Hello ladies. I have not posted her in some time but you have all been very kind to me in the past about some family problems, and I wanted to share a strange development.
We have not been estranged from my in laws but over the years MIL and I have had an extremely difficult relationship to the extent of me avoiding visiting her or being at home if she did visit. I have always made sure she saw the children regularly and at holidays etc and taken care of birthday, Mothers Day etc gifts and cards and suchlike. It was important to me that the children formed their own relationship with their grandparents and that I not be the cause of any further strife between H and his parents, who he can be difficult towards.
Over the course of the pandemic my H and I have had some serious issues. He struggled terribly to cope with the stress of his NHS job (not direct patient care) and the very long hours he was putting in, and things became very difficult at home. He struggles with motivation to be a father at the best of times and he needs a lot of emotional support from me.
To cut to the chase, there was an incident of unacceptable physical chastisement of the children and myself, and in a separate incident he goaded me to commit suicide. I have a history of severe depression which he is aware of, was struggling very badly with his behaviour at home at the time, and this was not a casual throwaway comment. I did not harm myself but this was a difficult incident to rebound from.
Given the various issues, I decided I needed to contact my MIL - past troubles notwithstanding - and reach out to her to find out if he could stay with his parents for a while until he either managed to get a hold on his behaviour - particularly towards the children - or finally agreed to some personal therapy. I had indicated I would not attend marriage counselling until he had addressed what I am forced to admit is his controlling and abusive behaviour towards me in particular but I feared also towards the children.
Pandemic rules allowed someone to visit for the purposes of providing support to a vulnerable person, so MIL came to visit when H was out at work so that we could discuss what had happened. It was very difficult to be honest about things that out of shame I have concealed for many years, but the children come first and I was able to be very honest with her about how we live and the extent of the controlling and abusive behaviour.
The relevant part of the discussion for this board's purposes if that during that conversation and following ones, MIL and I discovered that since H insisted on being the conduit of communication between us, he had frankly lied over and over and invented grievances and insults between us that had never happened. Some truly terrible words were put in our mouths by him and then conveyed one to the other. The most upsetting things that had occurred in our relationship were essentially his invention.
We are in agreement that it suited him for us to be distant from one another as it prevented me confiding in his family about his behaviours and also discouraged MIL from keeping an eye on how he was acting at home.
I will cut a long story short: MIL and FIL sat him down and held an intervention about his behaviours. I can report the children have experienced no further chastisement. MIL advised both him and me that she would call the police on him if she heard of any more unacceptable behaviour. She also advised us both that she has put the money aside for a divorce lawyer for me if he does not behave in the manner she expects of a husband and father.
His behaviour has improved substantially since this incident. It is almost a year and whilst he will never be the husband I might have hoped for, he has stopped terrorising us. I do not know honestly if there is a long term future here, but knowing that I have the support not just of my own family, but of my in laws to leave if need be has really transformed my outlook about that. I no longer feel trapped and he is no longer under the impression that I keep secrets from those around us.
The crucial thing I wanted to bring to you ladies' attention here is that he quite deliberately attempted to estrange me and MIL. I pass this on purely because it might strike a chord of concern with those lurking. It is not always the child in law - or indeed the parent in law!! - who is the 'problem' party in the relationship.
I am very glad to report that MIL and I have been able to make up for many years of lost time in following months and have become very close. She is a great sort of support to me and we speak most days via phone, and I have taken over visiting with the children, which H was always reluctant to facilitate. It turns out MIL was always happy for us to drop by (I was always told the exact opposite) so the children and I see her often. I am glad that a relationship that was always a source of pain to me in my life has become quite the opposite now. I care for her very much.
I thought I was too old and wise to believe someone 'telling tales' between two parties, but it turned out I was not. I would support anyone in a similar position to myself in reaching out directly to the other person who is supposed to "hate" you. It might just not be the case at all.
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