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The In-laws (OT)

Drac0's picture

So DW was Skyping with her parents last night. I was busy bathing the kids so I only heard bits and pieces of the conversation. I don’t really feel the need to be a part of the conversation because these conversations between DW and her parents are ALWAYS the same. So much so, I even created an algorithm for it.

DW: Mentions something about kids that concerns her.
MIL: Tells DW she shouldn’t worry about it.
FIL: Cracks a joke.

DW: Mentions something about her job.
MIL: Tells DW she shouldn’t worry about it.
FIL: Cracks a joke.

DW: Asks what we should bring to this camping trip, how much it costs, etc
MIL: Tells DW she shouldn’t worry about it.
FIL: Cracks a joke.

In case you don’t get the picture. Here is an example.

DW: “SS refuses to eat his lunches most of the time so I have no idea what to pack for him.”
MIL: “He’s a grown boy. If he’s hungry, he’ll eat. It’s not like he is going to starve to death. Don’t worry about it.”
FIL: “Yeah, I wish your mother would stop packing me lunches. Sometimes I can’t tell if she’s trying to feed me or poison me.”

I swear….It’s ALWAYS like this….Oh sure, it’s amusing at first, but it’s like playing Pac-man on the same level over and over again. It quickly loses its appeal (and eventually, you WANT the ghosts to kill you)

So anyways, after the Skype session was over and everyone said their goodbyes, DW noticed that her parents didn’t close the Skype session on their end.

She overhears MIL say “God! Why does she always whine and complain?”

DW was – naturally – very upset. Again, I didn’t hear the whole conversation but most of what I heard DW say sounded pretty cheerful and pleasant. So really, that comment from MIL was uncalled for. DW texted her mother later and said. “You really should learn to shut down Skype properly before saying bad things about me.

MIL calls back and claims she never said anything bad. DW says that she did; she repeated exactly what MIL said.

“Oh, really DW. I meant no offence…Don’t worry about it!”

“Really Mom!? Of COURSE you didn’t mean any offence because I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HEAR IT!”

DW was having a hard time holding back her tears.

“After all this time!” DW says to me later. “After ALL I have been through you would think my folks would actually treat me like freakin’ grown up - but no! They still view me as the ‘problem child’!”

All I could say was “Your parents are the ones that need to act like grown ups here. They should at least apologize, but that is outside their conversation algorithm parameters.”

“What. Are. You. Talking. About!?!”

I explain to DW the conversation pattern that her parents have whenever they talk to her.

Not sure if it was wise of me to say so, but hey…algorithms are what they are and I cannot help but pick up on the pattern.

Poor DW. She is really distraught over this. She and her mother are close – or at least DW thought they were close. She feels like she just got stabbed in the back.

Personally I think her parents are bots.


Drac0's picture

Once upon a time MIL would give GREAT advice, but since she lost her job (she got laid off) she's become an empty shell of a woman. Sad really.

Drac0's picture


when DW was thinking of breaking up with Donkeykong, the in-laws were against it.

When DW wanted to take Donkeykong to court for custody, the in-laws were against it.

When DW wanted to go back to HS to get her G.E.D., the in-laws were against it.

When DW wanted to move in with me, the in-laws were against it.

When DW finally consented to getting SS a psych eval, the in-laws were against it.

My in-laws are classic "fair weather" parents and don't want anyone to do anything that will "rock the boat". They want everyone of their children to stay in a stasis-bubble. Now my in-laws are good grandparents to my bios, but when it comes to's best to look elsewhere.

Drac0's picture

You're not making any sense.
A) She wasn't asking for advice. She was just chit-chating.
Dirol DW does have a spine.
You're making way too many assumptions here to float your own opinion. If I did the same thing on your blogs you'd delete me.

Drac0's picture

Everyone having to agree with me is not a prerequesite for posting on my blog. You must be confusing my blog with yours.

Drac0's picture

It's one of the reasons I don't care to talk to them. Oh I'll be polite and civil with them, but I mostly just shut-up and nod my head politely.

The problem is, there is only so much "SS is great because he's so tall" I can take. I have to figure out a way to politely excuse myself and walk away.

Drac0's picture

This is good advice, especially considering that the whole "SS is great because he's so tall" originated from my in-laws. I am hoping DW and myself will avoid talking about SS, Donkeykong, custody, and school altogether...

Drac0's picture

Possibly, but IMO, the BIG part of the problem is the way my in-laws view their children. They always viewed SIL as the "Princess Golden Child" and DW as the "Rebelious Troublemaker". In truth, SIL was just as much a holy terror in her youth (if not more) than DW was. But DW dropped out of HS, and got pregnant early on. SIL graduated and married her HS sweetheart and is extremely good at putting up a front. I've seen what SIL is really like. I *KNOW* my in-laws see it too but they refuse to acknowledge it because they have already established their reality and pegged their children.

Drac0's picture

Yes that's it! DW honestly thought that she and her family had moved on from the past but clearly, her folks have not and still label their children.

Jsmom's picture

My family was like this. I was the failure, no matter what I achieved. My sisters and parents the same way about their feelings about me. I have learned how much of a conversation to have with them and that really minimizes the criticism. She needs to realize it is their perception and she can't change it. She can change how she interacts with them.

Drac0's picture

I do the same with my Dad. I don't dare talk to him about my work, my money or my academic achievements. Because right away he'll start saying stupidities like "I told you, you should have applied to that job for Chief Operations Officer at NASA! You would be rolling in dough right now but your problem is, you never apply yourself! And why don't you go get an MBA like your brother did?"

FTMandSM's picture

LOL!! My family would LOVE you!! My mom would proudly say, "MY SON is an engineer!" She can only boost that my brother and I gave her beautiful grand children! LOL! (We each have one.) My brother is a hot mess. Thankfully I am not as bad as he is.

Jsmom's picture

My one sister is a lawyer and the other heads up all of education for a major hospital. I own my own firm doing M&A Search work for PE and I am the failure and should ask my sister for advice because she is a lawyer. So I definitely minimize what I say to them now. Didn't even tell them the last deal I closed on.

Drac0's picture

SA was making the assumption that DW's bad parenting is due to not listening to her own parent's advice. That simply isn't true. And she wasn't asking her folks for advice, she was just chit-chating with them. Like other's have said, if someone wants to just vent about their day, the least a parent could do is listen and be supportive. DW parents have hardly ever been supportive of DW. In fact, if DW actually listened to them, she would still be with Donkeykong.

Drac0's picture

DW does take my advice. Well, she does now much more now than she used to. The BIG problem is following through.

DW: "What time do you think SS should go to bed?"
Me: "I think 10pm is a reasonable time."
DW: "Yeah, good idea."


Me: "DW, it's midnight. Why is SS still up?"
DW: "Huh? Oh, I totally lost track of time."

That's just one example. DW and I come up with good plans for SS. Study habits, chores, etc....but like a bead of water on a hot frying pan, it sizzles and evaporates very quickly.

Another problem is that DW still thinks I exagerrate a lot of the situations.

misSTEP's picture

My father told me once that my mother (who I called once a week) had said, "Can't she ever talk about anything except for her husband's ex and her stepkids??"

So I quit talking to her except for holidays for about 6 years.

I cannot stand it when people say things behind my back instead of just having a direct conversation with me about it. Yes, I do say things about people when they aren't around but I will damn sure say the same thing to their faces!

I don't care if you are 2 or 52, you expect your parents to be supportive of you and safe people to vent to.

Drac0's picture

You just reminded me of something! I mentioned something about my ex to my in-laws once. Just once. It was just a funny annecdote of my past life. DW told me later that MIL said to her "I don't think Drac0 has gotten over his ex". Since then, I haven't mentioned a word about my ex to my in-laws, even when they ask me directly.

FTMandSM's picture

I don't talk to mine either about any issues that I am having. I feel like it's mine and FDH's business, no one else. I hate when FDH tells his parents anything...

Drac0's picture

>You talk to your parents about your house issues?<

Sometimes. But like most STalkers, our parents don't understand the blended family dynamic so the advice we get we have to take with a grain of salt.

ETA: Whenever we have a family function when SS is at his Dad's, our parents ALWAYS ask "Where is SS?". No matter how many times we explain the CO and that SS is with his father, and his father has rights, etc. they still. Don't. Get. it.

FTMandSM's picture

I can't stand my future in laws. They drive me crazy. My FFIL will has the worst sense of humor. He is being mean and thinks it's funny. My FMIL is sooo over dramatic about everything. FDH asked FFIL about cleaning up his credit. FFIL gave him all this advice that was worthless. Then FFIL ALWAYS tells us what we should do with our money. THEY are the ones who are always late on their rent, and owe the IRS. Then they both flip out over stupid shit. They remind me of teenage girls that don't invite you to their birthday party because you don't like their shirt.

I'm sorry your DW had to hear that from her parents. You never want to hear your parents talk about you, at least behind your back. If they had a problem, they should have just told her instead of being so passive during the conversation.

Drac0's picture

There's a difference between deleting a post on your blog because you simply disagree with their opinion and deleting someone who is being a constant PITA.

moeilijk's picture

I believe you mean PITA-toes.

You're not a PITA because people just disagree with you.

thinkthrice's picture

I'm on the ILs side here. DW is a whiny, complaining, BFFer of a non-parent. She wants to whinge endlessly about the result of her lack of parenting the TALL one but doesn't want to hear any solutions. So now the ILs break out the pat answers and jokes.

No surprise here. My parents favour my younger sister. #getoverit

There, I've said it.


Drac0's picture

Except she wasn't whining to the in-laws at all! She was just chit-chatting. Like I said in my OP, I only heard bits and pieces of what DW was saying but she was being pleasant and jovial the whole time she was Skyping.

Drac0's picture

I honestly wish I knew why they stopped giving good advice. Heck, my own father doesn't have a lot of respect for FIL because he spoke with him and even he couldn't believe some of the stuff coming out of FIL's mouth.

"Oh it's okay if SS doesn't graduate HS. He can just pick up a trade he likes and he'll live a happy life."

IMO, the only reason in-laws stopped giving good advice is because they're both retired now and don't see reality like they used to. They also don't want to "rock the boat" and just want to play the role of the happy doting grandparents.

Drac0's picture

This is good food for thought. I totally get the grandparent's "role" here and I am happy that my In-laws are enjoying their grandchildren. Really I do...But you don't advocate "Oh it's okay if SS drops out of HS." or "SS will go far because he's so tall". You KWIM? I would expect grandparents to at least have some "sage" advice....Meh, I dunno....I think when I become a grandparent, I'll be one of those looneys that streaks around naked and my kids will have to put me in a home....

DeeDeeTX's picture

I dunno. I've sometimes said similar things after getting off the phone with certain relatives of mine. They'll constantly bitch, moan, and complain. I love them, but sometimes it's more than I can tolerate.

Maybe the parts of the conversation you missed were asking for "advice" about SS (aka bitching). It certainly doesn't sound like its out of character.

Drac0's picture

There's a big difference between whining and complaining. DW does not whine. In fact, I think I whine more than she does. Complain? Yes DW definetly does complain but not to the extent that you feel like your ears are going to fall off...

Willow2010's picture

I see both sides. I do feel terrible for your wife though and I bet her mom is VERY embarrassed. (Or at least should be).

Your wife heard something she never should have heard. It was only meant for her moms husband. It does not mean her parents do not love her. It just means that mom was in a mood and said something she never wanted DW to hear. I know it hurt her but maybe she can see the other side.

I know I have got off the phone with family and then talked to my DH about them. Even if I was not talking GREAT things about them, I still love them and was just venting.

I hope your DW does not let this affect her relationship with her mom for too long. But I am sure she is so terribly hurt.

Drac0's picture

You have a very pragmatic way of viewing things Willow, and I too hope that DW can find some kind of resolution in this. I still think MIL should appologize but since I know that is not forthcoming, I can only hope our camping trip will be more hellish and less awkward...

Uh...I think...

I better pack the Jack Daniels...

AllySkoo's picture

Ouch, your poor DW! Honestly, it doesn't matter if the kids splashed water in your ears you and totally missed the part where DW was whining and being totally unbearable - her mother should have said something to her at the time instead of behind her back later. (And if her mother is unwilling to say anything about it, then I have zero sympathy even if DW never does anything BUT whine and complain.)

Tell DW to keep conversation to non-personal things on the camping trip. Politics, movies, the weather.... about the only thing that's going to make her feel any better at all is time. Poor thing, I'd be heartbroken if I heard my mom talk about me that way!

Drac0's picture

I noticed you saw my comment on rutherford's blog about her SIL. I am not discounting the theory that DW has inherited some bad parenting traits due to lack of parenting skills exhibited by her own parents. When it comes to SS, she does project some of her own past experiences as a child. However DW's emotional enmeshment with SS stems mostly from the breakup between her and Donkeykong. Since Donkeykong was being such a bully and DW's own family weren't being supportive, the ONLY person she could latch onto for any kind of emotional support was SS.

I totally get what you are saying though. DW should learn not to wear her heart on her sleeve and spill everything to her folks because it is painfully obvious the In-laws really don't care and just want everything to be hunky-dory.