A confidant and fellow blogger, Mulderfan, recently turned me on to a post on the blog Emerging From Broken, by Darlene Ouimet, entitled, "Dysfunctional Families and Holidays - When You Feel Like The Bad Guy." I asked Darlene's permission to re-post some of what she had written here, as it's just too good not to share. I felt that the similarity of her story to mine was uncanny and I'm fairly certain that my fellow members of the Evil DIL Club would probably agree. Here are some excerpts (for the whole piece, click here).
I watched a show the
other day where the in-laws were totally against the daughter-in-law and
the whole family (the husbands parents and grown siblings) went on the
show to publically gain validation that they were ‘right’ to be against
her even though her husband was totally FOR her. They were all insisting
that he couldn’t really be in love with her. And if they couldn’t
conceive of it, then it must not be so. They dictated ‘respect’ to her.
They demanded that she have respect for them but it wasn’t mutual
respect, it was that one sided kind of respect.
She was supposed to respect them even while they looked down on her and
they were very open about their beliefs that their son had made a
mistake in marrying her. These people ganged up on the woman (and it
seemed to me to be because she had different viewpoints than they did)
and never considered that the grown son/brother had a choice or could
think and make decisions for himself. The married couple had been
together for around 10 years and had two children but his parents and
siblings refused to believe that he had chosen his wife and that he was
happy with his choice! They insisted that his wife changed him, and that
he wasn’t ‘himself’ anymore. They begged him to “come back."
The grandparents were
so disrespectful of their daughter-in-law that they justified
disregarding the daughter-in-laws rules when it came to the children and
they publically refused to respect her choices when it came to those
children. These parents/grandparents thought they had a ‘right’ to do
and say whatever they wanted!
It really reminded me
of my life and the way my in-laws regarded me. And because of their
actions and disregard, my in-laws lost their son and their grandkids...When my husband drew HIS boundary, his family blamed me...my husband’s
dysfunctional family never considered that he might draw the line with
them because he never did before and they were comfortable and confident
that he never would. His parents and their parents before them believe
in entitlement and parental rights which is at the root of the
dysfunction in all dysfunctional family systems. They believed that
they “owned him” and a dog is always loyal to its master even if it
falls in love with another dog. My father in law believed with every
fibre of his being that his ‘dog’ would never dare to have a mind of his
own and make a choice of his own. He believed that ‘his dog’ would
always be loyal to him and comply with his wishes. He never considered
that ‘his dog’ his prize possession, his well-groomed and very
brainwashed son would wake up and see the truth. That is how he raised
(groomed) ‘his dog’ after all...My abusive father in law never considered that HIS actions were disrespectful, abusive, manipulative and dysfunctional...
What a huge insult to
my husband when his family blames me for the fact that he no longer sees
them. There is a message in that too; they are communicating that my
husband, their son, is stupid. That he is not capable of standing up for
himself, and that he ‘lets his wife’ make all the decisions FOR HIM.
They are calling him a wimp, saying that he has given his power up to a
mere woman. They are communicating that he is unable to make his own
decisions and unable to think for himself. I remember when my husband
realized this truth; he was hugely insulted and it made him really
angry. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that the
truth is that this is the way he had always been treated anyway. He was
regarded this way long before he ever met me...
And am I the bad guy here? I don’t think so. These people are responsible for their own results...