Author Topic: Rejected by in-laws?  (Read 9973 times)

Brenda

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Rejected by in-laws?
« on: April 01, 2015, 09:16:35 AM »
Evidently, the only thing tying me to my in-laws was my wife.  Now that she's gone, they've all distanced themselves from me to the point of rarely communicating.  This after the countless times they told me "we've become so close" as I cared for their daughter/sister 24/7 while she died from cancer and they visited once in a while to sit and talk to her while I washed clothes covered in blood and vomit.  And now that my wife is gone, so have they, back to the good old days when we spoke very rarely.

I get it: they're grieving too.  They've lost a daughter and a sister.  That's a big deal.  They have their own needs to worry about.  But it frustrates me that they don't seem to understand how lonely post-spouse life can be.  It frustrates me that they don't seem to understand that while the details of their lives continue largely unaltered (I know, a gross simplification, but I'm talking about their jobs, their financial situations, their houses, their families, their own spouses), every piece of my future with my wife is shattered.  Everything has changed for me.  It's as if they've made this whole thing "about them" and totally forgotten that there's days when I go without ever speaking to a fucking grown up.

I'm not begging for their return.  Just venting at how frustrating it is to be left to suffer through this alone while they suffer through it with their unchanged and stable families, safe in the knowledge that they don't have to worry about how to pay the mortgage, how to juggle grieving kids and a job, how to be a single parent etc.  They get the luxury of having the mental space to focus solely on grieving the loss of their family member, while I'm so damn busy and confused that I struggle to make sure the bills are paid and the kids are where they're supposed to be at any given time.  It's as if grief is the bottom of my urgent "to do" list, and I'll never get to it.

Jeez, this is more stressful than saddening.

Wheelerswife

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 09:39:21 AM »
This is, unfortunately, more common that we'd like to acknowledge.  I still keep in touch with my first husband's parents...well, his mother, really since his father has advancing Alzheimer's.  But my BIL and SIL and their families don't reach out at all.  I would say that by about 6 months after DH1 died, they had backed away significantly, although I'd bet they would be cordial if we saw each other.  DH2 has a brother and his mother.  They both live quite a distance away.  BIL keeps in touch by email every few months. (I think he still wants some of his brother's stuff, which he can have, but he's going to have to figure out how to come get it from Alaska.)  MIL2 is bitter (about many things) and after my last phone call to her on the anniversary of her son's death in January, I don't know if I'll put myself through her anger again.  She lives quite a distance away, too.

None-the-less, it hurts to be abandoned by people who are supposed to be family.  You aren't the only one, for sure.  Does that make it any better?  Probably not...

You've got us, though.  We won't abandon you.

Maureen
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DansSoulmate

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 02:21:23 PM »
In my case, I wouldn't say I have been rejected as much as experiencing a highly predictable progression of things with his family.  This is going to sound harsh but I actually feel liberated from all the hypocrisy, dysfunction and nastiness.  I'm fortunate though to have friends and my own family to look to for support.  This board, too, has made a significant difference in my life with incredible wisdom and lots of caring folks.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 02:33:16 PM by DansSoulmate »

Brenda

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 02:32:38 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  Sounds like it's pretty normal then.  To be perfectly honest, I married my wife, not her family.  It should be no surprise that once the link between the two passed away, we remember how little we had in common to begin with.

I'm looking forward to the day when I see it as a blessing.  Somehow I don't think it'll be too far in the future.  It's hard for me right now to imagine my life beginning a positive new chapter; it still seems so much like a very frustrating and slow ending to the current chapter involving me and my wife.

Jen

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 04:05:23 PM »
((((Hugs))))

My in-laws have gradually slipped away over the past year, although they swore up, down, and sideways that they would be here for us "no matter what." They live 8 hours away, and their other son-- the one who exceeded their expectations, unlike my poor dh, who was the one they never understood-- recently moved his family to be close to them. So they have the perfect little setup down there on the coast now-- Granddaddy and Memaw, successful attorney son with his elegant stay-at-home wife and two beautiful children, the latter born last summer and named for his departed uncle. 

Sigh. I'm not really bitter. It's not that I want to spend more time with them-- I don't even resent them (much). They never got Jim, and they didn't get our family-- we never fit the upstanding Southern family mold. They do care about us, but they don't relate to us at all, nor do we relate well to them. Lately my MIL has been dealing with significant health issues, so that's had a serious impact as well. Maybe it's as you say-- I'm angry that got all the space and leisure to absorb their loss, while I was forced to just keep going, even when it was all I could do to get out of bed.

I'm also a little frustrated at the expectations they now have of me... they're the ones who urged me to go back to school last summer, and because I had some insane need to please them, I did. Although Jim had enough credits for three bachelor's degrees, he never finished one-- his anxiety and depression kept him from it, and they never forgave him for it. Now they seem to have transferred that insistence on continuing education to me-- never mind that I have 4 degrees already! True, the one I'm working on now will keep me on stable footing in my career (if I do indeed decide to continue it, which is by no means certain). But they think I'm going to finish it and then go onto more advanced degrees-- and I'm here to tell you, it just isn't happening! Once I'm done with this, I'm through with school. I'm over it. Just don't know how to tell them that...

Hmm. Evidently I needed to rant a little about my ILs. Thanks for letting me-- so sorry, all I've done lately is hijack threads. I'm sorry you're experiencing distance from your ILs-- I think you're right, it's (unfortunately) fairly common. No matter how we protest otherwise, most of us aren't really their family, you know? Some people luck out and really connect with their spouse's family, but I think that's the exception, not the rule.
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton

Brenda

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 08:04:41 PM »
No matter how we protest otherwise, most of us aren't really their family, you know?

You're absolutely right about that.  I'm not their daughter.  I'm literally the girl who looks after their grandkids, like a babysitter.  They want to keep up the closeness with the children while cutting me out of the loop.  Frustrating at the best of times.  >:(


Jess

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 08:41:05 AM »
A side effect of this horrible experience has been clarity in my perception and expectations of others. Some were there in the beginning and faded, fewer have stuck with me throughout. Some people are not worth the effort of wondering why they don't seem to care, and your in-laws seem to fall into that category. Due to a strained relationship with my MIL, it is the first time I have had actual relief that my husband and I never had kids.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. - Unknown

Don't be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Dahlia

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 06:19:52 PM »
I hope your feelings of frustration passes and you can build a relationship with them that is mutually stressful for all, not just you. I believe they do care for you, and they are grateful for what you are doing, but they don't know the extent of your pain and probably can't handle knowing the extent of your pain. They may need to keep you at arm's length for a while because you are a reminder of not just their daughter, but their daughter who grew up, moved away and created a life for herself away from them.

After that, you may still have to be the one to do most of the work. I know my father-in-law cares for me, but he does expect that I'll do most of the work in staying connected to him. It's my job to find a weekend that works for him, buy the plane ticket, set up the rental car and the lodging, convince him to leave the warmth of his television set and venture out into the world, talk about whatever he wants to discuss, however distant it is to my life, tolerate a few passive-aggressive comments about some aspect of my life and thank him prettily for the chance to be with him. So, you know, exactly what I have to do with my own family....

I'm happy to do so simply because a wonderful man with sparkling blue eyes made me very happy for 24 years.

Brenda

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 07:35:58 PM »
I'm happy to do so simply because a wonderful man with sparkling blue eyes made me very happy for 24 years.

This bit of your post really struck a chord with me.  I wonder what my wife would have expected me to do?  Put no effort into saving the relationship, or at least try to make things work for the sake of her memory?

I appreciate the advice. :)

ColSavMama

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2015, 08:03:37 PM »
I have managed to have the opposite problem. My husband and I got engaged in the month of December, I was pregnant with our daughter so we decided to wait until the following April, and little over a year, to have the wedding. Well, his father passed away that January, a month after our engagement. By that time we had the hall booked and paid for, over a year in advance, and had started making arrangements. But, he had gone through a complete transition when he lost his dad. He didn't want to wait for over a year. He wanted to marry me and start living our life together asap. He wanted to be married before our daughter was born. So, we decided to have a very small ceremony that April and keep our hall booked to have a big wedding on our 1 year anniversary.

When his father passed away my husband inherited a house, and a few vehicles, and an insurance policy. He had 2 half brothers (they did not belong to his dad), and a mother who was constantly asking him for stuff. Believe me, my husband was happy to let them take things, things that were important to them, things that would remind them of their step father or ex husband, anything that they wanted, they got. But, their tunes changed when we told them we were getting married in a few months, instead of the following year.

They told my husband I was after the inheritance. That I was only marrying him for money. They didn't take into consideration that we were already engaged and planning everything before his father even passed. The morning of our wedding he got an email from his brother letting him know that if he went through with it the family would never speak to him again. He was devastated. But, still married me that day. The family continued to bad mouth me at every turn. They told the entire extended family what an awful horrible nasty person I was who was after his dead fathers money. And, in all reality, that money didn't last us a year. We sold the home he inherited, bought a home closer to our area, paid off a car, paid off the lease of the apartment we were in, furnished our home, and were back to broke. It's not like he was a millionaire and I was someone who had just met him. But none of that mattered.

The day I had our daughter he decided to try and make things right with his mom. He called her from the hospital and asked if she would like to see her granddaughter. He drove out to pick her up, brought her in, and then after we visited for a while, took her home. We invited her to come spend Christmas with us that year, and she said she would. Christmas Day we didn't hear from her. My husband had managed to track her down at HIS EX GIRLFRIENDS HOME. She had decided that instead of spending Christmas with us, she was spending it with his ex and her family. Total slap in the face. That was the last we saw of her.

Fast forward 6 years later. The day my husband passed away. At this point we have not seen or spoken to his brothers the full 6 years, they continued to bad mouth us in public and on social media, but that's it. When he died it was very sudden. He was not sick and there was no warning. In order to reach his family I had to call his ex girlfriend and have her track his mother down. After she reached them his brother called me SCREAMING and CURSING at me that I was lying and he wasn't gone and how dare I do this to them. Keep in mind, I had only found out my husband was gone less than a half hour before this. I was very distraught and emotional and now have someone screaming at me.

I said my goodbyes to my husband, I told him all I needed to tell him, and left the hospital. I knew the 3 of them were on their way. Not only did they show up, the staff told me they stayed for HOURS. Hours of them crying and 'I lost my baby' and causing all kinds of scenes. They spent hours with the man they abandoned 6 years earlier. They couldn't spend 5 minutes with our family while he was alive, but spent hours with him once he was gone.

After that they pummeled. me. I was getting constant texts and phone calls. They want to see my kids. They want us to come for holidays. They want to constantly check in on us. And I'm torn. Maybe they realized in my husbands passing how short life can be, and they really do want to make it right. However, why should I let my children get close to them when I know first hand how easily they can cut off their own flesh and blood and walk away. God forbid my children make a decision they don't agree with, are they going to disown them? Abandon them? Why would I take that chance? They've had 6 years to be a part of my family. They are the ones that made the decision not to. I really am at a loss at what would be the right decision.

I am sorry that your in-laws have deserted you during the time that you have needed them the most. Truly, I am. I hope and pray that you are surrounded by others that support you and are there for you. I know first hand how important it is to have some kind of leaning post when you lose your spouse. Hopefully you have one as well.

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Butch

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2015, 09:59:33 PM »
I lost my wife just 3 months ago, and her family has all but abandoned my son and I, they are angry at me for her death, she died of a rare form of lung cancer ( she never smoked) , yet this seems to be my fault somehow, her family is looking for an excuse to try and take my 13 year old son from me, it's a messy situation to be in, and a very shitty one at that, I am still grieving, holding down a job, raising a 13 year old, making the house payments etc. trying to do it all on my own and keep my sanity while grieving, I sincerely wish her family would just fade away and never bother us, this situation has caused me to become bitter, not something I am used to being, and I do not like this feeling at all.

Wheelerswife

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 10:20:15 PM »
Butch,

I'm so sorry that you lost your beloved wife and the mother of your son.  I'm glad you found this place, though.  It isn't easy to understand how other people - like in-laws - respond to the loss of our spouses.  It is hard when they need to place blame.  My MIL is angry with me for not taking care of her son's health...like I was supposed to impose myself on a grown and intelligent adult capable of making his own decisions about seeing a doctor or what he chose to eat.  In many ways, we need to find ways to keep ourselves safe.  Fortunately, my MIL lives quite a distance away and I don't have to have contact with her.  You get to decide what is best for you and your son.  That may include distance from her family.

Hang in there...

Maureen
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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DansSoulmate

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2015, 09:27:12 AM »
Well said Maureen and, I've read that in-laws may blame the spouse for the death.  In my case, they quickly let me know that was their position but I know I did my very best to ensure we were living a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately genetics make up a much larger part of the equation with heart disease.  I'd probably try harder with them if my kids were younger but they are old enough to keep up that connection with his family if they want.  For me, it just adds unnecessary stress.

Carey

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2015, 10:03:35 AM »
My MIL called me last week to tell me her mother died. That was the first time I had spoken to her in months, but it was 7:30 a.m. her time and I just knew something was wrong so I answered.She just wanted me to let my kids know their great-grandma had died.  Um they NEVER met her.  Had no clue who she was.  I never met her either.  I just avoid her altogether now. I let the kids call her whenever they want and vice versa. Ever since the day she told me it was my fault Chad died, I have no interest in ever speaking to her again.  I realize her life has been hard. At age 17 she witnessed her uncle kill her father. She got married and had Chad at age 18, his brother 2 years later. Her husband died at age 52, and she lost her 42 year old son. I get it.  I couldn't cope if I were her either. I just decided it's gentler for both of us not to talk.
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gracelet

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Re: Rejected by in-laws?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2015, 10:03:11 AM »
In laws can be such fucking nutters.  I'm sorry to those of you who also struggle with them.

In my case, obviously I drove my wife to her death (suicide) and deserve to be punished in the form of taking away all her belongings and half the house.  A year and a half on, the legal stuff STILL isn't sorted out.

I don't hate them, I love them, but I know I'll never see them again.

Grief brings out the spite in people.

Important rule for grief: surround yourself with positive things and positive people.  If that means cutting out in laws, so be it.  You don't owe them anything. Really. You might feel like you owe it to your spouse to maintain a relationship, but I hate to remind you that they aren't here anymore. Do what YOU want.
Musings of this sarcastic but upbeat young widow can be read here : www.eerilycheerily.com