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Parents-in-law

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by gemini10, May 4, 2010.

  1. gemini10

    gemini10 New IL'ite

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    Dear friends,
    My thoughts and questions may not be very unique but I want to approach it in a different way. I express, behave and expect in a particular way with my in-laws and many a times I am disappointed. When I ask my friends, they say I am right - nothing to worry, this is the way in-laws are. All of whom I discuss this with are DILs with one exception my mom.
    I am looking for MILs/FILs perspective in these. Reason being, I want to know If I am going wrong anywhere. If so, I want to correct my attitude. If am not wrong, I want send that strong message to my DH.

    First of all, I don't have any major problems or issues with in-laws or my DH. Many small things which I am afraid will make me lose my identity, my future (the way me and DH want it to be) and happiness.
    Every time we visit my in-laws (we visit twice a month) and return back or after their visit to our place. There are some complaints and issues that my PILs raise about me to my DH. Then my DH advises me that I should be more caring, more friendly and jell better with my in-laws. I feel I give my best shot everytime, correcting and being cautious about my DH's advise. But in every visit, there are new advises - I should have not behaved or should have behaved in a particular fashion. I am so confused. How long can I keep correcting myself when it will not be my fault at all. Atlast, I feel I am being manipulated to be a hypocrite and losing my identity. The worst thing is, I always need to be cautious when I talk/behave, nothing is spontaneous (which is just not me - I always speak out of my mind).
    I know, it is very vague na... let me tell you certain instances.
    - My DH wants me to get very close to his mom that she starts sharing her feelings with me instead of him. He says I should build our rapport to that extent. I feel it should be from both sides - I give my 80%, then she should give at least 20% which is not happening, she goes in negative and we are at 0 or 20 again. Personally, our wavelengths are not matching. Not to offend, but her conversation revolves around tv soaps, gossips, cribbing about relatives/neighbours, worries too much about what others comment. I am not used to even one of these. I don't watch soaps, i hate gossiping (i usually distance myself from such groups), I am a bold character-never ever worried about what others think/say about me. So all her habits are new to me. I am quite pious, so i can talk about religion, God and philosophy to elders (that's what I do with my parents). But these are not of her interests. So I am not able to strike the chord.

    - After my MIL lost her second son (almost a year now), I phone her everyday. I talk to her about general things, cooking, day-day activities etc.., Even if I miss it one day/two, my DH will get upset that I am not talking to her. So I am very regular in it whether I talk to my parents or not, i talk to them regularly. But quite shockingly, my in-laws have not phoned me even once till date in these two years of my marriage. Not even when I was sick, not even when my DH went to US. It is a natural impulse to phone (check) someone (who calls regularly) when they miss to call one day just to ensure they are fine but even that she doesn't do. For this behaviour, my DH says that's her nature, they never phone anyone.

    - Usually, when MIL says any problem or worry, I suggest her how to get out of it/such thoughts (like write sriramajayam or go out for a walk etc..). But she is not comfy with that. And my DH asks me not to say so - he says I am too practical for her. Like this, many things are banned from talking and I am left with not many topics to discuss with her

    - Recently in front of my FIL, my DH blamed me for something and I, in humiliation, spoke-back which lead to a small fight between us. My DH says, I should not talk-back in front of my in-laws under any circumstances, not on impulse also!!

    - I feel my in-laws sometimes disturb my DH's emotional stability by putting unnecessary thoughts into him. This is disturbing our family life. If I say this to my DH, he says I am not empathetic. I am so adjusting and listening to all his frustration and words thrown in anger as I feel I also should not give him tension like his parents. But because of his parents, I feel my DH is not concentrating on our (me and DH) future. So in early days, I told my in laws not to discuss some disturbing topics with him (but with me) and even if you say you are upset about something, talk positively, tell him you felt upset but overcame it this way. This is not ok with them!

    - I am pretty frank in expressing my views, so that's another thing my DH wants me to forgo in front of his family. I try to many a times but miss a few. 25 years of habit, how can I correct in a year / so? So DH advises on the ones I miss.

    My DH is very good to me, he is trying to groom me that's how I see it.
    Actually these are small small things, I can sacrifice. But how long, I am not being appreciated for being nice but I am found fault with most of the times, when I miss my cool. I feel after all I am a human being, can make mistakes!

    Reading many blogs, I understand this is how it is, there are worser situations for few friends. All I want to know is If there is anything that I need to correct. Mom-In-Laws, you can throw some light.
     
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  2. shivachoubey

    shivachoubey IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Gemini,

    The things that appear so small and people say what harm is there to make a change are sometime the very core building block of our identity. It is always a fight within to do what others think is right or to do what we think is right.

    For the sake of the family or marriage we behave what according to others is the best way but then we end up questioning our own self that are we living our life or someone else life.

    There are my suggestions

    1. For the small adjustment that do not bother you much go on and do so.

    2. Calling your MIL everyday is not a big deal. If she calls fine enough if she doesn't then also fine enough.

    3. Stand your ground for things you believe in. There is no point in fighting back. Start putting across your word firmly and if you think you are correct then do not agree for any other alternative.

    4. Learn the art of being polite and firm on the things you believe in.

    5. Leave the son and his parents alone. No one can spoil anyone's mind. Have a nice talk with your husband, tell him the efforts you are making. What you feel good about doing and what you feel bad about. There is no point in doing something half heartedly. You need to talk to your husband as an intellectual individual.

    6. Humilation in front of anyone is a complete NO. If he has any problems he should discuss that in private. You can nicely ask him to discuss the problem in private else do not engage in any such discussion in front of others.

    Unfortunately everyone has an idea how others shoudl live their life but has no idea how they should live their own. Things will be much better if people stop changing the nature of their spouse in the name of marriage.

    All the best.

    regards
     
  3. orion80

    orion80 Platinum IL'ite

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    Well said :thumbsup

     
  4. raha256

    raha256 Bronze IL'ite

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    dear,

    i my opinion your DH is a momma boy. why your DH is always telling u to change?. Be as u are. Ofcourse every women knows that we need to adjust to certain things. but that doest mean u have to totally change. Be as u are thats good for your physical and mental health.

    Start telling your DH about his mom. tell him that she is not calling you. she should have called you when u were sick. she is v.rude. I think u love your DH v.much, that has made you think your DH is grooming you. he is not grooming you. he is expecting too much from you. Live your life the way you want to live. thats your life. dont let your IL's spoil it.

    Go to your inlaws place and behave politely. u need not take any caution for that. Let your DH know ur mind.

    take care.
    raha
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  5. sita2223

    sita2223 Bronze IL'ite

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    Gemini,

    It's all in the perspective... the way you look at it. A lot of MILs are like this. If you are living under the same roof 24x7, then what you feel is right that you are loosing your identity. But since you have to be on guard only when you visit them, you can look at this as being diplomatic.

    -Just like you are not able to mingle with her, it's vice versa too. Nevertheless, give it your best shot.
    -Your MIL is old, so don't feel bad if she doesn't call you. Why compete with an old woman?
    -You don't have to give her advices if your MIL is not comfy with it. Try talking something casual, like cooking.
    -Not talking back in front of your FIL is right. If you have an issue with you DH, deal with it privately.
    -You are young, but don't like to change yourself. But you are telling your ILs how well to talk to their own son?
    -Being straightforward or frank does not work with everyone... sometimes you have to be diplomatic.

    I don't know if my post seems like I am taking your MILs side... But my opinion is that your DHs demands aren't unreasonable. Being diplomatic to bond with MIL does not mean loosing your identity. I myself practice all that I wrote here.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  6. Priya16

    Priya16 IL Hall of Fame

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    Sometime some people just wanted to talk and they expect other person just to listen.When she is gossiping,she may not expect anything from you to reply her.She might just hoping some one to listen her.
    See this may help you.Don't try to participate in the conversation,See you can just linsten to her and nod the head.
    Even for my it's very difficult in the group conversations where people like to talk something about TV serials and where my intersts are different.
    Your husband might be very symapathic by seeing he lost his brother and his mothers suffer.That's why he might be pushing you to be more sympathetic.I hope things will change eventually.Until then be patient and see other ways you can imporve the things or find technics.
     
  7. mstrue

    mstrue New IL'ite

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    When MIL talks, lend a listening ear. That is enough. Think of it as a therapy for her to feel good. Some people seem to feel connected when discussing TV shows. She is old and that may be her world. You being there as a companion to talk will mean much to her in due course. That will pave the way for a closeness.

    Also there is this superiority complex in some people (not saying you have..) that if they do not watch soap they are off to a better start.. What they miss is, that it is just a matter of preference. According to me: To learn to respect others and their varied tastes is off to a better start.

    You need not gossip with her but try not to change her or look down upon her. Just nod your head, silently tune her out in your mind (like my LO does to me at times! ). She will find you as a team there. Gently you can divert the topic and segue into something of common interest.

    You can put your exposure and composure to good use by adjusting to her immature ways if it will bring harmony. Some seek practical solutions, some seek just emotiional support.. to provide what it is needed to the seeker is intelligence. Just because one is into spirituality, does not mean that all his spiritual solutions be appealing to everyone.. So as your DH says, cut down on those suggestions.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  8. mstrue

    mstrue New IL'ite

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    Uh-huh.. Think of it like this: You call and check up on your MIL because YOU want to know about their well being. Period. And you know YOU are doing well, right? Why should you expect someone to check up on you? May sound one sided. But approach the problem with a what can I do? question and not what should they do? Because, how they must act is not in your hands.
     
  9. Malyatha

    Malyatha Gold IL'ite

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    Gemini,

    I am not a MIL. I doubt that any of the responses you have received are from MILs. Therefore, take all of our advices with a grain of salt.

    Now, your MIL has lost her son. The greatest and incurable grief is that of a parent whose child has died before them. She must undoubtedly be depressed and may not even be fully in possession of her senses. So, please consider this and be compassionate.

    Secondly, we are all different people. Your interests may not be hers or vice versa. Therefore, what I suggest is that you should just listen to her when she speaks because she probably just wants someone to LISTEN to her, and not really have a conversation or discuss anything with her.

    Thirdly, avoid talking too much when you are around your in-laws. Be polite, be formal and be distant. But be kind. Keep conversations to a-political topics and do not express disagreement. This necessarily means you have to keep your emotions under strict control. If you are employed, then remember how you behave at your work place? Behave in that same way with your in-laws. It may seem coldly formal but since everything you do seems to offend them, then better to be formal than open and end up hurt!

    Fourthly, do not expect your MIL to call you. This is an older woman who has lost her son - so let it go. If this was your mother, then would you complain that she does not call you? Similarly, cut her some slack where initiating conversations is concerned.

    Finally, never ever fight with your husband in front of your in-laws. Keep your quarrels and disagreements private. They will never understand or support you, so why give them a chance to interfere in your marital disagreements and stir the pot even more?

    Bottom line: Be nice, be polite, be kind but be distant. Eventually, your diplomacy, kindness and compassion will pay off big time and they WILL come around, especially as they get older and realize that they need YOU more than you need them!!! Good luck and God bless you for checking on your bereaved MIL every day even if she does not appreciate your concern and empathy. DILs like you are the salt of the Earth, so hats off to you and your kind, my dear. :bonk
     
  10. mstrue

    mstrue New IL'ite

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    You know, being upfront is an appreciatable quality. But you also must be watchful that your frankness will not be mistaken.. so being a little diplomatic is not all bad..
    Try to tone it down just for your ILs.. for your DH's sake. If you miss occassionally, that's ok. It is a lesson learnt.. Eventually, Practice makes perfect!

    Well, do not expect instant gratification. You will enjoy the fruits eventually. When you have expectations, disappointments follow and then bitterness, self pity and what not.. Rather do it for your self satisfaction, praise or curse will not affect you much.

    What is the point in adjusting/compromising & being good to others but feel bitter inside.. right? Do good , expect less , Be cheerful, Spread the cheer. :thumbsup
     

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