My in-laws have become out-laws! - FamilyEducation
My in-laws have become out-laws!
07/15/2008 at 16:58 PM

Help! I don't know where to start. My husband and I are having problems getting through to our in-laws. All we've been trying to do is move forward from an argument that has been going on far too long. Our problem is getting them to open up to us about hurtful things they've said, and getting them to take some credit for why we're in this mess. No one will admit to anything, and any time we bring up something that was said, it either gets twisted around or denied. On top of that, we get accused of lashing out, when all we're trying to do is talk about the problem. The whole thing is soooo frustrating!!! At this point we're willing to put everything aside just to move on. However, this is impossible b/c we only get ignored. I refuse to be in a room w/ others who are going to disrespect me and my husband in such a manner. I'm at my wits end, and don't know what else to do!! Presently, my husband and I are not speaking to his family, except for his mother. The whole thing is really sad. We left the ball in their court to call us when they're ready to move forward in a mature and sincere way. My husband is torn up about the whole thing, but he continues to stand by my side. I don't like to see him hurting, but I don't know how to solve this situation, if no one else is willing to work w/ us. My husband's youngest brother is getting married in 2 mos, and I refuse to go to the wedding under the circumstances. My husband wants to go for his mother's sake, so I respect his decision. His brothers are playing dumb about the whole situation and saying they don't have a problem w/ us. However, when we get together, we hear the under-the breath comments and continue to get ignored. Do you think I'm being selfish letting my husband go alone to his brother's wedding? The truth is that I really want to go, but I can't get myself past how I've been treated and the hurt that I feel. Nothing has changed, except that we're all not talking. We expressed our feelings about wanting to move forward. We even apologized for our actions. Why can't they make an effort to do the same? Is that too much to ask? Sometimes I think that too much was said, and nothing will ever change. Yet we're still willing to try. Why can't they?

I believe that you should attend the wedding. First of all, it means a lot to your husband who you said continues to "stand by your side." Secondly, The only way to erase the unpleasant memories is to replace them with pleasant ones. It may be uncomfortable for you and it seems that it may even be against your principal to allow yourself and your husband to be disrespected, but if you really want to resolve the issue you can't give up. Staying home is like ignoring the people that you are mad at for ignoring you. Try to maintain as much poise as you have in you. Smile and only focus on the positive. If you notice a family memeber whispering about you then immediately look for someone who is not. Talk with those who enjoy your company and if anything gets escalated, leave immediately without any confrontation. The last thing you want to do is allow this conflict to disrupt someone's wedding day. You are a wise woman concerned and I believe you have the gracious tact to to handle a situation like this. Do this for your desire to repair your family and do it for your husband. Just carry yourself with easy self-assuance and leave a positive memory on your family. Let you husband comfort you when it is all over because if you go, no matter how successful you are at being positive, it will be stressful and hurtful for you. Best wishes for success, you deserve it... You often help others.

Well, first I would attend the wedding.If your husband wants you there then you should do it for him at least.The in-laws play apart in this but they shouldn't take you away from things you want to do. The best you can do is make sure you don't scoop down to their level and negativity. Try to have a positive outlook. It's hard but times will change.

Thank you both so much for your honest opinions. This has been tearing me apart for so long now, and I just want it to stop. When the invitation came, my husband and I were one of the first ones to RSVP. He responded 1 for himself b/c he knew how hard it wld be for me to face everyone again. But it's been eating away at me. I know I am not totally innocent in this whole situation, and I take full responsibility for my actions, as does my husband. We even apologized. But must we continue to be punished for things that were said so long ago that we've tried so hard to repair? And what about what was said to us? I've been called sick, twisted, overly sensitive, and a liar. I admit I can be sensitive when it comes to certain things, but knowing that, don't you think that my in-laws shld be a bit more understanding? I have a sister-in-law who is very outspoken, and she says whatever's on her mind, regardless of who she hurts. Then there's my brother-in-laws who are very sarcastic, and in my opinion, wise-butts, to put it mildly. My husband can sometimes be the same way, but I have no problem telling him when I think he's wrong, and he realizes this. I admit we've played the games, just like everyone else, but we're tired. We expressed to the family that we've exhausted all efforts and that we're at our wits end. Personally, I prefer to talk about things that bother me, but I've learned that you can't do that w/ these people. They only twist things around and deny them. This is very hard for me to accept b/c I've always considered myself to be an honest person, and I don't want to be made out to look nieve. I know quite well what my in-laws are doing. I'm not stupid, and I don't need to be made to feel that way. I just don't know how to handle it all w/out feeling hurt. All we're left w/ right now is to move forward. We've tried our hardest to do that, but we don't see the same response from the rest of my in-laws. When we bring it up, they play dumb and say there's nothing to move forward from. However, we continue to get ignored, and we feel everything is one sided. We can't talk about it b/c we're accused of lashing out. I believe this whole experience has changed both my husband and I. We rationalize it in that if others won't change, we must change. I feel I've put up a wall to protect myself from getting hurt any further. I don't want it to be that way, but I feel it's my only choice. We have been going around in circles, and I feel there's no solution here, except to go on w/ our own lives, and make the best of what we have. My husband says that our boys and I are all he needs, but I know that that's not entirely true. He misses his family. I see it in his eyes, and I miss them too. Still, neither of us can stand any more hurt or rejection from them. I don't want my husband to ever resent me, though. The whole thing is so sad. I just wish they wld take the initiative to call us, and if not apologize, at least show us that they are sincere in their efforts to move forward and accept us back in their lives. I don't know how much more I can take. Tamz, I just want to thank you for your kind comments about me. I don't know how wise I really am, but I'm glad that I can be of help to others. It seems so easy to give advice, but when it comes to taking advice and doing what I know is probably the right thing, it's very hard. I will seriously consider the advice I've been given, and discuss everything w/ my husband. I am very strong willed, and I can be thick-headed, so that doesn't help. However, I am trying my hardest to keep an open mind. I'm am so grateful for the support I've rec'd from everyone here. It's definitely helped me get through some tough times. Thank you everyone for all your encouragement! PS--Sorry this is so long!

There are often many sides to family conflicts. Be patient; your family members may not be ready to discuss the conflict. Give them time to come around. If you practice being helpful, courteous and upbeat, you will likely find that your family will begin responding with the same kind of behavior toward you. If they are not willing to talk through the conflict, you have no control over that. You can only move forward with the way you wish to behave in your family. You have already apologized for your part in the conflict, that's all you can do.

Thx, tamz. I'm trying to be as patient as I can, and that's part of the reason my husband and I took a break from everyone--to give them their space. That's not exactly what they asked for, but we don't know what else to do. This situation has been going on for a long time, and it finally blew up about a yr ago. I really feel that's b/c no one wants to talk about anything. They just want to act like everything is ok, when we know all too well that it's not. I realize there are many sides to a story, and I wld LOVE to hear their side of the story. If I did something to further aggravate the situation, I'd like to know that so I have the opportunity to fix it. I'm being totally honest when I say that everyone had a hand in this situation, and no one is innocent. I don't expect any of them to agree w/ my thinking if they don't feel the same way. Just like they shldn't expect me to agree w/ them. I just expect everyone to make a sincere effort to move forward. My husband and I have done everything we can think of to try to get his family to just accept the situation and move on. I know we hurt them just as they hurt us, and other then apologize, there's nothing more we can do. I just want to be able to sit in a room w/ our family and share what we once had. I want to feel excepted and not like an outcast. I want them to accept me for who I am, just as I accept them. We're not always going to agree, and I'm ok w/ that. I just wish we cld all be kind to one another. It's the backstabing and gossip, and unkind zingers and smirks, that really hit hard. And the ignoring. Oh my God! Imagine yourself in a room with 10 people that treat you like you're not even there. How wld that make you feel? I feel like when we get together, you can cut the air w/ a knife. It's horrible! I just want to cry, especially since we were all once really close. I can only hope that someday things will get better.

Some people love the gossip. Often times it becomes habit and they think they are bonding by coming together against another. The truth is if they are spending their time gossiping about you then they really are not bonding at all. It's when people get down to talking about themselves that they learn about each other and grow together. It's a shame everyone does not have a certain intellect to understand this behavior. Hang in there and keep your chin up.

Thx again. I appreciate your positive attitude. If anything, it helps to get things off my chest.