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Old May 23rd, 2017, 12:29 PM
AMH1231 AMH1231 is offline
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My MIL is ruining my marriage

Hi all! so brief background, my husband dealt with a lot of physical abuse from his father growing up, and his mom did nothing but enable his behavior. He worked for his parents for years, until I finally convinced him to move on and get a new job. He was so much happier after leaving. We caught wind that his parents were spreading lies about him leaving them high and dry and betraying them, etc. His mother has also at various times told my husband she's ashamed of him, that she's done with him, and also called him a chicken s**t and bad mouthed me and my family as I was giving birth bc she wasn't invited to the hospital. She has threatened me, and given my husband and I both multiple silent treatments. His parents just scream toxic, manipulative people. The problem is is that my husband doesn't see it. I don't want them around our son due to their behaviors, and while he agrees in the sense that he abides by my wishes, he has threatened me with divorce saying he will take our son around them if we get divorced. I feel like if I don't forgive his parents and let them be grandparents to our son, then he's going to divorce me strictly so they can see our child. I strongly feel that my husband has such a deep traumatic bond with his mom/parents that he can't help but defend their behavior. He's asked me so many times to just get over it and forgive them, but hasn't bothered to ask them to apologize for saying such awful things. I've been made out to be the bad guy by keeping them away for so long, that sometimes i feel like I'm overreacting and maybe I do need to just get over it. And then other times I'm like, no, I'm not allowing that behavior around my child. I'm very conflicted on what to do.
I'd love any advice on how to help my husband break free, or advice on dealing with toxic in laws. Even tell me if I'm overreacting. I just need others opinions- would you let these people around your children??
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 01:09 PM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

If these people abused their own child, what would stop them from abusing yours?

The challenge is that your DH can remain in denial about his parents behavior (what child wants to accept he probably wasn't loved???) because you are standing in his line of sight. You need to get out of the way.

Make interacting with his parents his responsibility. If he wants to have a relationship with them, don't interfere. You do not have to have a relationship with them, and you shouldn't expose your children to them if they are abusive. He won't like it, but your priority is to protect the children.

Have the number of a marriage counselor ready for the next time he mentions divorce. Make the appointment and keep it, even if you must go by yourself. He will feel forced to choose to be your husband or to try to get approval from parents who will never be happy for him. Let him know you love him and you will do whatever you need to do to have a happy, healthy husband and an intact family.

Good luck!
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 01:21 PM
AMH1231 AMH1231 is offline
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

Thanks for the reply, Lucy.
I do encourage him to have whatever relationship he wants with his parents, and he does go to lunch with his mom periodically. The problem is more that she comes around with gifts after each bad behavior episode and makes him think that nothing happened. He won't confront his mom about any of her behavior, he just continually forgets and forgives and expects me to do the same. He's very much in love with the idea of his mom being a grandmother. He will openly say he feels like she deserves to be a grandmother, even though she failed as a mother and has made no effort to change. We've also been to counseling, where we were told to meet with his parents and establish boundaries for our family, but it's like he's too scared to have a serious conversation with them that may involve hard subjects.
As I type this out, I almost feel silly, bc I know the fix all solution is my husband learning to stand up to his parents, I just don't know how else to make him realize that. It's very frustrating.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 04:04 PM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

You are dealing with a man who wants to be a son, wants mom and dad to be proud. His mother's behavior of giving gifts after a fight? That's typical abusive behavior, and he is buying it, hoping that the mother who comes with the gifts is the real mother.

You can't set boundaries for him because you honor him as an independent man, even if he's not fully independent. But you must set boundaries for yourself and your child.

Return to marriage counseling. If the counselor suggests that you meet with his parents and set boundaries again, agree to do it at the marriage counselor's office. Attendance at that session would be a requirement for further contact.

You are not silly. You are a loving wife and mother. Your husband needs your understanding because this is very hard for him and he's not ready to deal with the possible consequences (if you think she said mean things before, wait until you set the boundaries!). Be kind and loving as well as being firm in your commitment to set healthy boundaries with his family. He may never come to accept his abusive childhood, but he may very well appreciate the peace he experiences with appropriate boundaries.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 04:57 PM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

As a side note, please keep a journal of everything your MIL does that threatens you as well as anything you find out about your DH's childhood that was abusive. If your husband does divorce you, you will want to have good records about why your MIL needs to be kept away from your son. I am so sorry that it has come to that.

Boundaries are hard. You'll have to be strong enough for both of you until your DH realizes he needs to be strong for your child.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 06:33 AM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

I love your first paragraph of that, Lucy. You really hit the nail on the head.

And KayKay- yes, I have been keeping a list of things she's done. I do plan on requesting they not be around during my husband's visitation times, should we end up divorcing.

Thank you for the responses, it's reassuring to know I'm not the crazy one or overreacting!
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Old May 24th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

I have to bow out of this one because I really have no idea what you can do. I know what your husband should do, but he isn't - for lack of a better term... mature enough to stand up to the abuse his mother and father dish out.

Definitely protect your kids from any abuse and this divorce threat... Well... Whatever. I wish I had a nickel every time that control mechanism has cropped up in marriages - I'd be a billionaire.

Sorry for your situation. Hopefully things will work out for you and your kids.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 07:28 PM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

(((hugs)))
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Old May 25th, 2017, 11:50 AM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

" he has threatened me with divorce saying he will take our son around them if we get divorced" This isn't a terribly good sign, I'm afraid. If I were you, I'd speak to a lawyer just to know ahead of time what your rights are in case he follows through on his threat to divorce you over you not wanting to expose your child to his family. I wish I had better advice, but until/unless he sees how toxic these people are, you are going to continue to have these issues that put your child in jeopardy of emotional abuse at the hands of his own grandparents. Been there, done that. I managed to get my husband to move us thousands of miles away, which helps, but it took YEARS for him to see the BS of his family.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 01:18 PM
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Re: My MIL is ruining my marriage

Thank you guys for all the replies. I am slowly starting to realize that even though his parents are the toxic ones, he is becoming the problem in our marriage. Knot2loud- you're totally right, he needs to man up and be able to address his mom's behavior with her.
While I do encourage him to have whatever relationship he personally wants to have with his mom, I'm pretty sure that only feeds the idea that I'm the bad guy in the situation. I'm the one keeping her grandchild away bc clearly her own child has no problem with her actions since he keeps coming around and never addressing any problems. I'm the ***** here in their eyes and it really sucks. It sucks to know that his loyalty is ultimately with his mom/parents and not with me.
Yaya- I've suggested moving away, as my husband could get a job anywhere, but he won't. He says he can't move away from his friends and family...

And in a turn of events, my husband's grandmother(mom's mom) passed away yesterday morning, so aside from the obvious sadness/dread/suckiness of the situation, I now have to see said toxic parents and take my child around them. Ugh.
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