Do I tell DH about PILs behaviour, or do I suck it up to prevent conflict?

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Singer_82

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My MIL definitely has some kind of PD.  Not to bore with backstory, but basically DH was a mistake and has been punished for it ever since.  She's a martyr, who buys affection to give her a reason to be unkind and not expect backlash.  Latest thing, tonight she was speaking on the phone to the kids, She told my 5 year old DS that she's 'not allowed to give him presents anymore unless it's Christmas'. He was confused by this, and I can't believe she said it. He mentioned that a favourite toy had broken, and she first asked him if he would like a new one, then said she couldn't get him it for the reason above. This is because both myself and DH have asked her on several occasions to stop lavishing the kids with gifts all the time, we appreciate the generosity etc but asked that she restrict it to birthdays & Christmas (as it was getting ridiculous - for example she spent over 100 buying them little suitcases to go on holiday when we didn't ask for them or need them, and we asked her to return them). The difference of opinion over gifts is something to discuss with me and DH, and I'm really angry that she brought my little DS into it (just to have a dig at me I'm sure). Do I tell DH?  He'll flip!

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Bloomie

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Hi Singer_82 - this is triangulation and emotional manipulation using your small child. I believe it is important to let your DH know about his mother's unacceptable behaviors toward you both so you can both figure out how to handle this together. My .02.
"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

Bloomie 🌸

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Starboard Song

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I believe so: that you do share.

You have many friends in life, and family to whom you are connected. But your spouse is that person whom you so trusted and respected that you've bound yourselves willingly together for life. You deserve each other's strength and support, and each other's honesty on matters of substance. It is ok to tell him his jokes are funny and that he is still as handsome as ever, but this is a matter of importance.

Her behavior was inappropriate, and you both need to be aware of it. It needn't create an international scandal. I think there are any number of responsible ways of addressing it, and you two can talk it through and figure out what is right for you and your family. But I think it is a disservice to you all to go it alone. Please make him count to ten: an angry rebuke is unlikely to be successful.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 02:36:54 PM by Starboard Song »
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qcdlvl

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I agree with the others, don't keep this from your husband. You two should be a united front and also, as a parent, he has a reasonable expectation of being told this sort of thing. What she did was cruel and manipulative, so your husband getting angry is entirely her fault.

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Singer_82

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Thank you all, you are right.  I did tell him, and he was understandably angry.  We wrote her an email (she doesn't listen face to face, she just walks away) expressing why it is inappropriate to involve the children in that way.  That was several days ago and she has ignored it so far.  She is always on her iPad, so I'm sure she has seen it and is now giving is the silent treatment.  She is due to come for a visit next weekend, could be interesting.  I suspect she will act like nothing is wrong, and just ignore the issue.  :(

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all4peace

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Re: Do I tell DH about PILs behaviour, or do I suck it up to prevent conflict?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2020, 12:48:17 PM »
For a long time in my marriage, my DH implied that I was causing conflict by drawing attention to his family's toxic behavior. It's really tough to feel responsible for other people's feelings, discomfort or behavior. I put up with a lot of intolerable behaviors from his family because I bought into the belief that it was somehow on me to absorb the toxicity without comment, complaint or change.

This did tremendous damage to me and to my marriage.

None of us can tell you what you "should" do, but I would highly recommend developing a hierarchy in your mind--hierarchy of your values and your priorities--and then live from that place.

For me and my DH, we eventually came to the point where we consciously acknowledged that our family of choice and our marriage were much higher priorities than his family and how they preferred to behave towards us. But our marriage had suffered serious harm by that point.

Boundaries is an excellent concept and there's an excellent book by that name. I'm going to share a podcast link here about boundaries also. My best to you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv6Hyfjxc2s