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Another question - Am I obligated to go visit DH's inlaws?

Imastep's picture

After all the disrespect that DH has shown me this past week I don't feel a whit like going to see his parents and siblings with him tomorrow. Plus SD will be there which will mean that I'm going to be ignored and/or disrespected. I don't want to go but I'm concerned about BD who actually didn't want to go a few days ago but now has said she wants to go. I don't want her to feel in the middle of things or know that DH and I are at odds as its very upsetting to her. But what do I say to her without throwing DH under the bus? Should I feign being ill and tell her I'm staying home and she can either go with DH or stay home as well? I'm so mad at DH for enmeshing SD and I defintiely don't want to do that to BD as well. 

Imastep's picture

MissTexas what do I say to DD when she asks why I'm not going?

The plan was to spend NYE at the parent's house. I. don't.  But I always do go and smile and put on a show of us being a family. Ugh. I'm so tempted to not go. But it could be if I don't go that DH will leave me for good. Which is ok with me but again, I worry so about about our younger daughter. 

MissTexas's picture

 It's important you show your daughter how to stand on her own two feet and not to tolerate intolerable people, and their nasty behaviors. We are to go where we are celebrated, not tolerated. Showing her how to be fake and endure their abuses is not the way. As she gets older she will know the truth, why not tell her now?

twoviewpoints's picture

Your daughter must be at least 18yrs old now. Are you seriously going to stay married (and remain so unhappy) to your ass of a husband so not upset what is now a young adult woman? She's not that little 12yr old who's father smacked in the head and then packed his bag. And she cling to him, blaming herself and begging him to stay.

Yes, she may like some therapy to help her sort things, but you have got to stop protecting her. Do you really think she'd want you to keep living miserable? 

tog redux's picture

I too am perplexed by this OP staying in this situation miserably for 18 years, and having the same dang fights over and over.

OP - you don't have to lie, just say "Your dad is going to your grandparents, and I'm staying home this year - you can do whatever you want to do."  If she asks why you aren't going, just say you aren't up for it this year.

strugglingSM's picture

I agree with tog's advice. You have the right to choose if you want to go or not and so does your daughter. If you're concerned that your daughter will feel obligated to stay home because you are not going, tell her that you support her decision either way, because again, it's important that she knows that her decisions should be hers alone and not due to the feelings of others. 

Kes's picture

I would not feel obliged to go anywhere where I am either ignored, disrespected, or both, and I would tell anyone who wanted to know why, that this was the case.  I would not make up an excuse about my health. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

any detailed explanation as to why you are not going. Your daughter has adapted to a lot in your household. Certainly, she can understand a simple "I have other plans this year. I am going to stay in and ring in the New Year at home."

 Perhaps taking control of your plans for the New Year will be the beginning of a positive change in your life. Your daughter is old enough to decide where she wants to spend the New Year. Do not fabricate some illness as that will likely make your daughter feel compelled to stay with you.  Give her the opportunity to choose freely where and with whom she spends her New Year.

Your gifts to yourself this year, should involve resuming counseling and talking to an attorney to discuss your financial position should you choose to consider a divorce.

At this point, it is not  your husband 's actions that are the cause of your unhappiness but rather your inaction that is the cause of your unhappiness 



sandye21's picture

"At this point, it is not  your husband 's actions that are the cause of your unhappiness but rather your inaction that is the cause of your unhappiness "  Of course you MEANT, "At this point, it is not  your husband 's actions that are the cause of your unhappiness but rather your 'HUSBAND'S' inaction that is the cause of your unhappiness."  Otherwise this would be gaslighting.

Curious Georgetta's picture

steps that the OP needs to take to either remove herself from this situation  or the steps that she needs to take to make her peace with this situation.

It is pointless to  say what her husband should do. He is not seeking input not has she given any indication that he believes that there is anything that he needs to fix.

The OP is the unhappy party and she is the only one who has ultimate  control of her actions. To pretend other wise is disingenuous and should be an insult to her intelligence.

Nothing will change until she makes a change.



Curious Georgetta's picture

perfect sense if you had  2_people trying to save a marriage. I'm this instance you have 1unhappy person  complaining about her unhappy situation

There is no indication that the husband desires to fix or change anything.

The OP can not fix him and no therapist can help to fix a marriage that both parties do not have a desire to fix.

The OP has only 2 choices and until she accepts and owns that fact nothing will change. It is pointless to say what the husband should do. He shows the OP on a daily basis what he can and is willing to do.



sandye21's picture

The first thing a good marriage therapist does is to have an interview with both partners if possible.  That way you gain a better perspective of what is actually happening.  THEN come to a conclusion.  Right?  You go through the proper steps.  I think you are jumping the gun.  If the DH has no desire to make changes to save the marriage, you move on to the next step of working with the OP to help her gain self-worth and esteem so she has better tools to resolve her problems.  Gaslighting doesn't help anyone to gain clarity.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Else on this site providing anything more than an opinion. There is nothing even remotely akin to therapy happening on this or any other open forum on the internet.

To suggest that anything akin to a  therapeutic protocol is happening is absurd. The most that anyone  can do is suggest that the OP get help.

It is a dangerous thing to begin to suggest that  you are knowledgeable enough to recommend therapeutic protocols and procedures.

I doubt that  the ST in any way wants to hold out that anything therapeutic is offered on this site. 

Far too many seem to think that they offer more than their own personal opinions that are informed by their experiences and biases.

I offer my opinion and nothing more. I am not arrogant enough to marginalize your opinion because it happens to differ with mine. The only thing that anyone brings to the ST table are opinions formed in a variety of ways. If anyone had an absolute answer most of these problems would have been solved long ago.




sandye21's picture

Looks like my 'opinion' touched  nerve, CG.  "It is a dangerous thing to begin to suggest that  you are knowledgeable enough to recommend therapeutic protocols and procedures." "To suggest that anything akin to a  therapeutic protocol is happening is absurd." This is what many of us have thought for a long time.  -  AND I might add, it IS "dangerous" to deliver 'opinions' and suggestions which appear to be gaslighting.  Not a lot of support or concern for the OP.

"Neither you nor I nor is anyone else on this site providing anything more than an opinion. There is nothing even remotely akin to therapy happening on this or any other open forum on the internet."  This is an assumption, or maybe your 'opinion', CG. You have no idea whether anyone on this site has a therapy background or not.  Nice try.

Monkeysee's picture

‘It is a dangerous thing to begin to suggest that  you are knowledgeable enough to recommend therapeutic protocols and procedures.’

But it’s ok to offer BS opinions, gaslight people who are in tough situations and looking for support, and berate stepparents who are living in dysfunction you’ve never experienced yourself for feeling the way they feel?  The only dangerous one on this site, CG, is you.

Imastep's picture

More dogma by this CG person! Yikes CG are YOU married??? You have NO knowledge of what my DH wants in our marriage. In fact he very much wants to stay married. He also wants to maintain a relationship with SD, he carries guilt from divorcing BM when SD was young. He wants the best of both worlds, yes, but who doesn't? And yes he is weak with boundaries, He is very conflict avoidant. He hates conflict. So he is a yes man to his daughter too often. These are his flaws and of course he is flawed, as we all are. He has agreed to go to marriage counseling. He does love me, but his parents enmeshed him in their marriage problems so he does the same with SD. If I ask him to choose, he'll choose his daughter. Of course he will, I'd do the same if I was remarried and someone asked me to choose them over DD. I'm not asking for him to choose. I want him to have proper boundaries with SD and I need to learn to disengage approrpriately, which is not easy for me to do. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I know what it is about this and your other responses. It's the total lack of empathy for a woman who clearly is having a mental meltdown about her marriage to the point that she is asking STRANGERS whether her decisions seem crazy or not.

You, as a therapist, should know that it isn't easy to make changes. You should also know that when someone has spent nearly two decades in an unhealthy situation that it's extremely difficult to change that situation.

There is real fear in leaving toxic/abusive relationships. There is also a real threat in leaving one. It's not always as simple as packing a bag and leaving. What's OP going to do for money if she isn't working? If her daughter has challenges, how is she going to care for her? Is her H going to physically assault her when she tries to go? Is her H going to cause psychological harm to her daughter if she tries to leave? Will he hire a pitbull attorney that will completely clean her out of everything she owns? Will he damage all her belongings in a fit of rage? Does she have family to lean on for support?

Her H has already shown that he can and will be abusive, whether that be physically or mentally, and that he won't restrain himself to just hurting her. Fight, flight, or freeze is a real human instinct, and while some folks will say "f**k it, lets rumble" and others will disappear into the night without a second thought, others end up paralyzed by fear. They are risk-adverse, and playing to the whims of a bad marriage is a hell of a lot less scary than leaving one sometimes.

I'm not saying that OP should wallow in her own misery and martyr herself to her fear. But to expect someone - even someone who is mentally unscathed in just a bad marriage that fell apart - to just leave and accuse them of their own unhappiness is just mean spirited and cruel. No one wants to see their marriage end, and no one wants to be the one to end it.

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. It's a very clinical response to a very human reaction. That doesn't work. If it did, we wouldn't need therapists, only doctors.

Siemprematahari's picture

How about being honest with your daughter and telling her your truth. Trust me she'll appreciate it, if not now in the long run. You can't shelter her from what is really going on in the house. It's not about getting her involved in the problems within your marriage but showing and displaying honesty. Don't be fooled for one moment that she doesn't sense the tension between you all. 

Don't subject yourself to being around people who treat you so poorly. Model this to your daughter and for your own mental well being do what makes YOU happy. 

SteppedOut's picture

Do not base you decision on "What about my daughter". She very likely knows you are unhappy in your marriage. It is very very difficult to hide that long term. My parents divorced when I was 15. And honestly, I thought... FINALLY. They were both very obviously unhappy. You daughter knows.

sammigirl's picture

Iamastep: sorry I am slow answering you.  Please check your message board.  (((Hugs)))

Rags's picture

I'm confused. Aren't your parents "DH's inlaws."

And no, you are not obligated to visit anyone who will invariably be rude to you and mistreat you.