I am having trouble moving past my anger at my in laws. Advice please?

posted 6 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

I’m no expert so maybe this isn’t the best approach, but it seems you still harbor a lot of anger because many issues were swept under the rug. For example, you mentioned your delay was due to fake immigration issues instead of opening up about why you needed to cool off.

It’s much harder to forgive someone who isn’t sorry than to forgive someone who is, so maybe what you need to move forward is to actually address with them what you are unhappy with and once and for all. You can even mention that you want to move forward and establish a relationship, but that you have been struggling to do so because you’ve been harboring this resentment.

Either they are willing to talk about it or they’re not, but I figure it’s worth a shot because you don’t seem to be moving past it on your own.

Post # 3
12086 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

You haven’t moved past it because his mother has not made any effort nor owned up to her behavior. Assuming she is in possession of her facilties, I’d want nothing to do with her until she does. I certainly would not pretend you haven’t been able to travel. 

Being civil when you don’t much care for someone is certainly possible, but she needs to learn now that she can’t behave this way or disrespect you without major consequences.

Post # 4
9665 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

I agree with PP. It doesn’t sound like anything has actually been dealt with, it’s all just been swept under the rug. Your husband may say he’s going to do X, Y, and Z in the future but it sounds like so far he’s never actually talked with his parents about their behavior. And it sounds like his parents don’t even know there’s a problem. Nothing has been resolved here.

You and your husband need to deal with this now. He needs to tell his parents how their past behavior has been unacceptable and start setting boundaries now, not wait for future issues to come up. 

Post # 5
8820 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

pussinboots07 :  Sweetie you’re having trouble moving past it because nothing has changed. Your feelings are completely normal and understandable. His mom is not sorry and you have no reason to believe anything will be any different than last time you saw her. Except this time, you’ll be on her turf both literally and figuratively. Your husband’s promises are meaningless because he can’t control her behavior. He says he’ll “address her behavior” — what does that mean? “Mother stop it or I’ll…. I’ll say stop it again!”

His parents are not rational. This is not cultural as you’ve seen by interacting with other perfectly rational relatives of his. His parents are either just mean drama-lovers or they have mental health issues. Either way, you can’t fix it and you do not have to subject yourself to it. You can not have a cordial relationship with them because they are not going to be cordial. You can’t change that. I would tell him that he is free to go visit them but I will not be subjecting myself to their abuse. I absolutely would not go. They’re going to be mad, so what? They’ll find something to be mad about if you DO go, right? Let them be mad, who cares, they live 18 hours away.

Post # 7
1156 posts
Bumble bee

If you are definitely going over, then these are my suggestions:

1. Don’t stay with them. Stay in a hotel, not with any other family member either so that you can have control over coming and going and have a place they cannot walk into to without your say so. 

2. When you get together make sure it is within a group of people. Restaurant, family gathering etc so there are others to talk with and you can avoid them to a certain extent.

3. Invite out family members whom you enjoy to spend time with. They can come visit your hotel or you can all go on an outing. That way you see the people you care about without the added stress of in-laws being present.

4. Plan ahead how you and your husband are going deal with the negative, aberrant behaviour as a couple. Deal with it at the time rather than letting things simmer. Train them as to what will be tolerated and what won’t be. Be consistent.

5. Your husband wants to see his mum and dad. They are important to him and he wants them in his life. You just don’t need to be there. He understands this.

That is my 2 cents.

Post # 8
8820 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

  pussinboots07 :  You’re not wrong. What you want is very normal and understandable, but they have shown that they are not capable of being civil. If you insist on going, it needs to be with the full understanding that they are going to be the same horrible people that they were before. The best I can offer is maybe try to make a game of it? You know she’s going to insult you, so maybe turn it into Bingo: if she mentions wrinkles, weight, money, cooking, and clothes, that’s a Bingo and you get to buy yourself something fun. Or give each a point value, and you get a different prize depending on each day’s points. I’d let your mom in on it too so she can play. Hell, I’d probably let HIS mom in on it and make sure she knows that I’m keeping score and HOPING she’ll mention my crowsfeet. If the prize is something she disapproves of, even better.

Really though, I wouldn’t go. But if you are going to, this might be one way to make it a little less awful.

ETA: Also, totally agreeing with PP’s advice — do NOT stay with them!!! Be firm on that. Not even the game will help if you are staying under their roof.

Post # 9
871 posts
Busy bee

pussinboots07 :  You’re placing the burden on yourself not to feel anger. But when your anger is justifiable, I think your anger is actually trying to protect you from a situation you know isn’t right. I think it’s unfair of your husband to expect you to spend time with people you describe as cruel and verbally abuse and unapologetic. I understand they’re his parents, but when he says he’ll put a stop to it- well as Daisy Mae says, what will he do, say “Mother stop- or I’ll say stop again” So far any attempts he’s made to fix this situation haven’t worked, so it may be time he put his foot down and put his wife and his own well being first and refuse to visit people who don’t treat you decently. 

If his other family members are lovely, hopefully they will understand that regrettably the two of you will not visit them unless/ until they apologize and treat you both decently. Respect is a two way street. 

Post # 10
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

You have to live with the anger you feel. It seems draining so I would probably have a session or two with a therapist to get some coping strategies for how to be around incredibly offputting people and interact without letting them get to you. Generally the best advice would be to avoid the people, but when it’s family sometimes you don’t get much of a choice. 

I’m not saying to make peace or anything like that. Please do stand up for yourself, but you can just recognize that not all people are going to change and it can be empowering to not let humans like that wreck your experiences. Best of luck.

I absolutely understand the phenomenon of disliking someone so much their voice gets to you and being around then even when they’re on good behavior is just upsetting. My therapist recommended deciding whether I was going to do something concrete to deal with it or if I preferred to let the relationship continue but to protect myself. In my case my husband wants a relationship with his parents so it would be counterproductive to do something concrete about it and I want my parents to have a relationship with my kids so it would again be inadvisable to do something concrete. Since learning to regulate myself, I have to say it’s ok. I don’t like the people, I don’t respect them, but I’m civil and walk away feeling pretty calm if their behavior gets out of control. It feels like a good balance. 


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