Do You Have to Like Your In-Laws If They Don’t Like You?
Posted April 20, 2010on:
Lila: So I am so annoyed with my in-laws. Remember how annoyed I was during the Christmas picture fiasco? Well during Easter, there was another family picture and my mother-in-law picked the picture with Thomas looking upset and holding candy cigarettes. I don’t think the candy cigarettes were funny at all, but Thomas was upset in the picture! Why the heck does she insists on the picture where he looks the worse? I know there were other good pictures because I saw the pictures. I took the pictures! So that is one thing.
Then I ran into Lou and he told me he was invited to dinner last Monday at my brother-in-law’s house because his in-laws were in town. I am guessing the whole family was there but we never got the invite. I know Oliver was out-of-town, but we are still family! And we don’t even live that far away. We did not even get a courtesy invite. We are family! WTF?
Do I have the right to be upset?
Beatrice: Fake cigarettes? So weird. I do think they tend to exclude you and who knows the reasoning for that. We tend to be excluded from my mother in-law’s ideas too, but it suits me well. However, I do remember the photos from Christmas with you all and when seeing the pictures I knew what you were upset with before I read the email.
Have you spoken to Oliver about it?
L: Oliver was just as upset about being excluded and he wanted to bring it up with his brother. I objected because I did not want to bring strife between them.
I get this strong feeling that they do not like me and I am better off avoiding them. For example, when we were in Hawaii for Christmas, his brother seemed so annoyed with me because I was cleaning up all the time. Hello, that’s my thing. I don’t expect others to be as neurotic as me, but that’s what I do. I clean. If you don’t like a clean home, then too bad. And I don’t think Oliver’s mom is keen about me. I think she thinks I am too “sexy.” She’s commented on my hair, my clothes, my shoes. She has flat-out told me that she did not like the way I looked in pictures.
What am I supposed to do? I have to live a lifetime with them.
B: I think Oliver has some work to do with letting his family know how it makes you both feel when being excluded. Toolman had to do this early on in our relationship, and his mother backed way off. We had different issues than what you’re talking about. She was overbearing and controlling and now is totally out of the picture. She has gone from one extreme to the other.
I can not imagine anyone commenting on your appearance, as you are always very classy. Maybe she feels defeated by you.
L: Defeated by me? I don’t think so. She will always be the queen. I just cannot imagine her saying anything of the sort to Terry, my brother-in-law’s wife. I just can’t believe someone would say that to a person’s face.
I think Oliver does have some work to do, but I think I have to ask him to come clean about their feelings about me. I think he is withholding information. I just know they don’t like me.
B: Do you think it has to do with your culture and heritage? I know that we discussed this before and if Oliver knows this he will never admit this since it is extremely personal now that you two have a baby. You know Lila, you can not let them get to you. You two have each other and in the end that is all that matters.
I know that my mother in law is not crazy about me, and I use to let it bother me and my feelings would get hurt. But now I could care less and am too busy to even think about it. She is only now getting involved in our children’s lives, and they do not feel very close to her and would rather be with my parents. Thomas will probably be the same way, he will see how his mother is treated by these people and believe me he will not like it. My dad’s mother was this way to my mom and both my brother and I could not stand her.
L: I hate to bring that up as a reason, but I do think it has something to do with it. I thought this would not be an issue since they lived in Hawaii and there is a mash-up of all cultures there, but I guess I was wrong. It’s not just my mother-in-law that is weird to me, his brother’s family is as well. I just don’t understand it.
I would normally just blow it off, but I can’t. I have a son, who is mixed, and my biggest fear is that he will feel like he will never belong anywhere. I think this is a legitimate problem because a lot of bi-racial kids feel the exact same way. I know it is now more mainstream, but if your family cannot accept you, who can you turn to? So it’s not just about me, it’s about Thomas.
B: I can see what you’re saying. I guess my thing would be if his family is weird to you and Thomas, then you remove yourself from that as it will affect Thomas, and he needs to be raised around loving people. As long as Thomas is told exactly how both sides of his heritage matter, he will be confident and not feel rejected.
L: I hope you are right about all of this. Heaven forbid he ever feels like he is some sort of “half-breed.” I knew so many bi-racial kids in college, but I never knew them well enough to know their issues. I know issues are unavoidable, but like you said before, we only want what is best for our children. Some issues can be avoided.
B: I think you both are well grounded and the amount of love you have for him will give him the foundation. You have to raise him feeling privileged to be bi-racial. He will have two languages, which is a step ahead already. You have to continue being confident and he will follow!