Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help ! - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 09:35 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

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Originally Posted by turnera2 View Post
With strong mothers, it's almost impossible for the child to stand up to her. Either because he's afraid of her being disappointed with him or because he's used to her and enjoys her ways.

This isn't going to change. A therapist would tell you that the only thing YOU can do is set boundaries and consequences for what YOU will do if they overstep those boundaries. You can't change them, you can only change what YOU do. Yes, you need to make it clear to your husband what YOU will do, and then do it. He will then have to choose to support his wife or his mother.
Another piece of frankly dangerous advice.

1) With strong mothers, the goal is not to "Stand up" to her. Rather, the goal is for him to support his wife. The two aren't the same, there's a not so subtle difference btwn confronting the wolf and protecting your cubs.

2) This can change, but not easily, and usually not without professional help. Whenever a dynamic exists that pre dates the marriage, a more gentle approach that recognizes and (at least initially) respects the existing boundaries is best..even if it seems contradictory. The co dependence or enmeshment needs to change gradually and the (adult) child needs to be slowly weened. Abrupt changes or "Ultimatums" almost always backfire and lead to (at best) marital problems or (often) separation. In much the same way that crash dieting almost always doesn't work long term, the same can be said of an emotional dependence abruptly terminated.

3) What YOU can do is be clear with your experience of the behavior and your needs and expectations AND be very supportive of the (adult) child and most importantly, the marriage. What YOU want is to change the behavior, not back yourself into a corner. What YOU can change about yourself is your tolerance as well as your timeline, and stick to the therapy and the plan.

Maybe a "Counselor" might offer different advice or perspective, but a well trained Therapist would agree with this approach.

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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 12:48 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Unicus, you're allowed to post your thoughts without piggybacking off someone else's post. Address the OP and stop arguing with other responders. It is distasteful. And, your attitude that you are always right and everyone else is wrong is, also, distasteful.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 10:09 AM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

A few suggestions.

1. Financial When we got married and we had problems i.e financial - his parents would always step in and assist. I was very uncomfortable with this but when I would say something, my husband would point out that I was being ungrateful. You should try not to ask for help. If they provide it, you do not have to thank them. What husband does is his business.

2. Toys "My MIL will buy toys for my child even after I've said she doesn't need them. if I say no, she will go straight to my husband who will tell her to do what makes her happy. Whatever toys she buys for my child, she will comment for weeks on end about how THAT TOY is my child's favourite toy and how much my child "loves" it and how she couldn't possibly live without it!

Is there a little petty jealousy here? Grandparents buy kids toys as they fit, and tell how good the toys are. Candidly, your response seems a little childish.

3. Distance They are apparently 4 hours away so this cannot be that intrusive.

4. Gifts "now that we have moved 4 states away, they send my husband weekly care packages, filled with random things ! You included an exclamation mark, but that does not seem like a horrible thing- gifts for the kids a problem, gifts for husband problematic too.

5. Love life Is your life satisfactory; if not if time with you is limited, there's a lot of conflict, that will draw him closer to his parents.

6. Name The stuff about the baby's name was crazy and his parents wrong, but try to get over that.

7. Advice "my MIL actually said to me that I never go to her for advice and that I take advice from "random people" and my response to her was that I choose to take advice from my GP and my midwife whom I regard as experienced professionals in their field."

Obviously you do not need to take advice from her, but you she is not going to take advice from you either.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 12:37 PM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

My dear, I'd like to give you background on me, before I give you my advice, so that you're aware of my "experience" with these things.

When I got married, I moved in to my husband's house which he owned with his older brother. We lived with his mom, sister, brother (and later, brother's wife and child). You can imagine the amount of limit-crossing and boundary-trespassing that occurred. My husband absolutely refused to move out, and our once-very-loving marriage turned into constant arguments. He always told me to leave, if I wasn't happy. After one particularly intense emotionally and verbally abusive episode, I did...leave, that is.

Two years later, I'm ready to file for divorce.

Here's what I've learned.

1. You cannot change his mother or father.
2. You cannot change him (although you most certainly should try to talk to him calmly, maybe go to counselling/therapy, get him to be more close and attached to you rather than to his parents).
3. You CAN change yourself.

I know it's frustrating to deal with intrusive in-laws. Having a new baby and seeing your MIL hover around is absolutely maddening at times. But that phase is over, and you know what not to do when the next baby arrives (don't live with your in-laws).

They live 4 hours away from you, this is good. If they visit too often and stay for too many days in your home, this is something you and hubby will need to talk about and set boundaries. Be firm. Tell him it's negatively affecting your marriage.

If they buy toys for your child or gifts for your husband, let it go. It's annoying, yes, but pick your battles. This is one of those things that will make them look like angels, and you like a jealous evil person, if you complain about it. What I'd do is tell hubby that you don't want the house cluttered with gifts you won't use, so put them away in the basement or give them away. Don't feel obligated to keep or display every gift. They do it out of love, so don't make an issue of it.

If their house is cluttered and dangerous, don't go and don't let your child go. Simple. Again - you cannot change them, but you can change your own actions and behaviour.

Your situation is NOT hopeless - they don't live with you, or even close to you. Allow the care packages, take a deep breath every time you remember their annoying past actions, and move on. Live your life. They don't control you, YOU control you. Set limits on visits, let the rest go. Having conversations with your MIL is futile if she acts like a victim...having conversations (calm ones) with your husband however, is important and is part of a healthy marriage.

Learn to pick your battles.
This behaviour is ingrained in your husband's family since he was born. If you can't stand them, avoid contact but be loving when you do see them. If you have to be fake, be fake. It's not a hopeless situation like mine was, where I literally had to leave my home because my husband and in-laws mistreated me and my child on a daily basis and I had no voice or opinion of my own. Now I live in my own home and make my own decisions. People hate me for it, and sometimes my self-esteem is absolutely crushed, but I know life will get better.

Don't let the small stuff become deal-breakers...your husband and child and you are a family unit, too. You guys are important. It would be a tragedy if you allow these annoyances to ruin your marriage.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 01:11 PM
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Re: Issues with Mother-In-Law - Please Help !

Your problem is not your in-laws. You married "The Boy in the Glass Bubble". Because of his health issues his parents became his primary caregiver. This created the unusual family dynamics. If he said "I want a hamster" they would have given it to him but the care of the pet would have fell on his parents. You are his hamster.

They don't recognize you as his wife just as they don't consider him an adult male. This is the only family life your husband knows and he is very comfortable with this arrangement.

Right now you are the hamster that's made a mess of her cage. You husband want to keep his pet happy but doesn't want to deal with the mess so he is looking towards his parents to make it better. His parents are more than happy to make you behave like a good little hamster.

You need to investigate why you felt "The Boy in the Glass Bubble" was husband material.
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