the worst in-laws ever

I haven’t been posting much lately, but once I get through with this doozy of a story, you’ll understand why.

Two weeks ago, we got our arms twisted into visiting the in-laws because these super-awesome relatives from outside of the country came to visit (which they only do once every 10 years or so) and we were obligated to see them because they gave us soooo much money when we got married (Asians like to give money at weddings, and no, their little monetary gift was no where near the top sum that we received). Trust me, I complained about it as much as I could, but to no avail, because even in my bitter little heart, I myself was raised too well to not visit them. Of course, being agreeable didn’t make the visit any less painful. I wanted to give them some sort of nice gift (because Asian people also like to give gifts to people they visit), but of course, mother-in-law had different ideas and silly husband graciously gave in to her plan without so much as consulting with me first. Her idea, of course, was much more painful to my wallet as it involved taking these visitors plus any other relative who decided to tag along out to lunch. I protested and I protested, but of course, I failed. So now I’m out $120 when I didn’t have to be if only I had decided not to show up until dinner time for the going-away party that one of the other relatives was hosting. Why didn’t I make the obviously smarter choice? Well, because mother-in-law claimed that the party wasn’t happening because the out-of-towners were leaving that night. Liar, much?

But you know what? I was okay with it. Or at least I convinced myself that I was. I figured that my $120 was well-spent towards earning good will from these relatives as well as mother-in-law. Now, all we had to do was take father-in-law out to lunch for his birthday the next day. Of course, there’s no such thing as taking father-in-law out without taking the mother-in-law out as well and I was resigned to that fate as well. What does father-in-law do? He orders lobster, of course! Which is fine and dandy as long as I can get this whole thing over with as fast as I can. But no, we get dragged back to their house where he proceeds to show us his vacation plans and inform us that we’re paying! You see, he could never go on vacation before because he was always busy working and now that he’s been laid off, he figures it’s the perfect time to go visit his homeland! On our dime, of course! Not only that, but when he failed to show up for lunch the day before with his own brothers and sister, it was because he was job hunting. And planning this trip at the travel agency! What exactly possesses somebody who just lost their job to decide to take a $1000 vacation?! What exactly makes these people think my money is theirs? I really wish I knew. By this time, I was beyond angry. So angry that I was going to make a scene. So my husband and I made a hasty retreat.

But, of course, running away did not quell my anger. So I figure that if I’m going to be out $1000 (which we really needed, by the way, as we’re still trying to recover from our excessive spending these last couple of  months as well as gearing up to pay income tax, property tax, and house insurance bills), I might as well make them feel really bad about it. Of course, I should have realized that such a thing was impossible since they’re under the impression that our money is their money. Of course, my other mistake was trying to make my husband the messenger since he is absolutely horrible at not being a doormat. In the end, all he succeeded in doing was make me look like a greedy wife unwilling to help out his poor dad who has never taken a vacation in his life. Trust me. I’m Asian too and my parents raised me well. I know that kids are supposed to “help” their parents when they grow up and have successful jobs. But you see, the key words here are: when we grow up and have jobs. Does it look like I have a successful job here? I’m not even done with school yet! And my husband? Well, he’s gone back to school! So now is absolutely not the time to be taking our money. It’s not that we’re selfish. We just can’t afford it!

So, after bitching at my husband late into the night, I fall into an angry sleep. And wake up the next morning with a plan. If I’m going to be out $1000, I damn well am going to tell these people exactly what I think of them. My husband thinks that I will only make things worse, but really…they hate me already…what am I going to do? Make them hate me more? I have nothing to lose. So because he’s a scaredy-cat, I drive down to their place myself to give them a piece of my mind. The fact that mother-in-law was absolutely terrified at seeing me alone was almost enough to make the whole thing worth it. I’m pretty sure she thought I had my husband’s body in the trunk of my car. But, of course, it went downhill from there. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise as she was always interrupting me when it wasn’t even any of her business (since her trip was already paid for by sister-in-law). And father-in-law wouldn’t even tear his eyes away from his newspaper to look at me while I was speaking to him (just like how my husband won’t tear his eyes away from his computer screen when I talk to him…if nothing else, this little trip gave me insight into where my husband got all of his annoying habits from). So of course, I’m getting angrier by the minute. And then, a visitor shows up! And because we’re Asian and we must save face and not allow outsiders to see any discord, I had to pretend that we weren’t just arguing two seconds before this visitor walked up to the door. In the end, I said what I wanted to say, which was rather satisfying. But then the both of them had to say things that riled me back up and that continue to rile me up to this day because I held my tongue in response to their comments. What did they say? Well, that’s a whole other post and this one is already way too long. So I left them with their precious $1000 check and underwent a little retail therapy (yeah, not a good idea since I was now quite broke, but hey, it’s that or kill them).

You would think the story ends there, but it doesn’t. Because it’s been over a week since I handed them that check and they still haven’t cashed it yet. Even after I told them that if they didn’t cash it, I would personally return to their house with $1000 in cash and throw it at them, they still have not cashed it. Even though they’re scheduled to leave this Friday, they have not cashed it and bought father-in-law’s plane tickets. Even though they caused so much drama to get this money, they have not cashed it. Why can’t they make anything easy for me? First, they want my money. And now, they’re making it hard for me to give them the money. These people are seriously trying to put me in the crazy house. I told my husband to relay them the message that if they do not cash the check by Thursday, I’m driving to their place and assaulting them with cash. They should know damn well that I will do it too. I’m really hoping they know what’s good for them. Because, really, I don’t want to spend my Valentine’s Day with them.

So that’s my story. Unbelievable, no? Well, I hardly believe it myself. Even now. That’s why I was sort of MIA last week. Because I was sulking over this whole situation and processing it. Oh, and bitching at my husband to never let it happen again if he doesn’t want to live the rest of his life in the personal hell I will create for him if he fails to prevent another such situation. Because, really, this all could have been prevented if he wasn’t such a damn doormat. 

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  1. there are four in-laws in my house right now……and need I say that I’m not happy about it?  Let’s just say that my sister-in-law is something else.  Something else that I really would like to smash to pieces.  There.  That sure feels better.  Well, not really. At times like these, I turn to my how to deal with crazy in-laws bible: Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward.  I purchased this book in my dark days of being hurt again and again by my in-laws while still trying to please them, thinking that if only I did what they wanted they would stop hurting me and accept me.  Well, thanks to this book, I now know better.  If for nothing else, this book is a sympathetic supporter, which I did not have in my husband.  It affirms that other women suffer through the same hell as I do and that it’s not my fault that my in-laws are highly unreasonable people.  The book is divided into two parts: the first includes descriptions of the five different types of toxic in-laws and the second part describes strategies for dealing with them.  Strategies include how to set boundaries, how to get out of their negative conversations, and how to get your spouse to understand and be on your side.  It was and is a quite useful book for dealing with my in-laws even though I don't get to use those great conversation stoppers too much because of the difficulty getting the same point across in a different language.  I do wish that it...
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2 Responses to “the worst in-laws ever”

  • salaciousc

    God bless you! I sooooo feel for you!
    They say you can choose your partner but choosing your in-laws is a different story isn’t it?

    I too have a MIL from hell. My situation is a little different in that my Husband has taken over the family business…but they are still in charge of the money!
    That means that they have total control on our spendings.
    But that’s the least of my problems!
    My MIL wants the best of both worlds. best of the Asian culture in that she wants me to be a ’shit shoveller’ House maid, chauffeur, doting, hard working DIL and a perfect wife to her son.
    She wants the best of the modern world too. That I should work and pay my way too. Because if I didn’t, she’d have to dig her hand deeper into her pockets!

    Her own daughter> Welllllll! There’s a completely different set of rules and expectations. She spends half her life phoning her daughter’s in laws, making sure that her son in law completely provides for her. There was a scene a few months ago that her daughters husband hadn’t paid her daughter back for some food shopping!

  • Wow. I feel for you! What your MIL wants from you is impossible! And what a hypocrite! But sadly enough, it sounds exactly like something my own MIL would pull when her/if own daughter gets married. I really don’t understand the whole being-married-but-still-keeping-each-other’s-money-separate thing, but it seems to be commonly assumed of us by our in-laws…

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