Mentally unstable FMIL, exhausting without limits.

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
Member
22 posts
Newbee

I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I am having similar issues with my FFIL. My FI recently decided that he had enough and stood up for us. His dad has his own mental issues and sees himself as the king of the house and controls everyone inside. He doesnt understand that FI doesn’t live in his house and is 27 years old.

It is incredibly hard to be in either of our situations. While I want to be well-liked by my FILs, I can’t keep taking the abuse to myself and FI and our relationship. I just want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles!

Post # 3
Member
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Oh dear…I’m so very sorry you’re having to deal with this. I felt moved to respond to your post because, although your FMIL’s behavior is a bit different than that of my MIL, it really hit home when you wrote that it’s as though your FMIL thinks she is entitled to get back what she put into being a parent and she sees your FI as some kind of surrogate husband figure it. My MIL thinks very similarly and I completely understand how difficult and frustrating it is. It’s something that’s really hard to explain to other people unless they’ve dealt with it firsthand, and my heat goes out to you. 

You did the right thing by sending your FMIL the message explaining your position in a rational manner. Even though it doesn’t appear that she is behaving very rationally herself, it’s important that you assert yourself and don’t get sucked into trying to placate her. It seems from your post that your FI is supportive of this as well which is absolutely essential–it’s impossible for you to draw any kind of boundaries if he feels like he has to coddle her and talk her down (and I speak from experience). As long as the two of you stay united in not putting up with her histrionics, the better off you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to enforce those boundaries. She might get upset but the world will not come to a screeching halt and life will go on, and with any luck FMIL will start to realize that she’s the only star of the soap opera she’s living in. Here’s to wishing you some peace and sanity…

Post # 5
Member
266 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I’m terribly sorry you and FI are dealing with this.

This behaviour is very reminiscent for me of my FSIL and also FMIL.

Unfortunately, FI and I have adopted the phrase “You can’t reason with crazy” in our home because we’ve realized there is just no way of changing their behaviour. Only changing our responses and feelings about their behaviour has kept us somewhat sane when dealing with them and their outbursts.

Post # 6
Member
5228 posts
Bee Keeper

 

Footballwife:  Wow, that sucks. It sounds like you and FI are already aware of what you need to do as far as setting boundaries with her. There isn’t much else you can do, unfortunately. I feel so bad for your FI. It is so hard to have a parent with a personality disorder. I’d continue to exucate yourselves on the best bway to handle her.

http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com › Family Connections

 

Post # 8
Member
1769 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Footballwife:  (sorry this is so long- you can look at my past threads to find more of our stories in case they might be helpful to you.) I’ve been dealing with something somewhat similar- only my now-husband’s dad and siblings were all supporting it also.  The mom would repeatedly expect my FI to go over to their house like he was her husband and as though she was an invalid or on her deathbed.  He’d get the silent treatment or yelled at if he called her in 10 days instead of in 7 days.  People would be upset if he didn’t make appts for her even though she and her husband are fully capable of making appointments.  

They would get upset if my FI didn’t call before every flight they took, then call when they landed, and when they returned.  One time when he actually did call and talk to his dad before he flew and called to make sure he landed, his mom said oh your dad landed but he hasn’t arrived at the house yet, I’ll call you when he does in about 2 hrs.  Then she never called back and my FI called her the next day.  A few days/wks later, she told my FI that she didn’t call back on purpose to test him because if he actually loved his parents, he would have called her back that same night after she didn’t call back when she said she would. It is/was insane.

She would send him very mean texts out of nowhere.  And both parents would get pissed at my FI/us without any reason and then would make up lies about me or my now-husband when relatives or family friends asked them why they were mad.  I have so many crazy stories that there isn’t space to write them all.

We both read a lot online about narcisstic personality disorder and controlling parents.  It was really helpful.  Your FI’s mom might be a type of narcissist that is called something like the victim narcissist.  As opposed to a directly controlling narcissist.

The biggest mistake my in laws made was giving us the silent treatment for the first few months of our engagement.  My FI said he’d never been happier or felt more free.  He realized that he got sick to his stomach w/dread every time he called them because he had no clue if they would yell at him for no reason or act normally.  And once they stopped talking to us, he realized that his life is better without that dread and he would never live that walking on egghshells life again.

Basically, my now-husband had to stop interacting with his parents on any real level because they were toying with him just to manipulate him.  The relationship was about control and guilt.  They would set up all these neverending tests and if he didn’t do what they said, that proved he didn’t love them and he was mean.  A lot of it revolved around his mom being unhappy, unable to take it out on his dad, and then both parents getting upset at my FI for no reason.  My FI and his siblings were raised to think that doing every single thing to give the attention their mom craved is just being a good child and it’s what good kids owe their parents.  Just insanity.

It took him actually doing the things they said they wanted him to do, then realizing it would never ever be enough because it’s a sick game that they might not even know they’re playing with him.  all the time.

Counseling can help.  For us, premarital counseling was really a way for my FI to process all the hurt his parents had inflicted on him and what they were continuing to try to do, realizing that he’s much happier and we do much better when he does not accept that treatment (even if it means excluding them from our lives partially or fully), mourn and grieve for not having better parents that can act in ways that feel more loving and productive, and start to learn how to make our own life decisions together and not fall prone to their guilt and manipulation.  Be careful if you pursue this route, a lot of ppl say things like- well, what are you going to do, she’s your mom, so you have to put up with it.  No, nobody does.  Every person we interact with is a decision.

Like others have said, we can’t do anything to ensure that a parent behaves reasonably toward us except to choose not to interact when they’re being mean and crazy.  Good for you and your FI to set the boundaries you need.  Once we realized my now-husband’s mom did not act reasonably- I stopped talking to her nearly completely because, even though she loved me like a daughter before we got engaged, she seems to only have venom for me since shortly after my now-husband proposed.  It’s been good to set boundaries during our engagement because we have had a lot of time to discuss tons of things- how he won’t let them talk bad about me to him, how he isn’t welcome to their house if I’m not, how no parent can ever live in our home if they are destructive toward our relationship or unreasonable to either or both of us, how no grandparents will be in our future kids’ lives if we aren’t both comfortable with them and sure the grandparent won’t badmouth either of us even if alone.

Post # 9
Member
22 posts
Newbee

Shkragoldfish:  SPOT ON. Every time I read your posts about your ILs, I have hope… Sometimes, hope that my FILs will just disappear, but hope nontheless!

Post # 10
Member
7 posts
Newbee

Oh man, I definitely related with what you’re going through. It sounds like he’s been thrust into the role of a surrogate husband (a thing you see repeated on here whenever the existing spouse is absent either emotionally or physically). My issue is with a FSIL and it is just as stressful.

I just wanted you to know you are not alone!

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