in-law issues help!!!
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default in-law issues help!!!

Alright, here it goes. This may be a long post, so get ready for the ride!

My husband has relatively large family. They do everything together as a family--- including work. They own a family business that has branches in different areas of the country. We recently moved to better handle one of the branches. The rest of the family reluctantly let us do this in order to have our own space. The rest of them run the satellite office and delegate the rest of the branches from that area. They took much offense in our wanting to move from the small area to a new area. Herein lie some of the issues.

First, I have a few sister-in-laws that are very money-oriented. I am not. They watch very carefully what each member of the family makes, personal purchases (ie houses, boats, cars), and the amount of business travel required from each family member. Very competitive. Very manipulative. Anyway, these girls have decided they don't like me because my husband refuses to travel for more than a week at the time. He prefers to rotate travel between them. They have suggested in the past that he oversee these branches in one month increments. He has refused. The girls say their husbands work harder than mine and get angry with me for it. (Also, keep in mind that he has seniority in this company and he actually had input in hiring them). He's working about 60 hour weeks but can max out at 70 or more sometimes. He's more than pulling his weight.
Now, may I add that much of those guys travel time actually has nothing to do with business? They often go on long golfing or hunting expeditions in the name of p.r. It's a load of bull. They're just wanting to dock responsibilities at home. Yet somehow, I've become the scapegoat for all of it because my husband expresses no interest in joining them. He figures he has to deal with them all the time because of work and wants a break from them on his time off.

I had approached the family when the women started giving me the silent treatment. (At first, I didn't know what the issue was). They denied a problem even existed but continued giving me the silent treatment. I figured out their issues with me by putting two and two together as well as gathering info from an outside source based on a little overheard gossip. So, my husband decided to confront the in-laws and his brothers. Again, denial there was an issue. Now, they don't speak to either of us unless the rest of the family is around and they become sickeningly sweet. They've since dropped little hints around the community and family that we are anti-family, that my husband doesn't pull his weight, and we're just selfish.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not selfish. I've actually received phone calls from people in my old town supporting me and telling me what's happening and they refuse to listen to any of it. Unfortunately, my husband's mother is now on their side. Because the others attend every family function ( getting together several times weekly) and live to please her and are at her command, we are the black sheep. We're a long way away and go to see them once every two months. Every time we now go, she's nice most of the time but gives a little subliminal guilt trip that we don't love them anymore. The last time we went to see her she said something about my husband being gone awhile to run an errand and in front of the whole family, she said to me "You know he does that to get away from you and the kids". She made it out to be a joke, but I obviously wasn't laughing. This happened at Christmas. She didn't apologize, but she never apologizes to anyone and everyone knows she just expects others to "get over it".


So, here we are, less than a month later, and she has called a couple of times to talk to my husband. She always ends the conversation with "I love you all". He thinks that's her way of apologizing. Recently she called to say she is planning an upcoming tropical vacation for the whole family and wants us to come. Well, of course the last thing I want to do is go on vacation with a room full of women that don't like me. The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm in really good shape, but I can just see the women's comments on me in my swimsuit or my nose is in a book and I'm anti-social or whatever else they can come up with

However, I also love my husband very much and don't want to come between him and his family. I don't want to be selfish. He hates the thought of going too, but he also wants to keep the peace from a business and personal standpoint. I've thought of just telling my husband to take the kids and go without me and I would visit my parents. However, the last thing I need is rumors about marital problems and I don't want him being given a hard time because I'm not there.

So, do I suck it up and accept the poor treatment for my kids to see their grandparents or do I put my foot down and tell them they can forget it until I'm treated with respect knowing I'll never get an apology? Please help!!
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

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Well, of course the last thing I want to do is go on vacation with a room full of women that don't like me.


Vacations with family that "loves you to death" can be difficult! I can tell you I'd never put myself in the situation you just described (being stuck on a vaction with manipulative people who don't like you).

If we were being treated that way by my family, I just wouldn't spend time with them. There's probably plenty of people in your life that treat you right, and are happy to have your company. I'd hang with them and do the family thing once a year.

It's all about "boundaries." You can have a great relationship with a really twisted individual if you keep them far enough out of your life. Spend time with the healthy ones.

Husband should be supportive of you. The whole family / work issue is tough too though. I can understand that making it more difficult. You also don't want to compromise your occupation, but who knows - if the work relationship gets bad, there's always other jobs.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

Just the fact that you validated my feelings means a lot. It relieves some of the guilt I'm feeling. It gives me a lot to think about. Thanks very much for the kind response.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

Your husband needs to tell them to stay out of your relationship. It may mean taking another job and leaving the "family empire". the last thing you need as a family is to live your lives under the microscope of the other family members. There are just some things that are none of their business, and your family's financial status is a biggie.

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Old 01-15-2009, 12:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

My MIL is very manipulative. she's nice to my face but says terrible things behind my back. Now my BIL doenst like me either, but he's the same as mom. I just dont go around them anymore. My H will visit them sometimes, though. There will always be people who dont like you. dont take it personally.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

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Originally Posted by moogvo View Post
Your husband needs to tell them to stay out of your relationship. It may mean taking another job and leaving the "family empire". the last thing you need as a family is to live your lives under the microscope of the other family members. There are just some things that are none of their business, and your family's financial status is a biggie.


Well put.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

H has decided that it is his place to confront them. It's not going to be pretty, but we agree with the statement about establishing boundaries. We shouldn't have allowed ourselves to be manipulated for this long, but you know what they say about hindsight.

How they handle the confrontation is up to them. The ball is in their court. Hopefully H won't be looking for a job in a fallen economy!!!!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

You know its spooky how similar your situation is to mine. My hubby runs the family business and we live less than a 100 yards from his parents and sister.

I'm lucky because I'm quite close with everybody apart from my sister in law. I mentioned in other threads about my poor relationship with her.

To be honest everything with my in laws clicked into place, they were very welcoming of me, they're are a few family ongoing family issues and the fact that I wasn't working meant I was able to pitch in and over time I got very close to my in laws. So I feel I make a contribution and I like being relied on to get problems sorted.

As for the family business hubby runs it now he was initally reluctant to stay involved but all of us wanted him to take over. It's had its ups and downs and its got so many people depending on it for a living its simply got to have priority and my not working takes that into account. If hubby needs to work late or spend some time away then he needs to end of story and I do my best to make it as easy as possible for him.

You're situation is much different while my brother in law (he's a student and just does it part time) and parents occasionally get involved they're quite happy to let hubby make the decisions. Actually having your family at work and at home must be pretty taxing let alone taking a holiday together

It sounds weird but I don't think you should be afraid of having family arguements, its better to get it out in the open than let it get passive aggressive. Also your family business is like any other business it has a hierarchy and if your sisters have problems with their place in it then they need to be told to wind their necks in. Giving in to them on even small things for a quite life is only going to mean bigger agro down the road.

Anywho good luck.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: in-law issues help!!!

Thanks, Sarah. Your post makes so much sense and I'm glad I'm not the only one dealing with these issues. It's so foreign to me because I've always gotten along with everyone. I'm not a drama queen-- in fact, I flee from it!! I hate even watching soap operas for that reason! LOL. So, it's been tough that there's denial of any sort of problem between us. It makes me look bad when they're secretly hateful and then so nice in front of everyone. I just clam up at family functions. I don't know how to be fakey like that and honestly have no desire to learn. The toughest part is aside from his dad and one of the brothers, we feel like it's us against the family. It's just tough feeling like David facing Goliath, you know? I'll admit, I've always been a peacemaker and am a bit of a doormat. Unfortunately, my husband hasn't historically been any tougher. I'm proud of him for standing up to them. It took a lot for him to announce to them that we were moving and needed our space. That was huge!

Unfortunately, his brothers married women just like his mother. Stubborn and unyielding. But, I can't change them and there's no point in trying. It's just a lonely place for us to be. I'm glad we're in it together!

As for family arguments, his family yells and then shuts down. If you're on the phone with them and anything uncomfortable comes up, they hang up and don't speak with you for several weeks until you've gotten over it. There's no talking through things. I'm a big communicator, so I have trouble combatting this sort of reaction. How do you handle silent treatment? It just feels like nothing is ever resolved and the resentment just continues to build.

Thanks to those of you for sharing your own experiences. It makes me feel better just knowing I'm not alone in this.
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