Dreading In-Law visit

Visitor (not verified)
anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Dreading In-Law visit
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 11:38am


My in-laws have caused problems for years. I have been with my husband for 10 years, married for 1 year, and they have never treated me like a human being. This is in stark contrast to how my husbands brother and sisters partners are treated - they can do no wrong! There has been years of issues and incidents I could write about but it is now at the point where I dread their visits (have to say that his brother and sister never visit, they are only coming because we had a baby three months ago), but I dread his mum visiting and dread having to go down there. Anyway, this weekend his brother and sister and their partners are visiting and I've been feeling stressed about it for weeks, to the point where my skin has broken out and I have cold sores on my lips! The problem is that I never feel in a position to say anything to them as I know it will only cause problems between myself and my husband, and he very rarely stands up to them. However, I know that it will be the usual scenario where I will be completely blanked, in my own home, there will be lots of photos of my husband and the baby and I'll be conspicuously absent from them all and it will all be about them as usual. In fact, the baby probably won't even get any attention as his sister is bringing his nephew and we have already been told that we have to make a fuss of him!! I suppose what I'm asking is, how do you deal with people as rude as them politely? How do you deal with being ignored in your own home? How do I address this with my husband, before and after, without it causing endless arguments between us? How do I resist the urge to scream at them when they bring up previous arguments, as I know they will? It's just so frustrating that I feel like I have to spend an entire weekend not able to say anything, when I'm just bursting to!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2011
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 12:25pm

Being that you have been together for a decade and nothing has changed, I would figure that it is too late to expect anything different to happen this visit.  I might talk to him about a marriage counselor but that could take years too.  In any event, if I was in that situation I would quietly make plans to stay with my family, friends, or at a hotel for the duration of their visit.  Then, just before his relatives were due to arrive, I would find out about an emergency that requires me to leave immediately, and I wouldn't come back until they were gone.   Sometimes retreat is the better part of valor.  Make sure you sound appropriately upset about having to leave.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Sun, 09-09-2012 - 5:28pm


This is simpler than you think.  You have people coming to your home and when they act up, get out of line etc. you for some reason feel that it is not the correct path to stand up for yourself?  Why?  People don't behave when they are allowed to  misbehave - toddlers throw tantrums because they get their way and continue to throw tantrums because they continue to get their way.


You family or DH's family is acting this way so put an end to it.  If they want to argue about something stupid - walk away.  Go pick up a book and start reading it.  Turn the tv on and get absorbed into the program.  Simply do not respond.  However, if they are insulting you then stand up against that.  My favorite way is to simply repeat in a much louder voice back to them what they've just said only do it in a question form.  For instance, MIL - did you just say that I am not doing something correctly with my child?  Then - look her straight in the eye and expect an answer.  If so backs down and says - no, no...I was just trying to offer a suggestion.  Reply - well, good because if you were telling me that I was doing that wrong I would have to tell you to mind your own business.  But, if you are offering a suggestion then fine.  But, please remember that this is my family, my house and I plan on doing it my way.  Then smile and go do something else.


People who behave rudely do not have a right to expect politeness in return.  Stop expecting your DH to respond, or to stand up for you.  First, half the time they are just clueless - like when the laundry basket is so full things are towering over and instead of thowing a load into the washer - he'll spend five minutes trying to stuff more stuff in - LOL.  And, when it comes to his mommy and daddy usually they just don't have it in them to respond or stand up to them.  Remember, many kids were taught to obey their parents and while that is important as a child - it also needs to be planted with love and respect for making ones own decisions - growing up and being a strong adult.  Sadly, that is not always the case.


Trust me, don't go away and don't back down.  Don't let them do things that you don't want done in your own home.  Do be flexible on some level but mostly - be prepared - have some wine handy, a good book, a little project that needs your immediate attention - whatever will help you get away and breath. 


You deserve respect with your family and in your home - nothing less.  It doesn't make you a bad person for demanding this.  If they want to fight about it then put on your boxing gloves - it is your home and your life and your family. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2007
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 1:21pm

I kind of see both sides of the advice you've been given: have plans to get you OUT of the home but why should you have to leave your home or feel like you are not welcome IN YOUR OWN HOME?

At our old place, I very much felt like it was her house when she visited. It was DH's before I came along so it honestly felt like she already marked her territory and I was the one intruding on visits. IN MY OWN HOME. We've been at our new place for about 2 years now, she hasn't visited but I have vowed to myself that I'm not going to just take the backseat or be made to feel like the visitor.

So you have pics of your husband and your baby in your house but not you? Is this all the time or do you take them down when his family visits? I'm not really clear on that comment. Or do they only take pics of the baby and DH?

In all honestly, if you want to see change, you are going to have to be it. Luckily for you, you have a baby that can be attached to your hip. You get fed up with their selfish conversations? "Oh darn, it's time to feed the baby/change his diaper/burp him..." you have tons of excuses and even better if you breastfeed. No offense but they likely aren't there to visit you so I would try to give DH the time to visit with his family. It gets you out of there and it puts entertaining them up to him. And if your husband is the type where you are the one having to do interference or play host while he's elsewhere, he can be privy to their comments instead of you.

My MIL started this *thing* where she would not acknowledge me, talk to me, nothing unless I spoke up first when we got engaged. At first I was pretty annoyed. You know how some people will give you the silent treatment as a form of punishment yet it's the polar opposite? Well I took it as a blessing some ways. She didn't want to talk to me (and even if I did acknowledge her first, she either said "FINE. YOOOOU?" and then I got ignored for the rest of the time or she spoke very little), therefor I didn't have to listen to her BS! I let DH deal with her and enjoyed my conversations with GMIL. She's only visited us once when she was having these problems and she had a convention she wanted to attend but thankfully I had family coming into town so I let her and DH go and I went to see my family, who never showed up and it was not intentional on my part. We had dinner together each night (we ate out) and the last evening she was there, we all stayed in the living room and I read a book while her and DH watched TV and went over the stuff they got at the convention.

It's 'funny' that you are bursting at the seams to say something all weekend and I've found it easier to just not say anything over time and let their problems be their problems.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 1:26pm

Really?  What she deserves is "irrelevant" for the sake of having a relationship with these people?  I've been in the struggle with my inlaws for a long, long time and trust me.  I tried the idea of not complaining - sitting back and yes, maybe my situation is a bit different because my MIL was passive aggressive and didn't complain so much to my DH until a confrontation occured.  What she'd do all the rest of the time was ruin my life by making her snide little comments and taking her little shots at me through actions.  And, he started to be dished out to my kids pretty early on cause she knew that I could handle her comments to me.  Some people are just flat out bullies and there isn't a person out there that has dealt with a bully who would tell you to ignore it, it'll go away. 


I'll bet anyone who has waited and waited and waited for the DH to stand up to his parents on their behalf will tell you how many, many fights they've had and how close it came to ruining their relationship.  It wasn't until I took the burden off of my DH's shoulders and took action myself that we no longer fight about these people.  Most of the time our hurt is due to our inaction and our frustration over what is the right thing to do.  Ask anyone who is coping with a past hurt that is still present in their lives, it is because they simply did not get closure.  Closure isn't always in the form of an apology - it is in the form sometimes of getting things off of your chest and in my case - not allowing these people to "discretely get away with their actions."   


Yes, standing up for yourself may be exactly what they want - but really, what is the alternative?  Sitting around waiting for a time when they will admit fault and change or a time when DH will say "I now see it and I'm not going to tolerate it any longer."  Really, DH's usually aren't able to see a lot of the attacks that are made on the wives because they are done with passive aggressive - smile on their faces people who know exactly what they are doing.  He'll never see it and all that will do is make her resent him even more. 


This idea of let him deal with them - I thought that to for a long while - But, what happens when he gets the opportunity to speak his mind (getting things off his chest) and the mil/fil listen, say nothing, change nothing and now make things even worse on the dil?  All that has happened is the dil is left still being bullied and having never had a chance to speak her mind.  There's a reason God gave us a heart, a mind and a mouth.  And, I don't think it is to sit by and let even ourselves be treated badly.    If I'm wrong, okay.  But - I know from experience and emotions that I am not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2007
Thu, 09-13-2012 - 11:31am

Summer reminded me of something.

Last year was a rough one for us and it was when I decided that if he wants to visit his family, fine. But I'm not going to subject myself to it anymore. I also told him that I wouldn't take any attitude from him when he got back; he needed to flip that switch back onto husband mode when he walked through that door if for whatever reason it got switched off during the visit. 15 months later, he's never visited by himself and we've only visited for a funeral.

Then this year there was a chance that MIL would be visiting us for the weekend (for the first time since our wedding 3 years ago) and I flat out told DH what my expectations were as my house is my safe zone. I told him I was not afraid of calling the cops to remove her, if it came to that. After we both agreed on what our expectations were, we said we would give it a shot. She did not end up visiting.

Also, I have completely removed myself as hostess/entertainer/relationship manager and it's been that way for 4 years or so- she got really bad after we got engaged so I said "No more, you can handle her" so me not being hostess is not new. I let DH handle EVERYTHING; phone calls, mail, birthday cards, presents, etc. and it's been this way for a few years now.

Anyways. Since I removed myself from their dynamic, things are 100 times between myself and DH, and MIL has not only dug herself a hole, she has practically buried herself as well, ALL with her own doing.

ETA: my reason for sharing this is because I got to the point where I was frustrated (I always was) but I didn't want things to continue on as they were.  We were at our "deadline" for when we'd have kids and I didn't want to bring them into this.  Granted that "deadline" has been extended and we don't have kids yet nor will we be doing it anytime soon.  I've read too much and didn't want this to be our life.  So I made a choice: speak up now and possibly see our marriage end or continue going along with the same crap.  Was it scary? absolutely.  But I found speaking up 100% and laying everything out on the line to work for me.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2008
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 2:46pm

Hello!  Sorry you are dealing with all of this.  I too agree with Summergirl as I am in this exact situation.  I have been with my DH for 10 years, married for 4 and my inlaws are just like this - until now...

For years I depended on my DH to "put them in their place" and til this day he still hasn't and I don't see him doing it any time soon.  Not standing up for yourself will only allow your hubby to "not be hubby" while they are there and you will be so stressed out that you don't know what to do (hence coming to this board). 

My inlaws do that passive-aggressive thing too.  His sister is the same way as you described you SIL.  They are siblings, but not that close.  When we got married and his sister found out she was not chosen by me to be a bridesmaid (we had other things for her to do, and he did not pick my brothers...our choices), she and MIL went ballistic!  They went as far as to tell us the sister wasn't coming to the wedding, I had to hear her whole life story from MIL about how all of her life she wanted this and that....really...then she should set her goals a little more reasonable is what I wanted to tell MIL, but I didn't.  I was waiting for my then fiance to come to my rescue.  Needless to say he did not and we ended up arguing over MY wedding and what THEY wanted.  They even tried to wessel themselves in with him thinking he could over turn my choices of bridesmaids.  The kicker was when MIL "suggested" that SIL take the place of our son and be the best man....really?

And we have been going at it ever since..... 4 years and counting.  The thing of it is, you can't allow these things to continue to go on because you will become sick (if you haven't already).  My issue was/is that I am the one all upset all of the time and what is DH?  Happy!  What are my inlaws?  Happy (not really, but happy about our situation because they have caused issues they don't have to deal with).  So that only leaves me - unhappy.

You can't keep living your life waiting for some people that may or may not ever like you.  You have to deal with them the best way for you and if that is not at all, then so be it.  Inlaws can make it very hard for you if they want to.  In my case, my inlaws are all single and want to be married.  From the looks of it, they may never be married, but that is not any whishful thinking on my part, it is just how their cards are looking to me.  So jealously plays a part in their rudeness, meaness and their attempt at bullying me.  This may or may not be their reasons in your situation, but in reality we are being treated the same.

I know your hubby is important to you, as is all orf ours on this blog, but if we are not as important to them as they are to themselves, why do we need them?  I am not for divorce, but I am for standing up for yourself at all costs and sometimes that is the inevatable :smileysad:.  Good luck to you in your decisions, I hope things will get better for you sooner than later.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 2:04am
"What we deserve is irrelevant to any situation."   Wow, that statement smacks of low self-esteem to me. Your posts seem to be calling on her to just take the abuse and do nothing. Not agreeing with that at all.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 2:25am

I think summergirl123 is right on in her advice.There is always a time to start standing up for yourself and the time is now. The more you continue to put up with their rude and horrible behavior the more they'll continue to do it.  Your husband may not back you, but you need to then stand up to him and help him see it from your point of view. He may not ever see it that way. You may have to agree to disagree. I don't want to see you continue to be verbally abused in your own home by his family. And if they get mad or continue on this way, I'd have no hesitation in asking them to leave and not return until they've changed. I'd not go see them. Husband can go alone if he'd like, but until they change and apologize, stay away from these toxic people. My sister is in a similar situation and I've given her the same advice, yet she doesn't listen, goes to see them/has them at her house, and then would call me crying about it. I finally told her I wouldn't listen to it any more. She was choosing to not do anything and let them hurt her so she had to leave with it. I hope you can take summergirl's words to heart and not allow this to happen to you any more.

By the way, I had a very difficult time with my future in-laws before I married by husband. His mother was horrible to me several times, and I at first ignored it. My husband told her that at Thanksgiving he planned to bring me along. She threw a fit and refused to let me be there, saying there was no more room for one more person. So my husband and I thought it over and didn't go to their house at all, which just made  mommy dearest madder. She wanted the game played her way and we weren't going to. Shortly before the wedding she threw a major tantrum and called me every name in the book. I had to make it clear to my fiance that he had to choose to allow mommy dearest's behavior or support me as I was not going to put up with her behavior. He certainly chose me and made it clear to his mother that an apology was expected or she would not be welcome at our wedding. She threw another tantrum and didn't come ot our wedding, never saw our wedding pictures, and didn't talk to my husband for a long time. I felt terrible for him, but he'd been subjected to her bullying his whole life and I was glad  he could stand up to her. Over the years we saw his parents at times and she was never friendly, but stayed civil for the most part and I did the same. She died some years ago. I needed my husband's support and I think it helped him to finally stand up to her mean and cruel ways. No one in his family had ever stood up to her until then. Since she's died, family get-togethers have been much more relaxed and pleasant.

One other thing I want to share is that my husband isn't thrilled with my family. We have an agreement that I'll go with him to important family events and he'll go with me to important ones in my family. But our son sometimes goes with my husband for just casual visits and I stay home. Other times my son and me visit my parents for casual visits and my husband stays home. It's worked out pretty well. We sometimes, even for important events, have a clear time we'll be leaving so no one feels stuck. It's not that our families are terrible (not since his mom died) or say horrible things or treat each other badly, it's just that there are things we each dislike about the other's family so we put limits on it so we'll get along with each other and them.

Stand up for yourself. You've taken this abuse way too long!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 2:30am

As a perfectly sane person, I can assure you that their behavior is ridiculous. It's not just about you and your husband any more: your child is involved. Do you want someone who behaves like this watching after your child? There's no way I'd have ever left my son with my MIL, not for a second. Tell her flat out no, that doesn't work and you'll have to let her know when she can visit when it's convenient for you. And your husband needs to get off his rearend and support you. What vows did he make in marriage? Ask him if he wants his child treated this way too as that will happen unless together you put an end to his craziness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 2:34am

If it's possible (depending on the position of people in the picture), I'd blow it up larger and crop out MIL and frame it as if it were just daddy and baby. Photoshopping is really great for removing unwanted objects from pictures :smileyhappy: Maybe turn it into a game and that will get hubby on board: let's list all the crazy thing MIL has said or done. Now let's list SIL's. Maybe by having them pointed out so clearly he'll start seeing it from your viewpoint.