Dealing with Inlaws and parents

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by RecoveringLion, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

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    Who else here has had to deal with awful in laws? In this case its my parents. My mom and dad in law have been wonderful and supportive to me. My parents have been a nightmare. So much so that we have had to push them away and are now moving far away as well.

    What kind of boundries have you and wife had to setup with parents or in laws as part of your recovery?
     
  2. I don't have awful in-laws this go-around (second marriage). Of my extended family, only my mother is aware of my recovery. For the rest of my family, it is a matter of privacy. It's none of their business. My wife and I are older (in our 40's) and at this age that seems like a no-brainer to us, but if I were younger, I'm not so sure it would be. Also, my father is part of the problem with my addiction (part of its origins). He is "not safe".

    I worked a program called ACoA for about 2 years. It taught me a lot about family dysfunction and how it leads to addiction. Of all the 12-step programs out there, their book (the red book), is _amazing_. Also a book by Janet Woititz called "the 13 characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics" is worth a read. This is assuming there is some form of family dysfunction going on (it doesn't have to be alcohol). It could be any type of addiction or codependence.

    But I am making assumptions. In what way have they been a nightmare? Are you willing to expand on that?

    Peace,
    -Quinn
     
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  3. Soberhopeful

    Soberhopeful Fapstronaut

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    I had to go through this myself. With the help of my sponsor, my AP, and my higher power, I had to write a letter. In that letter, I shared my upbringing and then, how their dynamic with me led to triggers in my upbringing. The relationship between my in-laws and me was very unhealthy: no boundaries, mostly criticism sent my way, hypersensitivity on their part, and a lot of arguing. I had talked to several people about this, including some of my wife's family members, and they all agreed I did the right thing.
     
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  4. My mother-in-law lives with us..has for many, many years. She is about 50% disabled. She knows all or most of the details of our current situation....but she is no problem. She completely stays out of our business -- she was a support for my wife at times, a little bit.

    My wife's dad lives 2.5 hours away -- he knows there is a marriage issue .. no deatils I don't think .. but he stays out of our business even more, which is great.

    The real issue is MY MOM. She lives 6 hours away..but is the most difficult by far. We are not telling her .. anything .. about our marriage crisis. But she wants to come see us this summer -- she normally stays with us -- which, since we are in separate bedrooms, would reveal everything. So, I am postponing and making excuses why she cannot come visit.

    I will try to go see her with a couple/few kids this summer....we'll make some excuse why my wife cannot come.
     
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  5. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

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    My father in law has his ups and downs with us, but overall he just wants to see us succeed in our marriage. My "mother in law" (if I would even call her that) is not a mom, is not anyone to me. She is the enemy, the one who hurt my husband deeply and still to this day hurts him. I have told my husband there needs to be boundaries, and that he needs to write her a letter confront her, and tell her she can get healthy or stay our of our lives. She is an addict too, and selfish, and just uses people around her, it's very damaging and we have a 6-month-old to think about.

    The thing is I take care of my family of origin and he takes care of his family of origin.

    My own mother sometimes has gotten a bit too nosey but I let her know that, or she makes an off-hand remark, and I call her on that. Luckily my parents have been really supportive of my husband. They truly cannot imagine what my husband went through growing up, and so my mom has tried to make a relationship with my husband since he never really had a mother figure.
     
  6. Soberhopeful

    Soberhopeful Fapstronaut

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    There is only so much that we can do. If my wife and I have regular contact with our sponsors and APs, worked through the steps, regularly attend meetings, have faith & fellowship, and still nothing changes, then the family members need to start to work the process in order to change. And sorry doesn't cut it. They have sorry many, many times, and then go back to old habits. Sorry is not the same as I was wrong.
     
  7. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

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    It is complicated with my parents. They are very nice people (albeit kind of pretentious). Their problem is they are extremely sensitive and simultaneously pride themselves on their self-perceived emotional maturity. My father is emotional, and my mother is emotionally stunted. Simultaneously they are controlling.

    When everything broke loose, they tried to coddle me. They took sides. They put my wife down and tried to demonize her as over reacting to me just struggling a bit with the things men have to work through (as if thats all it was...struggle). My father said my wife trying asking questions to understand the extent of the problem was her being wildly innapropriate and encouraged me to distance from her and share as little as possible.

    Her parents, my in-laws, were actually amazing. They listened to her and tried to comfort, love and support her, and still advocate for me saying “He’s a good person. This is not the end. He deserves a shot to recover. We still love him unconditionally.” They had every right to be angry with me, and my father in law told my wife “dont be too hard on him.” When I talked to him, he told me the best thing I can do right now is “Be a man, and lead. Dont get all bummed out, and stressed and emotional. Be a man, and lead.” That was the day everything started to improve for me.

    My parents coddle and suck up to my sister who is a horrible person and treats everyone around her like garbage. The have put a lot of pressure on me to be the same way to her despite her relentless temper tantrums and verbal abuse whenever she cannot have her way.

    Some time after I began my recovery, we went to them to try to respectfully and maturely approach them and discuss some of our issues with them. They always said they wanted us to be our own people and come to them if we needed to, even for hard stuff. Their response was juvenile and pathetic. They kept trying to make it about how hurt THEY were, and how poorly we handled it, and how different it was from what they were used to from me. We put everything into writing for them to avoid miscommunication. We would end the conversations peacefully with mutual understanding, just for them to fall apart immediately after. During the second of two meetings with them, my wife and I told them we need some space for awhile. Their response was to sulk and pout their way through the holidays. Talk about how they feel with members of family (despite us asking, and them agreeing, to not get family involved). They rationalized by saying that “We didnt share personal information about you, we only shared how we felt and how we were doing with everything.” I recently had to call them out and tell them that they are still violating the boundary as that is getting family involved.

    My father also made some extremely innapropropriate manipulative remarks he has yet to apologize for.

    So now, my sister who is feeling left out, comes after me with a hurricane of angry and demeaning text messages (having no idea what I am going through in life) cutting me down, and trying to demonize me. She is angry that I created this boundary (asking my parents not to process this with my historically unstable sister). Despite treating them like garbage, she has run to their defense and taken their side...what I was trying to avoid by asking them for discretion.

    I realized just yesterday the whole problem. My parents are so emotionally immature and sensitive, that their children have felt the need to overcompensate and do what it takes to keep emotional balance in the family. It was me most of the time. While my sister was being insane, I would be the bright spot, the good and compliant kid, at the sacrifice of my self. Now that I need to break the mold and be me, and assert myself in an integral, and respectful, albeit uncomfortable way, its causing disruption, mom and dad are hurting, and now my sister is taking the mantle to be the good kid. If mom and dad are hurting, the kids feel like its their fault for hurting them and should feel the blame, shame and guilt. Things revolve around their emotions.

    So thats why we are distancing ourselves from them. I love my parents. I really do, but it seems impossible for me to be myself without it being hurtful, demonized, and considered innapropriate.

    Does this make sense? Am I being crazy or does this sound legit?
     
  8. Sounds totally 100% legit! And my mom sounds very similar to yours .... My mom is hugely emotionally stunted (as am I....I am learning). We aren't telling my mom..if she found out, she would make our lives more of a living hell than it already is by asking a million questions every day, trying to interject every counselor or pastor within 100 miles of our home, and just generally trying "to help" way too much.
     
  9. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

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    Makes sense. I appreciate the validation. It’s easier to not be mad at mom because I know her intentions are only loving and not controlling, like yours it seems, but ultimately right...they try to help so much that it makes things worse.

    My dad grew up under an abusive sociopath for a Father, so he had to learn how to subtly maneuver and control things in a non-obvious way. It’s very frustrating but I don’t hate him for it. I get that we all can only do the best we can with what we have. I am trying to learn how to empathize...at an arms length.
     
  10. Hi @RecoveringLion it makes total sense.

    They obviously are not safe. They will betray your trust, violate your boundaries, lie to you, gaslight you, and their words will never match their actions. A couple of things I learned doing family dysfunction recovery were:

    - They will _never_ change. You should never expect them to. (In reality, some do, but it is better to adapt this mindset because when you do...(see next item)
    - When you accept this, you have choices. You can act to set boundaries, rather than react to them
    - Your family is very controlling and manipulative and they see you getting out of line. They are losing control, losing power, and they are freaking out. They will go to any lengths it seems to get you back in line including sabotaging your marriage and your recovery.
    - They will never respect a boundary you set and you will never be able to communicate or explain yourself to them. They will not get it or hear it. Best to not try.

    I went to ACoA for 2 years and got help and support about all of this. I still have contact with my family but there are boundaries. They don't even know what they are because explaining them would compromise them. In ACoA I also learned the ways I had been affected beyond addiction. It is a very detailed program. I can share more about this if you are interested. Here is the ACoA "laundry list".

    http://www.adultchildren.org/lit-laundry_list

    I hope this helps.

    Peace to you
    -Quinn
     
  11. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

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    Wow. Thanks Quinn! This is so helpful and encouraging. The laundry list hit home. While my parents are not alcoholics, they are controlling and this really articulates a lot of the pain and self beliefs I have felt my whole life and have come to accept as normal. It’s taken time to see just how messed up my family is. We are so good at faking it. What’s makes it most clear to me is to see the contrast of how my mom and Dad in law treated me, the one doing the actual damage, during the process. Their love towards me was simple, unconditional, and consistent. My parents claimed theirs was towards us, but not when the rubber hit the road.

    Thanks again.
     
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  12. I'm really happy for you that your in-laws are non-judgemental and compassionate people. For many of us, our families of origin arew not available and there is a loss, a hole, that heals with time mostly. I don't know what your current emotions are on the situation but if you are angry it will eventually lead to sadness and grieving and then (mostly) peace. Thank G-d for families of acquisition. We all need them!

    Peace,
    -Quinn
     
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  13. Soberhopeful

    Soberhopeful Fapstronaut

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    I see a lot of similarities in your text. In fact, my wife and I had to cut her parents out of our lives.
    I learned a lot of things from the unhealthy dynamic between my wife and I, and her parents:
    1) Only people who went through and are working on their childhood rejection issues can be empathetic to another person's feelings. When there is no empathy, the insanity results in a continuous triggering of childhood issues.
    2) Constant criticism and put-downs stunts another person's growth...recovery, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
    3) Anger leashed at someone else is a way for that person to protect themselves emotionally, and to make them feel the emotional pain that the screamer wants the screamee to experience.
    4) Unresolved conflicts and constant arguing can bring those dynamics into marriage and other relationships (I.e.: work and friendships.
    God bless all of you on this thread and I am with you in spirit.
     
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  14. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

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    Thanks! After reading through the laundry list, then re reading some text messages form my father out loud it finally clicked how jacked, controlling and manipulative up he is. Its like I saw it today for the first time on my own, without someone explaining it to me. It gives me a lot of hope for the future, and makes me feel peaceful about not having the same close relationship with him that I used to have.

    I dont know where I am now. I spent a lot of time in sadness and grieving towards them, but today I finally feel peaceful about the situation. All their nonsense doesn’t hurt as much and I dont feel like a scumbag just because my individuality makes them uncomfortable. We are moving out of state (about 7 hours away) very soon...the space is going to be very good for us.
     
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  15. Keep them out of your life as much as possible, fuck dealing asshole parents...it’s your life.
     

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