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Rich In Laws

(140 Posts)
soapsoanelive Mon 29-Feb-16 20:35:47

Help: my daughter fell in love with the son of a self made (200 million pound turnover) millionaire. They fell in love when they were sixteen and it never crossed my mind how complicated that legacy would be in the future.

It did start with the wedding: I thought it was funny that although we had put half towards (one) of the venues, paid for the flowers and (one) of the modes of transport, and paid for the dress, that, apparently, I heard his parents had spent £50,000. It didn't look that expensive, but then, you never know. My partner did the photography and I made a book, a fairy tale of their romance which culminated in their meeting at Glastonbury. I thought how beautiful.

It was sad that apparently when my new son in law took pics of me and my partner and my daughter that for some reason they were overexposed while the photos of his mum and dad bloomed out. At the time it didn't occur to me that the reason rich people are rich is not because they are inherently superior it's that they don't give credit fairly or equally. It didn't occur to me that my new son in law was under massive pressure from his parents.

I began to realise as time went on that they weren't interested in me, they wanted my daughter but it wasn't just that they wanted to alienate her from me. They were always nice: during my daughter's and their son's courtship they'd taken them on holiday, going around the world, I bought little presents, like pocket tour guides for their whole family, thinking how lovely, wanting to participate. When they were in their post graduate time they offered to buy a flat that they could live in: wow I thought, how wonderful, how lovely. When it came to their marriage, before the marriage they said that they wanted to buy a property for them: it would be their gift, a living legacy. They bought a half a million pound house for them: at the time I thought, wow, this is amazing.

But it really isn't amazing. Although my daughter and my son in law are brilliant, clever and accomplished and have good jobs the house that thy've lived in for the past six years still belongs to the company. It hasn't been given to them (yet) and they're kind of living rent free in a property that his mother has controlled since they moved in: repairs, decorating, interior design and furnishing are all 'don't worry yourselves about that: we'll get someone in to do that'. It's a kind of weird control: they don't own the house and the big holidays are all determined by his parents. So they aren't independent and it doesn't look as if they'll ever be independent unless they stand up to his parents. I have gone up to see them every week since my grandson was born, he's now four and it's been so lonely for me: his parents have paid for an expensive nursery (so they can both go back to work-it seemed 'kind' but now I think it's about control). They were both studying for their phds: all was smooth and calm when my son in law completed his: when it came to my daughter completing hers my sister in law decided that urgent house repairs (including scaffolding) needed to be done, decorating re carpettting etc. This has caused real problems between me and my daughter as it seems that it can't be discussed fairly. When she was finishing her phd I helped her with her footnotes and bibliography. It was a massive job and she said 'let's meet up after the viva, just you and I'. We were supposed to meet the following Sunday. What actually happened was that I didn't hear from my daughter until a text message alerting me to the fact that his parents would also be there. It was weird and arriving to meet them I felt that they were trying to prevent us from being alone. My daughter loves her husband with all her heart but actually, he's a brat (very responsible and upright and conforming but terrified of his parents and jealous of my relationship with my daughter because his parents are so invasive). My relationship with my daughter is now false and hypocritical: I love them but I hate the way they're being made to live. I've tried to raise this with my daughter but we always fall out.

Last week was the final straw: I'd gone over (an hour each way on the train plus bus rides, and nursery pick up, as you do). My daughter had put together a hamper for mother's day. I was surprised and pleased until I realised that the mother's day hamper had been put together to buy me off- they were all going skiing the following week and noone had bothered to let me know in advance, even though they'd known for a couple of months. I've always had a strong and direct relationship with my daughter but little by little her husband's family are prioritising their lives (and not needing to demean themselves by offering me the courtesy of letting me know that they wanted to go skiing. I wouldn't have minded: I don't mind but it's the exclusion and the sneakiness that's driving a wedge between my daughter. They have two other children (a daughter who is incredibly bright and who has had a really wild few years before 'settling down' with another millionaire's son (who'd caused her major problems in the past). The other son has learning difficulties and has a girlfriend who also has learning difficulties: he's been posting on facebook about how sad he is because he isn't allowed to take his girlfriend skiing. It's like my relationship is like a servant: a function and I am not permitted to think that our past: the way I buy, cook, think, live bears no relation to the life they live. The problem is it isn't their choice it's defined for them by his parents.

Help! What can I do to make this better?

Grannyknot Mon 29-Feb-16 21:18:15

Hi soap how complicated in-law relationships are! I'm sorry I can't offer any advice.

I'm just slightly concerned for you because you have given so much detail, and you can be identified by your profile photos. You do realise these forums are public? Apologies if I'm stating the obvious.

Jane10 Mon 29-Feb-16 21:27:26

Good point Grannyknot. A difficult situation. Is it possible that you are putting a negative spin on what the in laws are doing? Maybe they just don't think? Its inevitable that DCs grow up and away a little from parents once they are married and have absorbing lives of their own. I suppose the best thing for you might be to develop your own interests etc and generally lower your expectation of more involvement in their lives. Hard I know. Good luck.

janeainsworth Mon 29-Feb-16 22:06:39

Soap I would ask GN to delete this thread as you have compromised not only your own privacy but that of your daughter too.

This will probably sound very harsh, but I don't mean to be unkind.
I'm afraid you have to let your daughter go. She's a grown, married woman with a child of her own.

Unless you think your daughter herself is unhappy with her relationship with her inlaws, then it's really nothing to do with you. It's her life, and her choice.
Nothing you have written suggests that she's unhappy, quite the opposite - I agree with Jane10 about being less focussed on your daughter and more on your own interests - you risk making your daughter feel guilty if she perceives your unhappiness, and she really has nothing to feel guilty about.

You say that you always fall out when you try to talk about the situation with your daughter - to me that's a flashing red warning signal.

Synonymous Mon 29-Feb-16 22:15:56

soaps.... I am so sorry that you are so unhappy. flowers

The answer to your question is, I'm afraid, that you can't make it better if you mean to make it all to how you want it to be.
This is a clash of culture and they live in a very different way to that which you have been used to. This is not to say that either one is right or wrong they are just different. Your daughter is on a steep learning curve and is probably dazzled by much of what is around her. You cannot say anything about that to her you just have to be there for your daughter, your GS and also your SIL with whom you need to build as good a relationship as you can. Hopefully they will appreciate you eventually and you will not be seen as a threat to their way of life.

You sound a nice mum and I think you should try to stay that way and be generous spirited. Try not to say anything at all if you cannot say anything nice. Anything you might say may be construed as criticism so it is wisest to keep your counsel and not attempt to point out any apparent flaws. Sometimes silence is the best or just saying 'how nice' or equivalent if you are called upon to say something. If your daughter has been really close to you in the past it won't take her long to work out that everything in the garden is not as rosy for you as it is for her. It may take a while but you need to have faith in her and her upbringing and that she will renew her relationship with you. Your relationship will never be the same as before her marriage anyway since you are no longer her 'all' but hopefully it will get better than it is at present.

In the meantime you need to make as good a life as you can for yourself and keep busy. Try not to become bitter about things and curb any evil imaginings since it may not all be as you think it is. Your daughter sounds to be a very busy working mum with a great deal on her mind so do try to give them all the benefit of the doubt. Do you have any other family? Do you have a church family or close relatives who can come alongside you? I do hope you start to feel better about things very soon. flowers

soapsoanelive Tue 01-Mar-16 07:31:22

I wouldn't say that I'm unhappy: yes this hurts, this is really painful but it's not because 'it's about me' it's because I see them being diminished by the pressure to conform to what his parents want? His parents use people: there's no such thing as a person who is respected as an individual. you're either in their clan or outside. YUK: aggression, fear.

Our children have masses to contribute that's about them and I want them to have relationships with everyone that have integrity in spite of wealth or no 'apparent wealth'. If they have to lie to me it's really sad, it's not about how 'full' or 'empty' my life is. What hurts is that it's not just about me but for the limitation of what our relationship can be now and in the future.

That's how rich people live in Britain now: the parents control their 'at risk' children to the point that they become passive and internally probably raging and suicidal with a lack of self worth. Rich kids who are playthings of their wealthy but immature and demanding parents. They have good jobs but they have no control over their life. Like the zero hours contract person with a rental contract their lives are precarious: they live in a house that isn't theirs (so what do they think about the 'permanence' of their life together?) If they were poor together (and really, as professional people earning their own living they could have bought and be a good few years into their own mortgage by now but within their own means!)

It's bonkers that they couldn't just say we're going skiing but it's not really about not telling me it's the pressure of jumping when the plan is made by his parents that makes it hard for them to feel good about it because it's dissonant from the way they live/want to live but they are dutiful and want to please. I can't do anything to ease this pressure because until they make their own minds up to ease themselves out of this control: I am dumb really.

I can't be useful to them and they can't take an interest in my life while they feel this pressure. I can't do anything about it.

It's demeaning: you may not understand if you've not experienced it: but everyone is made up of all the experiences they've had and good relationships are rich because each person finds and values the unique things about the other. These are things like: memories, achievements experiences and what I've experienced is a real 'shake down' on my identity: 'I can't 'give' them anything because all bases are covered they have everything, 'too much stuff' is the refrain.

It's like noone from 'the outside' can give them/tell them anything yet the 'inside' is the financial control of his parents. It's a spoiler.

The only reason why there's 'too much stuff' is because there are no boundaries between them and his parents effectively: the house isn't yet theirs which makes me think that really it's about ensuring that their 'investment' is secure. If they really loved them I think they'd have just given the house and let them get on with their life. If they couldn't give without such ambivalence then they are creating all kinds of issues between their son, his wife and everyone else in the family. Our family have given up on them. I'm the only one who has stuck with them. One of my sisters thinks that my sister in law is 'playing me', I ignored that comment as I'd thought I'd wait and see but actually I feel like the ghost at the feast.

I'm experiencing the class system in a very personal relationship: care is paid for, food and shelter is paid for, the environment is decided. It's rich people's space and everyone else is questionable, nothing to learn to gain unless it fits in with the family business project. You won't know unless you've experienced it.

I thought I'd write this Granny Knot, Jane10 Jane Ainsworth, Synonymous because it's good to have a place to rant. Gransnet it is then.

NanaandGrampy Tue 01-Mar-16 08:08:10

I'm sorry for the situation you find yourself in but do believe you're over generalising. NOT all rich people control their kids just like not all dogs are spotty . You have experienced the end of the scale where it sounds controlling and suffocating BUT not everyone is like that.

Also, your daughter is a grown women and as you sound like a strong woman I can only presume bought up with your values and morals, so she CAN make her own choices , despite paid for housing etc.

She actually doesn't sound that unhappy . So isn't this a case of her having to make the choices. You can't force them on her no matter how much you miss the relationship you had.

We all love differently , perhaps your SiLs parent believe they ARE loving the couple ? And you might disagree but thats all about perception. You might perceive they are controlled , they might perceive they are being loved. It doesn't make you right and them wrong, just different ways of seeing things.

Given that you cant control this situation , what outcome would you like to see happen? Can you influence that outcome? Or is it a case of despite what you to perceive to be the situation you just have to sit back and be the supportive Mum , helping where you can and showing alternatives to the choices they make?

Alea Tue 01-Mar-16 08:11:59

I am sorry this is making you so unhappy.
However, there are some things which are unclear , including what part does your sister-in-law play in this relationship?
A Mother's Day hamper sounds like a lovely present -in what way was it "buying you off" though? How did that exclude you? Fair enough you say they forgot to tell you, but were you totally unaware of that? Our DD, SIL and the 3 little ones also went skiing in half term, as it seems did a large percentage of their generation, but I only felt pleased that they are having a break and loved the thought of the children (5 and 4) having their first experience of it!
Their domestic arrangements, the house etc, is entirely their business as is their decision on a nursery.
If it is a tax dodge by the parents, so be it, nothing to do with you unless your daughter has involved you in the situation.
Finally, I don't see what the other GPs' children, learning difficulties or wild past have to do with it.
Are you sure about blaming the other parents for the fact that your DD has made her life in the way she has chosen? I don't understand the phrase " her husband's family are prioritising their lives"
You are clearly upset, but also sound as if you have a growing inferiority complex when you refer to your relationship as being like a servant. You don't have to be a doormat, you can still enjoy your DGS's company and the relationship you have with him without being a drudge
You risk letting this embitter you and damage your relationship with your daughter. I hate to be brutal. What does your husband think?

f77ms Tue 01-Mar-16 08:20:33

Just sending a hug , you sound very upset about the situation and I can understand why . You must feel you have lost your daughter to some degree and that she has been bought by the inlaws . I am sure you will get some support on this forum and it is good to have a rant ! xx

Iam64 Tue 01-Mar-16 08:38:14

I see that in your response OP you didn't acknowledge the sound advice from others about deleting your post to avoid your family being identified. The media sometimes pick up on forum threads. I can't imagine how your daughter or her in laws would feel if your OP was printed in one of the daily tabloids for example.

For what its worth, it doesn't seem to me that your daughter is unhappy. It does sound as though you resent and disapprove of her in laws. You won't be the first mother to feel like that, or the last. Unnecessary conflict within families is best avoided. I wonder why you can't celebrate the fact that your daughter isn't facing the financial anxiety that so many others are. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, I don't mean to be unkind but I share the views expressed by others that the last thing you or your daughter need, is to fall out.

J52 Tue 01-Mar-16 08:41:59

Sorry you are so upset, it is difficult when our children make choices we see as wrong.

I would step back, not say anything controversial and be there for times when you are needed. We can't run our married children's lives, even if others appear to!

As for not telling you about the skiing, we planned a major house move, over a long time. We often discussed it with family and friends. However, it was a surprise to DS1, who we 'forgot', thought we had already told! Don't know how that happened!

I'd plan an exciting trip somewhere and shift my focus.


annsixty Tue 01-Mar-16 09:03:52

You should do what a friend of mine does. Perhaps a former friend would be more accurate. Her son is in a similar situation although his wealth is of his own making. When we went out it it was a monologue of his weath. His million £ house ,his weekend cottage, his cars, his holidays, the private schools for his children his influential friends, his..... Sadly she has alienated most of her friends, not because we we envious, as she so obviously wanted us to be, but because she was so boring and dismissive of everyone else's family who didn't measure up. Now that is sad.

Elegran Tue 01-Mar-16 09:06:04

Where does "One of my sisters thinks that my sister in law is 'playing me' "come into all this? Did this reference creep in from a different story?

I think you must let go of your resentment at the way these inlaws seem able to provide every creature comfort for your daughter and her husband and just be happy that she is not married to someone who can't or won't look after her.

I cannot believe that they are as bad as you think they are, and perhaps your daughter will take your repeated attempts to make her think that they are just being controlling as evidence that in fact YOU want to be the controlling one, and keep her as your own little girl, not letting her into the wide world to fight her own battles.

You say you have arguments when you mention it to her. That shows that she is her own woman - and perhaps she is just as resistant to the influence of her inlaws. She doesn't sound like someone who just goes where she is led.

She made you a nice hamper, but you resented that she was also socialising with the other set of parents. Bear that phrase in mind "the other set of parents" She now two sets of parents to keep happy, not just one. Be happy for her, praise her lovely home, ask about her skiing holiday. don't run down "the other set of parents" to her. If you set up an either/or choice, you could find that your criticism turns her away from you and then you will have lost her.

To return to "One of my sisters thinks that my sister in law is 'playing me' - I still don't see why your sister-in-law gets a mention, unless at the same time you were writing a different story for a different publication. As we get concocted stories from time to time, (as do the agony aunts in the magazines!) created purely so that the writer can see themselves in print and titter at the replies, that thought makes me less sympathetic.

TriciaF Tue 01-Mar-16 09:11:28

Eldest son's inlaws are well-off, and when they're in England (they work abroad) they have a flat which is almost next door to F in Law.
Also the inlaws visit them a lot in Kuwait, they can afford it.
To be honest, it's quite a relief for us, because we're far away too.
We get on fine when we meet .
Except for the odd remark - eg to our daughter when she drove me over in her partner's works car " Ah I see S. has bought you a new car - so he should!" They seem to think other people have the money they have.
Try to see the good points, doesn't look as if you can change anything now.

soapsoanelive Tue 01-Mar-16 09:15:43

Thanks NanaandGrampy, Alea and f77ms: it all comes out as it sits: probably a lopsided and incomprehensible order, the thing about the hamper was that it was lovely but it felt because I'd come over feeling happy and connected, not wanting anything and was given a great mother's day present two weeks early: it didn't matter until I thought how did she have the time to pick this yet didn't think it would have been nicer just to have said: we're going away with xxxx and xxxxx, skiing, one of xxxx's friends is getting married at the ski resort, so I've done this, love etc. My problem is that when anything happens in my life such as I was unexpectedly put through a redundancy process that week and there's no space to express this I'm finding, so feel marginalised yet really important (ie my grandson and I have a strong and very positive relationship). I was quite accepting of losing my job, I'm resilient, have found a new role very quickly but and it would have been great to have some space with them to lick my wounds.

What I take for granted as reality, face to face is always subject to things that are usually instigated by his parents requests and, actually, demands and, over time seem to reduce what I can expect even in terms of basic communication. So I find out they're going skiing last Monday, my daughter said, sorry I forgot to tell you then she said but we're not going until Tuesday so you can still come over if you want on the Monday as usual. So I accepted that, then I get a call saying I'm sorry mum I forgot, we're going away to xxxxxx for the weekend (christmas present from son in law) and xxxxx (grandson) is going to son in law's!!!! AAAAARRGGH!

My sister in law whom I used to get on with until I began to realise how it was all one way (and began to think in a more self protecting way, after my sister said, 'she's playing you xxxxx' has stopped contacting me since the post phd incident when after I'd spent every weekend helping with a massive phd footnotes and bibliography and my daughter said 'let's you and I and grandson meet up in the city on the Sunday' but between the Thursday when we arranged this and the proposed Sunday the son in law had invited his parents to join us. I know it was a hectic time but didn't get any message, couldn't contact my daughter until a text arrived on the Sunday morning from my daughter saying: 'so we'll all meet in the city centre at xxxx time'. I tried to ring, got no reply so got on the train, arrived in the city and got a text to meet outside a shop. I waited outside the shop for ten minutes when my daughter, son in law and my grandson ran out of the shop and said, we need to hurry, 'mum and dad' are on their way. So we all run down to meet super nan and grandad. As soon as we met, the nan, my sister in law ran off to go to the loo: I wonder now if she really knows how much distress she causes. I can't tell you how I felt it was like an out of body experience but I was felt very righteously wrong footed! It was as if there was a 'family' conversation going on that I was suddenly privy to yet excluded from. I was asked if I wanted a coffee and said no thanks (I'd had one on the train) but I was bought a coffee. I thought this is really weird. My grandson needed the loo and my daughter took him. I felt threatened and that I needed to say/do something. So I said: Right then, I'm going. Good bye then. I just had to get away from them, yet I realised I was also conforming to a 'difficult person' scenario: ie it's all on their terms and if I don't accept it, I'm weird. There is no obligation for them to explain themselves etc etc.

So it's complex: yes I've brought my daughter up to have good values but this environment has changed her and her ability to maintain meaningful communication with me. So I'm giving up having clearly set out why and how this is a very damaging situation. I'm going to get more involved in the things that I like and think are important but it's not that I'm a weak or limited person in any way it's just a real problem that I hope can be worked on and changed:I've had enough for now!

BBbevan Tue 01-Mar-16 09:30:23

Our situation is some what similar to Soaps, about control / tradition ,but not money. Our son married an Asian girl. We love her to bits and she is a brilliant wife and mother. However her parents expect a lot of her as she is the eldest girl. If her parents request,she goes, once even in the middle of Christmas with us. Her parents will not come to our house as we are not Halal, but we are expected to accept every invitation to their house.
We always do go but are soon marginalised as they all speak their own language which we do not understand. They can speak English quite well as many are Doctors.Our DiL and son do come to speak to us but they are often busy.
They recently had a big celebration as my DiL's sister had a baby boy after 5 granddaughters. There were no celebrations when my granddaughters were born so we did not go. Was that right? I don't know.
We visit our DS, DiL and GDs often and we go on holiday together and get on well. We just do our duty with the PiL for our son's sake really.

janeainsworth Tue 01-Mar-16 09:36:51

Sorry I'm totally confused.
Your DD's mother-in-law is your sister-in-law?
So you are married to her brother?
Or she's married to your brother?
And you got upset because she needed the loo??
Come on.

annsixty Tue 01-Mar-16 09:43:31

Is the MiL also your SiL? I am getting very confused.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 01-Mar-16 09:44:27

Why don't you tell the lot of them where to shove it?

Your daughter sounds a lost cause. She has got herself what she feels is a very nice way of life, and she's making the most of it. You've really got to stop caring. You will drive yourself mad if you don't let it all go. Concentrate on you. Enjoy your hamper, and then some. Treat yourself. Be as selfish as you possibly can.

Find yourself a fuckit bucket, and dump the lot of it. flowers [cake]

annsixty Tue 01-Mar-16 09:48:28

Is the MiL also your SIL? I am very confused.

soapsoanelive Tue 01-Mar-16 09:51:57

Thanks Iam64, Elegran, J52, annsixty, TriciaF BBbevan: I'm writing because it's a forum and the bit about my sister in law was in the first bit of my post where I was thinking back to how much I liked (loved) my sister in law but that I was puzzled that the relationship was always so one sided. My daughter originally said xxxxx is shy, she's just family orientated and for a long time that made sense until the way 'their family' began to take precendence and oxygen from anything that wasn't just like itself. My sister is very 'black and white' whereas I always see the grey but she thinks I'm gormless and naive. She said 'Can't you see, they're playing you,xxxxx?'

I'm writing to get it off my chest and to find a way through. Only reasons.

soapsoanelive Tue 01-Mar-16 10:09:46

He he jinglebellsfrocks mmmm it's crossed my mind.... but it's REALITY in spite of them being selfish and self centred: sorry Jane Ainsworth, annsixty: I thought of my son in law's mother as a 'sister' until things became so obviously selfishly one-sided and about her and her family problems and MY sister said: she's playing you....etc No i'm not married to her brother, and apologies if I've confused you.........It's great to have this forum and thank you for the honest responses!

KatyK Tue 01-Mar-16 10:51:10

I agree with jingl I had a problem with the people my DD associates with. After advice from this forum, I have let it go. I realised that the only person it was making unhappy was me (and consequently my DH) - the others in the scenario were merrily getting on with their lives.

Synonymous Tue 01-Mar-16 10:51:26

soaps this sounds rather like one of 'those soaps' and just as mixed up and confusing as they are. confused
You seem to have a multiplicity of issues here and perhaps talking to a counsellor would be a good way of sorting them all out. It will help you to talk it through and work out the best way of going forward.
I am sorry about your redundancy and glad you have found another post so quickly. You obviously have a lot of energy and enjoy being busy. Glad that you have also decided to concentrate on things you like and feel are important as that will give you a different perspective and hopefully you will start to enjoy life again.

Gagagran Tue 01-Mar-16 11:07:30

I used to work with a lovely Asian girl who lived in a large family with the same sort of control features as soaps describes. I am wondering if this is the key to all this?