In-Laws

I haven’t written a lot about my husband’s parents – with the exception with one post on adoption, I haven’t ventured into this subject. Just like all writer’s, I have made choices what to write about and what not to write about. What to share about my personal life and what not to share.

I feel that sharing about my family – as in, my parents, the death of my mom and sister, my siblings, etc. – is my territory. Or, another way to put it, is that it is my sandbox, I can build and change or even blow up the castle as I see fit. Simply because it is my life, it is also my decision what to share. Yes, I know some of my family members might be hurt by what I’ve said, but I also believe, when the time come that I tell them about this blog, they will also understand.

For example, even though I have shared stories about being forgotten or about being hurt by my dad’s version of support, I think my Dad would get it. He would know that my comments are not based out of hate, but rather based purely out of my interpretation of events. I think he might be hurt at first, but I think he’d also appreciate the honesty in my feelings and my emotions. Hopefully he’d see it as a way to see my inner workings a bit better, a way to know me better. And eventually, he would be okay with it.

I hope by explaining my choices about who I write about, I can also explain my choices about who I have not written about – specifically, my husband’s side of our family.

I have not written about my husband’s parents very much, largely because I do not see them as my family. While, technically I am part of their extended family since I married their son and I chose to share their last name, I do not feel that I am part of the family both due a mix of their choices not to be inclusive of me over the years and due to my choices to be hurt by it. I exist at the very edge of their sandbox, and as such it is not necessarily my place to write about said sandbox. As far as his parents go, I’m the kid in the playground who really desperately wanted to play but was never accepted. Based on his parents behaviour, it is abundantly clear that I was never invited onto the team, I never even got called up from the minors for a tryout and one time they did their best to kick me off the team (you can be assured that if/when I ever do share that story, it’s a good one).

For years, I made a big effort to be accepted on their team. I went out of my way to be overly nice, and to fit into their definition of a girlfriend (which did not meet my personality at all).   However, years ago, I cannot remember exactly when, I stopped. I no longer make any efforts to be accepted – it didn’t work when I tried and so why not at least have them dislike me for me? So, I decided it was more important to be true to myself then to be someone else in an effort to try to be accepted (which was the way I lived the rest of my life since the age of 14). Funny enough, they still didn’t like the real me, but at least I do and my husband does as well.

(I do feel the need to digress quickly and state that my brother-in-law and his wife are amazing not only as family members, but also just as people. I adore them and would chose them as friends even if there was no family connection. My brother-in-law has an infectious ability to tell a story that captivates an audience in a way that I’ve never experienced before. My sister-in-law has a heart of gold, a moral compass much like my own, and gives oddly giant hugs much beyond her small stature. They have been accepting of me and just generally wonderful for all the years I have been around. As well, it is my perception that the other daughter-in-law has also never been accepted into the sandbox, and so after years of frustration and heartache, I now believe that their treatment of me is not about me personally but rather about something much different and probably requires a psychologist or two to figure out).

Anyways, back to the point, writing about my husband’s family. It is one thing for me to potentially mess up my family relationships more than they already are, but it is a completely different thing for me to potentially mess up my husband’s family relationships.

I actually have a lot to say about his family, but so far I have chosen to pushed the mute button because I know that if I go there, we have to be prepared to deal with the consequences should I ever associate my blog and writing with my real name (and there is a decent chance of that happening one day). So, even though we have to go there with my family, it feels entirely different to force us to go there with his family. And, with his family (unlike mine), we have a lot more fear that they would not understand and the damage would be catastrophic and quite possibly irreparable. And, how do I do that to my husband? Yes, he, knows his family is not perfect, we share a lot of the same opinions when it comes to both our families, but it’s not my place to be his voice and while I am in no way trying to be his voice, I am afraid that my writing will be interpreted by his family as his voice. When in fact, clearly, my writing is just that, my writing. My opinions, my thoughts, my stories, my emotions, my memories.

So, why am I sharing this now? Why am I telling you all about my husband’s family and my reluctance to write about them? Well, his parents are visiting this weekend. They live a quick airplane ride away and make very little effort to visit us (they went three solid years without a single visit, and since we called them out on it, this will be there second visit in one year). They are spending the weekend with us which means I have to be nice; hide our struggles with RPL (they do not know about it and we are definitely not ready to tell them); pretend we are one happy family while ignoring the unwanted giant white elephant in the room (note that in this analogy I am the white elephant); and, play nice in the sandbox even though I’m only allowed in a tiny little corner of it. I will walk on egg shells all weekend, I will feel out of sorts for most of the weekend and ultimately I will feel uncomfortable in my own home.

I accept this for what it is, and I no longer try to change the situation or their perceptions of me. They will be who they are, just as I will be who I am. I believe I am a pretty decent person and I love their son more than anything I the world. If this isn’t good enough, then it simply isn’t my problem anymore. Acceptance doesn’t mean I like it, but it does mean that while visits may be a challenge, it no longer effects our day-to-day lives in the same way it used to. We are at peace with the situation and continue to lead out lives the way we see fit.

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19 Comments on “In-Laws

  1. Oh man, in-laws are SO COMPLICATED. I took the in-law situation for granted because my dad’s family loves my mom more than they love my dad. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized you have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding in-laws like my mom has. My own in-laws drive me INSANE. They are the opposite of me and my family in every possible way. They tolerate me, and they try to treat me like family, but it’s never quite successful. Likewise, I never feel 100% comfortable with them. And my SIL is a bitch. Plain & simple. Can’t stand her. LOL Try to hang in there and have a decent weekend. If you have an opportunity to carve out some time for yourself, it will help your sanity. When I’m stuck with mine I will joyfully step out for an hour to run to the grocery store for ANYTHING.

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    • I love your use of the words complicated and tolerate! Both words that seem very fitting for my situation as well!
      Having a dog that needs walks is a great excuse to get out, assuming no-one want to join me. Another good stand by is a run to the grocery store – thanks for the idea!

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  2. Sending you strength to get through the next few days!

    Fyi – you can password protect any blog post through WordPress. If you ever do want to talk about your inlaws or an other topic that you don’t want certain people to ever see even if you go public with your blog, you can lock individual posts and only the people you give the password to will be able to see it. I’ve considered doing this when I have something I really need to vent about 🙂 Hope this weekend isn’t too awful. Hugs.

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    • Thanks!
      I’ve debated password protecting some posts in the past, but in the end, chances are right now no-one I actually know will find my blog without my help. And, when/if I choose to tell my family, I can do so in an appropriate way to help them understand why I’m doing this. In the end, they will have to choose how to cope and deal.

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  3. I totally get what you are saying. I wrote a couple of blog posts about my in laws but I ended up taking them down. If they ever came across it, it would cause big problems. I mean the likelihood of them ever stumbling upon it is almost zero, but I couldn’t take that chance. I have issues with my in laws, but it is not so cut and dry of them disliking me. I almost wish it was that, then I wouldn’t care as much. They are complicated people, and very different than myself and my family (and even my husband is very different than his own parents). Blending families is extremely difficult, I don’t think I know anyone who has a great relationship with their in-law family. You are lucky to have good siblings in law. I do like mine, but it’s also complicated…Good luck this weekend. I hope it goes as smoothly as possible. It sucks feeling like a guest in your own home.

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  4. I feel like I could have written a post just like this! Although I un-muted and have to say it was a relief. I was done tip toeing and being intimidated. I know what you are going through and hopefully the weekend goes smoothly.

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    • Thanks for sharing!
      On 90% of things with them I have un-muted as well. But when it comes to our RPL we have not and we just aren’t ready to share it with them yet. So, I know that will make this weekend a bit harder for me. I know a time will come, but we just don’t want to deal with potentially negative suggestions right now. And we’ve learned in the past, it is best to tell them final decision to remove the ability for them to provide suggestions. It’s actually been a rather successful technique and the main reason why we aren’t telling them about our RPL situation right now. We want to tell them once we have a few more decisions made.

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  5. In-laws…I feel your pain! Mine are nice enough…but drive me crazy. They’ve made so many bad decisions over the years yet keep trying to give us advice. I could go on and on about this subject…good luck this weekend and I hope it goes better than you expect!

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    • Thanks so much for the comment and the best wishes! I’m sure we will survive, but I also am sure that there will be some interesting moments. Hopefully everyone is on their best behaviour and we can avoid any conflict with quick thinking conversation changers. 🙂

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  6. Families… can’t live with them, can’t kill them as they say. 😉 I don’t envy you and I don’t think that given where I’m at that I would let people in my home around whom I felt I had to walk on eggshells so I applaud you for having the strength and stomach to do that while nevertheless trying to maintain your integrity and dignity as your “selves”. Good luck!

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    • Thank you. It is pretty easy for us to deal with them typically, as they live in a different province and tend not to visit much at all. And, we’ve carefully planned their visit to be at a time when we know we can get through it – we currently are not living the high risk pregnancy life and we are not living the miscarriage life. So for us, this is an optimal weekend.
      But, more then anything, I know they are my husband’s parents. While, they may not make me feel welcomed or loved, I am also not interested in cutting them out of our lives, which means I get to deal with the odd uncomfortable weekend.
      Thanks again!

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. Mine are coming in a month and stay for 1-2-3 months. I am quite nervous about that. Your post is a prelude, for me, to come.

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  8. Pingback: I Have a Grenade, and I’m Getting Ready to Throw It | My Perfect Breakdown

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