Wednesday, 27 July 2011

An open letter to my in laws

Dear WonderMan's family,

I have taken some time to come to this decision but I feel it is for the best.

You see, I'm filing for divorce from my in-laws. (That's you.)

I don't make this decision lightly, but now made, will not be reversed.

My reasons are detailed below, in no particular order.

You have not at any point been welcoming to me, except in odd bursts that make me highly suspicious of your motives. In fact, I remember your first words to WonderMan (after the snorting and laughing and realising he was serious) were "Oh well, she'll be gone soon and you will have learned your lesson."

For months I watched you struggle with barely civil conversation. And worried over what I had done when I seemed to offend every time I opened my mouth and showed I wasn't some dense whore who had her brain removed.

I have struggled deeply with the constant invasions of privacy. After finally not being able to cope any longer I sat down with WonderMan and we decided on what about our lives was acceptable to tell his family and what I did not want broadcast to the entire district. This caused major waves and constant roundabout prying, and much calling me up for no apparent reason because you wanted to trick me into telling you the details of my life and my relationship.

I will never forget the day I left my front door locked because I was sick as the proverbial dog and didn't want any visitors to encroach upon my pregnancy related misery. You would have thought I had disappeared of the face of the planet, or pushed the world war III button or something. After many many phone calls which I was too busy being ill to answer, WonderMan was called and ended up coming home from work to sort out the war being reenacted in our front yard.

You see, I don't like it when people walk in my door without knocking, or any knowledge that they are there until I walk into my kitchen and find them brewing coffee. It gives me nightmares and makes me feel like someone has ripped open my chest and peered into my private soul. And because I didn't want anyone to visit on one particular morning you all took it as an excuse to wage war on the "stuck up bitch" who insisted on her right to a little privacy.

You refuse to acknowledge that I am anything other than a gold digger. Trapping WonderMan into a miserable, hen pecked existence.

Let me mention this, before we go any further.... When I finally accepted WonderMan's proposal after about the 25th time, it was certainly not because he had any money. At that stage I was earning four times his income and well and truly coping on my own financially.

I also had many many serious discussions with WonderMan about the fact that he was choosing to take on a FAMILY and not just me for a good time. He was well and truly aware of this, and understood the seriousness of his decision even more than I believed possible. He may be the youngest child of the family but he is so much more mature and wordly than any one of you.

It hurts me that you have never given me the chance to tell you this. And that you woudn't have believed me even if I did.

I am not one to impose on other's feelings, but want it acknowledged that I feel the pain of WonderMan's father passing as much as anyone else.

I gave up my life and relocated my family so that WonderMan could be near you during the worst of times. At a critical point in my career I threw it away because of love for my partner, and those that he loves. I did it with an enormous amount of fear in my heart - about not knowing anyone, going somewhere I had never been before, about our future and what it held, about how I would fit in to your family, and most of all the fact that I had no FUCKING clue about cancer and had never ever been touched by it before. I walked into a family in early mourning and did my best.

It was the biggest struggle I had ever been through. Early on WonderMan and I discovered a growing Frog and we had to deal with that as well. I didn't really appreciate the snotty lectures and bullshit you piled on top of WonderMan about finances, coping, babies putting too much stress on a partnership (that one was brought up often, and I believe deliberately in the hope he would pack it in and go running to Mummy). We were having a baby. I had one child, she wasn't deformed or neglected and was a perfectly happy 7 year old. She and WonderMan had (and still have) a wonderful relationship, despite no blood relation. Why you thought we were incapable of having a child is beyond me.

What hurts the most is that Frog was planned. A decision between a wedding that lasts one day and might have had to be called off after so much planning and effort - and a beautiful grandchild to brighten the dark last days of her Pa's life. We chose life over darkness and gave him 6 months of joy, and for that you persecute me.

I spent hours of every day in your kitchen, making endless pots of tea and doing your housework (while mine went neglected) because it was all I could do to help. I couldn't grieve because I was the one who held up those who were struggling around me. I was blindly trying to find my place amongst people who shut me out of family discussions, but were happy to call on my family ties to drop everything and run around after them.

I dressed him when you were too overwhelmed and running around after the drama queens in the family. I held him up when his medication dosage wasn't right yet and he couldn't walk in a straight line.

I cried every day because I was so scared and felt so helpless.

I carried WonderMan and all of you through the dark days, and out into the light. I have given so much and asked for so little in return.

But you keep wearing me down. Discussing my life between yourselves, and anyone else you feel like. I'm getting tired of people I thought were friends demanding details of whether WonderMan and I are having problems, and are we still together.

I die a little inside when I think of what you have given for your other grandchildren, but you push Frog away when all she wants is a hug. You don't have time for my family, when we have given all of our time to you.

I don't want sunshine and lollipops. Every relationship needs work, and understanding. I've given it four long years but I can't do it anymore. The veiled threats and constant pressure on WonderMan to admit you are right and leave. The way you come to my home uninvited and torture me in my one remaining safe place.

It is quite obvious you are not prepared to accept me. That you will never stop. I've realised that I must not allow your hatred to be my cross any longer.

I will not allow you to rain on my wedding day, a day of happiness for me.

I will not allow you to teach my children that it is okay to hate and persecute without knowledge, or reason.



  1. Hear hear.
    To all of the mothers in law that, at one point or another, have made their daughter in law's lives a living hell!
    I have come out the other side, but I have stood in such a similar place to you, that every word you have written hit me somewhere inside.
    It's okay to quit this :o)

  2. It feels like hell doesn't it? I know we can't expect to have a perfect relationship with our in laws, because we are essentialy a threat at some level no matter how small, but open hostility and nastiness is just not okay. We all feel rude, or cranky or bitchy sometimes but we don't declare war on those around us.

    I can say I feel much better since I let it go completely. Instead of letting it run over my back and smiling on regardless, I have cut off that section of my life, and it's given me the freedom to let me be me, not brought down by what ifs and expectations.

    Thankyou for sharing, I have felt so alone in this for so long :)

  3. *Oh how I wish I got notifications of your replies to my comments, I have to search through manually, hence the fact that I never have a clue that you write back!*

    Yep, hell it is. When my current psychologist asked me when I have felt the most rage and sadness in my life, the time I spent dealing with my awful MIL topped the scale. It was the worst time of my life, and truly tested the strength of my relationship with her son. Lucky for us, we have come out the other end, perhaps a little scarred, but back to a relative normal.

    I can only hope for you that you can keep her away from your life as much as possible, or that she has an entirely unlikely and miraculous turn around, like mine did. Perhaps pigs will take flight before that happens?

  4. Good for you. I relate to so much of what you have written here. I did so much for my former in-laws (the parents of the father of my kids) only to be treated abhorrently by all of them, except his Dad, who died before he saw what they were all capable of. There were three of us in my marriage - my Ex, his mother and myself - and she did a lot to break us up. I'm glad you are free of that pressure. I spent far too many years being nice, and biting my tongue, and I was trodden all over as a result.


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