Post # 1
DH’s parents are divorced. It was a bad divorce about 8 years ago and they have been putting DH in the middle ever since. It has gotten to the point now where I am being put in the middle as well. I’ve only been dealing with it for a few months but I’m sick of it. I can see that it stresses DH out but when I bring it up he tells me he is just used to it. However, I am not used to it and I’m sick of being used as a pawn in their game.
It’s his family so I know that he gets to dictate our communication with them but it’s hard keeping my thoughts to myself on this. They have all pulled so much crap and it just continues. I can’t imagine dealing with this (especially if we have kids) for the rest of our lives. I’ve been feeling pretty down about the holidays coming up because I know they are going to be affected by drama.
I’ve suggested to DH that we tell them to cut the crap or we won’t be communicating with them but he refuses (and I absolutely understand that this is his right) so this isn’t really an option. I guess I’m just looking for advice on how to deal with this. It feels like we are on an emotional roller coaster with them and at times it does affect our relationship. I grew up in a very undramatic family so I have no experience with this. Any advice bees?
Post # 3
@MrsBeck: First off, I’m sorry you’re dealing with crazy in laws! I’m the one who comes to the relationship with hard to deal with parents, but I see the stress is causes SO, as he grew up like you, drama free normal type family. You can see it in his eyes sometimes, my family just bewilders him!
Its a little hard to give you advice on how to stay out of the middle because it’s hard tell how you’re in the middle exactly? It’s a tricky situation for sure though. I guess you just have to work really hard at maintaining neutral without cuttin off contact completely. Just try to slide over the confrontational stuff, do t give our opinion and don’t let them make you a messenger. You can refuse to be an accomplas in theit shenanigans without refusing to communicate with them!
Good luck, some times in laws can be the most challenging!
Post # 4
@lalalyanne: thank you for your advice! There have been a few specific problems but here are some general (repeating) issues: threatening to not talk to us if we didn’t cut contact with the other parent or getting upset because we visit one but not the other while in town. We live out of state and we usually are in town for about 36 hours so it’s very difficult to try to see everyone.
DH has just recently stopped being “the messenger” and has been refusing to discuss his mom with his dad and vice versa so I’m really hoping this helps. I’ve just been pasting a smile on my face and sucking it up but I hate seeing DH get so upset about it. We will definitely work on being extremely neutral.
ETA: bewilder is a great word! I just have a hard time understanding. I also want to say that I love his family dearly. They are usually very kind to us but every few months some big issue seems to come up where we are put in the middle.
Post # 5
@MrsBeck: Wow stressful. I think your husband is deffensive, while it’s annoying and stressful, I think you are taking it to far by suggesting that he cut off his parents for that. If you take a step back and have some more resonable request then you guys could work together.
I’m not sure what their behavior is but I had friends with the same issue so this is my advice.
1. Bringing up old stuff, you can say it was before my time and I don’t want to talk about it.
2. Fighting bickering at family events, while you shouldn’t cut them off I think it’s perfectly reasonable for your husband to tell them if they can’t behave, be polite, then they will no longer be invited.
3.I suggest your husband stop enaging with them and stop being a middle man. If he refuses they won’t have any options for dragging you two into the middle of things. So he should have a standard response. So mom calls to complain about dad, “Mom I not getting in the middle of you guys, it’s been eight years move on, either way I’m no longer talkiing about Dad with you or vice versa. Then keep doing it until they get the message.
Post # 6
@TwoCityBride: I suggested he cut them off after we were told by one side that they wouldn’t be talking to us if we didn’t cut communication off with the other side. He was literally begging them to talk to them and I suggested just giving up if they were going to treat him like that. I had never seen DH so devastated before and it just made me so angry that they would treat him like this. I try to stay out of it now because I realized that I will truly never understand the situation.
Thank you for the suggestions! I like the idea of telling them that I don’t want to hear about the past. DH also recently stopped being the middle man and refuses to discuss his mom with his dad and vice versa. I’m hoping this improves things.
Post # 7
@MrsBeck: I just think as it’s his parents it’s his choice to make, and it’s easy to end up with a situation where he resents you if he did that. I think if he doing those things it’s leaves them with very little options to continue this fight.
The weirdest things about this is most of the time when the parents are nasty like this they aren’t even in communication with each other and so the kids get it taken out on them!