Author Topic: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. wed photo, Response #42, 60, 64  (Read 19088 times)

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Redsoil

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2013, 09:09:46 AM »
I generally wouldn't be this extreme, but from what you've said, I'd never see them again.

"Don't do it again" indeed.  There would be no fear of "doing it again" if you cut off all contact.  What a pack of rabid scudgebuckets - arthritis vs miscarriage?  How self-absorbed and petty.
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bopper

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2013, 09:12:28 AM »
You are trying to make your FIL happy. Most likely he won't ever be, so stop trying.  So if they say they want a picture blown up and you do it, you are stepping into making them happy about a picture.  Instead, make the pictures available and let them know about it and then step away.

If they comment on your pictures, instead of JADEing (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain) just say "I am sorry you didn't like them" and then leave/change the subject/go get some water.

Also, like a normal, caring person you are trying to maintain a close relationship with your in-laws.
Reconsider the framework of your relationship.  Talk to your DH about what you need from him.
Don't suggest visiting them. Don't encourage your DH to call them more than he would do on his own.
Determine your boundaries. What will you put up with?  Talk to your DH about various incidents and what you want him to do (defend you) and when you will just leave when it is too much.

Basically the parents need logical consequences...they are rude, you spend less time with them.  Either they learn or you just don't spend time with them.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 09:20:31 AM by bopper »

Zizi-K

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2013, 09:22:32 AM »
A lot of people have recommended staying calm, and telling your FIL in the moment when he's hurt your feelings. However, I think he would read your 'staying calm' (which is what you've been doing, really) as 'not actually hurt' or 'just kicking up a fuss'.

Rather, if in the moment of a horrible comment you feel like crying, I would recommend that you go ahead and cry. Let him see the emotional fallout of his comment. Your husband will have to react to your tears, instead of staying silent 'for family harmony', and your FIL will not be able to deny his insensitiveness. Imagine if, after he said, 'she looks tired!', he was confronted by your tearful face asking 'why would you say something like that, it's so mean! Husband, can you believe what he just said about our wedding photos??' etc.

If he's going to ruin your evening, I see no reason why his should not be ruined as well. Over time, you may be labelled 'the sensitive one', but at least he'll try to curb his poison tongue around you because he won't want to deal with your emotional outbursts.

(I should add - I'm not recommending that you fake the emotion, I'm just saying that you should express the emotion that you do feel and not hide it for their sake.)

*inviteseller

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2013, 09:41:45 AM »
I would not start crying in front of him...that is obviously a sign of weakness to FIL and sets him off further.  Walk out..just walk out.  Refuse to let him hurt you further.

Venus193

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2013, 09:42:08 AM »
I agree with *inviteseller.  I think the FIL is looking to make the OP cry.  We've labeled him a bully and that is what bullies look for.

Instead, look him dead in the eye and tell him he is never to talk to you this way again.  And if he does consequence him.

peaches

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2013, 10:04:20 AM »
It's ironic that the in-laws say they don't want to have to walk on eggshells around OP.

In reality, it's OP and her DH who are tiptoeing around these rude people!

OP, you are not being overly sensitive. Your in-laws, and FIL in particular, are incredibly insensitive to the feelings of others.

scansons

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2013, 10:19:34 AM »
(((Hugs)))

I'm sorry about this.  I grew up with a Bully like this.  I know exactly how it feels.  I was the one who was always too sensitive and taking him to seriously and he loved me, but it was alright to say horrible things to me cause it was the truth.  We still don't have a good relationship.  I fully expect we never will. 

But dealing with him, is both simple and extremely difficult.  You have to learn to laugh your bacon-fed knave off every time he says something horrible.  Believe me, once he's not getting traction, he'll stop.  He may move on to another subject.  But the more you laugh, the less traction he gets with his bone head stupid remarks, the less he makes them.  And eventually, you may even garner a certain amount of grudging respect from. 

"Of course I didn't look tired on my wedding day.  You're being silly FIL."

"DH cooked a wonderful dinner.  You're being silly FIL."

"Come out for a whole week at Thanksgiving.  Oh, that's a good one FIL"  Ha ha ha. 

If it helps, come up with ways to answer his most common remarks before hand.  I had an issue my Dad had been riding me about since I was five.  Took me thirty years to shut him down.  I had to write out my response  ahead of time.  But once I did, it never came up again.

Don't take him seriously.  He dosen't deserve it.  Respect is earned.  Make him earn it. 

ETA:  Also "Don't do it again."  should always be greeted with "Or you'll what?"   Cause what's he going to do.  kick you out? 
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 10:21:47 AM by scansons »

TurtleDove

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2013, 10:25:33 AM »
I would not start crying in front of him...that is obviously a sign of weakness to FIL and sets him off further.  Walk out..just walk out.  Refuse to let him hurt you further.

POD.  I can understand why you are hurt OP, but among the best advice I have been given is to not let the words or actions of other people affect how I feel about myself.  The "she looks tired" comment truly would not have affected me unless I also thought I looked tired, which it sounds like you didn't.  How I would have handled that would have been to say, "Hah! Are we looking at the same picture?  I think we all look great!" 

I agree that limiting contact is a good approach, but I also think in general it makes sense to work on your own sensitivity.  I am not an overly sensitive person - very little offends me or hurts me anymore.  I was not always this way.  I used to be very hurt by what other people did or said or thought about me.  It ate me up and was not a good way to live. 

Once I was confident in how *I* felt about my life and my choices (and appearance and relationships and ___) I was able to really not let people who were not "value adds" to my life bother me or cause me to doubt my decisions.  So a random person thinks my parenting choice was wrong?  So what!  I am confident I did my best.

I am sorry you are dealing with this and I hope you are able to not let your FIL get you down.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 10:27:33 AM by TurtleDove »

m2kbug

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2013, 11:00:17 AM »
This is an abusive situation.  Your husband is so complacent in this behavior, he accepts it and dances around it, trying to make amends when it's not his place to have to do so.  He's gone all this time accepting this behavior and making excuses.  He's stuck.  It's going to be extremely difficult to get your husband to back you up (and himself) and call his father on this behavior.  I think that I would simply minimize any further contact.  If that means you have to make arrangements so that you can leave early (with the kids) and he can stay as long as he wants, that is what I would do.  Just stay for the bare minimum necessary or do not go at all.  You will have to have some discussions with your husband about this. 

The second thing you need to do is work on your own reaction and feelings about his hurtful words.  You need to develop a thick skin around this man and try not to let his words affect you, which I know is easier said than done. 

One thing that popped into my head while I was reading was, "Do you have to SAY everything you're thinking?"  And this crazymaking that he he loves you.  No, it's about control and breaking you, not loving you.  So he didn't like your photographer.  Was it necessary to share that information?  Was it necessary to share in such a mean spirited way?  Could he have found anything good to say about any of those pictures? 

I'm not sure how easily and readily I could come up with words to deflect and point out his bad behavior.  Some people have mentioned good ones.  But people like this rarely change, and the best thing to do is to minimize contact, if not completely cut it off completely.  Look at how he behaved when he knew he hurt you.  It became YOUR fault and your husband wanted YOU to make amends.  That is so wrong on so many levels. 

Where is MIL on this?  Is she equal in this or is she just as complacent to put up with it from FIL?  You said that she has said hurtful things, also stating that you are very sensitive, and I'm wondering if she's just as crotchety or if you got your feelings hurts, as tends to happen from time to time in life.  If both are toxic, all the more reason to avoid these people. 

I think at this point, I would explain to my husband that I am no longer putting myself in the path of such a toxic individual and I will minimize anymore contact.  Your husband would be well served to realize he does not have to put up with such abusive behavior as well and stick to it.  Seek professional counseling or classes if you think that would be useful or see what kinds of books are out there to help YOUR thinking and YOUR ability manage around these types of situations. 

Eden

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2013, 11:15:26 AM »
I'd take a multi-pronged approach.

1. Do not engage. I would absolutely not converse with them about anything other than basic pleasantries. They make comments on you and your life because they are given the chance to do so.

2. If and when they share their negative comments train yourself to know those comments are actually not about you at all but their need to control and start standing up for yourself. I don't mean getting into fights. But for example:

FIL: You look tired in these photos
You: What a rude thing to say
FIL: What? It's the truth. I say what I think. You need to get over it.
You: I don't NEED to do anything. Just because you have a thought doesn't mean you need to say it. Perhaps you're the one who needs to change.

Then walk away.

Otterpop

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2013, 11:31:58 AM »
I completely POD Audrey Quest's experience.  My in-laws practically rolled out the red carpet for me after I started treating them like acquaintances, polite but distant.

The explanation is they disrespect anyone in their "inner" circle of family.  Close relations or anyone stupid enough to care about their hurtful opinions are prey to a bully.  Once you jump back to an outer orbit they have to be more polite (to lure you back in as you are now outside the influence of the destructive gravity, outside the range of their weapons).  Do not let your guard down and become vulnerable again.  It is their nature to hurt you and anyone "close."  It makes them feel better about their pathetic lives.

You may feel like a pioneer, lonely explorer in this new dynamic.  However, your self-esteem and emotional well-being are worth it.  Create your own loving environment within your own household and only let in only those who abide by healthy rules of interaction.

mime

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2013, 12:20:11 PM »
I'm so sorry you have had to tolerate this.

My thoughts:

MIL's comment after your miscarriage was beyond rude. It was absolutely horrid and demeaning. I hope you have found peace after your heartbreaking loss.  :(

DH sounds to me like a mixture of support and non-support. Sending you to make things right with FIL was so very wrong! FIL's 'don't do it again' comment was even more wrong! No more apologizing for responding in a hurt way to hurtful actions.


Like you, I struggle to find the right thing to say in the moment when I'm hit with nasty behavior. I have found in those moments what I can come up with is body language. I shake my head, or roll my eyes as if to convey 'there he goes with all his insults again...', or give a facial expression that reflects surprise (but not hurt) at a rude comment, or just leaving the room. I don't do it in a big-acting way to put on a show for anyone, it is more for my own 'release' rather than for conveying a message to anyone else.

Two interesting results have come from this:
1- as I have employeed that body language, my emotional response starts to follow my physical response. So, I may start out feeling hurt by a comment, then give a sarcastic smile and shake my head, and my feelings actually change to a sort of 'he's not worth my emotional energy' dismissiveness.

2- The hurtful people get no response from me to further encourage them.


I love Audrey Quest's and Otterpop's advice to distance yourself from the ILs in your behavior by becoming distant and polite. I've never tried that, but it sounds brilliant.

I also agree with PPs advice to limit contact. Your marriage is certainly not strengthened when DH is more supportive of others over his wife. Your time is too precious to waste around those people.


lorelai

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2013, 12:27:54 PM »
OP here: Thanks for all of your comments. I just got back home last night and DH is still over there, so I have some quiet time to reflect on the situation. Iím still not sure how Iíd like to proceed, but I figured I could respond to some of these questions.

He was feeling embarrased that you and DH called him on his abusive, demeaning behavior. You are not a child to be spoken to in that way! He says these hurtful things because he can get away with them.  Is there any way you can stop visits for awhile until he learns you won't accept that behavior? And why did your DH plead with you to "stop the madness"?  None of fil's behavior and harsh words are your fault!
DH asked me if I wanted him to tell FIL to stop the madness and I told him not to, because I felt that the freeze-out was childish and I wanted to be the bigger person. So he asked me to then go talk to FIL so I did.

Firstly, stop catering to him. I can't fathom why your DH wouldn't simply say "Nonsense, she looks beautiful" right at that moment, or why you wouldn't say "I actually really like this photo, but anyway" and click over to the next.
At the time DH said he wanted to say something, but then because I responded he thought I was alright Ė and he also didnít think the comment was as bad as I did. After hearing directly from me how much it hurt me, it upset him. When he went out to the living room to tell them what happened, and they kept pushing back with all their crap, he kept defending my point of view, so I appreciate that at least. He told me in the future if he is not reacting to something on my behalf due to cluelessness or whatever, that I should look at him or come up with a signal so he can defend me properly.

Lastly, and this is really, REALLY, my favourite you say "Shut the Ehell Up, you old windbag. No-one cares what your opinion is!" Or at least imagine saying it in your head. It's not rude to imagine things.

Thank you for this, I love it. :D

Your FIL sounds like a jerk who has bulldozed his way through life with a "sorry I just tell it like it is" attitude.

But I get that the entirety of his character is probably not reflected in your post.  You say he loves you very much, so there must be some things that he does that makes you know he cares about you.

So you have a couple of options. One - don't see him any more. It sounds like you are not likely to do that.

Two - stop caring. I mean, I know that's easier said than done, but really, you have to stop caring about what he thinks about things like that AND stop caring if you offend him or hurt his feelings. So what if he doesn't like your dessert and can't appreciate you and your DH making a nice dinner for him? You know it was good and you guys put in the effort to do something nice. So what if he thinks you "look tired" in that picture? I would bet that you heard a hundred times on your wedding day how beautiful you were, and I'm sure everyone who has seen that picture thought you looked great. Basically, he has shown you that you are NOT going to get what you need from him (normal kindness and consideration), so do yourself a favor and stop expecting it.

And call him on it. Not angrily or with malice, but draw his attention to the fact that he has said something stupid. "I worked hard on this, and I would prefer not to hear it criticized." "You may not realize this, but it's offensive to hear that I looked tired on my wedding day." "When you spend visits talking about how much you wish we were here longer, it taints the time we have together." Sure, he may feel like he has to walk on eggshells, but it sounds like his version of walking on eggshells is the general public's version of basic courtesy.

Good luck. I have dealt with similar situations, and it's stressful.

Will this "man" even care about these responses?

See, I don't think it matters if it makes him re-consider his behavior - the OP probably can't make him a better person.  But if she calls him each and every time he does something like this, then he will eventually learn to stop saying it, even if he's thinking it, and that will make OP's life more pleasant.
Iím not sure he will care about the responses. But I do think itís possible such responses will make me feel better so maybe thatís what counts. Before I left yesterday DH was cutting some watermelon and started eating the leftover watermelon on the rinds. MIL starts up Ė ďDonít eat that, itís not tasty. Stop it.Ē FIL continues ďItís not tasty, itís the bad part. Donít eat it.Ē They REALLY like to tell people what to do. DH kept eating it and I smiled and said, ďWell it must be tasty if youíre still eating it, huh!Ē and DH said he didnít see what was wrong with it. Itís not like he was eating the rind itself, just the pink watermelon bits. Iím relating this because being contrary to their negativity and controlling nature felt really satisfying! So maybe being contrary to the other unsolicited opinions will make me feel better too.

Audrey Quest's examples are very much something that needs to be thought about.

OP, your FIL and MIL are bullies.  Do you want your future children to be bullied?  Now is the time to have an honest talk with DH about how you will no longer be mistreated and that you will not allow your children to be treated in this manner.
 
No. I really, really donít. I told DH yesterday that even if I couldnít stick up for myself, that I would not let them to talk our future children like that, and he agreed. Somehow I feel more strong and capable to defend children I donít even have, rather than myself. But I hope to get there.

I am absolutely incensed on your behalf.  These people are toxic bullies and there's no way in ehell I'd be visiting them again.

And I'm afraid to say but your husband is a huge part of the problem here. Each and every time these vile people say one of their  nasty remarks he needed/needs to step up to the plate and call his parents on it and/or shut them down. Whilst he continues to stand aside and let them bully you, and not defend you, they of course think it's okay to continue on with their venom. Newsflash: this is not okay.

The miscarriage comment blows my mind. I don't care if your MIL has the most painful arthritis in the world, that is nothing compared to the emotional pain of losing a child.

The 'tired' comment was flat out rude and nasty.  Even if it was true, there's no excuse for saying it.
Although DH does defend me, it takes me awhile to even tell him whatís going on, and so itís never in the moment. I didnít tell him for 6 weeks what MIL said about my miscarriage. I just told him I wasnít up for talking to people on the phone and that he needed to field the calls. When I finally told him, he confronted her (and she denied it). Later while a guest in our house she apologized to me. It was so unexpected I didnít get to ask her the question I really wanted to Ė why did she say it at all?

I sometimes think my in-laws are like bad puppies. If I donít confront them peeing on the floor in the moment nothing will change.

  I have a question, does he complain about everything in life or just his family?
He has a lot of positive things to say about life and family, but nothing is ever 100%. There is always disapproval or a criticism somewhere. And he truly doesnít think thereís anything wrong with that. My husband was a good student in high school but every time he came home with an A test FIL would say, well [valedictorian girl] got an A+. He did say positive things about some photos Ė but I donít know if he thought this was a review and critique session because thatís how he treated it.

I have never heard him say anything positive about SILís choices or life. If he talked to me the way he talks to her, I would run screaming. This last weekend MIL told her we were taking a family portrait at xmas time and she needed lose weight. Afterwards I told SIL how sorry I was that she said that, but she said she was used to it. Perhaps I should have said something in the moment to defend her.

You are trying to make your FIL happy. Most likely he won't ever be, so stop trying.  So if they say they want a picture blown up and you do it, you are stepping into making them happy about a picture.  Instead, make the pictures available and let them know about it and then step away.
I think youíre right about this.

If he's going to ruin your evening, I see no reason why his should not be ruined as well. Over time, you may be labelled 'the sensitive one', but at least he'll try to curb his poison tongue around you because he won't want to deal with your emotional outbursts.

(I should add - I'm not recommending that you fake the emotion, I'm just saying that you should express the emotion that you do feel and not hide it for their sake.)
Although crying in front of him is certainly an option, and I would like for him to be faced with the consequences of his actions, it may lead to more of what youíre all calling bullying. He used to call DH a crybaby and that he needed to stop in order to be part of the cool, tough club. Itís a wonder that DH turned out as wonderful and sensitive as he is Ė he doesnít have any qualms about crying when it comes up, despite FIL doing this.

Where is MIL on this?  Is she equal in this or is she just as complacent to put up with it from FIL?  You said that she has said hurtful things, also stating that you are very sensitive, and I'm wondering if she's just as crotchety or if you got your feelings hurts, as tends to happen from time to time in life.  If both are toxic, all the more reason to avoid these people. 
 

MIL actually came to my room (just walked in, she doesnít know how to knock) and turned on the light and told me that I made FIL feel bad and that I needed to come out and talk to them so he wouldnít feel bad anymore. I told her I wasnít feeling well and that I did want to talk to them but that it would have to be later. She didnít contribute to the initial photo critique. Sheís got arthritis, and sheís in a lot of pain a lot of the time, and I think that makes her a mean old bat. Sheís rude to waiters, rude to family, rude to me. She thinks of herself as loving. I see that she can be loving, mostly to DH. Sheís 70, and she likes to tell people what to do. I resist people telling me what to do especially because many of my choices were not honored when I was younger (my parents sent me away to India for two years because I was behaving badly according to their perceptions, when I was 14), so when I turned 18 I took that independence and ran with it, real fast. So I have a hard time with their controlling natures.

I completely POD Audrey Quest's experience.  My in-laws practically rolled out the red carpet for me after I started treating them like acquaintances, polite but distant.

The explanation is they disrespect anyone in their "inner" circle of family.  Close relations or anyone stupid enough to care about their hurtful opinions are prey to a bully.  Once you jump back to an outer orbit they have to be more polite (to lure you back in as you are now outside the influence of the destructive gravity, outside the range of their weapons).  Do not let your guard down and become vulnerable again.  It is their nature to hurt you and anyone "close."  It makes them feel better about their pathetic lives.

You may feel like a pioneer, lonely explorer in this new dynamic.  However, your self-esteem and emotional well-being are worth it.  Create your own loving environment within your own household and only let in only those who abide by healthy rules of interaction.

I think the sad truth (sad for DH anyway) is that this is probably going to be the mode of operation going forward. Yesterday when he was dropping me off at the airport he said that perhaps a polite distance would better serve me, even if itís not what they want. What they want is to be really close to me, so close so that they can treat me like a daughter and talk to me all the time on the phone. Before I knew what they were like, DH and I made the decision to call our in-laws mom and dad. I think that has forced a familiarity, a relationship that does not or should not exist.

This weekend they talked a lot about visiting us, but the truth is that this year, Iíve spent more time with them than with my own parents and my new niece. So I would like to take the next few months to focus on my own family and hopefully that will preclude any visits from them. The last time they visited they stayed for 10 days and it was awful. This time perhaps I can bring that down to 4 or 5 days. Our next definitely scheduled visit is for xmas, and itís better if itís celebrated in Texas so I can choose my flights for the shortest visit possible.

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts about my miscarriage. Itís been more than a year but itís still a kick in the heart/gut to think about it, every time. DH and I are actively trying to have a baby amidst fertility issues, and I dread the day that my in-laws have an even bigger excuse to visit with us. I am going to keep reading and rereading, and decide what to do. At least what I think I should do, before DH comes back.

lorelai

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I should add that we come from a culture (both our parents are Indian immigrants) where it's ok to comment on people's looks or weight. When I go visit relatives in India, I'm told how much weight I've gained or how much darker I look and how I need to stay out of the sun. Still, my parents are much more tactful, and would never say anything like this to DH or to me.

If I was a completely horrible person, I'd tell FIL that he looks tired in every photo because he doesn't know how to smile. (Sidenote: Indian people from India don't often smile in posed portraits, I don't know why. They stare seriously at the camera. It's so strange! I hate to generalize about my own people, but I've seen it more often than not. Our wedding photos are a good example of this.) Anyway, that would be mean, so I won't say it. But I wish I could!

NyaChan

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I should add that we come from a culture (both our parents are Indian immigrants) where it's ok to comment on people's looks or weight. When I go visit relatives in India, I'm told how much weight I've gained or how much darker I look and how I need to stay out of the sun. Still, my parents are much more tactful, and would never say anything like this to DH or to me.

If I was a completely horrible person, I'd tell FIL that he looks tired in every photo because he doesn't know how to smile. (Sidenote: Indian people from India don't often smile in posed portraits, I don't know why. They stare seriously at the camera. It's so strange! I hate to generalize about my own people, but I've seen it more often than not. Our wedding photos are a good example of this.) Anyway, that would be mean, so I won't say it. But I wish I could!

Doesn't it just make you want to scream?  Drives me nuts that they do it - even after one time when my mom got to the family event first and told all the wives that no one was to say a word to either of her children about weight (UNPRECEDENTED!!), the first words out of my uncle's mouth "You've gained weight."  His wife read him the riot act and he later came back to hug me and tell me how pretty I looked  ::)  Gotta say though, my parents used to threaten to send me to India, but they never actually followed through.  I'm sorry that happened to you. 

This info re: culture kind of puts a new spin on things for me - they really aren't going to change because from their perspective, being older and parents and especially with you being a DIL, they don't have to apologize to you no matter what they say.  In their eyes, you being the younger, female, daughter in law means that you should be patient with them and just deal with it.  I think it is nice that your husband is willing to stick up for you if he knows what is happening - which means you should tell him when they say bad things! - since I know so many who won't say a word  :-\