My husband insists that his parents should babysit our one-year-old son. I don't trust them.
His mother was more focused on our wedding being about her.
I suffer from severe depression and anxiety, from issues with my childhood and mother.
His mother says I should just forget about it.
Whenever I’d say something that offended her, she’d "tattle" to my husband, causing a fight between us.
I called her and said she’s a pathetic B****.
We agreed to be civil for him but then she denied ever "tattling" on me.
I had a rough pregnancy and we agreed that she’d take me to appointments. She did, only once.
It was decided that we’d spend one holiday a year with them and the other two with my side (my parents are divorced).
She told my husband that he didn't come from a "broken family."
I've tried to ignore them for his sake but they’re manipulative and selfish.
I understand he loves them and wants them to have a relationship with our son, but I'm happier away from them.
My husband said that if things don't get better we won't last.
I love him, but why should I always be the one trying? I don’t want to do it anymore.
What Am I To Do?
You could realize that you can’t change your in-laws but that you can change your reactions for the sake of your marriage.
You could also get further counselling for your own personal issues so that they aren’t blocking your making healthy compromises with your husband.
Examples: Stop purposefully offending your mother-in-law, such as name-calling.
Hire a neutral babysitter, not your in-laws on a regular basis (it’s too likely to spark greater conflict).
Make a fresh start by seeing your in-laws when you’re up for it, and letting your husband visit with them sometimes on his own or with your child (without you resenting it).
At my family gatherings, my siblings bring their dogs though I’ve asked that they leave them at home.
I love dogs and have a two-year-old golden retriever. My house isn’t large and two similar-age dogs of their three, like running around chasing each other.
Last Christmas, my sister in-law said that she’d have to stay home because her dog can’t be alone for too long.
They all say their dogs suffer separation anxiety.
My sister backed her. I allowed the dog.
One sibling has previously said that she has no sympathy for me because their dogs are like family.
This is an aggressive statement.
My husband and children love our dog dearly but feel there’s a time and place to get the dogs together, such as hiking with them.
We always keep our dog at home when we’re invited to their homes.
How can I make them see my side and respect my wishes?
The problem isn’t the dogs; it’s the sibling relationship. You’re dealing with bullies.
There’s likely a history to that behaviour which you already know.
So, some choices:
Host your siblings to an event outdoors, such as the hike followed by a home barbeque outside only.
Treat them to brunch at a restaurant. It maintains your generosity and getting together. Surely they sometimes go out without their dogs.
If there’s no solution you feel will work, decide if you’re going to let them control you this way… OR, whether maintaining the family connection is most important to you.
If so, grin and bear the doggie mayhem.
FEEDBACK Regarding the “Jealous Mom” whose son with Asperger’s always wants to be with his father (Feb. 27):
Reader – “My boyfriend is on the Autism spectrum (Asperger’s).
“His mother will speak to him, remind him of things, and ask him to do things, but he’ll only do them when I ask him to.
“This could be seen as stubborn, but I believe otherwise.
“I've helped his mom realize that it's not because he doesn't respect or love her.
“It’s because his fixation has changed over time.
“Keeping a strong line of communication with his mother, and ensuring that she's included in our lives, has helped her cope with her initial feelings.
“She now sees my role as a help instead of a hindrance.
“Perhaps if this mother could communicate with her husband that she’d like there to be more "family time" rather than "daddy time,” it could help the situation. The more the merrier!”
Tip of the day:
When you can’t change others’ behaviour, try changing your reactions.