I'm expected to take the blame

Marsha - posted on 02/17/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I had a problem with my mother in law and wanted to casually discuss the matter over a period of time with her. My husband and father in law decided that I needed to 'confront' her. I refused saying it would be disrespectful. My father in law in turn began to put the screws to my husband to 'persuade' me to do what he wanted - not just confront her about what was bothering me but to bring up everything that she ever done wrong. They started to bully and harrass me to do it -day in and day out. I cried. I said how I just lost my baby and I can't handle this -please, at least give time. I was told if I didn't cooperate things would get even worse for me. I gave in. I just wanted it to stop. In thier defense they actually thought they were doing good but when she became enraged and it all blew up in thier face they put it all on me. My husband refused to tell her thier part. And my father in law took me aside to tell me how upset he was with me for making his wife angry. I replied that I didn't want to do it - you made me. He became so enraged that he went on a rant and threw me out of his home with a house full of people there...including my son. My father in law I believe has since bad mouthed me and intentionally caused problems in my marriage. My husband asked me never to tell her the truth because he's worried how it would affect his folks marriage. I have refrained from telling anyone, gossiping, ect. to honor my husband's request and to honor the teaching of God - not taking revenge. But, it's been two years and there has been no justice. Does anyone have any advice or encouraging words?

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Cassie - posted on 02/21/2009

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WAY TO GO Theresa!! Everything you said is right on, thanks for sharing your story! It is so encouraging to hear about a victorious couple who pulled together like that :) thanks again!

Cassie - posted on 02/21/2009

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ps. I also agree with the acceptance thing. My husband craved that from his dad for a long time too and I'm sure he still does. Try to encourage him or help him to know that God loves and accepts him, and He is the most important Father :)      (I am a book person. A book called WILD AT HEART by a Christian author, I forget who, explains men very well!)



SHOOT! one more thing! :) Any time you are not getting something from your hubby that you feel you need, go to God for it instead. I am still learning this one but much better at it. Your husband cannot be everything to you, but God already is!! Go to Him for comfort and understanding when it isn't coming from your hubby.

Cassie - posted on 02/21/2009

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Wow, there is a lot at work here! :) First of all, I agree with everything that you and your husband are married, not him and his mom or him and his dad. It seems like you both know that. SEcond of all, keep seeing your husband in God's eyes and for what he CAN be, not what he is now.  Third of all, my husband and I learned pretty quickly (2 years of marriage, about 5 years total together) that we just need to learn how to communicate with each other. Sometimes that means loud conversations, but they always have a purpose and end up helping us in the long run.



And lastly, a little background on my in-laws / our relationship... our families are just very different. I grew up very 'proper' I guess (not stuffy, just, you know, no inappropriate jokes, use your manners, be respectful, stand up straight, that sort of thing, and with a strong spiritual foundation) whereas my hubby's family was all boys, so they are very forthright with each other, loud, joking all the time, poking fun at each other, etc. etc. Don't get me wrong they all love each other, but I am not kidding when I say I basically had culture shock for awhile when I was around his family (extended fam too!) That said, his parents took to me pretty quickly for the most part... Although they did not agree with some of the decisions hubby &I made early in our marriage. What it came down to was, because my husband had good CHristian counsel, he was able to stand up and be the man that I was happily surprised he could be!  My mother in law is still somewhat overprotective and constantly gives advice when it isn't asked for or even needed. (My husband is 25, and although we're young, we're not stupid. I have full confidence in his ability to take care of our family, and it really bothers me that she, for some reason, dwells on his past mistakes instead of trusting him the way I do.) These and other differences with my MIL caused friction in the past. SOOO....



#1. Find common ground with her. As Kelina said, start out with small stuff. Baby steps. I once heard from strong Christian women that you should not discuss your marriage with your mother OR mother in law. Safe topics are: cooking, spiritual growth, cute things your kids are doing (you DID give her a grandchild and if she's anything like my inlaws, that is a BIG deal!) . It may sound strange to limit your topics, but it seriously helps when you are trying to repair a relationship. (My MIL used to always ask me things about Alex (hubbY) and I think I responded with "you should talk to him about that" enough times that she got the picture!!)



#2. Resist the urge to lash out at her again. Our God is the God of justice, the God of righteousness!!! Meditate on that a little, find scriptures if you have to, and you will believe it more and more which will help you forgive your MIL, FIL, and even hubby if necessary. I really enjoy the teachings of Joyce Meyer (tough love!) and I remember her teaching that basically when you are thinking bad things about a person and they come out of your mouth, it is just a way Satan is using your mouth against you... all this anger is spewing out and you won't be able to take it back (our words have the power of life and death). MAN have I learned this lesson the hard way!! It only took me a few times 'spewing' after I heard this to know that I feel MUUUUUCH WORSE after telling someone else all their flaws! I definitely don't want to be Satan's tool. Now if my MIL says something I don't agree with I just bite my tongue or it ends up in a nasty debate. We know each others stances on things like politics and we have agreed to disagree! :)



#3. If you are having trouble with forgiveness just stay in God's word. I learned also, from Joyce, that no matter how hard you try, you can't change yourself - only God can. What you CAN do is fill yourself up with scripture concerning forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit will start to soften your heart. - Next time you feel angry, a studied scripture will come to mind that helps you to act rightly in that situation. So, you're changing from the INSIDE out instead of the other way around. (you can't change your actions when you still have bad thoughts) (most of this came from her cd set "religious attitudes" which helped me SOOOOOOO much!!) www.joycemeyer.org.



Alright I feel like I've blabbed long enough, but I hope some of this helps! Just remember that your responsibility is to your husband first, and it seems like you are both making progress. Give him room to make mistakes, just like you make mistakes. God forgives us unconditionally... (when I have gratitude toward God's unconditional love and forgiveness toward us, it helps me act that way toward others!) Be honest with him about everything, because he is your life partner!! Even if he isn't the most spiritual man or perfect yet ;) he is probably still intelligent and might be able to offer you sound advice on how to approach his mom if you explain what you want to do and how you feel. After all he's known her much longer than you! :) Pray for not just you but your husband, MIL and FIL too. If you've ever read the book This Present Darkness it explains through a great story how effective prayer is and why.



All my best!  I will pray for you :)

Kelina - posted on 02/20/2009

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If it helps any I think you should talk to your mother in law but not about what happened two years ago. that's over and you can't change it but she's being petty by continuing to blame you for it. My stepmom has hated me for no reason since i was 5 years old. My father is a functioning alchoholic, meaning he can't get on without his glasses of wine in the morning yet he still somehow manages to run a business. Your mil is a grandmother because of you, her son is happy because of you and it's not fair or her to be making your life miserable. Let her know that you'd like to sit down with just her. Go out for coffee, and try and talk like normal human beings. If it works, make it a ritual and you might eventually get around to the stuff that matters, but if your husband sees you making an effort to right this, it might give im the courag to tlak to you about it. I did it with my stepmom about two years ago and today she actually asks myhusband politely how i am doing a lot more often than my dad does. I'm praying for you.

Shelly - posted on 02/20/2009

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Marsha,



  Growing up as a kid of an alcoholic I understand why your husband tries so hard to be a peace maker with his father...It's an approval thing trust me I lived with that guilt for many years.  Give him time he will come to the realization on his own thats just not something that is going to happen,  Because in his fathers eyes he wont ever be his own mant...Just keep loving him and letting him now that you appriciate him and how proud you are of him for how far he has come...Don't sweat the small stuff it's not worth it!!! Just keep turning to the Lord and he will show you the way...Lots of Love in Christ    Shelly

Marsha - posted on 02/20/2009

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My husband doesn't want to avoid his family. On the contrary he's very very attached to his dad. When we went looking for trucks we found one we liked but before he would buy it he had to take it to his dad's to see if he thought it was cool. We bought a house and WE decided to take out the wall between the kitchen and family room. When he mentioned it to his dad he didn't like the idea. Guess what...the wall is still there. One day after everything happened with my mil he was so mean to me and said he was sick of me, or son and everything and he walked out on us. I was in shock. When he got back I asked what I did. He told me nothing but he couldn't handle his dad running his mouth about me all the time. OH MY! Instead of putting his dad in his place he took it out on me. In his defense he really has come a very long way since then. For instance, he mentioned last week that he would like to take down that wall. I mentioned how I wanted to but he decided against it. He told me yeah, but I would like it down too. When he was questioned why he wasn't spending the entire Father's Day with his dad I heard him say - 'I have my own family now. I tried to get together for breakfast and I wished him a Happy Father's Day. I need to be home with my family.' I was so proud and happy. That wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I have come to respect him deeply. I just don't know if he's come far enough to stand up against his dad if he bad mouths me again. And I know that will happen if I tell my mil the truth. So, that's why I've been afraid to do it. If he doesn't stand up for me I don't know if could respect him any more. I'll be 39 next month and haven't needed my parents approval to make my own decisions for a long time. However, my husband just turned 27 and I guess he still feels like he does. I don't want him to be mean to his dad. I just want the due respect and honor I deserve as his wife and mother of his children.

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My husband and I have been together for 21 years (married 17 years this June). For the first 8 years of our marriage, I was the blame for EVERYTHING! If my husband didn't want to go to a family function, celebration or event, he told his parents that I didn't feel good, or that I had a previous engagement, or simply that I didn't want to go (which of course meant that HE couldn't go either). After some time, I developed a reputation for being anti-social, anti-family, anti-christian, anti-everything! His parents, his siblings, as well as other family members became increasing rude and disrespectful towards me. I tolerated it for a long time because having shared intimate conversations with my husband, I learned that he felt powerless in his own family. He had become accustomed to people telling him what to do and when to do it! For the first time in his life, he could avoid being around his family. I felt sorry for him! This wonderful, smart, thoughtful person became reduced to a babbling child, who couldn't think his way out of a paper bag when he's around his family! So I sacrificed!



Having said all of that...it didn't work! Our relationship becamed soooo strained! We separated for 6 months back in 1998. I couldn't take it anymore! We went to christian counseling through our separation and received some good advice. The first thing is: Live with both feet in the marriage house (not one foot in his parent's house and one foot in your parent's house). That means keep all issues between you and your husband private. Treat everything like it's top secret and you both work for the CIA or FBI. It's hard at first, but no good deed goes unpunished. Even the smallest issue, will come back to haunt you in the future (learn to discuss everything with your husband and if you need to vent..write in a journal). The second thing is to honor each other: Your husband has to realize that when the 2 of you became married, you became one flesh. His parent's treatment towards you is a direct reflection on him. He has to demand from his parents, that they respect you and discipline themselves around you, even if it means lossing their relationship with him. Your husband is the spiritual leader of the household, he needs to start acting like it! It doesn't mean that he disrespects his parents, but he can't allow them to disrespect you! The third thing is prayer: it will be difficult for your husband to even bring the subject up to his parents (and when he does Satan will open the floodgates and everything you ever did will be magnified whether it's justified or not). But continue praying WITH him and FOR him and GOD will bring the both of you out of this victorious!



Marriage is a calling, a committment, and covenant! But it's not easy! If God truly brought you and your husband together, expect a lot of challenges (unfortunatly, from the people closest to you and your husband). Hang in there! It does get easier EVENTUALLY.



My husband and I moved 65 miles away from both of our parents. We have 2 wonderful boys. We attend a great church. We are closer than ever! We can SEE trouble coming long before it gets to us. It's almost comical when we see someone's attempt to shake our marriage. When God is with you...who can be against you?



P.S. My in-law are fabulous NOW! They were not willing to lose their son. They respected me, then liked me and now love me! The hardest thing for me to do was to keep my mouth shut and allow my husband to speak for me and defend me ( I had 1 still-birth and 1 miscarriage)...but it was his place! He had to be honest, truthful and straight-forward with them and guess what? They respect him now too!



I will keep you and your husband in prayer!

Marsha - posted on 02/20/2009

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Thank you so much for the advice - it is very helpful. Shelly, you comfirmed what's been in the back of my mind - sitting my mil and tell her what happened. I can't be held responsible for any problems that arise between her and her husband because of his part. And, that's what my husband was saying would happen. My dad gave me advice when this all happened. He said you chose to marry a very young man with no experience with serious relationships. You owe it to him and your marriage to give him time to grow up and become a man and learn how to run his own house. Well, he has come a long way. I think he finally gets what's expected out of him. I know I would have behaved differently if I wasn't grieving my baby's death but I didn't stop to think that my husband might have acted differently as well. After all, he was in as much pain over losing our son as I was. His dad was harrassing him to pressure me too. I don't expect much good to come from talking to his dad. He is an alcoholic who can't tolerate anyone standing up to him. My husband told me that before we met his dad threw him out the house for disagreeing with him. I am afraid. I'm mostly afraid of what else my father in law would do and if my husband could stand up to him concerning the matter. Please pray that God will give me courage. Do you think I should tell my husband what I'm going to do, or just do it and tell him afterward?

Sarah - posted on 02/20/2009

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I am so sorry! I don't really know that I have any advice but I am glad you shared this story! I will pray for you and the relationships to be healed. I will also be praying that God would give you clear guidance as to how to handle the situation. Follow God and trust Him to help you! God bless you! I hope you have a great day today and keep us posted!!

Shelly - posted on 02/20/2009

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Marsha,



  Why are you making it ok for someone to treat you like this??? Let alone your husband.  Your right on the piont about not getting revenge but you are not called to be anyones whipping post either.  I would go to your husband and let him know how it made you feel with him sitting on that bully pulpit beating you down emotionally and you want him to make it right he needs to take ownership of his part of this whole mess.  And he needs to repent for what he has done not only to you and your child but his mother.  Your husband and your father-in-law both set the two of you up for this and they should be ashamed of them selves for thier part and then to put 100% of the blame on you.  I think you need to go to your mother-inlaw and just lay out what happen and let the men hold thier own garbage.  If she gets upset with you well thats on her not you but at least you can get your self right with this entire thing.  You never know she might respect you more for coming to her than if you just let it go.  Just remember it will be putting blame were blame belongs and the men may really get upset with you....But thats on them not you...I would let your mil know that your not looking for her approval you just need to do this to get right with your self and God...This is part of repenting for your part in this mess and yes you do have your part in this as well and as long as you repent for your part then God is quick to forgive but you are also called to forgive...doesn't mean you have to forget but you do need to forgive...the other part is you need to go to your father in law and let him know you forgive him for his part in this...and then your husband the disrespect he showed you is totally and completely wrong and you need to let him know this and then you need to forgive him. But most of all you need to forgive yourself!!!!  As far as every one talking about you behind your back grow some thick skin and look at it like as long as thier talking about you thier leaving everyone else alone!!!



I will keep this intire issue in my prayers...FORGIVENESS what a great gift

Marsha - posted on 02/19/2009

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Thank you ladies for your understanding and encouraging words. I think what's bothers me the most is that my husband sacrificed my honor for the sake of his own and his father. I haven't spoken out not because of being obedient but because I really hoped that one day my husband would 'man up'. I don't expect anything good from my father in law but I do from my husband. Plus, after all my father in law has gone through to make me look bad to everyone to cover himself - nobody would believe me anyway. I know I'm supposed to forgive, and God knows how hard I've tried, I just can't. I've thought a lot about my great grandma regarding this mess. She came to this country for an arranged marriage in 1920. Her mother in law was so mean to her and ran her affairs while her husband stood by and allowed it. Well, her family wrote her husband a letter and she would read it to me from time to time. It started out "Who do sleep with at night....your wife or your mother?!?! Who you share your bed with is who runs your house. Start showing our daughter the due honour of being your wife or we'll take her back!' I kind of feel like I'm in the same boat as she was. Please agree in prayer with me that I can truly forgive and not just act like it.

Gayla - posted on 02/17/2009

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Please let the word of God be your guide.  You don't have to obey your husband if he tells you to do something against God's word.  You respectfully decline.  I will be praying for you Marsha.

Ally - posted on 02/17/2009

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Wow...i can totally relate...It stinks when some of us are not blessed with supportive in laws...my mil has been a headache literally from the day i met my husband! It is literally the only thing we fight about. We will talk it through and i will think we are on the same page and then when we go to confront her about certain issues he finds a way to not say anything or happens to have to leave the room to get something for our daughter. It makes me furious and have never honestly met people like my MIL. Finally i did bring up EVERY single thing she has done that has just been plain mean or hateful since my husband told me she couldn't change if she didn't know things were bothering me...the conversation was a disater...she freaked out and called me all sorts of names...but honestly i felt better. It also helped to get my husband on my side more when he heard all the nasty things she had done all in one conversation. We agreed that until she could act like an adult that we were the ones who were married and that is that....and i will not under any circumstances deal with her any more bc she is his mother and i would deal with it (and have) when a conflict arises on my side. I am so sorry this is troubling you so much i really do feel your pain..just try and remember that you don't have to like someone to be loving towards them...and it isn't disrespectful to tell someone how you feel that is being honest...it's good you did it even if it didnt work out how you planned. I will def keep you in my prayers as i struggle with my own mil issues :)

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