Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw

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treesgrowslowly

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Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw
« on: August 31, 2019, 11:15:05 AM »
I'm hoping that others can relate.

After going NC with FOO, it would have been life changing to have ILs who could be supportive. Instead, they are completely unsupportive. Not even interested in me as a person. Emotionally unavailable and insisting on staying that way.

There is a special hurt to meeting one's mother in law and father in law, only to discover they will never make family dinners or holidays emotionally safe. They hold a tone at their gatherings, that a person who has been through the hell of NPD parents, cannot work with, or enjoy or find a way to enjoy.

My ILs never became my support system after going NC with FOO. It didn't matter what I did. They have a set of rules for engagement and I could never feel good watching people get criticized and insulted for hours at a time at their house.

I'll only ever have these ILs and they will never know who I am. They refused to learn about me. There was nothing I could do to change their ways. I recovered and got OOTF without any support from them.

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TriedTooHard

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Re: Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2019, 10:39:25 AM »
This is very tough to come from a uNPD FOO and then have ILs like this.  It doesn't help us in our recovery efforts and can put a strain on our marriages.  You're very strong to come OOTF while dealing with this.

Whenever I read on this site that some members married into supportive families, I think of how lucky they are.  I think its the norm for us to marry into families that are more like your in-laws.  When I started learning about patterns, cycles, and co-dependency, it was a shock to my fleeting self esteem.  It made me question my motives and choice of spouse.  It added more sadness to an already extra large helping of sadness.

Some helpful things during that period were to use mindfulness to think of my relationship in the present, and no longer question how/why we got together.   Thankfully, my spouse was willing to do that too.  What happened, happened.  I also started observing other people I knew that for whatever reason, were not close with extended families.  Not to minimize our pain or situations, or gloat about having some things better, but to see some healthy coping mechanisms at play.  For example, the co-worker who is retired military, had been traveling the world since age 18, and settled far away from FOO.  Or the shy neighbor who never married or had kids, and most FOO and childhood friends have moved far away or passed away.

I never got the chance to know my parents in law.  I heard they were very kind but naive, which resulted in many problems for their children, such as being victims of crime, bad health, addictions, marrying uPDs, and minor children being neglected.  Not sure if this situation applies to your in laws, but in a FOO like that, there were some people who we could adapt towards seeing every now and then.  Unfortunately, they sometimes came with troubled significant others, but we learned to keep the visits short and space them out far.  I got tips from a therapist on how to cope with the more troubled people in that FOO.  Over time, the troubled ones faded away as my spouse's and my co-dependency faded.   

I'm sorry you're going through this and my IL situation doesn't really match yours, so my coping mechanisms may not be helpful.  I can say that if you can remember you're a worthy person who fell into some bad luck, and are deserving of a better present and future, it will get better for you.  Some people swear by vision boards to make their future dreams come true.  I haven't tried that because I've been burned before from trying to mask pain with busyness, and trying to replace FOO with friends.  Now that I've learned those lessons, maybe I should try a vision board.  Whatever solution you try, I can say that its very possible for you to rise above the hurt.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 11:50:17 AM »
Thanks triedtohard,

That does help a lot. I think those of us with messed up FOO hold onto hope that our ILs will replace some of what we lost. And I I have learned that this is simply luck of the draw. We don't pick our ILs any more than we pick our FOO. At the end of the day, if a MIL is in the fog, there's not much hope that our IL experience will be much different from our FOO.

Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are alike and all unhappy ones are unhappy in their own way.

I think that a lot of is get our hopes up, only to discover our ILs are just unhappy in a different way from our FOO. I agree, for those who found their ILs to be one of those happy families, they are lucky.

Some of us create a FOC that has to exist independent of both FOO and ILs.

Some marriages can survive this realization and some cannot. We see this here when people coming OOTF are srruggling with a mate who is still in the fog. The enmeshment can make it hard. I don't deal with that luckily because my ILs are distant and avoid.

I used to resent that they are too lazy to be as good at PD enmeshment as my FOO was! The first few years, their low profile, distant approach to relationships felt refreshing. Of course it would , after a FOO with enmeshment.

After a few years I realized the distant approach was no better for me than enmeshment from FOO was. Someone calling 3 times a day was enmeshment hell but someone never calling at all was a new kind of misery to cope with. Being ignored is no better, for long term familial relations, than being constantly micromanaged.

In the end I discovered that neither family system has a healthy role for me to play... with these folks who have made their choices about how they engage each other. One lone newcomer into their estsblished family system can't change them if they don't want to change. They have their ritualistic ways of relating.

Any daughrer in law who has suggested something new for a holiday dinner only to be met with avoidance and sabotaging that suggestion, knows that these IL systems don t change for no one...especially one where the MIL harbours  'my son deserved better than you' resentment she can't bring herself to even become aware of. Just expresses it passive aggressively each gathering.

I had to learn that the ILs are just a different kind of unhappy.

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all4peace

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Re: Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 12:37:53 PM »
For me, coming from a family that was broken, I so desperately wanted in my in law family to be everything I needed it to be. I developed some pretty unhealthy ways of trying to get what I thought I needed and became part of the problem. For me, the most important lesson has been that it is my job to know what my needs are and not to expect others to meet them.

I do believe that we humans can meet each other's needs in healthy ways, but my problem was that I couldn't have articulated my needs, my in laws were not equipped to meet them, and yet I kept trying to get something from people who couldn't give it. Coming to a place of acceptance was very painful and necessary.

I am very sorry for the pain from both your families.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 12:40:51 PM by all4peace »

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all4peace

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Re: Recovering from the emotionally unavailable mother inlaw
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 12:40:09 PM »
One thing that is helping me at this stage in life is imagining being a mother in law myself 1 day. I very much hope that our kids, if they marry, choose mates who are not expecting us to heal the wounds from their own childhoods.  I realized that I expected something that was not possible. I don't know if this resonates at all.