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Family Politics Intervening in Relationship

My in-laws do not like me and are trying to break my husband and I up. Many lies have been told about me, and false accusations made. I have been set up, made fun of, and called names. Through it all, I kept attending all of their family gatherings, and being kind to them. After 2 years of this kind of treatment I was finally provoked to my limit. That is when I spelt out that my MIL was a B (and I do not curse). This did not just happen out of the blue like my MIL is trying to claim, and have everyone believe. Even though I was provoked I know this was wrong, and disrespectful and I have apologized to her for it. I had tried to make things right between my MIL and I on many occasions, before this incident took place, and again after. However, my MIL absolutely refused to resolve things. Now she says that she will talk, but only if we do it alone without anyone present except her, my FIL, my husband and I. I will not do this now, and have told her that, which is why she is now willing. I will not do this because of the accusations she has made about my husband and I miscontruing things. However, I have said that I would talk to her and my FIL with a pastor present, but she still refuses. She says that she does not need a pastor, and that it is disrespectful to involve one. I then suggested talking with family members present from her side, but again she refused. She said that witnesses are not needed when you are talking with family. I had also mentioned talking through email, but again she refused. She said that email is an inappropriate way to communicate with the ones you love. My question is…since my husband and I are being accused of lying and misconstruing things am I wrong to want a witness present or some type of proof of our converstions? Also how do we handle their interference in our lives? They have done so much that we will no longer go to the family gatherings. My MIL and SIL then went to my husbands work (they are the owners) and told him that the reason they called me psycho before we were married is because they love him and they knew that this would happen (I would prevent him from seeing his family). There is just so much that has happened I could write a book. How do we deal with this? We tried setting boundaries, and were told that no one gives their family boundaries, and I am just so weird. We were also told that by giving them boundaries we hurt them terribly, and that our boundaries were “so wrong” when they are just common sense things. Please help!!

 

Hi, you are speaking to someone who absolutely detests this sort of gossip and background sleights of hand. In such cases I can often deal very directly with the person, so I personally would not encourage calling in third parties. If your MIL suggests her and her husband and you and your husband to sit down to and discuss things, I do not see any problem with that. I would suggest you write down all your points and have them before you ready, and to keep a cool head. You could explain your point that you have held in your anger for a very long time to try and encourage a happy family environment but that you finally blew up, apologized, and “lets get over it”. Explain the reasons why you were so angry. Explain that your husband loves you and that his parents should learn to respect his decision and stop meddling in his life. It leads to no good. “A man/woman shall leave their parents and be united with their spouse.” Their opinions about you are essentially pointless. Are they marrying you? No. Your husband has already decided and they should respect his decision, and trying to disrupt your marriage is only destructive and pointless. Put all your points down on paper, practice a speech countless times in your head, and deliver your message in an effective manner, without reducing it to name calling, swearing or anger. Give your point of view as if you were in a court room, using cool logic and sound arguments. Prepare all your arguments beforehand and then make your case. Such dialogue is very important towards a healing process. Everyone has a valid point but are not necessarily right. By expressing all your points with cool heads, hopefully you will understand each others’ perspectives and come to an amicable agreement. Good luck! Karel

 

So you feel that even though she will say something to us when we are alone, and then deny to others that she ever said it… that we should still talk to her alone without any proof of our conversation? Example, my FIL birthday was coming up, and we had not heard anything from them. So my husband asked his mom when they were going to have his party. She said that she was not sure. My husband told her to let him know and she never did. So on my FIL birthday we called to wish him a happy birthday. No one answered the phone, and no one ever called back. So we called them back in the evening. We called his house and asked if it would be ok to stop by and drop off his card. His mom said “Yeah, are you coming over” my husband said yes, and when we arrived we found out that they were having a party without us. My husband went inside and said “We didn’t know you were having a party for dad” She lied and said “Yes, you did…you must have forgot” Later she admitted that she did not invite us because she did not want me there to ruin the party. However, if we would not have shown up the whole family would have thought it was because I wouldn’t let him see his family. When in reality we were not invited. She has also said that she will talk, but I am not aloud to bring up the past. Even though the past was never resolved, continues into the present, and there are no signs of it stopping in the future.

 

Well, it all seems too much of “he says” and “she says” and “they think” etc. This is approaching too much of the gossip problem and not the way to resolve this, with “witnesses” during a conversation etc. Honestly, did you want to have your preacher there and then bring this preacher to the others in the family to give his testimony of what your MIL said at your meeting? This is quite absurd. No, I suggest you sit down one-on-one or in this small group and simply exchange your ideas and feelings. If your MIL later lies and the others think something different, you can confront them about it. Tell them your point of view. If they choose to believe their mother instead, let them. Don’t obsess yourself with what others think and simply remove yourself from that. If they want their son at their gatherings, not you, but your husband says that he wont come without you, then they have to make the compromise, wont they? And if there are some intolerable conditions for you while there, simply bring it up with them. Head on, one-on-one with each of them, honestly and open face, until all wrinkles are ironed out. You have a right to demand that you are not treated in some bad way. What concerns what people think in their heads, you don’t really have a right to meddle with that. You should all be able to act civilized like mature adults and not let yourselves sink into a pit of gossip. At least you yourself can steer away from that. Don’t let yourself get obsessed with what others think – that is gossip sickness as well. I find it better to be totally upfront about things, although I’ve experienced that women tend to conceal things more, and play games behind the scenes. So this might be more difficult for you. In any case, I would focus on how people actually treat you rather than what they think or what they do in private. If there is some actual act against you, you address it then, or let it slide and wait for an opportune moment to bring it up. Also, you don’t necessarily want to be constantly addressing issues, because then you become a drag and no one wants you around. Social environments can be very tricky to play in, especially family ones, because “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”. Sometimes I think that God designed families to be purposefully diverse and conflicting in this way, to exercise our tolerance.

 

Karel

If you would like to ask for advice, feel free to write to me through my contact form.

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