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To not want to be repeatedly bulldozed into receiving gifts I have already said nicely that I do not want

(163 Posts)
DontMentionThePrunes Sun 13-Oct-13 18:22:40

The backstory to this is that my MIL will NEVER, EVER take no for an answer, even if for a very good reason. She does not give up, never mind if it's an important thing or a completely trivial thing, she won't accept no.

She is obsessed with tulip bulbs. Last month she rang to ask if I would like some pots of tulip bulbs which would sit in the garden and flower in spring. Ordinarily I would say yes, thank you; but we are moving soon with luck, and so this year I would like one less thing to bother about etc. (Also, I just don't really care for them, and we have talked about that before. It's just a question of taste really. I haven't been rude about it but I have said I really don't love bulbs.)

So when she asked, I explained clearly that I didn't want extra pots in the garden this year because of the move.

DS visited her today and was not supposed to tell me but has spent the afternoon potting tulip bulbs as a present from him to me.

Before you answer, please consider that this has happened again, again, again, over and over: I say 'no thanks because X' and I find she has gone behind my back to make sure my response is disregarded. Also, even if you like tulips, that's not the point grin

AIBU to feel completely undermined, furious at not being allowed to say a polite 'no thank you, for X very good and clear reason' and doubly furious that she is using my son as a way around my very reasonable refusal?

girlywhirly Fri 18-Oct-13 13:08:54

Re: the furniture. Could you spur DH into action by quoting the annual amount you are paying for it's storage, and then suggest what you could have spent it on instead, family treats, outings, holiday spends etc. Also the total amount you have spent since the storage began, on furniture you now have no use or room for, and ask why his mother should not take over the storage fees if she is desperate to keep the items? They are still hers after all, they were just a loan until you didn't need them.

It's a bit like forgotten direct debits that are still going out of peoples bank accounts, sort of out of sight out of mind.

Why don't you donate the tulips to your nearest church for decorating around the flowerbeds there? I'm sure they would love some!

As for the furniture that you are now storing using in your house, my suggestion is to either buy (yes you read that right) it from your inlaws so that it is yours to do whatever you want with or buy furniture more to your tastes and then you will have no option but to return the furniture to your inlaws (with a massive bunch of flowers I'd be brave and recommend tulips as thanks for loaning it to you).

Just my two cents worth.

Best of luck whatever you end up doing!

DontMentionThePrunes Fri 18-Oct-13 08:36:27

The thing with DH is that yes he is part of the problem, but things have previously been a lot better with MIL. It's fair enough that she comes to me about some things directly, gives things to me, that I deal with some aspects of the family relationship: I don't mind that. I DO mind when things are going wrong and he thinks I am being hysterical and won't accept that she's bulldozing me.

He has managed to tell her that I definitely don't like some things (eg the flamingo she - a total garden snob! - got me for my garden, as though she has all the taste and I have none so that's ok!) and atm is doing good work rebuilding things between her and ds.

He just will not accept things that aren't obvious to him. It makes me very cross but then I realise I should be ignoring things a lot more than I do. Tulips for example.

Fantail Fri 18-Oct-13 08:29:54

My MIL does this, with kiwi fruit, avocado and honey. Despite being told that kiwi fruit gives DH & DD eczema (but its good Vit C dear) and DH not liking avocado. We o eat honey, but not several kilos a year!

DoubleFun - the kids need to go with you sadly, don't they. To make the point. Or stay with a family-neutral friend if possible so it doesn't go into your mum vs my mum debate.

Ah well, enjoy it anyway.

DoubleFunMum Fri 18-Oct-13 00:12:26

Ah, the fiendish MIL power games! Well I think I'm appreciating the tips on how to deal with it as much as the OP so thanks mumsnetters! My MIL's most recent piece of master manipulation was to buy my DH & I a weekend away for our wedding anniversary. Lovely you might think, yes and oh so convenient that she will have to have overnight my 9month old twins who I have been resisting letting her have overnight since the day they came home it seems. Sigh.

Loopytiles Thu 17-Oct-13 18:01:33

Your DH is part of the problem here!

Badvoc Thu 17-Oct-13 17:24:41

Yeah...my mil crocheted a blanket for ds2. Even though I don't like crochet. Even though I had all the blankets from ds1.
It is now in the loft somewhere as I can't throw it out - last time I tried to get rid of it I put loads of stuff in bin bags for dh to take to the charity shop. Did he? Did he hell. He took them to his parents house so they would take them.
But of course first they rifled through it all and lo and behold there was the bloody blanket.
That was an awkward conversation smile
"Gosh, how did that get in there!?"
She tied to give me lace doilies not long ago. Had to be firm on that one.

DontMentionThePrunes Thu 17-Oct-13 17:15:18

Yes that is an excellent point.

girlywhirly Thu 17-Oct-13 17:12:48

Perhaps then it is up to DH to hand the furniture back or get her to take over the storage costs. Why must you be the bad guy?

Time for a MN haiku?

Poisoned chalice tulip
pot. I respond
with glyphosate

DontMentionThePrunes Thu 17-Oct-13 14:39:51

girlywhirly the trouble with the furniture is that it genuinely is 'family' stuff and when I once had the temerity to say that none of her children were going to have a bigger house than their parents so if she was feeling that the attic full of furniture was oppressing her maybe it was time to sell it on....It was NOT pretty. I was just fed up of hearing her going on about it, knowing that my own house was full of it as well. (This is really ungrateful-sounding, it was so so helpful when we started out, it's just that we can't buy a bigger place than we have, unless we sell our firstborn.) "I feel I am a custodian" she says <rolls eyes until they break>

DontMentionThePrunes Thu 17-Oct-13 14:35:18

lol at HangingGardenBabbysBum (I haven't got your name right I am sure)
Pam Ayres lives! Brilliant and gave me a good laugh.

I've calmed down a lot since I said I was going to have a sarcastic tattoo blush
But am still in the zone as it's half term here and two weeks ago she promised to spend time with ds: guess what eh? Silence.

Everything's for show. It's so sad. When she's being genuine (she can, I think) she's actually very warm and nice. Shame she can't seem to do anything these days without it all being a facade for something else. I'm sure she speaks equally highly of me too.

girlywhirly Thu 17-Oct-13 14:15:16

Prunes, accept the tulips from MIL. Then a few days later (after gifting to a local nursing home/hospice/wherever you explain to her that you found they had Stem and Bulb Eelworm, which meant that sadly the bulbs, compost and pots had to be destroyed. You can safeguard your garden from being overtaken by bulbs by saying that the soil has this pest and you must not plant any bulbs in it for at least three years! (Or they will be infested and die.) Perhaps save this one for the new garden, I'm not making it up, they are a genuine pest should she decide to find out for herself.

I think that MIL quite enjoys enforcing her will upon you, and will be infuriated if you fail to respond in the way she expects. Let her keep on buying you stuff and simply find it another home where it will be appreciated.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have the antique furniture valued. It may not even be original i.e a good reproduction, in which case if it's not worth much you might want to consider whether the storage fees are worth it and send it to auction. If it is valuable you will have to consider more carefully, but leaving it in storage might be a risk. You could make murmurings about inadequate insurance if anything happens to it in storage, but you mustn't do anything with it without making sure MIL knows about it. If she is desperate to hang on to it she can fork out the storage fees which will impact on her tulip buying budget (you hope!)

pinkpjs Thu 17-Oct-13 14:11:46

From Mil I've got a giant orange viscount type vase , a stone owl , and several hundred baby pictures of Dh that are in slightly manky tackey plastic albums ,too big for bookcases,that are stinking of mildew as they were kept in the attic for 30+ years .

Gosh , it's just what I've always wanted .

I also think she suspects Dh doesn't get fed , that neither of us is capable of making a hot meal . She sends down boxes of frozen soup . Homemade , but always the same , lentil and bacon , with Too much salt in it. Always in single portions of frozen soup. Poor Dh he's clearly wasting away , being 3 stone overweight . Never mind , it will soon be time for the annual " tin of biscuits " Xmas gift . <rolls eyes> .

She , once also acquired from her elderly aunt, a round pine dining table with matching chairs and insisted we use it ... ( I'm an interior designer FFs) , we then just had our house fitted with oak floors and furniture , so it looked shit . Took 18 months ,and an accident with a bottle of acetone nail polish remover to get rid of the monstrosity.
grin

catsmother Thu 17-Oct-13 13:34:14

I've just spat my coke all over the keyboard thanks to HangingGarden - love it!!

Really, this is such a nasty control thing and so absolutely bloody rude, dressed up in a veneer of so-called generosity which is actually no such thing. It's all about - as Eldritch said - imposing their taste and their ideas about how things should be done upon others - in effect, saying that your taste and your way of doing things is crap and wrong.

I buy my mum hideous ornaments - but that's because she likes them! I know if I bought her something I'd like for my house she'd feel disappointed because my taste is very different - and IMO, it would be incredibly thoughtless and pointless to get her something I KNOW she wouldn't like. I think maybe that a few of the parents/ILs described previously are perhaps more guilty of being thoughtless rather than out and out controlling, but all those who continue to foist assorted crap upon people regardless of having had it made clear a hundred times over that whatever-it-is isn't wanted, can't be fitted in, isn't something you'd ever use etc etc etc are most definitely controlling twats - more so when they drag kids into it to do their dirty work for them by presenting mummy with something they've had a hand in making/buying.

BTW - my local Tesco are selling huge rubber plants this week at £10 a pop I think. I mean, they're probably getting on for 4.5 to 5 foot already (so actually a bargain if you like that sort of thing) so it may be worth checking your local branch out. Just imagine how lovely such a plant would look if placed in a "Christmas" pot which DS had lovingly decorated with cheap tinsel and "snow" (cotton wool), and, for added festive cheer you could also drape it with lametta and homemade baubles (think cut up egg boxes and painted yoghurt pots) and paper chains.

Alexandrite Thu 17-Oct-13 13:02:16

grin at horticultural pawn and I'll burn your bastard bungalow down

ImpOfDarkness Thu 17-Oct-13 12:25:21

My MIL recently gave us a baby blanket embroidered with the head of a yorkshire terrier. No body, just a decapitated head picked out in silver thread grin

babybythesea Thu 17-Oct-13 12:13:13

Someone upthread mentioned that one possible reason that MIL's do this is because they don't know us as people. Because our other halves never talk about us and who we are as people.

I can take this one stage further. I'd been with DH for 2 years before he even thought to mention to his folks that he had a girlfriend. Now, his parents live overseas so it wasn't as though he was popping home every weekend and keeping me a secret, but still. 2 YEARS before they knew I existed. And how did they know? We planned a visit back to see them as he'd not been home for three years. He did all the arranging with his folks (as you'd expect). He threw into conversation a month before, when they called to talk to him about picking him up at the airport etc, "Oh, by the way, I'm bringing Baby with me." That was it. The lot. They had no idea who I was - they assumed I was the girlfriend but they had no idea really. Similarly, knowing I was about to spend a month with people I didn't know, I asked him about them (I'd have asked a lot more if I'd known how little they knew about me!). He said "They're, like, normal, really. Just parents. Sisters, well, one's blonde, one's dark and one's short. What else do you need to know?"

Not strictly relevant to the thread but it does explain why, when we go to stay, MIL cuts DH out of the equation altogether and asks me what we need/want!

outtolunchagain Thu 17-Oct-13 09:03:03

I have your MIL exactly except that its not plants but second hand books . No matter how many times I say we don't have room for any more they turn up relentlessly .

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 16-Oct-13 23:27:18

Oh, mother in law you are obscene
With hide of leather and fingers green
Your raison d'être, it would seem
Is to see how long and loud I'll scream
When once again you barge right in
All steel of eye and fixed of grin
With yet another pair of pots
To add to the already lots
Cluttering up my little lawn
My son's a horticultural pawn
Planting bulbs from dusk to dawn
Mother in law, now feel my scorn
Those fucking tulips make me sick
I am not Dutch, you dozy prick
Get your pots out of my sight
Or I'll kick your fanny with all my might
One more gift of something brown
I'll burn your bastard bungalow down
I'll bury you in your flower bed
Do you understand what I've just said?
Let me make it crystal clear
Any further presents, dear,
I'll stick your trowel in your ear

Inkspellme Wed 16-Oct-13 22:43:21

OP how about some of those wildflower grenades put to good use . Drive over in the middle of the night and ambush her garden. Won't solve the problem of the unwanted presents but will be enormously satisfying. grin

PrawnWidge Wed 16-Oct-13 18:14:48

struggling yes! That is a scene that replays every time the PILs visit at meal time. I'm having flashbacks about the time a bottle of forrin muck gin was poured down the sink on account of it being "that terrible Bombay Samphire, I've done you all a favour there".

DontMention you are absolutely right, in my case MIL has very fixed views on what is the right or wrong thing to think or do in any given situation and genuinely sees her role as helping me navigate the scary grown up world of being an adult. I'm more of a do what's right for you and let everyone else get on with it person and it drives her equally mad. I think I will take to muttering "fuck the tulips" under my breath as a coping mechanism.

struggling100 Wed 16-Oct-13 17:19:54

Oh God, I sooo empathise. My MIL is exactly the same. About everything, not just gifts. It is massively controlling behaviour and does my head in. When she's over at my house it's like...

MIL: Do you need any help with dinner?
Me: No, I think I have it under control
MIL: bustles into kitchen Shall I put the cauliflower in the microwave?
Me: No, it'll go soggy - it'll be fine in the oven.
MIL: (going through fridge) I'll just throw this out for you
Me: I'd rather you didn't - I need it!
MIL: puts it in bin I really think that cauli will be better in the microwave
Me: Honestly, I've made this loads of times before, it's fine.
MIL: If you say so dear. Do you always walk around the kitchen in socks? What if a knife falls off the counter?
Me: Even if I were wearing slippers, they don't have steel toecaps!
Microwave: PING
Me: What's that?
MIL: the cauliflower.
Me: It wasn't supposed to go in the microwave!
MIL: That sauce isn't thick enough. What recipe are you using? It doesn't look like the one I sent you.
Me: It's one I found online. It takes some time, but it tastes great
MIL: I wouldn't bother with that. My sauce is much simpler and I'm sure tastes better.
Me: (through gritted teeth) Please go and sit down, and let me bring you a drink. You must be tired
MIL: I already poured us all one.

etc. etc. etc.

DontMentionThePrunes Wed 16-Oct-13 17:06:07

I caught myself feeling very mellow about this today, which is good...but also...I must not be weak....

From what I know of her, she isn't sitting there scheming and plotting ways to bring me down. She's just entirely, and perfectly self absorbed, and doesn't hear what doesn't fit with her world view.

But I have to remember that quite often it's me who doesn't fit in with whatever tableau she has created, and she likes to make sure I am not around in subtle ways. I've had enough of her, overall, so, you know, fuck the tulips.

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