It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Relationship Health Message Board

  • In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 07-07-2005, 09:07 AM   #1
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Hi, Everyone Goody is in desperate need of advise in regard to my In Laws and their increasing effect on our marriage.

    As many of you already know, I am married to a wonderful guy who means the world to me. However, we have been having problems with his family ever since I can remember but which has escalated to something that is having it's effect on our relationship. There's is alot to this which I will fill in as needed but the jest of it stems from Tom's family's continuous efforts to come visit and not respecting our boundaries that we so desperately try to set but somehow are manipulated into getting it to be their way. This often comes at the expense of causing distress between Tom & I and one or both of us giving in.

    Tom's family lives out of state as does mine. We become the sponsors of many family reunions and get togethers because of this. My family comes far less often, respects when we can house them or cannot and schedules their visits at our convenience. They never overstay and my parents have a saying which says..."guests are like fish, after a few days they start to smell!!" However, Tom's family over the years has insisted on coming despite when it is inconvenient and ends up staying far beyond a reasonable timeframe often for a week to 20 days....up to 10 people at a time. His mom visits us every few months for at least 10 days...when we told her that all stays must be a week or less she comes not as frequently often cashing in on not staying previously so she can stay 2 weeks ....and lately she doesn't even offer a date of departure hoping that we won't ask her to leave. When his sisteers call asking to come for a visit I explain to them the only week that is bad and it never fails that it so happens to be the ONLY week that is available for them. Tom & I have come up with plans to alleviate the manipualtions to the point that they call him and get a no and then call me visa versa Tom has admitted that his family are the masters of manipulation and if anyone needed a crash course on how to weasel your way inconveniently into one's life just spending time with his family would do the job Most recently, I have discovered with the help of a dear friend that old defensive responses that I would categorize as a "fight & flight" response in me have somehow re-emerged. I didn't understand why I became so distressed every time his family took advantage of us until this wonderful friend of mine helped me to see that I am demonstrating the same defense mechanisms I did in the past when I was in an abusive relationship. I am only touching the tip of the iceberg here when it comes to his family....Tom tells me that he has become callous to their ways but I am not able to do so. Things go beyond that I most recently discovered that they are not only very self-centered & manupulating people but also somewhat "toxic" and borderline "abusive".

    I am upset at how we are treated and probably more upset that Tom over & over again is unable to put them in their place. We recently had an argument when his sisters wanted to come stay with me while he was away for a week despite my telling them that it was inconvenient & to come another time. We've since resolved this after my "fight & flight" response. His parents are coming up for a wedding and staying at our house and arriving two days before Tom returns from a week trip. I just had his mom for 2 weeks about a month ago....Tom goes off to work and I have all day with his mom and this continues and has been going on almost all of our marriage. We had a huge argument about this and I am beginning to lose respect for Tom so long as he sees how this distresses me & is unable to do something about it (that is, not until I have become distressed to begin with). I would appreciate any advice from others. And yes....I have already told Tom that God clearly give us guidlines on how "a man shall leave his mother & a woman leave her home." I feel like I have done my end of the bargain but that he has yet to live up to his. Help

    ~ Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 07-07-2005 at 09:14 AM.

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 07-07-2005, 10:09 AM   #2
    Music4All
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Music4All's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2004
    Posts: 900
    Music4All HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Goody, can you collect yourself, prepare for the obvious resistance, and simply say, NO. You are wise and offer much good and sound advice to others. Sometimes, regardless of the difficulty of the short term battle, there must be a stand as solid as granite over a period of time to make that needed final impression as to what will and will not be acceptable.

    I know you know already, but it won't stop until you draw you non-negotiable line in the sand and defend it until the "aggressor" comes to understand you mean business.

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 11:35 AM   #3
    BLUE EYED LADY
    Veteran
     
    BLUE EYED LADY's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Posts: 391
    BLUE EYED LADY HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Goody,
    I am so sorry that you are feeling upset. I had a weird feeling this morning that something was wrong and that is why I posted on the other thread asking you how you are only shortly before you posted. Amazing isn't it??
    Now, I need a little more info. You and Tom had come to the decision previously to tell his family they could not come. His parents are coming up for a wedding 2 days before Tom gets back. Are they staying in the summer house with you or in your other house? Do you know how long they are staying? Did you guys receive another call from his family in the last few days leading you to believe that they were staying longer than originally planned? Did Tom back down in some way to his family in the last few days? What has changed from when his mother originally told you she would be coming in for the wedding?
    Is sounds as though you did not resolve your arguement before he left on his trip, is that correct?
    It really stinks when family does not respect your boundaries. Your right, they are manipulative and very self-centered. It sounds like even when you come right out and tell them when they can come and for how long, they ignore what you say and do what they want anyway. I can understand completely why it would make your blood boil. The only way that you will be able to overcome this in your marriage is if you both are in agreeement and take a FIRM stand, NO MATTER WHAT HIS FAMILY DOES. Tom unfortunately, (because this is his family), will need to be willing to set firm and unbending guidleines and stick with them no matter what.
    It sounds like he has told his family no already and they continue to barge in. Unfortunately, the only way this may ever change is if he is willing to possibly lose his family (for a time) if need be. (I get the impression that if he takes the kind of stand he will need to take, (ex refusing them a key to the house, telling his family- this is the week that is good for us for you to visit and only X amount of people can visit at one time and only stay X amount of days), his family may choose to cut off communication with him. (They sound like very immature people.) The possibility of losing one's family, is a VERY difficult thing for anyone to accept, and thus that is where I think his dilemna is. Have you both spoken about that very real possibility? Is he willing to do that if needs be? If this continues to cause problems in your relationship and you can not both come to a united decision, you may need to seek counseling.
    Since most people would not "invade" someone's home after they have been specifically told not to come, or not stay longer than a week when they have been asked to limit their visits to a week, and they do it anyway, my guess is that there is tremendous baggage going on from his family of origin. It is interesting that his mother seems to visit alone most of the time. There is obviously a tremendous need within her that she wants to come visit so often and leave her husband behind. Although you mentioned they are both coming up for the weekend, it sounds as though the majority of the time, she comes by herself. I sense she is very unhappy in her marriage. Is his mother a controlling person in other areas? She strikes me as possibly being the type of mother that showed love and approval only when her children did what she wanted. Perhaps Tom deep down inside, (and he probably is not even aware of it), feels as though his mom and family will not love him if he does not do what they want. What do you think of this?
    Unfortunately, you can not fix the family dynamics of others. You and Tom only have control over your own responses to the actions of his family.
    You are wonderful with words. Have you ever thought about writing a heart felt letter to Tom explaining in detail how it makes YOU FEEL when his family does X and how it makes you feel when he responds to them in Y way? If you write the letter in such a way that it does not come across in an attacking way, perhaps he will be able to really understand. Word pictures work great. If you can try and think of a situation that he can relate to (basically tell a little story), and then at the end say, that is how I feel when
    your family acts in this manner. I would then add, "I need you to.........., so that I feel............ End the letter, reinforcing your love to him and that you don't want anything coming between you.
    I'm anxious to hear the answers to my questions and your response. I'm sorry your hurting and I will keep you in my prayers. Try to do wonderful fun things with your daughter while Tom is away to keep your mind off the situation.
    I know this is causing you alot of anxiety and anger, understandibly so!! As hard as it may be, try to remember how wonderful a husband Tom has been in so many other areas. This will be another obstacle that you will both learn how to overcome.
    (((((((((HUGS))))))))))
    Blue Eyed Lady

    Last edited by BLUE EYED LADY; 07-07-2005 at 12:06 PM.

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 12:07 PM   #4
    Ruth6:11
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Ruth6:11's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Dec 2003
    Posts: 3,339
    Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    My dear Goody suddenly I realize how many things re your everyday life I don't know about!
    My solution is too terribly practical - but it worked for my Mom when she got tired of too many guests who stayed too long.
    She moved - to a smaller place with rooms enough only for those who really live there. No guest room (how DO you really sleep 10 extra guests in your... mansion???!!!) only the necessary bedrooms and maybe a computer room/den.

    Personally I know that it sounds like a drastic thing to do - but I also don't see his family changing any - unless you both get so hardnosed that they totally write you both out of their family.
    Maybe your house IS too big???
    Think of the reduced amount of housework in a smaller cozier home!!!
    Motels will put 10 people up in a small amount of space too....
    Hugs,

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 06:03 PM   #5
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Music4All
    Goody, can you collect yourself, prepare for the obvious resistance, and simply say, NO. You are wise and offer much good and sound advice to others. Sometimes, regardless of the difficulty of the short term battle, there must be a stand as solid as granite over a period of time to make that needed final impression as to what will and will not be acceptable.

    I know you know already, but it won't stop until you draw you non-negotiable line in the sand and defend it until the "aggressor" comes to understand you mean business.
    Music ~ Thanks for the advice and believe me that you are right that I know what needs to be done and so does Tom. But it is something that I do not see us being able to do. We have come up with plan after plan in which we thought would be strong as granite against the aggressors. However, time after time they have infiltrated our camp even when we thought we had a plan that would stand.

    The thing is unless we totally alienate ourselves from Tom's family it will always be this way. And I know that Tom is not willing to do this nor am I ready to expect him to do so. There is so much to all this that it is a known factor that if we were to do what I know we have to do that they will disown Tom as a family......for we have seen it happen between family members over things such as seeing friends more often than family. His sisters did not speak for over 4 years over something like this and his mom did not speak to her brother for over 8 years and finally reconciled with him only days before he died. We need to come up with a plan that will not fail in terms of them respecting our terms or not having it their way at all. So far the plans that we have come up with have failed or been manipulated in such a way that we are actually unaware of it happening until it's too late and has caused us distress. They make phone calls to each of us gauging our vulnerability until they get their way. I know that we have to be more assertive and I have friends that have told me exactly what to say and do & still it fails. I even went out and got an iguana knowing that my MIL wouldn't stay in a house with one and still she found a way to acclimate to liking iguanas. The iguana even got loose & we have yet to find it and still she comes.

    Anyway....seriously, I know in looking at my post what I would advise others and I want to assure you that we have tried everything short of having nothing more to do with them because that is not an option.

    I am thinking that we need to come up with a clear to the point response to when we get caught off guard when they call...something like saying that we need to speak to the other & will get back to them. I came up with something similar but that too failed. Tom knows that they manipulate but still falls prey to their manuveurs. It's like a virtual game of Risk....trying to always outwit them but we seem to be losing the game constantly.

    Anyway...I hope to give you more insight to what exactly we are up against in my response to Blue. After you read some of that you will see how short of totally alienating ourselves from this family our only other option is coming up with a stategic plan that will not fail. Goody is open to all suggestions.

    ~ Goody

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 06:17 PM   #6
    Snails
    Senior Veteran
     
    Snails's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2004
    Posts: 1,137
    Snails HB UserSnails HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Hi Goody,

    I think Blue gave you fantastic advice, and although I wish I could think of something to add, all I can really do at this point is remind you that you have lots and lots of good friends here who care deeply for you and wish you all the best. We are here for support whenever you need us, and will always be on your side, looking out for the best interests of you and your family. Thanks for sticking by my side and always lending me such unconditional, insightful wisdom and support--I'm glad we now have a chance to rally to your side and help you out, though of course I hate to see you struggling with any problem big enough to post about . I've had a little taste of how divisive and aggravating in-laws can be, and I think you're an absolute saint for handling this as well as you have so far. The most important thing is not to let these sad little manipulative meddlers cause any rifts in your bond with Tom, no matter what--your family of Tom and the girls must come first and be shielded from any negative outside influences, no matter how determined, persistent, and annoying they are! That's why I think Blue's suggestion that you write a letter to Tom explaining your feelings about the situation and emphasizing your unconditional love for him and your desire to work out a compromise or solution that satisfies both of you and prevents his family from succeeding in driving a wedge between you two. I'm sure he would appreciate you taking the time to explain where you're coming from in your usual loving, honest Goody way, both so he doesn't have to guess about what's bothering you when it comes to his family and so he can really take in everything you're saying. When we talk about hot button issues like family, people tend to get so defensive that they clam up and don't always really soak in what we try to tell them. A carefully worded, heartfelt letter (not that you'd give him any other kind, of course!) would both allow you to edit and make changes until it says exactly what you intend, without allowing any of the nastier-than-you-meant comments that put Tom on the defensive to pop up, as they tend to do in person-to-person conversations...it would also allow Tom to have the necessary space and an extended period of time to thoughtfully consider what you're saying and absorb your comments whenever he can, rather than within the short, heated time and space of a conversation in person. Hang in there Goody, and remember what a wonderful and blessed foundation you and Tom have been fortunate and devoted enough to create--nothing should ever be allowed to threaten that bond, and I know that you and Tom will succeed in overcoming this, as you have overcome so many other obstacles, together and with a stronger feeling of unity than ever.

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 07:53 PM   #7
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    Goody,
    I am so sorry that you are feeling upset. I had a weird feeling this morning that something was wrong and that is why I posted on the other thread asking you how you are only shortly before you posted. Amazing isn't it??
    Blue ~ you are amazing. I am amazed at how much insight you have into the situation....it's like you know exactly how to articulate what I find difficult to do. And I decided to open this thread as a way in which to respond to you without going off topic on the other thread.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    You and Tom had come to the decision previously to tell his family they could not come. His parents are coming up for a wedding 2 days before Tom gets back. Are they staying in the summer house with you or in your other house? Do you know how long they are staying? Did you guys receive another call from his family in the last few days leading you to believe that they were staying longer than originally planned? Did Tom back down in some way to his family in the last few days? What has changed from when his mother originally told you she would be coming in for the wedding?
    Tom's mom came about a month ago and stayed with us for 2 weeks. Her purpose was to come for her sister's retirement party and to see our nieces (her granddaughter's) dance recital. Just prior to her arrival we were had battled through his sisters wanting to come for a visit with their families (8 in all) and their wanting to come stay during the week that Tom was away after being informed that this was the only week during the summer that would be inconvenient for us. They insisted that this was the only week they could come because they had business to attend to about 40 minutes from our home. After numerous phone calls in which they came up with a plan to stay at our primary home so as not to inconvenience me while Tom was away and Tom telling them that if they were to come when they were told was inconvenient and to stay in a hotel near their business & call us after his return, and them calling to just inform him that they were insulted that we would not open up our home to them....his mom arrives telling me in the car from the airport that she intends to return around the time the sisters arrive for a wedding around the 15th of July. Tom tells his mom that night that he was unaware of his sisters coming the 15th and shares with her how they had wanted to come while he was away and that he told them no. She agreed that it was a bad time & that they should come when they could see him.

    So Tom & I agreed to his parents staying at our primary home since we would be at the summerhome. And I told Tom that after spending 2 weeks with his mom that we could have dinner with his parents around the time of the wedding & if he wanted to see more of them then he could go see them at our primary home.

    That was until Tuesday when Tom received a call from his mom going overplans of her arrival around the 15th staying at our primary home for the wedding and then coming to stay with us at our summerhome for sometime afterwards. Tom okayed this which led to another argument between us because I had plans around that time already and his okaying this and then having to alter the plans would place me in a bad light (which occurs quite often). If he had done what we had discussed and told his mom that he would check with me as to whether we had plans & get back to her we would have no problem.

    Even before he could fix things I got a call from his mom, last night, the night before Tom leaves for a week long trip, informing me that they will be driving up earlier than expected and arrive 1-2 days before Tom's return & would like to come stay with me at the summerhouse. I tell my MIL that she has Tom's return date wrong by a day & that would bring her in 3 days before his return and that Tom had already brought up her plans with me as far as her wishes to stay with us the following week and that would impose on plans I already had. She tells me that then it works out perfectly if she arrives in the beginning while Tom is away around the 12th until the wedding on the 16th. She knows form our last visit and our sharing how the sisters were not staying with us while Tom was away & still thinks it's okay for her to impose on us since her plans have changed. I told her how her activities and friends were more near our primary home and that last time my FIL visited us at the summerhome he was antsy and uncomfortable with the tranquility and quietness. She agreed and said she would talk it over further with my FIL and for me to have Tom call her back. Thank God Tom talked her into staying at our primary home and she decided that they would drive out to us for meals and day visits as necessary. In other words.....they will come and go as they please. Tom did ask them to call and check with us as to whether we had plans before doing so but that we would definitely see one another before they headed back. Phew.....can you get the jest of what goes on.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    Is sounds as though you did not resolve your arguement before he left on his trip, is that correct?
    We did resolve things in the sense of knowing that his parents would be at our primary home upon their arrival. I am unsettled as to what they will do when he is gone to manipulate their way into coming out to be with me. They know that I do not have specific plans since I already disclosed that to them in telling his mom that seeing them was better before the wedding than after. Tom gets back Thursday so I will push for Friday but will see how it goes. Unfortunately there is no resolution until we equip ourselves with a failproof plan if there is such a thing.

    I also cooked Tom his favorite meal and apologized for my "fight & flight" response and some of the things I had said. We also went out fishing together and I managed to catch 7 bluefish and Tom caught 2. And we went to bed like two peas in a pod with not too many thoughts of his family.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    The only way that you will be able to overcome this in your marriage is if you both are in agreeement and take a FIRM stand, NO MATTER WHAT HIS FAMILY DOES. Tom unfortunately, (because this is his family), will need to be willing to set firm and unbending guidleines and stick with them no matter what.
    Tom & I have exhausted these avenues.... I think that when Tom returns we will come up with a statement that gets our point across assertively and without fearing the consequences. I am at the point that for myself I will say in a firm tone that "you obviously failed to acknowledge that the time/duration of your visit is inconvenient for us. You need to come see us on our terms or make other arrangements for your stay." The problem for both of us is to get past the guilt. And they are all quite effective when it comes to laying it on.

    To be continued.....Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 07-07-2005 at 10:24 PM.

     
    Old 07-07-2005, 07:55 PM   #8
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Continued......

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    Unfortunately, the only way this may ever change is if he is willing to possibly lose his family (for a time) if need be. (I get the impression that if he takes the kind of stand he will need to take, (ex refusing them a key to the house, telling his family- this is the week that is good for us for you to visit and only X amount of people can visit at one time and only stay X amount of days), his family may choose to cut off communication with him. (They sound like very immature people.) The possibility of losing one's family, is a VERY difficult thing for anyone to accept, and thus that is where I think his dilemna is. Have you both spoken about that very real possibility? Is he willing to do that if needs be? If this continues to cause problems in your relationship and you can not both come to a united decision, you may need to seek counseling.
    BINGO....this is exactly how I see it. And as i already posted to Music, both Tom & I are unable to do this....it is a final option for me and something that I could never expect Tom to do. It's a last resort....I feel lucky that they are all out of state but could never expect Tom to disown his family on account of me. As a matter of fact, I have no problem having them visit but I do when they do not respect our terms or boundaries. It's gotten to the point that I no longer enjoy their visits and if they didn't take so advantage of us and manipulate us in such a way I would. I know that somehow we can come up with a strategy of setting those boundaries but each time we work together in doing so we fail. And you are right....I am beginning to think that an objective opinion may help Tom see things a little bit more clearly. Many times the way I react is viewed by him as an overreaction. Tom knows his family and I am certain that he has endured this type of behavior that it doesn't affect him in the way that it does me. The people who love me never treated me this way and I know that Tom already knows this but somehow despite it all still needs his parents approval. I understand far more than he thinks however, it is abusive and at the very least disrespectful to us both and our marriage. I have endured this for so long because I love Tom so much and I have made sure that they do not destroy what we have together and in a way think that they would be happy if they did.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    ....my guess is that there is tremendous baggage going on from his family of origin. It is interesting that his mother seems to visit alone most of the time. There is obviously a tremendous need within her that she wants to come visit so often and leave her husband behind. Although you mentioned they are both coming up for the weekend, it sounds as though the majority of the time, she comes by herself. I sense she is very unhappy in her marriage. Is his mother a controlling person in other areas? She strikes me as possibly being the type of mother that showed love and approval only when her children did what she wanted. Perhaps Tom deep down inside, (and he probably is not even aware of it), feels as though his mom and family will not love him if he does not do what they want. What do you think of this?
    You are absolutely right and couldn't have said things more clearly. Tom's dad was an alcoholic and he has 2 brothers who are in & out of jail/rehab. He attended a military boarding school in high school, worked the family business and when things were bad he went to college and then into the navy. He returned after his father stopped drinking and took over the family business with his one sister. They never got along.....he tolerated her for the businesses sake. His two brothers are out of the family picture and his other sister is okay when not united with the other. He was often his brother's keepers when they were in & out of jail until I put a stop to that when we were first married. So for the most part his mom became the matriarch and does things separate from the husband as you say and Tom being the oldest son sort of took on his father's role in terms of assisting his mom. I guess he still feels that he mustn't disappoint her anymore than she already has been. Tom has received calls to make up with his sister after an argument in which she has clearly been in the wrong, and has been told also to "put his wife in her place" the one & only time I had spoken up in my daughter's defense when mistreated by his sister. So what you say is very true. He is not willing to lose his mother's love or approval or to be seen in a bad light in her eyes.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    Unfortunately, you can not fix the family dynamics of others. You and Tom only have control over your own responses to the actions of his family.
    Again you are so right....I am confident that we can work on this area...I know that I cannot change his family but that I am certainly capable of changing my response to them and their control over Tom and I.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    You are wonderful with words. Have you ever thought about writing a heart felt letter to Tom explaining in detail how it makes YOU FEEL when his family does X and how it makes you feel when he responds to them in Y way? If you write the letter in such a way that it does not come across in an attacking way, perhaps he will be able to really understand. End the letter, reinforcing your love to him and that you don't want anything coming between you.
    This is a wonderful suggestion. I will try doing so since I have the time while Tom is away.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BLUE EYED LADY
    Try to do wonderful fun things with your daughter while Tom is away to keep your mind off the situation. As hard as it may be, try to remember how wonderful a husband Tom has been in so many other areas. This will be another obstacle that you will both learn how to overcome.
    (((((((((HUGS))))))))))
    Blue Eyed Lady
    Thanks, Blue....I already spent the day doing just as you said. took my daughter out for a manicure/pedicure, lunch and challenged her to a game of bocce which she of course won!! Tom is a wonderful husband and I am confident that we will get through this. It's great to know that I have people here who understand and are so great at offering support. Thank you Blue....you are truly a friend

    Ruth ~ My "cybertwin"....these problems started when we had a house with no guest rooms These people will pitch tents to be with us. Funny thing is that they like us too much....our summerhome is a recent blessing and hopefully a refuge

     
    Old 07-08-2005, 07:13 PM   #9
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    I've had a little taste of how divisive and aggravating in-laws can be, and I think you're an absolute saint for handling this as well as you have so far. The most important thing is not to let these sad little manipulative meddlers cause any rifts in your bond with Tom, no matter what--your family of Tom and the girls must come first and be shielded from any negative outside influences, no matter how determined, persistent, and annoying they are! Hang in there Goody, and remember what a wonderful and blessed foundation you and Tom have been fortunate and devoted enough to create--nothing should ever be allowed to threaten that bond, and I know that you and Tom will succeed in overcoming this, as you have overcome so many other obstacles, together and with a stronger feeling of unity than ever.
    Stacy ~ I didn't want to forget to thank you for the wonderful post you left me....it brought tears to my eyes when you reminded me of how important it is for Tom & I to not allow this all to infiltrate what we have worked so very hard to have. I thank you and all the other posters here that have helped me put things into a better perspective.

    Tom is gone and I am missing him terribly...unfortunately he is in Central America on a fishing trip and I will not be hearing from him for a week. He is barely computer literate and the place he is staying does not have phone in the room and for the most part he will be out fishing all day and recuperating at night.

    Anyway....although I do not like the timing of our last infiltration by his mom we were able to reconcile but still I feel awful for allowing it to get to us before he left. I have been spending my time distracting myself from all that occurred before he left.

    I have wonderful news....moments ago I received a phone call from one of Tom's sisters who provided me with an update on his other sister who had gone in for a colonoscopy. While we spoke SHE brought up with ME how she had a talk with her mother about how often she visits us and how she is overstepping her boundaries. (There must be an angel watching over me ) She told me that she had heard about her mother's various changes and told her mom that she had just stayed with us for 2 weeks only a few weeks ago and that it was disrespectful to expect us to have her again.

    I took this opportunity to tell my sister in law that Tom & I are both tired of this happening and that before he left for his trip, we had both decided that when anyone comes for a visit it will have to be at our convenience and on our terms and that the boundaries that we set are going to have to be respected. And she agreed. I went on to tell her that her mom was coming the same time we had told her and my other SIL was inconvenient for us and that I was honestly upset with that as was Tom and that this would be the last time anyone imposes on us in such a way. She assurred me that she was working on things on her end to see that everyone understood this and apologized for being part of that in the past and promised not to do so in the future. Can you believe how this happened overnite....I am in shock & awe of the whole thing.

    I guess our last tactics worked afterall, that is, when Tom told his sisters that if they still insisted on coming during the week that he was away fishing & was inconvenient for us then to find a hotel & take care of their business & call after the 14th when he was back from his trip. We didn't back down on this and stood our ground, felt a little guilty about doing so but it worked. This is really unbelievable...it's a miracle because never in the 18 years we've been married did anything work. I think when Tom hears this he will have a much easier time setting boundaries knowing that he has gained his families respect rather than fearing that they will abandon him for doing so.

    Yes, the troops have retreated realizing that they are no longer welcome in our camp unless they abide by the treaty that we will present to them. The only thing missing is Tom and being able to celebrate this great victory with him. It's amazing and a true answer to my prayers.

    Thanks everyone for your wonderful love & support. ~ Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 07-08-2005 at 07:46 PM.

     
    Old 07-08-2005, 11:51 PM   #10
    Piranna65
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Piranna65's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Feb 2005
    Posts: 1,079
    Piranna65 HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    goody, my mom actually goes through the same issues as you do with family. Mostly my dads family, the come un-annoucned and assume that their availability is always open! My mom told me once that her and my dad went to his brothers and my uncle actually told them "tonight is not a good night" and actually send them on their way! Can you believe that! My mom has always been ms. open arms to his family and the one time they go down my uncle closes the door on them.

    seeing and hearing my mother go through about the same thing as you stresses me out as well. Knowing my dads brothers and sisters ect...have no respect for what is happening in our household drives me insane. I dont know how my mom has handled it...she has always grinned and bared it.

    I can see your situation for sure. And I wish mine was "simple" so to speak as yours. As I just posted in my tread I feel like there is a wall that we just cant get past due to his family. I think my boyfriend is finally seeing the toll this is taking on me. He use to leave me these cute little messages all the time b4 he'd go to to work, he hasnt really since he moved home, but he left one today telling me how much he loves me and how beautiful i am ect...it was nice to receive since i havent gotten a message like this for a while.

    Later he called me again asking why I didnt call back yet, he then went on to ask me to get up early with him tomorrow to run some errands with him and his brother (nothing to benefit me here) he said he just wanted me to be with him so I said i'd go.

    I wish you the best with your situation, I know it will be hard, my mom and dad have been married for 25 years and his family has been the same all 25! good luck goody, we both need it i think!

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 01:14 AM   #11
    Snails
    Senior Veteran
     
    Snails's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2004
    Posts: 1,137
    Snails HB UserSnails HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Goody what great news! I am so happy that Tom's family is starting to get the message and really hope that his sister is successful in getting Tom's mom to see your point of view. You did exactly the right thing bonding together and setting firm boundaries, then firmly but politely standing your ground. This just shows how being mature and positive always beats lowering yourself to their level in the end...and most importantly, I think you prevailed because you did not let these master manipulators wedge themselves in between you and Tom. Once they saw that you were united and firm in your decision to set boundaries with them, it seems that at least the more pragmatic and flexible of his relatives realized they needed to stop their nonsense. Anyway, you can't pick your family, all you can do is handle them as best you can, and I am thrilled that you were able to do this. I am sorry to hear that Tom is away...I know that can be sad and lonely, but come here and keep us company whenever you want and he will be back before you know it! And won't you guys have something special to celebrate...

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 04:52 AM   #12
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    Goody what great news! I am so happy that Tom's family is starting to get the message and really hope that his sister is successful in getting Tom's mom to see your point of view. You did exactly the right thing bonding together and setting firm boundaries, then firmly but politely standing your ground. This just shows how being mature and positive always beats lowering yourself to their level in the end...and most importantly, I think you prevailed because you did not let these master manipulators wedge themselves in between you and Tom. Once they saw that you were united and firm in your decision to set boundaries with them, it seems that at least the more pragmatic and flexible of his relatives realized they needed to stop their nonsense. Anyway, you can't pick your family, all you can do is handle them as best you can, and I am thrilled that you were able to do this. I am sorry to hear that Tom is away...I know that can be sad and lonely, but come here and keep us company whenever you want and he will be back before you know it! And won't you guys have something special to celebrate...
    Thanks, Stacy & Piranna for your posts. I woke up this morning feeling as if a gigantic burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I am still in so much awe wondering if this was only a dream, for never did I experience the reaching for an olive branch feeling that had been extended by his family before. I'm almost a little leary of the whole thing thinking that it's just another ploy in tricking me into their next ambush....isn't that a shame that I cannot trust something that I see as good?? Oh boy....but nevertheless, I am so happy that our great efforts are finally paying off.

    YOU are so insightful, Stacy, because of all Tom's family members this sister is the most pragmatic and sensible one. When she was not on speaking terms with the other sister, who is the snake in the family, she & I got along wonderfully but I was extra careful in not beng pulled into her camp of problems with her sister knowing that it may only come back to haunt me. And I was smart in doing so because as I had expected, once they reconciled they banned together in trying to upset mine & Tom's camp and imagine if I had not been careful when each had tried to have us take their side. Tom & I stood neutral for the most part except when there came a time that eventually his sister the snake didn't talk to Tom as well. This made it all the easier to maintain peace & tranquility in our home.

    Yes, all is well in Goody's life once again.....I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that things remain this way but it sure makes it easier to stand our ground knowing that finally their response is one of retreat. It has been a long battle and the victory is great.

    Thanks for sharing in my battles as well as my victories ~ Goody

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 05:48 AM   #13
    Snails
    Senior Veteran
     
    Snails's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2004
    Posts: 1,137
    Snails HB UserSnails HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    That is great news...it sounds like you have a good ally in Tom's nicer sister, and I have no doubt that someone as nice and friendly as you, Goody, will easily maintain a good bond with her. It will probably pay off a great deal to have at least one of those three women on your side, particularly since Tom is united along with the two of you against certain abuses/manipulations. It would be wonderful if the rest of his family would gradually get the message and start limiting their visits to shorter and more reasonable amounts of time...perhaps then you could even begin to enjoy at least some of the time they are with your family? I know how relatives can be, though--while I am blessed to have some extremely close, wonderfully loving family, I also have a bunch of mean lunatics who are distantly related to me, and I'd say the same is true for some men I've dated in the past. It got to the point where I was unable to ever relax and enjoy myself when I would visit Patrick's relatives in NYC, for instance, because I was sick anticipating all the cruel comments and blatant manipulations they would attempt each and every day. It's so sad how family can seriously threaten or even destroy an otherwise happy and healthy relationship, but as they say, we can't choose our family, and not everyone wants to risk standing up to them and potentially losing their connection to close relatives. I admire you and Tom, Ruth, and all the other mature and understanding partners out there who have learned to live with their loved ones' families out of unconditional love and acceptance for their partners. It's so tough to stay united and strong against that sort of powerfully negative, destructive influence, but I am sure the reward is well worth the struggle, and I am SO thrilled that you are finally seeing some rewards from taking the patient high road all these years!!

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 06:10 AM   #14
    goody2shuz
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: New York
    Posts: 5,805
    goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    That is great news...it sounds like you have a good ally in Tom's nicer sister, and I have no doubt that someone as nice and friendly as you, Goody, will easily maintain a good bond with her. It will probably pay off a great deal to have at least one of those three women on your side, particularly since Tom is united along with the two of you against certain abuses/manipulations.
    This is exactly how I feel.....if at least one of them can respect our boundaries and know that it is nothing personally directed towards them but what we need in order to have a good time with them, then things should be as they should.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    It would be wonderful if the rest of his family would gradually get the message and start limiting their visits to shorter and more reasonable amounts of time...perhaps then you could even begin to enjoy at least some of the time they are with your family?
    I feel the same way....that's what distressed me so much is the fact that so long as they took advantage, manipulated, and abused our niceness I was unable to enjoy my visits with them. And that is so not Goody It went against the fabric of my heart and that's wat distressed me the most. Funny how I am talking as if this is all a part of my past as if it is totally resolved when I know better. But like you said, just the fact that his one sister was able to articulate her understanding was of such relief....her last words to me were that she would be working on things on her end to insure that everybody understood. One thing that you could help me figure out is when his parents arrive and get settled in do you think it would be wise to open up with them on my own or should I wait for Tom's return??? My mom feels that we shouldn't even bring things up with his parents and just allow Tom's sister to do it otherwise we may put her in a bad position when Tom's mom goes back to his sister and makes her feel guilty for even sharing what she did with me. What do you guys think we should do???

    Part of me feels that the window of opprtunity to nip this in the bud is here and we should take it. Another part of me agrees with my mom in leaving all the dirty work to Tom's sister but I am torn. I know that you guys will direct me properly as always.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    It got to the point where I was unable to ever relax and enjoy myself when I would visit Patrick's relatives in NYC, for instance, because I was sick anticipating all the cruel comments and blatant manipulations they would attempt each and every day. It's so sad how family can seriously threaten or even destroy an otherwise happy and healthy relationship, but as they say, we can't choose our family, and not everyone wants to risk standing up to them and potentially losing their connection to close relatives.
    You say it so well, exactly howit's been for Tom & I for so many years. But thankfully we have remained intact....not many marriages/relationships could withstand such pressure. I guess Tom & I are far stronger than either one of us ever believed. That's something to celebrate in itself.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snails
    I admire you and Tom, Ruth, and all the other mature and understanding partners out there who have learned to live with their loved ones' families out of unconditional love and acceptance for their partners. It's so tough to stay united and strong against that sort of powerfully negative, destructive influence, but I am sure the reward is well worth the struggle, and I am SO thrilled that you are finally seeing some rewards from taking the patient high road all these years!!
    Thanks for sharing in my celebration of life, Stacy!! The good times and bad....when things turn out good there's nothing you can do but want to jump for joy.

    ~ Goody

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 06:51 AM   #15
    Snails
    Senior Veteran
     
    Snails's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2004
    Posts: 1,137
    Snails HB UserSnails HB User
    Re: In Laws, Manipulation and It's Toll on a Marriage

    Hey Goody, I couldn't be happier to share in your happy moments, just as you have always been there to guide me and cheer me on through my own celebrations . As far as the in-laws go, I'm assuming they are arriving at your house a few days before Tom returns from fishing? If so, I think I would definitely suggest holding off on any conversations on the lengths of their visits or any other sensitive issues until Tom returns, so that you two can once again present a united front on any decisions you declare. So if I was you, I'd keep things light until Tom returns, then have a conversation about him in which you both reveal your perspectives on his family and your opinions on what you should do from this point on. I am sure you will be able to communicate well and get each other thinking about things you hadn't considered before...your two heads put together will guide you in the right direction, as will trying to stay as caring and positive as possible. I bet a significant part of his relatives' need for drama, conflict, manipulation, etc. comes from insecurities, needing attention, and probably some jealousy of the happy relationship and family you and Tom are so blessed to have created. So just like we said way back when on your old thread, positive gets positive as negative gets negative, and I have a feeling that Tom's mom and sister will be most responsive and open to compromise if you approach any significant conversations as respectfully and lovingly as possible...not that you would do it any other way! They probably just want to feel needed, wanted, and important, and if you can assuage these desires, you can probably get them to give into what you need and want from them in return. At least I hope so...as to if you should say anything in addition to what Tom's sister says, that depends...how certain are you that she will actually follow through on the conversations she vowed to have with her mom and sister? Do you think she'll convey your message accurately as well as sufficiently forcefully, but politely? And most importantly, what does Tom think? He is after all blessed with a unique perspective on his family, having spent his life in their fold and knowing them better than anyone, which can provide valuable insight as to how to proceed. But you also have important observations and perceptions to offer, as someone who has watched them closely in intimate settings for many years and whose judgments are not as subjective and tempered by feelings of familial love and loyalty. Again, if you and Tom can discuss what to do next together without letting this issue cause any tension or animosity, or otherwise divide you or devolve into a discussion of your marital and personal issues, I am 100% sure that you will conceive the best possible plan for how to deal with his relatives' upcoming visit. I will have my fingers tightly crossed and be sending you my best wishes from the frozen tundra up in Minnesota with the dubious distinction of housing the largest mall in America .

    Hey, didn't you love Hiya's new thread? I was so happy to read about her slowly but surely discovering the small joys and benefits of independence...I truly hope that you are feeling the same sort of increase in optimism and contentment in your own life, Hiya? I think of you often and wish you all the best...you so deserve at least a bit of happiness waiting right around the corner! Please keep us posted at least on your new thread and let us know if there is any sort of advice/support/encouragment that your friends here can provide you . And how is everyone else doing that we haven't heard much from in awhile? Glamourgirl, lovingyou, RDB, elatedgiraffe, Storm Girl, Emma, Dido, Silver Lining, lisa, julia girl, Alexandra, and all the other great posters who are too numerous to list individually--are you still around? I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would love to hear how things have been going for you all if you'd like to update us...take care everyone and good luck with everything!

     
    Closed Thread




    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is Off
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are Off
    Pingbacks are Off
    Refbacks are Off




    Sign Up Today!

    Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

    I want my free account

    All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:33 PM.





    © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
    Do not copy or redistribute in any form!