Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's

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Bloomie

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Just wanted to share some processing I've been doing. I've been going through a mountain of photos recently as I have been decluttering my home. My DH held up a group picture of extended family members from a distant bday celebration in our home for one of our children and said something like: "almost all of these people are no longer in our lives."

I looked closely and studied the faces of each person. It brought to mind all of the harsh truths realized about the relationships and the years of processing and learning to live with a standard of appropriate boundaries and a reasonable expectation of reciprocity and mutually respectful behaviors in relationships with others. You know what I mean... learning to live like healthy people do.  :doh:

It was a bit breathtaking to think that a decided pivot in my worldview and mindset effectively ended several primary relationships and brought blow back of such a force and duration I could never have imagined. Had I known before hand, I may not have had the moral courage to make those healthy changes - I want to believe I would've, but honestly I don't know, there has been so much pain, loss and grief from it all over time.  :aaauuugh:

I looked closer still at my home in the background. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that is the same. Even the physical space has been completely remodeled. The previous colors and patterns and style is not something I would have ever chosen for my home space. Which gave me pause as to why it was that way?

Some I can put down to the styles of the times maybe, but what I realized... nose to the photo looking closely  :bigwink: is how far I went to try and assimilate into my in law family system. How I adopted their "style" which was aggressively  and passive aggressively pushed so that everyone who be a ginormous homogenous group.  Now that is just sad and wearing my vulnerabilities on my chest like a target.

Another old picture DH holds up is a group shot of uPDmil, uPDsil, and me from years ago. And I realize, there was nothing I could do to be accepted or 'alike'. I am very different than they are in ways I cannot change. Noticeably different in just about every way you could imagine and different from them is cause for scorn and derision and distrust. Not tolerated.

I came into my in law family from a FOO that was chaotic and disordered. At first, it seemed my DH's family was painfully normal and offering me love and a place to belong.  :no: I badly wanted a family to love and be loved by.

That need... that desire for a family was perfectly right and honorable, but when recognized and capitalized on by unscrupulous people, it made me very vulnerable to manipulation and covert abuse and brought great harm. 

For me, this is a betrayal of familial love that is very different than having grown up in a toxic and disordered home that was always that way. Where there was no hope or promise of stability or acceptance.

With my DH's family, it was the strategic attempts to groom me through shame, push/pull, ostracizing, undermining, withholding love and affirmation and eroding my sense of self that were unrecognized for long enough that this did a lot of damage. Ultimately, it was taking advantage of an innocent young woman who entered into the relationships with joy and sincerity of heart. And it has been one of the most painful realities of my adult life.

Somewhere in there I lost myself. Clearly I did. And somewhere in there I got so sick and broken down that I had to find myself and be true to who I am. I grieve the wasted time and energy I gave to unreliable people who are unable or unwilling to form loving familial bonds with me and maintain them.

I also grieve that butt ugly decor choice I made... but that is another story for another day!  :tongue2:

I am so grateful to be down the lane from them enough to be standing upright in the middle of my own life that reflects rightly my priorities, desires, core values, and doesn't allow toxic people into the intimate, tender places of my heart.

I know there are storms on the horizon right now which is in part what is prompting this very long post.  :blush:

As we have a shared responsibility for an elderly uPDmil with a toxic sil I know that there are some tough times of forced contact and serious issues to deal with ahead. When I start to bobble.. and I very well could, and I start to head back into the fear, obligation, and guilt I will come back here to you all and I know you will remind me to stay strong and true to myself in the midst.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 11:49:02 AM by Bloomie »
"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

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Nomoreblind

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2020, 04:12:11 PM »
Bloomie you are such a wonderful support to us all who come here on this website as a safe refuge.  I am grateful for your support.  When the storms/drama come your way, please look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself I treat people with respect and deserve respect in return. People are free to act in ways you  can't control and you are free to walk away from situations which are controlled by guilt, fear or obligation.  Freedom starts in the mind, even if they are near you, or sending flying monkeys, if you have placed a mental barrier between them and you, the brain seems to observe the dysfunctions in all its glory from a distance, PDs try  push buttons, but the machine that they made of us over the years, is disconnected, there is no power and the puppets they have  made their children or us become,  will no longer function. 

You have already done all the trying to please them, it did  not work.  Now is maybe the time to please yourself.  These are invisible prisons, I wish all of us here to be able to free ourselves from them and become a fulfilling version of ourselves, taught through these hard learnt lessons, learnt over decades by some of this website's readers.  I do not want to be patronising in any way, as sometimes, the storms come in such unexpected ways, sometimes they are so predictable, I just want you to do what you feel is best for the new you depending on the circumstances, when these crisis happens.  You were young and innocent in the pictures, now you have gained wisdom, which is a valuable part of our personal development. 

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Starboard Song

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 05:45:24 PM »
Thank you for sharing. I constantly think of the years for which we put up with toxic nonsense from my in-laws. Why did we agree to do Christmas from a sofa couch at their home instead of being comfortable in our own, just 4 minutes away? Why did we let her give our son an Easter basket each year? Why did we not directly address it when she said she couldn't accept not giving our toddler son soda? When she gave us the silent treatment, our when my FIL would write the bully letters he thought were diplomatic?

I'm glad I didn't see it early. I'd have run like the wind before Satan and never had my wonderful wife. But i wish we'd learned early about boundaries. I wish we had had the courage to be kindly direct and honest each time.

You will be so strong. And we will be here
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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candy

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2020, 07:20:41 PM »
It was a bit breathtaking to think that a decided pivot in my worldview and mindset effectively ended several primary relationships and brought blow back of such a force and duration I could never have imagined. Had I known before hand, I may not have had the moral courage to make those healthy changes - I want to believe I would've, but honestly I don't know, there has been so much pain, loss and grief from it all over time.

Bloomie, reading posts and honesty like yours makes all the difference for me!

I can relate to trying to fit in, to being different, not alike, not accepted just by being me. And as has often be the case on this board, you find words for the innocent young woman that was taken advantage of, and who has been me as well just some years ago.
Yes, IL‘s like this are acting strategic and it is very painful to realize we didn’t really have a chance with them from the beginning.

I believe we sometimes do have to endure sickness and be on the very edge to loosing ourselves to understand it is okay to stand up and care for ourselves.

I also know that there are people who ride on the waves of other’s compassion. It can be edgy to distinguish true suffering from a waify PD. I call my MIL the queen of secondary morbid gain, and I mean it.

For me the storms I know to come our way will be about illnesses, immobility and shared - or not so shared - liabilities around the care of the sooner or later elderly IL‘s. DH and I know best, with regard to our professions, and we‘ll be expected to care, to make decisions and find arrangements for folks who stopped having a relationship with us 2.5 years ago.

We‘ve had alleged emergencies during that time which turned out to be hoovers. But you never know and it’s hard to know which one it is when it starts.

What is even harder to manage is to support our loved ones, like DH or DW, in their !good! obligation towards their parents’ health and care, without forgetting about our own boundaries.
It is hard with Nons already. It may be a slippery slope within a dysfunctional family system.

We love our spouses for being warm, caring personalities. We wouldn’t really want them to forget about that quality of their character. On the other hand the right amount of distance and objectivity is of utmost importance during stormy times.

We can only provide our best support if we are well rested and keep our distance. Do not forget about yourself. We‘ll be here to remind you.  :hug:

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roughdiamonds1

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 04:59:30 PM »
Hi Bloomie, it sounds like your journey has been a long, challenging but ultimately fruitful one, where you have rediscovered who you truly are, figured out how to create solid boundaries with those who are determined to make war with you, as well as forming beautiful relationships with people who love you for who you are.

Your posts are always so insightful and thoughtfully put together, and you have such an amazing way of articulating your experiences that are so relatable.

My experience with my ILs sounds so similar to yours, with MIL and SIL at front and centre of all. And me being someone who craved their love and acceptance so badly, that I was willing to put myself in harm's way in order to one day get it. I think losing yourself is an inevitable part of dealing with emotional abuse. It's a slow and insidious process that you don't realise is happening. It's like you wake up and you realise you're in the wrong room of the wrong house party, but you don't know how to get to the good house party, or what you'd even say once you find your way there.

For me, I realised that my intuition has been so disrespected by myself and others, that it's becoming my daily work to try find it and respect it once again. To be told who you are, and that any feelings you express are wrong, to have people refuse to listen to your side or story and outright  gaslight you is a very discombobulating experience that completely turns you on your head and makes you question everything about who you are.

But it sounds like you're found which way is up, and I have the feeling that you'll be able to stay that way, even when the tough times inevitably come. Wishing you much strength  :wave:

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2020, 08:23:17 AM »
Thank you each for your kindness and encouragement. For spurring me on! I am so grateful for the unique haven this place is for us as there is such comfort in being understood and believed.

One of my favorite quotes is: "An untold story never heals. ~ Mary DeMuth" Being able to come here and share bits of our stories and together fight for each other, brainstorm, share resources and common experiences means a great deal in my life and the contribution to my continued healing cannot be quantified.

Quote from: Nomoreblind
When the storms/drama come your way, please look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself I treat people with respect and deserve respect in return. People are free to act in ways you  can't control and you are free to walk away from situations which are controlled by guilt, fear or obligation.  Freedom starts in the mind, even if they are near you, or sending flying monkeys, if you have placed a mental barrier between them and you, the brain seems to observe the dysfunctions in all its glory from a distance, PDs try  push buttons, but the machine that they made of us over the years, is disconnected, there is no power and the puppets they have  made their children or us become,  will no longer function. 

You have already done all the trying to please them, it did  not work.  Now is maybe the time to please yourself.
These are invisible prisons, I wish all of us here to be able to free ourselves from them and become a fulfilling version of ourselves, taught through these hard learnt lessons, learnt over decades by some of this website's readers. I do not want to be patronising in any way, as sometimes, the storms come in such unexpected ways, sometimes they are so predictable, I just want you to do what you feel is best for the new you depending on the circumstances, when these crisis happens.  You were young and innocent in the pictures, now you have gained wisdom, which is a valuable part of our personal development.

Oh yes, my beloved friend Wisdom is something I seek continually so that when the storms come or a toxic someone is beckoning me to join them in their folly and spin I can keep those mental barriers firmly in place and disengage. How true that freedom starts first in our minds. Learning to challenge what I believe and learning to break 'agreements' I had made with fear, obligation, and guilt continues to be a sentinel work in my reclaiming myself and maintaining peace.

I want to chose freedom over pleasing every single time.
"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

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2020, 08:32:37 AM »
Thank you for sharing. I constantly think of the years for which we put up with toxic nonsense from my in-laws. Why did we agree to do Christmas from a sofa couch at their home instead of being comfortable in our own, just 4 minutes away? Why did we let her give our son an Easter basket each year? Why did we not directly address it when she said she couldn't accept not giving our toddler son soda? When she gave us the silent treatment, our when my FIL would write the bully letters he thought were diplomatic?

I'm glad I didn't see it early. I'd have run like the wind before Satan and never had my wonderful wife. But i wish we'd learned early about boundaries. I wish we had had the courage to be kindly direct and honest each time.

You will be so strong. And we will be here

Oh Starboard Song... Christmas on the sofa couch! I so get this and could just imagine it all in my mind. The discomfort and lack consideration for ourselves! We have done similar things. WHY???  :uuuuhhh:

Oh, my goodness yes, I have often thought that had I realized what I was getting into I would've run like a little bunny as well and missed out on the life I have with my DH and family and that is unthinkable.

"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

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2020, 08:57:27 AM »

Bloomie, reading posts and honesty like yours makes all the difference for me!

I can relate to trying to fit in, to being different, not alike, not accepted just by being me. And as has often be the case on this board, you find words for the innocent young woman that was taken advantage of, and who has been me as well just some years ago.
Yes, IL‘s like this are acting strategic and it is very painful to realize we didn’t really have a chance with them from the beginning.

I believe we sometimes do have to endure sickness and be on the very edge to loosing ourselves to understand it is okay to stand up and care for ourselves.

I also know that there are people who ride on the waves of other’s compassion. It can be edgy to distinguish true suffering from a waify PD. I call my MIL the queen of secondary morbid gain, and I mean it.

Thank you for your kind words Candy. Your posts have been an encouragement for me as well. I am grateful we all have each other here. You describe so clearly the frustration and pain and difficulty distinguishing another's true suffering with manipulative, controlling, high conflict people. In my own case, these are highly skilled wolves in sheep's clothing and it took years to really see through to the big teeth and ravenous hunger that is so destructive in close relationship with them.

Quote
For me the storms I know to come our way will be about illnesses, immobility and shared - or not so shared - liabilities around the care of the sooner or later elderly IL‘s. DH and I know best, with regard to our professions, and we‘ll be expected to care, to make decisions and find arrangements for folks who stopped having a relationship with us 2.5 years ago.

We‘ve had alleged emergencies during that time which turned out to be hoovers. But you never know and it’s hard to know which one it is when it starts.

What is even harder to manage is to support our loved ones, like DH or DW, in their !good! obligation towards their parents’ health and care, without forgetting about our own boundaries.
It is hard with Nons already. It may be a slippery slope within a dysfunctional family system.

We love our spouses for being warm, caring personalities. We wouldn’t really want them to forget about that quality of their character. On the other hand the right amount of distance and objectivity is of utmost importance during stormy times.

We can only provide our best support if we are well rested and keep our distance. Do not forget about yourself. We‘ll be here to remind you.  :hug:

Yes, the challenges in 'shared care' but not really shared care of elderly parents in a family system that is toxic and where nothing is ever how it seems, where people are as dishonest as the day is long yet utterly believable to those who do not really know them, and the expectations of us are total and one illness or 'emergency' after another stacks up while communication is mired down and there is no trust or goodwill - being backed into one no win situation after another - has tested us to the core. Such a slippery slope you are so right!

I too, have seen in my DH a willingness to let offense after offense fall away and continue caring for and protecting his elderly family members and I do want to support and honor him as he faces one tricky situation after another. It is very different than making those kinds of choices for myself regarding my own family members.

Keeping chaos at bay and our life as peaceful as possible is the priority and staying clear on what is ours to do in it all. And boundaries... :yes:
"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

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2020, 09:10:55 AM »
Hi Bloomie, it sounds like your journey has been a long, challenging but ultimately fruitful one, where you have rediscovered who you truly are, figured out how to create solid boundaries with those who are determined to make war with you, as well as forming beautiful relationships with people who love you for who you are.

Your posts are always so insightful and thoughtfully put together, and you have such an amazing way of articulating your experiences that are so relatable.

My experience with my ILs sounds so similar to yours, with MIL and SIL at front and centre of all. And me being someone who craved their love and acceptance so badly, that I was willing to put myself in harm's way in order to one day get it. I think losing yourself is an inevitable part of dealing with emotional abuse. It's a slow and insidious process that you don't realise is happening. It's like you wake up and you realise you're in the wrong room of the wrong house party, but you don't know how to get to the good house party, or what you'd even say once you find your way there.
Roughdiamonds - This is so helpful to be reminded of and so well said. I have added this quote to my journal so I don't lose it. Yes, it is a slow and insidious process and emotional abuse takes an incredible toll.

Quote
For me, I realised that my intuition has been so disrespected by myself and others, that it's becoming my daily work to try find it and respect it once again. To be told who you are, and that any feelings you express are wrong, to have people refuse to listen to your side or story and outright  gaslight you is a very discombobulating experience that completely turns you on your head and makes you question everything about who you are.

But it sounds like you're found which way is up, and I have the feeling that you'll be able to stay that way, even when the tough times inevitably come. Wishing you much strength  :wave:

I like this a lot! Respecting my intuition and inner guide as a daily work. All of this is so disorienting that finding our way up and out of it rightly takes trial and error and time.

My hero T would say to me at the end of each time together.. be gentle with yourself. Honestly, it was the first time in my life anyone had ever spoken something so reassuring and gracious to me. There were many profound things I worked out with her, but it might be that the most important thing that I learned was it was important to be compassionate toward myself as well as to others. To listen to myself and trust my own heart. I learned to have a sober self assessment that was not harsh or shaming or constantly falling short. What a relief!
"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

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Alexmom

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2020, 02:32:32 PM »
Your post is so insightful Bloomie, and I can really relate to it.   I too was looking for love and acceptance from my IL family, having not felt very loved by my FOO.  I was so focused on getting this need met that I failed to see the reality of the situation in that I was marrying into a closed family from a different culture and religion - who didn't take well to outsiders like me and never would.

I have been NC with my IL's for several years and the most problematic IL of them all - my MIL - who deeply resented me for marrying her son - died in 2018.   So, I've had time to really reflect, and what I realized was that I was very naive and ill equipped when I married my husband and became a part of this IL clan.  This naivety combined with my deep desire to be a part of a loving and supportive family unit really caused me to not see the reality of the situation which was that I was never going to be liked or accepted and my only value was that of being an incubator for grandkids and a servant when the IL's visited my home which happened many, many times.  Once I was able to take my unicorn blinders off and see this for what it was, I was able to really make some healthy changes and remove these people from my lives. 

I can't change my past, but my wish going forward is that my 3 now young adult kids feel loved and accepted enough that they don't long for what I did in an IL family - and that they are wiser and less naive to the red flags that present themselves so they can effectively handle them. 

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Adria

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2020, 12:53:29 PM »
Wow, Bloomie,

As usual, your post was beautifully written and heartfelt.  You wrote what so many of us have lived and inspire us to face reality and learn and grow and move forward with a more positive perspective.

It's sad when we come from such horrendous homes growing up, then look to belong in our in-law's families, only to be abused and made fools of again.  It doesn't seem fair. 

I hope it goes well while taking care of your elderly toxic in-laws.  I've done that as well. It takes strength and fortitude. There is no thanks, no earning points because they don't care.  Like my MIL says, "Fine, I"ll use ya."  How cold can someone be?  Her problem. Not mine. However, I've done it because there's a need, and that's who I am.  Not looking for any glory. There is none, other than knowing that I'm staying true to who I am despite who they are.

Thank you for putting it all into words that resignate with many of us here.  Your posts always inspire. Hugs, Adria

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2020, 10:38:58 AM »
Your post is so insightful Bloomie, and I can really relate to it.   I too was looking for love and acceptance from my IL family, having not felt very loved by my FOO.  I was so focused on getting this need met that I failed to see the reality of the situation in that I was marrying into a closed family from a different culture and religion - who didn't take well to outsiders like me and never would.

I have been NC with my IL's for several years and the most problematic IL of them all - my MIL - who deeply resented me for marrying her son - died in 2018.   So, I've had time to really reflect, and what I realized was that I was very naive and ill equipped when I married my husband and became a part of this IL clan.  This naivety combined with my deep desire to be a part of a loving and supportive family unit really caused me to not see the reality of the situation which was that I was never going to be liked or accepted and my only value was that of being an incubator for grandkids and a servant when the IL's visited my home which happened many, many times.  Once I was able to take my unicorn blinders off and see this for what it was, I was able to really make some healthy changes and remove these people from my lives. 

I can't change my past, but my wish going forward is that my 3 now young adult kids feel loved and accepted enough that they don't long for what I did in an IL family - and that they are wiser and less naive to the red flags that present themselves so they can effectively handle them. 

Alexmom - Taking the Unicorn blinders off! LOVE this! So true we cannot change the past and accepting our limitations and naivety, limited life experience and strategies to handle what came at us is perfectly understandable. In the thick of building a life, family, marriage, career it is sometimes simpler to just continue the status quo with toxic people and not have the bandwidth to think all of this through and find remedies and answers. Until we begin to realize the depth of erosion that has taken place in our lives and we know things have to change for us.

The two things that I didn't know for a ridiculously long time that may have made all of the difference for me was to believe my instincts in recognizing traits in people that made them unreliable and not show my vulnerabilities to them. And that I had the right to speak up, step back, or walk away from toxic behaviors.

My focus, like your own, has been to raise independent, confident, trustworthy and discerning adults who know they are loved and cared for always no matter what. That we are safe and consistent people who are supportive and excited for them as they decide how they choose to live their lives.

The challenge, even now that they are full fledged, launched adults with great marriages and families of their own, is how much to share about the difficulties in the in law relationships and how to navigate contact. Because in my case the relationships with my in laws is very strategic with our children as well, and the more one of our children is perceived as responsive and useful, or the one that has something 'interesting' going on in their lives, the more love bombing and covertly aggressive behaviors.

Very hard to witness at times and yet most often, our adult children show great insights and find a balance in these relationships, in part I believe because there is just enough distance and diffused obligation from the in law family, and they are in the thick of it raising their own families, that they avoid enmeshment.

Thank you for your thoughtful response Alexmom and gracious words of support. I try to always remember what a difference a supportive, loving, accepting mil could've made in my life and offer that to my own dear family members to the very best of my ability.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 11:32:18 AM by Bloomie »
"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

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2020, 10:54:56 AM »
Wow, Bloomie,

As usual, your post was beautifully written and heartfelt.  You wrote what so many of us have lived and inspire us to face reality and learn and grow and move forward with a more positive perspective.

It's sad when we come from such horrendous homes growing up, then look to belong in our in-law's families, only to be abused and made fools of again.  It doesn't seem fair. 

I hope it goes well while taking care of your elderly toxic in-laws.  I've done that as well. It takes strength and fortitude. There is no thanks, no earning points because they don't care.  Like my MIL says, "Fine, I"ll use ya."  How cold can someone be?  Her problem. Not mine. However, I've done it because there's a need, and that's who I am.  Not looking for any glory. There is none, other than knowing that I'm staying true to who I am despite who they are.

Thank you for putting it all into words that resignate with many of us here.  Your posts always inspire. Hugs, Adria

Thank you for the hugs and support Adria! Oh boy your mil "Fine, I"ll use ya." :doh:

I relate closely to doing what needs to be done for an elderly in law because there is a need with zero expectation while at the same time... learning to only do what they actually cannot do for themselves and what best supports my DH.

My first priority is my FOC and my own health and well being, and not draining my battery and investing in someone who will "use" me completely up without a second thought on whims, not legitimate needs, and criticize and resent me while doing it. Boundaries are my friend! :yes:
"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

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chowder

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2020, 01:45:28 PM »
Bloomie, you've been such a source of inspiration and an even keel for so many here....glad you are where you are today.  Yes, sometimes we look back and say how could we have ... what was I thinking ... but at least we got out of there and forged ahead in a positive way for our own selves.

I, too, thought ILs would be welcoming with open arms, and they were not.  Indeed, my FOO was not welcoming of DH either.  Another story for another thread.  But I tried with the ILs since they lived closer, were a larger family, there was always something going on.  But their treatment of me along the way was condescending and exclusionary ... I was not of their same heritage. 

I moved into DH's home when we got married.  In retrospect, we should have started over new entirely.  So it was his space, his decor which I never would have chosen.  Indeed, I learned later that it was partly his ex-wife's decor, and then later SIL's decor, to try to get a female touch when he was a bachelor after the divorce.  The two least favorite women in my life, reflected in my everyday surroundings.
Fast-forward to now, we are living 1100 miles away.  I finally had had enough, our personal circumstances opened up an opportunity, and I was able to convince him that we had done things "his way" for so long that now we needed a change.

The holidays at everyone else's places....oh, I can relate.  For years I tried to start our own traditions in our own home, but to no avail.  His family won out.....so much so, that this past Christmas he asked me, "So, did your family have any holiday traditions?"  My jaw dropped.   My reply was, Just the fact that you have to ask that question after 30 years of marriage,  shows how dominant the holidays were towards your family, to the exclusion of mine.  He had no clue about anything from my side of the family. 

At least we are where we are today.  Lessons learned for us trusting souls, expecting the best, hoping for acceptance.  It makes us stronger.  And yes, boundaries are our best friend.  Wishing you peace and strength.     We're here for you.

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Bloomie

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2020, 01:55:18 PM »
Quote from: Chowder
I moved into DH's home when we got married.  In retrospect, we should have started over new entirely.  So it was his space, his decor which I never would have chosen.  Indeed, I learned later that it was partly his ex-wife's decor, and then later SIL's decor, to try to get a female touch when he was a bachelor after the divorce.  The two least favorite women in my life, reflected in my everyday surroundings.
Fast-forward to now, we are living 1100 miles away.  I finally had had enough, our personal circumstances opened up an opportunity, and I was able to convince him that we had done things "his way" for so long that now we needed a change.

Chowder - this! Seriously, mind blown as this is my experience as well with my DH having been married before and me moving into his home which mil and sil had clearly marked their territory in once he and his ex split.  :disappear:

I hope this doesn't seem callous, but it actually has been of great comfort to know that the in laws were just as toxic to his first wife as they were/are to me though I am sorry for what another person endured at their hands.

And at a time when DH was vulnerable after the split the distance that had developed between DH/exw and his family in his first marriage was closed up and attempts to reassert control and position themselves were powerful and effective and took years to break free from and much FOG for him as he was dealing with the end of a marriage and covertly manipulative people all at once.

At least there is a clear pattern of malignant behavior toward female in laws and that does help at times.

Thank you for being here and your kind words of support!



 
"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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Alexmom

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Re: Thankful I Stopped Looking For Love and Acceptance From Toxic IL's
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2020, 02:46:16 PM »
Bloomie, Re: the ongoing challenge of what to share with your AC's about the IL's.   In my experience, they may just surprise you as to the depth of what they know.  My 20 yr old son, who is the most connected to and expressive about his thoughts out of my 3 kids, recently told me that that as a young boy he began to see one of the ongoing issues with the IL and extended family - that they would only accept those that were of the same culture (think Mediterranean culture) and religion - which I was not and my son was not (he was half their culture but my religion), and that this made him feel bad about himself and not accepted.  He also said he felt like a pawn - my IL's were very into playing out their GP experience on my kids instead of really seeing and connecting with each of my kids as individuals and establishing a relationship from that perspective- which was part of a bigger problem in that they just steam rolled through life doing what worked for them.  Reciprocity is not a word they knew or practiced in relationships.   

Unfortunately, I was not aware that my son was experiencing this as a young boy, and it wasn't until he was about 13 that I began to address their level of involvement in our lives.   I regret not seeing this earlier and have apologized to my son for not protecting him.  Today, he has little to do with the remaining IL family as do my other 2 kids.