(Closed) When is it okay to cut off in-laws?

posted 4 years ago in Married Life
Post # 18
Member
355 posts
Helper bee

It’s hard for a lot of people to cut their parents out completely, especially when it’s because of many things over time and not one clear cut issue, like running at you with a knife or something. Just remember, they raised him and that had the effect of normalizing the behavior to him. And while he may be able to see their behavior is bad, he can still struggle with this decision. Be firm if you don’t want a relationship with them or your child to see them, but I recommend also being understanding and supportive if he he’s trouble fully accepting it. Which totally seems to be your plan already.

Everyone expects to lose their parents I, but we expect them to be taken unwillingly from us, not to selfishly want to stick to their harmful behavior even if it means losing us. 

Also, after your update, I now recommend even more not to go to DWIL. They lost their shit with me because I don’t feel that my DH should cut out his mom (which would effectively cut his 5 siblings out of his life) just because I refuse for her to be a part of my and our LO’s life.

Post # 19
Member
3029 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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Ettalie :  See, for me, I would say something different…

My mother distanced us from her side especially that set of grandparents and we weren’t give the opportunities to have a relationship. While, yes, I can understand an aspect of what it would have been like to have the choice know them…I never felt negative issues or resentment especially with my mother for her choice even if that choice centered on issues between them personally and not issues that would have arose with me.

Now my father’s side…I was subjected to (red flags and all) but eventually relieved of having to see. However, by that point, the damage was done. At face value, I’m sure many would have seen them as loving grandparents but it was actually very toxic and had terrible lasting effects for me. Before even being able to comprehend majority of situations, the damage was done. Distancing myself later didn’t change what happened or the effects. There were things that I couldn’t even explain until adulthood or couldn’t even work out how it was inappropriate to be subjected to (therefore as a child my parents never knew most of what I privately experienced). It also had even worse effects knowing I was put in a situation where my parents knew there were issues based on experiences between themselves but did not sufficiently guard me from that due to feelings of obligation, giving too many chances, or thinking the bad behaviors would only apply to the adults.

So, yes, I would rather see the signs early and take the steps accordingly to the issues at hand than risk similar damaging effects I went through as a child. If OP’s inlaws can’t change and show that accordingly then she is placing the children’s wellbeing at risk. If OP’s inlaws cannot treat them respectfully and healthy then it’s in no way a healthy example of a relationship for a child to witness. While there are certain things you have to work through potentially by not having certain extended family, there’s a whole bigger set of issues when that extended family did turn out to be toxic for the child and some of those methods can be covert. Putting aside what may be directly aimed at a child…working through effects that result from witnessing how a parent is treated by a grandparent can be terrible as well.

I’m certainly not trying to invalidate you or what you went through. I do not know your precise situation. However, I do not think it wrong for the OP or most similar cases to have a very real situation where, yes, they do need to hold firm to cutting the relationship if they cannot change and that change needs to be shown and proven before introducing to children. I would also agree with the sentiment that no respect, civility, or healthy regard for the parents means no relationship with the grand children.

I would always take the risk of having to explain to my child why they couldn’t know a specific person when they were a minor…over taking the risk of putting them in a situation where they are emotionally/psychologically abused and/or given unhealthy relationship dynamics by people that already display warning signs and have no current history of change.

Post # 20
Member
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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soymilk :  I think we are more similar in beliefs.  In your experience your family kept the relationship out of duty which is a definately no no.  The parent must think of their child and should eliminate it completely if there is a chance of physical, emotional or psychological harm.  I completely agree with you there.  What I disagree is when the issues are adult only and the parent uses their child as a pawn (they don’t like me, do as I say, Etc etc well they don’t get to see my child).  The later thinking does not show the best interest of the child but more so using the child as a means to cause harm to an adult over an adult issue.  This attitude is also damaging to a child if they find out they were used in that fashion, and if you read up on parental alienation you can see that it is real and very damaging, especially because it’s your parents that are using you as leverage.  Where I disagree is that disrespect to a mother or father automatically means trauma and disrespect to the child.  I know for example that my mil dealt with a very disrespectful mil and she still let her children decide what kind of relationship they wanted with their grandparents.  Some like my husband had a positive relationship despite his mothers issues with his grandmother.  His other siblings however cut all ties.  She put her kids above her own feelings and supported what was best for them by their own choice.  Despite her being badly treated her children love her and are even quite protective of her because they saw her selflessness.  I believe as parents we need to see that: what is best for my child.

In this particular case I think her issue with her inlaw goes beyond boundaries and respect but it’s actually quite a toxic and very negative person who is abusive in my opinion, thus who is likely incapable of having a loving supportive relationship with her potential children.  This is why I said that she needs to consider that potential scenario in order to see what she needs to do now because it gets far more complicated to deal with when children are involved.

Post # 21
Member
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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soymilk :  I think we are more similar in beliefs than not except for a single point where I believe people should be more flexible (boundaries can be crossed depending on the offense but doesn’t mean you get your children cut off from their grandkids e.g. If they question your child rearing some would agree that is grounds for being cut off whereas I believe that’s once again using the child as a pawn over adult discrepancies).  In your experience your family kept the relationship out of duty which is a definately no no.  The parent must think of their child and should eliminate it completely if there is a probability of physical, emotional or psychological harm.  I completely agree with you there.  What I disagree is when the issues are adult only and the parent uses their child as a pawn (they don’t like me, do as I say, Etc etc well they don’t get to see my child).  The later thinking does not show the best interest of the child but more so using the child as a means to cause harm to an adult over an adult issue.  This attitude is also damaging to a child if they find out they were used in that fashion, and if you read up on parental alienation you can see that it is real and very damaging, especially because it’s your parents that are using you as leverage.  Where I disagree is that disrespect to a mother or father automatically means trauma and disrespect to the child.  I know for example that my mil dealt with a very disrespectful mil and she still let her children decide what kind of relationship they wanted with their grandparents.  Some like my husband had a positive relationship despite his mothers issues with his grandmother.  His other siblings however cut all ties.  She put her kids above her own feelings and supported what was best for them by their own choice.  Despite her being badly treated her children love her and are even quite protective of her because they saw her selflessness.  I believe as parents we need to see that: what is best for my child.

I can’t say exactly what the issues were with one set of my grandparents.  My mom said they were selfish, uncaring, jealouse and negative and not to contact them because I would be stuck dealing with their negative intentions.  As a child I felt lonely knowing I was the only kid in the room who never heard, talked or visited my grandparents.  At first it was okay, they were “bad people” but then it really gets to you and at one point you ask is that really true? I reached out and found out that it was all a lie.  They weren’t perfect but they were loving and caring.  Clearly my moms issues with her parents were over some sort of boundary stomping but that had NOTHING to do with me and I only had one year with my grandmother before she passed away.  That kills you and it makes you mad because it was unfair. Potential memories were lost and I was the uninformed victim of it. I’d love to say that it was only me but in my journey through this several people who shared similar experiences to me felt the exact same thing.

In this particular case I think her issue with her inlaw goes beyond boundaries and respect but it’s actually quite a toxic and very negative person who is abusive in my opinion, thus who is likely incapable of having a loving supportive relationship with her potential children.  This is why I said that she needs to consider that potential scenario in order to see what she needs to do now because it gets far more complicated to deal with when children are involved.

Post # 21
Member
2421 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m not into depriving babies of their grandparents, but in this situation it sounds like “cutting off” would be doing the baby a favor. 

In the unlikey event that there were a change in demeanor, reevaluate. 

Don’t get formal, don’t do battle, just STOP ALL CONTACT.

Post # 22
Member
3066 posts
Sugar bee

Wow-what a gem!!! I agree with PP that you shouldn’t cut off all contact for the sake of their grandchild (and maybe more to come later). Maybe that means putting in some serious boundaries and keeping them at arms length right now. But I would be cautious of cutting them out of your lives forever.

Post # 25
Member
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I feel like we need more information in terms of your husband defending his parents. In what regard is he doing this? Is he agreeing that their behaviour is out of line but still sticking up for them as they are his parents? Or is he agreeing with your Mother-In-Law behind your back and/or badmouthing you and refusing to understand your perspective? 

Post # 26
Member
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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postmodernwords :  what is your husband doing or saying in particular in regards to his parents that is going against your original avreeement (want to understand the scope and figure out the logic he might be going through), also did you already have a discussion with the therapist?  If so how did that turn out?

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