Relationship with Inlaws and DH

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Relationship with Inlaws and DH
6
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 9:12am

I've never had a connection with inlaws and I've learned to tolerate a lot over the years, What I'm wonding is if DH's own relationship contributes to my aversion!  Nobody in the family is close, It's dysfunctional and communication is more about what they assume about one another than actual , intelligent conversation and truths.  We're lucky we live far away and I've been incredibly lucky b/c his problem family has made me appreciate my family more.  Respect is huge and that's out there, I insist my kids show them the utmost respect too but I sometimes feel sorry for DH b/c he was starved of family, He's a great guy and I know that's what I fell in love with but I have to admit that a lot of stupid arguments are about his family and their stupid ways, We never argue money like they say is a strain on some families and we don't disagree a lot about raising the kids, values et al.  If I could I'd place my husband in a new, deserving family but I know I can't do that, Lol.  My husband turned 50 last year and I'm close, As we age ourselves I've sort of given up trying to please others like them and I certainly don't want DH to feel like a puppet around them anymore either!  Thoughts?  Similar experiences?  Thanks for reading! 

 


 


Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 02-24-2013 - 7:43pm

Hi,

My heart goes out to you. All my siblings married into dysfunctional families. I was 15 when my older brother got married and I remember wondering why none of my sister-in-laws family couldn't see to engage in conversation. It didn't get better! LOL! 

I highly recommend books by John Bradshaw. His book, "Family Secrets" is a classic look into dysfunction and it may help both of you to "see" how his family is behaving.

Best wishes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Thu, 02-28-2013 - 11:10am
Thanks a lot for that book recommendation, wisdomtooth!

 


 


Community Leader
Registered: 05-19-2008
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 2:35pm

When I read stories about how husbands are so mistreated by their own families - it breaks my heart as well for them and yes, it is similar situation with my own DH and we are close in age to you :).  I think that what you said about it making you think better of your own family - is so true.   I use to really think - "wow, DH is so lucky to have such an active family oriented family"  so you're probably wondering how it could be different after I was involved in their family for a few years.  You see, it takes a lot of time to really understand the dynamics of how a family works.  I learned so many things over the years - even things that DH didn't divulge until we were married maybe 20 or more years.  That's a long time to keep finding things out that you never really knew.  On the surface, they seemed so sweet and kind - but wow does things change as you scratch off the layers of the surface and see what is really underneath.  I'm not trying to hijack your post but I do feel it goes hand in hand with what you are asking.  You want to figure out a way to help your DH - I did as well want to help my own DH and still do - it's a struggle.  He's so brainwashed into thinking that if they say jump and he doesn't jump that he won't secure that little bit of love they actually bestow upon him.  Sadly, my DH isn't a push over and is very self assured - that's what drew me to him.  But to see him respond in this manner to these people - wow it just was really hard to grasp because I'm the same (or so I thought) but never, ever felt that I needed to earn someone's love.  The clashing of this concept made us fight a lot - sometimes still.  But, you seem to have come to the realization that these people are not going to change.  (something I finally got to in my own brain).  It sounds like you've also been able to stand up to them or at the very least not become a victim to their dysfunction.  But your question is how to keep DH from being their puppet....

I think the only way to do this is to continue to stand your ground with them - not allow them to abuse or treat your family disrespectfully.  Set the boundaries (which you probably already have) that are important to you.  These are going to prevent them from interrupting your own lives with their lack of communication and / dysfucntional behavior.  If, however, your DH wants to continue to be their pupper, all you can do is try to point out to him in a non threatening way that he deserves better.  When you get upset and approach the conversation with DH - in all liklihood he'll get upset and then lash back at you.  I couldn't understand this because it was always his family causing the problems yet always he and I that would fight.  Until I realized that he feels powerless or did feel powerless to stand up to them and he just didn't know what else to do.  My DH would always turn the conversation into "I'm attacking him for the things that they do - and thus the fight would ensure."  He was probably right until I took control and confronted them myself.  Then I felt that I had the power and didn't have to rely on him.  Now, when I see them control him or attempt to control him, I can more reationally talk to him to try to get him to see what they are really doing.  I don't attack or usually come out with an angry stance but more of a "try to see" attitude.

It does help DH's see this when they aren't feeling the resentment that we hold when no one is standing up to them.  

I hope this helps.  I agree also that some books for him and maybe counseling is also a great idea.  I think the hardest thing a child can do (even at 50) is stand up to their parents.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-15-2005
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 9:34am

My husband is from a CRAZY dysfunctional family as well. They use the fact that they were "poor", though dad made a GREAT living, but was the ONLY one supporting the family as an excuse for EVERYTHING. Kids grew up without any rules or regs and my borther in laws are following in similar footsteps. My mother in law never worked a day in her life, tried a few times but felt work was too stressful. In additiion she is a LOUSY homemaker, can't cook, clean, dress, anything...she is disinterested in anything that does not involve smoking her face off, watching soaps and playing Bingo. She and father in law, now not in great health never put any demands on themselves or kids. Never took a holiday except at a family owned cottage, never dined out at an upscale restaurant, never expected their kids to call or visit grandparents ever and certainly not past age 15. Partying every weekend including binge drinking was common. I did not know all this when I married. My Point: Once I found out, I put my foot down. I LOVE my hubby and can't ask him to disown his family, but I can ask him to ask them to change or "I" will disassociate from them or divorce him if I have to. While I LOVE him, I LOVE me more. I expect, darn it, demand better and If I can't get it well then it's goodbye to the family and him if need be. I let him know he had a choice to make and so did his family. The world does NOT revolve around them. I can compromise on their behalf but they HAVE to meet me halfway and he has to support what "I" and now "We" stand for. If he continues fo tolerate bad behaviour then he is doing nothing more than enabling, and feeding their poor lifestyle choices and addictions which in my opinion, in their mind, confirms they are not really doing anything wrong. Actions MUST have consequences, even when it comes to those we LOVE. In fact, I believe you can LOVE someone but not like them, and it's that LOVE that will encourage YOU to do the right thing to help them and help them improve their life, vis a vis intervention on any part, even if it compromises the relationship. Remember, change is always difficult, but sometimes necessary. My premise is tha work and society have rules and so should families. If you don't do your job correctly you get fired. If you don't do what's expected in your family then you get "fired". Simple as that. Harsh, but true.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 9:53pm
Thanks for your understanding Summergirl, And I know I have to "stand my ground" which I do but it's hard b/c he sometimes get caught up in his stupid family spins b/c that's all he knows, I agree that we need to separte ourselves from them, They are so full of bitterness and they've never been pleasant people to be around.

 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 10:01pm
Thanks for your reply, My husband didn't grow up privleged but he didn't grow up without either, His mom grew up poor and I don't think she ever washed off that poor attitude, She's very street smart and curt, Certainly not the kind of mother or grandmother I was used to! His dad is aloof, He has no clue and has never been a role model. Dh is schooled (and was the first to graduate college) but not educated if that makes sense, I just get tired of the nonsense sometimes. I agree with your thoughts about actions and love and I will rest on that.