(Closed) So frustrated with DH's family…mostly just venting…

posted 5 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
2494 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

People handle their families in different ways and we all feel protective. Perhaps he doesn’t like to hear the truth because the truth hurts and he doesn’t want to deal with that. The way he deals with his family is the way he deals with his family.

I had a crazy incident with my FFIL and his wife and it was INSANE. My FI already hated them, but I was trying to keep the family together because I had never dealt with insanity. In the end, my dad gave me the best advice ever: You might not like them, but you cannot be the one to decide that what happens with his relatives, only yours. Let Mr. Takemyhand deal with the situation and make the choices when they relate to his relatives, just like you do with us.

In relating that to your situation, you might think they are bat-shit crazy. You might think that the insane way they handle a visit and dinner is over the top, but it isn’t your direct family. Although it might be frustrating, you cannot be the one to criticize them or get mad about how that side of the family operates.

Since you know they give you the run around and cannot commit to specific things, I think you should just stop relying on them. If they tell you to come over for dinner tomorrow, write, tentatively on the calendar “Dinner with Bob’s family?”. Know that it might change. Know that there is a certain possibility there will be frustration, anger and other issues.

Also, since you both know that the family gives the run around, why prolong the situation and make it worse by arguing with them about the date? While it’s frustrating, arguing clearly won’t make it better. Next time, simply tell them that there was a miscommunication because you felt it was __________ and not _________, and you will see them on _________ or unfortunately you cannot make it afterall. Hopefully that can diffuse the situation. If it doesn’t, you can always try the good old, “I really want to discuss this with you, but I don’t like the way you are speaking to me. I don’t appreciate being yelled at/accused of things/treated with disrespect. How about I call you tomorrow when we’ve all calmed down?”

Post # 4
Member
7656 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I felt like this was me writing this post.

First, I am blunt. My family is blunt. If we don’t like something about each other, we say so. DH’s family, very quiet, reserved, they don’t say stuff like that (because of verbal abuse issues that stem from FIL). Your FIL is like mine: very difficult to get along with (in a different way though). I have started to mend my relationship with my FIL (I am taking some wedding advice from my aunt and giving him a kiss every time I say goodbye–it’s just a step I’ve taken to hopefully show him that affection isn’t weakness). However, I don’t know if you are quite ready to mend your relationship with your FIL and that’s up to you if you want to start that and how.

That being said, even though I am blunt, I am going to side with your DH’s choice to apologize. I think he should have still stood his ground and told them how he feels, but saying “you know, this is why we never come over because everything is always so fucking difficult” wasn’t the appropriate way to handle it. My DH would have called back and apologized (and probably would have done what your hubby did and just apologized for the whole works). I know it is a frusterating ordeal, but we need to handle these things as gracefully as possible. I would say your DH probably has some fears of his dad, like mine does, so it may be harder to tell his father how he feels. Think about that…it took me a long time to understand why my DH gives up so easily when we disagree and it is because he is scared of the yelling because of what happened in his childhood.

I’d sit down and have a talk with FIL. I know you have probably had plenty, but maybe step up and say, “You know, we feel it is difficult to have a relationship with you because______________.” If he understands and talks it out, great. If FIL flies off the handle and becomes beligerant and hard to handle, then leave. But try. Trying and giving up your anger is the first step towards mending a relationship. For me, it started by giving my FIL and hug and kiss on Sunday, whether he wanted it or not.

Good luck. Feel free to message me if you need to talk 🙂

Post # 6
Member
7656 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

@MrsDrRose612:  What kind of a childhood did DH have with his dad? Was his dad verbally abusive? Physically? Anything like that? That was how I figured out where my DH’s passive personality comes from in always giving in to his dad. It’s an emotional/mental thing that I will probably never fully understand because I was never put through that.

Post # 8
Member
1004 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Hmmm. My family is the “crazy” family… or rather, my immediate family is crazy. FI’s extended family is crazy, but his parents and siblings are almost all wonderful, caring, and fun people.

I KNOW my family is crazy, and they frustrate me to no end… but I still love them, and because of the incredible emotional manipulation I grew up with from my mother, sometimes even admitting to others that they are, indeed, crazy, feels like I’m betraying or hurting them. The fact that I allow FI to think badly of them would be a personal fault of my own, if my mother knew… because she is ALWAYS the victim and takes no responsibility for her own actions.

Even though I know how toxic our family dynamic could be, sometimes I still feel a little guilty for thinking/admitting they are nuts, odd, and make even the most simple gathering or outing a difficult, awkward situation. And then they proceed to blame everyone but themselves for it. Ugh.

I’m sure your DH knows how crazy they are, but if he grew up accepting it in order to keep the peace, and believing them when they emotionally manipulate him, it is a hard habit to break. The guilt trip of “family loyalty” can be very strong. It is also a manner of pride – it is hard to admit that your family is messed up. Much easier to pretend that you were “out of line” or did something to provoke it.

Post # 10
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

It seems that your FIL has an actual medical issue, so I’m not sure how much of it is your FIL being “difficult”, “super odd” and “hard to get along with” and how much of that is his illness.

I really think you are allowed to vent about your inlaws, but I don’t think it’s necessary for your DH to badmouth his family/”put them in their place”.

Sorry, just how I feel.

Post # 12
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@MrsDrRose612:  Your initial rant made me think of my inlaws…but when you add in mental illness, it takes on a new reality.

First off, IMO it’s always difficult to understand behaviour in other families on a normal basis.  Add in the mental illness element and it’s got to be hard to figure out what part of the situation has to do with someone just being an ass or is it because they’re struggling at that particular time.

When I get bogged down with stuff like this, I always try to remember that I can’t control other people.  I can only control my reaction to them.  I actually think that your DH should call his parents on what is happening…just at a different time when it isn’t so heated and be very specific.

The initial post is kind of how I feel about my inlaws.  They are great people and we get along.  Making plans of any type with them is incredibly frustrating.  They do it all last minute.  They don’t remember what was agreed upon.  The plan changes often and, when you have to drive 3-4 hours to see them, it gets really old, fast.  Basically, every time we have gone there in the last 3 years, they have forgotten when we would be there, have made plans and committed us to events without telling us about them, don’t tell us when grandparents are in the hospital, and are generally uncommunicative.  I usually end up feeling like the bad person, because they never say that they are sorry.  In a wedding example, my FIL very kindly booked transportation for everyone to go between my civil ceremony and the hotel.  I told him what time to book it for.  He booked it for over 15 minutes earlier and didn’t tell me until the car arrived.  This meant that I really had to rush my “getting ready” because I had way too much to do before the car came and I had no prior notice.  Hard to be angry because they were being so nice, but they do not listen…ever.  I have a relationship with my family similiar to yours and I don’t get it.

My DH gets frustrated, but doesn’t really say very much to them.  I told him after the last time (they didn’t tell us that we were invited/expected to a family dinner, I was so SO sick with morning sickness and we hadn’t even started on the 4 hour drive to see them. We were late- I had to stop to throw up on the way- and I was furious because we had specifically asked to just stay at their place…which they agreed to).  I said some not nice things…which caused a fight with my DH.  When we both calmed down, we talked about it.  So, basically the same kind of stuff…everytime we go, something happens to make us not want to plan to go again….it’s always so damn hard.

Here’s what we’re doing going forward: My background is in HR, so I decided to “handle” them like I would a difficult employee.  We are now going to call them a day or two before visiting to confirm plans and make sure that we are all on the same page.  If they STILL manage to screw crap up, I feel completely not-guilty because I did my due dilliegence and my DH will handle it.  Could you do something like this?

Post # 14
Member
1004 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@MrsDrRose612:  My mother has no sense of tact, either. She often will refuse to make “solid” plans until it is too late, and then blames the person who was trying to make plans for not wanting to spend time with her. She is very immature and self-centered, but feels like she is always going out of her way for others (in ways they do not want/do not ask for), and that nobody appreciates her.

She is impossible to deal with, but I still love her and feel sorry for her. I have learned that the best way to live with her is from a distance. I moved 2 hours away.

Post # 16
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@MrsDrRose612:  well, it sounds like you are doing the right thing in wanting to talk to your FI about the issue.  I wish you the best of luck! : )

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