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My husband's family refuses to mind their own business..

Moving Forward's picture

This is my first time posting here but extremely frustrated at this point. I have a SS that is 27. His relationship with our family is quite strained to non existent. He wants nothing to do with any of us, only his dad. My DH does not want to be alone with him because he is very manipulative and he lies. My SS grew up with a narcissistic mother and SF. The type of parental alienation that took place was extreme. As a result my SS only sees my DH as a monetary resource. He doesn't want a sincere relationship with my husband as he is of no value unless he is forking out money to him.

Two years ago my SS cut off all contact with my DH out of the blue. What little contact there was prior was usually my DH calling or texting. The conversation was usually my SS answering questions my DH asked. For example: 'How are you doing?" "Good." How's your girlfriend doing?," "Good." "How is school going?" "Fine." "We are going to be in the area and would like to see you." "Okay."  An extreme lack of interest on my SS's part. When my SS stopped responding to calls and texts from my DH, he just decided to respect his decision and give him space. My MIL however can't leave things alone. She has no relationship with my SS either, none of my DH's family has had a relationship with him either. There was a short time when my DH's parents tried to be involved after basically rejecting him for years because he was born out of wedlock. But after dealing with the BM and SF and being the target of such disrespectful behavior from my SS they decided to let things alone.

My husband and I were put through the ringer with all of them when he was a kid and hoped things would improve once he left the toxic home environment . That was not meant to be. Nothing has improved.

My MIL decided to involve my BIL in trying to reach out to my SS who has never been involved in his life nor does he have a clear understanding of all that has taken place throughout the years. My MIL has interfered many times over the years as she didn't want my DH to marry me because I had been divorced and it is a sin ect. Whatever. She decided she wants to reconnect with my SS but rather than contact him herself she gets my BIL to contact him. Of course it's the same old story, "My dad doesn't care about me, he doesn't help me out, he cares more about his step kids than me, ect." 

My BIL decides to contact my DH to come down on him and dictate to him "what he needs to do!" My BIL thinks he has all the answers even though he doesn't have all the information. I tried to no avail to help him understand that coming across to my DH the way he did and taking my SS's word as the gospel truth was not helping the situation at all. Needless to say, that conversation did not go well. I was berated, accused of having a guilty conscious , having questionable motives.  My DH let my BIL know that his behavior towards me was unacceptable and will never be tolerated again.

My DH and his family are not close. Both his parents are pastors and there was alot of spiritual abuse, condemnation and contradicting, judgmental behavior that took place in the home and it is no different today. All of his siblings have been damaged by this behavior as well as my DH which is why he loves them all from a distance. My MIL and FIL rejected my SS throughout the pregnancy and even after he was born, they were embarrassed . It was a secret. Years later, when my SS was around 9 they decided to get involved in his life. My MIL allowed herself to be manipulated by BM and would try to correct my DH and make false accusations concerning my children. We dealt with that then. However most recently, this has come to the surface again when SS is 27. My DH and I have a son who is 11. Now, rather than my older children being used as a source of guilt or to condemn my DH they are trying to use my 11 year old son. I absolutely lost it! I will not go through this again, I will not allow the same issues to resurface, the utter condemnation they used to guilt my DH into being sucked back into an unhealthy situation that we went through years ago and have dealt with off and on since he turned 18. We finally decided to go no contact with any of them for our own sanity! My DH is getting ready to deploy for a year and I am concerned they will keep trying to contact us with the guilt trips. I have finally reached the point to where I will no longer try and I do not want him in our home as he acts as if I do not exist anyway but the biggest problem is I do not want to give him another inch to be able to mistreat my 11 year old son. My 11 year old is now realizing what is going on as before he was too young. Now I want nothing to do with my SS and do not want him near my son or in my home. My DH's family think we are being cruel and childish. They have no clue what we've been through, they don't want to hear it, they just want to get on their religious soap box and correct us, when they themselves have done nothing to be in my SS's life the way they should have been! They cannot see how contradictory their behavior is!

Moving Forward's picture

We have blocked their phone numbers as well as social media access. Today we received a Father's Day card from his mother with scripture about blessings and peace. In other words, forget about the fact the she is the one who started all this mess in the first place and the lack of peace she caused, but how she uses God's Word to show DH he is the problem because he has no peace. WHAT? Then writes that she hopes he has a nice Father's Day with "his wife, son and the rest of the family." She then signs it "Your Parents, "Joe and Mary"

I changed their names.

So, if they can't get to DH one way, they will try another and it always boils down to religion and lack of forgiveness on our part. It's not that, it's a lack of respect and boundaries at this point.

The fact that she uses "your wife" rather than my name, (we've been married 15 years,) "Your son" (their grandson who they make no effort to know) and "the rest of the family, (they don't remember my kids names) yes we've been married 15 years, it was not a typo, to me continues to show how disconnected they are from us. Then signing the card, "Your Parents" and their names, not even Mom and Dad! I don't know why I'm so angry this time, it's not the first time this has been done. Just feeling sick, literally ill.

momjeans's picture

If I were you, I’d (re)engage with my in-laws just long enough to tell them to mind their own business. To stick to what they know - which is nothing. Then I’d make it my own personal hobby to maintain no contact. Cut off their sources of contact, especially to you and any minor children. And no contact means NO contact. Enforce it.

As for SS27, he’s an adult. He doesn’t need to come around - especially while your DH is deployed.


Moving Forward's picture

Believe me, I'd love to give all of them a piece of my mind. However they refuse to see their behavior as being harmful. We are the ones with the issue. I am the problem coming between them and DH as well as coming between SS and DH. BM convinced MIL of this 15 years ago even though I was the one who tried to help him assert his parental rights in the midst of all her lies and manipulation as well as the parental alienation. She never got over the fact that he wouldn't marry her. She got pregnant on purpose her senior year to prevent him from leaving to go to college. She was planning on DH's parents forcing him to marry her since they are pastors. When that didn't happen she went on a mission to destroy any relationship he could have had with his son. She used him as a pawn, dangled him in front of him and as soon as DH took the bait jerked him away in the most cruel of ways. DH always paid childsupport without being court ordered so she never had to go to court to fight for it, he even raised it when he got a raise. One of the main reasons I love him so much is that he always tries to do the right thing and takes responsibility for his mistakes. I have had to fight for every penny of childsupport and had to constantly deal with the disappointment my children went through with a lack of interest from their dad. DH tried to be there for his son but there were constant obstacles and unreasonable conditions placed on him. When he finally stood up for himself, well he is a "bad dad," he "isn't the real dad, just and in and out dad," he wants "his real dad, his SF to adopt him." BM and SF wanted DH to let SF adopt SS and still pay childsupport! They felt it was the least he could do and also that he could still see him anytime he wanted even though he wasn't being allowed to see him at the time.  

Going through all of this year's ago and finally getting to a point where we no longer had to deal with BM and SF was amazing. Only to have MIL start the madness up again! 

momjeans's picture

Why can’t you set them straight? Will it upset your DH? Will he see you as rocking the boat?

People like this need boundaries so desperately, in order to get them to semi-behave and to curb their damaging and divisive ways within a dysfunctional family unit. They aren’t the hierarchy. And they have no right coming out of left field whenever it suits them, when it comes to dictating who is going to do what - and when.

And oh do I feel you. My in-laws are super religious, self-important, boundary-stomping, (think they) know-it-all dimwits. They specialize in blame shifting and victim playing when they’re called out. My husband is their “golden child” and MIL is forever thinking she’s at my level, as his spouse, and tries to insert her not-so-infinite wisdoms when it comes to BM, who is very high conflict, and skid who she has labeled as a “poor child of divorce”. 

I think once you show them their actions are fruitless and it falls on deaf ears, they’ll back away. 


Exjuliemccoy's picture

I'd be tempted to bombard your inlaws with info on narcissism and dealing with narcissistic adult children. Order books from Amazon to be delivered to them, email them links to articles and videos, etc. Bonus for the ones wuth a religeous slant. Then they cant plead ignorance. Make it your mission to educate and convert them with the Word - of modern psychology. Then dont respond when they try to contact you.


Moving Forward's picture

My husband has set them straight as he is very supportive in this matter when it comes to me. They just don't seem to know when to quit. I've read so many of these forums where husbands are not supportive at all and it's really sad. At least I haven't had to deal with that. SS's disrespectful, entitled behavior, BM's narcissistic behavior as well as in-laws know it all narcicist behavior which is why we rarely visit them. Things are so unhealthy in their home. With all the research I have done in the last weeks about overt and covert narcicism I could have a degree in it. DH and I have been seeing a counselor because this has been so stressful and I agree there may be some PTSD on both our parts as the thought of this starting again and my 11 year old being brought in to it. This all started over my 11 year old becoming a published author and illustrator. We are extremely proud and posted about it on Facebook with a link to the book. My MIL is upset feeling as if SS is not getting the same support  from DH. I mean, he's 27 for goodness sake. She just wanted to start drama and wanted a reaction from SS about the book. She had not seen or heard from him for at least 4 years. So why when my 11 year old's book came out did she put BIL up to contacting SS? To start the drama, and hide in the shadows and pretend she had nothing to do with contacting him. We are so disgusted with her behavior. 

sandye21's picture

GEEEZ!!!  What a peice of work!  We write about disengagement on this site and most of the time it's with the Skids.  But your MIL definitely should be your next disengagement project, along with SS.  She sounds like an out-spoken control freak.   UGH!!!  Your DH can make up his own mind as to whether he wants to have a relationship with MIL but if this were me, I would remove your son from any contact with her.  If she calls, be very evasive with her and make the conversations short.  Stay away from her as much as possible.  Good luck.

Moving Forward's picture

We have cut off all contact with them as of last week. Yes, she is a pastor. She preaches love but has not displayed it to me or my kids. I told DH not to discuss anything regarding our family or future plans. DH will be deploying in a couple weeks, he will be gone for a year so without a doubt there will be no contact for a year, but from me even longer. She has completely destroyed any trust I had. My husband understands and respects my concerns when it comes to both SS and in-laws and agrees.

She has created division between DH and BIL as well as division between our son and my SS. Rather than trying to encourage a healthy relationship between the two of them she has created rivals. My SS has already stated that he feels that he has been robbed because of my kids and our son. He is right, he was robbed but not by my kids or our son but by the disgusting actions of both his BM and SF as well as by his own cruel behavior towards my husband. The sad part is they don't see it. They refuse to take any responsibility for their actions. They just want to be victims. They want to punish my DH for moving forward in life and not staying in a miserable state because they are in a miserable state.

I am so angry because at this point, we shouldn't have to be going to see a counselor to help us understand that all this behavior is a result of narcicistic behavior, and jealousy from high conflict people. My husband should not be stressed out worried about us before deploying. They could care less what they have done or what they are putting my DH through. I'm sure my SS has been enjoying the extra attention.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

That's disgusting, toxic behavior, and I can see why you don't want these people around you or your son.

I feel that there's a subset of people from dysfunctional families that is unacknowledged and under served. In my head, I call them The Ones Who Got Away, or White Sheep. These are people (like your DH) who've managed to escape  their dysfunctional Families of Origin (FOO) and go on to lead productive lives. I was musing about this the other day after sharing on another post that both my DH and I are 'white sheep' -  adult kids who don't fit into our respective families and reject the toxic dynamic that exists in them. Being a white sheep comes with a lot of challenges, as does being married to one. Many people don't understand how difficult it is to overcome the dysfunction, how much work we have to do on ourselves, or how hard it it to maintain healthy boundaries in the face of pressure from toxic relatives, winged monkeys, and a society that promotes the idea that family should always, always be forgiven.

Kudos to you and your DH for recognizing that his family is  FUBAR, and for making the hard choices in order to be mentally healthy. These people are locked in a sick dance - I mean, who wouldn't be happy and proud that an 11yo relative managed to become a published author and illustrator??

I hope you'll do whatever it takes to keep distance between your family and your in-laws. No contact seems warranted, especially since your DH will be out of the country.

Moving Forward's picture

You are absolutely right! He is the only one to come out of the dysfunction in the family. He is highly educated and an Officer in the Army. His older brother is an overt narcicist who needs to constantly feel as if he is above DH. BIL #1 has been made to feel by MIL as if he has to take on the financial burdens of the family and feels DH should also contribute. The terms "blood and family" are used to manipulate people into doing their will.

These are so many poor finacial decisions that are being made in the family and DH will not take part of it or be responsible for their bad choices. They view him as "being too good."

Other poor decisions are made that are just unbelievable. I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the picture. All of them are narcicists. SIL blames everyone else for her problems , they are out to get her or jealous of her. It's crazy.

DH has escaped and now I am beginning to understand why he is so distant from them. Only in the past two years have I begun to see the true dynamics in the family. MIL is controlling and FIL made DH always feel as if he wasn't good enough compared to older BIL. DH has been seeing a therapist for 2 years now dealing with all of this. I guess it's what they call "awakening" to how unhealthy the family is. It's so sad because I see the struggle he goes through and he is such a wonderful person. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

you're having to go through this. But kudos to you and your spouse for working the problem, both with logic and as a team. You're doing everything right, but even so, sometimes the crazy leaks in.

Please stick around and continue to vent when you need to. Oh, and stock up on pertinent bible quotations regarding family, loyalty, etc. Give your wacky, fake Christain in-laws a taste of their own twisted medicine.


marblefawn's picture

Ugh, religion conjures so much more hate than love.

If your husband is deploying for a year, this is precious time. Use it to bring your good family closer and forget about his crazy family. That distance of deployment will dilute their efforts to disrupt, and when he's away, you can handle the crazies how you see fit. I suggest ignoring them. (People REALLY hate being ignored!)

Don't let this noise get in your way. You decided how to handle them and cut them off. Your SS clearly doesn't want to be part of this family circus so he's also doing the sane thing by staying away. Maybe down the pike all this will work out, but right now, focus on what's important.

Moving Forward's picture

Thanks so much for the encouragement from everyone. I'm tired of feeling guilty for going no contact with in-laws and SS and knowing that others have had to do the same thing. I'm tired of being seen as the bad guy when I've tried to help my DH with his son. I tried to welcome SS and treat his as one of my own and so did my family but because of how he was raised and how his mind was poisoned against his father well before I came along, I never stood a chance. We were seen as enemies. My MIL also took on that perspective from BM. My DH has a great relationship with my 4 kids who were 5,8,11, and 14 when we got married. They love him, see him as their dad and show him the utmost respect. They are all grown and productive people. Our 11 year old and my DH also have a great relationship and just received their first degree blackbelts. All of these things my family acknowledges and are proud about, but his family, not so much. They see it as a slight to SS. The worst part is that they dont even have a relationship with him, they just want to correct and condemn my DH! They can't be happy that we are happy. There is always a guilt trip waiting for my DH. He tried with his son but they never see that, he even used 2 years of his post 911 GI Bill to pay for his college. His books and tuition was paid for plus he got 700 a month for housing! It's never enough! He should still be supporting him I suppose. SS has never kept a job for long. He cut the relationship off with DH out of the blue and a year later when BIL contacted him on behalf of MIL, he told him he said something that offended him a year and a half prior. If there was a problem why not tell my DH instead of ignoring his calls and texts? Simply because it wasn't true, just another way to make DH responsible for his cruel treatment of him. So over this stuff...

sandye21's picture

Uh - NO!  SS is 27 years old, has a degree because of your DH's generosity.  SS is old enough and educated enough to get his life together on his own.  Your DH has done enough - and so have you.  You are carrying around responsibility and guilt which does not belong to you or your DH. 

On top of that, you are having to deal with a MIL who must have one heck of an ego.  The title 'Pastor' gives her the right to judge and condemn and demand that everyone does as she says.  (Odd, the thought of Hitler comes to mind.)  Or perhaps she thinks she is so almighty that she can speak for God.

I think you posted because you wanted validation that what you are doing is right at a time when you are being inundated with crazy people.  Sometimes when we are around crazy people too much we start wondering if we are normal.  You sound like a very caring, loving individual who has raised beautiful, precious, talented children.  Look at them to tell you what kind of person you are.  And when DH is deployed, make yourself too busy to deal with MIL or SS.

Moving Forward's picture

You're right. I need to feel like I'm not crazy and that I'm not the bad person I have been made out to be. I hate second guessing myself. I mean I know I'm not these things but it's hard when the false accusations come. I want to lash out at them but I know they aren't interested in the truth. They're only interested in drama and whatever makes them feel better about themselves. So there is the rational voice, then there is that other voice that makes you question reality...

sandye21's picture

I was raised in a dysfunctional home.  My Mother and two Sisters are STILL dysfunctional.  My  Mother is 92 so it doesn't look like she is going to change.  Every Birthday I dread the phone call from her - she always manages to say something to ruin it.  This year she wished me a Happy Birthday, then immediately went on and on about how horrible it was when I was born and how I caused terrible labor pains.  I DO understand how it is to deal with a narcissist and a dysfunctional family - and it's hell.

But this site has really helped to deal with narcissistic abuse from not only SD but from my Mother also.  I have disengaged from both of them in different ways.  When I speak with my Mother on the phone it is similar to a weather report.  It is called a 'Superficial - civil relationship'.  She asks how I am and other questions to try to provoke me.  I immediately push the subject back to her, "Fine.  How are you?  What are you doing?"  I don't talk about me or give her any narcissistic fuel, don't express feeIlings or concerns, just listen to her for about 15 minutes then say I have to go.  I am shamed and shunned by my Sisters  but have come to appreciate not being part of the games, dramas and dysfunction that they are marinated in.

You can choose this approach or completely cut ties with the MIL.  It would be understandable considering the way she is treating your son.

Which ever you choose, be sure it is beneficial to you and your family - they really do not need the exposure to it.

Moving Forward's picture

Choosing to disengage completely from them all. Sorry your still dealing with that stuff. It's tough because you want to do the right thing and be kind but constantly having to remember they don't think or rationalize like normal people. It's so draining.

Survivingstephell's picture

You sure do have some strong personalities to disengage from.  You might want to hire a lawyer to send a letter to them to stop all contact.  If they show up on your doorstep, call the cops and report them for tresspassing.  Once you are on your own during deployment, you will have to be strong and let go of any guilt of any actions you take against them to protect yourself and son.  

I swear, blood connections make some people absolutely crazy for control.  Once you grow up, you have a choice about keeping in contact with toxic family or inlaws.  Know that you can use all kinds of tools to put boundaries in place.  In fact, get the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend,  then find Dr. George Simon online and read his books.  These two things will give your the knowledge and strength to stand up to them in the proper way.  You aren't dealing with your average run of the mill narcs.  Don't waste your time or energy trying to reason with them.  Its a waste of time.  Put up steel reinforced walls to keep them out.  

Stick around for support here.  You will get it.  

Moving Forward's picture

Thank you! I will check those things out. I have already bought,  "How to Kill a Narcicist,"  and "The Covert Passive Agressive Narcicist." Plus I have been watching The Little Shaman Healing on YouTube. 

My DH mentioned the possibility of contacting a lawyer, but I was afraid it might be too extreme. However, MIL called twice today since it's Father's Day thinking she can just pretend nothing has happened. Her number is blocked but the notification shows up that we received a blocked call. She sent a card yesterday and called a couple days ago as well. I think if they would just stop calling, if she stopped putting others up to calling and texting we could move past this much faster, but for the past 3 months telling them to stop hasn't worked. They've never ever called or texted this much. She realizes she went too far this time and is trying to reign DH back in. She doesn't like not having access.

Moving Forward's picture

I am definitely sticking around and thank you so much for the resources!

disrestep's picture

Nope, you are no way crazy and not the bad person the in laws and skid are trying to make you out to be. You are definitely not alone in having adult skids and in laws blame you for splitting apart the happy, dysfunctional first family. I have a few choice inlaws and adult skids who blame me for everything DH does not want to do with them.

These few inlaws I have, cannot mind their own business. It is obsurd. They have been poisoned by the adult skids. They just cannot get it that DH and I don't want to be around his hateful spawn. These inlaws in conjunction with the adult skids pull all sorts of stunts to try and manipulate DH to spend time with the skids and the gskids. In their minds, DH is suppose to spend all his free time and money on the skids and gskids. The only time they contact him is when they expect presents or money. It's sickening.

My dh has told one of the inlaws how awful the skids are, but if he is not going to tell the others to mind their own business, well they will keep bugging him. DH can complain to someone else. It is so obvious they will never stop unless perhaps they are asked to stop and mind their own business. Oh well, I just sit back and laugh at the circus they are in. The skids being the ring leaders. 

I could go on and on about the stunts they pulled the past few weeks. 

Just ignore them and vent like I do. I swear it helps. This site is a great help to vent and to realize you are not alone in the crazy mistreatment we receive from adult skids and some relatives. At least your DH has your back and respects your marriage.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

"They just cannot get it that DH and I don't want to be around his hateful spawn. These inlaws in conjunction with the adult skids pull all sorts of stunts to try and manipulate DH to spend time with the skids and the gskids. In their minds, DH is suppose to spend all his free time and money on the skids and gskids. The only time they contact him is when they expect presents or money. It's sickening."

My DH's family is exactly the same, lots of manipulation and colluding with no concern for DH"s best interests. He was already estranged from the skids, but the pressure has led to him going very low contact with his sibs. Sad, but necessary.

still learning's picture

Tell your in-laws that concerning ss27 you and DH have decided to "Let go and let God."  

It sounds like there will never be a healthy dynamic between ss and his fathers side of the family. The dynamic of PAS and being conceived in "sin" has taken it's toll and can't be mended with guilt and blame heaped upon DH or by diminishing your 11 yr old's accomplishments.  

Take a large step back from the IL's and totally disengage from ss. DH's family and his older son are his issues to deal with.