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I really hate my in-laws

Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban concrete jungle of NYC. She writes Kids in the City Kids in the City a weekly column and blog for the Staten Island Advance, contributes to SheKnows, Time Out NY Kids Time Out N...

Hater in-law

I never thought I'd be in this position. In fact, growing up with a mother who had a tense, acrimonious relationship with her own in-laws I vowed I would never repeat her mistakes. Of course, being 5 years old, I don't think I fully grasped the gravity of the situation, nor did I understand the complex back story that shapes most relationships. But at that age -- when your basic understanding of the world is uncluttered by years of arguments and heinous hatred that, once spewed, can never be retracted -- you cannot conceive of a period in your life where all won't be rose-colored and the words 'I'm sorry' are not a cure-all.

the truth comes out

Several months ago, my father in-law became gravely ill with cancer. And for the first time in 11 years of marriage, I expressed my feelings, in an article, about my in-laws and how difficult it was for me to canonize a man who had been absent from my kids' lives, despite our attempts at creating a relationship with him.

My public sentiments ended up opening a Pandora's Box of wrath from my husband's entire family. Cousins, uncles and brother-in-laws, all of whom for years had whispered and belabored the insanity and downright vileness of my father-in-law's behavior, now channeled all that resentment and frustration at me. How dare I judge this sick, elderly man, and make a spectacle of his remaining days on earth? They insisted I was a media whore, using my father-in-law's tragic sickness to gain fame and followers via my blog posts and that my goal in weaving these articles was basic vengeance on my part.

Of course, unless you are living in someone's shoes, there is no way to truly understand their experience. None of my husband's family lived nearby and had to bear witness to a man who had essentially ignored his flesh and blood in favor of a married woman and her extended family. Therefore their judgments about our experiences with an absent grandfather and father-in-law held no weight for me. I decided, rather than engage in a battle with them, I would simply cease communication. I subsequently did not attend my father-in-law's funeral and have had no contact with them since.

closing the door

It's been several months, and rather than feeling this need to rebuild my strained relationship with my in-laws and have them validate my feelings, I have found new strength. The support and understanding I've garnered from those who have actually read the articles I've written, and who have found themselves in a similarly unenviable position have solidified my belief in my actions. Unfortunately, when a rift within a family cuts a gaping hole that can never be mended, there are no winners or losers. But it is my naked truth.

More on In-Law Relationships

My father-in-law has cancer; I still don't like him
How to deal with your mother-in-law
Mother-in-Law Manager

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