spent time with extended family members' new babies etc so they aren't "against" children/babies by any means. They post pictures and everything, something they've never done with their own grandchild/niece.

Now my FIL birthday is this upcoming weekend&they sent a group text saying they're having dinner. We have NO IDEA what to do. They are PROFESSIONALS at not talking about things& pretending it didnt happen...yet all this underlying tension will be there&I just don't do well with that. My husband said he'd just go, but they're the people who would LOVE &prefer that. They'd be so happy if I didn't go..so of course I just feel like that's giving them what they want&they all get to have a nice dinner while I sit at home? That doesn't solve anything. 

I dont know how to fix this. I would prefer to probably sit down&hash out our differences, but we do not believe they'll agree to this. I feel terrible because my husband loves his family, but is also very frustrated that they've treated me (and our daughter) so unfairly. I tell him all the time I don't want to separate him from his family, but deep down I still need him on my side too & I think he knows that. Of course it's holiday season so it just makes everything harder...ugh. I just worry about my daughter getting older/asking about them and also worry about the tension this causes on my marriage. If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I appreciate any advice or similar stories you have to share!!

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Sounds like a really difficult situation.

It's one of those valuable life lessons to learn that you can not control other people.  It's seems like you have gone out of your way to change this dynamic, but if you are paying attention, it doesn't change anything.  You'd be better off accepting that your in laws are just stuck in their ways and stop trying to twist yourself into a pretzel and expecting a different outcome.  

By doing so you will forgive yourself from those moments when your own frustration spills over and you react to them in ways you will later regret (flaming them on social media)  You've now lowered yourself to their level and that can't feel good.

Set respectful boundaries, accept them as they are, manage your expectations and. . .keep an emotional distance.  That is all you can do.   

Something funny happens when you learn to really let go.  You might be surprised.

 

Edited by reinventmyself
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You can't change your in-laws, but you can change how you react and respond to things.

First of all, what's with all the expectations and entitlement struggles between you? They are not entitled to see the grandkid at their beck and call. YOU are not entitled to expect them to engage with the child on your terms, pay attention, come to the parties or anything else such either.

Basically, you need to learn how to step way back and stop reacting to everything they do and say. Follow the lead from your parents and distance yourself from these people instead of constantly engaging with them in various power struggles.

Just reread your second to last paragraph - you are hell bent on pushing and inserting yourself into the conflict and fueling it instead of actually stepping back and letting things simmer down. In your mind, stepping back is some kind of a defeat. That's some seriously toxic thinking and behavior on your end.

When your in-laws are toxic, you step back, step away, and let your spouse deal with them as they see fit while you go about your life and leave them be. They whine about not seeing the grandkid but won't come over to visit - that's their problem and you need to let hubby handle that convo. MIL jabs you with some bs about parenting? So what else is new in this world? You are not the first or last woman to hear that, so shrug and move on and leave her to look like an a hole instead of picking a fight with her that leaves you looking like one. Again, let your hubs address those issues with her later and if she continues, then she won't be seeing you or the grandchild and she can chew on that for awhile. Again, this needs to come from your hubs, never you. He can see them or not see or deal with them as he sees fits. His relationship with his parents is between them and you need to learn to stay out of it.

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With family members and even some friends, I have learned to lower my expectations of them. Accept that this is how it is and stop expecting, or hoping they will behave differently.  It has helped me find peace in relating to them and has lowered my frustrations.  I have a brother who has basically distanced himself from me and my children, not due to any friction but because he is selfish and can't be bothered.   We interact with him at family events and are polite and I feel sad for my children missing out on having a relationship with their uncle, but at the same time I don't give it a lot of energy anymore. When I let it frustrate or upset me I realized it was only me who was frustrated and upset, not him. He is never going to change and I can't expecting a different outcome.  

 

Try to distance yourself from them emotionally and maybe lower your expectations. I think you will be happier that way.

 

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Focus on your own friends and family and children. Respect her, be polite and don't buy into her antics or drama. 

 Delete and block her from all your social media, reserve that for Your Own family and friends.. Let your husband deal with her. It's his mother.

You're not married to her, so it's ok to step way back and simply respect your husband, their relationship and her as a person. Get your emotions out of it.

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Sounds like my in-laws . I just thank God after 33 years it is almost over. My FIL is passed on and my MIL is 86 and can’t bother anyone anymore and my son is 24. 
 

I just talked to mine with respect because otherwise my husband and I would have never made it . 

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1 hour ago, adee07 said:

They'd be so happy if I didn't go..so of course I just feel like that's giving them what they want&they all get to have a nice dinner while I sit at home? That doesn't solve anything.

Actually, I think you shouldn't go. It's just an aggravation. It's better for everyone that way. Let your husband and your daughter go and be with them. 

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I think your husband should be more supportive of you.  Instead of just not "enabling" her bad behavior, he should be the one telling her,  communicating with her about his family and the roles you all play to him. Why it's difficult for you all to not visit with a 3 year old. 

You either all go to dinner or you all send regrets.

Don't let it become a wedge between you. United stance... that might mean you have to bend. Pretend nothing is wrong. Be polite to their faces, block them in your social media, be fake just like them. 

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One, let you husband handle his own family.

Two, stop expecting them to be Hollywood grandparents or doting Insta famous aunts doing everything possible where your kid revolves around them.  She doesn't. 

Three, if they can make an event, they make it.  If they want to make back handed statements when they're there, let them...their behavior is all about them losing relevance and attention, so don't take it personally.  

Four, focus on the welfare of your own kid and your sanity.  It's okay to just say, "you can't make it."

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I kept telling my husband that I just wished I could have an outsiders view, and you all have provided me with that and I thank you. I know it was a long read, and there's so much more that has happened but no one has the time to hear all that 😅 Anyways, you all have provided me with some interesting points. Seems the consensus is that I need to try and step back, let things be. Easier said than done for me sometimes, but I do so badly want to not be bothered with this 24/7. 

As I mentioned, I really don't want this to impact my marriage (which has been amazing really, I'm very thankful for my husband). I do think things need to be said at times to his family (like when the family went to dinner for his sister's bday and we weren't invited which was hurtful; this was prior to my daughter's bday drama), but I think I need to leave this communication to my husband & I just need to step down. Only thing with that is my hubs hates confrontation & he most times chooses to bottle things up & ignore...so then I get frustrated and the circle starts all over again! 

I should add, my side of the family is very different. My parents are very involved, but we do have 4 grandkids on that side. My siblings aren't overly involved (each have their own kids too), however we see them often to play with the kids. It's funny, my family grew up awkward, fighting, and not close at all...but we are so much better now as adults with our own kids. My husband's family is the total opposite... they were so close&loving growing up... now lots of issues. I guess I should just be thankful that we have my side to be involved. There's still drama there of course at times, but they never let it get in the way of the kids.

I just want what's best for my little family's happiness. 💜

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2 minutes ago, adee07 said:

I kept telling my husband that I just wished I could have an outsiders view, and you all have provided me with that and I thank you. I know it was a long read, and there's so much more that has happened but no one has the time to hear all that 😅 Anyways, you all have provided me with some interesting points. Seems the consensus is that I need to try and step back, let things be. Easier said than done for me sometimes, but I do so badly want to not be bothered with this 24/7. 

As I mentioned, I really don't want this to impact my marriage (which has been amazing really, I'm very thankful for my husband). I do think things need to be said at times to his family (like when the family went to dinner for his sister's bday and we weren't invited which was hurtful; this was prior to my daughter's bday drama), but I think I need to leave this communication to my husband & I just need to step down. Only thing with that is my hubs hates confrontation & he most times chooses to bottle things up & ignore...so then I get frustrated and the circle starts all over again! 

I should add, my side of the family is very different. My parents are very involved, but we do have 4 grandkids on that side. My siblings aren't overly involved (each have their own kids too), however we see them often to play with the kids. It's funny, my family grew up awkward, fighting, and not close at all...but we are so much better now as adults with our own kids. My husband's family is the total opposite... they were so close&loving growing up... now lots of issues. I guess I should just be thankful that we have my side to be involved. There's still drama there of course at times, but they never let it get in the way of the kids.

I just want what's best for my little family's happiness. 💜

Yup, sounds like our two families. The only way to keep your marriage intact is to keep it polite and courteous with the outlaws and that is it. They don’t need to be your best friends. 

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I'm sorry you're struggling.  I agree with the others who said keep your distance and let your husband deal with it (and yes he should be more supportive) and you seem to have some Norman Rockwell type expectations in particular about holidays like Halloween ,etc.  You're entitled but I think in this case you do have to let go.

I also think it was a huge mistake to post a passive aggressive post like that on social media.  I think since you might be tempted again yes -keep your social media completely separate from your in laws.  I think it gave your in laws tons of ammunition and it was an unfortunate choice. 

My FIL in his later years wasn't nice to me.  My best guess is it had to do with old age/potentially dementia related issues?? He was awesome with our son, his only grandchild.  So I took the time he spent with him and my husband to get some me time.  It was a good way to resolve it.  I don't think all time with the grandchild has to be with you there.

Again I'm sorry this is so stressful!

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1 hour ago, adee07 said:

Only thing with that is my hubs hates confrontation & he most times chooses to bottle things up & ignore...so then I get frustrated and the circle starts all over again! 

This is actually his problem to work on.  You can be supportive and help him to vent to you etc. but you need to stop being the fixer.

I know in my own life, I value being authentic. I do not do or say things that I'm not 100% wanting to do or say. It has taken a lot if work on myself to get here. But the other side of that coin is no expecting "me" from other people.

Other people are going to do and say what they will and it's not my job to agree, challenge, disagree, teach, or educate them on their ways. 

Accept they are them. They have to live with what they do. You don't have to like them.  They exist. You exist. be on your husband's side.  

You can tell him your feelings, of course but that's where you have to find a compromise. And find one that you both weigh in on and agree to.

You know the sign of a good compromise?  No one is 100% happy about it.  lol!

Hang in there. Stop being responsible for everything.  

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I would go to the dinner. I've already posted my overreaction to a stupid comment that I could have overlooked and allowed to speak for it's own ignorance.

Now is my opportunity to recover while everyone is willing to play nice and overlook it. If I don't take this opportunity, then I'm the one making a monumental mountain out of what I could otherwise treat as a nit and move beyond. If I use this opportunity properly, then I'm making next event doubly difficult. I'd skip that.

Whatever 'stress' I want to assign to my dealings is of my own making. I'd skip that, too, and I'd minimize the importance of these people. I'd enjoy pleasantries at face value for my husband's sake. I'd stop projecting expectations onto IL's, and I'd overlook anything I'm tempted to interpret as snide.

I'd quit choosing so many mental battles, and instead, I'd just rise above the battlefield--to peace.

I'd consider that some grandmothers are 'grandmas' while others are 'auntie mame' types that just aren't all that interested in babies. Sure they might fake it for those they wish to impress, but close family gets to see the reality of their disinterest. Some 'mame-types' start bonding as the child starts developing a bit more into personhood, others will keep arms length until the child grows into someone resembling an adult with whom this person can relate. Others, still, may just never really bond, and that speaks of them, not your child.

It's fortunate that you're gifted with a far friendlier and more loving family. For your husband's sake, don't project that onto husband's family and complain when they won't rise to that bar.

Head high, minimize the importance you place on husband's family, and always allow HIM to deal with them--and without your influence. You and he both will thank you for that later. 

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I've been married for a long time and I don't have an optimal nor idyllic relationships with my in-laws.  Granted, none of us are at war, however, there's an undercurrent of dislike due to past negative experiences which I'm still bitter and resentful about to this day.  Can I forgive?  Yes.  Forget?  Never.  Never forgetting is beneficial because it reminds you to become permanently wary and jaded.  You can't and won't trust them anymore.  Naivete is no more.

I agree with others.  You can't change your in-laws.  They are who they are and don't expect them to change for you, your daughter, husband, no one.  Accept who they are even though you look upon them with great disdain.  This is what I do:  I accept people the way they are and it's a comfort because I don't have high expectations of others anymore.  In fact, I expect the WORST in people and if they behave, I'm pleasantly surprised and silent.  I'm not impressed if they behave.  I'm just quiet and I know any good behavior is temporary before the next flare up.

Since I don't like some of my in-laws, my husband and I've since learned to decline being with them at random.  We do not accept every invitation or suggestion to gather.  We do not socially gather with them at every opportunity.  There were times when just my husband was in attendance while I stayed  home and took a glorious nap!  I loved it. 

I don't home entertain anymore.  Back in the day, I provided home cooked meals at my house at least several times a month whether for in-laws or friends.  I don't do that anymore.  It's a relief.  I'm tired of it.  In the past, I had a steady stream of visitors.  I don't have visitors anymore. 

You can't fix this.  Don't even bother sitting down and hashing out your differences because it's a waste of your time, breath and energy.  Your intentions are good.  However, if you attempt to hash it all out, you will receive backlash.  They will become belligerent and argumentative.  

Problems with in-laws is universal.  I'm sorry for your distress and turmoil.

It is a dilemma.  You can either send your husband to family gatherings, send him with your daughter in tow while you remain at home OR attend and do what I do.  You'll need the tolerance of a saint, turn a deaf ear, learn to ignore, rise above them by showing class and grace no matter what.  Also, practice disengaging.  I always say this to myself:  "Don't get hurt.  Get smarter."  You don't have to play sweet.  Just remain well mannered yet maintain a cool, frosty distance.  This is what I do and it really works.  Train yourself to become numb.  Take the higher road and be the better person.  Also, don't linger.  Make your and your family's appearance (husband, you and daughter), don't stay too long and go home.  Make your visits fairly brief.  This is whether at a house, restaurant, public or wherever.  I'm sharing with you how I survive with the ***ly in-law situation. 

I would have a problem with their dangerous house though.  It is unsafe for your daughter.  Don't care what others think regarding your daughter's safety.  Your in-laws' house is a danger zone.  Protect your child first and foremost without having to constantly chase her.  If it means no longer visiting your in-laws' house, then so be it.  Safety first.

Keep a cool head and learn to emotionally detach yourself from them and you'll become a very shrewd person.  Keep the peace, remain peaceful and polite but keep your distance.  Don't get personal.  Practice good diplomacy.  You don't have to like each other.  Be civil and limit your interactions with them in person and otherwise.  Don't engage on social media with them, don't text, email, message, voice mails, etc.  Cut that out.  Outsmart them by changing yourself.   

There are several options:  Meeting at neutral locations, sending your husband only to his parents' house, chasing after your daughter at your in-laws' house, the 3 of you declining and staying home or estrangement. 

 

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11 hours ago, catfeeder said:

I would go to the dinner. I've already posted my overreaction to a stupid comment that I could have overlooked and allowed to speak for it's own ignorance.

Now is my opportunity to recover while everyone is willing to play nice and overlook it. If I don't take this opportunity, then I'm the one making a monumental mountain out of what I could otherwise treat as a nit and move beyond. If I use this opportunity properly, then I'm making next event doubly difficult. I'd skip that.

Whatever 'stress' I want to assign to my dealings is of my own making. I'd skip that, too, and I'd minimize the importance of these people. I'd enjoy pleasantries at face value for my husband's sake. I'd stop projecting expectations onto IL's, and I'd overlook anything I'm tempted to interpret as snide.

I'd quit choosing so many mental battles, and instead, I'd just rise above the battlefield--to peace.

I'd consider that some grandmothers are 'grandmas' while others are 'auntie mame' types that just aren't all that interested in babies. Sure they might fake it for those they wish to impress, but close family gets to see the reality of their disinterest. Some 'mame-types' start bonding as the child starts developing a bit more into personhood, others will keep arms length until the child grows into someone resembling an adult with whom this person can relate. Others, still, may just never really bond, and that speaks of them, not your child.

It's fortunate that you're gifted with a far friendlier and more loving family. For your husband's sake, don't project that onto husband's family and complain when they won't rise to that bar.

Head high, minimize the importance you place on husband's family, and always allow HIM to deal with them--and without your influence. You and he both will thank you for that later. 

@catfeeder thank you for this advice. You brought up many good points that I want to sit with. Mentioning the mental battles also really stood out to me as I've struggled with an anxiety disorder since my teen years and I think without meaning to, things just circle in my head making everything worse. Thank you (and everyone)  for taking the time to read and respond to me. 

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8 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

I've been married for a long time and I don't have an optimal nor idyllic relationships with my in-laws.  Granted, none of us are at war, however, there's an undercurrent of dislike due to past negative experiences which I'm still bitter and resentful about to this day.  Can I forgive?  Yes.  Forget?  Never.  Never forgetting is beneficial because it reminds you to become permanently wary and jaded.  You can't and won't trust them anymore.  Naivete is no more.

I agree with others.  You can't change your in-laws.  They are who they are and don't expect them to change for you, your daughter, husband, no one.  Accept who they are even though you look upon them with great disdain.  This is what I do:  I accept people the way they are and it's a comfort because I don't have high expectations of others anymore.  In fact, I expect the WORST in people and if they behave, I'm pleasantly surprised and silent.  I'm not impressed if they behave.  I'm just quiet and I know any good behavior is temporary before the next flare up.

Since I don't like some of my in-laws, my husband and I've since learned to decline being with them at random.  We do not accept every invitation or suggestion to gather.  We do not socially gather with them at every opportunity.  There were times when just my husband was in attendance while I stayed  home and took a glorious nap!  I loved it. 

I don't home entertain anymore.  Back in the day, I provided home cooked meals at my house at least several times a month whether for in-laws or friends.  I don't do that anymore.  It's a relief.  I'm tired of it.  In the past, I had a steady stream of visitors.  I don't have visitors anymore. 

You can't fix this.  Don't even bother sitting down and hashing out your differences because it's a waste of your time, breath and energy.  Your intentions are good.  However, if you attempt to hash it all out, you will receive backlash.  They will become belligerent and argumentative.  

Problems with in-laws is universal.  I'm sorry for your distress and turmoil.

It is a dilemma.  You can either send your husband to family gatherings, send him with your daughter in tow while you remain at home OR attend and do what I do.  You'll need the tolerance of a saint, turn a deaf ear, learn to ignore, rise above them by showing class and grace no matter what.  Also, practice disengaging.  I always say this to myself:  "Don't get hurt.  Get smarter."  You don't have to play sweet.  Just remain well mannered yet maintain a cool, frosty distance.  This is what I do and it really works.  Train yourself to become numb.  Take the higher road and be the better person.  Also, don't linger.  Make your and your family's appearance (husband, you and daughter), don't stay too long and go home.  Make your visits fairly brief.  This is whether at a house, restaurant, public or wherever.  I'm sharing with you how I survive with the ***ly in-law situation. 

I would have a problem with their dangerous house though.  It is unsafe for your daughter.  Don't care what others think regarding your daughter's safety.  Your in-laws' house is a danger zone.  Protect your child first and foremost without having to constantly chase her.  If it means no longer visiting your in-laws' house, then so be it.  Safety first.

Keep a cool head and learn to emotionally detach yourself from them and you'll become a very shrewd person.  Keep the peace, remain peaceful and polite but keep your distance.  Don't get personal.  Practice good diplomacy.  You don't have to like each other.  Be civil and limit your interactions with them in person and otherwise.  Don't engage on social media with them, don't text, email, message, voice mails, etc.  Cut that out.  Outsmart them by changing yourself.   

There are several options:  Meeting at neutral locations, sending your husband only to his parents' house, chasing after your daughter at your in-laws' house, the 3 of you declining and staying home or estrangement. 

 

@Cherylyn I found myself nodding along with the things you've said here. It's interesting, I was always told by my parents growing up (and still to this day in my 30s at times)  that I'm negative because I have a hard time trusting people and forgiving/forgetting. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. However I need to hold onto the part about just staying "numb" in a way so that things don't bother me so much. Can be difficult with this anxiety ridden mind of mine that thinks everything to death! 

After reading everyone's responses multiple times, I agree that trying to sit and hash it out just doesn't seem like a great idea. When I stop and think about it, you can't change who people are. Once in a while if someone really wants to change, they might. But regarding my in laws who don't think they've done anything wrong....well I'm sure nothing will change. 

You gave a lot of good advice here, thank you so much for your time with this. I plan to keep coming back to these responses to help myself "retrain my brain" I guess you could say. 

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Also for your own sake - reconsider whether you really love all this focus on parties and special occasions and events and what's supposed to happen according to social media - because all that prepping and planning could trigger even more anxiety on your part and your daughter will absorb it. 

We have one son. On his first birthday we were visiting my parents in our hometown in the small apartment I grew up in -my inlaws were there and my mom made homemade soup which my son -to my delight -consumed -and we had a birthday cake I think. 

It still was stressful -my niece brought a boyfriend who lit a cigarette (I put a stop to that) -my inlaws moved so slowly to the table that our son was getting edgy/antsy which stressed me and my niece etc. Far from Norman Rockwell.  My son was mostly all smiles. That's all that matters (yes we gave him a smash cupcake the week after when we were back -no we did not buy a special "smash cake" LOL).

I see these moms in all my mom groups on Facebook stressing over decorating cookies with kids, outfits for holiday photos, and on and on.  And  tons of issues with "themes" for parties etc.  I totally get that for some it's really fun - it's stressful but fun - they love the attention on them at a shower or their child at a party, they love showing off the holiday photos and how their home is decorated etc -more power to them.  But is it powerful to you or are you doing it because you're anxious and it provokes stress but it's a "should".  It's not a should.  

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5 hours ago, Batya33 said:

 

I'm the Martha Stewart mother you would not like!  I've always been artistically inclined ever since I was 3 years old!  I love to draw, paint, do arts 'n crafts and as a child, won contests and aced every art project at school. 

Ask me to take apart a transistor radio and put it back together again?  Nope.  My brain isn't hardwired that way.

My hobbies include the following:  Cake decorating, calligraphy, making layered greeting cards, stamping, scrap booking, jewelry making, sewing, quilting, embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitching, crocheting, knitting and anything to do with art.  I do all of this without computers nor digital electronics. 

I made a gorgeous recipe album recently complete with artistic tabs, slots and everything.  That's me and that's how my late father and aunt were.  My aunt made a gorgeous purse clutch with thousands of hand sewn seed size pearly beads.  My mother said I had inherited their artistic traits.  I even made bone shaped homemade dog biscuits for my late Golden Retriever, rest her soul.  I'd do anything for that calm, intelligent, well behaved blonde ball of fluff.  I miss her so.  I even lined my shelves with fancy shelf liner, label clear boxes and organize everything my way.  I bring home cooked meals to gatherings in my fancy serve ware which I've collected over the years.  I love doing stuff like that.  It's my personality.  I was born this way.  Art is in my DNA.

When my boys were little, I decorated fancy cakes for them such as a train cake, carousel cake, Mickey Mouse, ice hockey cake, baseball cake, computer cake for husband, Bugs Bunny cake, cakes with roses for my mother and other from scratch cakes which weren't always decorated but delicious.  I've been baking ever since I was 12 years old.  I'm the cookie baking mom you wouldn't like.  (My MIL - mother-in-law decorated cakes and I've admired her artistic cake decorating skills, too.) 

However, I don't blast pics all over social media, IG, FB and the like.  That, I do not do.  I'll take pics for myself but I do not share them with the world. 

Everyone has their own talents and gifts.  I'm not insecure about other people's skills because I know I can do what others cannot do and vice versa.  It all evens out. 

My husband and sons are very scientific men which I admire but ask them to draw?  They draw hopeless stick figures and their penmanship looks like chicken scratch.  My late father and I have neat penmanship (printing and cursive) and it's been this way for decades.  ('Declaration of Independence' type penmanship.)  Some people can't cook and others are very good at cooking.  It's okay!  Some people are mechanically inclined whereas others have skills in a multitude of other ways. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, adee07 said:

You're not negative because you want to be treated with respect.  Most people want to be treated with respect.  It's not a difficult concept to grasp.  I'm just like you.  If I or my loved ones aren't treated with respect, it's a real deal breaker.  There's nothing wrong with thinking this way at all.  Get that straight.  Be very crystal clear about this.  If people behave well, then everything is great.  If people don't behave honorably, then you're the one who has to alter the dynamic because people will not change for you.  A leopard cannnot change its spots. 

Never allow anyone to gaslight you either.  Google "gaslighting."  Gaslighting is when the other person deflects, changes the subject on you, forces you to perceive that there's something wrong with you, forces you to change your perception of the facts and throws you off track to confuse you.  Never fall for that tricky trap.  I know I did for a long time and I don't anymore.  I simply disengage.

Don't sit and hash it out otherwise a fight will ensue and you're toast.  It's a waste of your precious time and energy.  Don't even bother with people who aren't worth it. 

Thank you for your kind words.  You're a young mother as I was once upon a time.  Yes, "retrain your brain" and think differently.  Develop thicker skin, develop "street smarts" and you will toughen up.  Don't get hurt nor frustrated.  Play your cards smart and you will have healthy control.  Remember enforce healthy boundaries.  Change the way you think and you'll think with more clarity instead of emotion.  Emotion clouds your judgment.  Become numb but piercingly intelligent.  

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You know what -- once a month, you dress your daughter in a pretty dress or a cute pant outfit. You go to grandma and grandpa's for an hour.  And you go home.  I know you want to withhold your daughter form her grandparents, but the cycle of pushing and pulling by all of you has to stop somewhere. They are not the ones that are going to do it.  You set Boundaries.  But deciding that they "earn" your daughter being able to see them by how much they inquire about her

nothing has happened that physically endangers your daughter and they are not being abusive to her. If you have to only visit after naps and know to change your expectations (she is not there to play) and "engage" with your daughter for the hour to direct her attention. then so be it.   There is a lot of perceived slights, passive aggressiveness here, etc.

you go to a family event and go for a set time. its better to go to something with lots of family in attendance - you are clear that you stay for an hour, and if things go well - two, and then you leave.  Have a secret signal that you are and your husband arrange ahead of time if its time to go.  But be clear that you have another event you have to get to.

That way, your daughter gets to choose as she gets older what type of relationship she has.

Its not all about mom taking the temperature of whether grandma is committing a perceived slight or not being a traditional grandma relatonship.

I had one grandma who we loved to visit 24/7 and a grandma with health and psychological challenges and we still saw her -- but it was more "duty " - as it was not fun for little kids to visit.We were dressed up, we sat and chatted with Grandma for an hour or were simply just there while my parents did, and then we went home.  If it had been based on Grandma's merits to be the perfect Grandma, we would have never seen her.

As we grew up, because my parents modeled seeing her at intervals no matter what, it made a difference to us in the long run. 

Our parents also modeled proper behavior during the visits.

 

 

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As I've mentioned previously, greatly limit your time with your in-laws.  Never linger no matter where you are.  Never drag out being together.  Know when to make your exit quickly.

I do not like my BIL (brother-in-law - my sister's husband).  He has a "mouth problem" and always says something snide, unkind and obnoxiously rude.  I can't change him and I know it.  My sister always defends her husband.  I do not have my mother's support.  My mother is my sister's and her wealthy son-in-law's ally.  BIL throws his weight around and I know who wears the pants in his family!  It's a lose-lose situation.  Therefore, I've since learned to decline many invitations from my sister and her husband.  If my husband, sons and I attend family or social gatherings on rare occasions, we never linger.  Our time is limited and we depart for home rather quickly.  BIL makes my skin crawl and the sooner we make our exit, the better! 

On my husband's side of the family, both SIL (sisters-in-law - my husband's sister and my husband's brother's wife) are civil as am I.  We're not close, they ingratiate themselves to my MIL and FIL (mother and father-in-law) and play that game.  Both SIL (sisters-in-law) and I are not chummy.  I'm not fond of the other BIL (brother-in-law - my husband's sister's husband) due to his risque "humor" and habitual foul language. 

MIL said comments to me in the past which were not nice.  I had never forgotten.  We're peaceful.  I am well mannered, polite, respectful, kind yet frosty and distant.  I'm not close to her. 

Whether we meet at restaurants or at someone's house, again, my husband, sons and I never linger.  We make our socializing time very brief and then we go home.  This is called enforcing healthy boundaries.

You can't change people.  However, you can change frequency, create time limits, practice declining and choose to have more peace of mind by setting new rules for yourself.  It's very empowering.  This is how you develop self confidence and self esteem.  Never be a doormat.  Don't get hurt.  Instead of feeling hurt,  get smart.  Become shrewd and you'll have better control over your life. 

Granted, sometimes you can't completely erase other people's bad behaviors but at least you can significantly decrease encounters with them.   

There are still blips with my relatives and in-laws but it's not as often as before because I don't allow unpleasantness the majority of time. 

 

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On 11/17/2021 at 5:55 AM, adee07 said:

@Cherylyn

 

 

Thank you for your kind words, adee07.

Your parents telling you that you're negative is gaslighting.  Gaslighting is changing your perception of the facts, deflecting, changing the subject and confusing you by throwing you off track or balance.  Never believe anyone who gaslights you because they're wrong.  You're not negative. 

Let's be clear.  Your parents should've told you that you don't like being disrespected.  People who are disrespected have a very hard time forgiving / forgetting.  If not all people, most people on this Earth have a very hard time forgiving / forgetting.  Feeling numb is working on your resilience which takes time and patience.  Yes, feeling numb is difficult during an anxiety ridden mind and thinking everything to death.  Like you, I analyze everything and there's nothing wrong with that.  Thinking deeply and thoroughly means you are prepared to protect yourself. 

Forgive means not to hold onto grudges nor harbor ill will against perpetrators.  Forgive does not mean condone nor forget.  It's impossible to forget transgressions.

You can't change people.  However, you can enforce healthy boundaries.  This includes deciding how often you're willing to accept gathering with your in-laws, where, your choice to decline at random,  your decision to limit contact such as never lingering and making sure visits whether at their house or elsewhere is brief. 

Don't sit and hash it out with your in-laws otherwise they'll defend themselves and it will escalate into a heated, very nasty argument. 

Expecting people to change is wishful thinking on your part and unrealistic.  Change comes from you.  You're responsible for changing dynamics with your in-laws. 

In this context, "retraining your brain" comes from boundaries. 

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