It’s common in all sitcomes involving married couples. The mother-in-law and son-in-law that don’t get along or vice versa. We’re meant to find the humor in this concept of hatred within the in-law community.
The media is saying to us, “It’s normal! And there’s nothing you can do but laugh about it!”.
The one thing the media does not highlight is how painful it truly is to be bullied by in-laws. How absolutely isolating it is and how much it can crush someone just as much as any other kind of bullying.
A month into being married I fought with the idea of suicide. It came with the moment it dawned on me that I had put myself in the closest proximity ever to a group of people that did not like me or want me around. But they loved my husband and would love our kids- so I had to endure.
The idea of not being liked by a group of people because of one’s ethnic background is seen as a socially unacceptable… But it still happens. People simply come up with different statements for this.
“She just doesn’t respect our family’s traditions”
“She is stuck in her own way of doing things… Therefore she is controlling”
I’ve heard statements that ridiculed my family’s perspective on renting verses owning. Their perspective of family involvement on decisions. Their perspective of time spent with extended family.
I have been glared at and given the silent treatment while in a room full of in-laws. I’ve been told in a straight forward manner that I am not liked because I am black.
This is my reality. This is an issue no one will admit hurts like hell. Navigating decisions in regards to the input from in-laws is so much harder when they go over and above to treat their child with love and respect. So much so that he can’t see the painful habits of his relatives.
I have experienced all rude comments, glares and snarky remarks alone.
I must admit, I worked so hard to get my husband to see the truth of the pain his family was causing me. It was hard for him because they tried so hard to get him on their side.
The moments I debated suicide were moments I felt truly stuck in despair. Stuck being presumed as a liar to my husband when I begged him to see the hurt I was going through. The will to move forward was as difficult as moving through quick sand.
If this is where you are- if you are being bullied by your spouse’s relatives and your spouse is unable to see it, please be patient. Remember this is the family your spouse grew up trusting. For my husband this is his first time seeing such an issue within his family. I was the first “ethnic” inclusion into their family after all.
Also, whatever’s done in the dark comes to light. My in-laws were very good at covering up the times they bullied me. Excusing it away as a simple misunderstanding. But your spouse knows the real you. And one day in-laws will slip up and your spouse will see or even experience the truth of their hurtful habits. Your spouse will see the truth.
No one should be pulling a family apart. Not even in-laws. My daughter said something one day that put a lot in perspective for my husband and I. I don’t know how she managed to get on this subject. But her words were, “I hope daddy comes home after work. I need a mommy and a daddy. I can’t have a mommy without a daddy or a daddy without a mommy. I need our family”.
I don’t know if it is or is not the goal of my in-laws to end my marriage. My husband has finally come to the point of acknowledging it’s not worth the risk of exploring this idea any more. The times that we discussed divorce were times when an argument involved them.
And the one thing I hope no one will ever do, is involve the kids. My kids know of my husband’s family as the distant relatives they get to have fun with and enjoy time with (on the rarest of occasions) . I hope they will not know any different in terms of their relationship. This is done in hopes that one day a change will come. Hopefully before the kids are old enough to see the turmoil themselves.
It’s not just you. And it’s not acceptable because it’s family. I prayed my way through to this point in my marriage and I hope you can muster the strength to do so as well. Seven years down with an eternity left to go and our bond is made stronger as we conquer these trials together.