When my husband and I asked for "clarification" about this — not jumping to conclusions — my in-laws turned to gaslighting and said they did not want to speak to me until I dealt with my insecurity.
I have since opted out of interactions with them, and except for relatively transactional information-sharing, my husband has as well. Given his lifetime of being close with them, this has been very difficult for him, and I empathize.
I am now pregnant with twins, and they have — quite predictably — reframed their distance from us as "a kindness" as we went through difficult IVF procedures. My husband wants to find a path to reconcile with them, while they have made zero effort to reconnect. They have continued to judge me, my personality, my opinions, my family and my past despite their son being the happiest in his life.
Am I wrong in continuing to opt out of this relationship? I've suggested that if one or the other of them was declining, I'd do what was necessary to ensure that my husband did not have regrets after their passing.
— Boundaries for Sanity
Boundaries for Sanity: I don’t like any of this.
I don’t like that awful comment from your mother-in-law, of course.
Or the “not speaking.”
I don’t like that “my husband and I” asked for “clarification.” There’s value in not jumping to conclusions, yes, but there’s also a time for a son to say, “You owe us both an apology. You know where to find us.” Even if you started this whole domino-run of tension, her remark cannot stand.
I don’t like iterating “the importance of my speaking up” as an “olive branch.” This might seem minor by comparison, especially to racism, but it matters when you’re talking about mounting relationship tension. An olive branch is a concession; attempts to reason are taking a stand. When you take a stand and try to pass it off as peacemaking, you reveal yourself as at best an unwitting party to this escalation.
I don’t like “I’ll let you see them on their deathbeds” as proof of generosity of spirit.
I don’t like that an always-close son is now estranged, since that means: (a) They were healthy, and you brought dysfunction; or (b) they were dysfunctional, and you brought health; or (c) it’s all dysfunctional. Each warrants careful attention and remediation.
I don’t like that babies are coming with this attention yet ungiven — happy news though they are after difficulty conceiving.
And I don’t like your declaring a man painfully estranged from his parents “the happiest in his life.”
So please: Call in the cavalry. Find a good family therapist to help you understand yourselves, each other and his parents — and de-escalate. Whatever you possibly can.