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Discussion Starter #1
Fellow INFJs, I could really use your help again!

My husband and I are trying to determine the best way to tell his parents we are expecting our first child. His parents, especially his unhealthy ESFJ mom are deeply manipulative and have a completely phony relationship with us.

We see them a handful of times throughout the year and they are to the point of not really seeking out much more from us, which is good. However. When we do on occasion contact them about getting together, their desperate need for control gushes into our planning and then our short time together. For example, if we invite them over, they say, "Why don't you come over here and we'll make pot roast." They also frequently invite others to our planned get-togethers too ranging from family to people we have never met.

My ENTP husband and I have really synced up and are now very much on the same page regarding boundaries. We have also been doing a more effective job of shutting down their manipulative attempts quickly and directly and of not losing control of our mouths and attitudes while with them.

All of that being said, we are now at the point that we need to tell them about this baby. We want to be excited with them and to celebrate their grandparent-dom the way we did with my super chill and supportive parents, but we know them too well to think we can involve them in that way without serious repercussions.

So my questions are: how do we tell them in a positive way while maintaining our boundaries? Should we tell them that there is a serious boundary conversation on the horizon or just let it be until that day comes?

How do we prevent them from feeling super involved or from misinterpreting our telling them about the pregnancy as an invite to see us more, etc?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated! We really want peace but know that they don't tend to play fair :/
 

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@rainwater, I want you to forget, for now, that there is any blood kinship with those future grandparents. Would you want them to have a close part in your life, you children's lives?

Second question: being that you and your husband are mature and they manipulate every opportunity to impose themselves into your life, what effect would this behavior have on an infant and then a young child? Do you think that maybe with the birth of the child, they will say, he/she is our grandchild but is your child, so you are in charge? Or would they want to choose the name, and be critical about your choice, controlling about every aspect of childrearing? By inviting total strangers (to you) at what could have been a warm family sharing, they have shown that they are not really wanting to invest into your (husband, wife, children) family.


Oh, we could go on and on. But for the sake of the child and its nurture, do you really want "to be excited with them " over this most profound event in your and your husband's life?

I believe they will not change. I have known of families like that, and the controlling grandparents sabotaged the parents' discipline.
A shower given by the mother-in-law ended up with the mom- to -be isolated with no immediate friends and mostly ignored.

I think their behavior has shown that they simply do not think about others with true emotion, but as simply as part of the backdrop in the drama of their own lives. Think seriously about the "serious repercussions."
OMR
 

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I have seen families where noone but two partners know where they live and if they have a child etc ...

Sometimes older parents are way to nuts to keep them close.

It is not unusual.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. You both bring up some good points. No, we absolutely would not have any contact with them if they were not related. My husband often jokes that we should move and not tell his family... maybe he's not joking. :)

Last year I wrote out in more detail the situation with his parents. You can see that thread here:
http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/145108-im-her-naughty-list-help-my-esfj-mother-law.html

Your hunches that this is not a light situation are "INFJ" on point.

We know at this point that moving is probably not in our near future, nor will we be able to keep them from finding out for long because of our siblings. My husband has cautioned me on this point when I have previously brought it up, suggesting that their rabid control attempts will only become more frantic if we are not careful about how they find out.

We don't want to fake "happy family" when we tell them, but we do want to directly communicate. After reading more about the situation, what suggestions do you have?
 

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@rainwater

Yeah, I remember that thread.

Generally dealing with shitty relatives my solution was: Don't really give a fuck. You have every right to not tell them and they should respect that.
If they don't --- that's another problem.

I had issues when everything was resolved, but next week everything was again going the old way.
Some people are too stubborn to change. That may imply lack of intelligence, thinking they are right in what they do or some other weird reason as well as mental disorders.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. You both bring up some good points. No, we absolutely would not have any contact with them if they were not related. My husband often jokes that we should move and not tell his family... maybe he's not joking. :)

Last year I wrote out in more detail the situation with his parents. You can see that thread here:
http://personalitycafe.com/infj-forum-protectors/145108-im-her-naughty-list-help-my-esfj-mother-law.html

Your hunches that this is not a light situation are "INFJ" on point.

We know at this point that moving is probably not in our near future, nor will we be able to keep them from finding out for long because of our siblings. My husband has cautioned me on this point when I have previously brought it up, suggesting that their rabid control attempts will only become more frantic if we are not careful about how they find out.

We don't want to fake "happy family" when we tell them, but we do want to directly communicate. After reading more about the situation, what suggestions do you have?
I read the other post -
She is evil. There is no other word so accurate: one definition is that evil is that which is counter to life affirming. You and your husband will have to decide how to tell his family about the impending birth, but absolute boundaries must be set, and if a restraining order has to be obtained, do it - that is not as unusual as you might think.

A bit of old history - I was scapegoated by my dad, who had some serious issues. My oldest sister joined with my dad and my younger sister denied it through my last visit with her when she was terminally ill -
I do not know if your husband is the family goat (hope not! ) but his siblings may not be of any support.

One problem is this woman will not "back off" if you ask her. She said ugly lies about you before you were married, and probably will retaliate by doing the same (I can imagine a catty remark to her associates, "wonder who the father is?") Whatever you do, do not let this come between you and your husband. He needs to do likewise. I suggest that you discuss this with your family or other trusted older friends. As to "family" blood ties isn't enough. Your child's well-being is at risk.

One last thought - this is a human issue that transcends MBTI "type." MBTI impacts a small percent of human experience, and pathology trumps any system of rational behavior.
 

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All of that being said, we are now at the point that we need to tell them about this baby. We want to be excited with them and to celebrate their grandparent-dom the way we did with my super chill and supportive parents, but we know them too well to think we can involve them in that way without serious repercussions.
Why?
 

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First of all, congratulations. :happy:

Secondly, My fiance and I also have some family that are fairly manipulative and at times controlling, and often used to try and tell us how to raise our daughter. I know it sounds obvious, but quite simply just don't let them be that way towards you. Just stand your ground rigidly, be damn well stubborn if you have to. Alot of the time, this kind of behavior does not stop until you set a clear boundary.
When you invite them over - if they tell you that you should come to theirs just say that you would really prefer if they would come out to your house so the four of you (and only the four of you) can talk about something. If they refuse to come to your house then I guess it will just have to be tough for them.

If they don't get the picture you can easily tell them that if they won't be more lenient with their way of thinking then they won't have much involvement.

Speaking from experience, these kinds of relatives will often from now on try and second guess your every move with your child. Just ignore them, you do what you think is best. :happy: I hope this has helped.
 

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My goodness, it's like reading a post from Past Me. How strange!

My husband is an ENTP, and we have had a very rocky relationship with his very manipulative/controlling mother (who is an ESTJ) and father.

A little less than two years ago, we found ourselves in a similar dilemma- how to announce the news and keep them on their side of the line.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, I don't think it's something you will be able to deal with until you actually do it- you will likely have to take each boundary issue one at a time. Trying to deal with them all upfront is just going to be a huge headache, and it might cause problems where there wouldn't have been otherwise. Talk with your husband about the specific boundaries you want to set, and when they arise, be sure that you will both be ready to deal with it.

Have you read Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud? It's a must read!!!
 

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Congratulations! Do you know the gender (or whether it's multiples????? twins are in fashion lately) yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all of the responses! Sorry I come and go, an INFJ thing I suppose.

We were able to sit down with them during our Easter family festivities and it went decently. Hard to say what they're thinking this early on of course. Especially because family was around to temper their reactions.

I have read the Boundaries book along with a couple others and they have been most helpful especially with understanding where I end and others begin (and vice-versa). Actually, since working on the boundaries in my life, I see that most people are operating almost entirely without them. Many of my friends have absolutely no clue how to tell their in-laws or own parents "No!" about anything, minor or otherwise. It's as if they think because someone is family they have a golden ticket to full access to anything they please. Quite scary to think about where we could be without them in place in these types of situations!!

Doctor said it's too early to tell the gender, maybe by next appointment when I'm closer to 16 weeks we'll catch a glimpse. We do know there's only one little bundle in there, though!

Once again, I really appreciate your feedback!
 
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