Advice needed, In-laws again

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by totoro, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am in such a place right now. Between sadness and anger.
    husband was talking to his Stepdad on Monday. father in law and mother in law were going to pick up the girls from Horse camp and Gym-camp. In-laws paid for this.
    husband and I had and apt.
    father in law asked if they could all go our to lunch and then shopping.
    husband said he didn't think this was a good idea. 4 hours of horse back was A LOT for K and she has 2 more days of this, then it is Christmas Eve and then Christmas. He said (nicely) if they could just take them to their house and be mellow for the afternoon?

    father in law lost it. (which is unlike him). He yelled, "I guess we will just feed them and put them to bed or what ever!"
    Mind you they were picking them up at 12:30!

    husband lost it and said what the F' are you talking about? They went rounds and husband tried to explain once again that K can not do more than one activity in a day... father in law acted like he has never been told this.
    This led to the words, "Self fulfilling prophecy" coming out of his mouth. "We have created this."
    husband said he is so sad that this is the way he feels.
    It ended with husband saying they need to go and talk to our psychiatrist.
    father in law said whatever, he would go.
    But he does not believe in this.
    We made an apt for Jan. 5th.
    Oh and Monday night K was a wreck and that night she broke down and raged. Told us she would not go back to Horse camp. This morning, she still would not go. I have no idea what else the in-laws did with her after they picked her up, but of course they did not have to see that part.

    So husband met with them today, so we can at least TRY and have a decent Christmas.
    3 hours of yelling and crying with mother in law, father in law and husband.
    They said 95% was MY FAULT and 5% was maybe Mental Illness.
    They blamed it all on me, I was too strict. I was mean to K. Treated her harsher than N.
    K has said that she is afraid of me and that she thinks I like N better.
    (She says that carp to me about others!!!)
    They said they do not believe in Mental Illness so much, then mother in law would say she does believe... father in law thinks it is BS.
    They said they think the only way to save us as a family is to go to family therapy.
    They all agreed, I need to.
    husband is not going to back away from his family. They are making plans on moving here full time. I am po'd, if they felt this way why didn't they make it clear before, I would have never moved down here to be close to family!!!
    So I have to let these things go. I have to *get over* these things.
    mother in law does not like me. I do not really like her or father in law now.
    How in heaven do I do this???
    I just feel so defeated. I feel so beat up and ganged up on.
    I just feel like giving up.
    If I didn't love husband, I would walk out right now.
    Part of me feels like doing it anyway.
    I just don't know if I can do this.
    He is at a game with his Brother.
    I am sitting here crying.
    I feel like I can never parent the girls now. I feel like am looked at as the whole problem, no matter what the psychiatrist says.
    The only way to keep K stable is to stick to shcedule to try to help her maintain her calm.
    They never see her crying in my arms at night. The times she is screaming for me to make it all better.
    The years we have fought to help her.
    The stinking violence. The bruises the bites all over my arms and legs.
    I have never raised a hand to that kid.
    Yes she pushes my limits, but my gosh... I am only human.
    I love that kid.
    I just don't know how to get over this.
    I am sorry this has dragged on, I just needed to get it out.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    How unfair for them to blame you. Often, unless they have dealt with the daily living with a difficult child, people do not understand. My in-laws blamed me for everything---husband's addiction, difficult child's issues. I just ignored it most the time. My husband, however, did stand up for me. He would tell them when they were wrong. Your husband needs to step up to the plate.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    He does stand up for me, but he wants us all to *get past this* he says we are all going to have to deal with each other so lets get it all out in the open and get over it.
    Which would be fine except they do not speak honestly, they lie and they blame me!
    I guess I am just wondering if I have it in me to be this big person and if I will be able to grin and act like everything is sunshine and rainbows when I see them?
    I will not be able to discipline the girls. I will have to just sit and smile...
    See if they go to the apt and then see how they feel after that, I guess?
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wish I knew better, more effective words to express this- it is the in-laws that are going to lose in this situation, in my humble opinion. It appears to me that your husband does know that you and he are doing what needs to be done and you're working through things with the kids as best you can. I think he's still hoping (understandably so) that his parents can help bridge the gap between all of you. That's unlikely to happen, but it will take him longer thatn you to give up on that.

    You KNOW who you are- none of us are perfect- as people or as parents- so don't feel guilty or upset- there is no reason to. You know your kids better than anyone. It sounds to me like husband sees and knows all this too. But, I can see where he might have a little tougher time when he's trying to deal with his family (you and the kids) at the same time he's trying to figure out how much he needs to puit his foot down with his parents.

    So, hang on- I really believe you will come out the bigger and wiser person. It's just a tough road and I'm sorry you have to be on it. And keep parenting your kids as you see fit- to h*** with what they say about it. You have to be you and their mom before anything. They have to learn how to get over it.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Toto, I have dealt with this type of situation with my in-laws. They blame the "environment" (in other words, "bad parenting") as causing our kids' issues. They do not believe in medicating children (even if our psychiatrists have told us we had no choice). Because my father is a doctor, they blame me for getting us involved up to our eyeballs in psychiatric care. They have, on the one hand, said we need to set stricter limits on J, and on the other hand, not get into power struggles with him about homework (for the record, we don't). A recently suffered a concussion, which left her with a bad headache and fatigue. Our docs told her to rest (in fact, she missed her exams and will make them up in January) so we didn't go on a road trip to New Jersey to see our niece dance in The Nutcracker. My in-laws criticized our decision by saying A was fine and we didn't need to coddle her. Fortunately, they live in Connecticut and we live in Maryland, which means we don't have to listen to their garbage all that often.

    Which brings me to how I would recommend you and husband need to handle this situation. You are never going to change your in-laws, but you can change how you deal with them. I think you and husband need to tell them as a united front that you agree to disagree. You are K's and N's parents, and while not perfect, you both are doing the very best job you know how to meet their needs. And then I think you need to just stop talking about and defending your parenting decisions. You and husband are doing a tremendous job under extremely trying circumstances (and never forget that!).

    by the way, when we offered my in-laws an appointment with J's psychiatrist so they could better understand his illness, they declined! At least your in-laws will go to an appointment, even if it won't end up changing their minds.

    Hugs, Toto. I know how truly difficult this situation is.
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks so much you guys. You made me cry all over again.
    I guess I will cross that road, if they decide they still do not believe when we get there.
    Because they want to spend more and more time with the girls. Sleepovers etc. I just can't allow that if they are not at least trying to help K maintain a tiny bit of stability. Sigh.
  7. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I would say stand your ground. You are a good mom. Outside folks that don't want to open their eyes can be so hard.

  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    My mother in law was a harridan to put it mildly. I was never good enough for her or her family. Truth be told, if it weren't for me, my ex would never have called her, never gone to see her, never bought her a card or a gift. I forced him to do it. For 10 years, I put up with her verbal abuse. He never stood for me.

    Finally, they came to visit us. I don't remember what my mother in law said but it had to have been pretty cruel. I ended up leaving the room in tears. When I came back, my ex was laying into his mother, telling her everything that I had done to keep a relationship going between her and her son. My in laws left that evening and I never talked to them again. Well, they never talked to me. No great loss in my mind.

    Your husband is doing a lot more than mine did and he likes his parents. He did argue with his father today. He does understand the issues with K. He may not defend you 100% but that's more to protect his parents than to hurt you.

    Sadly, many people don't believe in mental illness. It's a shame there isn't something that shows physically. It would be so much more acceptable. Try to explain to your father in law that K has a chemical imbalance and the medications are to try to help get the right balance.

    One thing I'm going to suggest that will probably be against everything everyone else suggests is that you're going to have to "give" a little on the structure that K needs. Until your in laws actually see how K is when her routine is totally disrupted, they're going to fight you and, sadly, they're going to do it behind your back. I think it would be much better if you knew what they were doing so that you could have some idea of what is going to happen when she gets home.

    Grandparents feel it is their duty to spoil the grands. If they want to go riding and then eat ice cream for the next 3 hours, they're going to let the grands do it and there's nothing the parents can do about it. Let them have the kids for a few weekends if possible. Let them see how hard it is for K when her routine is totally fouled up. They might get on the same page a lot quicker that way. If not, at least you'll know K had some fun before her demons took over.

    And you're going to have to get a pretty tough skin. Until your in laws' eyes are opened, you're going to be blamed. After they're opened, you're probably still going to get the blame -- it has to be your genes, not their son's. If nothing else, you get tobe one of those who actually understand why there are nasty in law jokes. Sorry you can't have the more understanding type.

  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Maybe there is good reason why I'm single.

    Because, if it were me and they said they didn't like me then they wouldn't be coming into my house. Family or not, I don't care. husband and the kids can visit at their place. As far as 'you all need to get through this'...well, you have tried. And you have tried hard. They have not met you even a quarter of the way.

    I see what MB is saying about letting them see K's instability. However, I don't think it's at all fair to K just to prove a point to the in-laws. Especially not with the way this went down. It sounds like they have their minds made up and I wouldn't be surprised if they go to the psychiatrist just to tell them how 'horrible' you are. But, I'm a cynic.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with Smallworld. Stand your ground and make no excuses for how you parent K. Parenting K is not their job and unless you're abusing a child, you don't have to answer to anybody. Period.

    I honestly cannot believe anyone not liking you. You can tell them that I don't like them either. So there.
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    MB you are right on so many levels.
    It is so good to hear these stories. Not that I am glad some of you have been through it! But the advice really does help.

    One thing that makes me just livid, is that they have seen here in a complete rage, completely manic.
    I do not know how they discount this. I know they blame it on me. But they saw it they were part of it! One time I wasn't even there! LOL
    That must be the 5%...
    I guess this is part of my journey.
    I do agree i need to just step back when we are with them. This is going to give me more health issues if I don't.
    You guys are better than a therapist!!!
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Heather you snuck in!
    That is how I feel!!! I am trying so hard... this is how I have been acting. I did not go over there the past couple of times.
    This is causing husband so much stress. I am trying to be the bigger person, for once in my life instead of telling them to kiss my *%$!
    husband begged me to give it one last try.
    And believe me I have been a bit of a B---- them in the past. I just can't take it at times.
    Monday! husband asked them to please make sure K had her gloves, hat, helmet and water bottle. She would not remember, why? Because she is mentally ill, scattered and will be so unfocused by the time they are done... etc!
    Of course they forgot, because they were not listening, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, Oh she will remember, she is 7"
    No hat, no gloves! Lost, brand new!
    I had to go and buy new ones today...
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    husband isn't the only one being stressed by this. And he doesn't have to deal with being the 'blamed', 'bad' parent. He doesn't have to svck it up and make nice with people that don't like him.

    She's 7 so she should remember??? Ummm...nope. Not even without mental illness.

    I think your husband is a good guy. I just don't get the one last try. You have tried. Repeatedly. Frankly, I would have been done when they dumped crotchety grandpa on you out of the blue.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Toto, first, a hug. And a nice hot cup of tea. Now, here's my opinion on the in-law fiasco...

    I still have in-law issues with Husband 2.0. Miss KT's Grandad was a really good man, still can't figure out how Useless Boy became so useless. Anyway, after Grandad died, Grandma became hostile towards us, and it's now developed into open warfare. Everything I do for Miss KT, with Miss KT, allow Miss KT to do, is wrong, and I'm a terrible excuse for a mother who is damaging this poor child. I don't care. My job is to parent my kid however I feel is the best way. I'm sure I've made mistakes along the way, but that's not for Grandma to judge. I do the best I can with the information I have available.

    If the in-laws aren't on board with the schedule that you and husband have developed for K and N, you need to step in to maintain it, no matter what the in-laws say. The girls are the most important part of this equation. It doesn't matter if they see K in full force or not, it's going to be your fault. You're not going to change their minds. Do what you do best...raising those two beautiful little girls.

    Here's another hug and and refill on your tea.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sending you a very gentle hug.

    I am proud that your husband stood up for you. It seems to be very hard for husband's to do. Mine won't. Period.
    They are adults. It is time for you and husband to sit them down, telll them to grow up and be adults or they will be regulated like 7yos. Period. Then stick to it. No husband waffling, etc...

    It might be very enlightening to set up video cams in your home to see how the GRANDS are behaving!! And to have evidence they can't sanely deny.

    I am so sorry. IT stinks to have this on Christmas Eve. Sending gentle hugs!!
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wow. They don't believe in IT? That's rich. Like they don't believe in the TOOTH FAIRY? Or Leprechauns? Or Big Foot? I think I'd be laughing hysterically if someone said that to me about my difficult children' issues. That's just about the most asinine thing I've ever heard! Perhaps they also don't believe in chickenpox? Or the common cold? Or diabetes? Or Down's Syndrome? Or autism? Maybe cancer? What else don't they believe in? Maybe they don't believe in high blood pressure? Or heart disease? Or perhaps cholesterol is just a marketing gimmick made up by the drug companies? Okay, how's this -- you can tell them: I don't believe in YOU, so therefore YOU don't exist!

    Well, I can tell you they'd better be prepared to eat a big helping of humble pie after the psychiatrist appointment with you!

    Don't let them browbeat you into thinking you don't know how to parent your kids. They are WAAAAAY out of line here. You keep on doing what you KNOW is RIGHT and what you KNOW WORKS for your kids. YOU (okay, and husband, too) ARE THE ONLY AUTHORITY IN THIS MATTER. Their opinion is something that should only come out if solicited -- thankyou very much! If they don't like it, show them the door. You didn't give birth to these kids and come down the hard road you've travelled thus far to have them come along and completely undermine and minimize the work you've done and the value you bring to your family. And it IS YOUR FAMILY. Not theirs. They've had their turn at raising kids. Now it's yours -- warts and all.

    Grrrrr.... what IS it with in-laws and the holidays?
  16. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    What part of mothering says you are up for evaluation by anyone other than yourself, your husband and your God?
    You are their mother. If you see there are areas you can improve- more power to you. Having in laws be critical is not a reason to be terminated. Sorry. You have to get up this morning and be a mother.
    Keep your family business private. No more sharing of the treatment plan. You are your child's warrior advocate. You and husband make a plan and raise your children. Give them only info as it relates to them. They raised their kids. This is your job.

    Who cares what they believe in? It's ignorance and the need to believe that a forceful person cures what ails our kids.

    You love your husband, then be polite. Smile and do not share your family's business with them. Totally superficial. I did it for about 10yrs.
    Raise your children the way you see fit.
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I agree with Fran. You and husband need to stop letting them in on your household's business. You tell them it's not convenient when they want to do something with the girls that is contrary to what they need. End of story. FWIW, I was "too rigid" and "coddling" and "exaggerating" with Duckie's problems. I finally got fed up and told my critics (who were in my family, by the way) that they could keep their opinions to themselves. It was ultimately my responsibility as Duckie's primary caregiver to get her to adulthood in one piece, not theirs. They could be an armchair quarter back to someone else. It caused a lot of resentment and hurt feelings, but they finally backed off. Now, that Duckie is doing better, I hear that I'm a great mother, etc. :hammer: Of course, it's been easier for us because most of Duckie's issues can be attributed to her physical illnesses. I think your inlaws really need to look into their hearts and project how they will feel about their mentally ill granddaughters as adults, because there's a decent chance that the girls' problems will continue well into adulthood. They need to understand that you and husband are in this for the long haul, not just for an afternoon.

    {{{Hugs}}} And by the way, I think you are a great mother.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I know there is intermingling of business stuff with the family business. But other than business stuff, tell them to butt out.

    Simply state that as they don't believe in your children's problems, they cannot possibly take adequate care of them so they won't be allowed to be alone with them. They may have limited supervised visitation, scheduled in advance at YOUR, husband's and the GIRLS' convenience.

    and then hang up.

    It CAN be that simply. Either get on board, support us, or don't be an independent part of the organization. It Take a LOT to mother your children, and you do a superb job.

    With their beliefs, they can't possibly babysit, so hire someone to do that. A few times of that - with the sitter explicitly informed that these people cannot enter the home, WILL get it through.

    I am so sorry. You truly do a great job mothering your kids. They need you and they love you.

    Hugs for all of you!
  19. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I also agree with Fran and TM. How you choose to parent your children is your business, no one else's. in my humble opinion, I wouldn't let your in-laws visit the therapist. If they don't believe you, too bad!!!:mad:

    I know how difficult impossible family members can make life. To try and keep the peace, I would try to keep things pleasant on the surface and try to let whatever your in-laws say bounce off of you. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve or feel like you need to explain everything to them.

    You are a wonderful, caring, and loving mother!!! Your girls are lucky to have you!!! If your in-laws don't see things this way, it's just because they are sitting on their brains!!!

    Sending you lots of hugs... WFEN
  20. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hugs, toto. I don't have much good advice to give cause I'm still struggling with the same issue. But know I'm here with ya and offering a hug and a hand.

    Best I've been able to do is just stay away. Even when they come to my house, I don't go out or invite them in. Its cold, but its how we function right now.