Author Topic: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. wed photo, Response #42, 60, 64  (Read 19040 times)

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weeblewobble

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Re: FIL's unwanted opinions about everything, incl. my wed photo (long)
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2013, 12:45:32 PM »

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.


Well considering how they treat their daughter, that sure as heck isn't a position I would want to put myself in.

CakeBeret

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(((hugs)))

My mother is a bully much like your in-laws. After my miscarriage, she told me "It wasn't even a real baby yet so stop being so dramatic." When I was facing a marital crisis and mistakenly thought that it was time to tell her what was going on, she spread despicable rumors about me. My relationship with her has been a series of betrayals interspersed with little insults, and when I show upset, she finds a way to blame it on me.

I've healed and become a better person despite her hurtfulness. What works for me is--as many other posters mentioned--polite distance. I don't share with her anything more than I would share with a casual acquaintance. When I have to chitchat with her I'll talk about my cat's latest antics or my son's new achievement, but my #1 rule is do not give her any ammunition. Do not share anything that can be used against me.

IMO, this is the route you need to go with your in-laws. Pretend they're a next-door neighbor or a distant cousin. Pretend they're a long-forgotten acquaintance with whom you are chatting at the grocery store. Don't make any more effort for them than you would a near-stranger. If you want to cook a nice dinner, concentrate on your enjoyment of it and don't expect any compliments from them.

You can even list things, in your mind beforehand, that are safe subjects. So when they ask you what's going on in your life, you can tell them about a book you read or a new coworker. When they ask you personal questions, give them a non-answer and change the subject. Eventually they'll get used to it, and so will you, and it won't be as much effort.

And lest you think that this is a sad and unfulfilling way to live, I find it quite freeing. There's a lot of security in knowing that they can't hurt you anymore. Once you get into the pattern of treating them with passing superficiality, it feels more natural and comfortable, and you may even enjoy your relationship with them again.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

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!

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. 

Haha yes, it's awful. It's so awful all I can do is try to find the humor in it. People really don't need to say everything they're thinking.

I know sending kids back to India was such an urban legend, but I'm here to say it does happen, and it stinks!

Eden

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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  :-\

This information definitely makes me think of OP's in-laws less as blatant bullies. But to me I think the approach is the same. Whether it be a family culture of open commentary or a regional culture of commentary, it is something with which the OP and her DH are not completely comfortable. Like all cultural shifts, it will be slow and take effort. And standing ground and letting the in-laws know it hurts feelings and isn't welcome is really the only way to make it stop.

Otterpop

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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  :-\

OMGosh that is so funny.  We had a rebellious 14 year old at one time and DH's co-worker said his family in India would take her over the summer and straighten her out.  We almost took him up on it! (we are not from there...)  Must be a cultural thing.

OP I feel for you.  It's not going to be easy, especially coming from a culture that values family closeness.  Your in-laws don't have a filter for their harshness.  (My MIL comes from a similar culture but her boys learned quickly, in a corporate environment, you have to temper yourself.  Also, they wanted to keep their wives  >:D).

Once you start protecting yourself and gain experience, it will become second nature.  You will also be better prepared to stand up for your children.  Good luck!

cwm

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OP, you are NOT being oversensitive about any of this. I have relatives who are oversensitive, and they use that to control everything around them. They've become bullies themselves because of how much they make everyone else tiptoe around them. You are nothing like them. You are the victim of bullying here, plain and simple.

It sounds like your DH has recognized that things are going to have to change. I agree that he should stand up for you, and you should have a signal to prompt him that he needs to say something.

I also think that calling FIL out on his big mouth is a good thing. Sometime when he says something hurtful, say something lightly to someone else that he can clearly hear that you learned as a small child that it wasn't necessary to say every little thing that went through your head, especially if someone could be hurt by it.

rashea

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I think the comment that you looked tired in a photo isn't bad on the face. The issue is that it was a straw, and you broke.

I agree with taking a big step back and thinking of them as acquaintance for a while. One thing that might help to desensitize you is to think about the "intent, meaning, and impact". Their intent was not to hurt you (I suspect, especially with the cultural information). I suspect the intent was to reject the picture in some way, and he came up with something. It's also possible that the fact you were smiling made it seem unacceptable to them, if non-smiling is what they are used to. The meaning for you was painful. A "you didn't look good on your wedding day". On the other hand, you took that a bit further. At most, he said that you looked tired in that photo. The problem is that if there is never anything positive said, you start reading more and more negativity into everything and it's a downward spiral. That's the impact.

You can't change them. You can try, and you might get them to modify their behavior a bit. But they will likely always hurt you like this. So now you have to decide if you want to try and just ignore their stupid little insults, or if you want to call them on it, or just draw back from them. Maybe a combination. But I think it helps if you can look at what their real intent might be.
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Minmom3

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Lorelei - maybe you could return to extreme formality in addressing them, and call them Mr. FIL and Mrs. MIL?  When they ask you why you have changed, you can tell them they aren't treating you with love, and you choose to be more formal from now on, and not call them Mom and Dad.  And I completely agree with the PP's who say to give them as little amunition - information - as possible.  They take that info and poke holes in you with it, so give them only the details untrustworthy strangers get.
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katycoo

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Your FIL (and MIL) are clearly thoughtless people.  You can't change them, but you can stop allowing them to hurt you.

When they say something hurtfull, call them on it.

When they want your help but then criticise you, stop helping.  You said they have all the digital files of your wedding.  if they want to pick the photo they like best and make your face enormous, they can do so, but they shouldn't expect you to help when it makes you unhappy.

When they criticise your food, stop cooking for them.  When they ask why you stopped, tell them.

But if you keep putting yourself out there, you'll keep getting hurt.  This might help them to change, to see how mean and hurtful they're being.  It might not.  but at the end of the day, you'll be happier.

lorelai

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I'm still not exactly sure what to do, but I just wanted to thank everyone for all for the advice. And say that I'm sorry to hear of your miscarriages too :(

Miss Unleaded

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I'm really very angry on your behalf!   >:(

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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I'm still not exactly sure what to do, but I just wanted to thank everyone for all for the advice. And say that I'm sorry to hear of your miscarriages too :(

Lorelai, I also have similar cultural issues in my relationship with my in-laws, and the only thing that had worked for me was to pull back from the relationship.  I became more formal with them, I don't tell them anything beyond the bare minimum, and we cut back on our visits.  DH and I tried talking to them and pointing out what they were doing were wrong, but that didn't do anything.  So both of us now agreed to pull back, especially once we had our DS and it became more important that he was not subjected to the same treatment and that he didn't see me subjected to it.  I'm sorry you are going through this, but the most important thing is to save your relationship and any future kids that you have. 

Gyburc

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(((lorelai and lorelai's DH))) I hope that things get a lot better for you very soon! I admire the way you have been able to think everything through so sensibly and try to see the different perspectives, and how you and your DH have been discussing the problem and working out how to solve it.

I just wanted to add that I don't think you are over-sensitive at all. One thing seems very clear - your ILs are like this to everyone, pretty much all the time. I can imagine it gets very wearing.

When you look into the photocopier, the photocopier also looks into you

BeagleMommy

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Lorelei, I'm going to tell you something my father's cardiologist told our family.  "Heart patients are not any more fragile than any other person.  Coddling and catering to them will turn them either into tyrants or invalids.  It is fine for them to get upset, angry, sad, disappointed or whatever negative emotion happens."

Stop worrying about upsetting your ILs.  If your FIL says something unkind to you, look him in the eye and say "Why would you say something so hurtful to me?".  If he says he's just being honest you can hit back with "Honesty doesn't have to be cruel".

Then walk away.  If MIL has a habit of entering your room without knocking - lock the door.  Become politely distant.

cicero

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Lorelei just wanted to send you and your DH hugs. Your in laws are not nice people, contrary to what you or he think. Even with the added info on your cultural background - I still don't buy it. You even say yourself
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.
your parents are from the same culture and yet they understand that you'all are living in a different place. It is possible to be of X culture and be nice to your DIL
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 10:21:16 AM by cicero »

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